29th July 2007

    Moussaka with Chickpea Salad

    Tonight, via Fitness Food, is this low-fat version of the Greek standard. Calories are reduced by grilling the eggplant slices instead of frying them, and when preparing the white sauce eggs are omitted, and lowfat/nonfat milk and cheese are used instead of their full-fat counterparts. The flavors were dead-on, and the portions were generous. We’ll definitely make this one again.

    Moussaka with Chickpea Salad
    —————————-
    2 lb 4 oz eggplant
    oil spray
    2 onions, finely chopped
    3 large cloves garlic, crushed
    1/2 tsp ground allspice
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 lb 2 oz lean ground lamb
    2 tbsp tomato paste
    1/2 cup red wine
    2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
    3 tbsp chopped parsley
    3 1/2 oz low-fat Cheddar, shredded
    3/4 oz butter
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups skim milk
    2/3 cup low-fat ricotta
    pinch nutmeg
    15 oz can chickpeas
    1/2 red onion
    3 handfuls baby arugula
    2 tbsp fat free greek dressing

    Preheat a grill on high heat. Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Spray with cooking oil and grill for 4 minutes on each side or until golden.
    Heat a large non-stick saucepan and spray with the oil. Cook the onions for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, allspice, and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute. Add the lamb and cook 3-4 minutes or until cooked. Add the tomato paste, wine, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the parsley and season to taste.
    While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 350F and prepare the white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and stir constantly until the sauce boils and thickens. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the ricotta and nutmeg until smooth and season to taste.
    Spoon half the meat sauce over the base of a 13″ x 9″ pan. Cover with half of the eggplant. Spoon over the remaining meat sauce and cover with the remaining eggplant. Spread the white sauce over the top layer and top with the shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
    To make the chickpea salad, rinse and drain the chickpeas. Cut the onion into thin wedges. Put the arugula, onion, and chickpeas in a bowl. Add the dressing, season with salt and pepper and toss until well combined.

    Serves 6.

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    posted in Fitness Food, Main Dishes | 0 Comments

    27th July 2007

    Turkey Picadillo on Plantain "Surfboards"

    Another delicious, low-fat recipe from Healthy Latin Cooking — in this one, the ground beef in traditional picadillo is replaced with ground turkey. I was a little skeptical with the inclusion of raisins, but it worked really well. Lisa’s not a huge fan of green olives, capers, OR raisins, but she was singing the praises of this dish all night. We placed the picadillo on plantain “surfboards”: plantains boiled, then rolled out flat and baked until crisp on the outside. The recipe specifies to do the plantains one at a time, but I was able to do 2 by temporarily using a third pan when flipping them over.

    Plantain “Surfboards”
    ———————
    4 green plantains, peeled
    6 cups chicken stock or water
    1 tbsp olive oil
    salt

    Preheat the oven to 400. Coat 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray.
    In a large pot over high heat, combine the plantains and stock or water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the plantains for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain.
    Place a plantain between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Gently flatten it by tapping with a rolling pin. Roll it out to form a large flat oval about 12″ long, 5″ wide, and 1/8″ thick. (If the ends break apart, push them together with your fingers.) Slide the plantain onto the back of a prepared baking sheet. Lift off the top sheet of plastic wrap. Lightly brush the plantain with some of the oil and season with salt. Place another baking sheet on top, bottom side up. Invert the plantain onto it. Peel off the other piece of plastic wrap, brush the plantain with oil, and season with salt.
    Bake, turning once, for 20 minutes, or until crisp and lightly browned. (To flip, place a baking sheet on top, then invert the plantain onto it.) Transfer to a large serving plate. Repeat with the remaining plantains.

    Makes 4

    Turkey Picadillo
    —————-
    1 1/2 lbs ground turkey breast
    1/2 tsp cumin
    salt and ground black pepper
    1 tbsp olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
    1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped
    8 pimiento-stuffed green olives, finely chopped
    1/4 cup dark raisins
    3 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
    1 tbsp caper juice
    3/4 cup dry white wine
    1 tbsp tomato paste

    In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, cumin, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp black pepper. Mix well with a spoon and let stand for 5 minutes.
    Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, or until the onions are just beginning to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Crumble the turkey into the skillet. Cook, breaking up the turkey with a spoon, for 3 minutes or until it starts to turn white.
    Stir in the olives, raisins, and capers. Cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the caper juice, wine, and tomato paste and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 6-8 minutes or until the turkey is tender and no longer pink in the center and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with more salt, pepper, and cumin, if desired.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Healthy Latin Cooking, Main Dishes | 2 Comments

    24th July 2007

    Guilt-Free Fish & Chips

    Who knew you could make “healthy” fish and chips? Other than some cooking spray, there’s no oil at all in this recipe from Fitness Food. We made this with “true cod” from Whole Foods, though any firm white fish would work well in this recipe. We also had different potatoes than listed below, but other than that made the recipe as shown. Lisa sez: “I [heart] this a lot!”

    Guilt-Free Fish & Chips
    ———————–
    4 large pontiac potatoes, unpeeled
    cooking spray
    1 tsp sea salt
    1 egg white
    1 tbsp soda water
    1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
    all-purpose flour
    4 x 5 /12 oz firm white fish fillets
    lemon wedges

    “Cheat’s” Tartar Sauce
    ———————-
    2/3 cup light mayo
    1 shallot, finely chopped
    1 tbsp finely chopped gherkins
    1 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed finely chopped
    1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
    2 tsp lemon juice

    Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into wedges. Place the wedges on a nonstick baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 35-45 minutes or until evenly golden and crisp, turning halfway through cooking.
    Meanwhile, place the egg white and soda water in a shallow dish and whisk until frothy. Put the breadcrumbs in a second shallow dish. Lightly dust the fish with the flour. Dip each fillet into the egg white mixture, then coat in the crumbs, shaking off any excess. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes while the potatoes are cooking.
    To make the tartar sauce, combine all the ingredients, cover, and refrigerate.
    Ten minutes before the potatoes are cooked, spray a nonstick frying pan with the cooking spray, then heat over medium-high. Cook the fish fillets for 4-5 minutes on each side or until evenly browned and cooked through. Serve the fish and chips with the tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

    4 Servings

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    23rd July 2007

    Bizarre Recipes Vol. 1, No. 1: Baked Sweet Potatoes Mexicana

    Lisa was browsing through Fitness Food and found this pretty odd recipe: a baked sweet potato covered with ground beef and salsa. Bizarre? Yep! We liked all the ingredients separately, however, so there was a pretty good chance it’d taste good together… and it did. The sweet of the potatoes was a nice contrast to the spicy salsa, and the corn on the cob we had on the side was well worth the flossing effort later on.

    Baked Sweet Potatoes Mexicana
    —————————–
    4 7-oz orange sweet potatoes
    oil spray
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1 onion, finely chopped
    9 oz lean ground beef
    10 1/2 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    1 tbs tomato paste
    11 1/2 oz jar salsa
    light sour cream

    Preheat the oven to 400. Prick the sweet potatoes a few times with a skewer. Bake on the oven rack for 40 minutes or until cooked through.
    Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pan to medium. Lightly spray with the oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Add the beef and cook, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until browned. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in the kidney beans, tomato paste, and salsa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
    Make a deep cut along the top of each cooked sweet potato. Divide the mixture among them and top with a dollop of sour cream.

    4 Servings.

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    posted in Fitness Food, Main Dishes | 2 Comments

    21st July 2007

    Jalapeño Chicken Salad

    We had a grilled chicken breast left over from last night’s pasta, and I’m a huge fan of chicken salad [shredded chicken, not cubed, please!], so I looked up recipes for a version that sounded a little different than the norm. I found this one on RecipeZaar; one bonus is that we had all the ingredients on hand from meals we made earlier in the week. It was just a little saltier than I would have liked (Lisa didn’t add a pinch, that should tell you something), but other than that it was a nice way to use up the chicken for a quick lunch. I’m looking for the perfect “classic” chicken salad recipe, so if anyone has any pointers, please leave them in the comments.

    We modified the recipe below to accommodate the amount of chicken we had on hand, but otherwise prepared it as written. I made mine on middle-eastern flatbread, Lisa used good old toasted whole-wheat bread.

    Jalapeño Chicken Salad
    ———————-
    2/3 cup light mayo
    1 tbsp lime juice
    3 cup cooked chicken, shredded
    1/2 medium celery rib, finely chopped
    1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
    1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
    2 tbsps fresh cilantro, chopped
    1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeno chilies, finely chopped
    salt and pepper

    Mix mayonnaise and lime juice in a small bowl until combined.
    Toss chicken, celery, onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and jalapeños in a large bowl.
    Add the mayonnaise mixture and toss until evenly coated.
    Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Serve or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

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