Delicious recipes are meant to be shared...
This blog is an intertwining of cooking and writing--all the while keeping in touch with my girlfriends around the country. I enjoy cooking from countless recipes collected over the years, from dear friends. Every time I make a recipe from a friend I always think about that friend or where we lived--great memories. My life has been so blessed--sharing delicious food and drink with great friends along the way. Bon Appetite!


3.01.2015

Fattoush Salad


I ate this salad weekly when I lived in DC on Capitol Hill.  There was a small middle eastern place in Union Station where I would sometimes eat dinner.  I've craved this salad over the years, especially when I was pregnant.  I found sumac powder the other day while shopping at Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati so after about 12 years of craving this, I've finally made it!

Fattoush (Lebanese "Crumbled Bread" Salad with Sumac and Pita Chips)

Ingredients:
2 whole wheat pita pocket breads, cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide, then toasted and crumbled
2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 cup diced tomatoes (let drain a minute or two if extra juicy)
1 cup diced cucumber (same size as tomatoes)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley (leaves only, no stems)
optional ingredients: kalamata olives, banana peppers, feta cheese etc.

Dressing Ingredients:
1 tsp. chopped garlic (2-4 cloves garlic)
1 tsp. salt (I used fine grind sea salt)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 2 large lemons (I love lemon, so adjust the amount to your own taste)
1 tsp. powdered Sumac, plus more for sprinkling on individual salads if desired)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and toss pita bread with olive oil and salt.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until crispy.  Meanwhile, chop everything up and arrange it all in a large salad bowl.  I make the salad dressing now too.  Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves.  Combine the garlic and salt into a bowl and mash together.  I used a bar muddler and it worked well.  Add the lemon juice and sumac.  Whisk in the olive oil and set aside in the refrigerator.

Pour dressing onto salad and toss well to coat.  Top with crispy pita and serve.  Enjoy!!!



2.02.2015

Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry

The Kids loved this one....we love lemon at our house and use it regularly, but especially in the winter.




I

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium shoyu or soy sauce (or Tamari for GF)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil, divided
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
fresh black pepper, to taste



Directions:
Lightly season the chicken with salt. Combine chicken broth and soy sauce. In a second small bowl combine the cornstarch and water and mix well to combine.

Heat a large non-stick wok over medium-high heat, when hot add 1 teaspoon of the oil, then add the asparagus and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Increase the heat to high, then add 1 teaspoon of oil and half of the chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside and repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Set aside.

Add the soy sauce mixture; bring to a boil and cook about 1-1/2 minutes. Add lemon juice and cornstarch mixture and stir well, when it simmers return the chicken and asparagus to the wok and mix well, remove from heat and serve.

Source: Skinny Taste

Roasted Cauliflower



Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil*
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper

* I also like to substitute sesame seed oil for the olive oil. The sesame oil is fantastic in this dish.


Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse cauliflower and cut into quarters. Cut off and discard leaves and cores. Cut quarters into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices or wedges.

In a large bowl or re-sealable plastic bag, mix together cauliflower slices, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in a single layer in a non-stick baking dish, or aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet.

Bake prepared cauliflower approximately 20 to 25 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is browned or caramelized on edges and tender. Remove from oven and serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: The Sesame oil is delicious with this...

3.12.2014

Chia Seeds




Great Reasons To Start Eating Chia Seeds



Help weight loss: Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.
Feel fuller faster: They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.
Hydration for athletes: They are also great for athletes because the "chia gel" can hydrate the body.
Reduce your blood pressure: There's evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure.
Omega-3: They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect againstinflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
Benefits for diabetes: Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.
They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don't need to be ground up.
Kids love them: a super food that's easy to get into your kid's diets.


Delicious Ways to Prepare Quinoa


Quinoa: {keen-wah}

Cultivated in the Andes for over 5,000 years, quinoa has been called the "mother grain" and "the gold of the Incas." (It's technically not a grain but a seed, but it is used in virtually the same ways as other whole grains.) Today, the popularity of quinoa is growing steadily as people discover its pleasant nutty taste and super food qualities. As a complete protein source also high in iron, magnesium, and fiber, quinoa is not only one of our healthiest pantry staples, but also one that's incredibly easy and quick to cook.

To cook the quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail. If you desire the quinoa to have a nuttier flavor, you can dry roast it before cooking; to dry roast, place it in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir constantly for five minutes.  BTW, you can use your rice cooker just use the 2:1 liquid to quinoa ratio and follow the instructions on your rice cooker.

**1 cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa


Quinoa Tabbouleh salad



1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 green onions, finely chopped
2 cups small grape tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, thinly sliced
1 lemons, more to taste, Juice of
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
Source: Whole Foods


Fish Tacos with Quinoa Tabbouleh and Taziki



1 fillet fish, I used Gorton's Wild Alaska Pollock
1 whole wheat pita
1 tbsp taziki
2 tbsp quinoa tabbouleh (from the recipe above)
lemon, juice to taste
side of kale chips


Quinoa-Chia Mango Parfait


1 lb frozen mango, thawed
1/4 c agave nectar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 can light coconut milk (about 1.5 cups)
1/4 c chia seeds
1 c cooked quinoa (white works best)

Puree mango, agave nectar, coconut milk, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth in your food processor.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours.  Layer quinoa pudding into bowls with fresh fruit and then top off with the chia seeds (about 1 tsp).  I put the chia seeds on last because they will expand and look like fish eggs.  My kids are picky about textures so I didn't want them to turn their noses up to the gel-like chia.  They loved this recipe and were begging for more after dinner as a dessert.  I layered their parfaits with blackberries.
Source: Whole Foods



2.26.2014

KALE

KALE

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup with Kale


ingredients:


1 lb. Italian Sausage, rolled into 1/4 teaspoon size balls
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped kale
2 cups cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tsp oregano


directions:



1. In a large skillet, brown the mini sausage balls until cooked through. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Drain off the grease and place the sausage balls on a plate lined with paper towels.

2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the red peppers, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Cook until peppers are soft, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and kale. Add the cheese tortellini and cook until tortellini is tender, 7-8 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the mini sausage balls and heat until warm. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Source: Two Peas and their Pod



other ways to eat this powerhouse of nutrition...


Toss whole-grain pasta with chopped kale, pine nuts, feta cheese, and a little olive oil.
Cover and cook a pound of chopped kale with a few garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes; season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
Make kale chips by slicing kale into bite-size pieces, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven.



2.12.2014

Lemon Orzo Chicken Salad




3/4 C uncooked orzo pasta
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp honey
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 C cooked shredded or diced boneless, skinless chicken
1/2 C diced cucumber
1/2 C diced red bell pepper
1/3 C sliced green onions
1 Tbs chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried dill
1/2 C crumbled feta cheese

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta feels cool to the touch. Drain and place in a large salad bowl.

While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, honey, and black pepper. Whisk to combine.

Add chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, green onions, and dill to pasta. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Divide onto 4 plates and sprinkle with feta.

Source:  Cooking Light and Our Best Bites

Hot and Sour Soup







One of my all time favorites....I've been eating this delicious soup for as long as I can remember....
I decided to use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth, but I will try it next time with veggie broth.  The spiciness of this dish was perfect with the 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper.


Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 8oz sliced mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 (32oz) carton vegetable broth
  • 2 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb firm or extra firm tofu, diced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 3 egg whites lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
Instructions
  • 1
    1. Heat olive oil and 1 tsp sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and saute until soft and browned. Add garlic and ginger and continue sauteing 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • 2
    2. Add vegetable broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add vinegar, soy sauce, pepper and tofu, and simmer another 3 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup water and cornstarch. Add to pot and continue simmering 3 additional minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt & cayenne (I like it spicy, so I used about 1/4 tsp cayenne).
  • 3
    3. Slowly stream egg whites into the pot while stirring continuously. Remove pot from heat and stir in green onions and remaining 1 tsp sesame oil.
  • 4
    4. Serve immediately
Source:  Domestic SuperHero.com

2.05.2014

Bok Choy


My family eats fairly healthy but we always stick with our usual suspects...green beans, broccoli or salad greens so I've decided to introduce new, in-season veggies one at a time!


This weeks power food:

Bok Choy and Tofu


Protein

Place tofu in a colander; set a heavy pot on top 10 to 15 minutes to press out moisture. Halve; sprinkle soy sauce, garlic powder, then flour over halves. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Cook tofu until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Slice; set aside.

1 package extra firm tofu (14 oz)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry

veggie (use any combination from each of the four categories total 1 1/2 lbs)

carrots, peppers, onions or cauliflower (first batch)
asparagus, green beans, or butternut squash (second batch)
Bok choy, cabbage, celery, chard, fennel, mushrooms, peas, sugar snap peas, or zucchini (third batch)
scallions, or other fresh herbs, tender greens, or tomatoes (fourth batch)

remaining ingredients

2 tbsp chopped scallions
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2-4 tbsp canola oil

Sauce

2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp minced hot chiles
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp chicken broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
pinch of salt

1. Toss tofu with sherry and soy sauce in a medium size bowl.  Combine all sauce ingredients in a second small bowl.  Divide veggies into two or three batches according to ingredient list.

2.  Heat 12-14 inch non stick skillet over high heat for 4 minutes; add 2 tbsp oil and rotate pan so the pan in evenly coated.  Let oil heat until it just starts to simmer and smoke.  Add tofu and stir fry until seared and about 3/4 cooked (about 2 minutes).  Spoon tofu onto a serving dish and keep warm.

3.  Let pan come back up to temperature about 1-2 minutes.  When hot, drizzle in 2 tsp of oil and when oil starts to smoke add veggies from first category.  Stir-fry until just tender and crisp, about 2 minutes. Leaving first batch in pan repeat with remaining batches. Cook each batch until tender and crisp except for fourth batch which should be wilted. Add about 1 tsp of oil for each new batch. Clear center of pan and add garlic, ginger and scallions.  Drizzle with 1/2 tsp of oil.  Mash into pan with back of spatula.  Cook fro 10 seconds.  Remove pan from heat and stir garlic/ginger mixture into veggies for 20 seconds.

4. Return pan to heat and add tofu.  Stir in sauce and stir fry to coat all ingredients, about 1 minute.  Serve immediately with rice.

Source:  Cooks Illustrated









2.02.2014

Spinach Strong

This week I incorporated spinach into a many meals as I could....




Strawberry Spinach Salad

1 bag of spinach, torn into pieces
a bunch of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
sesame seeds, toasted
dressing:
1/4 c good olive oil
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2TB sugar
sprinkle of black pepper
dash of Tabasco sauce
Combine all the ingredients and whisk until combined.
Put spinach and strawberries in a bowl, toss with vinaigrette dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Serve immediately.
Source: Krissie Fowler


For Super Bowl Sunday I made these two delicious appetizers...



Guilt Free Spinach Dip - Low Cal, Low Fat, High Protein


Ingredients
1 packet Knorrs Vegetable Recipe Mix
1/4 cup reduced fat mayo
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
22 ounces Fage total 0% yogurt (or 2 cups+ 3/4 cup)
Chives to garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients and chill about 2 hours. Serve with your favorite dippers.
2/3 cup 107 calories
Source: domestic superhero

Spinach Bites


1 (10 Ounce) Package Frozen Spinach, Thawed
1/4 Cup Finely Diced Onion
1 Teaspoon Finely Minced Garlic
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Sun-dried Tomatoes (I Prefer Oil Packed, Drained)
Salt & Pepper To Taste
1/2 Teaspoon Hot Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 Large Egg
1 Large Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, Thawed
Egg Wash:
1 Large Egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Aggressively squeeze the spinach with your hands to remove as much liquid as possible, then finely chop and place in a bowl.
Add the onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, feta cheese and egg to the bowl and mix well.
Cut the puff pastry into 4 1/2 inch squares (smaller for mini muffin tin) and gently place a square in each muffin cup.
Spoon the filling into the cups, then fold the pastry over the filling, pinching the pastry together with your fingers at the center.
Beat the egg for the wash and brush it over the spinach puffs, then bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown in color.
Cool 10 minutes, then gently remove the puffs from the pan.
Serve when just slightly warm, or at room temperature.

Source: Italian Food Forever