“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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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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Cannoli Creme Parfait: Low Calorie and Low Fat

 

I have been tivoing ABC’s new daily cooking TV show called “The Chew” ever since it first debuted last month.  One of the regular cast members is none other than Daphne Oz,  oldest daughter of  Dr Oz, resident  medical expert from the Oprah show and now having his own daily  TV show on Fox.  Daphne Oz is only 25, and while the youngest regular cast member on the show, is the designated  health expert.  (Although all of them look and act pretty health conscious to me)  While I have yet to watch a full 2 weeks of my taped shows, I am fairly impressed with what I have  managed to watch so far.  For starters the show is fun, interactive, and even for someone like myself who cooks a lot, I have gotten something educational or “new” out of every episode.  I consistently love the recipes they have been featuring, whether they are healthy or not.  And although I don’t think Daphne is a trained chef like some of the other heavy hitter’s on the show, mainly chef’s Mario Batali and Michael Symon of Iron Chef, I really like what she has “brought to the table”, so to speak.  Mainly her role seems to be the provider of healthy little tips and fun, easy to recreate recipes almost anyone can do.  And that  “easy to do” spirit she brings to the show is a great thing for viewers who want to eat healthy and be able to cook some of the  show’s dishes at home without some complicated grocery list or cooking process.

I saw Daphne create this dessert on the show, and while I am absolutely no fan of ricotta cheese or even desserts for that matter, for some reason I saw the final product and thought “hmmm… that might be good”.  The process was certainly simple enough,  the dessert inexpensive, and I liked the fact it was stated it was only 150 calories and 7 grams of fat.  I embedded here the recipe and video from the show featuring this dessert, but if you do watch it and read the recipe from the show’s website I provided, you’ll notice there is a bit of confusion translating the ingredients stated on the show and then what was actually stated in the recipe provided on the website.  None the less, my recipe on here is accurate, and I really do suggest watching the 4 1/2 minute clip from the show for directions and serving ideas.  Also, when I first mixed up the ricotta and tried it with the ingredients, I did not like this at fridge temperature. It just tasted like whipped ricotta to me, and I was a little disappointed.  So after my initial tasting, I put the whole thing in the freezer.  A couple hours later I removed it and let defrost for about 20 minutes before eating, and LOVED it. Its a totally different dessert frozen.  I highly suggest freezing this dessert after its prepared and eating it very cold.

 

Ingredients:

Makes 1 serving

  • Aprox 2 to 3 thin lowfat almond cookies broken up (I used this kind)
  • 1/2 cup skim Ricotta cheese (really do try to get the better organic kind, it tastes so much better)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons organic honey
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate crushed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon or so of orange, grapefruit or lemon zest
  • slivered almonds for garnish (I toasted quickly in a skillet first)

Directions:

  1. In a parfait, small serving bowl or dessert type glass (I was desperate and used a martini glass as you can see from the photos), place 1/2 of the broken up cookie pieces at the bottom
  2. In a bowl whip the ricotta, vanilla, and honey together by hand
  3. Stir in chocolate chips to the ricotta mixture
  4. Spoon and layer in the ricotta/chocolate chip mixture over the broken cookie pieces
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cookie pieces over the mixture.  If you want to spend the extra time for presentation value, you can even add in a layer of cookie pieces between the ricotta mixture and then sprinkle the rest over the top.
  6. Sprinkle the est and slivered almond pieces over the top
  7. Place in freezer for at least an hour (I’ve kept it in the freezer  for up to 2 days, covered with plastic wrap or tin foil, and it tasted just fine. May even be able to stay yummy in the freezer for longer periods of time, I just haven’t tried it) and defrost for 20 minutes at room temp when ready to eat
  8. Add the optional cinnamon and mint sprig

~Serve and Enjoy

 

 

 



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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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Healthy Sante Fe Style Sweet Potato, Veggie and Chile Frittata

 

 


A frittata can be an incredibly healthy egg dish made mainly on the stove.  For starters I love eggs so much its kind of a joke with my friends and family.  I can come up with almost any excuse to eat eggs at almost any meal.  Cooking a frittata is much easier than an omelet, and can be used as a  vehicle for almost any kind of veggie, cheese, protein, herb or spice you happen to have around. Frittatas  are traditionally served in pie shaped wedges, kind of like a deep dish pizza, and are easily transportable – in Italy it’s common to take a wedge to work for lunch. I love their versatility, the endless number of ingredient combinations and the fact that a frittata  can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.  Since its just my boyfriend and I here, I usually make one big deep dish style frittata, in an oven proof non stick pan. (usually a 12 inch  pan) I layer my favorite  ingredients of the day (usually with a lot of sauteed greens), aromatics/ herbs, and  spices and then pour the eggs on over them all and let it set. This size dish can provide several  meals and stores well covered in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

I almost always make my frittatas as flavorful and nutritious as possible, which is really easy to do by cranking up the veggie content, the aromatics, and by using less egg yolks and more whites if you choose.  This particular frittata’s flavor combination reflects my love of southwestern food.

The recipe, ingredients and directions below are exactly how I cooked my breakfast today.  I usually make all my frittatas with more  egg whites than whole egg .  I did include the directions for this recipe for the “regular” version of this dish, which is still extremely healthy on its own.  As a rule of thumb, I almost always add as many different veggies and ingredients as possible, for a more nutritionally dense and balanced meal.  I love potatoes for breakfast but but don’t eat them very often since they are a starchy carbohydrate with not much nutritional value, but sweet potatoes are a much more nutritionally complex version of their not so healthy cousin and play well off of the southwestern flavors in this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled  and cut into 1/2 to 1/4 inch cubes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (I prefer yellow) chopped
  • 2  fresh serrano or 1 Anaheim chile, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, cored , seeded, and minced (Optional)
  • one small can (aprox 4 ounces) of diced roasted green chile peppers
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped or sliced white mushrooms (Optional)
  • 1 cups of yellow or green zucchini chopped (Optional)
  • 1 small any color tomato seeded and chopped ( Optional)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar,  pepper jack , Monterey jack  (optional: 1  cup of shredded cheese for much more flavor, yet more calories and fat)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice or if desperate bottle lime juice
  • 5 whole eggs plus 5 additional  egg whites ( optional higher calorie version use 8 whole eggs)
  •  Optional adds:  8 to 12  ounces chopped organic spicy lean sausage
  • Optional serving suggestions: a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, healthy guacamole, or cilantro stems for garnish

Directions:

  • Adjust top oven rack – with a skillet (ovenproof!) on it, you want the top of the skillet to be 4-6 inches from the broiler. Turn on broiler
  • Cooked the diced sweet potato in salted boiling water for 3 minutes then drain them, or just nuke them in the microwave whole until tender and then dice them. (I’ll admit I totally did the fast “cheater” way in the the microwave.  Its much easier)
  • In a large, aprox 12 inch, non stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, and saute over medium heat the chopped onion, chopped peppers, diced fresh and canned chiles, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes until soft and onions are light brown. Then add the fresh minced garlic and chopped fresh Jalapenos, stir and set aside onto plate.
  • While chiles and onions are cooking take eggs and whites (or just whole eggs), crack them in a big bowl and whisk together until well mixed.  Set aside and return attention to stove.
  • Return non stick skillet to heat and add 1 more tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until hot.  Add optional  chopped mushrooms and zucchini until barely soft and set aside on plate with chiles and onion
  •  Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil  to skillet over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes, stirring frequently and cook until the edges begin to turn light brown (7 to 10 minutes).

  • Then add plate to the now slightly browned potatoes the set aside plate of  cooked chiles, onions, and veggies back to skillet along with fresh chopped tomato, and optional chopped sausage, cooking until all is warmed through.
  • Stir in cilantro, lime juice,  salt  and pepper to taste. (about 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper)
  • Add 1/2 of the cheese mixture to the eggs before pouring  egg/cheese mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet until its evenly distributed throughout.
  • Continuing at medium heat, cook eggs for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with heat-resistant spatula. When eggs are mostly cooked but still very wet, stop stirring. You want to see cooked egg scattered throughout, but loose egg in between.
  • Continue cooking on stove for another minute so underside sets.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Put skillet under broiler. Watch carefully while top browns. This will take 2-4 minutes
  • Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center.
  • Cut in wedges and serve either directly from skillet
  •  Optional:  for a prettier family style service style, place a plate on top of the skillet about 15 minutes after egg has time to cool down, and flip the skillet and the plate over at the same time, so egg  holds it shape when you remove the skillet to serve at the dinner table.  Similar to how you would flip and serve an upside down cake.
  •  For serving suggestions,top each wedge sized serving with sliced avocado, guacamole, salsa, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and or cilantro sprigs.

Each large wedged size serving contains aprox 350 calories each,  is nutritionally dense and packed with about 12  grams of protein, lots of healthy carbohydrates and healthy fat.

 

 

 


 



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“Test Kitchen”: Low fat Spicy Tomato Arugula Angel Hair Pasta

 

This is my first in what I will call my “Test Kitchen” Series.  I’ll be trying out recently published recipes from blogs or magazines and following them exactly as they are printed.  Then I’ll post my notes and give it a “will try again” or “will not try again”.

I found this recipe on the Facebook scroll of Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s blog last week.  A  link to the recipe here.   It sounded really good, healthy, loaded with veggies, and I had all the ingredients on hand.  And while the recipe was easy and it stored well, I really doubt I’ll make it again.  It tasted like any random pasta with tomato sauce made of canned tomatoes, and I never normally use canned tomatoes, and now I know why.  I don’t like the taste of canned tomatoes unless they are used in a  large pasta  sauce recipe and then simmered for several hours with a lot of other ingredients, herbs and spices.

I initially tried this dish with a new kind of quinoa angel hair pasta which after making it, I realized, it wasn’t very good.  I have another brand of quinoa pasta I use and like, but for whatever reason, this particular brand, or maybe just quinoa angel hair pasta, was not good this evening.  So I used my back up multi grain whole wheat pasta which I know to be good

Spicy Tomato-Arugula Angel Hair Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 yellow tomatoes, diced
  • 3 red tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 lb of dried angel hair pasta (I used multi grain pasta)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 shallots chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped arugula
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •  Anaheim chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Place the yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with the sea salt and let sit for 40 minutes
  • Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes.  Strain and rinse.  Set aside
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic and shallots and saute until the shallots are softened.  3 to 4 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes
  • Toss the sauce with the pasta, the salted tomatoes, the arugula,pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes and chiles and heat until warmed through.  Season with salt and sprinkle with the Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

My notes if making this again: Use a lot more arugula or spinach, omit canned tomatoes, used more fresh tomatoes, use some chopped up yellow and orange bell peppers sauteed with the garlic and the shallots, use more herbs and spices, angel hair pasta does not taste good made with quinoa.

My conclusions: I have so many other tomato pasta sauce recipes I like that I would probably not make this again.

 

 



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Roasted Carrots with Rosemary

I just love admiring carrots at the Farmer’s Markets, and they are one of the veggies that I consistently add to my cart at the grocery store.  They are super versatile and easy to work with.  They also have a long shelf life so even if I can’t use them right away, I know they will still taste great 5 days later.  Carrots are extremley rich  in Vitamin A and beta carotene as well as having natural anti inflammatory benefits.

On a funny note, my boyfriend is kind of obsessive compulsive, and for some reason,  has been currently obsessed with carrots for the past few months.  We live near a muti purpose grocery store with an amazing produce section, and lately he keeps coming home with bushels of carrots.  And when I say “bushels” he comes home with the whole “kit and caboodle” of the carrots: with the 2 foot long stems on them.  I tell him “You can have the long stems cut off buy the check out clerk or I’ll cut them off right now with some shears”.  But “NOoooooo” he does not want the long stems cut off until he eats them.  So basically we have what looks like a spider plant living in our fridge until he (the boyfriend) decides to eat them.  He  just loves eating them as snacks  while watching TV or working on the computer.  Lately when I go to the store,  he is always reminding me  “Don’t forget to get me some carrots, and only the real kind.  The kind with the stems”.  I have no idea why all of a sudden he has just become obsessed with eating raw carrots (with stems on, god forbid we cut them off first) all the time, but he is obsessed.  I’m not complaining since they are healthy, I just think its kind of funny or aka: weird. ( He will probably be very annoyed with me if he reads this.)

A few days ago my boyfriend came home with the above photographed,  multi colored carrots, and I thought they were way too pretty just to snack on raw, so I told him I would cook them.  He tried the cooked ones from this recipe and gave it a big thumbs up.

Ingredients:

  • Small bushel of carrots (Aprox 7 to 10) washed, greens cut to 1 inch from top of carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh or dried rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees
  2. Toss carrots, onion, and rosemary with olive oil.
  3. Lay out on a tin foil rimmed baking pan
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Roast for aprox 40 minutes until carrots are browned and soft enough to pierce through with a fork



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Fresh Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble Healthier Version

 

OK, I have to admit that I have never cooked with rhubarb before.  On my last trip to Whole Foods, the rhubarb looked so gorgeous and bright, I  just had to grab three big stalks.  I had seen  recipes where it was cooked with strawberries  before, so I grabbed a couple baskets of them and challenged myself to making some kind of healthy version of a rhubarb “crumble” dish.

I have never even made an “unhealthy” dish with these ingredients, so this was literally created  “from the hip”, as much it gets.  Most everything I Googled sounded completely calorie, sugar and butter-laden so I tried to use my imagination with what recipes were available. I still used sugar, but reduced it significantly.  Next time I make it, I think I can get away with even less sugar or no sugar at all.  I am also not a sugar fan or have much of a sweet tooth either.  I was excited it turned out so good – the final product was really yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large stalks of rhubarb (aprox 1  lb), trimmed and cut in 1/2
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp all purpose wheat flour or other “healthier” flour

Crumble Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 all  wheat flour or other healthier “flour”
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of organic butter
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (or Canola oil, but its less healthy in my opinion)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Make Filling: Toss the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and flour in a bowl.
  3. Transfer over to 6 individual (4 for larger ones) ramekins, or you can make it all in one rectangular baking dish or pie dish.
  4. Press filling into the ramekins/baking dish to form an even layer.
  5. Make Crumble Topping: Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, butter and oil in bowl.  Work ingredients together with a fork until crumbly.  Stir in applesauce until the mixture is moistened.
  6. Distribute the topping mixture evenly over the fruit in the ramekins.
  7. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping crispy and golden.  (Aprox 40 – 45 minutes but watch closely)

Nutrition:

  • Per serving: Approx 250 calories, 5 grams of fat, 57 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 4 mg sodium

 



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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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