“The Hunger Games” influenced recipe: Herbed Goat Cheese Bites

These “Herbed Goat Cheese Bites” are healthy and delicious little treats everyone will love.   YAY!    All I can say is “Bring on “The Hunger Games”.”  So excited we have a popular trilogy starting where food (and sadly hunger) play a central role.  So much room for creative inspiration, and mine will all focus on healthy interpretations of the many scenes where food and meals play a central role in the character’s life at the moment.

Why in the world am I doing “The Hunger Games” recipe or food interpretations? I have to admit, this time last week the last thing I thought I would be uploading was any “Hunger Games” influenced recipes.  Victor (long time boyfriend) and I are chilling out up here at his house in Lake Tahoe for awhile, so we decided at the last minute Friday to see the premiere of what seemed to be an over marketed movie, “The Hunger Games”.   We found the movie intriguing enough we decided to  download all 3 books onto our Ipads as well as downloading the entire series on audio book.  We have been listening to them together ever since on our Apple “boom box” while watching the snow fall.   Its been kind of fun. I decided to do an internet search to see if there were any sites posting “Hunger Games” recipes and there were.  Yahoo had this one and then I found on Amazon “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook”.

These “Herbed Goat Cheese Bites” represent the morning of the “reaping day” when 2 children are chosen for the “Hunger Games”. The main character, Katniss, wakes to find goat cheese wrapped in fresh basil leaves, a gift left by her little sister Prim.   Katniss had bought her little sister an injured baby goat years before to help the family survive.    Katniss takes her sister’s gift and eats it in the meadow by the woods with her friend Gale, where they spread it on fresh bread Gale had traded a squirrel for.  In district 12, where Katniss and her family live, bread is a rarity.

I made this yesterday and it was delicious.  Is a great appetizer at a party as well.  This recipe is slightly different interpretation of a “celebrity” chef  Tyler Florence recipe featured here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup of finely chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 8 ounce goat cheese log
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces French baguette sliced in 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Finely chop and combine the first four  herbs listed (thyme, parsley, tarragon, mint)
  2. Roll the goat cheese log evenly in the fresh herbs and then wrap tightly in plastic.  Chill 2 to 24 hours.  I chilled mine overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 and drizzle the bread slices with olive oil and place on cookie sheet
  4. Bake at 350 degrees until browned and crispy.  Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes
  5. Remove the fresh herb goat cheese log from the fridge and spread lightly on the baguette slices
  6. Top generously with the fresh chopped tomato and basil

Serve and Enjoy!

Adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate by Tyler Florence, Southern Living
JANUARY 2009



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Chicken and Shrimp Lemongrass Dumplings

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you probably have noticed I have a “thing” for dumplings.  See 2 of my recent past blogged recipes for dumplings  here and here.   And its true, I love them.  I have a lot of personal affection and history surrounding eating and making Chinese Dim Sum and Asian Dumplings.

I can’t remember the first time I made dumplings at home, but likely quite young.  My mom taught my sister and I at a very young age how to make homemade egg rolls, wontons, and pot stickers. Additionally my  mom, a kindergarten teacher of over 40 years, used to come to my elementary classroom every year and spend the entire morning with my class, teaching us all how to make these little Chinese “treats” along with the  variety of sauces that accompany them.  My mom would set up different little stations where each of us children would participate in cutting, chopping, mixing and filling our dim sum. It was set up so that we would all alternate every 30 minutes,  so that each child had a chance to learn and participate in each step of the cooking process. Our half day lesson ended with us all cooking and then eating our “home made” won tons, egg rolls, and pot stickers for lunch.  It was a big hit every year.  Even now as an adult, at school reunions, someone will almost always come up to me and remind me of those days my mom spent the day teaching our class how to make Chinese food and how much they loved it.

This following recipe I decided upon after picking up some beautiful lemongrass at the Farmer’s Market and thinking  Vietnamese inspired dumplings certainly sounded like a yummy way to use it.  I did a quick search on the internet and the best thing I could find was a May 2010 Food and Wine magazine recipe for encouragement and inspiration, that “yes indeed”, lemongrass does work well in a dumpling.  I then made my own “Truffled Pig” version, which you will see,  ended up being a completely new recipe on its own.

As with my previous dumpling recipes, I focused on creating a  filling  that was healthy and nutrient dense.  Additionally I demonstrate how to cook these dumplings 2 methods, which are quite healthy as well.  These dumplings can be cooked  1.  Steamed in a bamboo steamer, or 2.  “Pan Steam-Fried”  (featured in photo above) which is a low fat method of browning and steaming the dumplings in a non stick skillet over medium high heat for a couple minutes.

Make Ahead: Freeze any uncooked dumplings on a floured (or cornstarch) baking sheet.  Once frozen, after about an hour, transfer them to freezer zip lock bags. Cooking your dumplings straight out of the freezer is exactly like the directions below, just extend the steaming time in the bamboo steamer or on the non stick pan (lid on for steaming) a few extra minutes.  Or if you want to have a freezer filled with a variety and large supply of dumplings ready to cook, double the recipe and your ready to go.  If you were to check my freezer at any given time, you’d likely find it filled with at leas one big freezer zip lock bag of dumplings, sometimes two.  Some say  last one month the in freezer, but I say as long as you really squeeze out all the air in the bag each time you put it back in the freezer, keeping it air tight protects them from frost and “freezer burn”.  With proper storage they can easily taste good and last up to 3 or 4 months in the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb ground chicken (I use organic ground chicken breast)
  • 1/2 lb finely chopped medium to jumbo sized shrimp/prawns  (Click here for nice guidelines on shrimp)
  • 2 stalks (2 tablespoons) of fresh grated lemongrass  or 2 tablespoons store bought prepared lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (Ie: Thai Kitchen Brand here)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 can water chestnuts finely chopped (optional, I love it for the nice crunchy texture it adds)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of white or black pepper (I prefer white pepper but black is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 organic egg ( You could probably omit this if you want, its used as a “binder” but I have made this without the egg)
  • 1 package of gyoza wrappers ( found at Asian markets and most major supermarkets in the refrigerator section)

* Tip: If you can not find the round gyoza wrappers you can use square won ton wrappers instead, your dumplings can be folded into little triangles, or you can use a cookie cutter to make the wrappers into a circle

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the first 12 ingredients together
  2. Place a dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water, and put  teaspoon of the filling in the center
  3. a. To fold dumplings like in the photo featured at the to which is called Shu Mai:  Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling, squeezing gently, to plea the sides;  some of the filling should remain exposed. For step by step easy to follow video instructions click here: Video Here  b.  To fold and make in half moon shape like here: Place each dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water and 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center. Fold over the skin at the median line to create a little “half moon” shape (see above photo at the top of this recipe).  Use a fork to press in and indent around the corner to make sure the dumpling skin stay folded over and stuck together.

 

Cooking Methods: Steaming or Pan Seared and “Steamed”

  1. Option A. Rig a bamboo steamer over a large pot with about 1 inch of water; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Option B.  Heat a non stick skillet with 1 tablespoon neutral oil over medium high heat
  2. Option A: Put as many dumpling in the bamboo steamer (lined with parchment paper) as you can fit in a single layer and cover the pot.   Option B: place dumplings in skillet with hot oil and wait 1 to 2 minutes until edges are brown and then add a couple tablespoons of water and quickly place lid on skillet to steam
  3. Option A : Cook until the exposed filling turns pink and the wrappers are tender: in steamer 4 to 6 minutes Option B :  in skillet cook  aprox 4 (do not burn the bottoms)

Serve and Enjoy with dipping sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil

I’ll be posting all the nutritional information for these later this week, but these are healthy, low fat and low cal.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Lowfat Pan Crisp “Little Dragon” Chinese Dumplings

 

 

These little Chinese dumplings are so TASTY you would never in a million years guess that not only are they packed full of protein and good nutrition, they are juicy with a crisp outer skin, yet not greasy like most pan fried dumplings.  I know some people have an “issue” with calorie restricted food diets, and by no ways do I condone any kind of diet with severe calorie restrictions.  I came up with this healthy style “crispy” dumpling concept in my twenties while trying to create a crispy pot sticker style of dumpling I could eat, which had lots of flavor minus all the grease. In this recipe I use 100 percent fat free ground turkey breast or chicken breast in the filling and  combining it with chopped shrimp and Asian flavors. I then utilize a non stick skillet to pan “crisp” or brown the dumpling  on both sides, later adding low fat or non fat chicken broth or stock to “steam fry” the dumpling.  The  “pan steaming” works to infuse flavor and moisture to the bland or “dry” ground poultry, while the “crisping” the dumpling wrapper  on both sides providing the texture and taste you normally associate with greasy pot stickers.  Since I just posted a Steamed Shrimp Shu Mai Style Dumpling a couple of weeks ago, for ease of translation, I use most of the same ingredients for the filling in this recipe at the same time demonstrating how just some little changes in ingredients and cooking method can create a completely different result.

Ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (found in the Asian section of your market, usually by the soy sauce.  example here)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1/2 lb of prawns/ shrimp peeled and deveined, chopped
  • 1/2 lb of ground fat free chicken or turkey breast
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white parts only, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 can of water chestnuts for some crunch and texture, finely chopped
  • package of gyoza or “round” Chinese dumpling skins
  • optional: white pepper
  • neutral oil spray for the pan to cook
  • chicken broth or stock for “steam frying” the dumplings

Directions:

  1. Very finely chop the shrimp by hand or pulse in food processor for a minute or two
  2. Combine soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil and ginger in a bowl and stir
  3. In a bowl combine the ground poultry, shrimp, scallions, cilantro, and sprinkle of the optional white pepper, water chestnuts and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce mixture from step 2 and mix with a fork, making sure the sauce is evenly distributed through out the mixture
  4. Let the mixture or “filling” sit in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour or more so the Asian flavors can really infuse throughout the shrimp and poultry aspect of the filling
  5. Place each dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water and 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center. Fold over the skin at the median line to create a little “half moon” shape (see above photo at the top of this recipe).  Use a fork to press in and indent around the corner to make sure the dumpling skin stay folded over and stuck together.  Repeat with the remaining dumpling skins and filling until all filling is used. Note:  Store any left over skins in an airtight zip lock bag or wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.  Make sure its not exposed to any air or it will dry out
  6. To cook immediately: working in batches, spray the bottom of a non stick pan lightly to the pan and heat over medium high heat.
  7. When pan is nice and hot quickly place dumplings on the bottom of the pan, working in batches.  Brown or “crisp” the dumpling on one side and then flip.  Crisp the dumpling on the other side until lightly browned, making sure not to burn
  8. Add a 3  tablespoons or more, to the hot pan with the crisp dumplings and quickly put the lid on to steam.  If necessary, add some more chicken broth when the first amount completely evaporates into the dumpling.  You want to make sure the dumpling is cooked all the way through and the chicken is completely cooked.
  9. Repeat until all the dumplings are cooke

Serve with the soy dipping sauce and enjoy

**Note if making a big batch ahead:  These freeze and store extremely well.  If you want to make a large batch ahead of time and freeze, at step 5, instead of cooking, transfer the uncooked dumplings to a cooking sheet lightly dusted with corn starch and then when full immediately put in freezer and “flash freeze”.  When dumplings are frozen, carefully remove them from the cookie sheet and transfer to a freezer zip lock bag, remove most of the air, and store.    When you decide you want to eat them, just  begin at step 6 and then make sure you steam a little longer, using a little extra chicken broth steaming steps to make sure they are cooked all the way through.

 

 

 



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Steamed Shrimp and Cilantro Chinese Dumplings (Shu Mai)


I’ve been making AND eating Chinese dumplings since I was a little girl.   One of my favorite memories from when I was a child was going to authentic Dim Sum Restaurants in San Francisco’s China Town on a Sunday morning.  My favorites being the Steamed Pork Buns, Pot Stickers, and the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings.  At home we used to make large batches of pot stickers ahead of time and freeze them.  In the last 15 years I started playing around with the fillings and found that there are endless different ingredients you can combine to make a really great dumpling.  I still make large batches and freeze them ahead of time.  Whats great about freezing them is that they store well up to 3 months ahead of time, and still cook quite quickly in a hot pan or skillet with some steam.

I was really happy when I saw this Mark Bittner recipe in the New York Times because he really simplified the whole process with his video demonstration so that it would translate well to even a novice chef.    I also just *love* Mark Bittner’s food column in the NY Times.   This recipe is naturally low in fat.   I only made a few changes.   These were  so great,  my boyfriend and I gobbled them down… literally.   There were none left.  Next time I will double the recipe and freeze some.

If you don’t have  a bamboo steamer or anything to steam the dumplings in, that is fine, you can still make these.  All you have to do is heat up a skillet, place the dumplings in,  add a little water or chicken broth and quickly put the lid on making sure not to leave the skillet on the heat so long the bottoms of the dumplings burn.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped scallions, white parts only
  • 1/2 or 1 whole can of water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 10 to 12 round dumpling (or gyoza) skins
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Optional: 1 to 3 tablespoons oil,  and water as needed if cooking in a non stick pan

Directions:

  1. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and ginger in a bowl.  Put half the shrimp, half the cilantro and all the scallions in a food processor and pulse: add just enough of the soy mixture to create a smooth paste, about 1 to 2 tablespoons.  Transfer to a bowl.  Roughly chop the remaining shrimp and cilantro, add them along with the water chestnuts to the bowl and stir to combine.
  2.  Place a dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water, and put  teaspoon of the filling in the center.  Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling, squeezing gently, to plea the sides;  some of the filling should remain exposed.  Repeat with the remaining dumpling skins and filling, keeping the dumpling wrappers and dumplings covered with the damp towels while you work. Video Here.
  3. Add the lime juice to the remaining soy mixture to make a dipping sauce

Cooking Methods: Steaming or Pan Seared and “Steamed”

  1. Option A. Rig a bamboo steamer over a large pot with about 1 inch of water; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Option B.  Heat a non stick skillet with 1 tablespoon neutral oil over medium high heat
  2. Option A: Put as many dumpling in the bamboo steamer (lined with parchment paper) as you can fit in a single layer and cover the pot.   Option B: place dumplings in skillet with hot oil and wait 1 to 2 minutes until edges are brown and then add a couple tablespoons of water and quickly place lid on skillet to steam
  3. Option A : Cook until the exposed filling turns pink and the wrappers are tender: in steamer 4 to 6 minutes, in skillet aprox 4 (do not burn the bottoms)
  4. Serve with leftover soy sauce mixture with lime juice as dipping sauce

 



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Curried Mango Ginger Chutney

Yay!  I am so happy with this  delicious and healthy recipe I came up with on the fly last night.  I was craving Indian food and had been ignoring this  lonely little mango I  purchased last week that I knew was going to go bad if we didn’t eat it pretty soon.   I  have been seeing quite a few recipes with mango being used in chutneys or as an interesting accent to modern Indian cuisine.  A quick internet search for mango chutneys resulted in several recipes, but they all  had an ingredient list that called for more than just one little mango.  I took the best of the many recipes that I found (this one recipe by Alton Brown being my favorite) and reduced it down in ratio so my one little mango would work fine.

This chutney would go great with white fish,  whole roasted chicken, chicken breasts, and probably even pork.  If you reduced the “heat” (chile flakes) I bet kids would love this with healthy chicken tenders.    Could also go well with all types of vegetarian or vegan Caribbean, Indian or African dishes.  I would even serve with goat cheese on crostini or with crackers.  I will be trying many variations of with lots of dishes in the future and put the links as I do them in this post.  Last night I didn’t feel like running to the store to get fish, so  I marinaded organic chicken breast in an easy Indian spiced marinade for an hour.

Lastly this is GREAT for cancer patients going through chemo.  I loved bright and spicy Indian chutneys and spicy food with curries when I was undergoing chemo.  The bold flavors really cut through the yucky chemical taste chemo can leave.

 

Serves 4 as a side to a main dish,  Store in an airtight container for 7 days up in the freezer for up to 2 months

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1 mango
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • white pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup grade B (or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of filtered water
  • Chopped 1/2 of a red bell pepper (optional)
  • a quick grate of lemon zest (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the mango away from the pit and roughly chop the flesh
  2. In a separate bowl combine water, cider vinegar, maple syrup, fresh lemon juice,  optional lemon zest and set aside
  3. In saute pan heat oil over medium heat and add the chile flakes and toast just to flavor oil
  4. Keep heat at medium, and add red onions until they begin to sweat and get soft
  5. Add ginger and if using, the optional red pepper and saute for 1 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the mango and cook for 1 minute
  7. Add the mixture in bowl to pan and stir to combine
  8. Bring the mixture to a slight simmer, reduce to low and stir frequently
  9. Season with a fresh ground sea salt and white pepper (optional)
  10. Continue cooking over low heat, uncovered so the liquid can evaporate and reduces into a thick coating over the fruit. Aprox 30 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!  Let me know how you use it and I’ll add it to the notes here.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Coconut Curried Chickpeas

By all my recent Facebook posts and photos one might easily imagine I am some major chickpea fan.  It seems like lately I’ve been putting chickpeas in everything.  The truth is  I only recently made chickpeas from scratch for the very first time.  I, for the first time ever, did the whole “soaking overnight and then finishing  on the stove” thing.  After eating chickpeas made from scratch I have a whole new appreciation for this little ingredient, which by the way, I had never really liked at all (except for pureed in hummus) prior.

I have heard the argument that there is really no difference between soaking/cooking peas yourself or just buying them ready to eat in a can, but my taste buds and “brain” don’t believe that to be true At all.  I find chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked from scratch can have really amazing flavor and texture which I find totally lacking in canned chickpeas.  I love  cooking them to just barely  “el dente” after soaking them over night and then sauteing them in a variety of herbs, spices and sauces.

I came up this really healthy and tasty little curry dish on the fly the other day,  and it tasted amazing!  You can use canned chickpeas, but I highly recommend, if you have the time and don’t mind the planning, utilizing chickpeas made from scratch.  This is great to make ahead snack/dish and will keep well in the fridge for a couple of day.  This reheats well in the microwave.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh cooked chickpeas or 2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or oil or your choice)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of cayenne (to your desired “heat”, I used 2 tsp because I loved hot spicy food)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry
  • 4 coconut milk cubes or 1/3 cup lite or regular organic coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat until hot
  2. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes
  3. Add onions and carrots and begin to saute
  4.  About 2 minutes in, add the garam masala, cayenne and curry and mix in well, allowing the flavors to infuse in well with the carrots and onions.  About 3  minutes or until the onions soft and carrots with still a bit of crunch.
  5. Add chickpeas and saute  a couple minutes until heated through anl flavors well distributed to chickpeas
  6. Add tomatoes and stir a minute or too, again until ingredients heated through and flavors well distributed
  7. Finish by adding coconut milk “cubes” or or coconut milk and stir until heated through  brought to a slight simmer or slightly “steaming”
  8. Serve and enjoy!  Can be eaten alone, in a roti, or as a side dish

 

 

 



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“Pretty Beet Salad”

Several years ago a friend took me to a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in San Francisco called Postrio. They offered a tasting menu with a simply stated “beet salad” as the second course.  I went ahead and ordered it no real expectations.

When it came to my table, I almost gasped.  There were small little yellow and purple beets interspersed with edible flowers, little colorful smears of still unidentified “deliciousness” of all shapes and colors, along with little pieces of cheese.

“The plate honestly looked like some kind of masterpiece.”

Postrio did such an amazing job, it is still the most impressive food plating I’ve seen anytime, anywhere!

Here is my amateur attempt at trying to recreate this Postrio beet plate:

I love beet salad, but for years I was completely intimidated to even think of cooking them.  I only started incorporating beets into my recipes a few years ago but now they’re a part of my favorite “make ahead” salads to keep in the fridge.

The bright purple hue of the beets should alert you to the fact these things are filled with anti-oxidants and lots of good things for the body. By serving the salad with a delicious orange-olive oil dressing you totally “power up” the nutritional value and profile as well. 

My version of the “Pretty Beet Salad” is really easy, super healthy,  stores in the fridge well, and can be thrown together in a very short period of time.  If you haven’t worked with beets before I highly recommend using latex gloves with a good apron, because they are messy and can turn your hand and clothes purple real fast. I used purple beets but you can use golden beets as well.  Mix it up and play around with this dish. Have some fun calibrating it to your own tastes.

This recipe  is small and only for 2 people because I typically just cook for my boyfriend and I.  Plus, due to the mess, I prefer working only with a few beets at a time!


“I LOVED beet salad when I was going through chemo therapy. The beets with the bright orange flavors from the dressing and the zest, really knocked out the yucky chemo taste.”

Ingredients:

  • 4 beets
  • 1/4 of a red onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 ounce goat cheese, zest of 1 half of an orange, edible flowers
  • Orange vinaigrette recipe, recipe follows

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Wash and dry the beets and trim off the ends
  3. Take a large sheet of aluminum foil, fold in half and use to line a baking dish
  4. Put the beets in the middle, drizzle with the olive oil, water and season with salt and pepper
  5. Bake in the oven until beets are tender and you can easily pierce with a knife, approx. 1 hour or so
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool
  7. When cool enough to handle, gently peel off the skin and slice into julienne pieces (or to your preference)
  8. Chill in fridge until you are ready to make the salad!
  9. When ready to serve, lightly toss the beets with 2 tablespoons of the bright orange vinaigrette or just plain olive oil and diced red onions
  10. Plate one serving of the beets  and sprinkle with optional goat cheese, orange zest or edible flowers
  11. Drizzle with any additional dressing, serve and enjoy!


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“Kick up the Heat” Healthy Crunch Garbanzo Bean Snack

 

This is a spicy crunch healthy snack, made with everyday ingredients, easy to make and great to have on hand.  I love these and actually make them even spicier than the recipe allows.  Also this a recipe, where the added ingredients, can be played around with by your own taste.  Feel free to double or even triple this recipe if your having a large number of guests over for football, appetizers or whenever.  It seems like something I’d have in a bowl at a bar top in a nice restaurant.

  • Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1/8 cup of shredded or grated parmesan cheese
  3. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  4. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon or more of dried Italian herb mixture
  5. Cayenne or dried chili powder to taste
  6. Fresh ground seas salt and black pepper
  7. 1 can of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans and pat dry
  • Directions

1.  Preheat oven to about 415 , oil a cookie sheet

2.  In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, cheese, chili/cayenne pepper, salt , pepper, Italian herbs.

3.  Add the garbanzo beans to the spice and cheese mixture until evenly coated

4.  Spread bean on the baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes to and hour and 15 minutes, checking and stirring      every 10 or 25 minutes or so.  Remove when the beans are to your “crunchy” likeness.

5.  Serve in appetizer bowl is serving for guests for a snack, or just on your own.

 

Serves 3

Aproximate Calories: 150 per serving, 5 grams of fat

Variations: leave out the cheese for a vegetarian dish

 

 



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Fresh Heirloom Tomato “Carpaccio”

I love Heirloom tomatoes.  Whenever I see them coming back into the Farmer’s markets, I get really excited.  Today I’ll introduce a really easy “Tomato Carpaccio”.

This is  a fun, simple little snack that also has an air of sophistication to it.  It can be whipped up in just minutes. It tastes great, is low in calories, and packs a big punch in nutrition.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 yellow to yellow orange fresh Heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 chopped finely red onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Optional  1/4 organic goat cheese or feta
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Organic  Olive Oil oil for drizzling
  • Optional reduced  balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Cut the tomatoes thin with a sharp knife or mandolin and lay out on serving plate
  2. Begin by evenly distributing the red onions over the tops of the tomatoes, followed by the fresh chopped basil.
  3. Sprinkle on the goat or feta cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts, then drizzle with just a small amount of olive oil.  You can serve like this, or serve with the balsamic reduction.
  4. For the optional balsamic reduction, which I really do recommend. Take 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, and heat it over the stove in a small saucepan and let it cook down to about 1/2 of that, or aprox 1/4 cup.  Then drizzle the reduced balsamic over the entire plate and then serve.

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