Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo

Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo

 

 

I don’t know how the weather is where you are but it’s gorgeous here in Arizona. This is the time of year when the desert is most beautiful; the Spring flowers are out, the birds are singing, and people are out walking, biking, hiking and taking advantage of this stellar weather. It’s also the time of year when many families gather to celebrate for religious and cultural reasons, or simply a Spring fling to get away from the day to day routines. I’ve been wanting to post family style pesto salmon trout wrapped in filo dough for a long time. Some time back I posted a recipe for wild salmon with pesto wrapped in filo and each piece of fish is individually wrapped. In this recipe the whole fish is wrapped, and it’s a superb dish to serve on a special occasion, or anyday for family and friends.

Before I got my healthy eating habits I had no problem about using puff pastry for this dish. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against puff pastry now; in fact, I love it. But, the way my healthy eating habits works is that I make daily decisions about what foods I’ll eat and prepare for my family. Puff pastry is scrumptious but, there is another healthier choice that also tastes very good, and that’s to use filo dough brushed with extra virgin olive oil rather than using puff pastry. I prepare this dish for family and friends and everyone raves about it. It tastes sooo good, and it’s just the better choice when compared to salmon in puff pastry. Take a look at the graffic below to see a Nutrition Facts comparison (the fish and pesto are the same in both dishes, but 2 pieces of white bread are factored in for the salmon trout with filo recipe—it’s an equivalent for the filo dough—and 1 pound of puff pastry is factored in for the fish with puff pastry).

The results of the comparison are pretty revealing. Even though they are both rated with a nutrition grade of C+, the fish in puff pastry has two and a half times the saturated fat as the fish in filo, and it has almost twice as many calories.

Salmon-Comparison

 

Sometimes you don’t realize the difference a few changes can make until you see a side by side comparison. Dietary modifications are easy to make and the food can be equally delicious if not better. What’s more, you may even gain a healthier outlook knowing that you are taking care of your body. Go ahead and enjoy this guilt-free, delicious, and healthier recipe with family and friends!

**Edited -4-22-14 The title of the post should read family style pesto salmon trout wrapped in fill, as I made the recipe with steelhead trout which is somewhat like salmon but is part freshwater fish. I have kept the title the same but have edited the narrative.

Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo

Ingredients:

    For the Pesto:
  • 2 cups basil, well packed
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Other:
  • 2-1/2 to 3 pounds Steelhead salmon, farmed or fresh
  • 1 box fill dough
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for brushing the filo)

Procedure:

    Prepare the Pan:
  1. Line a jelly roll pan, or a large pan with tin foil. It must be large enough for a cookie rack to fit inside of it.
  2. Make the Pesto:
  3. Process the garlic until it is minced, and then add the pine nuts and process 8 seconds. Add the salt and basil and process about 8 seconds. Slowly add the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Place this in a small bowl covered with plastic and put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  4. Prepare the Fish:
  5. Select a knife to cut the salmon away from the skin. A long slicer works best, or you can use a chef's knife. Wash the fish and pat it dry.
  6. Cut the fish filet away from the skin. To do this hold the knife in your right hand, and the hold the tail of the fish with your left hand (this is for right handers. Left handed people with reverse this and hold the knife in the left hand and the tail in the right). Slide the knife blade back and forth between the flesh and the skin, and keep the angle of the blade at a 30° angle. Once you have successfully sliced in about three inches you will be able to grab the skin and hold it firmly as you continue to slide the blade back and forth to remove the skin. Discard the skin, and lightly salt and pepper the filets.
  7. Arrange the fish on the countertop. Place the first filet on the countertop with the bright orange side facing up, with the tail on your left. The second filet goes on top of the first, bright orange sides facing together and the tail end will be on your right. Arrange them so there is an even thickness when the two sides are together. They will not completely overlap but they should distribbute to an even thickness. Trim the tail ends, as much or as little is needed, to have a center piece that feels like the weight is evenly distributed.
  8. Get out your filo dough and carefully unroll it. Lift up one full sheet and lay it on the counter. Lightly brush on some to cover. Repeat the with 3 more sheets of filo and 3 more time of oiling. When you have 4 sheets together on the counter place the bottom filet in the center of the oiled filo sheets. Cover with all the pesto sauce and then top with the second filet, making sure that the thick end of the top piece matches up with the thin end on the bottom piece.
  9. Get out a new sheet of filo and lay it on the counter so it is longer horizontally than vertically. Lightly brush it with oil. Top this with a second sheet of fill and lightly oil it. Next, fold it over from left to right. Lay this piece over the fish to cover it, and then trim the edges to remove the excess dough.
  10. **At this Point the last two pictures do not match up with the instructions. I hope they do not confuse you, but the idea is to get the package of salmon flipped over and onto the cookie rack. The best way to do this is to use a long spatula and slide the salmon into the center of a flat cookie sheet (no edges). Once the Salmon is on the cookie sheet place the top side of the cookie rack face down on the salmon and then, holding the cookie rack and the cookie sheet together flip them over 180°. The top side of the salmon package should now be face up on your cookie rack.
  11. Bake:
  12. Preheat the oven to 375°. Score the filo with 5 angled slits about 5 inches long each. Place the salmon in the oven and bake until the center of the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 165° and the filo is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.

**You'll find fill dough in the frozen section of the supermarket. Buy it ahead of time and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. This is very important! Keep the the fill covered with a very lightly moistened cloth.

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Weight Watchers PointsPlus value per serving: 14. There are 6 servings.

Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo 2

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesdayTotally Talented Tuesdays, and Full Plate Thursday

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My Favorite Pork Shu Mai

Pork Shu Mai

 

 

Shu mai, siu mai, shumai, or shaumai. No matter how you say it or write it, shu mai is an outstanding Chinese dim sum appetizer that no one can seem to get enough of, at least not in my family. My boys could eat this dish every week and never tire of it. Whenever I ask what appetizers they think I should make for a special dinner, inevitably the coral response is shu mai. You might wonder what makes it so good. It’s all in the right blend of savory ingredients: pork, ginger, cilantro, and garlic. And there’s also the pasta that it’s all wrapped up in. Shu Mai is versatile but generally you’ll see it made of pork, chicken, or shrimp, or a mixture of any of these. Guests love it and ask for the recipe. You just can’t go wrong with it.

Part of the fun of making shumai is that it smells so good when it’s steamed, and it can be enjoyable making the dumplings, especially if you have small children who want to get in on the action. Before I was married my own family went through a phase of eating Chinese food. We ate a lot of spring rolls, Chinese rice, and stir-frys. About the same time I was working for Sharon Singstock, a caterer in Malibu, and one of her specialties was a Chinese theme spread consisting of a stir-fry, Chinese chicken salad, spring rolls, and shu mai. So I have done my fair share of rolling and stuffing. Now that I think about it, working with the caterer came first and her food spilled over in my family’s way of cooking.

One of my favorite books is The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking, by Barbara Tropp; it’s still on my bookshelf today. Another book I enjoyed learning about Chinese food from is Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery. Both of their shu mai recipes are very good; mine is a little more kicked up with with the flavorings. If you’ve never tried your hand at Chinese cuisine maybe you should give it a try. The results taste sooo good!

 

Related Recipes: Won Ton Hamburger,  and Chinese Rice Revisited

 

Disclaimer: Please note that the books listed above are  Amazon links are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through them. I use the books mentioned and I recommend them because they are useful.

Pork Shu Mai

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 40 dumplings

Pork Shu Mai

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine or sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 package won ton or gyoza wrappers (40 wrappers needed)
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, or Napa cabbage
  • 1/3 cup lite soy sauce, divided
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, divided

Procedure:

    Make the Dumplings:
  1. Put the first nine ingredients into a bowl and mix together well.
  2. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling into a wrapper, bring up the sides of the wrapper up. Twist the sides of the wrapper clockwise. This will form clockwise pleats around the filling. Place all 5 fingers around the middle of the pouch and lightly push down so the bottom of the dumpling forms a flat base. As you push down some of the filling will ooze up through the center. This is expected and desired for the finished dumpling (1st picture of four). Keep the Shu Mai covered with a lightly damped tea towel or paper towel until your are ready to steam them.
  3. Prepare the Steamer: (**See Notes)
  4. Pour water into a 12-inch skillet until it reaches the level of about 3/4 inch. Place a steamer basket into the skillet and line with lettuce or cabbage leaves.
  5. Place the shu mai on top of the leaves spaced ½-inch away from one another. Do not allow them to touch or they will stick together (2nd, 3rd and 4th pictures of 4).
  6. Cover the pan and steam about 8 to 10 minutes until they are cooked through and then serve immediately with the sauce.
  7. Check the water level and add more if necessary, and repeat the steaming process until they are all cooked.
  8. For the Sauce:
  9. Get out two small dipping bowls, about ¾ cup in size.
  10. Put 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar in each bowl. Stir to mix.

**Notes:

1. To steam the shu mai you can use stacked bamboo steamer baskets if you have them. Placed them in a wok with an inch of inch water; otherwise, you can set up a stainless steel steamer basket in a 12-inch skillet with 1-inch of water in the bottom of the pan.

2. Instead of using lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves you can lightly oil a plate, place the dumplings on top of it and put it on top of the steamer basket in the skillet (non-traditional way).

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Weight Watcher’s Points Plus: 6, and there are 8 servings.

Nutrition-Facts-Shu-Mai

Pork Shu Mai 2

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes

Mock Mashed Potatoes

 

Mashed potatoes, move over. There’s a new kid in town and it’s not the popular paleo diet cauliflower mash. The new kid is roasted garlic and rosemary “mock” mashed potatoes. There is a difference between these “mock” potatoes and those on the paleo diet. People on this diet enjoy mock mashed potatoes made from cauliflower as it’s low in carbohydrates and tastes yummy because they don’t seem to have a problem of loading on cream cheese, butter, parmesan cheese, or heavy cream to heighten the flavor, because these foods are acceptable, even good on this diet. You’ll find a couple of these recipes on Food Network, and I Breathe I’m Hungry. I’m sure that they taste very good, but if you’re like me you might prefer a dish that tastes extraordinary, but doesn’t have all the saturated fat. That’s where roasted garlic and rosemary “mock” mashed potatoes comes in.

My recipe for the garlic and herb imitation mashed potatoes is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It’s also high in manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. The secret ingredient that adds the nutritional boost and lends creaminess to the dish isn’t the cauliflower in the dish—it’s millet, which is an ancient grain thought to have originated in Ethiopia. It was consumed by early civilizations and is still consumed today. The grain has not been genetically modified; it’s high in protein, fiber, and it’s easier to digest than other grains. It can be used in pilafs, cereals, and baking. Now it’s time to get back to the recipe.

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Serve as a side dish with poultry, pork, or beef; or, use as a topping on one of you favorite vegetarian or vegan casseroles. Enjoy this healthy recipe! Maybe you’ll make it a part of your healthy eating habits. Have you ever tried millet? What did you make with it?

Resources:

http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/glutenfreeingredien2/p/milletsglutenfree.htm

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=53

 

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 3 cups

Serving Size: 3/4 cup

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

Procedure:

    For the Roasted Garlic:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Get a head of garlic and slice off the tips of each clove. Once you have slice off the tips, break the garlic head so the cloves separate from the garlic head.
  3. Get out a piece of foil about 12 inches long. Place the garlic in the center of the foil and drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over the cloves. Make a pouch with the tin foil by bringing the lengthwise sides together and folding them over a couple of times and then do the same with both ends.
  4. Place the pouch in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the garlic is tender. To see if it is ready squeeze one of the garlic pieces through the cut end. If should be soft and creamy.
  5. When the garlic is ready, squeeze the garlic out of the clove and remove any hard parts. You can freeze any leftover garlic that you don't plan on using.
  6. For the Millet:
  7. Pour 2-1/2 cups of water into a small pot and bring it to a boil. When it reaches a boil add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 cup millet. (It is not necessary to wash it like quinoa.) Cook on medium low heat about 20-25 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  8. For the Cauliflower:
  9. Break up the cauliflower into flowerets and place them in a pot with water just to cover. Cook in an inserted knife penetrates easily. Strain the water and discard it. *Note - a second option is to steam until tender.
  10. To Mash:
  11. Add the cooked cauliflower to the cooked millet along with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 10 to 12 cloves roasted garlic, 1 tablespoon olive, 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, and mash using a potato masher. You may also opt to use a hand held mixer to blend until they are well mixed, or place the cauliflower/millet mixture in a food processor to blend.

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes is gluten-free, and for a dairy-free version eliminate the 1 tablespoon butter and substitute with olive oil for vegan and dairy-free mash.

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 Weight Watchers PointsPlus value per serving: 5. There are 4 servings.

Nutrition Data Mock Mashed Potaotes

Mock Mashed Potatoes 2

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesdayTuesday’s Table, and Totally Talented Tuesdays

Kicked Up Non-Alcoholic Watermelon Mojito

Kicked Up Non-Alcoholic Watermelon Mojito

 

 

 

This is Ina Friday which falls on the first Friday of the month when a group of bloggers come together to blog about one of Ina’s recipes and make the food from the original recipe. Another option we have is to create or modify one of her recipes after being inspired by it. I’m taking the second road and developing a healthier recipe based on one of Ina’s.

 

Do you ever go to a party and wish there were something to drink besides alcohol and sodas? It happens to me often. Oh, I do occasionally drink alcoholic beverages, usually on very special occasions. Taking care of myself, exercising and being careful with my diet are a priority to stay healthy.

Alcohol is on my list of foods and beverages “to avoid” for my healthy eating habits, and I have learned, or conditioned myself to drink plain water if thirsty. In Spain (hubbie’s home), there are more options for teetotalers. It’s easy to find a variety of non-alcoholic beverages on the menu, even non-alcoholic beer on tap. And here in Arizona, I really enjoy a bottle of German Clausthauler beer from time to time. It’s the best “non” that I’ve ever tasted.

This week the Ina Friday blog group members are making an appetizer or  beverage and I’ve been eyeballing the watermelon mojito from her Ina’s book Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? I know it’s a bit early for watermelon, but it’ll be hot soon enough and then you’ll have this drink in your arsenal of summer beverages. I’ve modified the original recipe to exclude the rum, and I’ve reduced the amount of sugar, making it a perfect healthy and refreshing drink on a spring or summer day, and I’ve kicked it up with extra mint and hot sauce (optional). When I was at the store I was tempted to buy cantalope melon, which would also taste great with mint, but I controlled myself in order not to stray too far off of Ina’s idea. If you like this drink you could try and do some experimenting on your own; try apple, kiwi, or honeydew melon. Hope you enjoy this healthy beverage recipe for kicked up non-alcoholic watermelon mojito.

 

Kicked Up Non-Alcoholic Watermelon Mojito

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 6 ounce glasses

Kicked Up Non-Alcoholic Watermelon Mojito

This drink depends on the size of the leaves you use. I recommend starting with 1/4 cup and then adding more if necessary. It tastes best with a lot of mint, and if you want more kick to it try adding a few drops of hot sauce per glass.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed (1 pound)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup mint fresh leaves, loosely packed (about 30 small to medium leaves)
  • Louisiana hot sauce (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Blend the ingredients Starting with about 15 leaves of mint.
  2. Add more mint to kick it up more, if you like more mint in it.
  3. Add about 4 drops of hot sauce per person (optional)
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Weight Watchers PointsPlus equals 6;
there are four servings and each serving is 1 point.

Nutrition Facts Watermelon Mojito

 

Watermelon Mojito

Please visit these other great bloggers: Alyce @ More Time at the Table, Anna @ Cheese with Noodles, Ansh @  Spice Roots,  Barbara @ Moveable Feasts, Bhavna @ Just a Girl From AAmchi Mumbai, Linda, @ Tumbleweed Contessa, Mary @ The Egg Farm, Minnie @ The Lady 8 Home, Patti @ Comfy Cuisine, Peggy@ Pantry Revisited, Rocky Mountain Woman @ Rocky Mountain Woman, Veronica @ My Catholic Kitchen

This recipe is also posted at Full Plate ThursdayThriving on Thursdays, and Foodie Friday

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

 

 

If you’re like me you probably hate seeing your bananas turn black and overripe before you get a chance to eat them. The first thing that most people think of making is banana bread, but sometimes you may not feel like it. Well, a scrumptious option is banana pancakes. Over the week-end I made some really nice fluffy pancakes from a recipe that I modified from KitchenTreaty.com. Her jacks are amazingly good but I wanted to make healthier pancakes. To do this I cut out the sugar—old bananas are high in sugar so no added sugar is necessary; I used olive oil instead of butter, more whole wheat flour than white, and non-fat Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk. Yogurt isn’t necessarily a better choice than the buttermilk that she uses, but I always have yogurt in the fridge, whereas I’d have to make a special trip to the store for buttermilk, and then I’d be forced to think of another recipe to use it in so it wouldn’t go to waste.

These pancakes are light and fluffy due to the amount of baking powder in the recipe. Generally speaking, having a lot of baking powder in the batter will make pancakes rise more, but it will also give a more unpleasant taste, but it this recipe it works because the strong banana flavor masks the taste of the baking powder.

There is a trick to making good pancakes and that is to under-mix the batter. This is entirely different from making cake batter where you mix the batter very well. Pancake batter is only mixed until the dry patches are incorporated, and I find it best to use a large balloon whisk because it does the job quicker and better than a spatula.

We all loved these healthier, mostly whole wheat banana pancakes and I’m betting that you will, too!

 

Amazon Related Products: Wolfgang Puck Indoor Electric Reversible Grill & Griddle, Best Manufacturers Balloon Whip 14-inch

Disclaimer: Please note that the Amazon links are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through them. I use the products mentioned and I recommend them because they are useful.

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 to 13 pancakes

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk, 2%
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, non-fat
  • 2 small ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Procedure:

  1. Place the milk, yogurt, bananas, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extract into a blender.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. If you have one, use a balloon whisk to mix the wet ingredients with with dry, and mix just until incorporated. Do not overmix!
  4. Let batter rest for about 5 minutes.
  5. Heat a non-stick griddle to high and when it comes to temperature lower the heat to medium-high.
  6. Fold a paper towel up about 3 times and use it to wipe about 2 teaspoons of olive oil onto the grill and spread it around.
  7. Pour the batter back into the blender; it's easier to pour from. You'll pour about 1/3 cup for each pancake. Another option is to use a ladle to pour the batter, or use a measuring cup to help you pour it on.
  8. Flip the pancakes when you see several bubbles form on the top of each pancake.
  9. Add a pat of butter to the top of each pancake as the second side cooks. This way the butter will melt and you won't have cold butter sitting on top when you're ready to top with the syrup.
  10. Cook until both sides are a medium golden color.
  11. Serve with sliced fruit, apple sauce, yogurt, and/or maple syrup.
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Weight Watcher’s Points Plus Values: 8 per serving; 2 pancakes are one serving.

Nutrition Facts Banana Pancakes

 

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Bread 2

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesdayTuesday’s Table, and Totally Talented Tuesdays

Green Beans with Tangerine Dill Vinaigrette

Green Beans with Tangerine Dill Vinaigrette

 

 

Did you know that green beans, or string beans, most likely originated in Peru and were introduced to Europe by the Spaniards? I didn’t know that but I learned this and a lot of other good information from TheWorld’sHealthiestFoods.org. It’s my favorite site to get information about foods, and vegetables in particular. At this site you’ll learn some the history of a food, the nutritional profile and health benefits, how to select and store, prepare and cook, individual concerns if there are any, and references are also listed.

What I also learned about string beans is that the amount of carotenoids in them is comparable to carrots and tomatoes…,who would have thought! Generally when we think of foods high in carotenoids what comes to mind are foods with bright orange colors like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and apricots. Because the green beans are so chlorophyll rich we don’t realize that they are also packed with these necessary nutrients. Getting carotenoids is important for reducing the risk of cancer and eye disease.

Green beans are also important for their anti-inflammatory properties, bone health benefits, cardiovascular benefits and anti-oxidant support. But let’s talk taste. Do you like green beans? I find that the taste of this food, like many foods, will depend on how it’s prepared, and if it’s overcooked or undercooked. The best way to cook them is to lightly salt them and steam them. When they are at the perfect point, cooked but still hold a slightly crispy bite, they should be plunged into ice water—this is if you are planning on eating them cold. If you are serving them hot they should be cooked just before sitting at the table. The herb I use in the recipe is dill. The spiciness from the dill is a nice contrast to the sweetness from the tangerine, but you could also use thyme or basil with nice results.

 

Green Beans with Tangerine Dill Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Yield: 5 servings

Green Beans with Tangerine Dill Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound green beans, washed and tips sliced off
  • 3 tablespoons tangerine juice
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, ¼–inch dice
  • 1/3 cup yellow bell pepper, ¼–inch dice
  • 1/3 cup orange bell pepper, ¼–inch dice
  • 5 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Garnish: a couple sprigs of fresh dill, and a couple of wedges of tangerine

Procedure:

  1. Place the green beans in a pan with a steaming basket. Add 1-inch water to the pan and steam until the beans.
  2. While the beans are cooking are cooking prepare another pan with a mixture of half water and half ice.
  3. Steam the beans until cooked but still hold a slightly crispy bite. At this point you will plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking. As the ice melts drain off the water and add more ice so they start to chill. You may serve them after they have been in the ice water for 6 to 7 minutes, or you can place them in the fridge to chill them longer.
  4. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the tangerine juice, the vinegar, oil, garlic, onion salt and pepper and then add the bell peppers and the dill.
  5. To serve: arrange the green beans on a plate and top with the vinaigrette and the crumbled feta cheese.
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Weight Watchers Points: There are 5 servings and each one is 4 points

Nutrition Facts green beans

Green Beans with Tangerine Dill Vinaigrette 2

This recipe is also posted at Full Plate Thursday, Thriving on Thursdays, and Foodie Friday

Homemade Tofu Bacon

Homemade Bacon Tofu

 

 

Are you a tofu lover, hater or are you altogether indifferent to it? Check all of the above for me. I find that it really depends on how the tofu is made. If I were to eat tofu straight out of the package I’d think it was dull and insipid, and pre-marinated tofu can be overpowering and too salty. The best option is to make your own marinade and then eat it plain as in this spicy marinated tofu, oven roasted, or grilled.

A couple of months back I posted a recipe for tempeh bacon, which I make all the time to use in sandwiches. Yesterday I had to cook some tofu before it spoiled and I got to thinking, why not make tofu bacon? Tofu bacon is a very healthy alternative to real bacon and it tastes good. OK bacon lovers it’s not bacon—that’s true. But it tastes pretty darn good and it’s a very good source of protein when you want to eat lunch but you don’t want to eat luncheon meats. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to get the marinade made, and once it’s fully saturated in the sauce, cooking time on the grill or in the frying pan is just 6 minutes.

Tofu is high in protein and calcium, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free (if using gluten-free Tamari) and low in fat and cholesterol. And as far as the taste being bland, well…there is a remedy for that—it’s called marinade. Like the song goes “give marinade a chance”. Hmm, somehow that doesn’t sound quite right, but anyway that’s the idea. Let it soak up some good flavors. Try tofu bacon and see what you think.

 

Amazon Related Products:Wolfgang Puck Indoor Reversible Grill & Griddle, and OXO Silicone Flexible Spatula

Homemade Tofu Bacon

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 16 minutes

Yield: 12 to 15 quarter inch slices

Serving Size: 3 slices

Homemade Tofu Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounce block firm organic tofu
  • 1/4 cup Tarmai soy sauce, or low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for brushing on before grilling

Procedure:

  1. Slice the tofu crosswise so each slice will be 1/4-inch thick.
  2. Make the marinade by combining the following ingredients in a 7-1/2 by 9-1/2 inch glass baking pan: the Tamari soy, maple syrup, liquid smoke, and smoked paprika. Place the tofu slices in the marinade and refrigerate. After 30 minutes, turn the strips over and return the pan to the refrigerator for at least another 1/2 hour. (Marinade up to 24 hours turning once, if you prefer.)
  3. Heat the grill on high. When it is hot, lightly brush the tofu slice with oil and then place each slice on the grill. Lower the heat to medium and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the slices over to finish cooking the other side, another 2-3 minutes.
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Weight Watchers Points: 4 points per serving, and 3 slices equals one serving.

Nutrition Facts Tofu Bacon

Homemade Tofu Bacon 2

This recipe is posted at at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesdayTuesday’s Table, and Totally Talented Tuesdays

Flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Flourless Pecan Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

I couldn’t get enough of the flourless pecan sandies cookies that I made a couple of weeks ago so I’m back today with flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. This month the challenge of the Recipe ReDux blog group was to come up with a healthy and tasty stackable food, and if I had read a little more closely I might have posted a veggie burger, tuna burger, or vegetable stacks. Let’s just say it was a lucky mistake anyone could have made when I misread the instructions. I know my boys are pretty happy about the oversight.

I first got the idea for flourless cookies from Sue’s site at TheViewfromGreatIsland. I absolutely loved the pecan cookies that I was inspired to make after seeing Sue’s cookies. The pecan cookies turned out a little on the thin side so I wanted to change the texture for the cashew so it would have more volume. I added chopped cashews, chocolate chips and cashew meal (ground cashew nuts). The result is something like a macron with the added texture from the nuts and chips

During my research for flour less cookies I came across a couple of other good sites:  BakingBites, and SallysBakingAddiction. Sally likes to under bake her cookies. She says  8-10 minutes. I chose to bake these a little longer 10 to 11 minutes. Cashews are a light colored nut and I like see some color on the cookies when they come out of the oven so I leave them a little longer. As I said earlier, they taste something like macarons so they are chewy, light and airy. One of biggest differences between my cookies and the others is the amount of sugar. I feel you can’t get away with less sugar and still have it be great tasting. Why use more if you can get away with less? See for yourself and bite into them. I’m loving flourless cookies. Do you like them too?

Flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 11 minutes

Total Time: 37 minutes

Yield: (26) 2-1/2 inch cookies

Flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cashews, or 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • ½ cup cashew meal (finely ground cashews)
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, flax seed oil, or avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup broken, or chopped cashew pieces
  • ½ cup chocolate (Ghiradelli 60% cocoa)

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°
  2. Place 1-1/2 cup of cashews in the food processor with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and process until the nuts are mealy like sand. Separate out ½ cup to save for later.
  3. Continue to process the remaining nuts until they are fully blended and creamy like peanut butter, but this will be more pasty and firm.
  4. In a mixing bowl, add the sugar, salt and the baking soda. Stir well. Whisk in the egg and vanilla, and then add the nut butter and stir until the nut butter and eggs are well incorporated.
  5. Stir in the nut meal (ground nuts), chopped cashews and chocolate chips.
  6. Use a small ice-cream scoop to measure out the cookies and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. (The ice-cream scoop should measure, or have a diameter of 1-inch from side to side.)
  7. Bake for 11 minutes. They will be soft when they come out of the oven but they will firm up. Allow them to rest for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a cookie rack to cool.

**Notes: You will use 1/2 cup of cashew meal plus 1/2 cashew butter. You will put this whole amount in the food processor and remove 1/2 cup when it is at the "meal" stage, and process the remaining amount until it is completely blended and smooth. Another option is to buy cashew butter which you may find at Whole Foods Market, though pricy, and cashew meal (Trader Joe's) The recipe also calls for 1/3 cup cashew pieces.

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Weight Watchers Points: 4 per serving. One serving is 2 cookies.

 NutritionFactsFlourlessCashewCookies

Flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This recipe is also posted at Full Plate ThursdayWeek-end Re-treatThriving on ThursdaysFoodie Friday and Foodie Friday 2

 

Asparagus with Yogurt Dill Mustard Sauce

Asparagus with Yogurt Dill Mustard Sauce

 

Chef GabrielI’m enjoying the company of my son Gabriel before he leaves for his military assignment. It’s really nice having him around now for now. You see that kids inherit or pick up a mish and mash of things from their parents; maybe the same eyes or unruly hair, or possibility a streak of stubbornness. One thing he absorbed from me is his interest in cooking. Even as a little boy he like to stand on a chair or sit on the counter and stir the pot of whatever happened to be cooking on the stove. Now as an adult he has his own book of recipes. As a child who grew up in the age of computers you would think that he would have an online cookbook to keep his recipes, but no, he has a moleskin book where he lovingly writes all his favorite recipes.

This week Gabriel is really into a Tzatziki recipe that he found on this blog with the memorable title, WhatJewWannaEat.com. He’s already made it three times this week to put on his salads, and it was a hit with his friends at his going away party, too. So I was in the market this morning I saw some asparagus and thought, wouldn’t it be luscious to eat it asparagus with yogurt dill mustard sauce? Ha, his tastes sometimes rub off on me, too. My sauce has the same basic ingredients as her tzatziki, but it has more emphasis of lemon, leaves out the chopped cucumber and it has added mustard.

The first two primary ingredients in this salad dressing, as in most salad dressings, are oil and some type of vinegar, in this case lemon juice. Next you add some yogurt, garlic, mustard, capers, salt and pepper, and then finally the chopped fresh dill —and there you have it! Pour the dressing over some chilled steamed asparagus and you have a beautiful spring dish that is light, colorful, and big on flavor. It’s a heathy alternative to mayonnaise based salad dressings, and it’s also good on BBQ’d chicken, beef, and fish. The capers are optional but I add them because they are a powerhouse food loaded with anti-oxidants.

Asparagus with Yogurt Dill Mustard Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: about 3/4 cup dressing

Asparagus with Yogurt Dill Mustard Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Asparagus
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 (5.3) ounce container plain non-fat Greek yogurt (I used Chiobani)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (Trader Joe’s Spicy Brown Mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon minced capers (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons packed chopped dill

Procedure:

    For the Dressing:
  1. Place the first 4 ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a whisk.
  2. Add the salt, pepper and the chopped dill.
  3. For the Asparagus:
  4. Snap off the ends of the asparagus.
  5. Steam the asparagus covered.
  6. While the vegetables are steaming prepare a large skillet or bowl filled half with water and half with ice.
  7. When the asparagus is ready it should be cooked but still slightly firm to the bite. Place the asparagus in the ice water to stop the cooking process.
  8. Drain the asparagus and pat it dry. Place it on a serving platter.
  9. Pour the dressing on the vegetables just before serving.
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Weight Watcher Points: 2 per serving and there are 4 servings

Nutrition Facts Asparagus with Yogurt Dill Mustard Sauce

 Here are even more yogurt dill dressings:

http://www.melaniecooks.com/using-tzatziki-sauce-as-a-salad-dressing/3189/ http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2007/07/worlds-best-tzatziki-sauce-recipe-greek.html  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/gyro-salad-with-tzatziki-dressing

Asparagus with Yogurt Dill Mustard Sauce 2

This recipe is posted at at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesdayTuesday’s TableTotally Tasty Tuesdays

Wickedly Good California Cream Cheese Appetizer

California Cream Cheese Appetizer

 

 

“I received a gift card to offset the expense of my ingredients. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

 

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is a wickedly good California cream cheese appetizer. Most people who have been to my house for dinner know the one I’m talking about; the one that shocks you (in a good way) when you find out what it is. Its take one or two minutes to prepare and it’s awfully good. At least that’s the response everyone seems to have.

Today is the last day to enter the contest sponsored by The Recipe Redux and the California Milk Advisory Board. I wasn’t even thinking of entering this recipe because I already posted a beautiful entry for Homemade Yogurt –  3 Favors, but last night we were celebrating my son Gabriel’s completion of a master’s in Anthropology, and his upcoming military enlistment. His friend Max was raving about the dip I made (to be posted later). “But, he said, “I always remember the cream cheese appetizer you made at another party a couple of years ago. It’s the best appetizer I ever had!” At that moment I knew I had to post it. And truthfully, I get a kick out of seeing the look of surprise on people’s faces when I tell them what the three simple ingredients are.

Here’s how California comes into the picture: I was raised in California and my best friend’s mother made this delectable treat at all the block parties, and then my mom started making it, as well as the neighbors up and down the street; and it’s made with California milk cream cheese.

To make the recipe I chose to replace the cream cheese with Neufchatel cheese which has one-third less the calories from fat compared to cream cheese. The brand I buy is Challenge Dairy, which is the largest selling brand in the west. Their butter is also very good and I buy it for making cookies because they just taste better with Challenge.

Links: RealCaliforniaMilk.com, HealthyEating.Org

Wickedly Good California Cream Cheese Appetizer

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 10 Tablespoons

Serving Size: 1 to 1-2 tablespoons per person

Wickedly Good California Cream Cheese Appetizer

This is a pre-lunch or dinner appetizer. Serve with various crackers and an assortment of chopped vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces California Neufchatel cheese (I use Challenge)
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, or Tamari soy
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted or untoasted)

Procedure:

  1. Slice the Neufchatel cheese bar into 5 crosswise strips about 1/2 inch thick (figure on 8 strips per bar)
  2. Place the strips on a plate and spoon on the soy sauce.
  3. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds.
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California Cream Cheese Appetizer 2

This recipe is also posted at Thriving on Thursdays and Show Stopper Saturday

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