Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fiesta Chicken Tacos with Mango Salad

These are supposed to be Fiesta Chicken Tacos with Mango and Jicama Salad, but since I didn't have any jicama I made it without it. And they were really good!

Fiesta Chicken Tacos with Mango and Jicama Salad
Cooking Light

3/4 cup (3-inch) julienne-cut peeled jicama (I left out)
1/2 cup sliced peeled ripe mango (I used a bit more)
1/4 cup sliced red onion
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper (I used about half that)
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced red onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 cup mixed salad greens

1. To prepare salad, combine first 8 ingredients.
2. To prepare tacos, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with chili powder, cumin, and chipotle pepper. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from pan.
3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add bell pepper and 1 cup onion; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Return chicken mixture to pan; cook 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
4. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Arrange 2 tablespoons mixed greens, about 1/3 cup chicken mixture, and about 2 tablespoons salad in each tortilla; fold over.

4 servings

Pasta with Sautéed Tomatoes, Olives, and Artichokes

This is a great weeknight meal, coming together in the time it takes for the pasta to cook. The recipe says it makes 6 servings, but those would be pretty skimpy servings. For us it was the perfect amount to serve 2 adults and 2 children, along with a salad and some bread.
Pasta with Sautéed Tomatoes, Olives, and Artichokes
Cooking Light

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
1/2 cup thinly sliced pitted kalamata olives
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
4 cups hot cooked ziti (short tube-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese (I used Parmesan)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cherry tomatoes, olives, and artichokes; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Place pasta in a large bowl. Add tomato mixture, basil, cheese, salt, and freshly ground pepper; toss well.

6 servings

Monday, May 25, 2009

Potato Salad

I didn't like this potato salad quite as much as I'd hoped to. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't great. I think the problem was a little too much mustard and too much celery (I'm not a huge celery fan). However, I would maybe make it again and just cut down on those two ingredients.

Hickory House Potato Salad
Rick & Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures, Rick Bayless & Lanie Bayless

1 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons chopped roasted red bell pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Fill a medium saucepan with 3 inches of water. Add potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt, and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes or until potato slices are tender. Set colander in sink. Drain potatoes and allow to cool. Scoop potatoes into a large bowl. use a pastry blender or 2 table knives - one held in each hand - to roughly chop into 1/2-inch pieces.

Crush garlic through a garlic press onto potatoes. Add remaining ingredients and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine thoroughly. Taste and add more salt if you think necessary. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Potato salad gets better if made several hours - even a day or two - ahead.

4 to 6 servings

Friday, May 22, 2009

Moroccan Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

These smelled sooo good while they were cooking, and they tasted pretty darn good, too! You can serve them alone as an appetizer or serve them with some rice, pasta or couscous for a main dish.

Moroccan Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Rick & Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures, Rick Bayless & Lanie Bayless

1 1/4 pounds ground beef or lamb
3 teaspoons paprika, separated (I used 2 1/2 teaspoons regular, 1/2 teaspoon hot)
2 teaspoons ground cumin, separated
Leaves from 12 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons), separated
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces

Place beef or lamb in a large bowl. Measure in 1 1/2 teaspoons of the paprika, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, half of the chopped parsley and 1 teaspoon salt (I used less). Mix or knead to thoroughly distribute flavoring through the meat. Roll meat into 1-inch balls (about 1 tablespoon meat mixture), laying each on a plate as rolled. Set aside.

Turn on food processor. Drop garlic through feed tube. Let machine run until garlic is chopped, then stop. remove lid and scrap down garlic from sides of processor. Add drained tomatoes, olive oil, tomato paste and onion. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin and parsley. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Process until nearly smooth. Scrape into pan or deep skillet that is about 10 inches across (size is important here). Set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Nestle meatballs into sauce in a single layer. Swirl pan gently to ensure all meatballs are covered with sauce. Set over medium heat with lid slightly ajar and cook 10 to 12 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. If sauce is very thick, add a little water. Spoon onto individual plated and serve.

4 servings

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Despite it's cutesy name (I hate cutesy names), these sloppy joes were really good - a little sweet, a little spicy, and very messy! (I learned the hard way that they are easier to eat as an open-faced sandwich.)

Snobby Joes
Veganomicon, Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

1 cup uncooked lentils
4 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, cut into small dice
1 green bell pepper, cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chile powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
4-6 kaiser rolls or sesame buns, sliced in half horizontally

Pour the lentils and water into a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done, preheat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onions and peppers for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more.

Stir in the cooked lentils, chile powder, oregano, and salt. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup to taste and the mustard, and heat through.

Turn off the heat and let the pot sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld, or go ahead and eat immediately if you can't wait.

4-6 servings

I served the sloppy joes with this coleslaw, which was fantastic!

Tangy Mustard Coleslaw
Cooking Light

7 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
1 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Combine cabbage, red onion, and carrot in a large bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, and stir well with a whisk. Add the dressing to the cabbage mixture, and toss to coat. Cover and chill 20 minutes. Stir before serving.

7 servings

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vegetarian Burritos

This is one of my favorite meals to make when I really don't feel much like cooking. I simply spread canned refried beans on top of a flour tortilla, top with rice that I cook up with some taco seasoning added to the water (I've included the recipe I used below) and shredded cheddar cheese, roll it up, and stick it in the toaster oven to heat through and melt the cheese. If you're feeling particularly lazy, you can use store-bought taco or fajita seasoning and instant rice. Or even a boxed Spanish rice mix.

I like to make a batch of this and keep it in the pantry with my spices to use as needed:

Taco Seasoning II (PNCHANDRA)

6 teaspoons chili powder
5 teaspoons paprika
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine chili powder, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and cornstarch. Close lid securely, and shake well to mix contents. 7 teaspoons is equivalent to 1 (1.25 ounce) package of taco seasoning.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Moroccan Chicken with Green Olives and Lemon

This chicken was really good! I love recipes that give you a healthy, tasty meal without having to buy too many ingredients. And since I had chicken in the freezer, and a Meyer lemon tree in my backyard, the only thing I had to buy was the olives.
This would be great served over couscous, but since Chaim doesn't like couscous I served it over basmati rice.

Moroccan Chicken with Green Olives and Lemon
Bon Appetit

2 Meyer lemons or regular lemons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 4 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed (I used 4 thighs & 4 drumsticks)
1/2 cup green olives

Cut 1 lemon into 8 wedges. Squeeze enough juice from second lemon to measure 2 tablespoons; set wedges and juice aside. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add next 5 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add broth; bring to boil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Add lemon wedges. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter. Add olives and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to skillet. Increase heat to high; boil uncovered to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over chicken.

4 servings

I made this spinach "salad" to have with the chicken and it was great!

Mixed Herb "Salad"
Cooking Light

16 cups torn spinach (about 3/4 pound)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped black olives (I used Kalamata)
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (I used about half that)

Steam half of spinach in a Dutch oven, covered, 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Place steamed spinach in a medium bowl; repeat procedure with remaining spinach. Wipe pan with paper towels.
Add oil to pan; place over medium heat until hot. Add parsley, cilantro, and garlic; saute 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in spinach, olives, and remaining ingredients. Serve warm.

4 servings

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Potato-Goat Cheese Gratin

This was a little time consuming to make, but it was worth it. Thin slices of tender potatoes, layered with creamy goat cheese and sweet leeks, all buried under a crisp breadcrumb topping. I mean, really, what's not to like? :)

Potato-Goat Cheese Gratin (adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced leeks
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 1/4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch thick sliced
Cooking Spray
4 ounces (about 1 cup) crumbled goat cheese
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-low. Stir in leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the milk and the flour. Pour in the remaining milk, and whisk in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic until combined.

Arrange half of the potato slices in a 2 quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Scatter the top with the cooked leeks and crumbled goat cheese. Pour half the milk mixture on top. Arrange the remaining potatoes over the top, and then add the rest of the milk mixture. Cover the pan with foil and place into the oven to bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl. Scatter it onto the potatoes and continue to bake, uncovered, until the topping has browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

4 main dish or 8 side dish servings

Monday, May 4, 2009

Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans, and Rice

I really, really loved this tilapia recipe! The creamy black beans, sweet pineapple, and slightly spicy salsa (I used mild mixed with just a bit a medium) mixed in with the rice went perfectly with the citrus-flavored fish.

Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans, and Rice
Ingrid Hoffmann,

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (5 to 7-ounce) tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry
2 cups jarred or homemade tomato salsa
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
(I added some paprika sprinkled on top for some color)
2 limes, thinly sliced

Combine the rice and chicken broth in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, oil, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, the garlic, and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Add the tilapia fillets to the marinade, turning to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

Stir together the cooked rice, salsa, beans, pineapple, and remaining 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a 2 or 3-quart baking dish. Remove the tilapia from the marinade, reserve the marinade, and lay the fish fillets over the rice mixture, overlapping if necessary. Pour the reserved marinade over the fish. Shingle the lime slices over the fish. Bake until the fish flakes easily, is opaque, and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.

4 servings