Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hoisin Shrimp Broccoli

Needed to jot this down before it got lost in the kitchen! I tore this recipe out of "Healthy Cooking" magazine and had it on the counter along with a big stack of recipes that I want to try. I made a few changes to suit our tastes and to bump up the veggie factor (marked with a *). It was tasty!

We had it over brown rice, cooked in some chicken broth to give it some ooomph, and a spicy cucumber salad (cut up cuke and sliced onion tossed with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, mirin and rice vinegar).

Hoisin Shrimp Broccoli
(Source: Healthy Cooking - tasteofhome.com/healthycooking)

1 T cornstarch
1/3 C chicken broth
1 T soy sauce*
2 T hoisin sauce*
1 tsp sesame oil
3 C fresh broccoli florets
1 C sliced mushrooms*
1/2 C onion, cut into a large dice*
1 serrano chili pepper, minced*
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 T minced fresh ginger*
1 lb cooked shrimp (it called for raw, but this is what I had in the freezer)
2 C hot cooked rice

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and broth until smooth. Stir in soy sauce, hoisin and sesame oil. Set aside

In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat 1 tsp canola oil. Add broccoli, onion, mushrooms, chili pepper and stir-fry until crisp tender (a few minutes). Add garlic, ginger and stir fry for an additional few minutes. Add shrimp, stir-fry until heated thru. At this point, I also added an extra tsp of sesame oil and a little sprinkle of salt because it needed a little something.

Stir in cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve over rice.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Whipped cannellini Beans

This is one of my favorite side dishes. I happened upon a variation of this a couple of years ago, and then, when we first went on South Beach, it turned out to be a perfect side dish. It has endless possibilities for tasty variations by using different beans, broths, different veggies, etc.

Whipped Cannellini Beans
1 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 C broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is tender. Add beans, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes, or until liquid is almost evaporated. Transfer to the food processor, and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning.

Halibut Kabobs

This was a recipe that used up some fish from the freezer and veggies from the fridge that needed to go. It was super easy to put together, and cooked quickly...which is always a plus on a weeknight! Served with whole wheat orzo mixed with mushrooms - that were sauteed with garlic, wine and parsley - and a tablespoon of parmesan cheese.

3 T extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 T fresh parsley, minced
1 t minced garlic
8 oz halibut or other meaty whitefish suitable for grilling; cut into 1 inch cubes

1 small zucchini, rinsed and ends trimmed; cut lengthwise and slice into 1/2 inch slices
1 C grape tomatoes, rinsed
1 bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 package 6 or 8-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and oregano, parsley and garlic. Add halibut, zucchini, pepper, onion, tomatoes, toss until well coated. Let marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Sidenote: since the peppers, zucchini and onion need to cook longer than the fish and tomatoes...I skewered them seperately from the fish/tomatoes and put them on the grill for a few minutes earlier than the rest.

Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill skewers and baste with remaining marinade, turning once after several minutes on the first side, until fish is just cooked through but not flaking apart, about 7 to 9 minutes total. Serve immediately.

Baked Eggs in Bacon Cups

A super easy and quick breakfast...what can be better in the mornings than eggs and bacon, right?!?!?! I don't remember where I saw this recipe...probably online somewhere....but it's basically 2 ingredients, and goes together in a flash.
I had extra slices of pancetta that I baked along with the eggs, check out how it curled up and looks like a flower!

Baked Eggs in Bacon Cups
(serves 2)

8 slices pancetta (use can use canadian bacon to be south beach diet friendly)
4 eggs
Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 4 cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray. Line each of the sprayed cups with 2 slices of pancetta. Crack and egg into each cup. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until set.

Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers

In the summer, I like to stock up on hot banana peppers. Aren't they pretty??? They are so good chopped up in sauces, roasted in a little olive oil, sauteed with onions for hot sausage sandwiches, or stuffed and baked.
Our favorite is to stuff them with a mixture of hot turkey sausage, cheeses, and spices...cover them with marinara sauce and baked them until they are bubbly and delicious.

Here's my recipe, well sort of. Its one of things that I toss together, I don't really measure.
Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers in Marinara Sauce
(Source: me!)

4 banana peppers (washed, topped trimmed, sliced open, and seeds/ribs removed)
2 links of hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1/3 C Italian cheese blend (parmesan, asiago, romano)
1 tsp minced garlic
salt, pepper
1 C marinara sauce
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix sausage, cheese and spices and mix until just blended. Divide evenly between peppers. Place peppers in a baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray. Top with marinara sauce. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbly.
Another delish dish for the South Beach Diet! I actually found the recipe on a Weight Watchers message board.

I used some veal scalloppini that we had in the freezer and added sliced shallot, some hot banana peppers from the farmers market and some sliced mushrooms. To make this Phase I friendly, we had this over steamed spaghetti squash seasoned with salt, pepper and some garlic.

Pan-Seared Veal with Capers, Lemon and Artichokes
(Source: Weight Watchers Message Board)

1 sprays olive oil cooking spray
1 pound lean veal loin, boneless chops, four 4 oz pieces
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth, reduced-sodium
14 oz canned artichoke hearts, without oil, drained and halved
2 Tbsp capers, drained
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 tsp dried oregano
4 Tbsp parsley, fresh, chopped

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. Season both sides of veal chops with salt and pepper. Add veal to hot pan and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. At this point, I removed the veal and kept in on a plate, tented with foil. I sauteed the banana peppers, mushrooms, and shallot in the pan until soft.

Add broth, artichoke hearts, capers, lemon juice and oregano to pan, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until veal is cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and add parsley. Serve hot. Yields about 3 ounces of veal and 1/2 cup of artichoke mixture per serving.
On South Beach, we are trying to make a serious effort to cut out packaged, processed foods. So since the chili that I normally make includes a packet of chili seasoning, I tried this recipe that is basically from scratch. We found it to be very underseasoned, so we ended up tossing in a ton of extra seasonings, and since this was over a month ago...I can't remember what all we added! But I wanted to at least post the basic recipe so that next time I have a jumping off point and can edit it with all of the additions.

Two-Bean Chili Con Carne

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 tablespoons chili powder (we may have doubled this)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, finely chopped (I added this)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with juices
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef, 1 tablespoon of the chili powder, and cayenne. Cook, stirring to break up meat, about 5 minutes, or until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a plate.

Add pepper, onion, garlic, oregano, and remaining 1 tablespoon chili powder to the same saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, then add diced tomatoes and their juices, black beans, pinto beans, and tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, add cooked beef, and cook over medium heat until chili thickens, about 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 4 (generous 1 1/2-cup) servings

Nutrition at a GlancePer serving: 406 calories, 11 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 35 g protein, 38 g carbohydrate, 12 g fiber, 639 mg sodium
This recipe can also be prepared for Phase 1 meals.

Ginger-Dijon Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Another tasty South Beach recipe. Sorry no pics!

You know...you do eat REALLY well on this diet, lol. I don't think I was ever hungry at all during the first 2 weeks (Phase I). We had this with some steamed green beans and whipped cannellini beans.

Ginger-Dijon Glazed Pork Tenderloin

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 pounds pork loin
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together mustard, sour cream, ginger, thyme, and a pinch of salt; set aside. Make several 1/4-inch slits in pork loin. Slip garlic into slits. Brush loin with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add pork loin and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat.

Spread mustard mixture over pork, then transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until a meat thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150 degrees, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the pork to a cutting board; loosely cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Nutrition at a Glance Per serving: 267 calories, 11 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 38 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 327 mg sodium

Peanut Butter Delight

This is a recipe that I found online that was perfect for Phase I of the South Beach Diet. It's sweet...it's creamy...it's PEANUT BUTTER...what's not to like, right??? I topped mine with a little fat free whipped topping and a little drizzle of sugar-free chocolate syrup. But it's just as good on its own.

Peanut Butter Delight

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
1 T natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 packet sugar substitute (I used Truvia)

In a blender, process all ingredients until smooth; chill and serve.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Sage Sauce

I've made this a few times now, and it's so good! It's a recipe I found via Google Reader on a yummy blog called Simply Recipes. The terrible pic to the left shows it served with grilled zucchini and brown rice. If you want a gorgeous pic, be sure to check out Elise's blog!

Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Sage Sauce
(Source: Simply Recipes)

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
8-10 ounces mushrooms, cremini or shitake, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (light cream may curdle, so use heavy cream)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pieces pounded to an even 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch thickness
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add shallots and sauté for one minute. Add mushrooms and parsley and sauté for 5-10 more minutes, until the mushrooms have browned. If you are using unsalted butter, sprinkle on a pinch of salt. Add vermouth and deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits that may be sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cream. Bring to a boil and cook the sauce down until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 10 minutes).

While the sauce is reducing, heat olive oil in another large sauté pan on medium high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the chicken breast cutlets. Add cutlets to pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through.

Stir in sage to sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken to serve.

Serve alone (for low carb version) or with rice, mashed potatoes, or pasta (use gluten-free for gluten-free version). We used bow-tie pasta which worked great. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Serves 4

The Cherry Chomper (and some chocolate chip panckes)

I love kitchen gadgets!

I saw this in the store one day...the same day I was buying fresh cherries...it was fate! Seriously, how cute is it? Probably made for kids, but that's ok. It was

Not exactly an efficient gadget, but it does give you the chance to bang out some frustrations. It's a little messy - or maybe that was the cook? - as the juicy evidence in this picture illustrates.
The freshly pitted cherries were served along side some whole wheat pancakes laced with some caramel-chocolate chips, and a few slices of bacon.
The pancakes are from a mix. Hodgson Mills makes a great whole wheat pancake mix. All you need is to stir in some milk and an egg and whatever fun stuff you want to add and you're good to go!

2009 Ficco 4th of July Party Desserts

I was in charge of making desserts for my family's annual 4th of July party. I picked a bunch of fun things to make and take with me...a little something for everyone!

The line up...
Zesty Lemon Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Mix the above ingredients together until creamy.
3 cups all-purpose flour (I ran out of regular flour, so I ended up using 2 C white flour and 1 C whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
zest from ½ a medium Meyer lemon (I used regular lemon)
Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and zest together. Combine with the butter mixture. If too dry, add mile, one tablespoon at a time until dough forms.
Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place unbaked cookies on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F. until lightly browned, about 6-7 minutes. (If dough sticks while rolling, refrigerate briefly). Remove from oven when done, cool on baking sheet a minute, then cool on cake rack until fully cooled.
After cookies have cooled, can be frosted and decorated as desired.

Lemon Glaze
Zest from ½ a lemon
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
juice from Meyer lemon, heated for one minute in the microwave

Place zest and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl. Whisk in a little of the lemon juice. Add dribbles of the juice until a glaze is formed. If too thin, add a little more sugar; if too thick whisk in more lemon juice. Reserve left over juice for another use. Using small offset spatula, ice tops of each cookie. Set on cake rack to dry.

Oreo Rice Krispy Treats
Just your basic recipe, kicked up a notch....
4 T butter
10 oz mini marshmallows
6 C rice krispies
1 bag of mini Oreos
In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal and oreos. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares.
Mounds Angel Food Cupcakes (pic disappeared into the depths of my computer)
1 box of just-add-water angel food cake mix (prepare as directed on box EXCEPT replace 1 T of water with coconut extract)
1/3 C shredded coconut
1/3 C mini chocolate chips
3 T cocoa powder
Fill paper cupcake liners 1/2 full with batter. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
In the interest of time, I mixed a tub of whipped vanilla icing with some coconut extract and shredded coconut. I put a dollop on top of each cupcake along with a few chocolate chips.

Red/White/Blue Birthday Cake
We celebrate the family's summer birthdays over the fourth of July. My 3 nieces are the lucky summer b-day girls! I let them help me decorate the cake.
Basically I used 2 boxes of plain white boxed cake mix (prepared with the directions on the box)...and stirred in a bottle of food coloring in each, and baked as directed. I iced the giant cake using an icing made of cool-whip and pudding mix (1 box of cheesecake flavored pudding mix, 1.5 cups cold water...mix well, fold in a container of cool whip).