Archive for ‘Food’

March 17, 2014

Salmon in Grapefruit Marinade

OK, so I’m probably the last person that should be dreaming up recipes, particularly for fish, which I’m just not that fond of.

But here’s the deal: I’ve still got three grapefruits from the CSA box. And I’m not particularly fond of grapefruit, either. Although, there were two other recipes that were delicious: Grapefruit Grilled Chicken and a wonderful Zucchini Grapefruit Loaf with a Citrus-Lavender Glaze. I recommend both of those if you find yourself with grapefruit that you don’t know what to do with. In fact, I might even buy a grapefruit for those. However, those two recipes used three grapefruit between them, leaving the remaining three to sit on the counter and dare me to find something to do with them.

My family has been wanting fish for a while and I’ve been procrastinating about making it, since there are so many other yummy things than fish. So, even though it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and I’d love nothing more than corned beef and beer, it doesn’t use much of the produce I have. So, we’ll have some healthy fish. I’ll eat the salmon remembering that it’s good for my heart and my waistline. And maybe this marinade will be tasty.

I found a number of marinades, but something just wasn’t right about all of them (loosely translated, that means I’m missing an ingredient or three and I’m too lazy to go out and track them down). So, here’s my mashup from a number of recipes:

  • Juice and pulp from one grapefruit
  • 1/3 cup bottled lime juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen pesto base*
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp thyme

*Last summer I harvested three huge basil plants and made a freezeable pesto base of basil, garlic, olive oil, and either almonds or walnuts instead of pine nuts. To use it, all I have to do is thaw it and Parmesan cheese. It made a lot of pesto. A LOT. I’ve been using it for all kinds of things. This sounded like a perfect replacement for basil and olive oil. I’m sure the walnuts and garlic will be a welcome flavoring, too. I hope.

The marinade is fairly green…does that count for St. Patrick’s Day?

It makes quite a bit of marinade, a little less than 2 cups. I did 4 salmon filets and I likely could have done many more. I cooked the filets by poaching them in equal parts of water and marinade.

The good news is that this was a lovely, citrusy flavor. It doesn’t taste like bitter grapefruit! Nor lime, either. The basil adds another dimension to the citrus flavor, which results in a flavor that is kind of a combination of all citrus fruits. I’m pleasantly surprised and quite pleased! I even liked the salmon. And the resulting salmon is not green, but has nice speckles of basil and herbs on it.

And I forgot to take a picture. It looked nice on the plate with a colorful medley of red peppers, orange carrots, yellow squash, green broccoli, earthy mushrooms, and red onion.

November 3, 2013

Pumpkin!

This fall, you can’t turn around in a grocery store without running into some sort of seasonal pumpkin-flavored product. Admittedly, we are enjoying our fair share of pumpkin products, like Trader Joe’s pumpkin ravioli, numerous pumpkin pancake mixes, Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Granola cereal, Pumpkin Spice M&M’s, Pepperidge Farms’ Pumpkin Swirl bread, Thomas’ pumpkin spice bagels spread with a thick layer of Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter…those are just some of our favorites. But what interests me most is what to do with those pie pumpkins in the farmer’s market/CSA box that is of a more savory nature than sweet.

Creamy Chicken and Pumpkin Pasta

Creamy Chicken and Pumpkin Pasta

Tonight’s version of a pumpkin dinner is a derivative of the Creamy Chicken & Pumpkin Pasta from taste.com.au. Since I can’t just make a recipe as-written, I always adapt it. Sometimes it’s adapted for speed, sometimes to lighten it, sometimes because I don’t have a particular ingredient, and sometimes just because I’m contrary. This time it’s because I’m reducing the fat. I’ve “found” a new (to me) way of cooking chicken breast so it tastes great and has a lovely moist, tender texture, yet uses no added fat.

read more »

August 9, 2013

Trader Joe’s Lobster Ravioli with Cherry Tomatoes and Asparagus

I wish I’d have taken a picture of last night’s dinner before I started eating it. I had no idea how good it was. But my hubby and son both really, really liked it, so I’ll post the recipe. Next time I make it, I’ll add a picture.

Dinner was inspired by the fresh lobster ravioli that my family and I love at Trader Joe’s, then other items gathered while wandering around Trader Joe’s. Of course, this will work just fine with regular tomatoes and fresh asparagus, though the orange cherry tomatoes are sooooo sweet!

Ingredients

Tablespoon or less of olive oil

1 pound/quart of Mixed Medley Cherry Tomatoes (minus a cup or so for snacking)

Half of a 12oz package of frozen asparagus spears (frozen was so much cheaper than fresh and it was still tasty)

3 cloves garlic, mashed minced

1/2 cup water

1 tsp lobster bouillon (or chicken, vegetable, or omit)

1 splash dry sherry (or two splashes)

1-2 tsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp real bacon bits

2 – 9 oz. packages of Trader Joe’s Lobster Ravioli

Directions

Start the water boiling for the ravioli.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and stir frequently for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, if using frozen asparagus, defrost in the microwave (add water to a dish, cook on high for 2 minutes). Cut into bite-sized pieces.

When the tomatoes begin to burst, add asparagus. Attempt to use a garlic press to add the garlic straight to the skillet. Settle for largish masses of mashed garlic. Mash the garlic with the spatula to further smash into smaller pieces. Inhale the lovely smell of the garlic. (Warning: this will attract hungry people to the kitchen!). Stir well.

The goal is to have all the tomatoes burst open and their liquid yumminess makes some sauce. Needing more sauce than that, add some water, the bouillon, a splash of sherry, a squeeze of tomato paste from a tube, and the bacon bits. Keep stirring occasionally to ensure that those tomatoes burst .

Now is probably a good time to put the ravioli in the water. It takes about 4 minutes to cook them. Keep stirring the sauce as it cooks down a bit. Add more water if it gets too dry.

Drain the ravioli. Put the ravioli on a plate and top with the sauce. Serve with rosemary focaccia (also found at Trader Joe’s) and some dipping oil. Serves 3.

Commentary

I’ve found lobster bouillon at specialty stores. It’s not organic, so Whole Foods won’t order it. Southern Season in Chapel Hill carries it, and it’s available online. I keep it on hand to make the copycat recipe for Chi Chi’s Seafood Enchiladas, where it really makes a difference to recreate the flavor of the restaurant dish (which is good, since the restaurant chain is now out of business). For this dish, if you can’t find it, I’m sure that chicken or vegetable flavors would work well.

As far as bacon bits, buy the real bacon bits, not the “bacon flavored” ones (unless, of course, you need a non-pork option). I always keep a package on hand, because I have several recipes that need 3 strips of bacon. It’s much easier to use 1 Tbsp of bacon bits/pieces for 30 calories than to fry up the whole package of bacon for three strips and deal with the bacon grease. And I save all those calories by not eating the rest of the cooked bacon that should have gone to another recipe! The resealable package keeps nicely in the fridge for the next recipe, too.

The ENTIRE recipe of sauce (minus the ravioli, bread, and dipping oil) has 408 calories and 18g of fat. You can drop that to 288 calories and 4.5g of fat if you eliminate the olive oil (substitute a bit more water). Now, divide that by 2 or 3 people, and you have a really healthy, delicious sauce. I’ve added it to the SparkRecipe.com site that has a recipe calculator. You can view nutrition as well as a nice, printable format here.

May 5, 2013

If You Give a Gal an Idea, or Using Every KitchenAid Attachment You Own

Sometimes there’s a serendipitous weekend where things don’t go as you planned, but it was an terrific weekend anyway. I had hoped that it would be a lovely weekend outside. Alas, it was fairly cool outside. [Note to Mother Nature: it’s May. In this part of the world, most of us would like to wear shorts now!] Not a great weekend to work outdoors in the garden, nor ride bikes, or even run. Nope, this was an inside weekend.

I had been wanting to try some new recipes. Since the weather wasn’t a distraction, I decided this weekend would be a great weekend to try making either some chicken sausage or some sort of ravioli.

You know that children’s book, “If You Give A Moose A Muffin?” The one where they give a moose a muffin, and he needs jam, and a knife, and he gets all distracted and messes up the whole house before finally eating the muffin?  Wait ‘til you hear how I got from chicken sausage to ravioli…

read more »

October 8, 2012

Fall Flavors for Two

Mmmm…it’s definitely fall! Well, at least many of the days recently, it’s fall here in NC. It seems to vacillate between hot and humid and cool and crisp, if it’s not cool and rainy (like today). The apple crop is at the Farmer’s Market and is in my wonderful Produce Box. I absolutely adore a crisp Gala apple! The others are nice, but I love eating a small, Gala apple for a snack (several times a day, if I can!).

In my recent Produce Box, we had some of the most gorgeous apples. But their flesh is softer than I care to eat for a snack, and these things were monsterously large! The Produce Box newsletter had a number of recipes and suggestions to cook apples. Poking around the Internet, I ran across applesauce. Applesauce! Perfect! But, isn’t that an all day ordeal that takes all day, bushels of apples, and makes 632 quarts? Nope. It’s sooooo easy. And to make a delicious dessert for 2-3, it couldn’t be easier!

read more »

July 8, 2012

Saving on Herbs and Spices

Spices are expensive! But so yummy and quite imperative if one likes different cuisines and/or if one is trying to cut fat and calories from one’s diet. Not only are they expensive, they also never come in quite the right size container. During the winter, I go through chili powder by the half cup or more several times a month, but a tablespoon of marjoram lasts me for several years.

My first foray into saving on spices came several years ago when I saw that warehouse clubs sell them in the 16 ounce size, usually for about double what you’d pay for the 1-2 ounce container in the grocery. Hello, you perfect size container of chili powder! And why, cayenne, you’ll do wonderfully for sprinkling in the garden to keep the squirrels away (much cheaper than the cayenne mixed with filler at the garden center — and it works!). However, the bay leaves and peppercorns was not a good deal for me as I just can’t use them before they lose their potency.

read more »

June 7, 2012

Cabbage Challenge

I love my CSA/produce delivery. Once a week I get to look at a box full of incredible goodies, and it’s like an episode of Chopped: here’s a box with lots of items, now plan a week’s worth of meals around it. Go!

Some weeks are easy: strawberries, blueberries, green beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes. No problems there. Now, about that cabbage that’s the size of a baby…what do I do with that much cabbage? Even the small, pointy cabbage presents a challenge. It’s just not a veggie I cook with often.

So, after the corned beef and cabbage, now what?

read more »

June 6, 2012

Chicken Salad with Bok Choy

My snapshot of the meager leftovers the next day. It makes good leftovers, too!

I love chicken salad. Well, specifically, chicken salad that anyone else makes. I can’t seem to get it right! Until now. In my quest for finding new recipes for bok choy, I found this recipe for Chicken Salad Sandwich with Bok Choy. I had to improvise a bit because one of the four of us is not a fan of walnuts (the rest of us are!), as well as having a lot of leftover roasted chicken instead of a set number of chicken breasts. So here’s what I came up with as the proportions:

read more »

May 24, 2012

The Bok Choy Challenge

My family has subscribed to a CSA/produce delivery service for a little over a year now. If you’re in the Triangle, Triad, or Wilmington NC (and a few other areas), please check out The Produce Box. We’ve had the best and freshest produce imaginable!

High Fiber Pear-Glazed Ginger ChickenWe love stir-fries, too. It’s our go-to meal for the summer. Chop up the veggies in the box, add some meat, add a low-fat sauce, and dinner’s ready in a jiffy. But by the end of the summer, it’s kinda routine. So when we had a bounty of bok choy, I went looking for a recipe that was something other than a stir-fry. The result was this High Fiber Pear-Glazed Ginger Chicken Recipe from Shape Magazine. I’m sure you’re looking at the first two words and thinking, “but does it taste good?” Oh yes it does!

read more »

May 23, 2012

Sweet Potatos and Black Beans

My husband was not a fan of sweet potatoes. And then we joined a produce CSA and along comes a box containing quite a number of sweet potatoes. He was not thrilled. But I found a few recipes that were vastly different than sweet potato casserole, and now he likes sweet potatoes.

My son is a Health and Exercise Science major and has become a runner. He’s into eating very healthy. Sweet potatoes and black beans play very nicely in a healthy diet and they play quite nicely together. He found this Sweet Potato and “Un-Fried” Bean Tacos recipe on cHow Divine. Oh how divine it is! It’s simple and quite yummy. OK, I was skeptical about the combination of mustard and tamari (use soy sauce if you don’t have it), but it work. Well. 🙂

cHowDevine's Tacos

read more »