Monday, March 24, 2008

Asain Chicken Salad

From My Kitchen Cafe (adapted from The Dinner Doctor)
Make 4 - 6 servings

Photo courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe

1 package (3 ounces) oriental-flavor ramen noodle soup mix (I often use two packages of the noodles to give my kids more crunch to eat - at 14 cents a pop, I figure I can afford the splurge)
½ cup pre-sliced almonds
¾ cup bottled red wine vinaigrette (or make your own following the simple recipe below)
1/2 package (16 ounces) coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw mix (I use the broccoli slaw)
1 package romaine lettuce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
2 scallions, both white and light green parts, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Break up the ramen noodles with your hands and place them and the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the noodles and almonds turn light brown, 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the red wine vinaigrette into a measuring cup (or make your own with the recipe below) and stir in the packet of seasoning from the ramen noodle soup mix. Set the salad dressing aside. Place the slaw mix (I only use 1/2 bag), romaine lettuce, chicken, cilantro and scallions in a large serving bowl.

Toss to combine the ingredients well. Just before serving, pour the salad dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Scatter the toasted almonds and noodles on top and serve.

Homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette

Whisk together:
¾ cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon black pepper
Ramen noodles seasoning packet


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Quinoa and Zucchini Salad

From 101 Cookbooks
Makes 4 - 6 servings


1 large avocado, ripe
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 large eggs
1 large zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch thick coins
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
2 cups quinoa, cooked, room temperature
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup goat cheese (or feta cheese), crumbled
a bit of chopped cilantro for garnish


Prepare the cilantro-avocado dressing by blending the avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, yogurt, water, and salt in a blender (or us a hand blender). Set aside.

Hard boil the three eggs. Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by a 1/2-inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Now turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking place them in the ice bath for three minutes or so - long enough to stop the cooking. Set aside.

While the eggs are cooling start preparing the zucchini by tossing it with olive oil and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Prepare your grill (medium-high heat). If you are worried about the zucchini coins falling through the grill you can thread them onto kabob skewers (stab through the green skin). Grill until zucchini are tender and cooked through, roughly 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and cut each zucchini coin into quarters. If you don't grill, you can saute the zucchini as well.

Crack and peel each egg, cut each egg into quarters lengthwise. Assemble the salad by tossing the quinoa with about 2/3 cups of the avocado vinaigrette. Top with the grilled zucchini, pine nuts, eggs, goat cheese, and a bit of chopped cilantro for garnish. I serve this family-style, but you could do individual platings.

***Benefits of quinoa: Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and followed in third place by maize. In contemporary times this crop has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete food. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest. (source)***



Sunday, March 16, 2008

BBQ Pork for Sandwiches

From AllRepices
Makes 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes


1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
3 pounds boneless pork ribs
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce

6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
Extra barbecue sauce for dressing


  1. Pour can of beef broth into slow cooker, and add boneless pork ribs. Cook on High heat for 4 hours, or until meat shreds easily. Remove meat, and shred with two forks. It will seem that it's not working right away, but it will.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Transfer the shredded pork to a Dutch oven or iron skillet, and stir in barbeque sauce.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Great with Tasty Buns recipe and Sweet Potato Fries.

Some notes from the reviews: I followed a previous reviewer and added 1 tsp. liquid smoke to the slow cooker. Next time I may add a little more for a "smokier" taste.

This is SO EASY! You can use roast instead of ribs. Put the roast and broth in the crock pot for about 6-8 hours. Then take the meat out and shred it with a fork. Add your favorite bottled sauce and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes. This is perfect if you know you're going to have a busy day and won't want to cook dinner later. Just buy some baked beans and potato salad or chips and you have an easy dinner!

I made my own barbecue sauce from a Taste Of Home recipe i have for pork ribs. Plain bottled sauce seemed like it wouldn't taste good. The recipe i used for the sauce is: 1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup ketchup 1/4 cup chili sauce 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp chopped onions 1 tbsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp ground mustard 1 clove garlic, minced dash cayenne pepper Combine all sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.


Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic and Herbs

From Epicurious

Makes 4 servings


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-wide slices, then again into 1/2-inch-wide strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley (or dried)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 garlic clove, minced


Preheat oven to 500°F. Spray large baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Toss sweet potatoes with oil in large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer sweet potatoes to platter. Mix parsley, thyme and garlic in small bowl. Sprinkle over sweet potatoes.


Tasty Buns (homemade hamburger buns)

From AllRecipes
Makes 12 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes


5 cups all-purpose flour
2 (.25 ounce) packages dry yeast
1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt


  1. Stir together 2 cups flour and the yeast. In a separate bowl, heat milk, water, oil, sugar and salt to lukewarm in microwave. Add all at once to the flour mixture, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  2. Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough, 2 to 3 cups. Mix well. Dust a flat surface with flour, turn dough out onto floured surface, and let rest under bowl for about 10 minutes.
  3. Shape dough into 12 slightly flat balls, and place on greased baking sheet to rise until doubled in size.
  4. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
*Note: Read the comments on the AllRecipes link for great ideas. Sesame Seeds are optional.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quick Balsamic Chicken

Serves 2


tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup diced red or orange bell pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup low-salt, nonfat chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sautee until onion becomes clear and garlic is aromatic. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on both sides of each chicken breast and brown, cooking about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper, mushrooms, oregano, and thyme before flipping chicken. Once browned, remove chicken and vegetables to a rimmed cookie sheet or baking dish, and finish cooking in the middle of the oven, about 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, add balsamic vinegar to the hot pan and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add chicken broth and stir to release all the browned bits. Season pan sauce to taste, and once chicken is done, briefly toss in the pan with vegetables and accumulated juices to coat. Serve. You can serve over brown rice, couscous or on top of mixed greens.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Funky Chicken with Sesame Noodles


I loved the chicken part of this recipe, though I did modify it a bit in the way I prepared it. I cubed the chicken and then marinated it. I put almost all of the marinade in the large skillet with the chicken and cooked it on high. The marinade kind of carmelized and made a nice sauce as it reduced.

The noodles were a bit strong for me. The sesame oil was a bit much and was a stronger flavor than I expected. The next time I make this I will drastically reduce the amount of sesame oil I use in the recipe. I also substitued Splenda for the sugar, which worked great.


Sesame Noodles
1 lb spaghettini (get the thinnest spaghetti you can find)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup sugar
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Funky Chicken
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts sesame oil, for sauteeing


First make the sesame noodes:
Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.
In a jar, add the soy sauce, sesame oil and the sugar.
Shake until well blended and the sugar has dissolved.
Pour this over the pasta.
Toss with scallions and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
Set aside while you marinate and then cook the chicken.

Funkying the chicken:
In a bowl mix the soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, garlic, brown sugar and the ginger.
Make sure the sugar has pretty much dissolved.
Add the chicken, making sure it's all coated with the sauce.
Cover and stick in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, and toss out the marinade left at the bottom of the bowl.
Heat the sesame oil in a large non-stick pan.
Add the chicken in batches and saute for about 10 minutes, or until done, adding more sesame oil as needed.
Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool slightly.
Slice the chicken diagonally into thin strips.
Serve the chicken over the sesame noodles.

(recipe source - recipe zaar)


Balsamic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

From Eating Well
Makes 4 servings (about 1 cup each)
Total Time: 35 minutes

8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower (about 1 large head)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper. Roast on a large rimmed baking sheet until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Beef and Barley Soup


Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes; SLOW COOK 4 hours on HIGH, 7-1/2 hours on LOW

lb. chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
medium-size carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
large onion, chopped
ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
Tbs. tomato paste
cups low sodium beef broth
can (14.5 ounces) petite cut diced tomatoes (such as Del Monte)
tsp. tried thyme
cup barley
tsp. salt
tsp. black pepper


1. In a stovetop safe 5 to 6-quart slow cooker, place bowl over medium-high heat on stove. Add meat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until browned on all sides; remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Place carrots and onion in slow cooker bowl and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until browned. Add mushrooms and cook for another 7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove bowl from stove and place in slow cooker.

3. Add beef, broth, tomatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme to slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 71/2 hours. Stir in barley for last 50 minutes of cooking time. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon thyme, salt and pepper immediately before serving.