Tuesday, January 31, 2012

20--- Cheese Fondue

Cheese? Yes please!  This is a fun and social dinner idea, or a great appetizer for your next party!  The crock pot keeps it nice and warm throughout your dining experience.

No football-watching crowd would complain about this in the middle of the coffee table on Super Bowl Sunday, would they?

Three Cheese Fondue
Serves 6-8 (Makes ~ 4 cups)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 package instant onion soup mix
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Jarlesberg cheese

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, salt, onion soup mix, mustard, and pepper. Stir until a paste is formed. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce, then slowly add milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly.

Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, stirring frequently. Continue to heat until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat and fold in shredded cheeses, stirring constantly until melted.

Transfer mixture to a crock pot and keep warm on low to serve.

Provide each diner with multiple bamboo skewers for dipping, along with plates of sausages, sourdough bread cubes, apples, cubed roasted potatoes, and roasted vegetables.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

20--- Cheesesteak Sliders with Garlic Sriracha Aioli

I now interrupt this very tasty very healthy run of 80s to bring you not ONE but TWO fantastic 20s, just in time for Super Bowl.  Both are excellent additions to your manly food menus.

These are cheesesteak sliders.  Nuff said.

Cheesesteak Sliders
Serves 12

12 white rolls
12 oz thinly sliced beef chuck, sliced into 1" strips (I purchased the nitrate-free type from my grocer's deli)
4 cups beef broth
1/2 lb thinly sliced provolone cheese
1 large white onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup banana pepper slices
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Salt & Pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp garlic powder

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add onions and saute until lightly browned.  Reduce heat to medium and stir in brown sugar and banana pepper slices.  Continue to saute for 15 minutes, until caramelized.  Remove from heat and set aside.

While onions cook, heat beef broth to a low boil in a medium saucepan.  Reduce heat to low, then add sliced beef.  Allow to heat through.

Preheat oven to a low broil.  Slice rolls in half and place top halves cut side up onto a baking sheet.  Spread a spoonful of onion mixture onto each top, then place a small slice of cheese onto onion mixture.  Place baking sheet into oven for ~5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

While rolls are baking, whisk together aioli ingredients.  Spread 2 tsp aioli onto the bottom half of each roll.  Layer ~1 oz sliced beef (from broth) on top of aioli.  Top with a cheesy roll top half and serve!

Stay tuned for Super Bowl 20 recipe numero dos on Tuesday!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

80--- Italian Stuffed Squash

Most stuffed squash recipes out there call for stuffing ingredients like sausage..... why not make it a bit healthier but still delicious by stuffing it with CHEESE.  Who's with me?

Italian Stuffed Squash
Serves 4

2 acorn squash
Olive oil spray
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp olive oil
2 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp dry white wine
10-12 cocktail onions, sliced thin
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade
1/4 tsp salt
Dash fresh ground black pepper
14 oz part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice acorn squash in half crosswise.  You may need to slice a small part of the end off so that each half will lay flat.  Scoop out seeds and pulp.  Spray the inside of each squash half with olive oil, then sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Place halves into a baking dish filled with 1 1/2" of water.  Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake squash for 40-45 minutes, until fork tender.

When squash is halfway done baking, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and minced garlic and saute for one minute.  Add cocktail onion slices and chopped mushrooms, followed by balsamic vinegar and white wine.  Saute for 10 minutes, until mushrooms are softened and sauce is reduced.  Stir in chopped tomatoes and chopped spinach.  Season with salt and pepper and saute for additional 3-4 minutes.  Stir in ricotta cheese, distribute evenly, then reduce heat to low and fold in chopped basil.  Continue to heat on low, stirring frequently until squash is baked.

When squash is done baking, remove halves from water bath and place them onto a baking sheet.  Fill each half with 1/4 of the mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 7-8 minutes, until filling is heated through and cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

Nutrition Info per 1 filled half: 323 calories, 11 g fat, 20 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

80--- Barley Pad Thai

I heart pad thai. It's so good and so fresh!  Here is a version made with barley in place of noodles.

Barley is high in beta-glucan, a dietary fiber that may help lower your cholesterol levels.  This grain is also very filling- great for those trying to reduce their calorie intake! One serving of barley (1/4 cup dry) contains only 80 calories but will keep you full for hours.

Barley Pad Thai
Serves 4

3/4 cup uncooked pearled barley
2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
3/4 cup dried shitake mushrooms
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp green curry paste
1 1/4 cups lite coconut milk
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp thai chile sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 cup green onions, sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced and steamed
1 cup snap peas, trimmed and steamed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a large skillet, heat sesame oil over medium high heat.  Add garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper and saute until fragrant.  Add barley and 3/4 cup broth.  Continue to heat until broth is absorbed.  Stir in dried mushrooms, then continue to add broth 3/4 cup at a time, each time bringing it to a boil and allowing all to be absorbed prior to adding more.

While barley is cooking, whisk together lime juice, coconut milk, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, ground ginger, thai chile sauce, salt, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, curry paste, brown sugar and peanut butter.  Set aside.

When all barley is fully cooked and broth is fully absorbed, stir sauce into mixture.  Add steamed peas and carrots, then fold in green onions and cilantro.  Allow mixture to heat through for 4-5 minutes, then serve!

Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cup serving: 310 calories, 10 g fat, 10 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber

Monday, January 23, 2012

80--- Savory Oats with an Egg

What do you put on your oatmeal? Brown sugar? Maple syrup? Dried fruit and nuts?

This is a savory oatmeal with spinach, onions and tomato with an over easy egg on top.  A delicious and nutritious twist on a breakfast classic.  Add a splash of hot sauce if you desire!

Savory Oats with an Egg
Serves 2

3 Tbsp chopped red onions
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 cup chopped baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup chopped grape tomatoes
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
Olive oil spray
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Hot sauce (if desired)

In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until fragrant, ~2-3 minutes.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Whisk in oats and reduce heat to medium-high.  Cover and simmer for ~15 minutes, stirring frequently until most of broth is absorbed and oats are soft.  Stir in Parmesan cheese, chopped spinach and tomatoes.  Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, cover and set aside for 5 minutes.

While oatmeal sets, heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Spray skillet with olive oil spray.  Crack eggs into skillet and cook until white is set.

To serve ladle oat mixture into two bowls and top with eggs.  Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce if desired.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup oats and 1 egg: 248 calories, 10 g fat, 20 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber

Saturday, January 21, 2012

20--- Chicken-Fried Salisbury Steak

My hubby has been asking for Salisbury steak for a while now.  I don't think I have ever tried it so I shouldn't have been so opposed.  But I have really been wanting to make chicken-fried steak.  Both 20s? Yes.  Combine them? HECK YES!

I had to borrow my in-law's deep fat fryer for this one.  I think I can still smell the oil in my house.  Candles blazing, I will get over it.  Eventually.  It was worth it.  My man is very very happy.

Chicken-Fried Salisbury Steak
Serves 6

1 lb lean ground beef or bison
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp red wine
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup half & half
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp seasoning salt
Vegetable or peanut oil for frying

1/2 cup butter, divided
1 cup yellow onions, sliced thin
8 oz button mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 cups beef broth
Fresh ground black pepper

Combine ground meat with onions, garlic, salt, pepper, red wine, and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl.  Use your hands to mix in beaten eggs, then panko crumbs.  Mixture should be wet, but should form patties when pressed.  Roll ~1/3 cup mixture into a tight ball, then press into a patty and place on a plate.  Repeat with remaining meat mixture, placing squares of waxed paper in between patties.  Place in refrigerator while you prep remaining ingredients.

For batter: whisk eggs in a wide bowl.  Whisk in half & half.  In a separate wide bowl, combine flour and seasoning salt.  Set aside.

Preheat deep fat fryer to 375 degrees.

For gravy: heat 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet.  Add sliced onions and saute for 5 minutes, until softened.  Add sliced mushrooms and continue to saute for 8-10 minutes more, until mushrooms are soft.  Remove mixture from skillet and set aside.

When fryer is ready, remove patties from refrigerator.  Place one patty in flour mixture and pat to cover.  Then place in egg mixture, then back into flour mixture.  Repeat dredging once more, ending with flour coating.  Brush off excess flour and place patty in fryer basket.  Lower into oil and cook patty for ~6 minutes, until batter is golden brown.  Remove patty from basket and set on paper towel-lined plate. Cover with a separate plate to keep warm while remaining patties are cooking (one at a time).

While patties cook, finish gravy.  Heat remaining 1/4 cup butter in the large skillet over medium heat.  Whisk in flour, stirring up all brown bits leftover from cooking onions and mushrooms. Continue to whisk until a sand-like paste is formed.  Add milk, whisking constantly until a smooth paste is formed.  Whisk in broth, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure that mixture is evenly combined prior to adding more.  When all broth is added, liberally add fresh ground pepper to taste, then stir in sauteed mushrooms and onions.  Reduce heat to low, whisking frequently to keep smooth.

To serve: ladle gravy over each chicken-fried Salisbury steak and enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

80--- Kung Pao Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower is a lovely cruciferous vegetable.  One of the reasons why it is so lovely is that it doesn't have a very strong flavor.  Therefore, you can really jazz it up!  Kung Pao style!

Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, which during breakdown produce substances that may reduce the risk of certain cancers.  This group of veggies also includes arugula, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and radishes.  And of course, they also contain lots of fiber and antioxidants, too.

Kung Pao Cauliflower Soup
Serves 5-6

1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced
1 Tbsp dried red chiles, diced finely
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp red chile garlic sauce
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 2" chunks (leaves and larger stem removed)

Dash cayenne pepper
Fresh ground black pepper
2 green onions, sliced thin (for garnish)

In a large soup pot, heat sesame oil over medium- high heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until tender.  Add dried chiles and red pepper flakes and continue to saute for one minute.  Add soy sauce, vinegars, and brown sugar and stir to combine.  Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

When broth is boiling, whisk in peanut butter and chile garlic sauce.  Place cauliflower chunks into boiling broth, then reduce heat to medium low.  Cover and allow to cook for 30-40 minutes, until cauliflower is soft.

Use an immersion blender to puree cauliflower mixture, or alternatively you may spoon batches into a food processor, puree, then return to soup pot.  When mixture is entirely pureed with no chunks remaining, add cayenne pepper and fresh ground black pepper to taste.  Reduce heat to low and allow to heat through for additional 10 minutes.

Serve garnished with chopped green onions.

Nutrition Info per ~1 1/2 cup serving: 128 calories, 5 g fat, 10 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

80--- Huevos Rancheros Tacos

*Note: my friend Angie made these for her beautiful family this week and noted that couple things were off.  After one sleepless night, I figured out that my tomato paste measurement was off! It is corrected now (as of Thursday morning, January 19th).... that's what I get for converting weights to measurements in my head! I am not perfect, sorry for any headache this may have caused you!!
Huevos Rancheros is not just for breakfast!!

Eggs can be a great source of nutrition. They contain choline, which may help prevent memory loss and lutein, great for eyesight!  An egg does have quite a bit of cholesterol, 212 mg of cholesterol, mostly found in the yolk.  However, the yolk is the also a great source of essential amino acids.

When it comes down to it, an egg a day is okay, especially if you are cutting back on saturated fats in other places.


Huevos Rancheros Tacos
Serves 8

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste, reduced sodium preferred
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp hot sauce or to taste

8 flour, wheat, or corn tortillas
8 eggs
4 cups baby spinach leaves, stemmed
1 cup salsa of your choice

For beans, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet.  Add onion, red pepper, and garlic.  Saute for 3 minutes, then whisk in tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and hot sauce.  Heat through for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add black beans, cover and heat for additional 5 minutes.  Note: beans will be very thick in order to stay in your taco. If you desire a thinner consistency, add a bit of water.

Heat a separate nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Cook eggs over easy (over hard if desired), and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon 1/4 cup beans into a tortilla, then add one egg and 2 Tbsp salsa and a 1/2 cup of baby spinach leaves.

Nutrition Info per 1 taco: 240 calories, 6.5 g fat, 12.5 g protein, 32 g protein, 4 g fiber

Sunday, January 15, 2012

80--- Quinoa Breakfast Bars

Quinoa is a fantastic way to start your day! Full of fiber and protein, this grain will keep you feeling satisfied and give you a slow release of energy until lunchtime!

These bars are a quick way to make sure that you get some breakfast in!! Your kids will love them too!  Kind of like a muffin......kind of like a cookie. 

Quinoa Breakfast Bars
Makes 6 bars (easily doubled)

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup dried cranberries or blueberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray an 8x8" baking dish with cooking spray. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  In another bowl, use a hand mixer to combine applesauce, sugars, molasses, egg and vanilla.  Slowly add flour mixture, mixing as you add.  Fold in quinoa, oats, cranberries and almonds.  Pour mixture into baking dish.

Bake for 10-14 minuts, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Cut bars into six even slices and serve.

Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Info per one bar: 180 calories, 4.5 g fat, 5.5 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Friday, January 13, 2012

80--- Grapefruit Endive Salad

Grapefruit is in season and it is so delicious right now! These tangy fruits are full of vitamin C, lycopene, and other antioxidants.  They have some of the highest antioxidant properties of any fruit!  Grapefruit have the highest antioxidant content when fully ripened-- so get yours now!

There are several drugs which have interactions with grapefruit juice, so check with your dietitian, physician or pharmacist if you are taking medications.

Grapefruit Endive Salad
Serves 4

2 large red grapefruit, peel and rind removed (cut away), then cut into thin slices
2 small heads Belgium endive, sliced (use slices of leaves, not core)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted in a nonstick pan over medium high heat
1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp walnut oil
1 1/2 tsp fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles

Combine grapefruit slices, endive slices, toasted walnuts in a serving bowl.  Add walnut oil, mint, and champagne vinegar to a small jar, cover and shake to combine.  Drizzle dressing over grapefruit mixure and toss to coat.  Garnish with crumbled gorgonzola.

Nutrition Info per ~1/2 cup salad: 190 calories, 11 g fat (3 g monounsaturated, 7 g polyunsaturated), 7 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

20--- Mexican Chorizo Strata

I love love love stratas! Who wants to wake up in the morning and prepare a big meal? Wouldn't you rather chill on the sofa after a nice run with a cup of coffee and your Boston Terrier? I would.  Make it the night before, toss it in the oven that morning and presto chango: breakfast or brunch is served.

This Mexican-style strata uses tortilla chips in place of the typical bread cubes.  Fantastic.

Mexican Chorizo Strata
Serves 12

1 tsp olive oil
1 lb chorizo sausage
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 red chile, seeded and finely minced
4 oz diced green chiles
8 eggs
1/3 cup milk
3 cups corn tortilla chips
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and saute until softened, ~ 3 minutes.  Add crumbled chorizo sausage and saute until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk.  Add all spices, then fold in diced red and green chiles and half of shredded cheese.

In a 9 x 13" baking dish prepared with baking spray, lay out corn tortilla chips in bottom of dish.  Top with half of chorizo mixture, then half of egg mixture.  Repeat layering with chorizo and egg mixtures, then top with remaining shredded cheese, chopped tomato, and cilantro.

Cover and place strata into refrigerator overnight.

When ready to cook, remove strata for 30 minutes prior to baking to bring to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 55-65 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.  Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Monday, January 9, 2012

80--- Lentil Raviolis with Roasted Mushrooms & Fennel

When I first tried these I thought "I would have paid top dollar for these at a restaurant and been completely satisfied with my purchase." 

They feel so decadent!  But the truth is they are so easy and healthy!  If you have ever NEEDED to make something from my blog, this is it.  Hands down.  Do it now.

Lentil Raviolis with Roasted Mushrooms & Fennel
Serves 4

1/4 cup lentils (you choose type)
8 1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
6 baby portobello mushrooms, washed, stemmed and sliced
1 tsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp dried basil
32 wonton wrappers

In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup broth to a boil.  Add lentils and reduce heat to a simmer.  Continue to cook for ~60 minutes, or until lentils are soft and majority of broth is absorbed.  Add lentils to a food processor.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add fennel seeds. garlic and red onion and saute for ~4 minutes until onion is softened.  Add sliced mushrooms and vinegar.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for additional 5 minutes or until mushrooms are softened.  Add dried basil, salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and add mixture to lentils in food processor.  Blend until a puree is formed, scraping down edges to mix evenly if needed.

Lay out wonton wrappers on a clean surface.  Use a pastry brush to brush each wrapper lightly with water.  Spoon ~1 Tbsp of lentil mixture onto half of the wrappers.  Top each with another wrapper, press gently to remove air, then fold bottom edge over top edge and press edges with a fork to seal.  Set aside and repeat with remaining wrappers (I only moisten 8 wrappers at a time to save space).

Bring remaining 8 cups of broth to a boil in a large stock pot.  When ready to cook raviolis, drop four at a time into broth and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining raviolis.

2 fennel bulbs, sliced into strips
3 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced
15 baby portobello mushrooms, stemmed and halved
2 tsp olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss all ingredients in a 9x13" pan and bake for 30 minutes, until fennel is softened with golden brown edges.

Remove from oven.

Follow directions as listed

To assemble: place 4 raviolis on a plate, spoon almost alfredo sauce over and top with roasted fennel and mushrooms. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish.

Nutrition Info per 4 raviolis, sauce, and roasted mushrooms and fennel: 340 calories, 8.5 g fat, 12 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber

Saturday, January 7, 2012

80--- Roasted Vegetable Wrap with Oven-Fried Spinach and Caramelized Onion Hummus

Oven-frying the spinach makes it crispy and delectable.  Have you ever had deep-fried spinach? Confession: it's my favorite vegetable.  But I do not own a deep-fat fryer (shocker, right?) and oven-frying it saved us a few calories.  And this hummus? Put it on everything.
Roasted Vegetable Wrap with Oven-Fried Spinach and Caramelized Onion Hummus

Makes ~2 cups
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 small white onion, sliced thin
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Fresh ground black pepper

In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil.  Add sliced onion and saute until softened, ~5 minutes.  Add vinegar and brown sugar and stir to combine with onions.  Continue to heat until vinegar is reduced, ~ 5-7 minutes.  Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper and set aside.
Place onion mixture, chickpeas, garlic, salt, tahini and lemon juice into a food processor.  Mix until a smooth puree is formed.  Spoon into a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.

1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4" thick strips
1/2 red pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin strips
2 cups baby spinach leaves, stemmed
1/2 tsp fennel
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Olive oil spray
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine spices in a small bowl.  Spray a baking sheet lightly with olive oil spray.  Lay sliced zucchini, red pepper, and red onion on prepared sheet.  Sprinkle with seasoning mixture.  Place in oven on lower rack and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping vegetables halfway through cooking.
On additional prepared baking sheet (with olive oil spray), lay out baby spinach leaves.  Spray lightly with olive oil spray and sprinkle with sea salt.  Place sheet into oven  on upper rack when vegetables have ~15 minutes left to cook.  Watch closely so that spinach leaves do not burn.  Remove from oven when crisp.

Makes 2 wraps
2 large wheat tortillas
1/2 cup caramelized onion hummus
Roasted vegetables & oven-fried spinach

Lay out tortillas on a flat surface.  Spread 1/4 cup hummus evenly on each.  Layer zucchini, pepper, and onion strips in middle of each tortilla.  Top with oven-fried spinach.  Fold over tortilla edges, fold up bottom side toward center, then fold over top side (folding burrito-style).  Cut in half and serve.

Nutrition Info per 1 wrap: 243 calories, 4.6 g fat, 42 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 9 g fiber

Thursday, January 5, 2012

80--- Tortilla Pizzas

If you are familiar with my Grilled Taco Pizza or Sandy Special Flatbread Pizzas, this is not a new concept for you.  Putting pizza toppings onto a tortilla (or flatbread), then baking them in the oven (or grilling them) until the "crust" is crisp.  It is one of my "I had to work late and have NO time to make dinner" meals that happens occasionally.  You can make them really healthy, or not so healthy.

This recipe is a revised version of my Sandy Special pizza, named for my sister-in-law, who owns a pizza joint in Cali.  This is her creation.  And it's fantastic.

Tortilla Pizza (Sandy Style)
Serves 4

(4) 10" flour tortillas
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/3 cups quartered artichoke hearts (patted dry if canned), separated into smaller pieces
1 1/3 cups baby spinach leaves, stemmed
1 cup sliced onions
1 cup white beans, drained and rinsed well
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup jalapeno slices, chopped (optional)
Seasoning salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degress.

Heat 1 tsp in a skillet over medium heat.  Add sliced onions and saute until soft, ~5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

On each tortilla, spread 1/2 tsp olive oil.  Sprinkle 1/2 tsp minced garlic onto each tortilla, then spread white beans, artichoke pieces, spinach leaves, sauteed onions, cheeses and jalapenos (if desired) evenly onto tortillas.

Place in oven, directly on middle rack, and bake for 10-14 minutes, or until tortilla is crispy.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for ~2 minutes prior to cutting into quarters and serving.

Nutrition Info per 1 pizza: 381 calories, 9 g fat, 26 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 13 g fiber

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

80--- Easy Roasted Roots

I've made roasted root vegetables before.  I will make them again.  And again.  For this batch I used all of the "leftovers" from my garden-- you know, the roots that get forgotten about until the ground freezes and then you say "Crud!  I need to dig those up!"

Root vegetables have wonderful nutrient values, they can be stored for a very long time, and they often cost less than other vegetables.  Slowly baking them creates a fantastic sweet flavor.  If you plan on roasting other vegetables with your roots, such as asparagus or broccoli, add them about halfway through cooking.

Easy Roasted Roots
Serves 4

2 cups carrots, sliced into circles or sticks, ~1/2" thick
2 cups beets (I used baby beets), sliced into circles or chunks, 1/2" thick
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp vegetable seasoning
1/4 cup fresh herbs of choice (I used Italian parsley), chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss carrots and beets (and/or other roots of your choice such as parsnips) with olive oil.  Place onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with vegetable seasoning.  Bake for ~40 minutes or until tender (but not mushy).

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to serving.  Garnish with herbs and enjoy!

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 98 calories, 3.4 g fat, 2 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber