Thursday, June 16, 2011

Recipes for the week

I've been terrible about not posting recipes lately. The problem with not posting is that if I really liked the dish, I will forget how to make it. I was able to make it out to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods on Monday (40 minute drive) which is one of my favorite things to do. I have to be careful not to waste too much time looking at everything! I feel like a kid in a candy store.

When I go on a big shopping trip, I will buy necessities and unique items that look interesting. I love to read about the item and create something with it.  As always, I try to buy mostly healthy things and stay away from processed items but I'm human, LOL. And, restricting my diet is really no fun-everything in moderation when it comes to food. I'd rather save any extreme behavior or compulsivity in my life to ultra distance running. No joke.

All three of these recipes are my own based on experience and trial and error. Unfortunately, I did not care for part of Tuesday's night dish but we will get to that.


Wild Caught Salmon, arugula salad with toasted pine nuts and goat cheese, roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary and sliced shallots, and roasted purple asparagus with sliced shallots.

Arugula Salad
Easy recipe of 1tsp of blue agave sweetener (or sugar), 1 tsp of honey, 1 finely chopped shallot, 2 tbs of red wine vinegar, the juice of one lemon, 1 tbs of Dijon mustard, and 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. After whisking, pour the contents into a bottle (I like to recycle red wine vinegar bottles for this purpose. The label comes off really easily. I got this idea from mom). Refrigerate while you are cooking everyone else and shake it up when ready to use.

Toasting pine nuts is simple and quick (and worth it). I freeze pine nuts and use a small nonstick skillet to toast them. I keep the heat on fairly high but watch carefully. They will burn in like two seconds if you are not careful. Flip them over and turn off the heat. They will continue to toast even with the heat off.

I used a small log of goat cheese, lots of pine nuts, a minimal amount of dressing (I don't like my greens to swim) and the arugula. Put the whole thing together to your own liking. The tangy goat cheese, lemony and sweet dressing, and pine nuts, off set the somewhat bitter arugula.

Roasting veggies is my favorite way to eat them. In order to save on washing pans, I was able to use a cookie sheet (sheet pan) for both the potatoes and the asparagus. After taking the stems off of the asparagus, I tossed them with the fingering potatoes in a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and sliced shallots (two, I think). I separated them in the pan and then added fresh rosemary from my garden to the potatoes. After about 20 minutes (oven set at 450), they both came out evenly cooked.

Salmon is a favorite fish and grilling it after marinating in some terriyaki marinade (purchased at Trader Joes), usually makes it perfect. Served with some lemon wedges.


Calzones with ricotta cheese, pecorino romano cheese, chopped mint, sun-dried tomatoes, and lemon juice. Served with a a quick marinade dipping sauce and braised rapini.


I love store bought fresh pizza dough! Trader Joe's sells it for only 99 cents. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to put in the calzones this time that would be a little different than usual. Unfortunately, I didn't like the combination of the filling with the standard marinara sauce that I make. The marinara was too strong for the filling and it took away from the interesting flavors of the filling.

Filling: 1 large container of ricotta cheese (part skim), one cup of freshly grated pecorino romano cheese (parm would work, too) a large handful of dried julienned sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 cup of chopped mint, the juice of one lemon. Mix and store in the refrigerator until it is time to use it.

On a large cutting board with a generous amount of flour, quarter the pizza dough (you may need to let it sit out of the refrigerator for a half an hour before working with it). Take one quarter and roll it out. place about a cup of filling on the dough and roll it up, making sure that none of the filling can seep out. I'm not very patient about doing this well so my calzones never look very good. Spray the sheet pan with oil and place the calzones on the pan. Make two slits on top of each calzone and brush with an egg wash (one egg and a few tbs of water-whisked together). Place in the oven (400) until golden brown.

Marinara Sauce

Several cloves of garlic, minced
extra virgin olive oil
One large can of crushed tomatoes
2 small cans of tomato sauce
pinch of red pepper flakes
fresh basil and oregano
(sometimes I will add some dried basil, as well)

Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes in a tbs of oil for just a few minutes in a large pot. Add the cans of tomatoes. Bring to a boil and down to a simmer. Add fresh basil and oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce simmer for awhile (half an hour).

Braised Rapini

3 minced tbs of garlic and one small sliced vidalia onion in a large pot with a tbs pof olive oil. Saute until soft and add rapini (take off the stems-about 3 or 4 inches off). Pour a cup or so of chicken or vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to a boil. Then, simmer for 20 minutes. This will help pull out the bitterness of the rapini. Salt and pepper to taste.


Peach Salsa with Beth's Chicken Mexi Cassarole

Peach Salsa

3 or 4 peaches, diced (or 2  diced mangos-but then it would be called Mango Salsa. LOL)
5-7 diced tomatoes
1 finely diced jalapeno (two if you like it spicy)
big handful of chopped cilantro
the juice of one lime
either a cup of chopped onion or chopped green onion
salt to taste

Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve with tortilla chips or just eat on a bed of greens.

Beth's Chicken Mexi Casserole

I'm not a big casserole fan but this one is truly comfort food. After researching recipes a while back, I came up with a combination of ingredients that I like. 

1 tbs oil
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 cup of frozen or fresh corn
4 boneless, skinless breasts of chicken
1 big handful of cilantro
1 cup of fat free or reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup of 1/3 Fat cream cheese
2 tbs of dried cumin
cheddar cheese
green onions (optional)

I had some frozen chicken that I pouched in a pan to defrost. I did not bother to cook the chicken all the way through.

Preheat oven to 375. Add 1 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Canola oil) to a very large skillet. Saute the red pepper, jalapeno, and onion until fairly soft on medium to high heat. Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces and add to the skillet. Add the cumin. After about 5 minutes or so, when the chicken appears cooked through, add the corn and rinsed black beans. Then, add the cilantro, sour cream, and cream cheese. Mix thoroughly and turn the stove off after about 5 minutes. Don't cook for too long or it will dry out.

Spray a casserole dish (lasagna pan size) with cooking spray and place small corn tortillas in it. Layer the chicken mixture in, then add a good bit of cheddar cheese (feel free to use reduced fat cheese). Place another layer of tortillas over the cheese and repeat. The top layer should be the mixture and cheese.

If you don't like corn tortillas, feel free to use flour or even whole wheat tortillas. 

Garnish with green onions or scallions.


Whew! I'm eating out! Off to get some sushi.

Let me know what you think to my recipes this week. It's been fun, as always.