Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

I was one lucky girl, Jason made us dinner! He wanted seafood and I suggested shrimp, so we went with a very flavorful cilantro lime shrimp. Shrimp is a low in calories and high in protein. Not to mention this dinner was ready in less than 10 minutes. I highly recommend buying the shrimp already peeled and deveined, definitely worth the extra money. The shrimp had a fresh flavor from the cilantro. You can serve it over rice, salad, orzo or with vegetables like we did. It is a perfect quick and healthy weeknight dinner. Since we cut the recipe in half there weren't any left overs for lunch :(
Cilantro Lime Shrimp
Source: Skinnytaste.com
Serves 4

2 tsp olive oil
2 lb shrimp, shelled and deviened
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime
Salt and Pepper

Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan, when hot add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. When the shrimp is cooked on one side, about 2 minutes, turn over and add garlic. Sauté another minute or two until shrimp is cooked, careful not to overcook. Remove from heat. Squeeze lime all over shrimp and toss with cilantro and serve.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken with Leeks, Sun-Dried Tomatoes in White Wine Sauce

After traveling and eating every meal out we were in need of something light yet filling for dinner. It was one of those days where I knew we needed dinner but nothing was coming to mind to make. I searched some of the healthier blogs I read and found this recipe that was perfect. You can't taste the flour on the chicken so it doesn't taste or feel like a breaded cutlet. The white wine and leeks have a subtle onion flavor but makes the dish tasteful. I made some steamed cauliflower on the side for additional vegetables.

A few notes. If you don't have any white wine you can just add more chicken broth. And be sure to find the sun-dried tomatoes that are not in oil. I found a package in the produce area that was already sliced and soft to touch so I didn't have to soak them in warm water.

Chicken with Leeks, Sun-Dried Tomatoes in White Wine Sauce
Source: Skinnytaste
Serves 3 (2 pieces each with sauce)

1 or 2 leeks (3/4 cup) white part and light green only
1 lb (6) skinless chicken breast cutlets, sliced thin
2 tsp butter, divided
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 clove garlic, minced
2 oz ready-to-eat sun dried tomatoes (not in oil), sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
Salt and fresh pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Cut off green tops of leek and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Slice leeks into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 200°. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge in flour shaking off excess.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat; when hot add 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil. Add chicken to the skillet and cook on medium heat for about 3 - 4 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pink. Set aside in a warm oven.

Add additional oil and butter to the skillet, then garlic and cook a few seconds; add leeks, salt and pepper. Sauté stirring occasionally until golden, about 5 minutes.

Add sun dried tomatoes, wine, chicken broth, parsley; stir the pan with a wooden spoon, breaking up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook 2 more minutes or until the liquid reduces almost by half. Top the chicken with the sun dried tomato/leeks mixture and serve.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Orleans

While I usually post recipes on my blog, this weekend we went to New Orleans and obviously did not do much cooking. So instead this is our culinary tour of the city. We did however take a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking and learned how to make gumbo, jambalaya, pralines, and bread pudding! We will have to try to make some of the recipes on our own.

Our first stop was for some traditional poboys. The hotel recommended Johhny's as a local place to try. Local and tourists alike strode up to the counter to place orders. We went with the shrimp poboy on the soft french bread the city is known for.

Next up was beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde. The beignets were covered in powdered sugar and had to quickly be eaten before the wind blew it all over us. They were light and fluffy and like no other doughnut I'd had before.
Then off to Bourbon's Street and Pat O'Briens where the Hurricane was invented. This a sweet drink with different types of rum and juice that can be extremely dangerous. The bar had a beautiful courtyard in the back with a fountain and was perfect to relax on a sunny afternoon.
I am a huge fan of Top Chef, so I was really looking forward to our dinners. We ate at John Besh's restaurant August and I must admit we had to look up what a few of the menu items were. I ordered shrimp with crab, mirliton (green squash) stuffing and andouille crust. The dessert was amazing, it had a flourless chocolate cake on the bottom, chocolate nougat and crispy chocolate layered and topped with toasted caramel ice cream. It was absolutely delicious without being too rich or heavy as a lot of chocolate desserts can be.


And no trip is complete without a stop at Frenchman street to a jazz bar. There were so many great places but we ended up in dba and saw a really good group complete with audience swing dancers!
The last night we went to Emeril's NOLA restaurant in the French quarter. Unfortunately, I forgot to take some pictures of our food, but it was delicious. He combined true Cajun food with a modern twist. You can't beat good food and great company.

After all of that food we had to be rolled onto the plane home to recover from our food coma!

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Maple-Mustard Glazed Chicken

As most of you know we are kind of obsessed with Cooking Light Magazine. We each go through and read it separately and pick out recipes that we like. I find it interesting to see which ones we each pick out and then which ones we both like. By the time we have both gone through it most of the recipes are ripped out which is a lot of dishes to try. It is nice to know that no matter what you pick it is something that is on the healthier side. This chicken dish has a tangy-sweet flavor combination from the maple syrup, mustard and vinegar in the sauce. It had a little bit of the syrup he likes combined with mustard that I like, perfect dinner compromise. I imagine it would  work just as well with pork or chicken thighs. Only change would be to increase the ingredients that make up the sauce, there wasn't much left over to serve on top.

Maple-Mustard Glazed Chicken
Source: Cooking Light Magazine January/February 2012
Serves 4


2 teaspoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon stone-ground mustard

Preheat oven to 400°

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt. Add chicken to pan; sauté 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add broth, syrup, thyme, and garlic to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vinegar and mustard; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Return chicken to pan, and spoon mustard mixture over chicken. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Place pan over medium heat; cook mustard mixture 2 minutes or until liquid is syrupy, stirring frequently. Serve with chicken.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sesame-Ginger Salmon en Papillote

This weekend our tv was mainly consumed by football and all of the play off games. I'm not a big football fan but Jason loves to watch and I try to during the playoffs. I was lucky enough to catch an episode of Kelsey's Essentials on the Cooking Channel before the games started. I watched her compete to be the Next Food Network Star, but she did not win. Now that they have the cooking channel it's nice to see her show and how she easily explains techniques for meals that can be altered.

The term "en Papillote" french for in parchment, is a classic technique that steams the items inside. Various cultures use this technique with what was on hand, like banana leaves or corn husks. This method can be used with most varieties of fish and whatever vegetables you have on hand and is a healthy way to cook food with a little bit of sauce/liquid. You can also use aluminum foil, I did one of each to see if there was any difference and the one in the parchment cooked more evenly but not a huge difference.

Sesame-Ginger Salmon en Papillote
Serves 4
Source: Kelsey's Essentials

Zest of 1/2 an orange
1 teaspoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 heads baby bok choy, ends trimmed and cut into thirds through the stem
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup bean sprouts
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for brushing packets

Preheat the oven to 425F. Combine the orange zest, ginger, soy sauce, orange juice, vinegar, and sesame oil together in a small bowl; set aside.

Fold 4 (16 by-12-inch) parchment paper squares in 1/2 lengthwise.
Evenly divide the bok choy, peppers, and bean sprouts among the 4 parchment packets. Season the vegetables with 1 tablespoon sesame-ginger marinade. Place a salmon fillet on top of the vegetables and season with the black pepper and an additional tablespoon of the marinade.

Fold the top half of the parchment over the
fish, and overlap small folds along the open edge to seal. Brush each packet with olive oil. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the parchment paper puffs up.
Transfer the parchment packets to plates. Carefully cut the packets open, avoiding the hot steam, and serve. Then throw out the packets for an easy clean up!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

$8 dinner in 8 minutes

I know that this sounds as shocking to you as it did to me when I did it. I did not set out with the intention to make a quick and inexpensive dinner but as we were sitting down I thought about it and realized it was only $8! We had 4 tilapia fillets that were $3 for a pack of 2 at Whole Foods, 1 lemon and picked our own green beans this weekend for $1.40 (we still have some left over). Since everything was seasoned with salt and pepper we all have on hand I didn't include that. Since the beans were nice and fresh I sauted them in a pan with salt, pepper, olive oil, a dash of crushed red pepper flakes and 1 clove of garlic sliced. I will admit that I was pretty proud of this accomplishment when Jason got home from a late meeting and we had a healthy, inexpensive, flavorful and fast meal on the table.

Baked Tilapia

4 fillets of tilapia (6-8ounces per serving)
1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon butter
Kosher Salt & Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Coat a large cast iron pan with a nonstick butter spray.

Wash and pat dry the fish. Season each side with salt and pepper and lemon juice. Add fish to the pan. Place a pat of butter on each fillet and cook in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cranberry Oat and Honey Bread

I had some fresh cranberries left over from the holidays that were hidden in my fruit drawer and perfect for this recipe. I also found a container of cranberry honey in our pantry and used almost a whole honey bear. I couldn't believe that the recipe didn't have any butter or sugar! I of course added a tiny bit of sugar just in case ;) This is a hearty, chewy and denser bread that is perfect for a breakfast or snacks on the go.

Cranberry Oat and Honey Bread
Servings: 2 loaves
Adapted from:
Eat Yourself Skinny


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 cups fresh cranberries (or 1 cup dried)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 2 loaf pans.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and oats.  

In a large bowl, mix together honey, vegetable oil, eggs and milk.  Mix in flour mixture until just moistened.  Stir in cranberries and pour into prepared baking dishes.  Sprinkle the top with extra oats and sugar if desired. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Boy was I spoiled this weekend, Jason made us dinner both nights despite there being football play-off games! Don't worry they were on in the background ;) We had been flipping through a magazine and saw chicken enchiladas that we both thought looked good. I remembered bookmarking a healthy version that I wanted try. With it being the new year and of course wanting to start it off healthier we went with the recipe below. These were definitely a hit! They had a bit of a  from the green chilis and jalapeno. The only change we would make is to not put all of the sauce on top and then uncover them for the last 5 minutes in the oven to give them a little crunch. But since I didn't actually cook I am one happy camper with enough for leftovers tomorrow!

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas
Slightly adapted from: Eat Yourself Skinny
Servings: 4 Serving Size: 2 enchiladas

For the sauce:
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 can diced green chilis
1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 tsp. southwest chipotle seasoning (Mrs. Dash)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
Salt and fresh pepper to taste

For the chicken:
1 tsp. vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. southwest chipotle seasoning (Mrs. Dash)
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 cup shredded low-fat Mexican cheese
Nonstick cooking spray
To make the chicken we boiled water, added the chicken breasts and brought it to a simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Let it cool until you can handle then shred the chicken with 2 forks.

In a medium saucepan, spray oil and saute garlic. Add green chilis, chipotle seasoning, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chipotle seasoning, tomato sauce, chicken broth and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spray a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Put 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each tortilla and roll it. Place in baking dish seam side down. Top with sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes. 

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tika Masala

I have never actually had Indian food before, let alone made it myself. Yet when I saw this recipe in the January issue of Real Simple, the flavor combination sounded interesting. Why not start the new year off by trying new food? I also liked that it was something I could make in our slow cooker that wasn't shredded and seemed healthy. This turned out really well and the flavors are nutty and warm not extremely spicy like I had associated with Indian food.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tika Masala
Serves 4
Slightly adapted from: Real Simple Magazine

1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons garam masala (Indian spice blend)
kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
1 cup rice

Garam Masala mix
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
a pinch of cayenne

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Lemon Chicken

I recently started receiving emails from a site called ziplist. They have various websites with recipes that are posted and you can save them to a recipe box and generate shopping lists based on what you plan to cook. There are plenty of sites out there similar to that one but I got an email the other day with a picture for lemon chicken that called my name. It also allowed me to use some fresh rosemary from the ever growing rosemary bush in our backyard. Somehow the huge sprig didn't make a dent. I have never made anything with the bone or skin but it turned out nice and crispy despite omitting the additional butter the recipe called for. I used only chicken thighs and they turned out crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Jason ate his down to the bone and claimed this was the best chicken dish I have ever made! Overall this was a big success.

Lemon Chicken
Serves 4-6
Slightly adapted from: Simply Recipes

3-4 pounds chicken parts (thighs and legs recommended), skin-on, bone-in, trimmed of excess fat2 Tbsp lemon zest
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Lemon slices for garnish

Place lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic, thyme, rosemary, olive oil salt, and pepper in a small bowl, whisk to combine. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut into each chicken piece one or two times by about 1/2 an inch. (This will help the marinade penetrate.) Place the chicken pieces and the marinade in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Rotate the bag so that all chicken pieces are coated with the marinade. Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator (in case of leakage). Let marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove chicken from marinade and place in a single layer in a large baking dish, skin side up. Reserve the marinade.

Bake for a total of 50 to 55 minutes, until the skins are crispy brown, and the chicken is cooked through, juices running clear (breasts have an internal temperature of 165°F and thighs 175°F). Half-way through the baking, at about the 25 minute mark, baste the chicken pieces generously with reserved marinade.

Depending on the size of the breasts, they may be ready before the thighs, so if you are cooking a mix of chicken parts, keep that in mind, you may have to take them out of the oven before the thighs.
Let rest, covered in foil, for 10 minutes before serving.

Pour the juices from the pan into a serving bowl. Use a tablespoon to skim the fat off the top (save the fat for cooking with later, or discard, but do not discard down the drain or it will solidify and clog your drain). Serve the chicken with the juices on the side or a little poured over the top of the chicken.

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