Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Tomatoes

adapted from Epicurious


3/4 lb. sweet Italian sausages, casing removed (I used low fat turkey Italian sausage)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced peeled tomatoes
1/4 - 1/3 cup pesto sauce ( I buy in bulk and freeze)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 box Barilla ziti or penne pasta, freshly cooked
6-8 cups fresh baby spinach (about 8 oz.)
6-8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed*, with some shredded to top pasta (I used fresh)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion and garlic and sauté until sausage is cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices to pan. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. {While simmering, cook the pasta, if eating immediately.} Add pesto to sauce. Season sauce with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

2. Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly oil 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish. Combine pasta, spinach, cubed mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in large bowl. Stir in hot tomato sauce. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan and shredded mozzarella. Bake until sauce bubbles and cheeses melt, about 30 minutes.

*To have a more even distribution of cheese, make mozzarella cubed on the smaller size. If using fresh mozzarella, there may be a bit of excess moisture after pasta has baked, this can easily be spooned out if needed.

Serves 6-8

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chickpea Salad with Cilantro and Lime

adapted from The Kitchen Sink Recipes


2 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (Goya, Trader Joes, or Bush are best)
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, about 1/2 a fresh lime
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced red onions
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup loosely packed shredded manchego cheese
big pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir gently to mix. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve immediately, or chill, covered, until serving.

4-6 servings

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Enchiladas Verdes

adapted from A Hint of Honey, originally from


2-3 chicken breasts
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 white onion, chopped, approx. ½ cup
1 clove garlic, approx. ¼ tsp
2 tsp. salt
1 lb. fresh tomatillos, husks removed, approx. 15
1 serrano pepper (or more, if you like it super spicy)
1/4 white onion, chopped, approx.
½ cup
1 clove garlic
1 pinch salt
12 corn tortillas
1 cup crumbled queso fresco
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped


1. In a saucepan, combine chicken breast with chicken broth, one quarter onion, a clove of garlic, and 2 teaspoons salt. Boil for 20 minutes. Reserve broth, set chicken aside to cool, and discard onion and garlic. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken.

2. Place tomatillos and serrano chiles in a pot with enough water to cover them. Boil until tomatillos turn a different shade of green (approximately 5-8 minutes, from bright green to a dull, army green). Strain tomatillos and chilis, and place in a blender with another quarter piece of onion, 1 clove garlic, and a pinch of salt. Pour in reserved chicken broth, so that liquid just covers the veggies in the blender by about an inch. Blend all ingredients until they are completely pureed. Pour salsa in a medium saucepan, and bring to a low boil.

3. Optional to fry tortillas: Pour oil in a frying pan, and allow to get very hot. Slightly fry tortillas one by one in hot oil, setting each on a paper towel afterwards to soak up some of the oil. Finally, dip slightly fried tortillas in low-boiling green salsa, until tortillas become soft again.

4. Fill or top tortillas (if you are NOT frying them, just heat them in the microwave until soft) with shredded chicken, then extra green sauce. Top with crumbled cheese and chopped onion. Bake in 400 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 4.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

adapted from Nancy Hatch


1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, about two limes
1 clove of garlic, minced, or about 1 tsp.
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1-2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 cups frozen corn, cooked
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-2 avocados, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


1. In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, avocados, green onions, and cilantro.

2. In a small bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper. Whisk well until combined. (Can also be done in a salad dressing bottle.) Pour dressing over salad, a little at a time. Gently stir tough to coat salad ingredients. Add more dressing as desired.

This can be done before hand, up to overnight to enrich flavor. Great as a side or with tortilla chips as a bean salsa.

other options: kidney beans, canellini beans, red onion in place of green onion

Crispy Baked Chicken with Teriyaki Dipping Sauce

from Annie's Eats, adapted from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair

The dipping sauce for this calls for sake and mirin, I tried subsitutes but it didn't quite turn out. I will post a new sauce when I discover one.


½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 large eggs
1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2-3)
Nonstick cooking spray


1. Preheat the oven to 475˚ F. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper. In a second bowl, lightly beat the eggs together. Place the panko in a third shallow bowl or pie plate. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Butterfly the chicken breasts into halves so that you have 4-6 pieces total. Lightly season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Using tongs and working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour mixture to coat both sides. Shake lightly to remove any excess flour. Then dip into the eggs and shake gently to remove any excess. Finally place in the panko, turning to coat well. Transfer to the prepared wire rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Once all the chicken pieces are in place, spray lightly with cooking spray.

3. Bake for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the bread crumbs are golden. Let rest a few minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with a favorite teriyaki dipping sauce.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spinach and Feta Turkey Burger

adapted from All Recipes


1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
3-5 oz fresh spinach, roughly chopped OR 1/2 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry {I used fresh}
1 egg, beaten
splash of Worcestershire sauce
2-4 ounces feta cheese
1 pound ground turkey
salt and pepper
whole wheat buns
sliced tomatoes

Basic Tzatziki sauce:
6 oz plain Greek yogurt (Fage)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 large cucumber peeled and shredded, water squeezed out
a little more flavor--Beau Monde seasoning and dried dill, to taste


1. In a small pan over medium heat, add olive oil and saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add spinach and gently toss until spinach is just wilted. In a large bowl mix together spinach mixture with egg,
Worcestershire sauce, feta cheese, and turkey until well combined; form into 4-5 patties. Freeze or refrigerate to help meat set.

2. Make Tzatziki sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Cook burgers on preheated, lightly oiled grate. Grill until no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve on whole wheat buns with tomatoes and Tzatziki sauce.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pasta with Asparagus and Arugula

adapted from Quick Food


1 Tbsp. olive oil
dash of salt
16-20 thin asparagus spears, cut into 2 inch pieces
12 oz. pasta
4 handfuls arugula, shredded
1-2 small fresh red chilies, finely chopped (if not available can use red pepper to taste)
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4- 1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste


1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. of oil and a pinch of salt. Blanch the asparagus for 3-4 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon, rinse under cold water, drain, and place in a bowl. Return the water to a rapid boil and add pasta. Cook pasta until al dente, drain, and return to saucepan.

2. While pasta is cooking, add the arugula, chilies, lemon zest, garlic, and 2/3 of the Parmesan to the asparagus. Mix well. Add to the pasta, pour on the lemon juice and 1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well to evenly coat the pasta with the mixture. Top with remaining Parmesan.

This is great as a main dish, but would go well as a side paired with a grilled entree.

Serves 4-6.

Parmesan Couscous

from Bella Lately


1 garlic glove, finely minced or pressed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup couscous
1 1/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 - 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


1. In a medium saucepan, heat garlic with olive oil over medium heat. Stir and saute until fragrant. Add couscous, toss until couscous is coated and a bit toasty.

2. Add broth, bring to a boil, place lid on saucepan, and remove from heat for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Goes well with Teriyaki Grilled Pork Chops.

Serves 2-4

Pineapple Rice

adapted from Annie's Eats

2 cups Jasmine or sticky rice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 (8 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
3 tsp. grated fresh ginger

Cook rice according to the package directions. Once cooked, mix in the scallions, pineapple tidbits, and ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Teriyaki Grilled Pork Chops

adapted from Annie's Eats


1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped (or about 2-3 tsp.)
4-6 pork chops


1. In a medium saucepan, combine all marinade ingredients. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool the marinade completely.

2. Put pork chops in a large resealable container or plastic bag. Add marinade (if in a bad, seal and press out excess air). Allow pork to marinate, turning bag once or twice, at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

3. Pour marinade into saucepan and boil 5 minutes. Grill pork approximately 7-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through, basting with marinade during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Goes great with Parmesan couscous.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Penne with Tomatoes and Sausage

adapted from stephmodo


1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 lb. sweet Italian sausages, casing removed (I used the turkey version)
3/4-1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 lb. pasta (penne, rigatoni, etc.)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add sausage and sauté until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Try to break up the sausage along the way with the back of a spoon. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is tender and sausage is browned, about 3 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausage mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with good sea salt and a little fresh ground pepper.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, and return pasta to same pot. Add sausage mixture and toss over medium-low heat until sauce coats pasta. Sprinkle with basil and then Parmesan.

Serves 4-6.