21 02 2015

This is a healthy and comforting Italian soup, sure to wrap you in warmth even on the coldest of winter days! It’s loaded with veggies and is a great option for meatless Mondays, or to enjoy during Lent. Mangia!


The following serves 6 (adapted from Food Network Magazine):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes – if you don’t have crushed on hand, puree a can of diced tomatoes in a high-speed blender until smooth
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, or fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of green beans cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dry ditalini pasta
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add tomato paste, dry herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring around, for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with wine and cook until nearly evaporated.

Next add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in green beans and cannellini beans and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add the pasta and cook 10 minutes more. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with lots of cheese and parsley for garnish.

Turkey Pot Pie With Phyllo Crust

24 02 2014

Turkey pot pie is a deliciously warm and comfy casserole, but it can be heavy. I’ve lightened this up using whole wheat flour, skim milk and oil instead of butter. And you can still achieve a classically crispy crust by using light phyllo dough. Isn’t it gorgeous? So much so that you might not believe there’s deli meat in this (fresh, not processed and whole cut though)! It’s not my top choice, turkey or chicken breast is preferred, but in an effort to use up a big pile of freshly sliced turkey meat, I got creative. 🙂

Turkey Pot Pie With Phyllo Crust

Turkey Pot Pie With Phyllo Crust

Turkey Pot Pie With Phyllo Crust

Turkey Pot Pie With Phyllo Crust

The following makes 4 servings (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey, you could also use chicken
  • 2 and 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and patted dry
  • Phyllo dough, thawed at room temperature

Preheat oven to 400.

Cook mushrooms and thyme in 6 Tbsp oil in a saute pan over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup sherry; cook until nearly evaporated. Whisk in broth and milk; cook until thickened to desired consistency, 10-12 minutes. Add lemon juice; season with salt, pepper and a little more sherry to taste. Remove from heat and stir in turkey and minced vegetables.

Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Place the 9 x 13 on a baking sheet lined with foil, in case any of it bubbles over while cooking. Alternatively, you could also use four 1 and a 1/4 to 1 and 1/2- cup ovenproof baking dishes arranged on a baking sheet.

Place a phyllo sheet on a flat surface; and cover the remaining sheets with a damp towel while you work. Working fast, roll each phyllo sheet into a loose tube. Place rolled tube on top of casserole. Repeat by rolling up and placing on top of casserole until the top is completely covered. The number of phyllo sheets needed will depend how tight you roll them into tubes, I’d say 8-10 total. Brush with a little oil over the top of the casserole and sprinkle with a little thyme for color.

Bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about 30-40 minutes (note: if you use the individual baking dishes, you should only have to bake for about 20 minutes). Let casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Pork Stir-Fry With Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas Over Pineapple-Ginger Brown Rice

23 01 2014

A from-scratch stir-fry sauce helps you avoid the extra sodium and sugars most bottled sauces contain. This one is easy and delicious, and has half the sodium of a typical Chinese take-out dinner. The recipe says you can get this all-natural stir-fry on the table in 30 minutes. I timed myself and it took 40. I could have shaved some time off if I had done a little prep ahead of time though.

Pork Stir-Fry With Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas Over Pineapple-Ginger Brown Rice

Pork Stir-Fry With Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas Over Pineapple-Ginger Brown Rice

The following makes 2 servings (compliments of Cuisine Lite Menus for Two):

  • 8 oz pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
  • 4 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen snow peas or sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup carrot strips (run a vegetable peeler along the full length of the carrot to make long, thin strips)
  • 2 Tbsp sliced scallions
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 cup brown rice (10 minute rice)
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine pork strips and 1 Tbsp soy sauce; cover and refrigerate while preparing the rice and sauce.

For the rice: boil 1 cup broth, half the ginger (1 Tbsp) and rice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer rice until water is absorbed, 5 minutes or according to your package directions. Leave covered off heat for 5 more minutes. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and stir in the pineapple, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/4 tsp salt (if you feel you need the extra salt). Keep rice warm and covered until ready to serve.

For the sauce: whisk together 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 cup broth, sherry, cornstarch, honey, tomato paste and a pinch of pepper. Set aside.

Preheat work (or large skillet) and spray with non stick spray. Heat 1 tsp canola oil and stir-fry half the pork until cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate and stir-fry the remaining pork; transfer to same plate.

Add remaining 1 tsp canola oil, garlic and the rest of the ginger (1 Tbsp); stir-fry 10-15 seconds. Add sugar snap peas; stir-fry 2 minutes. Return pork to pan; add sauce and cook until sauce thickens; 1-2 minutes. Add carrots; stir-fry 1 minute.

Serve pork stir-fry over the pineapple rice and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

Grilled Marinated Chicken Drumsticks With Zucchini and Squash Parmesan Crisps

7 10 2013

I buy a lot of zucchini and squash because it’s a good value, but I’m constantly trying to think of new ways to prepare it! This is a healthy spin on making veggies “fries”. Make this dinner even easier by marinating the chicken the night before 🙂

Grilled Marinated Chicken Drumsticks With Zucchini and Squash Parmesan Crisps

Grilled Marinated Chicken Drumsticks With Zucchini and Squash Parmesan Crisps

The following serves 2-3 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 package of chicken drumsticks (about 8 per pack), bone in and skin on
  • Kosher salt
  • Lemon zest
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs

Prepare the chicken the night before. Season drumsticks liberally all over with salt, lemon zest, paprika, garlic powder and dried rosemary (just eyeball everything, goal is to make sure chicken is well seasoned). Add seasoned chicken to a resealable plastic bag and add two Tbsps or so of olive oil. Massage to coat the chicken with the oil. Seal bag and refrigerate overnight. Turn the bag over in the fridge in the morning and continue marinating throughout the day.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat a grill to medium-high. Also preheat the oven to 450 and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and put on the grill (be sure to remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before grilling to allow to come to room temp). Grill the chicken, turning every 5 minutes, until cooked through 20 to 25 minutes. Remove chicken from grill, tent with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the zucchini and squash into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini and squash with oil, about a Tbsp or so and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a separate bowl, combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with chicken.

Grilled Salmon With Pesto Over Zucchini, Corn, Spinach and Tomatoes

2 09 2013

This is such a tasty and fresh summertime meal, kids! With several layers of flavor and texture, you’ll think you spent way more time on this dinner than you actual did…this is a must try 🙂

Grilled Salmon With Zucchini, Corn, Spinach and Tomatoes

Grilled Salmon With Pesto Over Zucchini, Corn, Spinach and Tomatoes

The following serves 2 with leftovers (compliments of Rachel Ray and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 salmon filets, skin or skinless
  • 1 bag of frozen corn
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Handful of scallions, chopped
  • 1 small bag of spinach and arugula, separate the spinach and arugula
  • 2 Tbsp butter (or I can’t believe it’s not butter spread)
  • Dry, white wine
  • Good handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh herbs such as basil and mint, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pesto

Preheat grill to medium.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Grill until done to your likeness, turning once half-way through. Remove from grill and let rest a minute or two.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the corn and lightly brown, 3-5 minutes. Add the zucchini, scallions, red pepper flakes and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook to soften, 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with some dry, white wine – a good turn of the pan. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan. Add spinach and wilt, a few minutes. Next, add the butter and stir to melt, creating a creamy sauce. Remove from the heat and toss with tomatoes and herbs.

In another bowl, toss the arugula with some olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Do not overdress.

To serve: Divide zucchini-corn mixture among plates. Top with a piece of salmon, then top salmon with some pesto (I had just made pesto from all the basil in my garden, but you can use store-bought as well). Next, divide dressed arugula to top each salmon piece.

Sauteed Shrimp With a Lemon-Wine Sauce Over Grilled Chicken and Roasted Veggies

21 05 2013

There’s something about topping meat with shrimp that makes the meal feel fancier. I don’t know if it’s just because we’re used to paying more for surf n’ turf or that the combo of seafood and meat has a higher perceived value when we dine in a restaurant. But either way, topping this simple grilled chicken with shrimp and a tasty sauce really took this dinner up a notch!

Sauteed Shrimp Over Grilled Chicken and Roasted Veggies

Sauteed Shrimp With a Lemon-Wine Sauce Over Grilled Chicken and Roasted Veggies

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl):

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Two handfuls frozen shrimp (about 8 per person), thawed
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into rounds
  • Half a red onion, sliced
  • 2 cups or so of green beans, ends trimmed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried basil and parsley
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Dry white wine
  • Butter (or butter substitute)
  • Fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Also, preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, dried parsley and red pepper flakes to taste. Top with lemon zest and drizzle with olive oil. Let marinate in the fridge until you’re ready to grill.

In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, onion and green beans and toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Spread evenly in one layer on a non-stick baking sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray). Roast in the oven until sweat potatoes are fork tender and start to brown. About 20 minutes. Once done, remove the veggies and finish with a little kosher salt.

Grill the chicken about 5-6 minutes per side until juices run clear. Remove from grill, cover with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, cook the shrimp. Melt a Tbsp or so of butter (or butter substitute) in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Next add the shrimp and the juice of the lemon you zested. Saute, tossing occasionally until shrimp is pink – no more than 5 minutes. About half way through, add a little white wine – a turn or two of the pan. Finish sauce off heat with fresh chopped parsley.

Serve chicken breast along with roasted veggies. Top chicken with the sauteed shrimp and spoon the sauce on top of both the shrimp and chicken.

Pork and Veggie Stir Fry Over Cauliflower Rice

10 04 2013

I had half a head of cauliflower leftover after using it in the cauliflower pizza I recently posted about. I loved the way the “rice” came out for the pizza, so I decided to try the “rice” as the base of a stir fry dinner. This is another great way to trick yourself into believing you’re eating a starch when you’re really just getting another serving of veggies! I might be a little obsessed with cauliflower rice now, just saying 😉

Pork and Veggie Stir Fry Over Cauliflower Rice

Pork and Veggie Stir Fry Over Cauliflower Rice

The following serves 2 with leftovers:

  • Half a head of cauliflower, florets chopped
  • Oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Pork, cubed
  • Chopped veggies for stir frying such as broccoli florets, green beans, mushrooms and red onion
  • Garlic, minced
  • Ginger, minced from the tube
  • Low-sodium soy sauce

Chop the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until the consistency of “rice” forms. Saute the “rice” in a little olive oil over medium heat until the cauliflower is cooked and translucent, about 8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Meanwhile, make the marinade for your pork and veggies. Whisk together a couple heads a minced garlic, about a 1/2 Tbsp or so of fresh ginger minced from the tube and about 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Toss marinade with veggies and pork and marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir fry veggies and pork in oil in a hot wok until pork is cooked. To make the stir frying easier, you may want to do the veggies first, remove and set aside and then stir fry the pork to get an even cook. Serve pork and veggies over cauliflower rice and soy sauce on the side.

Chicken, Roasted Veggies and Tahini Lemon Sauce

17 02 2013

Not to brag too much, but whoa kids, this is a delicious meal! I saw the idea for the roasted veggies with tahini lemon sauce on Pinterest (http://thelemonbowl.com/2012/11/roasted-vegetables-with-tahini-lemon-sauce.html). I stuck pretty close to the recipe, just took it up a notch by adding some cumin-spiced chicken.

Chicken, Roasted Veggies and Tahini Lemon Sauce

Chicken, Roasted Veggies and Tahini Lemon Sauce

The following serves 4:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut in florets
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

Toss cauliflower and sweet potato with olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt, then spread out in an even layer on foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until browned.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss cubed chicken with some ground cumin, garlic powder and salt – enough to coat chicken. Add to pan and cook until browned all over.

In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice/zest, garlic and salt. Slowly add in the hot water until desired consistency is reached (This Girl’s tip: I didn’t use much water at all, maybe 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp worth).

To serve, plate veggies equally among plates and top with chicken. Drizzle tahini sauce all over chicken and veggies, and top with parsley.

Marinated Steak With Stir-Fry Veggies

24 10 2012

Need a recipe for a quick dinner with little prep time? I have just the thing! Marinate the steak and leave it in the fridge before going to work, and you can prepare your meal in no time at all when you get home!

Marinated Steak With Stir-Fry Veggies

The following makes 4 servings (compliments of This Girl and the South Beach cookbook):

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lb flank steak, trimmed of all visible fat
  • Veggies such as red and green bell, broccoli florets, onion and green beans – all sliced

In a shallow dish, combine the wine, soy sauce, pepper and oregano. Add the steak and turn to coat both sides with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or before you go to work), be sure to turn the steak occasionally when you get home.

When ready to cook, remove the steak from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels, and discard the marinade. This Girl’s tip: rather than discarding the marinade, add it to your veggies as they cook to enhance the flavor and not waste the marinade.

Coat a broiler-pan rack with cooking spray and preheat the broiler.

Place the steak on the prepared rack. Broil 4″ from the heat source for 5 minutes per side, or until a thermometer inserted in the center of the steak registers 160 degrees for medium.

While the steak cooks, stir-fry a combo of veggies in a little olive oil over medium-high heat until cooked through, yet still crisp (use a combo such as broccoli, bell peppers, onions and green beans).

To serve, thinly slice the steak diagonally across the grain and place over veggies.

Leftover Pasta Frittata with Sauteed Pesto Veggies

19 06 2012

Leftover pasta can get old, especially when you’re an Italian who makes pasta all the time! Latkes and frittatas are a great way to rejuvenate day-old pasta, turning leftovers into a brand new dish.

Latkes are traditionally made out of potatoes, and frittatas are traditionally egg-based like an omelette. But the key is not to limit yourself based on tradition! Here I’ve taken leftover pasta and turned it into a frittata based on a skillet cooking technique I learned from my boyfriend’s family (they make the best frittata!).

Leftover Pasta Frittata with Sauteed Pesto Veggies

The following serves 2:

  • Leftover pasta, whatever you have on hand, even if it’s already tossed in sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Beaten egg
  • Good handful of breadcrumbs
  • Good handful of parmesan cheese
  • Half a zucchini, diced
  • Half a yellow squash, diced
  • Pesto for veggies and topping

Combine leftover pasta with a beaten egg, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Depending how much pasta you have you may need to adjust the egg / breadcrumb / cheese ratio….you’re looking for it to be potato cake-like. As a side note, if you’ve already tossed your pasta in sauce you can still use this technique, you just may need more breadcrumbs than if you used plain cooked pasta.

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and add a few turns of olive oil to the pan. When the pan is hot, add the pasta mixture and flatten it out in the pan with the back of a spatula. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Here’s the trick to flipping the frittata…place the back of a baking sheet on the top of your skillet. Brace the baking sheet with one hand while using the other hand to turn the skillet upside down, so the cooked side of the frittata slides out on the back of the baking sheet. Next, slide the frittata back into your skillet, this time the uncooked side should be in the bottom of the skillet (you may need to add a little more olive oil before you do this). If you follow these steps slowly flipping it should be full proof 🙂

While the frittata cooks, quickly saute the zucchini and squash in a little olive oil over medium heat until softened. Off heat, mix in a few spoons of basil pesto (see recipe below) and a good sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Set aside until the frittata is done.

Once the frittata is golden brown on both sides, remove from the pan and place on a cutting board to cut into pieces. Serve pieces over the sauteed pesto veggies and top with a dollop of pesto and sprinkle of cheese.

To make the basil pesto:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Toast the pine nuts until fragrant. Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Next add the cheese and process until smooth. Taste and season with a little more salt and pepper if desired.

If you’re serving immediately, add the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. If not, transfer the pesto mixture to a container and top with remaining oil, seal tightly and store in the fridge.