Monday, June 20, 2011

Pumpkin Lasagne

I got a new job and will most likely have significantly less time to cook. Much like the rest of 2011 was with grad classes. I actually do get to cook but it's the blogging that is a little more time consuming.

Pumpkin Lasagne

1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seed
2 cups fresh pumpkin or butternut squash puree (mine had been previously frozen,but not canned because it doesn't have enough moisture)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 small can tomato paste
splash of white wine (optional)
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped into ribbons

1 package fresh lasagne pasta sheets
1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese

1 quart low fat milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
dash of nutmeg

In the following recipe I salted and peppered most layers of the recipe individually to taste. Add as much or as little as you personally like but taste as you go. Sausage and cheese can be very salty and varies by brand.

  1. In a large skillet heat approximately one to two tsp of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
  2. Remove casings and add sausage to skillet. Break down with wooden spoon. Add crushed red pepper and fennel seed. Cook through.
  3. Add pumpkin or squash puree and cinnamon. Heat through and add tomato paste to sauce. Add a splash of white wine and cook approximately 10 minutes until every is combined.
  4. Add swiss chard to the sauce and stir/heat until completely combined and chard is wilted.
  5. Add approximately 1/2 cup of low-fat milk to the sausage sauce. Mix to combine and keep heat low while you make the bechamel sauce.
  6. In a medium saucepan melt butter.
  7. Add flour whisking or stirring to combine to make a roux. Make sure to fully cook the flour.
  8. Add the remaining milk a little at a time to make a white sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.
  9. In 9x13 casserole dish coat the bottom with a few drops of olive oil.
  10. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish. Layer in order pasta sheets (cutting to fit) sauce, bechamel, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired for serving.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fish Sticks with Sauteed Swiss Chard

I never had fish sticks growing up on as a child. The closest thing was fried flounder or catfish filets. I really didn't eat a lot of fish growing up. I was in college when I started eating salmon etc. This is a more high maintenance version of the fish sticks you get in the box, at least I'm assuming. I'm still pretty sure I have had any that I can remember at least. It probably wouldn't have been so time consuming if I didn't cut the tilapia smaller than your average fish stick. These are baked not fried and crisped up nicely in the oven.

Fish Sticks (adapted from

canola oil cooking spray
1/2 cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup corn flake cereal
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites, beaten
1 pound tilapia filets, cut into strips

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet; coat with cooking spray.
  3. Place breadcrumbs, cereal flakes, lemon pepper, garlic powder, paprika and salt in a food processor process until finely ground. Transfer to a shallow dish.
  4. Place flour in a second shallow dish and egg whites in a third shallow dish.
  5. Coat each strip of fish in the flour, then the egg and then coat with the breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Place on wire rack.
  7. Coat both sides of the breaded fish with cooking spray.
  8. Bake until the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Sauteed Swiss Chard

1 tsp olive oil
2 cups torn or sliced swiss chard
3 tbsp dried currants
2 tbsp pine nuts
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch dried rosemary
1 clove garlic

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add currants and pine nuts and saute until pine nuts begin to turn golden brown.
  3. Add garlic and saute about 1 minute.
  4. Add swiss chard and rosemary and saute until wilted.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fettucine Bolognese

I have made this three or four times and it is fantastic! You wouldn't know that this is Cooking Light recipe if I didn't tell you. The only problem you are going to have is stopping at the recommended amount because it is so good.

Fettucine Bolognese (adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 8

1 tbsp
olive oil
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 lb. meatloaf mix (ground pork, beef, and veal)
1 cup white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato puree
1 cup whole milk
2 (9-ounce) packages fresh fettuccine, cooked and drained according to package
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, celery, and carrot and cook 8 minutes or until onion is translucent and vegetables get a little color. Stir to avoid sticking.
  3. Add meat to pan and cook over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble.
  4. Add wine, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add the broth, and tomato puree; bring to a simmer. Cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes.
  6. Discard bay leaf.
  7. Add pasta, and toss to coat.
  8. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Turkish Tomato Salad

It's a miracle, after several grueling months of translation class, I'm finally making my way back into the blogosphere. It's been quite a whirlwind. I've also been trying my hand at getting my garden together and now J is working at the factory again, so that means that I have more time than I had previously to write about the various foodstuffs being prepared in my kitchen.

Since we left off I have decided that I am slowly going to switch over to a more organic diet. I have switched my milk and I am buying some of my produce organic. As you know I am part of the Spiral Path CSA and unfortunately this year we are going to be pushed back a week with harvest because of the inclement weather. I am currently researching a CSA for non-certified organic meats.

Turkish Tomato Salad (adapted fromMyra Kornfled's The Healthy Hedonist)

3 tbsp pomegranate jelly, mixed with 2 tbsp water and melted in the microwave
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Toss all ingredients together and serve.

I marinated the salmon in a garlic marinade and broiled it. The whole meal was delicious.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Chops and Cheddar Grit Cakes with Roasted Peppers

I am not from the South. I was raised in MD but few people will consider it "the South". Therefore I didn't grow up eating grits. I really never had grits until today in fact. I was able to plan ahead and dinner came together in a snap. I would have made my peppers in advance too and then the the whole thing would have taken 10 minutes or so but we were very busy, so it took us a little longer.

Today I really stuck to the recipe. Measuring, not eyeballing and portion control. I guess being back on Weight Watchers it is important to do this. I still haven't really gotten into most of the WW recipes but Cooking Light rarely lets me down. My question? Is the nutritional infomation accurate in their recipes? If you know the answer feel free to post.

Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Chops (serves 2) (adapted from Cooking Light)

1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 (6-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops
Cooking spray
  1. Combine first 9 ingredients; rub over both sides of pork.
  2. Heat a non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  3. Add pork; cook for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 8 minutes or until done, turning occasionally.
  4. Remove from pan; let stand 5 minutes.
The pork was really good, although it was a little burnt (but I like it that way). Luckily it was just the heat being too high, inside it was cooked perfectly. I thought the grit cakes made a lovely side dish. I made the grits on Sunday night and I plan to take the rest of the leftovers for lunch this week.

Cheddar Grit Cakes with Roasted Peppers (4 servings) (adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking (instant) grits (although if My Cousin Vinny has taught me anything it's that "No self respecting Southerner uses instant grits")
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Cooking spray
3 medium red bell peppers (can use a variety, yellow/orange but not green), roasted, peeled and cut into strips
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. To prepare grits, bring the milk and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir in grits and jalapeño. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thick.
  3. Stir in the cheese; cook until cheese melts. Spread grits into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray; cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or until set. I had to wait from Sunday night until Tuesday and they were fine.
  4. Combine roasted red peppers, oil, vinegar, coriander, and salt; toss well.
  5. Cut grits into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles.
  6. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add triangles; cook until lightly browned.
  7. Serve pepper mixture over grit cakes.
I thought these were delicious! However J thought they were bland, but he didn't put the peppers on his and I think it really needs them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Miso Glazed Cod with Stir-fried Bok choy and Onions

I have been gone a long time. I don't know what happened but I just didn't feel like blogging. I didn't want to write. I don't necessarily think I'll be doing a lot of blogging in the next few months because I have decided to take one of my grad classes during the Spring semester.

In addition to classes, my family has restarted the Biggest Loser contest and I have recommitted to Weight Watchers. This particular recipe was last night's dinner and as always no matter what I think of her personally Martha Stewart's recipes rarely disappoint. I have never worked with miso before and it was not what I expected when bought it. Although called white miso it is really the color of brown sugar and the consistency was larger grains than I had imagined. On that note it was really easy to work with. Unfortunately J informed me that could I please not put sauces on the fish he eats (this was more of a glaze than a sauce). I had also never made cod before but having eaten it the night before at Bricco, I had a decent idea of what it should be for not overcooked.

Miso Glazed Cod with Stir-fried Bok choy and Onions (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Serves 2

12 oz skinless cod

1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

1/4 cup white miso paste
1/4 cup sugar

Cooking spray

1/2 sweet onion, cut into chunks
3 heads baby bok choy, sliced thickly
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp peanut oil (or canola oil)
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil

  1. In a small saucepan, combine mirin, miso, and sugar. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Heat broiler, with rack 6 inches from heat. Spray a baking dish with oil.
  3. Place fish in dish, and brush liberally with miso mixture. Reserve 1/2 the mixture for the bok choy.
  4. Broil until fillets are browned on top and opaque in the center, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile heat peanut oil in a wok on high heat. Add onion and stir fry 2 minutes.
  6. Add bok choy and stir fry another 2-3 minutes. Add soy sauce and miso and cook until half the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Add seeds and oil and serve bok choy with cod.