Friday, April 29, 2011

80--- Runner Girl Gluten-Free Snack Mix

I am running my first Bloomsday race in Spokane, Washington this weekend. Actually, my alter ego is. I am excited for a fantastic run and even more fantastic girls' weekend! My running partners have wonderful appetites, especially my friend Shayla (you remember her Indian potatoes, right?). Shayla has gluten-free needs, so I thought I would make a snack mix to fuel us for our race.

This has a salty and sweet combination. Add your own gluten-free ingredients as you see fit!

Runner Girl Gluten-Free Snack Mix
Makes ~8 cups

4 cups gluten-free Corn Chex cereal
2 cups rice cracker mixture (from bulk bins or found in Asian aisle)
4 oz dry roasted edamame
6 oz dried cherries
6 oz raw almonds
8 oz peanut butter chips (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine cereal, edamame, and almonds. In a separate small bowl, combine oil, honey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt. Pour dressing over cereal mixture. Lay out mixture in a single layer on a large baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until combination becomes slightly crispy, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and transfer to a sheet of parchment paper. Allow to cool completely, then separate pieces that have stuck together.

Place mixture into an airtight container and add rice crackers, cherries, and peanut butter chips. Toss to mix.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup serving: 228 calories, 10 g fat, 7 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

20(ish)--- Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

I got to spend time with my California family a couple of weeks ago. My niece, Keiley, and I had a lovely time making these brownies. She likes to cook and bake-- SO PROUD! Drake, my nephew, is an expert at tasting things, especially if they are sweet. He gave these a big thumbs up-- and he even knew about the zucchini content!

I am happy to report that grated zucchini acts much like applesauce, pumpkin, or mashed banana in it's ability to reduce the amount of fat needed in a recipe! These are still not an 80% recipe, but slightly healthier than your basic brownie!

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
Makes 15 brownies

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
11 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 11 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine sugar, oil, and flour in a large bowl (mixture will resemble wet sand). Add cocoa, zucchini, and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the brownies are set. Cut brownies into squares and serve.

Monday, April 25, 2011

20--- Caprese Grilled Cheese

April is National Grilled Cheese Month. Strange, I know. But it's a good excuse to indulge a bit in a 20% food. I'm sure that grilled cheese can be health-ified. I do not think that I've been getting my full 20% of my 20s lately. Time for a jazzed-up grilled cheese sandwich!

Caprese Grilled Cheese

Serves 3

1 loaf French bread, ends sliced off and remainder cut into 3 sections

1 1/4 cups part-skim ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2/3 cup roma tomato, seeded and chopped

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup fresh sweet basil leaves, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

Combine chopped tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and place in refrigerator. Allow to marinate 1-2 hours.

Place oven on high broil. Combine ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl. Stir in tomato mixture and garlic powder. Slice French bread thirds in half. Onto each half spread 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Place bread slices onto baking sheet. Place baking tray in oven on a middle rack (not too close to broiler). Watch closely and bake for ~5 minutes, until cheese mixture melts and edges of bread lightly brown.

Remove from oven and place two halves together to form a sandwich. Serve with a side of tomato basil soup (optional) for dipping.

Friday, April 22, 2011

20--- Sourdough Currant Scones

These will be perfect on your table at Easter brunch! Scones are not healthy, but these are homemade! My sourdough starter was good, but not quite sour enough yet to make a big impact. These were still delicious! The sweet glaze and currants will nicely offset the sourness if you have a nicely aged starter!

Sourdough Currant Scones
Makes 16 scones

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dried currants
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into slices
1 1/4 cups sourdough starter

1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle two baking sheets lightly with flour.

Whisk together the flour, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, sugar, currants and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Cut in the slices of butter with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the sourdough starter and mix by hand to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 1/2-inch thick round. Use a biscuit cutter to cut into circles and place the scones on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Re-roll dough if needed.

Bake until the scones just start to turn golden ~15 minutes. Remove scones from baking sheets and cool on sheets of parchment paper.

While scones are baking, prepare glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, orange juice and powdered sugar. Bring to a low boil, stirring continually for ~10 minutes until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

When scones are cool, lightly brush each with glaze and allow to set to harden. Store in an airtight container or serve immediately!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sourdough Starter

We used to have a sourdough starter in our fridge. It had been there since I had met my husband, almost 8 years ago. I never used it. At that time I was in college, then graduate school, then in an internship, all the while working two jobs. So, I really just didn't cook much in general (actually never). Our starter grew a lovely green layer on the top. It was probably angry because I never fed it. In the trash it went, just a few months ago.

I thought I was out of luck with making sourdough recipes. Don't starters have to be, like, 40 years old? Apparently not. I found a recipe for starting my own! I did not ignore it his time. I fed it, regularly, for the past three weeks.

I vow to keep feeding it, and using it, regularly. My children shall have this starter passed to them, but only when they are able to care for it.

Here's how I did it:

Sourdough Starter
Makes 3 cups

1 package dry active yeast

2 cups warm water (110 degrees)

2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large glass bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and flour. Place a clean towel over bowl and place in warm dry place. I placed mine in the oven with the light on (no, I did not use it for a few days).
Every 24 hours, discard 1/2 of the mixture and then add 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water. Re-cover and return to a warm dry place. If a liquid layer forms on top of mixture, stir it in prior to each feeding. After 4-7 days of feedings, mixture will begin to bubble and develop a sour smell as the starter ferments. This means that your starter is done fermenting! At this time, the starter is ready to use! Place mixture in a glass jar and place in refrigerator.

After each use, replace the amount of mixture that was removed with equal parts flour and water (if you use 1 cup replace with 1 cup flour and 1 cup water-- this will increase the size of your starter!). If not used, feed mixture weekly in the same way you did feedings, by discarding 1/2 of mixture and replacing it with equal parts flour and water.

Make sure you record the date of your starter (for your children). It will get better with age!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

80--- Roasted Asparagus and Poached Eggs

I will admit the first time I saw a Peruvian asparagus recipe in a magazine I thought, "Now that's weird". But with asparagus in season and beautiful right now, I wanted to give it a go. Verdict? It's a fabulous light meal! I roasted the asparagus covered with a light Panko-Parmesan topping to add a little more sustenance. My hubby, who doesn't love eggs as it is, especially for dinner, was very impressed! I cannot wait to harvest some from my garden (probably around July) and make this again!

This would make a lovely addition to your Easter dinner OR brunch! Vegetables for brunch? Fabulous!!

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Serves 4

8 eggs, poached until cooked as desired (I left my yolks slightly runny)

2 lb thin asparagus spears, trimmed

1 cup Panko crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place asparagus spears into a large bowl and drizzle on olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. Mix Parmesan cheese and Panko crumbs in a separate bowl. Add half of Panko mixture to asparagus and toss to coat asparagus.

Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray. Lay coated asparagus spears flat onto sheet, then sprinkle with remaining Panko mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until asparagus is cooked through and Panko is lightly toasted.

While asparagus is cooking, poach eggs (I used a poached egg pan, but you may cook yours in the traditional fashion described in this post: How to Poach an Egg.) You may cook them through, or leave the yolks slightly runny, depending on your tastes.

When asparagus is done, remove from oven and use a spatula to remove ~12 stems from the baking sheet. Place on a plate, then place two poached eggs on top. Garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, if desired.

You may also serve as a side dish with 6-8 asparagus spears and one poached egg.

Nutrition Info per 12 asparagus spears and 2 poached eggs: 276 calories, 12 g fat, 22 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Monday, April 18, 2011

20(ish)--- Easter Egg Salad

Research from both Harvard and Columbia universities has concluded that artificial food dyes may cause increased hyperactivity in children with ADHD. Yikes! What else could they do?

I do not have children. When and if I do, I will make natural food dyes for Easter eggs. Until I do, thank you to The Whole Tulip for instruction: Natural Easter Egg Dye.

If you store your dyed Easter eggs in the fridge (as you should), then here is a simple egg salad recipe to use them up after the bunny hops down your bunny trail! I probably could have made egg salad into an 80 recipe, but I wanted a very basic egg salad without too many bells and whistles. I used only 6 egg yolks and reduced-fat dressing ingredients to help bring down the calorie content without sacrificing flavor. Add additional ingredients to your liking!

Easter Egg Salad
Serves 4

1 dozen eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

3 green onions, sliced thin

3 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp light mayonnaise

2 Tbsp light sour cream

1/2 Tbsp yellow mustard (or to taste)

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp celery salt

1/4 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp paprika

Discard the yolks of 6 of the eggs. Chop remaining whites and yolks into 1/4" cubes. Add to a bowl with celery, parsley and onions. Stir together mayo, sour cream and spices in a separate bowl. Add dressing mixture to eggs and mix to coat. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours prior to serving.

Friday, April 15, 2011

80--- Take Me to the Caribbean Shrimp Fajitas

It snowed 8 inches the day I made these. Yes, it was April. I needed some sunshine that day. A jerk seasoning mix will run you around $6 at the grocery store. I made mine from the ingredients in my cupboard (and a couple from my mother-in-law's cupboard). It was fantastic! I hope these warm you up if spring is slow to enter your neck of the woods.

Take Me to the Caribbean Shrimp Fajitas
Serves 4


1 Tbsp minced dried onion
2 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper (coarsely ground)
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients and set aside.


8- 6" tortillas
1/2 lb (~40 large) shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails removed
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water
1 cup Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa
1 avocado, sliced (optional)

Combine 3 Tbsp jerk seasoning with 1 Tbsp water in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour prior to cooking.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for ~2 minutes, until softened. Add red pepper strips and continue to heat for 3-4 minutes. Add coated shrimp and seasoning mixture from bowl. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Place 1/4 cup shrimp mixture into each tortilla and top with Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa and avocado, if desired.

Nutrition Info per 2 fajitas: 446 calories, 8 g fat, 18 g protein, 60 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

80--- Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa

I made this salsa for my soon-to-be-posted "Take Me to the Caribbean Shrimp Fajitas". But I decided to post it separately because it is outstanding all by itself. The sweetness of the pineapple counteracts the jalapeno spice perfectly!

I used canned pineapple for this recipe but you may use fresh as well! Pineapple is canned in juice, so therefore no sugar is added during the processing. Canned pineapple is heated to reduce bacteria formation, but the nutritional value is still the same.

Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa

Makes ~ 2 1/2 cups

20 oz canned pineapple tidbits (or 2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into small pieces)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 green onions, sliced thin

3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp honey

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup salsa: 116 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 1.5g fiber

Monday, April 11, 2011

20(ish)--- Candied Yam Cupcakes

Candied yams are not just for Thanksgiving! The mashed yams in these cupcakes allow you to use less butter AND sugar! They have a similar flavor to carrot cake and they are so moist! The toasted marshmallow topping makes you think that you are really eating candied yams! Please ignore the fact that I used marshmallow cream from a jar. Yes- I do know that the first ingredient is corn syrup. I do realize that I could have made my own. But there's corn syrup in that also. You win some, and you lose some. Just use a little bit.

I am going to include the nutrition info on this one. No, you should not eat cupcakes everyday (therefore, not an 80). But, these are a good choice for the days when you do choose to eat a cupcake.

Candied Yam Cupcakes
Makes 16 cupcakes

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 large egg whites
1 egg
2 cups mashed yams (I baked mine, then scooped out the innards- technical term- and mashed them)
2 1/3 cups cake flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Marshmallow Cream
2 cups marshmallow cream
2 Tbsp light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar and butter. Add egg whites and egg and beat well. Stir in yams.
In a smaller bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Gradually add flour mixture to yam mixture and beat well until well combined. Stir in vanilla.

Line baking cups with cupcake liners, then fill each cup ~3/4 full with batter. Bake for ~20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Marshmallow Cream Frosting

Immediately prior to serving, place oven on high broil. Place 2 Tbsp marshmallow cream onto each cupcake. Sprinkle lightly with brown sugar. Place cupcakes onto top rack of oven and watch closely as marshmallow browns (and melts slightly)-- NOTE: this only takes ~5-10 seconds.

Remove from oven and serve! If cupcakes are to be stored, remove marshmallow topping prior to storing and repeat process prior to next serving.

Nutrition Info per 1 cupcake: 169 calories, 4.5 g fat, 3 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates

Saturday, April 9, 2011

80--- Breakfast Polenta Cakes

I was cleaning out my cupboards and noticed that I had three opened bags of cornmeal. Sorry for the polenta overload!

These naturally gluten-free cornmeal cakes are so versatile! I made them one way for my husband (with eggs and salsa) and I topped mine with powdered sugar and fresh strawberries. You can (should) make them the night before, then just put slices onto the griddle in the morning and breakfast is done!

Look for a cornmeal that is not degermed. A corn kernel does not have bran as a seed does, but it does have a skin (germ). This is where most of the fiber and nutrition are located. Bob's Red Mill sells a nice whole grain cornmeal.

Breakfast Polenta Cakes

Serves 4

3 cups water

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tsp butter

Bring water to a boil on stovetop in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in cornmeal. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens, ~10 minutes. Stir in butter. Remove from heat.

Lightly spray a 9x5" bread pan with cooking spray. Pour cornmeal mush into pan and distribute evenly. Place pan in refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, slice cornmush into 1" slices and gently remove from pan. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and place slices into pan. Cook for ~10 minutes each side, until sides are crisp and middle is warm.

Serve with syrup or powdered sugar and berries, or poached eggs.

Nutrition info per 2 slices: 118 calories, 2.5 g fat, 2.5 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Thursday, April 7, 2011

80--- Portobello Burgers

I guess I have a thing for mushrooms lately. A big juicy portobello can easily take the place of beef on a burger. I also made a roasted tomato & goat cheese spread to add another dimension. AND my caramelized red onion relish. Delish! You can make your mushroom on the grill if you choose, but it's still quite chilly here so I roasted mine along with the peppers and tomatoes in the oven. So easy!

Portobello Burgers
Serves 4

4 buns of your choice, sliced in half (if not already

4 large portobello mushrooms, washed and stemmed

2 red peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced into quarters (lengthwise)

2 tsp olive oil

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp vegetable seasoning

~1 cup Caramelized Red Onion Relish

2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Olive Oil cooking spray


1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1 tsp fresh basil, chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed and minced

1/2 tsp olive oil

2 oz goat cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray. Place mushrooms (face down) and pepper slices in dish. Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush vegetables with mixture. Sprinkle with vegetable seasoning (I used McCormicks). In a oven-safe dish, combine cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic and 1/2 tsp olive oil for spread. Place mushrooms, pepper, and tomato mixture in oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until mushrooms soften. Flip peppers halfway through cooking. Remove both dishes from oven and remove mushrooms from baking dish. Set aside tomato mixture.

Place oven on high broil. Place peppers in baking dish back in oven on top rack and allow to char slightly, ~2-3 minutes. If you would like to toast your buns; spray each with olive oil cooking spray and broil on top rack until toasted slightly (watch carefully).

For spread: place tomato mixture and goat cheese into a food processor. Process until pureed.

To assemble: brush bottom bun with 1 Tbsp goat cheese spread, then layer one mushroom, 2 slices roasted peppers, then spinach. Place 3 Tbsp caramelized red onion relish on top bun and assemble.

Nutrition Info per 1 burger with toppings: 303 calories, 7 g fat, 14 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 7.5 g fiber

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

80--- Caramelized Red Onion Relish

Do you wish that you could always enjoy the flavor of caramelized onions on every sandwich, burger or steak without the work? Voila! You can keep this relish in your refrigerator for 2 weeks.

I often get asked about the nutrition of onions. Honestly, onions really do not have any nutrients that make them stand out. Onions are, however, low in calories and they contain a lot of flavor. Therefore, by adding onions to a meal, salad, sandwich, etc. you can get a lot of bang for your calorie buck.

What's the difference between onions? Here's a little breakdown:

Yellow Onion: Very pungent flavor, typically used in cooked dishes such as stews, soups, and meat dishes. They have a high sulphur content, so they will make your eyes water more!

White Onion: Slightly more mild than a yellow onion, often used in Latin cooking

Red Onion: A mild, sweeter onion often used raw.

Caramelized Red Onion Relish
Makes ~2 cups

2 large red onions, sliced

1 cup red wine

2 Tbsp light brown sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Place onion slices in a nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add red wine and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a low boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, until sauce is reduced to ~1/2 cup and onions are cooked through. Increase heat to medium-high and stir in brown sugar. Stirring frequently, allow mixture to thicken for 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Place onions and sauce into a food processor and chop to desired consistency (I like mine chunky).

Place into a glass container and refrigerate. Serve on sandwiches, grilled meat or burgers!

Nutrition Info per 2 Tbsp: 35 calories, 0 g fat, 5 g carbohydrates

Sunday, April 3, 2011

80--- Barley Risotto with Fennel and Crimini Mushroom Saute

Barley is a short-season, early-maturing cereal grain that can be grown in both irrigated and dry lands. If I had more garden space, I would grow it. It can be used in soups, salads, side dishes, or as your breakfast cereal.

In addition to FIBER, barley is also a great source if niacin, which is a B-vitamin. Niacin can reduce platelet aggregation and can also help to reduce cholesterol levels.

This recipe utilizes this wonderful grain in place of the rice used in a traditional Italian risotto.

Barley Fennel Risotto with Crimini Mushroom Saute

Serves 4

4 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 cup pearl barley

1 Tbsp fennel seeds

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp olive oil

1 lb crimini mushrooms, washed, stemmed and sliced thick

1 clove garlic, pressed and finely minced

1 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely minced

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat vegetable broth to a boil, then set aside.

In a large nonstick flat sided skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender. Add fennel seeds, pepper and thyme and heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add pearled barley and 2 cups warm broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir frequently and simmer until most of the stock is absorbed, 4-5 minuets. Add remaining warm stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally, waiting until stock is absorbed before adding more.

While barley cooks, heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned. Sprinkle in parsley and salt, cover and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender.

When barley is fully cooked, stir in Parmesan cheese. Spoon barley into bowls, then top with mushrooms.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup barley and 1/4 cup mushrooms: 304 calories, 6 g fat, 13 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber

Friday, April 1, 2011

80--- Polenta-Stuffed Poblano Rellenos with Spicy Chipotle Sauce

My hubby really likes chile rellenos. I have been scratching my head for months trying to figure out a way to make them tasty without stuffing them with cheese (yes my head did start to hurt-- and I got a wrinkle between my eyebrows as well).

Solution: making a creamy polenta flavored with a shredded Parmesan and adding a spicy chipotle chile sauce. The result? Heaven. As declared by my hubster. He even told his friends about them (even the ones who tease him about having to eat healthy all of the time).

Polenta-Stuffed Poblano Rellenos with Chipotle Sauce
Serves 4


4 whole poblano peppers

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed and finely minced

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup coarse ground cornmeal

2 tsp butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Remove a 1" strip from each pepper, leaving the stem intact. Carefully remove seeds. Place peppers open-side down on baking sheet and spray tops with olive oil spray. Bake in oven for ~15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until peppers are softened and lightly charred. (Note: this can also be done on the grill-- mine was buried in snow).

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until tender. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Gradually whisk in cornmeal. Cover and reduce heat to low. Mixture will thicken gradually. Stir frequently. When mixture reaches a porridge-like consistency, remove from heat and stir in butter, salt and cheese.

Remove peppers from oven and fill with polenta.

CHIPOTLE SAUCE-- prepare ahead

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, pressed and minced

1/4 cup dry red wine

3-4 whole chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce - more or less to adjust for spiciness (you can also add a little extra sauce for smokiness if you like)

1 tsp ground cumin

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until softened (2-3 minutes). Add tomato paste, wine, and peppers and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in 3 Tbsp water, honey, vinegar, and cumin. Simmer for 3 minutes then remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.

Add mixture to a food processor and puree. Add more water if thinning is needed. Place in a glass container and chill for 2 hours (can be made a few days ahead also).

When preparing peppers, heat sauce in a small saucepan. Drizzle 1/4 cup sauce over each pepper and serve!

If you have sauce leftover, place it in a glass jar in the refrigerator and use for a hot sauce!

Nutrition Info per 1 stuffed pepper with sauce: 188 calories, 5 g fat, 7 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber