Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pepper Jack, Chicken and Peach Quesadillas

Pepper Jack, Chicken and Peach Quesadillas
****Susan's Note: My husband and I enjoyed this for a quick, simple meal. I used "low carb" tortillas and oiled the pan instead of using lots of cooking spray. The oil lends to a nice crispy brown finish. I didn't have Monterey Jack cheese so I used shredded cheddar and I diced up 2 jalapeno peppers (no membranes or seeds). I also used nectarines instead of peaches. These were tasty. I used a heavy pasta pot to "weigh down" the quesadillas.****

Total: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 quesadilla and 2 tablespoons sauce)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeƱo peppers
1 cup chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup thinly sliced peeled firm ripe peaches
4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cooking spray
1. Combine honey and lime juice in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir sour cream into honey mixture; cover and chill until ready to serve.

2. Place tortillas flat on a work surface. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cheese over half of each tortilla; top each tortilla with 1/4 cup chicken, 1/4 cup peaches, and 1 teaspoon cilantro. Fold tortillas in half.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan, and top quesadillas with a cast-iron or other heavy skillet. Cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until tortillas are crisp and lightly browned (leave cast-iron skillet on quesadillas as they cook). Remove quesadillas from pan; set aside, and keep warm. Repeat procedure with the remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into wedges. Serve with sauce.

Nutritional Information
15.8g (sat 7.4g,mono 5.8g,poly 1.4g)
Kathryn Conrad, Cooking Light, AUGUST 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mahimahi (Mahi Mahi) with Bacon-Tomato Butter (Cooking Light)

Mahimahi with Bacon-Tomato Butter

*****Susan's Note: I used the frozen portioned mahi mahi fillets from Wegman's, and thawed them ahead of time. This was delicious. My husband used a gas grill to cook it.****

If you have time, a charcoal or wood fire gives teh food intense flavor. A gas grill also works but lends a more subtle grilled flavor. Look for American mahimahi that were caught using the pole/troll method, as this fishing practice has the least negative impact on the waters where they're caught, and it yields the freshest fish.

Yield: 4 servings
2 cups water
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 (6-ounce) mahimahi fillets
Cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon table salt, divided
1 slice center-cut bacon, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons butter
1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish, stirring until sea salt and sugar dissolve; add fish. Let stand 20 minutes. Drain; pat dry.

2. Prepare charcoal fire in a chimney starter; let coals burn for 15 to 20 minutes or until flames die down. Carefully pour hot coals out of starter, and pile them onto one side of the grill. Coat grill grate with cooking spray; put grate in place over coals.

3. Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon table salt evenly over fish. Lightly coat fish with cooking spray. Place fish, skin side down, over direct heat on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes or until well marked. Turn fish over and move to indirect heat; grill 12 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

4. Heat a small skillet over medium heat; add bacon to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until bacon is almost crisp, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add paprika, and cook for 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in butter. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon table salt. Place 1 fillet on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 2 tablespoons tomato mixture.

Nutritional Information
8g (sat 4.4g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.5g)
Barton Seaver, Cooking Light, AUGUST 2010

Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts

Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts

**Susan's Note: This was a refreshing summer salad. I used Wegmans "Steam in bag" frozen kernel corn and just warmed it, and I didn't cook it "too" hot. I also toasted the walnuts in the microwave. If you are not sure how to seed and chop jalapeno peppers, just click here. Remember to use plastic gloves (I used plastic bags over my hands) when handling jalapenos!

Serves 6
Hands-On Time: 10m
Total Time: 15m
1 cup walnuts
4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears), raw or cooked
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Feta (2 ounces)
Heat oven to 400° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.
In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapeƱos, lime juice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with the Feta before serving.

Potato Salad with Bacon and Parsley

Potato Salad with bacon and parsley

***Susan's Note: I used less parsley than called for in this recipe.

Serves 6
Hands-On Time: 10m
Total Time: 25m
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes
kosher salt and black pepper
4 slices bacon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Place the potatoes in a pot with water to cover and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Cut into quarters.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. Crumble when cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss with the potatoes, bacon, and parsley.

Peach, Plum, and Apricot Crisp (Cooking Light)

Peach, Plum and Apricot Crisp

***Susan's Note: This was a delicious use of summer stone fruits. No peeling necessary! For a 'quick and easy' crisp, you can buy T. Marzetti's "Apple Crisp" packages and just use that to top your fresh fruit, bake according to the directions on the package.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup crisp and 1/3 cup ice cream)

4 1/2 cups sliced peaches
2 cups sliced plums
2 cups sliced apricots
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg (I used regular nutmeg in a jar)
Cooking spray
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream
1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; let stand 15 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 400°.

3. Spoon fruit mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until bubbly.

4. Combine oats and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl. Drizzle with butter, stirring until crumbly. Sprinkle oat mixture over fruit. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream.

Nutritional Information
6g (sat 3.2g,mono 1.6g,poly 0.4g)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Matt Romero's Eggplant "Sandwiches"

Matt Romero's Eggplant "Sandwiches"

***Susan's Note: Can you tell I'm on summer vacation? 2 cakes and these 'sandwiches' all in one day? :) I loved the look of these sandwiches in Real Simple magazine, especially because I'm a big fan of good eggplant and goat cheese. These are NOT healthy! But they were great. I used roasted red peppers instead of tomatoes because my husband doesn't like them. Make sure you SALT your eggplant, and use garlic herb goat cheese - much tastier than plain.***

Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 30m
Total Time: 30m

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 medium eggplant (1 to 1 1/2 pounds), cut into eight 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/2 cup canola oil
kosher salt
4 leaves romaine lettuce, torn in half
2 medium beefsteak or other tomatoes (about 1 pound), sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip the eggplant slices in the flour, then in the eggs (letting any excess drip off), and finally in the bread crumbs, pressing gently to help them adhere.
Heat half the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook half the eggplant until golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining oil and eggplant. Sprinkle the hot eggplant with ½ teaspoon salt.
Layer the eggplant, lettuce, tomatoes, basil, and goat cheese to form 4 "sandwiches," with the eggplant on the top and bottom of each stack.
By Matt Romero, July 2010

Kosher salt enhances the flavor of foods rather than making them salty.
Nutritional Information
Per Serving
Calories 549
Fat 40g
Sat Fat 9g
Cholesterol 128mg
Sodium 448mg
Protein 15g
Carbohydrate 36g
Sugar 7g
Fiber 7g
Iron 2mg
Calcium 126mg

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

**Susan's note: I adapted this Martha Stewart recipe. It called for rhubarb, but I am not a big fan, so I used nectarines instead! I love nectarines. I didn't peel them, just sliced them, and you don't need to dot the pan with the 4 TBS butter called for in the recipe. Just lightly butter the pan. And you don't need as much sugar - maybe 1/2 cup - to toss over the nectarines.

This cake has a crumb "topping" that actually ends up on the bottom. Each bite has a surprisingly crunchy texture.

Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes


Makes one 9-inch cake; Serves 10
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Coarse salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for buttering pan
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut on a very sharp diagonal about 1/2 inch thick
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the topping: Stir together butter, flour, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until moist and crumbly.
Make the cake: Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep). Dot with 4 tablespoons butter (cut into pieces). Toss rhubarb with 3/4 cup sugar; let stand for 2 minutes. Toss again, and spread in pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Beat remaining stick butter and cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in zest and juice. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, until smooth. Spread evenly over rhubarb. Crumble topping evenly over batter.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and top springs back when touched, about 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
From Martha Stewart Living, May 2010

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. The rhubarb will be too hot to handle safely right after baking. But if the cake sits much longer, it may stick.

Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart

Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart

**Susan's note: I used both fresh strawberries and blueberries to top this tart. I imagine any fruit would work well. It was delicious, as over 70 positive online reviews can attest.

Prepare the crust and filling up to 2 days ahead; assemble the morning of your brunch. You'll have extra glaze--try it on ice cream or pound cake.

Yield: 6-8 servings
36 honey graham crackers (about 9 sheets)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 teaspoons water
Cooking spray

2/3 cup light cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

6 cups small fresh strawberries, divided
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and water; pulse just until moist. Place mixture in a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan coated with cooking spray, pressing into bottom and up sides of pan to 3/4 inch. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare filling, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and extracts in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell.

To prepare topping, place 2 cups strawberries in food processor; process until pureed. Combine strawberry puree, 2/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute. Remove glaze from heat, and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Combine 4 cups strawberries and juice; toss to coat. Arrange berries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over filling. Spoon half of glaze evenly over berries (reserve remaining glaze for another use). Sprinkle nuts around edge. Cover and chill 3 hours.

Note: You can use either an 8 x 12-inch rectangular pan or a 9-inch round tart pan. The recipe also works with a 9-inch springform pan and a 10-inch pie plate.

Nutritional Information
289 (28% from fat)
8.9g (sat 4.2g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.5g)
Jean Kressy, Cooking Light, APRIL 2003

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzels

Auntie Anne's (Aunt Annie's) Soft Pretzels

***Susan's Note: Thanks to friends Scott and Jen for introducing us to this recipe! We loved making them and we found if you use "sweet" butter to coat the pretzels it really makes a difference. Using quick-rising yeast helps the process go faster. Enjoy.

Ready in: 30-60 minutes
Serves/Makes: 8-10

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup bread flour
3 cups regular flour
2 cups Warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
to taste coarse salt
4 tablespoons butter (melted)


Sprinkle yeast on lukewarm water in mixing bowl; stir to dissolve. Add sugar, salt and stir to dissolve; add flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic. Let rise at least 1/2 hour.

While dough is rising, prepare a baking soda water bath with 2 cups warm water and 2 Tbsp baking soda. Be certain to stir often. After dough has risen, pinch off bits of dough and roll into a long rope* (about 1/2 inch or less thick) and shape. Dip pretzel in soda solution and place on greased baking sheet. Allow pretzels to rise again. Bake in 450 oven for about 10 minutes or until golden. Brush with melted butter and enjoy!

Toppings: after you brush with butter try sprinkling with coarse salt. or for Auntie Anne's famous Cinnamon Sugar, try melting a stick of butter in a shallow bowl (big enough to fit the entire pretzel) and in another shallow bowl make a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Dip the pretzel into the butter, coating both sides generously. Then dip again into the cinnamon mixture. Enjoy!

* The longer and thinner you can make the dough rope, the more like Auntie Anne's they will be. (Of course I don't have the counter space!)

*Sweet butter, not regular butter, is one of her secrets!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Emeril's Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Emeril's Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
**Susan's Note: I use balsamic vinaigrette for a variety of things, but mostly on a salad of summer tomatoes and mozzarella and basil - the small marinated mozzarella balls you can buy at most supermarkets (like Wegmans) are delicious for this. I've realized that bottled dressing is not always better! Though in a pinch I'll use Ken's light balsamic, it's good. Here's Emeril's recipe. Note if you want to make a smaller amount: the ratio of vinegar to oil is 1 part vinegar, 3 parts oil.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional*
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the salad mix and desired salad ingredients and serve immediately.

If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.

*If using a good quality balsamic vinegar you should not need the sugar, but if using a lesser quality you might want the sugar to round out the dressing.

Light and Creamy Potato Salad

Light and Creamy Potato Salad

**Susan's Note: This was a nice alternative to regular potato salad. I have to say, I don't like having to buy ingredients I wouldn't normally use, like buttermilk, but other than that it was great.

Good Housekeeping June 2010
A healthy variation on the cookout classic, this potato salad utilizes low-fat buttermilk and light mayonnaise.

Yields: 12 side-dish servings

Total Time: 1 hr

4 pound(s) small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in quarters
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup(s) dry white wine
1/2 cup(s) low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup(s) light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
1 cup(s) packed fresh basil leaves, very thinly sliced
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish



1.In 8-quart saucepot, place potatoes and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and heat to boiling on high. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well and transfer to large bowl.
2.To bowl with potatoes, add wine and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Toss gently until well mixed. Cool to room temperature.
3.Prepare dressing: In large measuring cup, with wire whisk, stir buttermilk, mayonnaise, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice until well blended. (Dressing can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) To bowl with potatoes, add dressing and basil. Toss gently until evenly coated. Garnish with chives.

Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories 160
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 0
Cholesterol 2mg
Sodium 135mg
Total Carbohydrate 32g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars --
Protein 4g
Calcium --