Tag Archives: Parsley

Zucchini frittata to go

I’ve been looking for new ways to increase my vegetable intake so I tried out this frittata that made four portions, or enough for two days worth of breakfast for me and Nadia.

Eight eggs whipped with 1/2 c of part-skim ricotta, salt and pepper. Add that to sliced zucchini, scallions and parsley that has been sautéed in a light amount of oil or butter (or a little of both) until brown, about 15 min. Mix in a non-stick skillet and bake for 35 minutes at 350.

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Game Day Grub: Baked chicken wings and homemade ranch

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NFL playoffs are in full swing so it’s been hard to avoid a nonstop run of commercials with all the best-worst foods like burgers, pizza and chicken wings.

Of all the cookbooks I’ve read, the best resource for bar-food made healthy is Men’s Health series of “Cook This, Not That” books.

So instead of going out for these greasy goodies I turned to the handy little guides for burgers and Buffalo wings.

I’ll put up the burger later this week, but I’m more excited for the wings. The sauce is equal parts hot sauce and butter, plus a fair amount of fresh lemon juice for an acidic zip. Tip: If you run out of fresh lemon, as I did when I used this recipe again on chicken legs, throw in half the amount of white vinegar instead.

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They pair it a Greek yogurt-based blue cheese dip, but we went with a healthy homemade ranch dressing (equal parts olive-oil mayo and Greek yogurt with onion powder, garlic powder and fresh parsley and chive). That recipe is also from the books, but a different one than the wings recipe is in.

Click here for the Cook This, Not That Buffalo chicken wings recipe.

Ditchin’ the salad bar: A tribute to Sizzler’s Malibu chicken

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I butchered and froze the various parts of three chickens early last week and I’ve been thawing it out in phases for different recipes: stock from the bones for beans and soup; coconut “fried” chicken and grilled coconut curry chicken with the thighs; Buffalo sauce with Greek yogurt ranch on the wings from “Cook This, Not That”; and a Philly chicken “cheesesteak” with one of the breasts.

I haven’t decided what to do with the legs yet, but I’m leaning toward rubbing them down in pesto and roasting them in the oven.

We were going to do chicken tikka masala with rest of the thawed out breasts but Indian food is freakin’ complicated and I didn’t feel like measuring out 100 different spices. I was about to make more of that cheesesteak chicken when the craving for Sizzler’s Malibu chicken hit me simultaneously in belly and brain.

I must have seen a Sizzler commercial during football and the propaganda worked.

My brain did a quick scan: Chicken and ham, check. Panko, check. Mustard, mayo, honey; yup.

It was on.

I ran the chicken through the batter station and par-pan-fried it on each side. They roasted at 400 degrees for 10 minutes before I pulled it out of the oven.

I covered it with the ham and slivers of muenster cheese. In general 2 oz. of deli meat is 50 to 60 calories and 1 oz. of cheese is 100 calories. I know I’ll spend 160 extra calories in the name of good taste, and you shouldn’t be afraid to either if you are eating lean all the time.

I whipped up the sauce while the chicken cooked for another 5 minutes. Equal amounts of yellow mustard and low-calorie olive oil mayo with a drizzle of honey. You’ll want about a tablespoon for each breast. That’s about 50 calories.

When the chicken is done put it on a plate, spoon some of the sauce on it and sprinkle with a little parsley for some fresh zip. The simple sauce is greater than the sum of its parts and you can’t argue with tender chicken in a crunchy coating covered in salty ham and gooey cheese.

I grew up eating at Sizzler. All you can eat shrimp as a kid, and later steak and Malibu chicken dinners with mom when I got older. I’ve since left the restaurant and its bountiful buffet behind, but with this recipe in my arsenal the loss of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and garlic toast doesn’t sting as much.

Baked rigatoni: Little work, lots of servings, and just 425 calories

I’m all about doing as little work as possible to make as many servings of food I can. Soups, polenta, and especially rice and pasta dishes are good for this.

If you order pasta at a restaurant the results can be calorically catastrophic. A heavy hand with the olive oil, too many noodles or too much sauce can weigh down what would have been a decent meal if someone had paid attention to the portion control. Plus, there’s a good chance there’s a load of butter in there too. Bummer, dude.

For the baked rigatoni I make, you can use regular or whole-wheat pasta (whole-wheat is preferable). Each serving of noodles will be about 200 calories and will weigh 2 oz. Use that rule to portion out however many servings you want. The pan above, which was the next size down from the typical Pyrex rectangular casserole pan, held six portions.

You can make your own sauce, or use any bottled sauce you would like. If I’m making sauce, I go with something simple like the passata di pomodoro from the Mozza cookbook (San Marzano tomatoes, evoo, sugar, salt, pepper). It makes a great mother sauce, and can be dressed up with garlic, herbs, or whatever else you’d like to throw in it. Another Mozza sauce to try would be Nancy Silverton’s basic tomato sauce, which can be found on Bon Appétit.

And after all that build up, I used a jar of store-brand tomato basil from Sprouts. Gotta save time when you can, right? Each 1/2 cup was 50 calories, with 6 servings to the jar.

I also threw in three cheeses, garlic and half a pound of mushrooms for some meatiness.

Here’s what you’ll need for 6 portions the way I do it:

12 oz. rigatoni or penne
3 cups pasta sauce
2-3 clove garlic, minced or microplaned
1/2 onion, small dice
8 oz. crimini mushrooms
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 T unsalted butter
3 oz. fresh mozzarella, small dice
6 T mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 oz. parmesan, microplaned
2 T parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
cooking spray

To make it:

1) Follow the directions on the box to cook the pasta. Just make sure you salt the water to taste like the ocean before you cook the pasta. Make sure you reserve some of the starchy water before you strain it when it’s done!

2) Start up the sauce while the water heats up and you boil pasta. Over medium-high heat, cook the mushrooms in two batches, using 1/2 T of olive oil each time. Lightly salt the mushrooms. Next, using a dash of cooking spray, cook the onions and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. If anything sticks to the pan at any time, simply loosen with a little water. Start with the onions first, then add the garlic, so the latter doesn’t burn. When it’s close to done, throw the mushrooms back in and stir with the butter.

3. Somewhere in here, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Add the sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. When the pasta is done, reserve some of the water, then drain. Add the pasta back into the sauce, with a couple spoons of the water. Let it simmer for a minute, until everything comes together.

5. If your pan is big enough, you can do this in the pan. If not, grab a large bowl. Mix the cheeses with the pasta and sauce, and drop in half of the parsley.

6. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the parmesan. If you’ve used a microplane to create a fluffy mound of fine shreds, you’ll be able to cover the whole dish in a fairly-decent blizzard of salty cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese on top browns slightly. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then dig in. The leftovers taste even better.

With the sauce from Sprouts, each serving was 425 calories. Had I left out the olive oil and butter, and cooked the mushrooms with just Pam, the recipe would have run about 390 calories according to CalorieKing. Add a huge handful of mixed greens and a light drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and you’ve got a solid meal for under 500 calories.

The serving is large enough to satisfy, and the creamy, cheesy sauce and thick, chewy noodles are as sinful as anything you’d get at a restaurant, with at least half the calories to weigh you down.

Week 29, Meal 3: Salsa verde grilled chicken, roasted beet and goat cheese salad

Week 29, Meal 3: Grilled chicken tossed in pistachio and herb salsa verde over arugula salad with roasted beets, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette

(Yield: 2 servings)

Chicken
12 oz. chicken breast, butterflied
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 T tarragon, chopped
1/2 T parsley, chopped
1/2 T chives, thinly sliced
1/4 c pistachios, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 lemon, juiced

Salad
5 oz. wild arugula
6 baby beets, different colors if possible
salt and pepper, as needed
1 t olive oil
1 oz. chevre goat cheese Dressing
1 lemon, juiced
1 T vegetable or grapeseed oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a small roasting pan, with enough water in the pan to cover the bottom of it. Cover the pan with foil and roast the beets for 30-40 minutes, until easily pierced with a pairing knife.

Remove from the oven and, using paper towels, rub the outer  skin and stem off. Cut beet pieces into wedges.

2. In a Magic Bullet or blender, mix the lemon juice and oil to make the vinaigrette. Reserve.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, shallot, tarragon, parsley, chives, pistachios and olive oil. Reserve.

4. Preheat your grill to high. When ready to grill, cook chicken until cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side. When chicken is cooked through, slice  into strips and toss with the salsa verde. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Mix the arugula and beets  in a bowl and dress with vinaigrette.

To plate: Lay the greens out thin over the whole plate, as  opposed to a mound  in the middle. Disperse the beets evenly. Top with half of the chicken and sprinkle each salad with 1/2 oz. of goat cheese.

Cheap ‘n’ easy: Marinara (or meat) sauce and parmesan polenta

A bunch of my ingredients for Week 29: Salads that don’t suck went bad prematurely, and because I’m on a budget like most everyone else, I chose to postpone the blogging and use my remaining food dollars on meals that I could stretch over a few days.

One of my favorite cheap meals is homemade marinara sauce or meat sauce over parmesan polenta. If you buy grits or polenta once,  you pretty much have grits or polenta in the pantry for a while. Marinara sauce can be made with a couple of cloves of garlic, an onion, tomato paste and tomato sauce.

You can add meat, or pretty it up with fresh parsley or a couple of extra ingredients, but if you need to be cheap about it, you can get outta dodge with a handful of meals-worth of flavorful sauce for about $3, maybe less.

Keep reading to see how easy it is. Continue reading Cheap ‘n’ easy: Marinara (or meat) sauce and parmesan polenta

Week 29: Salads that don’t suck

Back in November 2010 when I started this blog, I facetiously wrote that this was for “people who hate the gym and think salads suck.”

It’s been a year now, and while I’m still struggling with that whole gym thing, I will readily admit that salads don’t suck. A year ago, my vegetable intake seriously consisted mostly of french fries and grilled onions. (I just asked Wifey Nadia and she couldn’t think of anything past those two either.)

In that spirit, I asked Chef Brian to whip up a menu of “salads that don’t suck.” I’ve known for some time that Brian is a salad machine, but surprisingly, he said that this menu stumped him a little because he’s turned a lot of his favorite salad combinations into dinner entrees for this supposed salad hater.

But here we are, and here’s the menu:

Week 29, Meal 1: Glazed salmon over spinach salad with mango, avocado and coconut-peanut dressing

Week 29, Meal 2: Smoked paprika dusted chicken “milanese” with mixed greens, manchego, dried cherries, pine nuts and orange-sherry vinaigrette

Week 29, Meal 3: Grilled chicken tossed in pistachio and herb salsa verde over arugula salad with roasted beets, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette

As always, each recipe makes two servings. Follow the jump for the shopping list. Continue reading Week 29: Salads that don’t suck

Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Of all the stupid walls I built up around food, my preconceived hatred of grits has to be the stupidest one.

Seriously, grits are essentially cornmeal pudding, smooth and creamy, but totally filling (just like polenta, though one is yellow corn and one is white corn from what I Googled) — and polenta/grits have quickly become a food I totally love. That being said, I admit that Week 28, Meal 2: Shrimp and grits is the first time I’ve had the dish and it’s everything I was hoping it would be.

Chef Brian’s version features a spicy shrimp gravy punctuated by salty bacon, the slight burn of jalapeno and a nice kick of cayenne pepper. It’s a dish so good that you’ll want to lick the plate after you’re done.

Feel free. I won’t tell.

Continue reading Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Week 23, Meal 1: You’re new fava-rite fish dish

Fava beans are a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diets, not only because they’re protein-packed, but because they’re freakin’ delicious, too.

They’re a pain to get to, but the result is a bean that’s not as texturally gross as the lima, with a pleasant taste almost like zucchini squash.

Quick-cooked in olive oil with onions, these beans were a hearty meal on their own, but topped with a slab of pink salmon and  a sour, herbaceous salad – this just might be you’re new fava-rite fish dish.

Here’s Week 23, Meal 1: Grilled salmon over fava beans, spring onion and basil topped with parsley and radish salad in lemon vinaigrette. Continue reading Week 23, Meal 1: You’re new fava-rite fish dish

Week 21, Meal 3: How not to marinate steak

Chef Brian and I had a bit of a mix up with Week 21, Meal 3: Chimichurri marinated flat iron steak over ancho roasted sweet potatoes, corn and tomatoes.

The problem was in the instructions for the chimichurri, the condiment of choice for beef in South America — specifically Argentina. See, the chimi I usually have is mostly parsley flake, floating in olive oil. Chef Brian wanted me to mix up those ingredients in a food processor so that it created more of a paste to marinate the meat in.

He wrote mix, but meant “mix in a food processor,” so I mixed by hand and was puzzled by the consistency and it’s lack of liquid. So I doubled the liquid. Then tripled the liquid, and by the next day I had pickled a gorgeous piece of flat iron steak.

Bummer for me, considering I didn’t get to eat this one, but it’s probably better to post the recipe and cook it when I repurchase the ingredients, than hold on to the post for another day. Recipe and directions after the jump … Continue reading Week 21, Meal 3: How not to marinate steak

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