Monday, January 31, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

Recipe Review: Your traditional Eggplant Parmesan, lightened. Great classic Italian flavors

How come when I have the whole day off to cook I still end up rushing around and not having dinner made on time? Maybe because I'm always being overly ambitious and trying to make at least 3 things at the same time and have them all come out of the oven at the same time. The whole point of this dinner was to make things ahead of time so that I could throw them all in the oven half an hour before we wanted to eat, but naturally I bit off more than I could chew so everything ended up being cooked right away- and even then dinner was half an hour late- but more than worth waiting for!

I got new issue of shape magazine in the mail this weekend and it had a recipe for revamped Eggplant Parmesan that looked yummy so I went for and Italian theme for the evening. I made spinach and pesto chicken rollatini to go with the eggplant "nonparm". If you've been following the blog for a while you probably know that my boyfriend hates cheese, so I left out the Parmesan and only sprinkled mozzarella on half of the eggplant. I hate to admit it since I love cheese, but when you're trying to be health conscious, leaving the cheese out of things certainly does help cut calories. I'm writing up the recipe as intended, but know that if you are lactose intolerant, have food allergies, or are just plain crazy and don't like cheese this still tastes great without it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Citrus Seared Scallops & Polenta

I absolutely love when I have a whole day free and get to spend time cooking. Usually I breakout the back issues of Cooking Light that I haven't gotten to, or my computer and browse around to find recipes while I'm on the couch drinking coffee. Then I finalize my grocery list and hit Henry's. I really love browsing the aisles when I'm not in a rush and usually end up buying way too much stuff! Once I get it all home I like cooking while watching cooking shows on TV. This was exactly the process that went into making these scallops for dinner last weekend.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rave Review: Trader Joe's Chicken Sausage

I had to give a shout out to Trader Joe's for making this product. In general they do a great job with prepared foods, salads, frozen stuff, and have an excellent wine selection. Unfortunately they aren't everywhere but if you have access to a Trader Joe's I highly suggest you try these out!

You can find these guys in the refrigerated section, and there are typically 6 or 7 varieties to choose from. Spicy Jalapeno (like the ones above), Sundried Tomato, Sweet Apple, Spinach Fontina & Roasted Garlic, and Italian are a few. They contain no MSG, are Gluten free, and typically contain between 90 -110 calories in each sausage, depending on the flavor. I use these for everything. I'll split one and put half on a breakfast sandwich, crumble it and use it in pasta sauce or lasagna. I've used them for taco filling, in place of a hot dog, or just as the main protein in a meal. I tend to get tired if I eat too much of something but since there are so many flavors these never seem to get old. A pack of 5 costs $3.99. There is another variety of chicken sausage they have, that are larger and curved (more like a traditional sausage would look) These seem to have a thicker casing, as an fyi. I seem to like the ones that are more hot dog shaped because I don't love the casing on the other ones, but they have great flavor.

Trader Joe's edamame hummus is another great one to try if you are there, and there frozen goyza dumplings, and the peppermint Joe Joe's if they are in season. They also stock one of my favorite wines Casillero del Diablo Carmenere. Its 7.99 and a really great bottle of wine. I actually saw it at Costco this morning for only 5.99 a bottle! I should have bought a case...

Concha y Toro Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere 2007

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pan Seared Pacific Snapper & Mashed "Fauxtatoes"

Pacific Snapper Review: Tasty fish with minimal prep and cooking time.
Mashed "Fauxtatoes" Review: Tasted so real I'm never eating actual mashed potatoes again.

I'm going to jump right in with the Fauxtatoes, because I'm absolutely elated with how good they came out. I was dubious at first, thinking nothing could taste as good as real mashed potatoes, but this was amazing! My senses were completely tricked into thinking I was eating delicious carby mashed potatoes, when I was actually eating mashed cauliflower.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Eggplant with Caramelized Onions

Recipe Review: Versatile Side that's easy to whip up!

I have a love hate relationship with Mexican food. I love how it tastes, but making it healthy is a challenge. I made enchiladas for dinner (if you don't smother them in cheese they actually aren't bad for you!) and was searching for a non beans and non rice side dish to serve with them. I found a Rick Bayless recipe (we know that I love Rick Bayless) for Eggplant with Caramelized Onions. I absolutely adore caramelized onions, so loved the idea of this recipe.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Three Bean Pasta Fagioli Soup

Recipe Review: Hearty Italian Soup that's filling but not heavy

I'm feeling crappy and sick. So that means that I make soup. I usually don't have much of an appetite when I'm not feeling well, and like to stick to soups and hot tea. I had planned on making this before I started feeling bad, so only needed to grab a few things. I took a slew of cold medicine, washed it down with some green tea, waited 20 minutes for it all to kick in and got to chopping (side note: Kevin got me an amazing set of knives for Christmas I got to use it for the first time to chop up the veggies in this soup).  I adapted the soup from this crock pot recipe, but changed up the beans and the ingredient ratio a bit.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Recipe Review: Mom's favorite hummus recipe, great for a healthy appetizer or snack

While I was home over the holidays I took advantage of my mom's food processor and made some flavored hummus to bring to a New Years party I was attending. My mom insists that the hummus from the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook is the best hummus and shes been making it for years. I prefer flavored hummus, and this one is a good base, but its strongly flavored with tahini, and I would probably cut that down if you want to add another flavor to the hummus, since it overpowered some of the variations that I tried. I made avocado cilantro, olive, and artichoke hummus but the best variation was the olive. I'm just going to write up the basic recipe, which can be customized with add ins or is great alone!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Recipe Review: Cheesecake was a hit with the boyfriend's family at Christmas! 

Obviously I couldn't show up empty handed on Christmas when meeting Kevin's family for the first time. There was a cranberry swirl cheesecake on the holiday edition of Cooking light that looked festive so I thought that would work well, especially since I'd have to make it ahead and it would need to travel an hour and a half in the car.

I used the cheesecake recipe from Joy of Baking and the swirl recipe from Cooking Light (while cooking light is one of my favorite recipe sources I strongly believe that certain things- like cheesecake- shouldn't be 'lightened')

boo bad lighting :-(