Friday, August 17, 2007

Greek-Style Ravioli

  • 12 frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1/3 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 C canned diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic
  • 1 C fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 C sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/4 C crumbled feta cheese

1. Cook ravioli according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
3. Drain ravioli. Add the ravioli, spinach, and olives to the meat mixture; heat through. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

Robyn's notes: when a recipe calls for frozen cheese ravioli, I often substitute tortellini, or tortelloni. Whatever type of filled pasta I use, I also often get a mix of spinach and cheese filled. This recipe is quite easy.

Nutritional Information: Calories 352; Fat 15g; Saturated Fat 6g; Cholesterol 75mg; Sodium 1,091mg; Carbohydrate 29g; Fiber 3g; Protein 27g

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Potato and Cheddar Soup

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 (8.5oz) pkg vegetable broth + same amount water
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • dash black pepper

1. Melt the butter in a medium-size pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften. Add the flour and stir constantly until it is fully absorbed. Add the broth and water and turn up the heat to high.
2. While the soup is coming to a boil, peel the potato and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Add to the pot. It will take the soup a few minutes to return to a boil. When it does, turn down the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft enough to be mashed.
3. Turn the heat off, and mash some of the potatoes into the broth. The rest can remain in cubes to vary the soup's texture.
4. With the heat still off, add the cheddar cheese and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Season with black pepper and serve.

Robyn's notes: made this a second and third time without the onion, worked out very well. Not terribly exciting, but a good potato soup option for me, since I'm not allowed celery or onion. The third time I made it I sprinkled crumbled bacon on top, which makes it (obviously) not vegetarian but which added a nice flavour.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Apricot Chicken & Couscous

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut in thirds across on an angle
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 6 dried pitted apricots, chopped
  • 1 C reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 C apricot all fruit spread or apricot preserves
  • 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
1. Heat a large skillet with a lid over medium high heat. Add oil and chicken, season with salt and pepper. Lightly brown the chicken a few minutes on each side, add onions. Cook 5 minutes.
2. Add vinegar to the pan and let it evaporate. Add apricots and broth. When broth comes to a bubble, add preserves and stir to combine.
3. Cover pan, reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve chicken with:
Apricot Couscous

  • 1 C water or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3-4 dried apricots, diced
  • 1 C uncooked couscous
In saucepan, bring water or broth and apricots to a boil. Add couscous and stir quickly. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand for 4-5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Robyn's notes: good, he requested more sauce

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Caribbean Jerk Tofu

  • 1/4 C vinegar (any kind)
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 14oz package firm tofu

1. Combine vinegar, orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce, allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir well.
2. Add onion and garlic to the bowl.
3. Drain tofu, slice into pieces 1" x 1" x 1/2" and gently put it into bowl. Stir carefully so that the tofu pieces are covered with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
4. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until it begins to brown.
5. While the tofu is broiling, boil the leftover marinade in a small pot for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve the heated marinade as a dipping sauce or as a sauce for rice.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Robyn's notes: NOT GOOD with tofu! I made this for my mom about 7 years ago with chicken, and it was good but really very spicy.  We didn't use the extra marinade that was on the side, but still were absolutely dying from the spice level.

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Basil Ravioli w/ Red and White Sauce

  • 1 pkg uncooked cheese-filled ravioli
  • 1/4 C shredded fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 (14oz) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 C purchased Alfredo sauce

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 1 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Cook ravioli to desired doneness as directed on package.
3. Drain ravioli; place in spray-coated dish. Sprinkle with cheese and basil. Pour spaghetti sauce over ravioli; spread evenly. Place Alfredo sauce in squeeze bottle or small resealable plastic bag (cut one corner off). Squeeze sauce in thin diagonal strips across ravioli. Draw knife through strips to create design.
4. Bake at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Yield: 3 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 390; Calories from Fat 240; Total Fat 27g; Saturated Fat14g; Cholesterol 115mg; Sodium 1280mg; Total Carbohydrate 63g; Dietary Fiber 7g; Sugars 9g; Protein 23g

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Eggplant Balsamic Pasta Shells

  • 1 medium sized eggplant, diced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large can tomato puree/chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili flakes (optional)
  • good dash of sea salt (Maldon)
  • Pasta shells enough for 2

1. Cook pasta as directed on package. When done, strain and dish out into separate bowls/plates.
2. Saute garlic, onion, and eggplant in olive oil until eggplant is tender. Sprinkle with sea salt. Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, chili flakes, and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
3. Cook on low heat until the eggplant turns to "mush" and sauce is thick. Should take approximately 20 minutes or more. Spoon on top of cooked pasta.
4. Sprinkle with oregano and parmesan if desired. Serve hot.

Robyn's notes: simple and quick.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

How to Cook Shredded Chicken

This is absolutely the simplest way to do this, a total cheater version, probably, but it works

  • chicken breast halves (1 per C of cooked chicken needed)
  • chicken broth

Combine ingredients in a small pan (or larger if recipe is multiplied). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about twenty minutes.

Remove chicken from broth. When it is cool enough to handle, shred chicken with fork. Strain broth for other use if desired.

Apricot Chicken Farfalle

  • 1/4 C dried apricots, cut into thin strips
  • 4 1/2 tsp sherry or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 C uncooked bowtie pasta
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 C shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
  • 2 1/4 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 C crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 C slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

1. In a small saucepan, bring apricots and sherry or broth to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes or until apricots are tender. Cool.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute mushrooms in oil until tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to medium. Add the chicken, cream, and soy sauce; cook and stir for 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheese, apricots, onion, salt, pepper and apricots. Drain pasta, toss with chicken mixture.

Nutritional Information: Calories 561; Fat 26g; Saturated Fat 10g; Cholesterol 139mg; Sodium 835mg; Carbohydrate 31g; Fiber 4g; Protein 47g

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Greek Salad Pitas

  • 2/3 C chopped seeded cucumber
  • 2/3 C chopped sweet red pepper
  • 2/3 C chopped tomato
  • 2/3 C chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 C crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped ripe olives
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 2 pita breads, halved
1. In a small bowl, combine the cucumber, red pepper, tomato, zucchini, feta cheese, and olives.
2. In another bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Spoon into lettuce-lined pita halves.

Nutritional Information: Calories 255; Fat 4g; Saturated Fat 2g; Cholesterol 8mg; Sodium 688mg; Carbohydrate 45g; Fiber 5g; Protein 10g

Chilled Avocado Soup

  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled, halved and pitted
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 C reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • dash pepper

1. In a blender, process avocado until smooth. While processing, gradually add broth; process until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients; cover and process until blended. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled.

Makes 3 cups

Robyn's notes: this is very light and is best served alongside some bread or small sandwiches.  It's just not very substantial on its own.  It's difficult to get the avocado processed by itself, so I just give it a few bursts in the blender, then start adding the broth to really get it smooth.  It's greener than it looks in this picture, but still quite a light green.  I added a dollop of sour cream before serving.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Nutritional Information: Calories 125; Fat 10g; Saturated Fat 3g; Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 371mg; Carbohydrate 6g; Fiber 2g; Protein 4g

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

On Hand

Items I keep on hand, in no particular order:

garlic powder
black pepper
seasoned salt
garlic pepper
ground cumin
taco seasoning
ground ginger
ground mustard
poultry seasoning
basil leaves
Italian seasoning
ground cayenne
ground sage
onion powder
chili powder (always Gebhardt's Eagle brand)
garlic salt
ground allspice
ground sage

fridge items
vinegar (usually apple cider)
taco sauce
soy sauce
barbecue sauce
plain yogurt
thai peanut sauce
lemon juice
minced garlic

Italian style breadcrumbs
minced onion
crushed red pepper
corn syrup (light)
Wesson best blend
Pam organic Canola oil spray
olive oil
peanut butter
cream of mushroom soup
cream of chicken soup
pasta, all sorts
quick-cooking oats
wheat germ