Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Futtuchine with Basil Pesto

sometimes I just have a taste for something super, super fresh, and in the summer, what is better then fresh herbs grown in the garden. I am NO green thumb, but it difficult not to do basil right. Either buy a small plant and plant it in an area that gets medium sun, or buy a potted plant and let it grow. Basil, just multiplies and multiplies. Whenever I make basil pesto, I wonder why I dont make it more often because I love the flavor and texture. The whole meal took as long as it took for the noodles to boil, and I just did pasta alone with the pesto, but next time I am thinking of incorporating shrimp in the dish, yum! BTW, the recipe made two cups pesto, and I only used

Boil noodles of choice according to direction(we went fettuchine this time)

here is the Basil Pesto formula

2 cup basil leaves firmly packed

1/2 cup grated parm cheese

1/2 cup EVOO

1/3 cup walnut, pine nut, almonds(optional)

2 medium size garlic cloves

salt and pepper to taste

in food processor or blender add Basil, parm cheese, nuts and garlic, puise for pulse 30 seconds

gradually add olive oil a tablespoon at a time, making sure to scrape sides in between pulsing

the mixture will come together and form a beautiful vibrant green color, with a wonderful taste to match

drain cooked noodles

toss in skillet with a cup of pesto, for two mnutes on low

This pasta dish doesnt require any additional cheese, I did add a bit of red pepper flake because i must eat everything HOT!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bean Enchilladas

Found this recipe in an old cookbook of mine about low-fat eating. It was a revolutionary cookbook 20 year ago... I think this recipe sounds interesting, though WE'LL be tweaking it as we roll!

Bean Enchiladas
1 14 oz can black beans
1 14 oz can pinto beans
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder

1 cup cheese - montery jack or mexican blend would be great

8 flour tortillas

place beans in mixing bowl and mash coarsely with a potato masher (you could use a food processor, Barbara!), Add the spices
Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave on high for 45 seconds to make them easy to bend. Divide the bean mixture onto the tortillas and then the cheese. Roll closed, place seam side down into a sprayed 9 by 13 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 ddegrees for 20 minutes.

I'm planning to top these with salsa as they come out of the oven. You could also cover with an enchilada sauce prior to baking if desired. Probably not green enchilada sauce, however.

Sausage in Veggies

Here's a great way to use up older veggies -
And, left over bratwurst or sausages work great too.
This happens to be a ring of chicken sausage that I had in the frig, but I've made this meal with whatever kind of "sausage" is available!  Also, my veggie choices probably weren't the best, but since I made this the night we got back from a six day vacation to the inlaws, the options in the frig weren't plentyful.

Sausage, cut into 1 inch chunks

Peppers (red or orange for max color/eye appeal)
Yellow Squash or Zucchini
red onions

Rotini or Farfalle or Penne pasta (something "chunky")

Prepare pasta in boiling water per directions
Cut all veggies into "bite size" pieces - about 1/2 inch thick and size of a quarter.  Saute veggies in a few sprays of non-stick cooking spray.  After about 3 minutes, add the sausages, and simmer until the flavors are shared and the meat is thoroughly warmed through.  This depends on how much is in your pan, how high you have the heat, and how thick your meat chunks are. 

Italian Dressing chicken

utilitarian food - the ultimate in easy food for when you gotta get the chickent to the table fast!

lowfat Italian Dressing
Chicken tenderloins

marinade tenderloins in dressing for as many minutes as you can - five is OK, 30 is great!
grill to perfection - about 4 minutes per sided

And, one of my new favorite veggie combos -
sliced mushrooms
lemon juice
black pepper

Put the sliced mushrooms in a non-stick frying pan, saute until they start to release their juices, then throw in as much spinach as will fit in the pan - allow it to wilt, and if appropriate, add more spinach!  Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, then add some garlic, lemon juice (maybe 1 tbsp), and pepper to taste - also great with lemon pepper seasoning salt.

Delish Fruit Dip

Minus the time we told you to heat bacon and serve, this might be the easiest recipe ever.  This is an awesome treat - and this dip is great inside, on, or next to pancakes or swedish pancakes.  It's also great with just some strawberries, blueberries, canalope, watermelon, etc., etc., etc.  it's also good with grapes!

So, this is my kid's favorite party faire- if we're going to a party with kids or Mrs. Hatten, we're totally going to be eating this dip. 

Fresh Fruit Dip
8 ounces Marshmallow Fluff
8 ounce container whipped cream cheese - berry flavored

fold whipped cream cheese into fluff.
refrigerate until ready to serve
insert spoon and stand back!

Grilled Shrimp Pitas

This looks great - got the recipe from a good friend, who is coming into town - not sure if she ever made it, or if she just thought it looked good... anyway, we're giving it a go...hope you enjoy!

1 container (7 oz) Greek yogurt - reduced fat variety
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, halved, and sliced, thinly.
1 tbsp lemon juice

3 TBSP  olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano\
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and de-veined.

4 whole wheat pitas
3 cups iceberg salad mic
sliced red onion and plum tomatoes are optional.

in a medium size bowl, mix the yogurt, feta, cucumber and lemon jucie - cover and refrigerate until "later"
combine marinade ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag - add shrimp, seal, shake to coat, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat grill to medium or so heat and lighly coat grill basket with non-stick cooking spray.  Place shrimp in grilling basket and grill for 3 minutes -  baste with marinade and heat an additional 3 minutes until shrimp is pink.

divide sauce and shrimp over pitas.  enjoy!

Swedish Pancakes

This recipe comes from one of my BFFs who makes these regularly for her family. Since getting the recipe from her about 6 years ago, I've become a frequent maker as well! They are time consuming, and you don't necessarily get to sit down for that real homey meal feel - BUT, if your family takes pride in making their own meal, and eating it better because of it - then this is a GREAT breakfast for dinner type of meal!

Swedish Pancakes
3 eggs (I usually use 1 egg and 3 egg whites)
1 3/4 cup milk
1 cup flour (sometimes I do 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white flour)
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oil

in a blender, mix eggs and milk. Add flour and salt, sugan arn oil, then blend until smooth. Pour about 2 tbsp in preheated pan 7 inch frying pan and cook over medium heat.

Basically, you're making crepes - I use two small 7 or so inch frying pans and cook multiple pancakes at a time

I fill, wait for the pancake to be totally set, then use a silicone scraper to gently loosen the pancake, then flip the pancake in the air (yet another reason my kids LOVE these! flying food!).
We fill our pancakes with the following:
Blueberries and/or Strawberries
Lingonberry Jam and/or Triple berry Jam
Whip Cream
Vanilla Yogurt
I've made other fillings, and the kids have enjoyed, but this is our "basic, go to fillings" list. I have the kids fill theirs, then we cut them - much as they might like to pick them up and eat them "taco style", that isn't happening, so it's cut up breakfast for them!

You can see that I have both rolled them (crepe style) and folded them (Swedish Restaurant style). Suite yourself - it kinda depends on what you're serving with them - the Swedish Restaurant style is easier, and goes best with just syrup and a small pile of lingonberry jam (we get our Lingonberry Jam at IKEA).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Brownies with hidden ingredient(Baked Beans)

I did it!! Ive been thinking about making this brownie for years, and I finally did it! OK, truth be told, I didnt make them from scratch, I used a box mix, but none the less, the brownies came out good. I pureed the beans to use in place of the oil, and then used the 2 eggs. So the brownies were loaded with protein, and fiber. I used baked beans and I did rinse off the sweet, gooey brown sugar sauce, because I did not think that flavor would be a good combo with the chocolate. The results were ok. Michael did say, they didnt taste like my regular brownies, but he did eat manage to eat two of them.
Here is the simple recipe:
1 box brownie mix
1 can(10 0z) baked beans
2 eggs

puree the beans in food processor or blender, add brownie mix and eggs
mix until smooth, pour batter into a greased bake pan
bake at 350 for 20 minutes
let cool and cut into squares

summer simple meal planning

July 11 to July 17 ... Now that is summer time!  and time to make some simple dinners on the cheap folks!

Sunday - Swedish Pancakes with fresh fruit
Monday - Fresh Fruit Dip & grilled chicken tenderloins
Tuesday - Grilled Shrimp Pitas
Wednesday - Sausage in Veggies
Thursday - Bean Enchilladas
Friday - Spinach Ravioli with pasta sauce
Saturday - Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

YUM - lots of options for quick cooked dinners or for party faire!