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Recipe: Eggplant Parmagiana

9 Oct

Version 2Time: 30 minutes to prep, 45 to cook

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 2 8-ounce cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • 6-ounce can no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. salt-free Italian seasoning
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • Dash red hot-pepper sauce

***

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/8-inch-thick rounds (about 1 pound)
  • 10 ounces light firm tofu, drained and patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup shredded fat-free or part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup crumbs from French or sourdough bread

Directions

  1. In a food processor or blender, process the sauce ingredients for 30 seconds, or until no lumps remain. Set aside.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Do not overlap. Broil 4 inches from the three to four minutes per side, being careful not to burn the eggplant. Remove from the broiler. Set aside to cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. In a food processor or blender, process the tofu and egg white until smooth.
  6. In a small bowl, toss the mozzarella with the flour to keep the cheese from clumping.
  7. In an 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish, layer the ingredients as follows: one third of the sauce, one half of the eggplant slices, one third of the sauce, all the mozzarella, all the tofu-egg mixture, remaining eggplant slices, remaining sauce, Parmesan and bread crumbs.
  8. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Verdict

This took a bit more work than I usually spend on a meal, but it is so, so good. I love eggplant parmigiana, but I rarely make it because of how long it takes to prepare. The chopping, processing, mixing, waiting, baking, blah, blah, blah, is more than I usually put into making my meals. I like things that take 30-45 minutes altogether–basically as long as it takes my Seamless order to arrive at my door. But when you actually put work into your food, you gain a new appreciation for it. I don’t usually cook with tofu, but you can’t really tell it’s there. It absorb the flavors of the dish itself, so all you’re doing is adding a creamy texture to the dish. I did make a few alterations: regular bread crumbs and oregano instead Italian seasoning. All in all, I highly recommend this one. If you’ve got the time, this one is definitely worth it.

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Recipe: Curry-Roasted Chicken

6 Mar
It tastes better than it looks in this photo. Actually, it looked better than this photo, too.

It tastes better than it looks in this photo. Actually, it looked better than this photo, too.

Time: 10 minutes to prep, 20 minutes to cook (chicken); 20 minutes to prep (cucumber raita)

Ingredients (chicken)

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion or garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, cumin, onion/garlic salt and cayenne
  3. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the curry mixture. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet with smooth side up. Lightly spray with vegetable oil spray.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  5. Serve with cucumber raita (recipe below).

Ingredients (cucumber raita)

  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • Pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Grate or dice the cucumber. Put in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let drain for 5 minutes. Squeeze the cucumber to remove excess liquid.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the pepper.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with pepper before serving as an accompaniment to the chicken.

Verdict

This was actually much simpler than you’d think. The curry seasonings are a rub. You can prepare the seasoning months in advance and but it out when you’re ready for this simple curry dish. The cucumber raita isn’t much different than the cucumber yogurt that goes with the black bean meatballs. This version has red pepper, which I thought made the yogurt too chunky. It did add nice color to the plate, though. I served mine over couscous, which always pairs well with anything curry. Courtesy of American Heart Association  Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, Third Edition

Recipe: Spinach, Chick-Pea and Olive Pasta

27 Feb

photo (12)Time: 10 minutes to prepare; 20 minutes to cook

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces dried radiatore or rotini pasta
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach (about 2 ounces)
  • 15-ounce can no-salt-added chick-peas, rinsed if desired and drained
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained (about 6.5 ounces)
  • 12 kalamata olives, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil, crumbled
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Procedure

  1. Prepare the pasta using the package directions, omitting the salt and oil. Drain in a colander and run under cold water until completely cooled. Drain well.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients except feta.
  3. Add pasta to the spinach mixture, tossing gently yet thoroughly to coat. Add feta and toss gently.

Verdict

I love this pasta salad. It’s colorful, tasty and super easy to make. It’s a great summer salad, but occasionally I’ll whip it out in colder months because it’s so damn easy to make. Definitely eat it in the first few days of preparing it, as the spinach will wilt pretty quickly.

Courtesy of Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, Third Edition

Recipe: Mini Turkey Meatloaf

29 Aug

meatloaf

Time: 30 minutes to prepare; 35 minutes to cook

Ingredients

  • 1 pound turkey burger
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp. of herbs (any combination of thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, etc.)
  • 1 8-oz. can low-sodium tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mixing with your hands is best, but a wooden spoon will also do.
  3. Form the mixture into 4-6 loaves.
  4. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 35 minutes, or until the juices run clear.
  5. While the loaves are baking, mix together the ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. Spoon over the loaves for another 10 minutes.

Verdict

Can I be honest with you? I actually really enjoy meatloaf. I love that it’s easy to make and that it’s comfort food. I’ve made no secret of my love for comfort food. This recipe is a combination of what I know of cooking and a few added tips from the Extreme Fat Smash Diet cookbook. If you like meatloaf, you’ll love this. It’s less fat than ground beef, and the portions are smaller because it’s individual loaves. I served mine with sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Recipe: Black Bean Meatballs

6 Jun

Black Bean MeatballsTime: 30 minutes to prep; 15 minutes to cook

Ingredients (meatballs)

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium jalapeno chili, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger root
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup flaked unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups cooked kasha, cracked wheat, or couscous
  • 2 cups cucumber yogurt

Ingredients (cucumber yogurt)

  • 1 1/3 cup fat-free yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cup finely chopped and seeded cucumber
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Process beans, jalapeno chili, ginger root, cilantro, coconut and curry powder in food processor until smooth. Season to taste.
  3. Shape mixture into about 20-30 meatballs and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  4. While that’s baking, combine ingredients for cucumber yogurt in small bowl.
  5. When meatballs are cooked, serve over kasha, cracked wheat or couscous. Spoon cucumber yogurt over.

Verdict

Let’s be real: the meatballs look like little turds. It was a different recipe that I thought I could give a try. Visually, it’s not appetizing. Taste-wise, however, it’s not so bad. It actually tastes better reheated. I didn’t have ginger root or coconut flakes, so I used dried ginger and skipped the coconut. I also misread the instructions and only used two tablespoons of cilantro.

The cucumber yogurt serves a couple of purposes. First, the spice from the jalapeno can be overwhelming, but that’s countered by the cool of the cucumber yogurt. Also, the meatballs look awful, so the yogurt dresses up the dish. Plus, I added the roasted Brussels sprouts for my veggies on the plate. It still came out very well. Anywho, I do recommend it, at least to try something new.

Courtesy of 1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes (fourth edition)