20th July 2007

Warm Chicken and Pasta Salad

Tonight Lisa made this recipe, the first from a new cookbook we recently spotted in the Bargain Books section: Fitness Food. This cookbook presents recipes that have been “specially developed for active people”; to us it just looks like a nice collection of well-balanced, healthy recipes. I’m sure we’ll be making more from this book over the next few weeks. We used a little less asparagus than the recipe called for, and next time we’ll use a few more cherry tomatoes. We both really enjoyed this one.

Warm Chicken and Pasta Salad
1 lb 10 oz orange sweet potatoes, cut into 3/4″ cubes
9 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
cooking spray
2 7-oz boneless skinless chicken breast fillets
2 bunches slender asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
13 oz macaroni (we used whole-wheat rigatoni)
14 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 handfuls arugula leaves
3 tbs fat-free french dressing

Preheat an oven to 400. Place the sweet potato at one end of a large nonstick baking dish and the tomatoes at the other end, cut-side down. Lightly spray with oil and bake for 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove the tomatoes after 30 minutes.
Preheat a grill over high heat. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into ice water. Drain. Return the water to a boil and cook the pasta for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and keep warm.
Slice the chicken into 1/2″ thick strips and place in a large bowl with the vegetables, beans, pasta, and arugula and toss until combined. Add the dressing to the salad and toss until well combined. Season to taste and serve.

6 Servings.

posted in Fitness Food, Main Dishes | 0 Comments

18th July 2007

Orange-Marinated Grilled Chicken with Smoky Tomato Salsa and Green Rice

Tonight we tag-teamed dinner, with Lisa making a cilantro-tomatillo rice while I took care of the chicken and salsa. The recipes were from two different sources, but went really, really well with each other. We loved the smoky tomato salsa, it was excellent with both the chicken and the rice. The grilled chicken recipe is from Healthy Latin Cooking, and the Green Rice is from Cooking Light. We cut both of the recipes in half to serve 2.

Also, hooray! Our 50th post!

Orange-Marinated Grilled Chicken with Smoky Tomato Salsa
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)
salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

2 large tomatoes
1 small onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic
2 canned chipotle peppers
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 tbsp lime juice
salt and ground pepper

4 sprigs cilantro

Chicken and Marinade: Season each chicken breast with salt and pepper, and place in a 13″x9″ baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, and oil (if using). Whisk and pour over chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 60 minutes.

Salsa: While the chicken is marinating, preheat the grill over high heat. Place the tomatoes, onions, and garlic on the grill and roast, turning occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the skins are charred and blistered. (Skewer the garlic to keep them from falling through the grate. Transfer to a plate to cool. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, peel off most, but not all, of the burnt skin. (The few pieces of charred skin left will add a nice flavor.) In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chipotle peppers. Puree until smooth. Stir in the chopped cilantro and 2 tbsps of the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, add more lime juice to taste. Let cool to room temperature.

Assemble and cook: Just before serving, preheat the grill to high heat. Grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side or until done. Spoon one-quarter of the salsa in a pool on each of 4 plates. Place a grilled chicken breast in the center of each and garnish with a cilantro sprig.

Green Rice
6 large tomatillos (about 3/4 lb)
2 tbsp water
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
4 tsp minced seeded jalapeno peppers
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups uncooked long grain rice

Discard husks and stems from the tomatillos. Cook the tomatillos in boiling water in a medium saucepan for 4 minutes or until soft; drain. Combine the tomatillos and 2 teaspoons water in a blender and process until smooth. Pour the tomatillo mixture into a 4 cup glass measure, and add enough water to mixture to measure 2& 1/2 cups. Combine the tomatillo mixture, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and garlic in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add rice; cover mixture, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and fluff with fork.

posted in Cooking Light, Healthy Latin Cooking, Main Dishes | 0 Comments

16th July 2007

Fattoush with Grilled Shrimp

The temperatures in Seattle have finally cooled a bit, but inside the house it’s still pretty warm — so we’re still on a “how can we cook without heating up the kitchen” kick. Tonight we made fattoush, a Lebanese/Syrian salad that features a variety of veggies and toasted pita bread — but with a twist. We started with the basic recipe found in Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine, but in order to make it more of a main course rather than a side dish, we tossed it with chopped grilled lemon-pepper shrimp. It worked quite well with the lemon-sumac-herb dressing; that entire bowl was gone in just a few minutes!

Fattoush with Grilled Shrimp
2 large arabic pitas
8 large romaine leaves
1 cup chopped parsley
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices, halved
3 medium tomatoes, cubed
4 green onions, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 small onion, sliced, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp sumac
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp mint
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
lemon-pepper seasoning

In a large salad bowl, tear lettuce into small pieces. Add the choppeed parsley, green pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and onion. Toss.
To prepare the dressing, whisk together the garlic, sumac, oregano, mint, olive oil, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside.
Prepare grill on high heat. Arrange shrimp on a grill rack or broiler pan and shake lemon-pepper seasoning over the shrimp. Spray with cooking spray. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes or until done. Lower grill to a low flame and toast pita bread until it is crispy. Remove from grill and break the pita into 1-2 inch pieces.
To assemble the salad, roughly chop the warm shrimp, reserving 3 or 4 whole for garnish. Add the chopped shrimp to the salad, then toss with the dressing. Finally, add the broken pita bread and toss once more. Top with the reserved whole shrimp. Serve immediately.

Makes 2-3 very generous portions.

posted in Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 0 Comments

15th July 2007

Ahi Burgers & Grilled Stuffed Portobellos

We were short on time to prepare dinner tonight, so we had Ahi Tuna Burgers from Whole Foods, and found a good onion salsa recipe to garnish it (along with some wasabi mayo!), and a grilled portobello recipe as a side. We also grilled some bell peppers, green onions, and tomato. We heart grilled veggies.

Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
2/3 cup chopped plum tomato
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh or 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 (5-inch) portobello mushroom caps
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Prepare grill.
Combine the tomato, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon oil, rosemary, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl.
Remove brown gills from the undersides of mushroom caps using a spoon, and discard gills. Remove stems; discard. Combine 1/2 teaspoon oil, juice, and soy sauce in a small bowl; brush over both sides of mushroom caps. Place the mushroom caps, stem sides down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 5 minutes on each side or until soft.
Spoon 1/4 cup tomato mixture into each mushroom cap. Cover and grill 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 4

Onion Salsa
2 cups chopped Maui onion (or other sweet onion)
1/2 cup minced scallions
1/4 cup pickled ginger, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Mix all ingredients, place in bowl in refrigerator to allow flavors to mix.

posted in Main Dishes | 0 Comments

12th July 2007

Nicaraguan Churrasco

Our main dish tonight was this grilled beef tenderloin, with chimichurri sauce and grilled sweet onions. Tender, highly flavorful, and surprisingly quick. Both the steak and chimichurri recipes are from Healthy Latin Cuisine.

Nicaraguan Grilled Beef Tenderloin
1 lb beef tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp sherry
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
4 large sweet onions, cut crosswise into 1/2″-thick slices
1/2 cup chimichurri (recipe below)

Lay the beef on a cutting board with the long side facing you. Holding a sharp knife parallel to the board, cut the beef through the side lengthwise into 4 flat, even slices. Place each slice between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with the side of a cleaver to a thickness of 1/4″. Season each slice with salt and pepper and place in a 13″x9″ baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the thinly sliced onions, parsley, garlic, sherry, bay leaves, and red-wine vinegar. Mix, and pour over the meat. Cover and marinate for 15 minutes, turning once.
Preheat the grill to high.
Coat the sweet onions with nonstick spray. Place on a grill tray and grill for 4 minutes per side, or until nicely browned. Turn carefully with a metal spatula. Transfer to a platter.
Drain the beef and discard the marinade. Grill the beef for 2 minutes per side for medium-rare, or slightly longer for medium. Arrange the beef on top of the onions, top with chimichurri.

4 servings

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 small onion, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
4-8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3-5 tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red-pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, starting with just 3 tbsp of the vinegar. Whisk to mix. The sauce should be highly seasoned; add more salt and vinegar, if desired. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

2 cups

posted in Healthy Latin Cooking, Main Dishes | 1 Comment