Tuesday, November 10, 2009

11/9/09 - Chicken Veg and Bean Soup

Last week was yet another business trip... this time to Montreal, Canada. While I can't say much about the dinner we had there (mis-communication led to a plate of chicken fingers instead of roasted chicken) we did have a wonderful lunch out in the eastern providences at the Le Relais Restaurant-Bistro Since I made the bad decision to not take my winter coat I was pretty cold the whole trip and took every opportunity to sample the soups. I decided to make my own version last night as the hearty bean and vegetable mix was delicious and hit the spot!

Pic coming soon!

Chicken, Vegetable and Bean Soup

1 breast of chicken - shreded (I used left overs from dinner but you can always roast up a boneless skinless or use one of the pre-cooked ones you find in most grocery stores)
1 can white northern beans -rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans - rinsed and drained
10 baby carrots - diced
1/2 onion - diced
2 scallions - diced
1 green bell pepper - diced
10 mushrooms sliced (I used baby bellas)
1 zucchini - diced
1 box chicken broth
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic - crushed
2 tbsp fresh cilantro - minced
2 tbsp fresf parsley- minced

1) in a large pot add oil and garlic
2) add onions, carrots, peppers and scallions- saute until soft
3) add tomatoes, beans and broth
4) let come to a simmer and add zucchini and mushrooms
5) add shredded chicken
6) add herbs and salt/ pepper to taste

Monday, November 9, 2009

11/6/09 - Beef Tenderloin w Grilled Asparagus, Fingerling Potatoes and Butternut Squash

Well my mom finally came to visit (she lives in Boston and I am down in NJ) so I had to plan something a little special for dinner. She asked me to not go crazy but after 20+ (soon to be 30+ yikes!) years of taking care of me I figured if there was any company deserving of the beautiful beef tenderloins that were sitting in my fridge that she was the one!

The dinner was quite simple as I promised I wouldn't spend my night slaving in the kitchen so I seasoned the tenderloins and then pan seared them. Once all 4 sides were nice and brown I placed them in a 350F oven for about 20 min. The Fingerling potatoes came from my CSA and were just scrubbed clean and then boiled in some salted water for about 35 min. The butternut squash (also from the CSA) was peeled and cubed, boiled for about 20 min and then served with a pat of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup. Finally for the asparagus I coated them in olive oil, salt and pepper and cooked them on the grill pan for about 15 min.

It was a lovely dinner and only about 15-20 min of the prep required me in the kitchen (searing the beef and watching over the asparagus) which gave me plenty of time to hear all the gossip and news from home!

The one thing that I wish I had made was a nice red wine- peppercorn sauce to accompany the meat but everything was quite delicious just as it was and not having to stress made things even better.

11/4/09 - Chicken and Zucchini "Lasagna"

Since I have cut most pasta out of my diet recently and I was going away for a night I wanted to leave a casserole type dish that was all ready to just head into the oven so that when my plane landed I was guaranteed a nice home cooked meal all warm and waiting for me. I decided to try out this italian-y lasagna like creation that used up some of the chicken that I had left over from the previous dinner. With all the layers of ricotta and sauce I don't think that anyone missed the noodles and I suppose it was probably a bit healthier than grabbing something to go at the airport.

Chicken and Zucchini "lasagna"

1 lb roasted chicken breast - meat off the bone and shreded (I used a combo of left overs from a breast and some chicken tenders)
2-4 zucchini sliced the long way thin (about 1/2 cm - try a mandolin for even slices)
1 small container part skim ricotta
1 egg
2 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp grated cheese
salt & pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
2 c sauteed mushrooms (mine were left overs)
2 c pasta sauce (mine was left overs from my last homemade batch)
2 c grated 2% italian blend cheese

1) roast chickens at 350 until done (175F in center) - let cool and then shred
2) salt zucchini slices and place in oven to bake until soft - approx 35 -45 min
3) mix ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, garlic, grated cheese and salt & pepper
4) layer sauce, chicken & mushrooms, italian blend cheese, zucchini, ricotta mix three times
5) top with a layer of sauce and italian blend cheese (you can refrigerate for 2-3 days or freezer here)
6) place in 350F oven for 45 -60 min with foil cover
7) remove foil and cook for additional 15 min or until cheese is browned and bubbly

11/2/09 - Pork Chops and Broccoli

11/1/09 - Roasted Chicken Breasts w Sauteed Mushrooms and Spinach

10/31/09 - Shrimp w Zucchini Noodles and Vegetables

10/30/09 - Sausage, Purple Kale and White Bean Soup

Well the cold is officially here... it seems just like our shorter than average summer (this year was far to rainy to call it a proper summer in my book!) the fall might have a similar fate. While we still have been treated to a few days in the mid 50s we have also had the fun of a few nights that were just around freezing (32). I had a lighter dinner planned for tonight but since the thermometer was falling and I wanted to use up some of our final CSA treats I decided instead to make this soup. I have been seeing varations of it for some time now and was always interested as I love white beans but never actually got to trying my own version. I have seen many people using the crock pot for this as well and since the kale can sometimes benefit from an extended soak I think it would be a great idea. Since I am a bit of a bad blogger.... this post is a week or so overdue and now I can't remember exactly how I started things out... I seem to remember adding some bacon instead of oil to saute the vegetables in so that is how I will write the recipe as even if I am just imagining it up it seems like a great idea!

Chicken Sausage, Kale and White Bean soup

2 slices bacon - diced
10 baby carrots - diced
2 stalks celery - diced
1/2 onion- diced
2 chicken sausages - removed from casing (these were parmesean chicken but any variety would do)
1 box chicken broth
1 med head of kale - rinsed. large stems removed and chopped into ribbons (about 1" x 3")
1 can white northern beans (rinsed and drained)
salt & pepper

1) in a pot add bacon and render fat
2) add kale and about 2 tbsp broth - cover
3) once kale has wilted and is softer - remove from pan
4) add sausage meat and brown
5) add carrots, onions and celery
6) add kale back to pot
7) add beans and remaining broth
8) season to taste w salt & pepper (some crushed red pepper if you like) and let simmer for 30-60 min

10/29/09 Parmesean Crusted Swordfish w Roasted Potatoes and Spinach

Last week I was in Los Angeles (Long Beach to be exact) and it was swordfish season. The restaurant we went to had just about every variation on swordfish but since I am working hard to drop a few lbs before the new year I decided to skip over some of the more exotic dishes in favor of a beatiful but simple blackened swordfish w vegetables on the side. The one dish that had me agonizing however was the Parmesean crusted Swordfish so I decided that it would be on the menu ASAP once I got back. While I don't know that I would consider this "diet" food I am pretty sure it is lighter than the version served in restaurants however its still very tasty. As you might imagine I am not really a big fan of those diets that ask you to eat plain boring food (ie grilled boneless skinless chicken) day in and day out. I served my fish w some oven roasted poatoes (peeled, sliced and then brushed with some olive oil and a bit of salt & pepper) and sauteed spinach.

Parmesean Crusted Swordfish

2 swordfish fillets
1 egg - beaten
1/2 c parmesean cheese
1 tsp parsley
salt & pepper

4 tbsp oil

1) heat oil in a heavy pan
2) brush top side of the swordfish w the egg and sprinkle cheese and seasoning
3) gently flip over and repeat
4) carefully place in pan and allow crust to form - do not move while cooking (about 5 min per side depending on thickness)
5) gently flip over to brown other side by using spatula to slide completely under fish as to maintain parmesean crust
6) serve with a spoonful of marinara sauce and some italian cheese to top