Monday, May 30, 2011

Recipe: Steamed Balsamic Broccoli

Here is an easy side that is great with a variety of grilled meats from steak to pork to chicken.  It cooks in less than ten minutes and at it simplest could have only 3 ingredients.  A few notes, the onions and peanuts are completely optional but I like the texture they give the dish.  The time it takes to steam will also vary depending on the amount of broccoli but you are looking at somewhere between 4-6 minutes.  Don't be afraid to give it a taste and check to see how its doing.  Finally, feel free to cut the broccoli as small as you want.  I like to keep the florets fairly large as I like the way it looks and steams but feel free to cut it smaller.

You will need:
~1.5 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
1 cooking onion, or small yellow onion
3-4 Tablespoons Light Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
1/4 cup water
Small handful of peanuts crushed fine
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Begin by cutting the onion and the broccoli.  Heat a small amount of oil in a large saute pan and add the onions, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Saute the onions until they just begin to soften.  Add the broccoli florets and the balsamic dressing, stir to combine.  Add the water and cover pan.  Allow to steam for 4-6 minutes or until broccoli is cooked but still crisp.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately, topping with crushed peanuts if desired.

Serves ~4

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Recipe: Summer Slaw

The store had angel hair coleslaw on clearance for $0.36 a bag the other day so I bought two and made slaw. This makes A LOT of slaw so cut the number of bags in half (but not the veggies added) if you aren't an avid eater.  I got into a debate with a friend over whether this was coleslaw or now.  While technically it is a cabbage slaw, but growing up in the South coleslaw had a very specific connotation.  That is, a mayo-heavy gloppy mess.  This slaw is not that.  Instead, I went with a light italian dressing with some dijon mixed in.  With the addition of lots of veggies this is a great (and pretty guilt free) companion to any grilled meat during the summer months.  

You will need: 
2 bags coleslaw mix/angel hair coleslaw/etc etc
1 can black beans, washed
8oz frozen sweet corn, thawed and drained
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips
1 poblano pepper, deseeded and diced fine
5 green onions, chopped into rounds 
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Light Italian Dressing of your choice
Garlic Powder

Put the slaw mix into a large bowl, add the washed beans, thawed corn, cut red pepper, diced poblano, and chopped green onion.  Toss lightly.  In a small bowl mix the Dijon and italian dressing together.  Add a large pinch salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix.  Pour the dressing mix over the slaw and toss well.  Allow to sit in the fridge about an hour before serving.  

Serves: A lot, somewhere between 8-12

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Recipe: Fiesta Chicken

I love recipes that can be used many different ways, and this dish definitely fits the bill.  You could serve it as a filling for tacos, it could fill lettuce cups or endive spears for a party appetizer, or you could serve it over rice for an easy meal.  What's better is that this is so easy to make and full of things that are good for you. The ground chicken also runs 1-2 dollars less per pound than any of the ground beefs.   I had 2 lbs of the ground chicken that I needed to use but you can easily half this recipe depending on how much you need to make.

You will need:
2lbs Ground Chicken
8 oz (a half bag) sweet corn thawed in microwave
1 fifteen ounce can black beans, drained and washed
1 ten ounce can original Rotel tomato and green chili mix, drained
2 packs reduced sodium taco seasoning mix
garlic powder

Begin by salting, garlic powdering, and peppering the ground chicken.  The chicken itself doesn't have a huge amount of flavor so be fairly generous with the garlic powder and pepper; the seasoning mix will help the salt out.

When the chicken is thoroughly cooked (when there is no more pink anywhere) add the taco seasoning mix and required liquid (most likely 2/3 cups per pouch) and stir to combine with chicken.  Then add the corn, black beans, and Rotel.  Stir to combine and taste to reseason if necessary.

Serves 4-8 depending on portions and application

Friday, May 13, 2011

Recipe: White Wine Poached Salmon with Dill and Lemon

This is a really simple recipe and is a great way to cook salmon and meaty fish in general.  You can use any white wine you want but I went with Barefoot's Pinot Grigio because it was cheap ($4.95) and as it is a citrusy white wine I knew it would compliment the fish and lemon.  If you want to add a bit of heat to cut the citrus you could throw in some red pepper flakes into the wine/butter sauce or deseed and devein a jalapeno all allow to steep as the poaching liquid reduces.

You will need:

One 4oz salmon fillet per person served
1 cup white wine
2 teaspoons butter
1 lemon
4 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
*Pinch of red pepper flakes, jalapeno* optional

Add the cup of white wine and butter into a large saucepan.  Set over medium heat and allow to reduce by about half.  Salt and pepper the salmon fillets on both sides.  When the sauce is mostly reduced add half of the chopped dill.  Add the salmon to the liquid skin side down and cover the pan.  Let poach for 3 minutes then flip the fillet, recover, and cook for 3 more minutes.  When the salmon just barely is able to flake turn off the heat add the remaining dill over the salmon and squeeze half of a lemon over the entire pan.  Serve immediately.

 If you wish to use the poaching liquid as a sauce on the plate create a slurry of corn starch and cold water and add to the pan, turn on over high heat and bring to a boil and simmer until it reaches the desired thickness.  Satisfaction may vary here as this is not a step I felt the dish needed.

For leftovers, I chose to leave the salmon cold but gave it an extra squeeze of lemon over the top.

Side suggestions: asparagus, rice pilaf, wild rice mix, squash, mixed salad

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review: Nature's Own Double Fiber Wheat Bread

There are two things that are always red flags about bread for me, even as someone who isn't a carb counter.  The first is when nothing about the bread is particularly nutritious.  The second is when the calorie count (especially for the non-nutritious types) is through the roof.  I personally don't want to be eating a hundred or more calories a slice for it to not fill me up and keep me full.

Luckily, Nature's Own Double Fiber Wheat solves not only both those problems but also tastes good.  Each slice only has 50 calories and each brings 5 grams of fiber to the table.  Meaning that in a two slice sandwich you are getting 40% of your daily fiber intake.  Thats 4 grams of soluble fiber (to keep you full) and 6 grams of insoluble fiber (intestinal health).  It also carries with it 25mg total of Omega-3 fatty acids per slice (heart/brain health).  You also get 3g of protein per slice to help keep you full for longer.

Now I know what you are thinking, all that health stuff is great but how does it taste? The good news is that I think it tastes great.  It has a mild wheat flavor, the bread is soft, and the crusts are just the right amount of chewy/wheaty.

If you want a filling lunch with this try it as a PB&J.  I've done this quite a bit at work and I'm always amazed at how long I stay feeling full.  It is very versatile and can work with any lunch-meats or sandwich combinations as well. This is a great bread to start your morning off right with, even if all you have time for is toast.  Add a bit of butter and for around 100 calories you've got a surprisingly filling breakfast...made even better if you have time to add an egg or piece of ham.

Try this bread out, it retails for about $2.50 a loaf and has become my mainstay bread because of its low calorie count, high nutritional value, and great taste.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Recipe: Beef and Broccoli

I wanted to try and make an asian restaurant staple and also try and keep it healthy and quick.  This turned out to a great dish.  Additional ingredients you could choose to add are onion cut into half moons and baby mushrooms or sliced button/cremini mushrooms.  I used the remaining bundle of udon noodles I had left but you could also use rice noodles or a fourth to a half box of thin spaghetti.

You will need:

A one pound london broil
2 medium heads of broccoli
One bundle udon noodles
Soy sauce
A pat of butter
One cup of reserved pasta water
Garlic Powder

Start by coating the london broil with salt, garlic powder, paprika, and an aggressive coating of pepper.  Cook over high heat for 8 minutes on each side.  Wrap in foil and set aside. Bring a pot of water to a boil  and salt heavily.  Cut the broccoli into florets.  I left them fairly large so they could stand up to the beef and not fall apart when cooking.  Cook your pasta according to box directions.  In the last minute of cooking add the broccoli to the water.  Drain the pasta and broccoli saving one cup of pasta water.  In a large saucepan add one tablespoon of soy sauce and one pat of butter over medium heat.  As the butter starts to melt add the pasta and broccoli.  Stir to combine.  Slice the meat very thin and add to the saucepan.  Add about half the reserved pasta water, and add more soy sauce if needed, you may need one to two more teaspoons.  Serve immediately.

Serves around 4

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recipe: BBQ Salmon

Continuing in the tradition of having BBQ sauce left in the bottle and needing to use it comes my latest recipe.  This one is a piece of cake to prepare and cook.  You can use pretty much any kind of BBQ sauce.  Outside of the traditional ones a honey BBQ or Asian BBQ sauce would be incredibly good with the salmon.

You will need:

4oz fillets of salmon equal to the people being served
BBQ sauce
garlic powder

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder (yes its a verb now) the salmon fillets and cover with the BBQ sauce.  Allow to marinade 1-2 hours, though less is possible.  Rub a small amount of oil in a large skillet and place over high heat.  When the pan is hot cook salmon for 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and top with more sauce if desired.

Side Suggestions: Rice Pilaf/Wild Rice, Grilled Asparagus, salad