main dishes

Spaghetti Squash with Kale Pesto

Delicious Italian food with a twist. From Food Network Magazine.
serves 4


1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
⅓ cup pine nuts (can substitute almonds or hazelnuts)
2 cups roughly chopped kale leaves
½ cup fresh parsley
1 glove garlic
2 Tbsp. golden raisins
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400º. Cut off squash ends and halve lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly then scrape into strands with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, toast nuts in a try skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
3. Pulse the kale, parsley, garlic, raisins, and 2 Tbsp. of the toasted nuts in a blender or food processor until combined. Add the olive oil; blend until smooth. Add ⅓ cup water, parmesan, Worcestershire, ½ tsp. salt and some pepper. Pulse until combined, adding a little more water if necessary. Season with more salt and pepper.
4. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring until coated. Add ¾ cup of the kale pesto. Stir to coat, adding a little more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Top with remaining toasted nuts and more parmesan.

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Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Bacon and Peas

Now you can enjoy all the comfort of comfort food without adding to your waistline. From Food Network Magazine.

serves 4


1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
4 oz. bacon, diced
1 small shallot, diced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
¼ cup white wine
1 ½ cups heavy cream
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 400º. Cut off squash ends and halve lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly then scrape into strands with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon; set aside. Add shallot and thyme to skillet and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until mostly evaporated, about 1 minute. Add heavy cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
3. Increase heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and parmesan. Continue cooking until sauce is thick and creamy, about 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in squash and bacon. Return to heat and cook 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley.

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Filipino Salad Crêpes

Wonderfully fresh flavors brought together in a crêpe and made extra tasty with peanut sauce. Healthy, satisfying, and fun! Adapted from foodandwine
makes 8


1 large egg
1 cup whole grain flour (like spelt)
1 Tbsp. oil, plus more for brushing
½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
½ cup full fat coconut milk
1 Tbsp. coconut aminos or Bragg's Liquid Aminos (substitutes for regular soy sauce)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green (unripe) mango peeled and julienned
1 cup julienned carrot
1 cup julienned daikon (could substitute jicama or radish if not available)
1 cup julienned English cucumber
½ cup torn mint leaves
½ cup lightly packed chopped cilantro
butter lettuce or other lettuce leaves
chopped roasted peanuts
coconut vinegar or white vinegar (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg with ½ tsp. salt and 1 ½ cups of water. Gradually whisk in the flour just until a batter forms (it's ok if there are lumps). Then whisk in the oil.

2. Heat an 8 - inch nonstick skillet and brush with oil. Add ¼ cup of the batter and tilt the skillet to distribute evenly. Cook over moderate heat until bubbles start to form around the edge of the crêpe, about 1 minute. Flip, then cook until lightly browned on the bottom. Transfer the crêpe to a baking sheet and top with a piece of wax or parchment paper. Repeat with remaining batter.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the peanut butter with the coconut milk, soy sauce substitute, garlic, and 3 Tbsp. of water. Season with salt. In a medium bowl, toss the mango with the carrot, daikon, cucumber, mint, and cilantro.

4. Arrange the crêpes on plates. Top each with a lettuce leaf and some of the salad. Drizzle with peanut sauce and sprinkle with peanuts and vinegar.

almond-crusted Creole salmon

It just takes a few ingredients and a few minutes to prepare this scrumptious dish. Tangy Greek yogurt with lemon zest and Creole seasoning creates a melt in your mouth flavor-filled salmon! I found it in a magazine but I can't recall which one.


1 lb green beans
1 Tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
salt and pepper
⅔-1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp (or more to taste) Creole seasoning
½ cup chopped or sliced almonds
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
whole salmon fillet or portions

1. Preheat oven to 450º. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, toss the green beans with oil and salt and pepper. Arrange on pan and bake 10 minutes.
2. In a bowl, stir together yogurt, Creole seasoning, and lemon peel. Spread onto fillet and top with almonds.
3. Push beans to one side of the pan and place salmon on the other side. Bake about 12 minutes or until salmon just begins to flake when you lift it from the bottom and it still has a hint of darker pink.

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chicken saltimbocca

These tasty prosciutto wrapped chicken tenders are drizzled with a delicious wine sauce and are actually quite easy and quick to make. From Food and Wine.

makes 4 servings


1 lb. thick asparagus
8 chicken tenders, pounded ⅛ in thick
salt and ground pepper
16 sage leaves
8 slices of prosciutto (you can also substitute pancetta or bacon)
flour for dusting (I used spelt but any flour even gluten free or tapioca or potato starch should work well)
1 cup dessert wine such as sherry or moscato
½ cup chicken stock
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1. Cook the asparagus in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water; drain and pat dry.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place 2 sage leaves on top. Wrap each in a slice of prosciutto, pressing to adhere. Put the flour in a large dish and dredge the chicken, dusting off the excess.
3. Set a rack over a baking sheet. Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet. Add half of the chicken and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the rack and repeat with remaining chicken.
4. Add the wine and stock to skillet and boil over moderately high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, 4 minutes. Whisk in the butter. Pour half of the sauce into a bowl. Add half the chicken and asparagus to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until hot, 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken and asparagus to a platter and pour the sauce on top. Repeat with remaining sauce, chicken and asparagus. and top with parsley.

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shirataki noodles in a creamy peanut sauce

Shirataki noodles are made from konjac root. They are largely composed of water and glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber, are very low in carbohydrates and calories, and have little flavor of their own. There is some evidence that glucomannancan plays a role in blood sugar control and can improve cholesterol control. They are available in many grocery stores, walmart, health food stores, or These noodles work well in this Asian-style dish full of veggies in a delicious peanut sauce.  The kids really enjoyed this one especially the noodles which are very fun (a little too fun perhaps)to slurp up and see how long they can be. Adapted from The Endless Meal.

serves 6


2 packages shirataki noodles
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 stalks celery, sliced
½-1 onion, sliced
a few handfuls cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters (optional)
a few handfuls sugar snap or snow peas, halved
green onion, for garnish
oil for sautéing

for the sauce:

1 can coconut milk
1 cup diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
3 Tbsp. ginger, grated
4 Tbsp. soy sauce (I use Bragg Liquid Aminos)
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (1 lime)
1 Tbsp. curry powder
2 tsp. sriracha or other hot sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of salt

1. Prepare the noodles according to package directions.
2. Add all the sauce ingredients to a small pot over medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat.
3. Put a splash of oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add all the veggies and cook for a few minutes until they have softened slightly but still have their bright color and a little crunch.
4. Add noodles and sauce to veggies and toss to coat. Serve in bowls topped with slices of green onion.

ricotta meatballs

Sometimes a good meatball hits the spot.
recipe idea is from Better Homes and Gardens.

makes about 60 meatballs so you can definitely half the recipe


1 large yellow onion, minced
¼ cup minced garlic
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 ½ lb. ground beef
1 cup parmesan, grated
15 oz whole milk ricotta (see instructions for making your own below. Who knew it was so simple?)
1 cup panko bread crumbs (To make your own take any kind of bread, even gluten free, pulse bread in blender, and bake at 300º stirring a couple times, until crisp)
½ cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
Marinara sauce (optional - Some people, like my husband, prefer meatballs the good ol' Dutch way with mashed potatoes and green beans)

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line shallow baking pans with parchment; set aside.
2. In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil until translucent (about 8 minutes. Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine eggs, ground beef, panko, parmesan, ricotta, parsley, basil, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Add onion mixture. Using your hands, mix to combine. If meatballs are are too soft add more breadcrumbs. Shape into 2-inch balls and place on prepared pans.
4. Brush with remaining olive oil (this prevents moisture from escaping and helps them stay juicy and tender). Bake 22 minutes or until just cooked through (165ºF).
5. Meanwhile, if serving with Marina sauce, add sauce to pan and bring to boiling. Add meatballs and coat with sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes then serve.

Homemade ricotta:
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt

cheesecloth (available in the baking/cooking aisle) and fine mesh strainer

1. Add all ingredients to a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture has reached 160º (about 25 minutes). The mixture will begin to separate, forming bits of milky cheese curds and watery whey.
2. Line the strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Pour in the milk mixture.
3. Refrigerate about 2 hours, or until most of the liquid has drained from the cheese. For a softer texture drain for less time and for firmer continue to drain overnight. Remove from cheesecloth and use.
4. Voila! You have made your own cheese!

roasted butternut squash filled with pomegranate-soaked fruit

This is a fun and easy way to serve squash. It can be a main dish or a starter. You can scoop the mixture onto crusty bread and top with some aged cheese or skip the bread and eat straight up. Adapted fromBetter Homes and Gardens.

makes 4-6 servings


1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¾ tsp. salt
2 cups pomegranate juice or port wine (I used a mixture)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup dried cherries, chopped
½ cup salted whole almonds, chopped
aged white cheddar or another favorite (we used Prima Dona which is a parmesan-Gouda mix)

Toasted whole grain bread, optional


1. Preheat oven to 425º. Lightly coat a large baking tray with oil.
2. Rub Squash halves with oil, then sprinkle cut sides with ½ tsp. salt. Place squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Roast until easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a platter, cut side up.
3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine the juice and/or port, vinegar, ¼ tsp. salt. Bring to boiling over medium heat and cook, uncovered, 4 minutes. Add apricots and cherries. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes then remove fruit with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat. Bring to boiling and cook until reduced to about ½ cup (approx. 20 more minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the fruit and nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon mixture into squash and place any extra in a serving bowl.
5. To serve, top with shaved cheese or place cheese on bread before spooning squash and fruit mix on top.

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mexican quinoa

This dish has become a favorite with our whole family (the kids asked for seconds which is pretty rare). The flavor combination is so so good. Easy to make and super nutritious, what's not to love? adapted from 


2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
1 ¼ cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 can black beans (or equivalent soaked and cooked black beans), drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen or canned)
½ tsp. salt
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ lime juiced
1 tomato, diced (or can diced tomatoes)

to finish:
shredded cheese
sour cream or plain greek yogurt
cooked shredded chicken (optional)
spinach (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Stir in quinoa and broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Then add beans, corn, tomato, and salt. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until liquid is fully absorbed.
3. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.
4. Serve over a bed of spinach if desired and top with shredded chicken, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and avocado

coconut crusted salmon with lemony quinoa

This scrumptious meal is light but nourishing and makes me think of Spring. The herbed coconut crust on the salmon is so delicious and carb-free. Pine nuts and spinach round out the quinoa and make it a perfect side dish. Salmon recipe adapted from Trim Healthy Mama and the quinoa from kale&chocolate

Let's talk about some of the health benefits first:
Salmon is high in protein. It is extremely important to supply our bodies with enough protein because our muscles, organs, bones, cartilage, skin, and antibodies are composed of protein and need enough to repair themselves and prevent cellular breakdown. Salmon is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids which are necessary for cardiovascular and cognitive health. It is an excellent source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals which damage cells and leave them vulnerable to cancer, infection, and disease. Salmon also contains high levels of B vitamins which are vital for a healthy metabolism and good mental health.
Coconut contains lauric acid which helps raise the high density level cholesterol which keeps arteries free from plaque accumulation. It is packed with B vitamins and copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, iron, and even calcium. Using this in place of breadcrumbs boosts the nutrition value and cuts out carbs.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a nutrition packed seed that cooks like a grain. It contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is gluten-free, high in B vitamins, and has iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin E.
Pine nuts are really seeds from certain pine trees. They contain essential minerals and heart friendly mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help reduce cholesterol levels, vitamin E and vitamin B.


for the salmon:
4 Salmon filets (I like skin on, wild preferably)
mayonnaise (see below for home made) or eggs
1 cup dried coconut
sea salt
garlic powder and/or onion powder
dried parsley
cayenne pepper if you like some spice

for the quinoa:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
sea salt
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 cups raw spinach, thinly sliced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
pepper to taste

1. To make the salmon "breading", place coconut, herbs and spices in blender and blend until fine. Pour onto large dinner plate.
2. Rub salmon fillets with mayo or dip into a couple whisked eggs. Then press into coconut mix and coat generously. Place in greased baking dish
3. Bake at 350º until fish is done and coating is crispy. Check after 10 minutes. Fish is done when outer layer is opaque and inside is still a darker pink. If you want the outside more crispy then place under broiler for 1-2 minutes.

1. Rinse quinoa for a few minutes to make sure all the bitter-tasting chemicals called saponins are removed. Transfer to a saucepan and add 1 tsp. salt and 1 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. If they seem to firm after 15 minutes add a tad more water and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.
2. Transfer quinoa to a serving bowl and add toasted pine nuts, spinach, lemon zest and parsely. Place the sliced spinach on top.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Slowly add olive oil to form an emulsion. Pour dressing on top of quinoa tossing to blend all ingredients. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.


I tried making my own mayo from scratch quite unsuccessfully before. This recipe made a beautiful mayo: golden, creamy and free of soybean* oil. It was very simple and quick.

1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
dash of pepper
onion powder (optional)
dash of vinegar (optional)
dash of sweetener (optional)
dijon mustard (if you want more kick)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Put eggs in blender. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and additional flavorings if desired. Blend well.
2. With blender running, slowly add the coconut and olive oil. Mix until thickened.
3. Chill before serving.

*soy beans have a high level of phytates which leech minerals out of the body. Soy affects the body's estrogen levels by converting testosterone into estrogen. It also suppresses thyroid function and can cause sterility (it all sounds kind of nasty!)

maple glazed squash stuffed with quinoa and mushrooms

The maple thyme glaze is incredibly delicious and turns this squash into an exceptional side, or main dish if served with the quinoa. If you want even more substance serve with roasted root vegetables brushed with the same glaze. from food and wine
serves 6


salt and pepper
1 3.5 lb kabocha squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 6 wedges
olive oil for brushing
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 thyme sprigs

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 thyme sprigs

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced plus 2 shallots thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
4 thyme sprigs
2.5 cups water
salt and pepper
1.5 cups quinoa
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb mushroom, preferably oyster, chantrelle, or shiitake (or combination), sliced
1/3 cup chopped parsley

1. to prepare the squash, preheat the oven to 350º. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper; arrange on a baking sheet cut side down and roast for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Flip wedges and roast for 20 minutes, until just tender.
2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar, maple syrup and thyme. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Turn the squash skin side down and brush all over with the maple glaze. Roast for 10 minutes longer, until the squash is lightly browned and glazed.
3. For the sauce: In a saucepan, whisk the cream and maple syrup. Add garlic and thyme and simmer over med-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup. Discard garlic and thyme and keep warm.
4. To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, melt the 2 Tbsp. of butter. Add minced shallot and cook over med. until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper then add quinoa. Cover and cook over med-low heat until tender and the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
5. In a large skillet, melt the remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in the oil. Add the sliced shallots and cook over med-high heat, stirring until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and tender, 5 minutes or so more. Stir in quinoa and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
6. Arrange the roasted squash on plates. Fill each wedge with quinoa stuffing, drizzle with the sauce.

favorite lemon herb salmon

I have made this 3 times this summer. It is that good.

makes 4 servings

1 lb salmon fillet (skin on or skinless)
1 lemon
1 Tbsp. snipped dill
1 Tbsp. snipped tarragon
1 Tbsp.
snipped flat leaf parsley or chives
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp oil or butter (or mix)

1. Pat fish dry. Shred 1 tsp. of peel from lemon; set aside. Juice the lemon and reserve for later. In a bowl combine the lemon peel, snipped herbs, salt, pepper, and oil. Spread evenly on the salmon.
2. Preheat grill to 400º. Oil grate and add salmon herb side down. Grill 2-3 minutes. Turn salmon, pour lemon juice over. Grill 3-7 minutes until salmon begins to flake and center still has a trace of darker pink.


crunchy coconut chicken fingers with peach honey mustard

tender chicken pieces with tasty coconut coating.
adapted from
1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders
1 can coconut milk
2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs*
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
1 ripe peach, peeled and chopped

1. Shake or blend coconut milk until smooth and creamy. Place chicken tenders in a baking dish, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and cover with coconut milk. Refrigerate 1-2 hours or more.
2. Preheat oven to 450º. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine coconut, flour, panko, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well. Dredge chicken pieces in the mixture, pressing gently to coat well. Place chicken on rack.
4. Spray all chicken tenders with coconut oil spray or other nonstick spray. Bake for 15 minutes, then gently flip and spray the other side. Bake for 10-15 minutes more, until golden and crispy.
5. While the chicken is baking, add peach chunks to blender or food processor and puree. In a bowl, whisk together honey, dijon, and peach puree.

* These could hardly be easier to make: cut a few slices of whole wheat or multigrain bread into pieces. Pulse in blender until you have coarse crumbs. Lay on baking sheet in single layer and toast in oven at 350º for about 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until crispy but not browned. Voila!

TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013

creamy pasta verde with garlic brown butter breadcrumbs

Oodles of greens in noodles. Deliciousness on steroids. The whole family loved this dish.
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
4 servings
1/2 pound whole wheat linguine
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup broccoli, chopped
10 asparagus spears, ends removed and cut into thirds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 leeks, tough green tops discarded, cleaned, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. fresh spinach
1/2 bunch kale leaves, torn from tough ribs
1/2 cup shelled edamame* (could also substitute frozen peas)
1 ripe avocado
6-8 oz mascarpone cheese (=yum)
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

1/3 cup whole grain breadcrumbs (pulse bread in blender to form crumbs and toast in the oven at 300º until crisp)
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare pasta. While waiting, start of the rest of the dish. Keep in mind that you need to reserve about 2/3 cup of the pasta water.
2. Heat a large skilled over medium heat. Add 1.5 Tbsp. olive oil, then toss in chopped broccoli and asparagus with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Toss well to coat, then cook until slightly golden and crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.
3. Add remaining olive oil to skillet and head to medium-low. Add leeks and red pepper, stirring well to coat and cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add spinach and kale with remaining salt and pepper, tossing well. Cook and stir until wilted, about 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, add butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk constantly. As soon as brown bits begin to form, remove from heat and whisk for 30 seconds. Let butter stand 2 minutes, then add in minced garlic and whisk. Add in breadcrumbs and stir well. Set aside.
5. Slice avocado in half. Remove flesh from one side, mashing until smooth. Add 2/3 of reserved pasta water and mascarpone cheese and stir until creamy.
6. Add spinach and kale mixture to pan along with pasta and avocado sauce. Finish by adding in the cheese, broccoli, asparagus, and edamame. To serve, slice remaining avocado and add to top of each dish, the sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

*can be special ordered through the Green Barn


cherry chicken spirals

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 11/2 lbs)
6 slices bacon, halved
2/3 cup snipped dried cherries
1/2 cup honey mustard, 4 Tbsp. for prep and remaining for dipping (you can make your own with dijon, honey, and plain yogurt or mayo)
1 cup whole wheat panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 Tbsp snipped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375º. Lightly coat a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Place each chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using flat side of a meat mallet, pound chicken  to 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Place bacon on chicken.
2. In a small bowl combine cherries and 2 Tbsp honey mustard. Divide mixture evenly among the chicken. Roll up chicken. You may need help from kitchen string or toothpicks if the chicken wont stay rolled up. Brush with 2 Tbsp honey mustard. Lightly sprinkle with salt if desired.
3. In a shallow dish, combine panko, thyme, and pepper. Roll chicken in mixture to coat. Place, seam sides down, in prepared pan.
4. Bake, uncovered for about 25-30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.


grilled tuna steak

a quick flavorful marinade adds delicious flavor to this meaty fish
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper

2-4 tuna steaks

Mix marinade ingredients together. Add tuna steaks and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Grill over medium-high heat for 5 minutes; turn and baste and grill an additional 1-2 minutes until done (should still be pink in the center).


stuffed peppers with Thai curry rice

adapted from Food & Wine
I generally avoid cooking with white rice, but it lends itself very well to this dish.  The combination of flavors is excellent. Even our 4 year old loved the rice stuffing and asked for more (and that doesn't happen very often)!

4 servings
4 large bell peppers
2 Tbsp butter or oil
2 medium shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup Jasmine rice
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (plus 1/4 or so reserved coconut cream for serving)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (for extra spice include seeds)
1/2-3/4 lb mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 cups chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped basil (Thai basil if available), plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Slice the tops off the peppers and cut the tops into 1/4-inch dice; discard cores and stems. Boil the hollowed out peppers until just tender, 4 minutes. Using tongs, carefully transfer peppers to paper towels and drain, cut side down. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water.
2. In a saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter or oil. Add shallots and garlic, season with salt and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until toasted, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, ginger, curry paste, and the reserved 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp butter or oil. Add diced pepper tops and jalapeno and cook over medium heat, stirring, until tender, 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until tender, 2-3 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are browned, 2 minutes longer. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 minute. 
4. Add the vegetable mixture to the rice and stir in the basil and lemon juice. Season with salt. Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and set them in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes, until the rice filling is heated through. Garnish with basil leaves and dollops of coconut cream.

I took this picture before baking to avoid making a mess. Baking softens the pepper and allows all the flavors to combine more.


gingered stir-fry with shrimp and snow peas

pretty yummy meal made from pretty basic ingredients

serves 4
1/2 cup chicken stock or low sodium broth
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese chile-garlic sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp oil (I used coconut. Sesame would be good too or whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup fresh ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
1/2 pound snow peas
1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 small scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
steamed rice or quinoa, for serving

1. In a small bowl, whisk the chicken stock with the soy sauce, chile-garlic sauce and cornstarch.
2. In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the ginger matchsticks and stir-fry over med-high heat until they are softened, about 1 minute. Add the snow peas and stir-fry until crisp-tender and the ginger is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Whisk the chile sauce, add it to the skillet and stir-fry until the shrimp are opaque and sauce is thickened, about 1 minute longer. Serve with rice or quinoa.

MONDAY, JULY 23, 2012

lemony chicken pan roast with zucchini and feta

This was delicious (and I am not just saying that). I found this recipe while paging through my Food and Wine magazine and it looked good so onto the meal plan it went. It tasted even better than I thought it would. All the flavors worked so well together. What could be better than a simple recipe and only handful of fresh ingredients?
And, if you don't care for olives don't pass up this recipe, just omit the olives (although I really think you should rethink your distaste :)
makes 4-6 servings
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 chicken thighs or 4 large chicken breasts (can be bone in or boneless)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2-2 lbs small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
1 large lemon, cut into eights (or a couple small, quartered)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp chopped oregano
1/4 lb feta cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (I used half plain and half greek herb)

1. Preheat the oven to 450. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet, and cook over high heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 5-6 minutes.
2. Transfer the chicken to a large roasting pan. Add the zucchini, lemon and olives to the skillet and cook over high heat until zucchini and lemon are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and oregano and season with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the roasting pan and arrange around the chicken. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife.
4. Preheat the broiler. Scatter the feta on top of the chicken and zucchini and broil for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned and beginning to melt. Serve with crusty bread. Yum!


orange-ginger turkey meatloaf

serves 4
2 medium oranges
1-2 slices whole wheat bread or 3/4 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
1 large egg white
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, plus 1 cup leaves
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/4 lb lean ground turkey
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce*
2 Tbsp ketchup
6 cups mixed greens (I used organic spring mix)
1 Tbsp olive oil

1. Heat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Using a vegetable peeler, remove 2 strips of zest from an orange and slice very thinly on the diagonal; transfer the zest to a large bowl and set the orange aside.
2. If using the bread, pulse in a food processor or blender to form fine crumbs. Set aside. Add the egg white, ginger, garlic, and 1 Tbsp water and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper to the bowl with the zest and whisk to combine; stir in the bread crumbs. Add the carrot, chopped cilantro, half the green onions, and mix to combine.
3. Add the ground turnkey and mix until just incorporated. Transfer the mixture to prepared baking sheet and shape into a 9 x 3 1/2 in. loaf. Bake for 25 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, combine the hoisin and ketchup. Brush the mixture over the entire loaf and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160F (10-15 minutes more). Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
5. While the meatloaf is resting (or while it is baking) cut away the peel and white pith of the orange and thinly slice into rounds. In a large bowl, gently toss the orange slices, greens, oil, cilantro leaves, remaining green onions and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Serve with the meat loaf.

* I made my own hoisin sauce with what I had in the house. I really didn't feel like going to the store just for that item and I was feeling economical :)You should also be able to find it in the Asian food section
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp honey (or molasses)
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sesame seed oil or tahini
10 drops hot sauce (preferably asian style. I used 2 tsp sweet and spicy chili dipping sauce)
1/8 tsp black pepper
-stir until combined

TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2012

grilled chicken tzatziki wrap

The grilled chicken was super good, maybe it was even better in my mind because it is the first chicken I have grilled this year! Combined with the fresh cucumber relish and yogurt and wrapped in a wholesome pita you get a deliciousness and healthiness together! If you have kids who would be hesitant to try this or if you want a neater option for the little ones here are a couple ideas: you can open up the pita and have everything inside the pocket, or you can give them chicken strips to dip in the yogurt with maybe some relish mixed in).
serves 4-6

4 whole wheat pitas (if you have the smaller ones from Green Barn then use 6 or enjoy leftover chicken :)
extra plain yogurt for garnish

for chicken marinade:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice + 2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. hot sauce (I used Tapatio)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
pinch salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

for cucumber relish:
1 english cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
pinch salt
1 cup seeded, finely diced tomato
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
6 Tbsp. coarsely chopped and pitted black olives (The Green Barn also has a small can of diced olives)
4 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh dill
1 garlic clove, minced
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp. lemon juice

1. For marinade, whisk all ingredients except chicken in a bowl. Combine with chicken breasts in a large zip-lock bag, seal and gently shake to evenly coat. Place in refrigerator and chill 2-4 hours.

2. For cucumber relish, Lay cucumber slices in a sieve placed over a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Leave for about 30-40 minutes, or until cucumbers soften and their liquid begins to drain into the bowl. Stir occasionally.

3. Combine the tomato, onion, olives, parsley, dill, garlic, olive oil and lemon in a medium bowl. Stir in drained cucumbers, then cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours.

4. Grease grill and preheat to medium-high. Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Grill chicken breasts about 15 minutes or until cooked through, turning halfway through. Remove chicken from grill and let rest a few minutes before slicing thinly on the diagonal. Lay slices on top of each pita round and divide relish evenly among them. Garnish with a little extra yogurt and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired. secure with toothpicks or kitchen string if you like.


ricotta, spinach and mint gnocchi

As this was my first attempt at gnocchi (nok ee) I followed a recipe pretty closely. I've tried a couple kinds at restaurants so I was really looking forward to making this recipe. It was delicious. When I do it next time I'd like to try using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. I also want to use steamed fresh spinach, but I was all out when I made this.

serves 4
2 and 1/2 cups ricotta or quark
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup all purpose flour (sifted)
2 tsp. finely grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp. chopped mint leaves
about 3 cups (250g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup cream
extra grated parmesan (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup mint leaves
sea salt and black pepper

1. Place ricotta, parmesan, eggs, flour, lemon rind, 1 Tbsp. mint and spinach in a bowl and mix well to combine. 
2.Turn out onto a surface covered in semolina and roll into 4 - 12 inch long ropes.

since the dough was fairly soft I found it helped to place both hands like this and gently roll

3. cut into 3/4 inch lengths. Cook the gnocchi in batches in a pot of salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until the float to the surface. Remove with the slotted spoon and keep warm.

4. place the cream in a large frying pan over high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through. Add the gnocchi, extra parmesan, extra mint, salt and pepper and gently toss to coat.

the dough was rather soft so when I stirred it into the sauce some lost their form. Next time I think I'll try tossing them in semolina to coat all sides before cooking.

all ingredients are usually available at the Green Barn


balsamic-ginger chicken lettuce cups

a simple but fancy slow-cooker meal
serves 4
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup brown rice, cooked (simmered with about 1 1/2 cup water for about 30 minutes or until tender)
1 orange
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small head Boston lettuce, leaves separated

1. Combine sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and red pepper in slow cooker. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cook until chicken is cooked through and very tender, 6-7 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
2. About 35 minutes before serving, cook rice.
3. peel and cut away white pith of orange. Thinly slice then cut each slice in half. Fold in green onions.
4. Using two forks, gently shred the chicken into medium pieces and stir into cooking liquid.
5. Fill lettuce leaves with rice and top with chicken and orange mixture.


Fish en papillote

I just have to post this recipe because it was SO delicious. Don't let the fancy title fool you, it is actually easy to prepare and pretty fast (especially if you have a julienne tool). Everything cooks together to make an absolutely tender and flavorful dish.

1/2 red onion, julienned
1 zucchini, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
squash, julienned, or mushrooms, or bell peppers (optional).
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
4-4oz white fish fillets
1 lemon, thinly sliced
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 pats butter
1/4 cup white wine*
parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl, mix together the onion, zucchini, carrot, and garlic (and other veggies if desired). Add the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
2. Put each fish fillet in a large square of parchment paper and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the vegetables on top, dividing evenly. Top the vegetables with 2 lemon slices, 2 sprigs thyme, a pat of butter and 1 Tbsp wine, layering in order.
3. Fold the parchment paper around the edges tightly in 1/4-inch folds to create a half moon shape. Make sure you press as you crimp and fold to seal the packets well, otherwise the steam will escape. Alternately gather all edges together and twist at the top to form a little bag. A stapler is handy if there are any openings. Arrange the packets on a baking sheet. Bake until the fish is cooked through, about 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish (mine were larger fillets so they took about 25 minutes). To serve, cut open the packets and serve directly in the parchment on a plate or remove the fish to the plate using a spatula, being sure you don't leave the juices behind.

*chicken broth works almost as well. I tried it both ways since I didn't have much wine due to a disaster: I dropped the grocery bag with the wine bottle in it on the pavement on the way from the car to the house. I ran inside, grabbed my baster and was able to save a bit of it before it trickled out of the bag. Phew!

serves 4

Spaghetti squash with garlic and herbs (and cheese of course)

If you have stayed away from spaghetti squash because you have no idea what to do with it, try this fast and easy recipe. You can also use this recipe as a starting point. Sauteed veggies would be a great addition.

1 spaghetti squash (about 3-4 pounds)1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil2 cloves garlic, finely minced1/4 cup finely minced herbs (I used parsley and tarragon, but basil would be yummy too)1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375F. Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife (to let steam escape). Place on a baking tray and bake for about 60 minutes (closer to 90 minutes if it is a larger one like mine was), or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.

2. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove and discard the seeds. Continue using fork to scrape the squash to get long strands. If the squash seem difficult to scrape, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.

3. Heat a large saute pan with the butter and oil and the garlic over medium-low heat. When garlic becomes fragrant, add herbs, salt and spaghetti squash strands. Toss well, sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and taste to see if you need additional salt. The spaghetti squash should have a slight crunch (i.e. not mushy) - but if you like it softer, cover the pan and cook 2 more minutes.

makes 4 servings


sweet potato and black bean burritos

Sound a little weird? They actually very good. Even my meat-loving man didn't mind that the meat was missing.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-in pieces
1 medium red onion, half chopped and half thinly sliced
1 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed
2 tsp. chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce *
1 small bunch spinach, thick stems discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
6 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
4 large flour tortillas (I used whole wheat)
sour cream
lime wedges

1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skilled over medium heat. Add the yams, chopped onion, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10-12 minutes.
2. Add the beans and chipotles and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.
3. Divide the cheese and potato-bean mixture among the tortillas and roll up to form burritos. Wipe out the skillet, add remaining olive oil and heat over medium heat. Cook the burritos, seam side down first until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges.

serves 4

*This adds a nice smokey flavor with a little spice. If you like more spice you can add more. If you don't feel like buying a can just to use a small amount you could substitute a small amount of  hot pepper or red pepper flakes. Or, I just chopped the remaining peppers, divided the pieces and sauce among the sections of an ice cube tray (this was a tip listed on the recipe). Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe container. You can save them to add to chili, soups, or stews)


Twice Baked Butternut Squash

It seems like Fall is really here. I thought I would be sad, but the crisp and (hopefully) sunny days inspire me to make yummy fall food with seasonal produce like squash and yams. I am looking forward to soups as well!

This was originally a Martha Stewart recipe but I tweaked it a bit. I was tempted to go sweet, but I stuck with savory and am happy I did.

These amounts are approximate. You may want to adjust based on the size of your squash and to your personal taste.
2 butternut squash
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika (I had run out so I substituted Old Bay seasoning)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp. chopped chives (I think sage or thyme would taste really good too)
3 Tbsp fresh bread crumbs or buttered panko bread crumbs

1. Heat oven to 450 with rack in center. Halve squash lengthwise and remove seeds and fibers. Sprinkle halves with salt and pepper. Fill a roasting pan with 1/4 inch water. Place squash in pan, cover with foil and bake until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife 35-45 minutes). 
2. Remove from oven, transfer to a cool surface and let sit until cool enough to handle. Reduce oven temperature to 425. Use a spoon to scoop flesh out of each half into a large bowl, leaving a 1/4 inch border so they will keep their shape.
3. To the bowl add sour cream, paprika, nutmeg, garlic powder, chives and 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix with a handheld electric mixer or potato masher until smooth and well combined.
4. Fill halves with mixture and sprinkle tops with breadcrumbs. Bake until golden brown and hot, approx. 20 minutes.

makes 4 generous servings


Pork Kebabs with Plums, Nectarines and Honey-Mint Glaze

 This is a great summer meal. It is pretty simple, fast, and delicious. The sweet honey glaze caramelizes slightly during grilling and complements the pork and fruit. It is a good time to try this out since local plums and nectarines are in!

4-5 plums or nectarines each cut into 1 inch wedges (I used both)
2-12 oz (or equivalent) pork tenderloins, each cut crosswise into 8 pieces
1 tsp. plus 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint

1. Heat grill. Thread plums/nectarines onto metal (or soaked wood) skewers. Thread pork on skewers and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt.
2. Combine honey, orange juice, oil, crushed red pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Reserve 2 Tbsp. of the mixture.
3. Oil grill grate. Grill skewers, covered over medium heat or coals 8-10 minutes or until pork is pale pink in the cener and fruit is tender, turning to brown on both sides and basting occasionally with honey mixture.
4. Drizzle skewers with reserved honey mixture and sprinkle with mint.

makes 4 servings.


Chicken with Cherry-Tarragon Sauce

So, after a two week break, due to our vacation, I decided to post what we had for dinner last night. We really enjoyed it. I actually forgot to take pictures until the food was mostly consumed. After an "oh no!" moment, I gathered up the last bits for a photo shoot. Kind of sad. Sigh... :)
You can use delicious local Lapin cherries for this one. It is actually quite a simple recipe. The only time consuming part is pitting the cherries (unless you happen to have a handy cherry pitter, which I don't).

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups fresh pitted dark sweet cherries
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh tarragon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine or cherry juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups hot cooked couscous* (or rice)

1. In a shallow dish combine flour, paprika, mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Coat chicken with this mixture.
2. In a skillet, cook chicken in hot oil over medium to medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning once. Remove from pan and cover to keep warm.
2. Add cherries, tarragon, and garlic to skillet. Cover and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in wine (or juice) and broth. Simmer uncovered, 3-5 minutes or until sauce is reduced to 2 cups. Stir in butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
3. To serve, spoon sauce over chicken and serve with couscous. You can sprinkle with additional tarragon.

makes 4 servings

*to make couscous, bring 2 3/4 cup water to a boil. Add 1 tsp. salt, stir, and add 1 1/2 cup couscous. Remove from heat and let sit covered for about 5 minutes (until all the water is absorbed). Fluff with a fork.


Grilled Portobello Melt

I'm so happy that the Summer weather has come (kind of) and have been utilizing the grill as much as possible!

4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 large red bell pepper, cut into quarters
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
4-8 slices cheese (I was hoping to try pepper jack but only had monterey jack so I added some herbs and crushed red pepper flakes)

for sauce combine:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. honey

1. Brush onions, peppers, and tops of mushrooms with olive oil and place onions and peppers on hot grill.
2. When they are browned with good grill marks on one side turn over. Add mushrooms, cap side up and pour sauce on top.
3. When liquid boils top mushrooms with onions and peppers and cheese slices (and herbs and spices if desired).
4. When cheese is melted, remove mushrooms from the grill and serve.

makes 4 main dish servings


Yam and Apple Bake

Here is a dish something like my mother would often make when we were growing up. I don't often make the same meal twice, but I do have a few that are always in the mix and this is one of them. I usually add pork or chicken sausage which turns it into a great main dish. I tweaked the recipe a bit this time and was happy with the results.

2-3 medium yams or sweet potatoes
1 large cooking apple (I used golden delicious) thinly sliced, then each slice halved

1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c. butter - melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1. Bake yams on baking sheet at 350°F. for about 40 minutes until tender, but firm. Cool, peel off skin and cut into bite size chunks.
2. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and add apples and yams (and sausage, if desired).
3. In a small bowl mix the flour, butter, brown sugar and spices. Pour into the baking dish and stir to coat. 
4. Bake at 375°F. for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Makes 4 servings

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