Tuesday, January 24, 2012

bruschetta with herbed cream cheese

This recipe was inspired by an idea on the back of a salmon package. I took it to a different level  by using what I had on hand. I "stole" a little smoked salmon that was waiting around for another recipe. I was also excited that our parsley survived all the snow. It was a very welcome addition!

1 whole wheat baguette, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices
olive oil

8 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh herbs (I used basil, oregano, and parsley)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

4 roma tomatoes, diced
1/8 cup. pesto (jarred or freshly prepared)
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1/8 cup fresh parmesan, finely grated

3-4 oz smoked salmon (optional but super delicious) sliced into small pieces
fresh parsley, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350. Brush bread slices with olive oil and toast in oven for about 7 minutes.
2. Combine cream cheese, herbs, and garlic.
3. Combine tomatoes, pesto, salt, pepper, and parmesan and mix well.
4. Spread cream cheese mixture on toasted bread slices. Spoon tomato mixture on top. Place salmon on next and finish with fresh parsley.

makes at least 8 appetizer servings.

Friday, January 13, 2012

avocado with grapefruit topping

a fresh, healthy, and filling side dish/salad

2 avocados, halved lengthwise and pitted*
2 red grapefruit
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp lemon juice (1 large lemon)
3/4 tsp coarse salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or mint (plus more for garnish)
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Brush 2 tsp lemon juice over avocados; set aside.
2. Halve grapefruit and remove segments of grapefruit by cutting out from between membranes. Transfer to a bowl, reserve juice.
3. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice, salt, chopped herbs to grapefruit juice; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in oil in a slow, steady stream.
4. Place each avocado half on a plate. Top with grapefruit then pour dressing on top. Garnish with extra herbs.

* I learned a neat trick. If you gently tap a sharp knife into the pit and twist, the pit should come out smoothly.

makes 4 servings

adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

balsamic and parmesan roasted cauliflower

cauliflower doesn't have to be drowning in a cheese sauce to taste good. This version is lighter but still delicious

1 large head cauliflower (about 8 cups) cut into 1-inch thick slices cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 finely shredded parmesan
fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450F
2. Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on bottom, 15-20 minutes. 
3. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and roast until cheese is melted and moisture has evaporated, 5-10 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
makes 4 servings

Thursday, January 5, 2012

hearty chicken and squash stew with quinoa

I found this recipe on pinterest and made some adjustments
1 1/2 lb. squash (I used delicata* although the recipe called for butternut), peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2-in. pieces
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow or sweet onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano (if you have fresh use 1 Tbsp and add in step 5
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2-3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives (optional, but they do add a delicious saltiness)
freshly ground black pepper and salt
garem masala (about 1/2 tsp or to taste)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1. Steam squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half and set aside. Steam remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4-6 minutes. Mash with fork and set aside.
2. In large saucepan over med-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add chicken thighs,  cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a bowl.
3. Return saucepan to stove and heat olive oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until it is starting to turn brown, about 8 minutes. Add minced garlic and oregano. Cook, stirring, for an additional minute.
4. Add tomatoes and all squash and stir. Add reserved broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.
5. Shred chicken and add to stew along with olives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in garem masala. Heat about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve.

makes 6 servings

*I always thought that I loved butternut, but when my husband brought home delicata I discovered that I really love delicata. It has a richer flavor and creamier texture. You also don't need to peel it (except for this soup).