Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets with Spinach Risotto Recipe

4 servings

1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 tablespoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/4 cup white wine
6-8 cups low sodium chicken stock (heated)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
4 chicken breast halves, cut into large nuggets or fingers
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
olive oil for frying

Begin with the risotto. In a nonstick pot, cook onions in oil until tender. Stir in the rice and spices and cook for a minute or two.

Sir in the spinach then the wine. Cook until the liquid is almost gone. A cup at a time, add the hot stock. When the stock is almost gone, add more. Continue adding stock and stirring frequently until the rice is tender. Use more stock if needed. At the end, stir in the butter and cheese. I don't add salt because the chicken stock and cheese add enough for me.

To prepare the chicken, coat the pieces in breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat then fry the breaded chicken pieces for about 5 minutes per side or until no longer pink inside.


- breaded chicken breast nuggets with spinach risotto -

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chocolate Almond Wrapped Dried Fruit Biscotti Recipe ( Whole Wheat )

The texture of this is light and crisp. Not like a traditional biscotti at all. It was my first time trying to make it with all whole wheat flour and this was the result. It's like eating a sweeter piece of toast. You could use any type of dried fruits that you like (a scant 1 cup chopped). Unfortunately it didn't turn out as pretty as I though. I imagine if you were to use all purpose flour instead the contrast between the two doughs would be better.

 Makes about 30 slices

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 tablespoons almonds, slivered
6 dried apricots, chopped
4 dried figs, chopped
2 heaping tablespoons raisins
2 heaping tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (or coarse sugar)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes until fluffy. Add one egg at a time and continue beating until well combined. Add extracts and orange zest.

With a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture. Mix well. Divide dough in half. To one half, add cocoa and almonds. To the other half, add the dried fruits. Ditch the spoon. I mixed the doughs with my hand.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Take the fruity dough and form it into a log. Press the chocolate dough out into a rectangle big enough to wrap around the other dough. Place the fruity dough on to the chocolate dough, and use the plastic wrap to help you roll the sides of the chocolate dough around it. Pinch the seam together. Place the roll seam side down on the baking sheet and flatten the top slightly keeping the edges rounded. Rub the turbinado sugar on top.

Bake for 40 minutes then remove and allow to cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes. In the meantime, reduce the oven to 325F. Move to a cutting board and cut slices about 1/2" thick. Place the slices on the baking sheet (you may need two baking sheets for this) and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes or just until the cookies are crisp.


Tip: If you end up using two baking sheets, be sure to rotate them half way through the second cooking. This biscotti is quite large, you can make smaller ones by dividing both doughs in half, and making two logs. Remember to reduce the cooking times if you decide to make two.

 Chocolate Almond Wrapped Dried Fruit Biscotti Recipe ( Whole Wheat )

Fish and Potato Cake Recipe

These were tasty. I had a left over piece of salmon, and 2 pieces of pollock so I used it all. Use whatever fish you like. I made them flat but you could make them thicker if you wanted to.

12 fish cakes

12 oz fish, steamed
1 large potato, boiled, cooled and grated (about 1 1/2 cups grated)
1/3 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup minced onion
2 eggs
1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon dried dill
Canola oil for frying
Lemon and orange slices for garnish

Use two forks to break the cooled fish into flakes. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine all other ingrediens except oil. Add fish. Form into 12 cakes (about 1/4 cup of the mix per cake should do) and flatten them a bit. Chill for about 1/2 hour.

Heat oil in a large pan over medium. Place fish cakes in the pan a few at a time. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the bottoms are nice and golden. Flip and cook the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Repeat for remaining fish cakes. Serve with Tartar Sauce, lemon and orange slices.


Tip: You may feel like these won't stick together but once you brown the first side they'll be fine. You can take an extra step if you want them crispier and bread the outside before you fry them.

- fish and potato cakes -

Tartar Sauce Recipe

I needed something to go with my potato and fish cakes so I came up with this tartar sauce.

Makes 1/2 cup

1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon dried dill
2 gherkins, minced (about
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Mix all ingredients and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


- Tartar Sauce 2 -

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

I took the recipe from the Kraft Light Smooth peanut butter jar (1 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg) and changed it slightly. After I put their ingredients together there was no way I was going to be able to roll balls. It was too wet.

28 cookies

1 cup light smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (sifted with flour)
Extra sugar for pressing

Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix all ingredients together until they form a dough. Roll approximately 28 balls and place them at least 1" apart on 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Use a fork dipped in granulated sugar to press the cookies down slightly. Then press again in the opposite direction to create a pattern.

Bake on the middle rack for 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden on the bottom. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks and cool completely. Store in an airtight container for several days (if they last more than 5 hours that is).


Tip: Normally I wouldn't dream of baking anything on a cookie sheet without parchment paper, but the peanut butter is oily enough that you really don't need to prepare the pans in any way. I used a cocktail fork that only had 2 prongs on it, but you could use a regular fork.

- Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookiesv-

Friday, March 25, 2011

Meatballs (Beef) with Hidden Vegetables Recipe (great for kids!)

These are SO juicy and delicious and with hidden vegetables you can't go wrong! Try to mince the vegetables finely so they have a chance to cook nicely.

Makes about 25 meatballs

1/2 cup minced sweet red pepper
1/3 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced celery
1 cup minced button mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (your favourite)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb lean ground beef

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together except beef. Once everything is mixed well, then mix in the beef. Use your hands. Really get in there. Mix for about 2 minutes. If you're like me and don't like beef under your nails, wear disposable gloves.

Roll the mixture into balls about the size of ping pong balls. You can make them any size but the cooking time will change.

Heat a large, deep, nostick skillet over medium high heat. Add half the meatballs to the hot pan and cover with a vented lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the bottom is brown. Turn the meatballs and put the lid back on. Cook another 3-5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Repeat with the other half of the meatballs. Place meatballs on a plate and cover with foil.

Over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Pour over the meatballs. Serve with spaghetti or if you're like me, just eat them with a giant salad.


Tip: I like to put the lid on because it allows the meatballs to cook faster on the inside before the outside gets too dark. As you can see, some of mine did get a little dark. Those were my first half of the batch and the ones that cooked on one side before I decided to put the lid on.

- Meatballs (Beef) with Hidden Vegetables -

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Armenian Rice with Noodles and Yogurt Recipe

Chicken Cordon Bleu and Armenian Rice? You're right, it doesn't make sense but that's what I felt like making at the time so here it is!

3 servings

For Chicken Cordon Bleu
3 chicken breast halves, butterflied and pounded
3 slices deli ham or turkey
3 slices Emmental cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter

1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup milk

For Yogurt
1 cup Balkan style yogurt
1/2 cup grated cucumber
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each dry mint & dill

For Armenian Style Rice with Noodles
1/2 cup broken spaghetti pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup basmati rice

1 small chicken bouillon cube
3 cups chicken broth
Pinch of saffron threads, crushed


Preheat oven to 375F.

Butterfly the chicken breast halves by slicing through the centre but not all the way through. Pound the chicken pieces between pieces of plastic wrap until they're flat. Place  the ham and cheese on top of the pounded chicken and roll it up. Dip each roll in the egg then coat with breadcrumbs. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium high in a skillet that is ovenproof, then add chicken. Cook until one side is brown then flip. Try to brown all sides. The chicken doesn't need to be cooked through at this point, just browned. 

Place the pan in the oven at 375F about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove the pan from the oven (carefully with an oven mitt, the handle will be hot). Set chicken on a platter and cover with foil. Put the pan back on the stove over medium high heat and add the mushrooms. Sautee until they start to brown. Add milk, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on medium until the sauce reduces and thickens. Pour over chicken before serving.

For the Yogurt, simply mix all ingredients store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the rice, heat a nonstick pot over medium heat and fry the uncooked spaghetti pieces in butter just until they start to brown. Add the rice and give it a good stir. Add the other ingredients, bring to a boil and cover. Reduce to medium low and simmer about 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced and rice is tender.


- Chicken Cordon Bleu with Armenian Rice with Noodles and Yogurt -

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Lemon Sauce Recipe

I love sauces! Lemon sauce is one of my favourites (next to cream sauce of course).

4-6 servings

1 chicken cut into pieces (or 6-8 assorted chicken pieces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch cayenne
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 onion sliced
4 medium potatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon oregano
salt & pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon corn starch

Preheat oven to 400F.

Run your finger between the chicken skin and flesh. Rub some spices under the skin and then on top of the skin.

Place sliced onion on the bottom of a glass baking dish and add chicken pieces on top. Bake for 40-60 minutes or until juices run clear. The time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.

To prepare the potatoes, mix oregano, salt, pepper, lemon juice and chicken stock in a glass baking dish. Add potatoes. Cover and cook alongside the chicken for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Remove chicken and potatoes to serving dishes and cover to keep warm. Transfer the juices from the chicken and the potatos into a pot. Try not to get the onions in the pot. There should be about 2 cups liquid. If not add more stock. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Mix corn starch and cold water and add to simmering pot. It should thicken right away. Serve hot over potatoes and chicken.


Original chicken recipe:

- Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Lemon Sauce -

Chicken with Onions and Mushrooms Recipe

4 servings

4 chicken breast halves
chicken seasoning blend

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream

Sprinkle the chicken with your favourite seasoning blend. Heat the oil in a heavy pan over medium high heat and fry the chicken until it's brown on one side. Flip it and continue to cook just until the juices run clear and it's no longer pink inside. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and cook until they start to brown. Add the wine and scrape up all the brown bits from the pan. Add the cream and let this mixture reduce until it reduces by half and gets thick. Serve the sauce over your chicken.


- Chicken with Onions and Mushrooms -

A Better Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

This is similar to my previous post for Butter Chicken but I had an idea to used condensed tomato soup instead of canned tomatoes and as it turns out this makes a really delicious Butter Chicken!

I never claimed to be a good food photographer,
but this has to be one of my worst shots ever.

In the centre, we multiplied this recipe
and served butter chicken at Emelia's 3rd birthday party.
I actually prepared the sauce the night before,
heated it up the next day and added grilled chicken chunks.
If I don't make it spicy, she loves it.

4-6 servings

3 cups left over lemon or tandoori chicken breast cubes
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1 diced onion
1 crushed garlic clove
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp crushed dry bayleaf
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder

cayenne pepper to taste
2 tsp sugar
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/2 can water
3/4 cup plain yogurt

Fry the onion in the oil and butter until it starts to brown. Add garlic and ginger and fry for just a few seconds, try not burn it.

Add spices and sugar and stir. Stir in soup and water and let reduce until it gets thick then stir in the yogurt. Simmer for a few more minutes then add the cubed cooked chicken and cook until the chicken is warm. Serve with naan or pita.


 - A Better Indian Butter Chicken -

Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

My first attempt at butter chicken. I adapted the recipe from one I found online but I can't remember where I found it now. It tasted nothing like what I've had in restaurants but it was still delicious. It may have something to do with the amount of cream they use in restaurant cooking.

4-6 servings

3 cups left over lemon or tandoori chicken breast cubes
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 cups canned tomato puree
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp garam masala (it called for more but this was enough for my liking)
1/4 tsp crushed dry bayleaf
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
2 teaspoons sugar
cayenne pepper to taste
2 tbsp yogurt
2 tbsp milk

Fry the onion on medium heat in the oil and butter until it starts to brown. Add garlic and ginger and fry for just a few seconds, try not to burn it.

Mix the rest of the ingredients except for the last two (yogurt and milk) and add to the pot. Simmer for a few minutes then add the cubed cooked chicken. I had this left over from the night before.

Once the chicken has heated in the sauce, mix the yogurt & milk and stir into the pot.

Serve with naan or pita.


Tip: You could add some fresh chopped cilantro at the end but I'm not a big fan of it so I didn't put it in. I'm more of a parsley girl.

- Indian Butter Chicken -

Indian Tandoori Chicken Recipe

My first try at Indian cooking. The original recipe calls for food colouring but it doesn't do anything for the flavour so it's really not necessary. I won't be using it in the future. I've used both the George Foreman Grill and the barbecue to cook this. This recipe can also be used to make Butter Chicken.

The chicken in the photo above was cooked on the George Foreman
and I did include the food colouring in the recipe.

The chicken in this photo was cooked on the barbecue
and I did not include the food colouring in the recipe.

4-6 servings

2 pounds chicken, cut into large chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons garam masala
cayenne pepper to taste
1 teaspoon yellow food colouring (optional)
1 teaspoon red food colouring (optional)

Mix yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, and cayenne pepper in a bowl until smooth. Stir in food colourings (if using). Add chicken chunks, mix to coat chicken then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat the grill for about 10 minutes. When grill is hot, add chicken chunks and cook for about 6 minutes per side or until chicken is no longer pink inside.  Serve with basmati rice and yogurt.


Original recipe:

- Indian Tandoori Chicken -

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spicy Curried Carrot and Apple Soup Recipe

This recipe is adaped from 400 Best Ever Soups cookbook. I used extra hot curry powder in this recipe but you could use mild if you prefer. I didn't really taste the apple so I may use 2 apples next time.

4 servings

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped (1 large piece)
2 1/2 cups carrots, chopped (2 large)
1 medium cooking apple, chopped
1 tablespoon water
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Balkan style yogurt

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add vegetables and apple and stir to coat. Add water and reduce heat to medium low. Cook covered for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Transfer vegetables to a blender and add 1 cup of stock. Puree until smooth. Add back to the pot along with 2 more cups of stock. Season with salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt.


- Spicy Curried Carrot and Apple Soup -

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Simple Swiss Cheese and Cucumbers on Toast Breakfast Recipe

This is so simple and one of my favourite breakfasts. I used to make it on croissants but these days I try to stick to whole grain breads. But you do have to try making this on croissants at least once! The buttery flavour of the crossant really adds something special to this breakfast sandwich.

per serving

1 slice of whole grain bread, toasted
1/2-1 oz swiss cheese, sliced
6 cucumber slices
salt and pepper

Place the cheese on your toast and layer the cucumber slices over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. And that's it. Simple yet delicious.

Tips: You could of course use 2 pieces of bread. If you really want to be bad, you could slather on a bit of butter. If you want to be badder, go ahead and use that flaky, buttery croissant.

- Simple Swiss Cheese and Cucumbers on Toast Breakfast -

Peanut Brittle Candy Recipe

Here's what I made to bring to Norooz (Persian New Year) tomorrow night. I adapted this recipe from an ancient edition of the Five Roses flour cookbook. My mom claims the book is from the late 70s or early 80s. She's had it forever. The cover is even missing and after searcing, I couldn't find another copy of it online. There's a new edition with a white cover but it's not the same one. There are at least 100 pages less in the newer version.

The technique for making brittle has changed since this book was written but I went ahead and followed the directions as stated in the book anyway. I'm no candy maker so I didn't want to mess with something that I have no experience with in the first place.

The recipe called for 2 cups of peanuts but I only had 1 so that's what I used. I found it a bit greasy and by the time all the sugar finally melted it seemed to be a bit overcooked. There's a strong possibility that my pot wasn't big enough. Had the sugar been in a thinner layer in the pot, it may have cooked faster and more evenly. It still tastes good though!

If you look up a newer recipe for brittle you may find that it recommends not stirring the sugar at all and also occasionally brushing cold water around the inside of the pot to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. There are also other versions that include corn syrup and baking soda. Either way, there will be foam once the margarine or butter is added so be careful.

3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup salted peanuts (or 1 cup unsalted peanuts plus a pinch of salt)
2 tablespoons margarine

Lightly grease a 10"x15"x1" jelly roll pan.

In a large heavy bottom pot, add the sugar and cook over high heat stirring with a wooden spoon until it starts to get clumpy. Here's what it looks like.

Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook stirring constantly until the sugar is melted and a dark golden brown colour. It takes some time but it will happen. Keep stirring. 

Add the peanuts and margarine and stir quickly (and carefully as it will start to foam). Immediately pour into prepared pan and smooth it out with your spoon. Set aside to cool. You can put it in the fridge.

Once cool, remove it from the pan and break it into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Tip: By now you're wondering how on earth you're going to clean the pot aren't you? No problem. Fill it with water and heat it up on the stove. The sugar will melt and your pot will be ready to wash. You can add any type of nuts you like or even sesame seeds. If you do use sesame seeds, you could try using 2 large pans and spread it out thinner.

- Peanut Brittle -

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Reuben Lettuce Cups with Pastrami, Honey Mustard, Sauerkraut and Swiss Cheese Recipe

As it turned out, this was a little messy to eat, but it was tasty. I bought a chunk of swiss cheese and cut it into slices, but you could use slices from the deli. I prefer Emmental but it's up to you.

2 servings

4 iceburg lettuce leaves
2 teaspoons honey mustard
8 slices pastrami
4 pieces swiss cheese
1/2 cup sauerkraut
4 dill pickles

Preheat the oven to broiler.

Place 2 lettuce leaves on each plate and top each with 1/2 teaspoon honey mustard.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, make 4 mounds of pastrami with 2 pieces in each. Top with swiss cheese and broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Transfer one pastrami mound to each piece of lettuce. If your pastrami mounds let off a bit of liquid, place them on paper towel before putting them on the lettuce. Serve with sauerkraut and pickles.

Tips: You could put all these toppings on bread or toast instead of lettuce for a reuben sandwich. Use corned beef if you don't like pastrami. If you can't find a bottle of honey mustard, make your own by mixing a little honey with regular yellow mustard. Or if you don't like honey mustard, you could just use yellow mustard as it is.

- Reuben Lettuce Cups with Pastrami, Honey Mustard, Sauerkraut and Swiss Cheese -

Coffee Biscotti with Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips Recipe

I adapted this recipe from a Pecan and Coffee Biscotti recipe by Better Homes and Gardens. I also cut the recipe in half. I like to cut recipes in half if I can because sometimes we really don't need a lot. 16-18 pieces of biscotti is plenty to keep us going for days here.

16-18 pieces

3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/8 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 egg
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (regular sugar will work too)

Preheat oven to 350F and position rack one level above middle.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add margarine and using your hands, blend it until it resembles course meal. Mix vanilla with coffee granules until dissolved. Add coffee mixture and egg to flour mixture and mix until it forms a ball. Kneed in the chocolate chips.

Form into a log and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten the top so the log becomes about 1" thick. Round the sides slightly. Rub the turbinado sugar on top and bake for 35 minutes. The top will look a little cracked.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the pan. Also reduce the oven temperature to 325F.

Move log to a cutting board and with a serrated knife, cut slices about 1/2" thick. Place the slices on the baking sheet so they're not touching. Bake in the 325F oven for 15 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely on wire racks before serving. Serve with coffee of course!

Tip: You could really add anything to this biscotti!

Original Recipe:

- Coffee Biscotti with Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips -

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatball Soup Recipe

2-4 servings

1/2 lb lean ground sirloin
1/4 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large egg
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup water
1 teaspoon italian seasoning blend
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 parmesan cheese rind
1/3 cup broken spaghetti pieces

In a large bowl, combine meat, onion, garlic, egg, worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan cheese. It seems sticky at first but it'll get less sticky as you keep mixing. Form the meat into balls about the size of grapes. Set aside.

In a nonstick pot, bring chicken stock and water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and carefully drop all the meatballs into the boiling pot. Simmer for 2 minutes then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to distribute the tomato paste. Cover and simmer until spaghetti is cooked, about 7 minutes. Remove cheese rind before serving.

Tip: You can save your cheese rinds in a freezer bag and use them in soups. Yum! But if you don't have one, you could always just serve the soup with some grated parmesan on top. It would be great with garlic bread!

- spaghetti and meatball soup -

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe { vegetarian friendly }

We love to eat soup around here, especially if it's creamy. I adapted this recipe from the book 400 Best-Ever Soups. I didn't have cream so I used sour cream instead, and it called for basil but I like thyme in cream soups so I used that instead. My beautiful Emelia helped stir the soup.

3-4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, diced
8oz button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon whole wheat (or white) flour
1 10oz can sliced mushrooms, with juice
2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 cups 2% milk
3 tablespoons sour cream

In a nonstick pot, sautee onions in olive oil and butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in mushrooms and continue to cook unt mushrooms and onions are golden.

Stir in thyme, paprika, salt, pepper and flour. Cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Pour in the can of mushrooms with the juice and stir to combine.

Add vegetable stock and milk and bring up to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and the soup has reduced slightly.

In a cup, mix 1 cup of the hot soup liquid with the sour cream until well combined. Add the sour cream mixture back to the pot and bring back up to a simmer. Take half of the soup mixture and puree in a blender. Add back to the pot and stir well. Serve hot.

- cream of mushroom soup -

Lemonade - A nice refreshing cold drink recipe. { south beach diet friendly }

How about a nice refreshing glass of lemonade? A nice sprig of mint would also be nice in this.

1 serving

1 lemon
1 cup cold water
ice cubes
Your choice of sweetener to taste
Lemon slices for garnish

In a large glass, place 3-4 ice cubes. Squeeze the lemon into the glass and add sweetener to taste. Add water to fill the glass. Mix well with a spoon.

Tips: Get your kids involved. Emelia enjoyed trying to squeeze the lemons and putting the ice cubes in the glasses.

- lemonade -

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuna Cakes with Zucchini, Carrots, Celery and Sundried Tomato Sour Cream { south beach diet friendly }

Wow! These were so yummy! They're good for phase 2 of The South Beach Diet. Also a good way to trick your kids into eating vegetables. My 3 year old liked these.

Makes 4 patties

1/3 cup low fat sour cream
3-4 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 can (170g) chunk light tuna in water, drained
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/3 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup grated onion
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 egg
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1-2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
Lemon wedges (optional)

In a food processor, puree sour cream, sundried tomatoes and seasoning salt. Set in the fridge until ready to use.

In a bowl, combine all other ingredients except bread crumbs and oil. If your zucchini lets off too much liquid, give it a squeeze before adding to the bowl. Make 4 1" thick patties out of this mixture. Coat each patty in bread crumbs.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Fry tuna cakes for 2-3 minutes per side until they're brown and crispy. Serve with sundried tomato sour cream and lemon wedges.

Tip: These were so tasty! You could make this recipe with canned salmon or coat them in different items such as oats or nut peices.

- Tuna Cakes with Zucchini, Carrots, Celery and Sundried Tomato Sour Cream ( south beach diet friendly ) -

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cornstarch Goop Recipe { indoor fun for kids }

The recipe for cornstarch goop is super easy. Simply mix equal parts cornstarch and water with your hands. Here we have photos of Emelia playing with it, and a little video we did to demonstrate how strange yet fun it is!

I don't recommend saving it for more than a day or two though. I tried saving it for a week thinking it might just dry up but when I opened the tupperware that I stored it in, it smelled worse than a dirty diaper.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce {South Beach Friendly - Phase 1}

Another adaptation on a recipe from The South Beach Diet's Taste of Summer cookbook. I ate it all myself, but you can share if you're in the mood.

1 -2 servings.

6oz grilling steak
2 cloves minced garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon trans fat free peanut butter
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
red pepper flakes to taste

Slice steak in 1/4" strips. Combine garlic, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Add steak and mix. Set aside on the counter for about 20 minutes.

Mix remaining ingredients together and set aside.

You can put the steak strips on skewers if you wish, but I found it easier just to leave them as they were. Preheat a nonstick pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the steak strips. You may have to do it in batches. Cook for 1-2 minutes then flip. Cook for another minute or two then remove from the pan. Let rest for a few minutes then serve with peanut dipping sauce.

Tip: This recipe would also work with chicken breast.

- beef satay with peanut sauce - south beach -

Chef Salad {South Beach Friendly - Phase 1}

1 serving

1-2 cups lettuce, chopped
1/3 cup shredded low fat cheddar
3 slices low fat deli turkey, chicken or ham, chopped
6-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 egg, quartered
2 tablespoons dressing of choice

Top lettuce with all other ingredients.

Tip: You can change it up by adding different cheeses and meats.

- chef salad - south beach -