Monday, February 22, 2010

Thai Noodle Salad

I first discovered Thai food when I was living in New York. Brooklyn had some pretty amazing Thai restaurants with delicious food, spicy martinis, and beautiful ambiance. I was hooked after my first experience. The dishes that involved coconut milk, lemon grass or peanut sauce always kept me coming back for more. The food is simple with few ingredients usually, but it always tastes so good!

Since I can't fly to NY on a whim and eat at Planet Thailand in Williamsburg, it was time to recreate it without leaving my kitchen. By the way, you'll get 100% of your daily vitamin C with this dish! It's great cold the next day out of the fridge for lunch too.

Thai Noodle Salad
Recipe adapted by

6 oz. dried vermicelli (thin rice noodles)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 package of extra firm organic tofu (feel free to substitute this with chicken or shrimp)
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 red sweet pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
3 green onions, cut diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. sesame seeds for garnish
lime wedges for garnish

1. Place the tofu between two folded towels and place a heavy pot or pan on top of it for 10-20 minutes to release some of the water. Place tofu in terriayki or soy sauce marinade for a few minutes (or more if you have the time). Slice it in to cubes. Heat sesame oil in skillet on medium high heat and cook tofu until brown on all sides. About 5 minutes.

2. Cook vermicelli according to package instructions, drain and set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, combine soy sauce, broth, peanut butter, lime juice, ginger and crushed red pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until peanut butter is melted.

4. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat evenly

5. Stir in tofu, sweet red pepper, green onions and cilantro.

6. Serve with lime wedges.

*Note, you might want to double the recipe for the sauce. Though it was fine for us, I would have preferred a bit more sauce.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pumpkin Pasta

Once again, it was a last minute night for dinner. What are we going to have? I had a few options in my head, but I seemed to be missing one main ingredient for each meal I was hoping to make. So, I turned to the great Martha Stewart online and found this interesting and healthy dish. I wasn't too sure it was going to be tasty by reading the ingredients, I mean, baked pasta and NO cheese? Is she crazy? But we gave it a go and we were all impressed without any cheese (though I did put a little Parmesan on top before serving ; ). It's a filling meal packed with vitamins, fiber and protein. Owen had two bowls, which made me very happy!

Pumpkin Pasta
Recipe by Martha Stewart

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound gemelli pasta, cooked and drained (I used whole wheat Penne instead)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch (about 8 ounces) kale, thick stems removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces *I used 1/2 a bag of frozen spinach thawed and drained.
1 can (29 ounces) pumpkin puree, (not pumpkin-pie filling)
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons jarred sun-dried tomato pesto
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 cup unblanched almonds, sliced

1.Cook pasta, and drain; reserve. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add kale; cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, broth, and pesto, and nutritional yeast, if using; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

2.Toss pasta with pumpkin-kale mixture. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or eight individual dishes. Top with almonds. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.

3. Enjoy!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mamma's Frittata

Quiche is one of our favorite dishes, but it's loaded with fat and calories from the crust. With a frittata, you get all the good stuff a quiche has without the cream and fattening crust, and in half the time. This breakfast is a great way to start your day. It's fairly quick to make, tastes great, and it's full of veggies and protein. Feel free to use whatever vegetables or cheese you have around that need using.

Mamma's Frittata
8 eggs
1 Tb. butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black or white pepper
1-2 leeks, sliced (or you can use 1 small shallot, diced small)
5-6 small new potatoes, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, diced
8-10 asparagus spears diced
1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well (or use fresh if you can)
1 tsp. dried or fresh thyme
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated

Preheat oven to broil.
Melt butter in a large cast iron (or oven proof) skillet on medium heat.
Add potatoes, red peppers and shallots or leeks and saute for 3-5 minutes.
Place a lid on the skillet for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are firm but tender.
Meanwhile, mix the eggs and milk with seasonings and set aside. I put all of my ingredients and mixed it in the blender for a few seconds.
When the potatoes are done, add garlic to the skillet and saute for 1 minute.
Add the spinach and asparagus and saute for another few minutes.
Pour egg mixture over the vegetables and stir.
Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and cook for about 4 more minutes until the eggs start
to set.
Place in the broiler for 3-4 minutes until lightly brown and fluffy.
Let it rest for a few minutes, slice and serve.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mini Turkey Meat Loaves

This is probably the healthiest, yet best tasting turkey meat loaf I have had yet. I only cook chicken or turkey maybe once or twice every month, so when I do make it, I am always impressed when it actually turns out. My dear meat eating husband, Adam LOVED this recipe and asked me to post this one on the blog, so here it is.

Mini Turkey Meat Loaves

Recipe adapted from,

1/2 Cup Spinach, (thawed and drained if using frozen) chopped
1/2 Cup Onion, chopped
1/2 Cup Red and or yellow Bell Pepper
1/2 Cup Baby Carrots, chopped
1 Egg, beaten
1 Garlic Clove
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 pinch dried Rosemary
1 pinch dried Thyme
1 tsp. dried Basil
*1/2 Cup soft Bread Crumbs (I put a slice of whole wheat sourdough in the food processor to make mine) * To make this gluten free, you can replace the bread crumbs with ground rolled oats instead.
1/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese, white or orange, shredded
1/4 Cup Cottage Cheese
1.25 Lb. Ground Turkey (93% lean ground meat)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray a nonstick muffin tin with vegetable oil cooking spray or grease with oil.
3. Place all of the ingredients, except the turkey, in a food processor and pulse until everything is combined and the vegetables are in tiny pieces.
4. Place the ground turkey and vegetable mixture in a bowl and thoroughly combine (using your hands is the easiest way to do it).
5. Place meatloaf mixture in the muffin pans and pack down with a spoon.
6. Bake until the mini turkey loaves are cooked through or an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees F, about 40-50 minutes.
7. Cool and serve. We topped ours with organic ketchup, but is not necessary as this is really flavorful. Roasted and herbed Brussel sprouts and new potatoes were a nice side dish to this hearty meal.

Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

We go through a lot of apple sauce at home. I use it as a topping for waffles or pancakes, add it oatmeal or yogurt, or just eat it plain as a healthy snack. I was going to make baked apples for dessert last week, but ended up using pears instead, sooo those baking apples ended up in my crock pot a few days later and they turned into a delicious apple sauce.

Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

6-7 apples (I used tart granny smith from our local farmers market that were slightly damaged), peeled, cored and cubed.
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in crockpot. Turn on low for 4-6 hours. Remove cinnamon sticks and mash with a masher or a fork. Cool and enjoy!

Note: You can add a pinch of ground cinnamon to your liking.

Homemade Granola

This recipe was so easy, and by far the best granola I have ever had! I have been reading about this amazing bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn called "Baked" for a while now. I decided to get their cookbook at the local library and I think I may just have to buy this one. I love cooking, but I have really taken to baking lately. Just in the past 2 days I have made macaroons (with egg whites), lemon bars (with the egg yolks), and this granola. I am tempted to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies before the night is over as well. Keep your eyes peeled for more!

Easy Homemade Granola
Recipe adapted from, Baked, New Frontiers in Baking

2 cups roled oats
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tb vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole almonds (I used sliced)
1/3 cup raw cashews (or any nut you like)
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried apricots (chopped)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats and flax seeds with the cinnamon and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla. Wisk until combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands (A spoon was fine for me) to combine them until all the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the granola over with a metal spatula. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and flip over again and sprinkle the cashews over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reomve from the oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle with dried fruit and store it in an airtight container. It will keep for one week.

Serve with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit if you like.