Thursday, October 6, 2016

Tomato & Avocado Salad

This is a good use of fresh summer vegetables.  If you can still get good tomatoes, this would be a lovely transitional salad to have with grilled chicken or steaks this month.

Recipe Notes
For the champagne vinaigrette, I like Girard's light champagne vinaigrette.

  • Large tomatoes (preferably heirloom), sliced
  • Grape tomatoes (preferably mixed colors), sliced in half
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced into strips
  • Champagne vinaigrette (store bought or homemade)
  • Chopped tarragon
  • Salt & pepper to taste
1.  Arrange large tomato slices on a plate, followed by the avocado slices.
2.  Scatter grape tomatoes and red onion slices over plate and sprinkle with tarragon, salt, and pepper.
3.  Drizzle with champagne vinaigrette and serve.

(Almost) Ina Garten's Roasted Eggplant Spread

I don't like eggplant at all....I would never order it in a restaurant.  Somehow, though, I love this dip.  And it is essentially made of vegetables (with very little added oil and no cheese or other added fats) so it's a pretty healthy appetizer.  I have adapted this recipe slightly from Ina Garten's original recipe (found here) that was included in her original Barefoot Contessa cookbook.

Recipe Notes
This recipe takes some time because of the prep time and roasting time, but once the vegetables are out of the oven, the only work is done in your food processor and it is quick!  Serve with Wheat Thins or vegetables.

  • 1 medium eggplant (peeled and cut into one-inch cubes)
  • 2 red bell peppers (seeded and cut into one-inch cubes)
  • 1 red onion (peeled and cut into one-inch cubes)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
2.  Toss eggplant, bell peppers, and red onion in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet.
3.  Roast for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly charred and soft.  Toss once during cooking.
4.  Cool vegetable mixture slightly and place in a food processor.
5.  Add tomato paste and pulse until blended and chunky.
6.  Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as needed.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Creamy Avocado Basil Pesto

I found this recipe on Pinterest (original recipe credit to Ambitious Kitchen) and I modified it slightly.  The original recipe may be found here.  This was a great topping for grilled chicken and would likely work with several other meats as well.  It is creamy and tastes like a pesto, but there is no oil, so the result is better for you!


Recipe Notes
The original recipe calls for pine nuts, but I used walnuts instead.  I also used more avocado than the original recipe called for, which made it extra creamy.  The original recipe also called for the cook to stir in the Parmesan at the end.  I added it to the food processor instead.

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 3 tbsp. water, plus more to thin if desired
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
1.  Place first five ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chopped and roughly combined.
2.  Add 3 tbsp. water and process until smooth.  Add more water at this stage, if needed, to achieve desired consistency.
3.  Add Parmesan cheese and pulse until combined.
4.  Store in an airtight container (or sealed mason jar) and refrigerate.  Pesto will keep for a few days in fridge if properly stored on the front end.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Frankie's Topping-for-Anything

I have slightly adapted this recipe, which I found in InStyle Magazine, as noted below.  Credit for original recipe goes to New Yorker Frank Castronovo of Frankie's Spuntino and Frankie's 457 fame.


Recipe Notes
I modified this from the original recipe by cutting the olive oil in half and swapping red onions for white onions.  I put my tomatoes on small, individual beds of arugula tossed with a little Wishbone balsamic vinaigrette.

  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. pitted Castelvetrano olives, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. brined capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 c. finely-chopped red onion
  • 1/4 c. loosely-packed small basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 c. loosely-packed flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Heirloom tomatoes, sliced thick
1.  Combine all ingredients through crushed red pepper in a bowl.
2.  Season to taste with sea salt and toss.
3.  Arrange tomato slices on a platter and season with salt and black pepper.  Spoon olive topping over tomatoes and serve.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Stuffed Jumbo Shells

I found this recipe in a Taste of Home monthly edition and made some modifications to make it healthier.  Comes together quickly once the jumbo shells are cooked!


Recipe Notes
The original recipe calls for much more cheese.  I also used Aidell's fully-cooked refrigerated chicken meatballs, while the original recipe calls for frozen (beef) Italian meatballs.

  • Jumbo pasta shells (one package)
  • Aidell's fully-cooked chicken meatballs (refrigerated section of grocery store)
  • Bottled marinara sauce of choice
  • 4 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella (approximately 1/2 package)
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Cook pasta shells according to package directions.  Rinse in cold water and drain.
3.  Stuff one meatball in each cooked shell.  Arrange in a greased 9x13 baking dish.
4.  Top with marinara and shredded cheese.
5.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spinach & Vidalia Onion Dip

This recent Southern Living recipe is a different spin on a traditional spinach dip.  The caramelized onions make it sweeter.  Serve with blue corn tortilla chips or other chips and vegetables of choice.


Recipe Notes
I decreased the butter from the original recipe.  You can also use any sweet onion (such as 1015's) if Vidalias are not available.

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 c. chopped Vidalia onions (about 2 large)
  • 5 oz. package fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 16 oz. container sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1.  Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
2.  Add onions and cook, stirring often, until golden and very tender (20-30 minutes).
3.  Add chopped spinach, stirring until wilted.
4.  Sprinkle with half of salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes.
5.  Stir together onion/spinach mixture, sour cream, and chives.  Add remaining salt and pepper.
6.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
7.  Serve with chips and vegetables.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Honey Garlic Chicken

Good low-calorie crock pot recipe.  Easy to put together and ready in about four hours.


Recipe Notes
From the blog  Nutritional information below is for chicken only.  Does not include information for rice as seen above.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 6)
201 calories - 1 g. fat - 17 g. carbohydrates - 33 g. protein - 0 g. fiber

  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/3 c. low-sodium soy sauce (Do not use regular.  The result is too salty.)
  • 1/3 c. ketchup
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1.  Whisk together garlic, basil, soy sauce, ketchup, and honey.
2.  Add chicken to crock pot.
3.  Pour sauce over chicken and mix everything together.
4.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until chicken is cooked through but not dry.
5.  Remove chicken from sauce to a baking sheet covered with foil.
6.  Broil for 5 minutes to create a crispy outside.
7.  Return to sauce and serve over rice.