Tag Archives: Recipe

Grilled Caesar Salad

I know what you’re thinking.  The first time I read the name of this recipe, I thought they forgot the ‘chicken’ too.  But there’s no mistake.  The recipe I’ll be sharing with you today is for a delicious Grilled Caesar Salad — courtesy of the folks at Taste & Technique.  It couldn’t be any simpler and it’s super-tasty.  Let me know if you try this and what you think.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 6):

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  •  1 large garlic clove cut in half
  • 6 oil packed anchovies
  • 3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water (or more, if needed to thin vinaigrette)
  • 3 hearts of Romaine lettuce
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, add garlic, anchovies, grated cheese, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, lemon, and pepper.  Process until fully blended and then scrape down the sides of the processor.
  2. With machine on, slowly add olive oil.  If vinaigrette is too thick, add a small amount of water.  Transfer to a bowl with a pastry brush.
  3. Adjust oven rack to top shelf and preheat boiler. 
  4. Trim ends of Romaine hearts leaving the core intact. Cut in half lengthwise and place on baking sheet cut side up. 
  5. Brush dressing over the lettuce making sure that it goes between the leaves.  Sprinkle pine nuts on top. 
  6. Set sheet pan on top shelf in the oven and cook for 4 – 6 minutes.  The lettuce will start to wilt and brown lightly.  
  7. Remove promptly from oven and sprinkle the Parmesan shavings on top. Serve warm.

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M’s Perfectly Brewed Iced Tea

After the lasagna debacle, I decided I’d share something simple, healthy, and delicious. 

Recently, M decided that he was going to give up soda.  I’m sure those of you that know him recognize that this is a very wise decision — he definitely doesn’t need any more sugar.  As for me, I’ve started counting calories as a weight loss method (in addition to exercise) and I realized how many I was wasting on beverages.  So, we were both motivated to find a healthy, and tasty, low calorie drink that was not as boring as water.  This is what we (mostly M) came up with. 

M’s Perfectly Brewed Iced Tea

 
Ingredients:
Serves 8

      • 4 Tea Bags
      • 2 Tsp sugar*
      • 2 Cups Cold Water (for concentrate)
      • 1 1/2 Cups Cold Water (to dilute)
      • 1/2 lemon
      • 2 Cups Ice

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups of cold water to a boil.  
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar and allow to dissolve. 
  3. Remove from heat and steep 4 tea bags for 20 minutes.  
  4. In a pitcher, mix concentrate, the rest of the water and the ice cubes. Stir until ice cubes have melted (at this point, entire mixture should be cold enough to serve.)
  5. Squeeze half a lemon into the pitcher.  
  6. Pour into a glass over ice and garnish with a lemon. 

*Although this iced tea is not completely calorie free it’s only 6 calories per serving. 

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Lasagna is a Weekend Food!

Last Thursday I was done with work relatively early.  Early enough in fact, that I thought it would be the perfect time to try out Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Lasagna recipe.  A recipe that my mom endorsed.  Given that her lasagna is to-die-for, I thought I’d give it a try.  Don’t let the ‘Easy’ difficulty level fool you though — this dish is no joke. 

So, at 5:30pm I began with the sauce — which had quite a long list of ingredients, mostly herbs.  These herbs were supposed to be processed but since I don’t have a food processor, I chopped them as finely as I could with my trusty Wusthof chef’s knife.  (Note to self: Register for food processor!)  I browned the meat, added the veggies, herbs, and tomatoes and let it simmer for a little bit.  Then I mixed up the filling ingredients.  Finally, after all that, I put big pot of water on the stove to boil.  I’m not sure exactly how, but by the time I did this, it was already 8pm and M was starting to parade around the kitchen with his hunger face.  At the rate I was going, the lasagna wasn’t going to be finished until at least 9:30.  So, as much as I hated to do so, I made an executive decision and ordered a pizza pie.  As much as I wanted to conquer lasagna, I didn’t want to starve my fiance in the process.  I decided I’d finish the lasagna but then freeze it until sometime this week.  So, while it came out exceptional-looking, I still haven’t tasted it.  Although, if it tastes how it smells, it will definitely be worth the wait.

So, what’s the lesson learned here folks? Lasagna is a ‘weekend food.’  Only make it when you have several hours to burn — and even then, only when you have a food processor because mincing veggies and herbs by hand is quite time consuming.  I think M & I are eating it tomorrow night.  I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Update:  After all of that work, I hate to report that I was ‘eh’ about the lasagna.  I suppose I should have read the reviews on the recipe site and left out the cinnamon – it was really overwhelming.  And even aside from that, the sauce wasn’t all that tasty (next time, I’m definitely sticking to my parents’ meat sauce recipe.)  I should also mention that the measurements in Tyler’s recipe are not precise at all.  All you really need is one box of lasagna noodles — I had to throw away an entire second box because I followed the recipe.  So unfortunately, I have to declare this recipe a failure.  (Sorry Tyler, I usually love your work.)

At some point in the future, I’ll try to make lasagna again.  Hopefully, the next time, it will be a success. 

If you’re still interested, here is Tyler’s Ultimate Lasagna Recipe:

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: —
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min <– lie
Level: Easy <– lie
Serves: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pound dried lasagna noodles <– 1 box is plenty
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon <– skip it!
  • 2 quarts ricotta cheese, (2 containers)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Grated Parmesan and mozzarella, for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook the lasagna noodles in plenty of boiling salted water until pliable and barely tender, about 10 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Drain the noodles thoroughly and coat with olive oil to keep them moist and easy to work with.
  3. Coat a large skillet with olive oil, add beef and sausage and brown until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a food processor, combine the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, parsley, an oregano. Process until pureed, add to the pan with the ground meat and stir to combine. Stir in the flour. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes and add the heavy cream and the cinnamon.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta and the parmesan. Stir in the eggs and season with salt and pepper.
  5. To assemble the lasagna: Coat the bottom of a deep 13 by 9-inch pan with olive oil. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise in a slightly overlapping layer on the sauce. Then, line each end of the pan with a lasagna noodle. This forms a collar that holds in the corners. Dollop 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta, spread to the edges with a spatula. Spread 1/2 of the meat mixture over the ricotta. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta. Top with a ladle full of sauce, spread evenly. Repeat with the next layer of noodles, ricotta, sauce, and cheeses. Top last layer with noodles, sauce, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. Tap the pan to force out air bubbles. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven. Let lasagna rest for 30 minutes so the noodles will settle and cut easily. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

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Conquering Breakfast

If you take a close look at my meal planning template, you’ll notice how truly pathetic our breakfast meals are.  Although they’re actually very good, the ThinkThin bars that I came to depend on for my morning sustenance, are also the furthest thing from natural.  Unfortunately, they’re super convenient and so they became my go-to morning meal.  Well today, I came across a yummier, healthier and cheaper alternative – Egg Muffins.  (This is where I give a huge shout out to Kalyn’s Kitchen because she has some of the best and healthiest recipes with very thorough explanations and illustrations.)

After dinner tonight I spent about an extra hour in the kitchen making breakfast for the rest of the week.  I modified Kalyn’s recipe just a bit considering what I had on hand: I skipped the Spike Seasoning, used regular shredded cheese instead of lowfat (1 cup), and added some diced red peppers.  Now, I have 6 servings of Egg Muffins (at 260 calories per serving) in the fridge packed up and ready to go in the mornings.

Although my egg muffins aren’t as pretty as Kalyn’s they are quite tasty and I can’t wait to gobble them up tomorrow morning before a hectic day at work.

Here’s the modified recipe I used based on the one from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Egg Muffins (Revisited Again)
(Makes 12 muffins, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from The South Beach Diet book.)

15 eggs for silicone muffin pans
1-2 cups grated cheese
3 green onions diced small.
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers

Preheat oven to 375 F. Use regular or silicone muffin pan, 12 muffin size. If using silicone pan, spray with nonstick spray. If using regular muffin pan, put two paper liners into each slot, then spray liner with nonstick spray.

In the bottom of the muffin cups layer diced meat, if using, vegetables, if using, cheese and green onions. You want the muffin cups to be about 2/3 full, with just enough room to pour a little egg around the other ingredients. Break eggs into large measuring bowl with pour spout, add Spike, and beat well.  Pour egg into each muffin cup until it is 3/4 full. I like to stir slightly with a fork. Bake 25-35 minutes until muffins have risen and are slightly browned and set.

Muffins will keep at least a week in the refrigerator without freezing. Egg muffins can be frozen and reheated. For best results, thaw in refrigerator before reheating. Microwave on high about 2 minutes to reheat.

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Fish Novice

Growing up, we hardly ever ate fish.  The funny thing is, my parents liked it and I liked it, but my sister was horrified by the smell and would complain so much when they cooked it, that they eventually stopped making it altogether.  As a result, I was actually really nervous about cooking it last night.  Even more so when I unwrapped the salmon and the smell hit me like a ton of bricks — it was not pleasant.  After donning a pair of makeshift freezer bag gloves (note to self, buy latex gloves), I got started on this recipe I found on allrecipes.com — Healthier Grilled Salmon I — which was really easy and quick.  I made 3 minor changes – I used raw cane sugar instead of brown because that’s what I had, I used Lite Soy Sauce, and I used Polamers Ready to Use Chopped Garlic instead of mincing a clove.  I grilled it on my new All-Clad Double Burner Grill from Williams Sonoma (my new favorite kitchen item) and believe it or not — the smell was not an issue.  I plated it up with a bit of brown rice and much to mine and M’s surprise, it was actually pretty good. 

Here is my modified version of this recipe.  Let me know if you try it out and what you think:

Healthier Grilled Salmon I

INGREDIENTS: 
  • 1-1/2 lbs. salmon fillets
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Polamers Ready to Use chopped Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Lite Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Raw Cane Sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a 13 X 9-inch glass dish, stir together lemon juice and zest, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and olive oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish flesh side down in mixture and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill for medium heat.
  3. Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. 

Enjoy!

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