Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Classic Roast Chicken with Julienne Glazed Carrots and Peas

How do you know when a meal is really good? For me, it's a feeling of wanting the flavor in my mouth all evening, or the fact that I can't stop thinking about the food, when dinner is over. Truth be told, I have never roasted a whole chicken. The idea of it has always given me the heebie jeebies, and I just never wanted to bake anything with the skin on it, nor did I want to reach inside and grab out any giblets. Blech. My little sis has recently been encouraging me to try my hand at roasting, as she's been using "Ina's Perfect Roast Chicken" recipe for a couple of months now. I decided not to make Ina's recipe, mostly because I didn't have all the ingredients (fennel, a whole bulb of garlic, and fresh thyme were all missing from my fridge). I found this "Classic Roast Chicken" recipe on the Cooking Light website, and it looked right up my alley. It was much easier than I thought it would be. First of all, it's really not that gross or slimy. Phew. The rub is really easy to throw together and apply to the chicken. Almost immediately after throwing the old bird in the oven, my house started to smell... Amazing. Yes. Totally and incredibly wonderful. I'd make this again, just to smell it.

Anyway, I made this almost exactly as directed in the recipe, and the taste was out of this world. Never has Kevin so quickly exclaimed, "THIS IS DELICIOUS! 5 Bowls!!!" This roast chicken has the most amazing herbal flavor, and it extremely juicy and tender. I put lemon wedges and rosemary inside the bird, which supposedly contributes to the moisture content. The gravy, which I also made exactly as the recipe stated, was truly delicious. I served this with roasted taters, and also added a recipe for Julienne Glazed Carrots, to which I added peas, to up the veggie content. In the end, I wished I had done ONE thing differently - I wished I'd gotten a bigger chicken, so we could have had more leftovers. Honestly, this recipe is just so good. I want to try other roast chicken recipes, but I can't imagine liking another one any more than this one. It was that good...

Glazed Julienne Carrots

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons reduced-calorie margarine (I used a lot less)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used a couple of tablespoons)
4 cups (2-inch) julienne-cut carrot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
*1 Cup of Frozen Peas (Just throw them in with the carrots)

Melt margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add sugar, stirring until melted.

Add carrots, salt, and pepper and cook 10 minutes, or until carrots are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley.

CALORIES 57 (30% from fat); FAT 1.9g (sat 0.4g,mono 0.8g,poly 0.6g); IRON 0.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 22mg; CARBOHYDRATE 10.1g; SODIUM 123mg; PROTEIN 0.6g; FIBER 1.9g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 1996

Make this. It is a perfect go-to recipe for roast chicken. 5 Bowls. No question.

Classic Roast Chicken with Gravy

Be sure the butter is softened so it combines thoroughly with the herbs.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 5 ounces meat and about 1/4 cup gravy)

1 (3 3/4-pound) whole roasting chicken
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 carrots, peeled and halved
4 stalks celery, halved
1 onion, quartered
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare chicken, remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken; trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breasts and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

Combine butter and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl. Rub seasoning mixture under loosened skin and over breasts and drumsticks. Tie ends of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Place carrots, celery, and onion in a single layer in a roasting pan. Place chicken, breast side up, on top of vegetables.

Bake at 375° for 40 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 450°, and bake an additional 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of thigh registers 170°. Using tongs or insulated rubber gloves, remove chicken from pan, tilting slightly to drain juices. Let stand 15 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; reserve.

To prepare gravy, place a zip-top plastic bag in a 2-cup glass measure. Pour wine into bag; add drippings from pan. Let stand 2 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into measuring cup, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.

Return vegetables to pan. Add wine mixture and broth to pan; cook 10 minutes over medium heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove vegetables from pan using a slotted spoon; discard. Combine flour and water in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to form a slurry; add slurry and 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minute or until slightly thick.

Remove skin from chicken; discard. Carve chicken, and serve with gravy.

CALORIES 287 (39% from fat); FAT 12.4g (sat 4.4g,mono 4.3g,poly 2.3g); IRON 2.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 114mg; CALCIUM 35mg; CARBOHYDRATE 4.4g; SODIUM 721mg; PROTEIN 37g; FIBER 0.9g

Cooking Light, MAY 2006

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baked Falafel

I spent a semester in Israel, when I was in college, and I grew a real love for falafel. I loved buying it from street vendors, who would cut the pitas with an Exacto Knife, and throw in several deep fried balls of golden deliciousness, along with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, and a generous slather of tahini. Oh, the unhealthiness of it all... Take a perfectly innocent chickpea, and transform it into the ultimate fast food.

Fast forward to last week, when I decided to try these Baked Falafel balls, from App for Reduction. I've never cooked with chickpea flour, so I was a little intimidated, and unsure about how the outcome would be, but the result was pretty tasty. Well, actually, I had a little cold, so I'm not sure I truly got a real taste, but I really liked them, nonetheless. So, here's the thing - despite the fact that these taste flavorful, and quite delicious, they still aren't fried. So, if you go to make these, please do not expect them to taste juicy and deep fried. They don't, because they're not. That being said, they are super easy to make, and have a really full-bodied chickpea flavor, with a slightly lemony accent from the coriander, and a nice deep spice, from the hot sauce and cumin. Also, Kevin enjoyed them in a whole wheat pita, while I ate them over a salad and steamed veggies, which I loved. I'll make these again, for sure. They are a quick weeknight meal, and a nice alter

Make these. 4 bowls.

Baked Falafel

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 small onion, chopped roughly (about 3 tablespoons)
2 tsp of olive oil
2 tsp hot sauce (I like Cholula)
3 to 4 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprike
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 pinches of freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Pulse chickpeas and garlic in a food processor. Add the onion, olive oil, and hot sauce, and blend until relatively smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary, to make sure you get everything.

Transfer the mix to a mixing bowl. mix in the 3 tbl of chickpea flour, cumin, coriander, paprika, baking powder, salt, and pepper. The mix should be mushy, but firm enough to shape into balls. If it doesn't seem firm enough, add a tbl of chickpea flour.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. From the mix into walnut-sized balls, then flatten into little patties. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes; they should be browned on the underside. Remove the falafel from the oven, spray with a little more cooking spray, then flip the patties over,a nd bake for 8-10 more minutes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Smokey Joes

My baby sister, Debbie, has really become quite the cook. She recently got married, so she is enjoying all her new kitchen gadgets, and has been whipping up all kind of Food Network gems. Last week, she sent me a Rachael Ray recipe, for Chipotle Sloppy Joes. It looked pretty simple, and sounded tasty enough, so I bought some ground turkey and put the recipe to the test. First of all, the recipe is incredibly easy to throw together, especially if you are low on ingredients or time. You can really add any veggies to this, though peppers and onions are key. The end result is really flavorful, with just the right blend of smoke, spice, and sweetness. We aren't big on eating sloppy joes on rolls, so I served them over "Un-fried Rice," for Kevin and the kids, and I ate them over a salad. The salad idea was actually great, because it tasted like a Tex-Mex version of a lettuce wrap. I really liked this, but I don't think it was extraordinary enough to serve to company. It was more like a solid, easy weeknight meal. I think this would have been terrific served over baked potatoes (sweet or white), or with couscous or barley. I had leftover white rice to use up, so this worked well for me, but next time, I see sweet pots in the cards!

Make these. They are a great addition to your weeknight repertoire! 3.5 Bowls!

Smokey Joes

Adapted from Rachael Ray
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 1/2 cups presliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1 Chipotle Chili, plus 1 tsp of adobo sauce (use a can!)
  • 1.5 pounds of ground turkey (or chicken or beef)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • MOST of 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce (Probably about 3/4 of the can)
  • 5 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns - OR try rice, baked taters, or another grain!)


1. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; cover and cook 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove onions from the pan.

2. Remove 1 chipotle chile from can; chop and set aside. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use.

3. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add turkey to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in chopped chipotle chile, adobo sauce, tomato paste, and next 3 ingredients (through tomato sauce); cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon 1/2 cup beef mixture over bottom half of each bun, and top evenly with onions and top half of bun.

Un-Fried Rice


3 cups of leftover rice

1tsp of Sesame Oil

1/3 cup Shallots

2 tsp of bottled minced ginger

2 tsp bottled minced garlic

1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp of soy sauce

1/4 cup of green onions


Saute shallots, garlic, and ginger in the sesame oil for a few minutes, or until shallots are soft. Add anyother veggies you want to include (frozen peas or broccoli, peppers, etc.). Add rice, and drizzle soy sauce over the rice. Heat through. Add green onions and stir to blend.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tempeh Beanballs Primavera with Cajun Marinara

I was a vegetarian for about 12 years, and this was the first time I have cooked with tempeh. It always looked... skeevy. Now that I am addicted to this cookbook - "Appetite for Reduction" - I decided I must try tempeh. I had it in the fridge for several weeks, before I took the plunge. This recipe for pasta primavera with tempeh beanballs and cajun marinara, is really terrific. I used brown rice, instead of pasta, which was a definite mistake on my part. This needs to be served over whole wheat pasta. Seriously. Anyway, there were a lot of components to this dish, but honestly, it was worth it. These faux meatballs are perfect. They are easy to make, and they are surprisingly delicious, and amazingly healthy. I added peas, zucchini, and peppers to my cajun marinara, and it was a really full bodied, flavorful marinara. In fact, part of me thought it was a tad over spiced, due to the plentiful amount of oregano and thyme in the sauce, but I still loved it. We had a lot of leftovers, to which I added pasta, instead of rice. I can't wait to make this again. It was such a filling, comforting, and tasty vegetarian dish. Kevin and the kids liked it, too. Mmmmm... Another thumbs up for Isa Moskowitz. Who knew vegan cooking could be so... perfect??

Make this. It's a tomatoey, comforting pot of yum. 4 Bowls!

Cajun Marinara
Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

1 tsp of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of dried thyme (I think I'll reduce by half next time)
1 tsp dried oregano
Feshly ground black pepper
1 (24 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 tbl Cajun Spice Blend (I used Penzey's)

Veggies (swap out your own, if you want!)
1 cup of peas
1 zucchini
1 sliced onion
Thinly sliced pepper

Preheat a 2-quart pot over medium/low heat. Saute the zucchini, onion, peppers in the oil for several minutes, or until browned garlic and red pepper flakes in the oil for about a minute. Add thyme, oregano, and pepper, and saute for a minute more, adding a splash of water if necessary. Add the tomatoes, cajun seasoning, and salt, and stir everything together. Cover the pot, leaving a gap for steam to escape, and cook for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and seasoning.

Make this. It's a great meat substitute, and my meat loving family adored it. 4 Bowls!

Black Eyed Pea and Tempeh Beanballs

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction


12 ounces of tempeh (1.5 packages)
1 (15 oz) can black eyed peas
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp of dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
Black Pepper (several pinches)
1 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl tomato paste
1 tbl balsamic vinager
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt

First, prep a steamer, to steam the tempeh. Steaming tempeh takes out the bitter taste, which some dislike. I've never tried it un-steamed, and didn't want to chance it! Once the steamer is ready, break the tempeh into bite-size pieces, and steam for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, use a fork to mash the beans. They should be well mashed, with no whole beans left, but not totally smooth, like a puree. Grate in the garlic (I used bottled, mince garlic). Add the hebs and spices, soy sauce, tomato paste, and balsamic vinegar, and mix well.

When the tempeh is done, add it to the mix, and mash well. It's good if it's still steaming, because it will help all the flavors meld, before baking. When the mix is cool enough to handle (a few minutes), add the bread crumbs and salt. Taste for salt (the batter may be a bit bitter, but it mellows when cooked).

Using about 2 tablespoons of the mix per ball, roll the mixture into walnut size balls, placeing them on the baking pan. Spray liberally with cooking spray, and cover loosely with tinfoil. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the balls, and bake for 10 more minutes, uncovered.

Serve over pasta, with marinara!

Quickie Moo Shu Chicken

This is easy, tasty, and FAST. It also doesn't require all that many ingredients. If you have hoisin sauce and chicken breasts, it's easy to throw it together, with other leftover produce. I have to admit - I was a tad skeptical, because the idea of grinding chicken breasts in my Cuisinart sounded... well... gross. It actually worked really well, though. I ended up skipping the egg, as the reviews said it didn't add much, and I also served this over rice, because all I had was corn tortillas, which didn't go all that well with the Asian flair of the recipe. Anyway, I will definitely be making this one again, on an evening when I'm pressed for time.

We tried them on corn tortillas, but the flavors didn't mesh very well!

Try these. I give them 3 bowls, because they are tasty, but not quite extraordinary enough for a special occasion!

In-a-Pinch Moo Shu Chicken

Authentic Chinese moo shu uses thin homemade pancakes. Flour tortillas make a fast substitute. Serve with fresh fruit.

Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 2 tortilla wraps)

Cooking spray
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 cups packaged cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw
1 cup chopped zucchini
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
10 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Heat a small nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons egg substitute; cook 1 minute or until done. Remove egg to a cutting board. Repeat procedure with remaining egg substitute. Cut egg into thin strips; set aside.

Place chicken in a food processor; pulse until finely ground. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, garlic, and ginger; cook 3 minutes, stirring to crumble. Stir in coleslaw, zucchini, onions, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in hoisin.

Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 3/4 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; top each with about 1 tablespoon egg strips. Roll up.

CALORIES 322 (20% from fat); FAT 7.2g (sat 1.6g,mono 2.1g,poly 3g); IRON 3.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 50mg; CALCIUM 111mg; CARBOHYDRATE 36.1g; SODIUM 762mg; PROTEIN 26.6g; FIBER 2.5g

Cooking Light, MAY 2003

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hawaiian Chicken with Moroccan Chickpeas and Zucchini

I know it's been a while since my last post, but we've had to work on our leftovers. Man oh man, we had a lot of leftovers. After we finished them, I chose to make a couple of dishes I'd made in the past so that we could feast on some oldies but goodies. It was nice to come to the table, knowing we'd love the food.

Tonight was a different story. I decided to try this Hawaiian chicken, from the January issue of Cooking Light. The issue is full of chicken recipes, and so far, we loved all the ones we've tried. This was no exception. It marinated for about 4 hours in the fridge, and the end result was a juicy, sweet and sour chicken, that tasted really delicious. We aren't pineapple lovers in this house, but the pineapple juice, mixed with the soy sauce, and the sweet and spicy ginger, just really made for a nice, mellow flavor. The only issue I had with this one, was that I attempted to cook it on the stovetop, without a grill pan (I can't deal with the smoke from my grill pan), and I ended up popping it into the oven after about 10 minutes, because it just refused to cook through. It wasn't such a biggie, but it prolonged dinner a bit.

Anyway, I was going to serve this with an orzo veggie toss, but at the last minute, I decided to make a chickpea and zucchini stew. I adapted the recipe, from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's new book, and I was NOT disappointed. This is dish has a really rich, comforting flavor, that I just loved. I served it over brown rice, and it was a really nice blend of spicy and salty, with a robust tomato richness. I didn't think it would coordinate very well, with the chicken, but it was actually perfect. I cut up the chicken and ate the 2 together, which added a great depth of flavor, and a really lovely sweetness.

You know dinner was good, when you think about it for the rest of the night...

Make this. It's sweet. It's salty. It's juicy. 4 Bowls.

Hawaiian Chicken

Other Time: 4 hours, 23 minutes minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half and 1/2 cup rice)

1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine first 5 ingredients. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade; place remaining marinade in a zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Chill 4 hours.

2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade in bag. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; baste with 2 tablespoons reserved marinade. Cook 6 minutes. Turn chicken over; baste with 2 tablespoons reserved marinade. Cook 6 minutes.

3. Combine rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cilantro.

CALORIES 247 ; FAT 1.8g (sat 0.5g,mono 0.4g,poly 0.4g); CHOLESTEROL 68mg; CALCIUM 26mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.2g; SODIUM 674mg; PROTEIN 29.9g; FIBER 0.5g; IRON 1.9mg

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2011

Make this. It's good. Really good. 4 Bowls.

Moroccan Chickpeas & Zucchini

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction
1 tsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic (I use bottled)
1 tbl of minced, fresh ginger
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp of salt
2 cups of veggie broth
1 cup of carrot chunks or baby carrots
2 zucchini, sliced
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 15oz can of chickpeas
1 15 ounce can of cannelini beans

In a large stockpot, saute onion in olive oil, over medium high heat, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Use a little Pam or broth if needed. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and saute another minute.

Add the remaining spices and salt, and saute for about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pot with veggie broth and mix in carrots. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add zucchini and tomatoes, and mix in beans.

Cover the pot and bring to a slow boil. Cook for 15 minutes. Then adjust lid, to partially cover, and cook for another 15 mins, as liquid reduces a little. Turn off heat and let it sit for 10 minutes to let flavors blend. Remove bay leaves and taste for salt.

Serve over couscous or brown rice.