Friday, July 31, 2009

warm dijon potato salad

This was great warm, but would be good cold or room temperature.

Dijon Potato Salad

-2 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
-1/8 cup olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste>
-2 tablespoons red wine (or balsamic, or champagne, or sherry, or cider) vinegar
-2 teaspoons dijon mustard
-1/2 red onion diced
-handful of basil, sliced into ribbons

Boil potatoes until tender (about 15 minutes) and drain. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add warm potatoes and stir to combine.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chinese green beans

As a child, I remember frequently enjoying Chinese food out, and the green beans were always my favorite item to order. This recipe is a great take on the popular Chinese style green beans. I found green beans on sale this week, and immediately knew just what I'd be doing with them.

Chinese Green Beans
-1 tablespoon peanut or sesame oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
-1 tablespoon sugar
-2 tablespoons oyster sauce
-2 tablespoons soy sauce (I always use the low sodium variety)
Heat oil in skillet on medium high, add garlic and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add green beans and saute until they start to soften (about 5 minutes). Whisk remaining ingredients in a bowl, and pour over green beans. Continue to saute until desired tenderness is achieved, stirring occasionally.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend cooking

I managed to take several photos between Fri, Sat and Sun, but they were all of food that I cooked, nothing that I did. I did so many fun things this weekend (running with a friend, a great date night with my hubby, volleyball with friends, sewing etc.), but was horrible at capturing those moments, I guess I was too busy enjoying myself. Here's the recipes (and photos) from my weekend.

Lentil Salad

I had previously posted this recipe here, but thought it worth mentioning again seeing as how much Jeremy and I both LOVE this recipe.

Baked Tilapia

This is my favorite method of baking any type of white fish.

-1/4 cup olive oil
-6 cloves fresh garlic
-2 Tablespoons cajun seafood seasoning
-1/3 cup fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped (I tried both on different occasions, and each were excellent)
-juice of 1 lemon
-6 tilapia fillets, or other white fish

Combine all ingredients except fish in a bowl. Placed the fish in a greased baking dish. Spread the sauce on the fish and then placed in a preheated 400 degree oven. If your fish pieces are small 10-20 minutes would do. You’ll know it’s done when it flakes easily and is no longer shiny and translucent at the center of the fish.

Grandma Lou's (Jeremy's grandma) Butter Beans and Corn

This is the first time that I made this dish without ham, and I think it turned out just as delicious as normal. If you have a ham bone or ham scraps in the freezer this is a great way to use them up though.

-One bag frozen butter beans
-One bag frozen corn kernels
-One table sized package Sweet N Low (that’s how she makes it cause her husband has diabetes, but a tablespoon of sugar works great also)
-Grandma’s canned tomatoes (I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any on hand so I use one 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes)
-Cut up ham

Cook the butter beans and ham on the stove in water according to package directions. Add tomatoes, corn, sweetener, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for at least 5 minutes or until serving.

Potato Salad

You know how pretty much everything tastes better when someone else makes it then when you do? Potato salad is one of the few things that I always tend to like better when I make it... probably because I like the combination of ingredients and proportions that I use the best.

-3-5 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed, but not peeled, cut in halves or quarters depending on size of potatoes into large bite size pieces
-9-12 hardboiled eggs, diced
-1-2 stalks celery, chopped
-about 1/2 cup sweet gherkin pickles, diced
-plenty of reduced fat mayo (about 1 cup)
-a small squirt of yellow mustard (1-2 Tbsp)
-red onion, diced (about 1/2 onion)
-scallions, sliced (about 6)
-salt and pepper
-1 teaspoon of sugar
-1 tsp celery seed

Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until done. Drain and cool. Combine mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, celery seed, and sugar in a bowl, whisk until thoroughly mixed. Combine potatoes, mayo mixture and remaining ingredients. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

You don't really need a recipe for this, I just tossed together some spinach, chopped strawberries, sliced red onion, and toasted walnuts for a light lunch salad on Saturday. The dressing followed the same basic principles of all of my dressings... I always start with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup of some type of vinegar (I like this ratio, because it's less fat than most dressings). Then add fresh ground black pepper, and 1 Tablespoon of some type of sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup). In some cases I'll also add extra flavors like soy, garlic, ginger, herbs, red pepper flakes, dijon mustard etc. depending on what type of salad that I'm making. For this particular dressing I used basil olive oil (which was quite delicious!) because I had it in the pantry and it needs to be used up before it expires soon, I also used balsamic vinegar (regular or white balsamic would be great here), 1 Tablespoon of honey (but sugar would be fine also), and fresh ground pepper. It would also be good with some raspberry or strawberry preserves mixed into the dressing, or adding some mashed pulp from some berries. Cheese could be added, but Jeremy and I usually forego it. Any fruit (like kiwis, apples, berries, pears) would be great here, and so would any type of nut.

Followed Kate's recipe for Purple Potatoes, or essentially potatoes and red cabbage. This was super yummy, even better the next day, and a nice change from our standard side dishes.


Monday, July 13, 2009

BBQ Baked Lentils

Each week I prepare a pot of some type of bean dish to keep in the fridge and take to work with me for lunch every day (fortunately I don't mind, and even enjoy eating the same thing several days in a row). Today I made this recipe by Kate at Cooking During Stolen Moments. The result was delicious!!!! I wouldn't hesitate to serve this as a side dish at a cookout instead of the traditional baked beans. I also don't think that I'll ever buy BBQ sauce again and will continue to use this sauce, with a few modifications. Next time I'll try serving this as a main dish, over brown rice to form a complete protein as Kate suggests. I doubled the recipe to have enough to last me through the week. Also, this is a fairly spicy sauce (which I love), but for those who don't like spicy I would definitely tone down the red pepper flakes and hot sauce. Here's the way that I cooked the recipe, with some notes for things that I'd change next time.

BBQ-Baked Lentils

-1/2 lb. lentils
-4 c. water
-2 T. olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-2 stalks celery, diced
-2 carrots, peeled and diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-1 1/2 c. barbecue sauce, bottled or homemade (recipe below)
1. Pour lentils and water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 2. While lentils cook, heat olive oil in a small skillet. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
3. In a casserole dish, combine lentils, vegetables and barbecue sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve as is for a side dish or over brown rice.
Homemade Barbecue Sauce

If using ketchup, rather than tomato sauce as the first ingredient, I would omit the honey and salt, as ketchup already contains so much sugar and salt.

-1 1/4 c. ketchup or 1 c. tomato sauce, 2 T. vinegar and 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
-1/4 c. brown sugar
-2 T. Worcestershire sauce
-2 T. honey (omit if using ketchup)
-2 t. garlic powder (next time I would halve the amount of garlic powder... I love garlic, but I found it overly strong in this sauce)
-2 T. Tabasco sauce (again, if you don't like spicy food I would halve, or omit this)
-1 t. cumin (next time I would halve the amount of cumin, I love cumin, but found it to be very strong in the sauce, which tasted good, just not my preference for BBQ sauce)
-1 t. salt (omit if using ketchup)
-1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (reduce or omit if not desiring spicy)

1. Stir all ingredients together until well combined. Store in refrigerator until use. Will keep for at least 1 week.


Monday, July 6, 2009


What a great way to enjoy some seasonal squash and zucchini!


-a couple Tablespoons of olive oil
-1 eggplant, cubed
-salt and freshly ground black pepper
-2 zucchini, sliced
-2 yellow squash, sliced
-assorted colored peppers (red, green or yellow), sliced
-1 onion, sliced
-4 garlic cloves, minced -fresh basil
-2 Tablespoons sugar
-1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium high heat. Saute garlic, onion, and peppers until tender (about 7 minutes). Add eggplant, cover, and cook for 10 minutes stirring intermittently. Add squash, zucchini, tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring intermittently. Once all of the vegetables are tender, stir in basil and serve.

Asian Citrus Salad

I made this salad on Sunday, and it may be my new favorite salad and dressing to make, very yummy! Next time I might add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the dressing for a little kick. Some toasted sesame seeds, sliced radishes, or snow peas would also be a great addition to this salad as well.

Asian Citrus Salad

-spring mix, spinach or lettuce
-6 scallions, sliced
-1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
-1 (14.5) oz can mandarin oranges, drained
-couple handfuls of shredded carrots

-1/2 cup rice vinegar
-1/4 cup canola oil
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-1 clove garlic, minced
-2 teaspoons sugar

Assemble salad ingredients in large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients in small bowl (or put in a jar and shake). Drizzle dressing over salad and enjoy!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Banana Bread

This is my Mother-in-law's recipe for banana bread, with a few modifications from me to healthify it. This weekend I whipped up a loaf and some muffins to use up some bananas that I had in the freezer

Banana Bread

-1 stick butter
-1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
-3 cups sugar
-4 eggs
-½ cup milk
-2 teaspoons vanilla
-6 large mashed bananas
-2 cups all purpose flour
-2 cups whole wheat flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in yogurt.  Add eggs, vanilla, and milk, beating well. Alternately add mashed bananas and flour and baking soda. Stir in nuts or chocolate chips. Pour thick batter into 3 greased and floured loaf pans and bake 50-60 minutes at 325 or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (Or for muffins I bake them at 350 for 20-22 minutes).