recipe

Best Tofu Recipe!

 Tofu, Curry and Leeks - a perfect combination to fire up couscous!

Tofu, Curry and Leeks - a perfect combination to fire up couscous!

Couscous with Curry and Tofu

Serves: 4     Prep time: 10 minutes                    Cooking time: 25 minute

It never ceases to amaze me how certain ingredients are just magical together. This recipe is one of them. The curry infuses the couscous and tofu with so much flavor. This is a go to recipe. 

1 lb firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 scant teaspoons curry, separated

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium potato, diced into ½ inch pieces

1 leek, white part only, sliced ¼ inch thick

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 cups vegetable broth, separated

1-cup whole-wheat couscous

Salt and black pepper to taste

1.    Sprinkle tofu with 1-teaspoon curry, salt and pepper to taste. In skillet heat oil on medium high heat until hot. Add tofu cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stir to brown all sides. Remove tofu from skillet.

2.    In same skillet add potatoes and leek, salt and pepper to taste; sauté for 4 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If they are sticking add a few tablespoons of vegetable broth.  Add bell pepper, cook for 2 additional minutes. Add 2 cups of broth and remaining curry; bring to a slow boil and cook for 5 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

3.    Return meat to skillet and continue cooking for 5 additional minutes or until meat is thoroughly cooked.  Remove meat and vegetables with slotted spoon and keep warm.

4.    Add remaining broth to pan juices and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat. Stir couscous into pan juices. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve with the meat and potatoes. 

           Tip:  for washing leeks -  cut them lengthwise and rinse under running

           water as the pieces separate and  allow water to run through it.

Squash Time!

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We are constantly reminded to eat more seasonal vegetables, which is easy during the summer months. When fall rolls around we may be at a loss, but let’s not forget the squash family. Winter squash is abundant now and in peak of flavor.  Winter squash is an excellent source of potassium and vitamin A and also contain vitamin C, folic acid, pantothenic acid and copper.  A half-cup of cooked winter squash has about 40 calories and 3 grams of fiber.

Squash is related to the melon and cucumber plant. There are two main categories of squash: summer and winter squash. The better known of the summer squash is the zucchini squash. Among several varieties the zucchini is the most common.  It has a fragile, tender edible skin and seeds.  The winter squash has a drier, orange flesh and is more fibrous and much sweeter than summer squash. The skin of winter squash is not edible. There are several varieties of winter squash. The butternut squash is most commonly utilized in everyday cooking.   

 

Risotto is all the rage on restaurants’ menus. Below is my version of risotto. It   uses butternut squash and is delicious and much healthier than what maybe found on a restaurant menu.

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Risotto

Makes: 8 servings               

The butternut squash gives beautiful color and adds to the creamy texture. White short grain rice is ideal for risotto. Brown rice does not work well in this recipe as the bran prevents the grain from releasing its starch. To make whole grain risotto pearled barley can be substituted.

2 ½ cups butternut squash or Hubbard, cleaned and diced

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

½ cup onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 ¾ cup Arborio rice or short grain rice

3 ½ cups beef broth plus ½ cup water heated or vegetable broth

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan heat oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat for 1 minute. Add squash, garlic and onion; sauté for 8-10 minutes. Add rice; stir to coat with oil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

2. Add about 1 cup of broth and stir until absorbed. Continue adding broth about half cup at a time and continuously stirring until it is absorbed. Continue this process until rice is cooked, about 20 minutes.  The squash will start to disintegrate, as it should. Toward the end of the cooking process add broth in smaller amounts so that when rice is cooked not much liquid is present.  It should be quite creamy when ready. Stir in the remaining butter, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Serve immediately with extra grated Parmesan. 

 Tip: Risotto is a cooking technique; hot liquid is added gradually to help release starch from the grain resulting in a creamy texture. Adding different ingredients to the usual base of butter or oil   and onions can vary the risotto.   Additions can be shellfish, ground or diced meats, most vegetables and herbs.

Quinoa Salad

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Quick and easy! Quinoa with tomatoes and baby spinach, topped with grilled chicken!

Quinoa with tomatoes and baby spinach salad

Serves 4          

Fast and easy, Quinoa is an ancient grain its complete protein profile also makes it a vegetarian friendly entree.  Ready in less than 30 minutes.        

                                       

Ingredients:

1-tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 cup Quinoa, rinsed and well drained

2 cups chicken broth, reduced sodium or water

2-cups baby spinach

2 cups cherry/grape tomatoes cut in half

Salt and pepper to taste

 Grilled chicken

  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add Quinoa, stirring constantly (prevents sticking) for1-2 minutes.  Add broth or water. Stir,  bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add baby spinach and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes with lid on. Fluff with fork and transfer to a bowl and combine with tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with grilled chicken.  

Nutrients You Need

Ideal recipe for the hazy lazy days of summer!

Quick, Satisfying And Vitamin Rich Dish

Do you find that getting dinner on the table is almost always a race to beat the clock and making it nutritious can be an even bigger task. This is especially true during summer when many activities are clamoring for your attention. Keeping meals healthy even with the readily available fresh vegetables of the season can be challenging.

Solution

 A sensible solution to this daily challenge is to have a few go to recipes that are ready in minutes.  Here I have a quick and easy complete meal recipe Fennel-Basil Shrimp Sauté, (recipe follows) which takes advantage of quick cooking vegetables and shrimp. In addition to the ease of this dish it is nutrient packed to boot.

Nutrient rich vegetables – fennel, tomatoes and spinach – are jam packed with potassium and other essential elements.  Potassium is critical in lowering blood pressure and vegetables’ low caloric content is key for weight loss. Plus fennel   contains vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, calcium and phosphate. Fennel’s flavor is reminiscent of aniseed or licorice.  Tomatoes offer vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin A. Spinach is another power house of nutrients and also rich in iron. Both fennel and tomatoes are diuretics. The pasta provides some complex carbohydrate for staying power,  if desired wholegrain pasta can be used fro more fiber.

 Beat the dinner clock this summer and stay healthy at the same time. Simple home cooked dishes such as this Fennel Basil Shrimp Sauté dish is a sure way to keep you on time and on your diet track. 

 

 

Fennel-Basil Shrimp Sautee

Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 shallot, sliced

½ cup fennel, diced

1-pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

¼ cup chicken stock

1 pint grape tomatoes

¼ - pound baby spinach, washed

6 basil leaves

 8 oz. bowtie pasta cook according to package directions

In a skillet, heat oil and add garlic. Cook for 1 minute.  Add shallot and fennel and tomatoes. Cook three minutes. Add shrimp and chicken stock. Cook until shrimp is done. Add spinach cook for one minute. Add Basil and cook one more minute. Remove from heat and toss with pasta. Serve.

Think Summer Menu!

 This cucumber relish truly offers Mediterranean goodness. It replaces the pickles with jalapeño and uses a combination of summer favorites, tomatoes and cucumbers. Low in calories makes it a great side to any sandwich or meat.  

This cucumber relish truly offers Mediterranean goodness. It replaces the pickles with jalapeño and uses a combination of summer favorites, tomatoes and cucumbers. Low in calories makes it a great side to any sandwich or meat.  

Cucumber Relish

Ingredients
1 cup seedless cucumber with skin, diced
1 cup tomato, seeded and diced
½ cup red onion, diced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions 
1. Toss all ingredients together.
2. Taste for seasoning. 
3. Serve as a relish. 
TIP If you get excess liquid, drain the relish and use it as part of a salad dressing. Toss with mixed greens.

Flavor Makers

   Curried Barley with Fruit  .  Spices and dried fruits are the flavor makers in this delicious grain dish.

Curried Barley with Fruit.  Spices and dried fruits are the flavor makers in this delicious grain dish.

Curried barley with fruit

Serves 4            

The spices and dried fruits provide so many flavors that no salt is needed. Brown rice makes a good substitute for the barley if desired.

3 cups water

¼ cup dried apricots, chopped

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup raisins

1 teaspoons orange zest

2-teaspoons curry powder

2-teaspoons cumin

1- cup pearl barley   

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1. In a medium saucepan combine water with apricots, cranberries, raisins, zest, curry and cumin. Bring to a boil. Add the pearl barley; reduce heat, cover, and cook until the barley is tender about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent barley from sticking to bottom of pan. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with parsley and walnuts before serving.

Warm Cannellini Salad With Prosciutto

 Warm Cannellini Salad With Prosciutto. Healthy protein source and a great brown bag lunch alternative!

Warm Cannellini Salad With Prosciutto. Healthy protein source and a great brown bag lunch alternative!

Warm Cannellini Salad with prosciutto

Serves : 6       prep time: 15 minutes                     cook time: 25 minutes

I have made this recipe for parties and cooking demonstrations and it’s always a success. The prosciutto really takes the beans to new height.  Great salad for a brown bag lunch.  

4 to 6 slices prosciutto (3 to 4 oz.)

3 tablespoons Olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon snipped sage

4 cups fresh arugula, bite size or mixed greens

1 -19 oz. can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained 

1/8-teaspoon salt

1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes (until you become familiar with the process, keep checking on the prosciutto after 15 minutes) or when it appears crispy (do not move prosciutto during baking). Remove from oven. Crumble with hands when cool. Set aside.

2.    In a small saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook oil until it begins to brown. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, sage, and salt, set aside.

3.    Arrange arugula on serving platter and top with beans then prosciutto. Drizzle with warm dressing. Serve immediately.

Tip: make prosciutto crispy on the stovetop by placing it in a skillet in a single layer and cook on medium heat until crispy. Remove from skillet and let cool. Crumble with hands.

Beans with Swiss Chard

Beans with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes. A delicious way to get more fiber in your diet.  This recipe is ideal for a wrap sandwich or tossed with whole-wheat pasta.Beans with Swiss chard and tomatoes

Beans with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes.

Serves: 2       

 1 small bunch red Swiss chard, leaves only.

1- 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained or home cooked

1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes 

¼ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped basil

¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet. Add garlic, cook for one minute. Add Swiss chard and sauté over medium heat, 2-3 minutes.  Salt to taste. Add tomatoes and chicken broth and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, basil and pepper flakes; simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Tip: Kale, escarole or spinach make great substitutions for the chard.  Red and green Swiss chard can be used interchangeably.

Sauteed Spinach With Raisins and Pine Nuts

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Dark green leafy vegetables are a treasure trove of vitamins, minerals, and fiber they are fabulous on the dinner table as well!

While many leafy greens are fabulous tossed in salads, sautéing them in olive oil, garlic, lemon, and herbs brings out a rich flavor. Check this version of sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts. Most leafy greens can be cooked this way. 

 

Sautéed spinach with raisins and nuts 

Serves 4         prep time: 5 minutes            cooking time: 4-5 minutes

 Raisins and nuts are frequently used in Southern Italian cooking. My husband and I had this at an Italian restaurant and I have been making it at home ever since. We prefer our version as it contains much less oil and salt. 

1- 16 oz package baby spinach, washed 

2-tablespoons olive oil

2 clove garlic

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium size skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add spinach (Pan may seem too small as raw spinach has a high volume but it cooks down a lot) and raisins. Cook for about 2 minutes until just wilted, stir frequently.  Add nuts and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve.

The Wonder of Eggs!

 Simple Poached Eggs make an impressive and satisfying dish! What would brunch be without Eggs Benedict or omelets!

Simple Poached Eggs make an impressive and satisfying dish! What would brunch be without Eggs Benedict or omelets!

The egg is one of the most nutritious foods we have. It’s unmatched as a high quality protein source; it provides linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that’s essential in the human diet, as well as several minerals, most vitamins, and two plant pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin that are especially valuable antioxidants.   The protein rich egg white and the fat concentrated yolk make for the egg’s rich package. Eggs have been long maligned for their high cholesterol content. More recent studies have shown that saturated fats and trans fats are the major contributors to high blood cholesterol and to a lesser degree cholesterol found in food or dietary cholesterol such as in eggs and shellfish. Experts recommend that healthy individuals consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day. If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease, limit the daily cholesterol intake to no more than 200 mg a day. On average a large egg contains about 186 mgs of cholesterol, found in the yolk.   Having up to four eggs per week would certainly not be a deal breaker for most eating patterns.

Eggs pack a nutritional punch and a gastronomic wonder. Even a simply poached egg makes an inspiring main dish. I especially relish poached eggs.  They are uncomplicated to prepare, an economical source of excellent protein quality and satisfying! 

 

Steps To Simple Poaching

Poaching an egg can be as complicated as you want it to be. Here are my simple steps for preparing poached eggs at home.

 

Place 3-4 inches of water in a 1-quart size sauce pan with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Bring to a simmer (it appears as it’s just about to boil).

Crack an egg into a small bowl and gently slide the egg into the water.  Poach for about 4 minutes, longer or shorter time depending on how “runny” the yolk is desired.  Remove the egg using a slotted spoon, drain for a few moments, serve immediately. Depending on the size of the saucepan, it is possible to cook 2-4 eggs at the same time. Poached eggs can also be eaten cold.

To store for later use, place the poached eggs in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate. To reheat, merely place the cold egg in simmering hot water for a few minutes.

Thinking Tropical

 Fennel-Basil Shrimp sauté over bow-ties pasta and Key lime marmalade glazed sponge cake and mango sorbet was on the Delicious Simplicity menu cooking show this month. The flavor was all tropical - lime, mango and rum.

Fennel-Basil Shrimp sauté over bow-ties pasta and Key lime marmalade glazed sponge cake and mango sorbet was on the Delicious Simplicity menu cooking show this month. The flavor was all tropical - lime, mango and rum.

Fennel-Basil Shrimp sauté over bow-ties pasta

Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 shallot, sliced

½ cup fennel, diced

1-pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

¼ cup chicken stock

1 pint grape tomatoes

¼ - pound baby spinach, washed

6 basil leaves

1/2 pound bow ties pasta: cooked according to package directions

In a skillet, heat oil and add garlic. Cook for 1 minute.  Add shallot and fennel and tomatoes. Cook three minutes. Add shrimp and chicken stock. Cook until shrimp is done. Add spinach cook for one minute. Add Basil and cook one more minute. Remove from heat and toss with pasta. Serve.

Snowy Days - Warm Kitchen

Take advantage of these stuck indoors snowy days by preparing hot soups and stews!!

 Rotisserie Chicken Soup  Took advantage of the snowy day and made soup using the left over rotisserie chicken bones.   Added the bones to two quarts of water. Boiled for 20 minutes. Strained it and used the broth to make this delicious chicken soup with vegetables and noodles.   I also used the time to cook a slow braised turkey breast!!  A warm kitchen and healthy delicious foods on hand - Life is Good!!!

Rotisserie Chicken Soup

Took advantage of the snowy day and made soup using the left over rotisserie chicken bones. 

Added the bones to two quarts of water. Boiled for 20 minutes. Strained it and used the broth to make this delicious chicken soup with vegetables and noodles. 

I also used the time to cook a slow braised turkey breast!!

A warm kitchen and healthy delicious foods on hand - Life is Good!!!