Friday, September 7, 2018

Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl with Roasted Veggies and Peanut Drizzle

I love bowl meals! I created this using leftover veggies from my fridge, so you can use just about anything for the roasted veggies and it will be delicious. The peanut sauce is to die for! If you want additional sauce, double the recipe. Leftover sauce would make an awesome salad dressing.

Roasted Veggies
2 medium Garnet sweet potatoes (about a pound), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1-2 sweet red peppers, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 sweet onion, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3/4- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
Cooking spray

1 Pound extra firm Tofu
1/2 c. minced onions
2 green onions, chopped (tops included)
3 Tbsp cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp hot pepper flakes
1 Tbsp Mirin (rice) wine
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth

Peanut Sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp chili garlic hot sauce (we used Pepper Palace Ghostly Garlic)

2 cups cooked brown rice

Shredded carrots
Shredded daikon
sliced radishes
chopped cilantro
dry roasted peanuts

Heat oven to 425, place all the veggies on a large sheet pan and spray with cooking spray to coat. Salt and pepper as you desire. Roast veggies for about 20-25 minutes while preparing the rest of the meal.

Drain tofu paper towels. Cut tofu into quarter inch slices going the long way. Then cut each slice into thirds. You should have about 45 pieces of tofu. Make sure tofu is dry.

Heat oil in a large skillet and place tofu in a single layer. Fry on one side until it begins to get brown, then flip and brown the other side. Drain tofu on a paper towel. You may need to do this in two batches, but only use half the oil for each batch if you do.

Once the tofu is fried and drained, place the chopped onion, green onion, and garlic in the pan with the oil that's remaining. Cook the onion and garlic until it begins to brown.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 Tbsp soy sauce, salt, sugar, hot pepper flakes, wine and water or broth. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add mixture to the pan, scraping up any bits of tofu left on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Place the tofu back into the pan and stir to coat the tofu. Continue cooking on low heat until sauce is fairly thick and it sticks to the tofu.

Make the peanut sauce and place in a small bowl.

Now assemble your bowl by placing a half cup of rice, 1/4 of the roasted veggies, 1/4 of the tofu in a bowl. Add your garnishes (be liberal) and top with just a few peanuts. Then drizzle the peanut sauce all over everything.

Makes 4 generous helpings.  About 600 calories for each bowl.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Jamaican Jerk Marinade for chicken or pork

I grew habanero chiles this year and needed some recipes to use them. I combined a few recipes I saw on the Internet to come up with this deliciously spiced marinade that can be used for either chicken or pork. We used it on boneless skinless chicken breasts that we then made into kabobs and grilled. Don't let the number of peppers scare you, it's got some heat, but it's not over the top crazy hot like you would expect. Of course, when handling the peppers, wear gloves. They can burn your hands and you definitely don't want to get any of it in your eyes or around your face.

3 green onions, roughly chopped (include tops)
6-8 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup - 1 cup chopped onion
3-4 fresh habanero chiles, (or Scotch bonnet) stemmed and seeded, chopped slightly
1/3 cup lime juice (about 2 large limes)
2 Tbsp olive oil or any neutral oil
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce (you could leave this out and add more salt)
1 tsp kosher salt
1-2 tsp ground black pepper
1 heaping Tbsp fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp allspice, ground (I used whole allspice and grind mine in a mortar and pestle)
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients into a blender. Make sure the top is on tight. Blend until smooth - about a minute in a Vitamix. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Cut about 3 pounds of chicken or pork tenderloin into chunks and place into a gallon plastic bag. Pour all but about 1/4 cup of the marinade into the meat and gently massage the marinade into the meat until it is all covered. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 2 hours or more. The longer you marinade the more it will infuse the meat. Do not marinade more than 24 hours.

While grill is heating, take out chicken/pork and skewer it. Grill, turning frequently, until chicken or pork is done to your likeness. Chicken should be cooked completely. Use reserved marinade to baste meat if needed or serve it for extra dipping if desired.

Serve with yellow rice and beans and maybe some plantains for a fun Jamaican dinner.

Watermelon, cucumber, feta and mint salad

4 cups seedless watermelon, cut into small chunks
2-3 cups seedless cucumber, cut into small chunks or slices
1/4 - 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2-4 cups arugula (I used about 6 cups)
1/2 cup fresh mint, thinly sliced (add more if you love mint)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (toasted or raw)

3 Tbsp lime juice (about 1-2 limes)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil (use less if you want fewer calories)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Chill watermelon until very cold. When ready to serve, place all ingredients except the mint, feta and walnuts into a large serving bowl.

Toss salad with about half the dressing to start. You just want to lightly coat the ingredients with the dressing. Top with the mint, feta and walnuts and toss slightly, but keeping them mostly on the top. Serve with leftover dressing or save the dressing for another day.

This salad can become very watery, so don't assemble this until right before you want to sit down to eat it. You can also leave out the arugula or substitute spinach for the arugula.

Another variation is to add some chilled quinoa and some grilled chicken strips to make this a main-dish salad.

Tastes very refreshing and summery. The mint really sends this dish over the top, so don't skip it!

(Nathaniel didn't really care for this, but the rest of us thought it was refreshing and delicious!).

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Masoor Dal (Curry Red Lentil Stew)

Very flavorful and spicy, I tried this for the first time with red lentils I found in the bulk department of the grocery store. Don't substitute other lentils for this as the red lentils cook up creamy and are much smaller in size than regular green or brown lentils. They also look amazing with the rich colors you get from making your own curry spice blend. The sweet potatoes add a touch of sweetness and nice rich orange/red color as well.

If you don't like spicy hot, cut back on the chili pepper by at least half if not more.This is a wonderful dish to make on a cold, rainy or snowy day. It only takes about 30 minutes to make and less than 5 minutes of prep time. As the onions and sweet potatoes are cooking, measure out the spices in a small dish so you can just add them all at once. Breathe in the aromas from cooking the spices. I'm convinced even that will make you feel healthy! :)

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 cups (about 12-15 oz) small dice sweet potatoes, peeled (I used organic garnet)
1 Tbsp (heaping) minced fresh ginger
2 large cloves minced garlic
1 Thai red chili OR 1 1/2 tsp ground Thai Chili pepper or cayenne pepper
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground turmeric (can use fresh if you want, finely diced)
1 tsp ground ginger
A pinch of both ground cloves and ground cinnamon
1 cup canned diced tomatoes or 2 plum tomatoes diced
1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed well
4 cups liquid (chicken, vegetable broth or water)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
shredded unsweetened coconut
Mango-ginger chutney

In a large pot, melt oil and saute' onion, sweet potato, ginger and garlic until onion is soft and a bit caramelized (about 5 minutes). Add the mustard and cumin seeds and saute' until fragrant and mustard seeds start to pop. Add the rest of the spices and saute and blend until a nice color appears and you can smell the deliciousness coming from the pan. Be sure not to burn spices, so stir frequently to coat the sweet potato and onions.

Add the tomatoes and scrap any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Then add the liquid and the lentils. Stir well and bring to a boil. Turn to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes. You can also cover it, but lift cover several times to stir and to make sure the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Keep an eye on it, as it will thicken. Add salt to taste (I added about 1 tsp). Continue to cook until stew is thick and lentils are soft. It will take about 25-30 minutes total. Cover it and turn off heat once it is thick and lentils are soft to keep it warm. Mash up the potatoes and lentils a bit if they are a little chunky to make this more of an amalgamated dish.

Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro, coconut and a small spoonful of chutney on the side. You can eat this with warm naan, basmati rice or without any additional starch. It can be served as a main dish or as a side dish to any meat or fish you might want with it. Very flavorful and spicy. If you don't like spicy hot, cut back on the chili pepper by at least half if not more.

Makes 4 dinner sized servings. Each serving is about 480 calories. If you serve as a side dish, this will serve 8 at 240 calories.It is loaded with potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A and iron. You can cut down on fat by using half the coconut oil and trimming 30 calories per serving.

Note: You can also stir in 1/2 cup of coconut milk at the end to make it more creamy. I didn't do this, but I might try it that way next time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Shish Taouk (Lebanese Chicken Kabobs)

These are some of the tastiest chicken kabobs you'll ever make. It takes a bit of time, many great ingredients, and lots of garlic, but when you make and eat these, you'll always want more! Serve these with Naan or pita and some traditional Middle Eastern side-dishes if you'd like. I suggest you make a cucumber yogurt sauce and a little spicy Zhoug Sauce.

1/2 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt (Fage is best)
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 lemons, juiced
2 Tbsp double-strength tomato paste
6-8 large garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
1 1/2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp Za'atar seasoning (if you can't find that use sumac)
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks (about 2- 2 1/2 pounds)

Combine marinade until smooth. Place chicken in a large glass dish. Combine chicken with the marinade until well covered. Cover dish and refrigerate. Marinade anywhere from 2-8 hours. I find that about 3-4 hours is good.

Place chicken on metal skewers with no space between the chicken. This should make about 8 skewers or more. If you don't have metal skewers, use bamboo ones that have been soaked in water for about 15 minutes.

Grill on high heat for 10-15 minutes, turning to char all sides. Chicken should be tender and well done. This is a very tenderizing marinade, so it should be fall apart tender and not dry.

Serve hot with grilled veggies like peppers zucchini, and onions. Serve with cucumber, tomatoes, hummus or whatever you like. It also is good on top of a bed of rice or couscous.

Leftovers are delicious too!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Harissa Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds (about 4) sweet potatoes (I used organic Garnet)
2 heaping tablespoons harissa (I used Trader Joe's brand)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice from a half lemon

Cut sweet potatoes into chunks about an 3/4-1 inch with peel (you can also peel them if you prefer). Place in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and harissa and mix well so each chunk is coated well.

Spray a large baking dish with a 1 inch height with cooling spray (I use pampered chef stoneware). Place sweet potatoes in a single layer on pan and generously salt and pepper the tops.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes, flipping potatoes at least once. Potatoes should be brown and crispy, but not burned and soft in the inside when done.

Squeeze juice over the top of the potatoes and enjoy.

These are spicy, so use less harissa if you don't care for spice. The harissa mixed with the sweetness of the potatoes makes these a tasty balanced side dish with just about anything. I've made them with burgers, chicken, and they would be delicious with lamb (if you like lamb).

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Creamy Low-fat Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used full-fat, but 0% fat will lower the calories)
3 Tbsp water
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp poppy seeds
pinch salt

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Might need up to 1 Tbsp water to make it thin enough. Add more sweetener if you like it a bit more sweet or a little more vinegar if you like it tangy.

Makes a great dressing for spinach, strawberry salad. Very light and refreshing.

Makes about 1 cup of dressing.