Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Diet Food

Some of you know that we have started a Biggest Loser contest at work. We are two and a half weeks into it and have already started to make some pretty significant changes in my diet and exercise. We weigh in every Monday morning for 10 weeks and the person at the end with the Biggest percentage of weight loss wins the grand prize ($25 buyin per participant). Some people are competing for the money and others are competing just for the benefit of getting healthy. I'm doing it for both! Although I don't actually expect to win since other people have more weight to lose than I do. But as of the second weigh in I have lost three pounds! So exciting and motivating to continue the work! I've also been putting a lot of time and energy into meal planning, snacks and proportioning. Here is a fun new recipe we tried tonight.

Vegetable-and-Black Bean Soft Tacos

A chef's surprise is hidden beneath a soft tortilla. The crisp broccoli buds combine well with the chewy shiitake mushrooms and nuttby black beans. The spicy salsa complements this package nicely. You may never be able to eat another mundane taco after this.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets (1/2 bunch)
1 cup sliced red onion
1 cup julienne-cut green bell pepper
1/2 cup julienne-cut red bell pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1/3 cup minced seeded Anaheim chile
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
6 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
3/4 cup medium salsa
6 tablespoons nonfat sour cream

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, onion, and bell peppers; sauté 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, chile, cumin, and chili powder; sauté 2 minutes. Add tomato juice; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in minced cilantro and lime juice, and set aside.

Divide black beans evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/2 cup broccoli mixture and 1/4 cup cheese. Fold tortillas in half, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with lettuce, salsa, and sour cream.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 taco, 1/2 cup lettuce, 2 tablespoons salsa, and 1 tablespoon sour cream)

CALORIES 433 (33% from fat); FAT 15.9g (sat 6.5g,mono 5.9g,poly 2.5g); IRON 4.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 22mg; CALCIUM 345mg; CARBOHYDRATE 54.6g; SODIUM 739mg; PROTEIN 19.9g; FIBER 6.9g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 1995

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Elect This!

Cooking Light Night #18

OK. I was getting a little bored with the numerical titles. So here is a dinner worthy of such a historic occasion as the election night of the 44th president of the United States. After work I rushed off to the ballot box, cast my vote, and then came home to Don who had operation dinner underway in the kitchen. The results aren't in on the presidential election yet, but we have had a unanimous household decision that we will be making both of these recipes again. If you like flavourful, fragrant, mediterranean inspired dishes, you should definitely try this one. This is also the first time that both Don and I have ever had Israeli Couscous and we love it! It kicks the *bleep* out of Moroccan Couscous. I forgot to pick up the dried fruit mix at the grocery store so we used cranberries and golden raisins in the couscous and it was perfect. The sauce for the lamb chops was really delicious too and despite the massive amount of mint in the recipe, the flavouring was actually pretty subtle and not too overpowering. If you are not into lamb, you still must try the couscous and the apricot-lime sauce. It would also be good with Pork tenderloin.

Curry- and Ginger-Rubbed Lamb Chops with Apricot-Lime Sauce

The sweet tang of the Apricot-Lime Sauce contrasts with and balances the earthy, hot flavors of the curry-ginger paste. The sauce and paste make a versatile combination that's equally suited to grilled beef or pork.

2 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 (6-ounce) lamb shoulder chops, trimmed
1/2 cup Apricot-Lime Sauce

Prepare grill.

Combine the curry, ginger, oil, salt, and pepper; rub paste evenly over lamb.

Place lamb on grill rack, and cook 4 minutes. Turn lamb; brush with 1/4 cup Apricot-Lime Sauce. Cook for 4 minutes. Turn lamb, and brush with 1/4 cup sauce. Cook 2 minutes, turning once.

Totals include Apricot-Lime Sauce.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 chop)

CALORIES 241 (45% from fat); FAT 12.1g (sat 4.1g,mono 5.2g,poly 1.1g); IRON 2.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 77mg; CALCIUM 28mg; CARBOHYDRATE 8.2g; SODIUM 195mg; PROTEIN 24.1g; FIBER 0.9g

Cooking Light, JUNE 2001

Apricot-Lime Sauce

This recipe goes with Curry- and Ginger-Rubbed Lamb Chops with Apricot-Lime Sauce

2/3 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Melt the preserves in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Remove from heat.

Yield: 2 cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

CALORIES 26 (0.0% from fat); FAT 0.0g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.0g); IRON 0.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.9g; SODIUM 61mg; PROTEIN 0.2g; FIBER 0.2g

Cooking Light, JUNE 2001

Fruited Israeli Couscous

One person can tackle this recipe, which requires just a saucepan, a cutting board, and a knife. Israeli couscous has bead-sized grains that are much larger than those of regular couscous, and it takes just 15 minutes to cook.

2 teaspoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
2 1/2 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes. Stir in currants, apricots, salt, broth, and cinnamon sticks; bring to a boil. Add couscous, and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Let couscous mixture stand 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks. Stir in cilantro.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 2/3 cup)

CALORIES 190 (4% from fat); FAT 0.9g (sat 0.4g,mono 0.2g,poly 0.1g); IRON 1mg; CHOLESTEROL 2mg; CALCIUM 21mg; CARBOHYDRATE 38.2g; SODIUM 297mg; PROTEIN 6.5g; FIBER 2.8g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2003

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cooking Light Night #17

Don prepared this fantastic dinner tonight. He took one bite of the soup and proclaimed immediately that it was amazing. It's warm, comforting, flavourful. We used Chicken Italian Sausage from Trader Joes. Nathan thought it might be good to try with some spicy sausage but Don and I both agreed that we liked it just the way it was. I really enjoyed the muffins. The tart cranberries went well with the orange flavouring and I had a hard time limiting myself to just one. Don wanted them a bit sweeter and thought that a cornbread might go better with the soup. The recipe makes quite a few muffins so put the rest in the freezer to whip out and serve as appetizers next time we have company.

Sausage and Spinach Soup

Fresh herbs are added after the soup cooks so they'll retain their bright color and flavor. You can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for each tablespoon fresh, but add them with the tomatoes. Serve with a toasted baguette.

10 ounce sweet turkey Italian sausage
Cooking spray
1 cup prechopped onion
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can organic stewed tomatoes, undrained (such as Muir Glen)
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons grated fresh Romano cheese

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and 2 teaspoons garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese.

Wine note: This delicious soup needs a wine that's crisp and medium-bodied, such as a California pinot gris (aka pinot grigio). The wine's crispness balances the richness of the sausage and the density of the beans. At the same time, the wine's body is substantial enough to stand up to the weight of those ingredients. Try Morgan Pinot Gris "R & D Franscioni Vineyard" 2006 (Santa Lucia Highlands, California), $18. -Karen MacNeil

Yield: 4 servings

CALORIES 261 (30% from fat); FAT 8.6g (sat 2.8g,mono 2.7g,poly 2.5g); IRON 3.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 62mg; CALCIUM 105mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.1g; SODIUM 842mg; PROTEIN 20.9g; FIBER 5.4g

Cooking Light, MARCH 2007

Cranberry-Citrus Muffins

Turbinado sugar, with its coarse texture and mild molasses flavor, helps make the topping for these muffins extra-special. But granulated sugar also works well.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup 2% low-fat milk
1/3 cup light ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
Cooking spray
6 tablespoons turbinado or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk and next 8 ingredients (milk through egg); stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over batter.

Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until done. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen (serving size: 1 muffin)

CALORIES 159 (14% from fat); FAT 2.4g (sat 0.6g,mono 0.7g,poly 0.9g); IRON 1mg; CHOLESTEROL 14mg; CALCIUM 69mg; CARBOHYDRATE 31.4g; SODIUM 153mg; PROTEIN 3.4g; FIBER 0.6g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 1997

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cooking Light Night #16

Want to get more seafood in your diet but tired of salmon and white fish? Here is an awesome new recipe we cooked up tonight. Instead of fresh scallops, we used a frozen seafood blend from Trader Joes including scallops, shrimp and Calamari and it really turned out well. We also substituted whole wheat pasta instead of regular and am really glad we made that choice. It didn't taste all that different but oh man was it a lot more filling! This recipe carries a lot of heat so if you don't like spice this one is not for you. Don wanted a little more sauce but I thought it was perfect as is. Goes great with steamed broccoli and cauliflower. If you aren't watching your carbs, a nice dinner roll would also be great to mop up the sauce and help cut the heat a little.

Spicy Scallops in Red Sauce

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound sea scallops
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 cups hot cooked rotini (about 4 ounces uncooked short spiral pasta)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal bag, and shake well. Add scallops to bag; seal bag, and shake to coat scallops.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add scallops and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until the scallops are done. Remove scallops from skillet; set aside, and keep warm.

Combine cornstarch, sugar, oregano, pepper, and tomatoes in skillet; stir with a wire whisk until blended. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons parsley.

Combine tomato mixture and pasta; toss. Spoon pasta mixture onto plates; top with scallops, and sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 2 cups pasta mixture, 5 ounces scallops, and 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley)

CALORIES 452 (13% from fat); FAT 6.7g (sat 0.8g,mono 3.4g,poly 0.9g); IRON 2.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 37mg; CALCIUM 121mg; CARBOHYDRATE 65.7g; SODIUM 686mg; PROTEIN 29.3g; FIBER 1g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 1995

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cooking Light Night #15

With our Biggest Loser contest starting next week at work, you can expect to see a lot more cooking light recipes here in the next several weeks. Here is a dinner we tried recently. The salad was really tasty and refreshing, and even with the delicious dessert afterwards, the total meal is still less than 500 calories.

Stir-Fried Chicken Salad

The pan sauce in this dish doubles as a piquant vinaigrette for the salad. Serve with crunchy breadsticks, if you wish.

1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon bottled chopped garlic
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
1 tablespoon peanut oil
4 cups mixed salad greens
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
Lime wedges (optional)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken to broth mixture, stirring to coat. Let stand 3 minutes.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drain chicken, reserving marinade. Add chicken to the pan; cook 4 minutes or until done, stirring frequently. Stir in the reserved marinade. Reduce heat; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Remove pan from heat.

Combine greens and basil in a large bowl. Add chicken mixture, tossing to coat. Place 1 1/4 cups salad mixture on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons onion and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanuts. Serve immediately. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

CALORIES 214 (30% from fat); FAT 7.2g (sat 1.3g,mono 3g,poly 2.2g); IRON 2mg; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 60mg; CARBOHYDRATE 8g; SODIUM 594mg; PROTEIN 29.1g; FIBER 2g

Cooking Light, MAY 2006

Strawberries Romanoff

Marinating fruit in liquid is also called macerating. Orange-flavored liqueur complements fresh berries in this classic dessert. Macerate for only the length of time specified so the strawberries retain their texture.

4 cups sliced strawberries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur)
1/3 cup whipping cream, chilled
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mint sprigs (optional)

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill 3 1/2 hours.

2. Place cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Spoon over strawberry mixture. Garnish with mint, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup strawberry mixture and 3 tablespoons whipped cream mixture)

CALORIES 207 (29% from fat); FAT 6.7g (sat 3.9g,mono 1.9g,poly 0.5g); IRON 0.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 22mg; CALCIUM 41mg; CARBOHYDRATE 31.2g; SODIUM 10mg; PROTEIN 1.6g; FIBER 3.4g

Cooking Light, JULY 2008