Monday, August 30, 2010

2 Fishy Recipes to try

Here are two yummy fish recipes that I think you and your family will enjoy. They are filled with flavor and are just plain delicious! I included two yummy side dishes to accompany them. Feel free to pair the side dishes with a favorite main course of your own. Click on the title of each meal to view the recipe. Enjoy!

Paprika Salmon on a Bed of Wilted Spinach and Rice Pilaf

Salmon is a favorite food item that makes it on our meal plan almost every week. It is super easy to cook, can be made so many different ways and really absorbs the flavor of whatever spices you put on it. Salmon is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, and research shows it is good for heart function, inflammation, depression, arthritis, and pregnant women. This yummy recipe brings out the flavors of smoked paprika, orange peel and cinnamon topped with a hint of brown sugar. Serve with Rice Pilaf and grilled zucchini slices. Delish!

*got this recipe from a a McCormick advertisement in a magazine.

Salmon Recipe
Serves: 8 Prep: 40 minutes Baking Time:  15 minutes

1/4 cup orange juice
2 TB plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
2 tsp thyme, dried or 2 TB fresh
2 lbs salmon fillets
1 TB brown sugar
1 TB smoked paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp orange peel, grated
1/2 tsp salt
10 oz spinach leaves

1. Mix orange juice, 2 TB oil and 1 tsp thyme in a small bowl. Place salmon in a large ziplock bag or glass dish. Add marinade. Coat well. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
2. Mix sugar, smoked paprika, cinnamon, orange peel, salt and remaining 1 tsp thyme in a small bowl. Remove salmon from marinade.Rub mixture all over salmon.
3. Either preheat oven to 400*F or prepare BBQ grill to medium-high heat. Cook salmon 10-15 minutes in oven or 7 minutes on each side in BBQ until fish flakes easily with fork. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook Spinach for 2 minutes or until wilted. Serve with salmon. 

Rice Pilaf Recipe
Serves: 6 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking Time:  40 minutes

 1 cup brown rice 
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tsp oil 
1/2 small zucchini, cut into fourths
1/2 carrot, chopped 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper

3. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables have softened. Add rice, water/broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for approximately 40 minutes until water/broth has evaporated.


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Marinate fish ahead of time. 
~Make rub mixture ahead of time and store in fridge until ready to use.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Try this marinade and rub mixture with chicken, pork or tofu.
~Add some nutmeg or powdered ginger to give it a little extra spice.
~Instead of orange juice and zest, try lemon juice and zest.

Prosciutto Wrapped Cod with Roatsed Parmesan Potatoes and Zucchini

Whenever I cook anything with prosciutto, I always think of Fancy Nancy. My daughter is really into this series of books about a girl named Nancy who LOVES anything that looks or sounds fancy. I can just imagine her saying "Ooo-La-La" to a meal that has prosciutto in it.
When you are short on time, cooking white fish for dinner is the way to go! 8 minutes and you are DONE. Plus, this menu has minimal ingredients, so you should have a meal for 4 that cost you under $10. Serve with Roasted Zucchini and Potatoes that are baked to perfection with a crunchy exterior and soft on the inside.

*this cod recipe came from Ellie Krieger's cookbook. Find it here Prosciutto Wrapped Cod
* the potato recipe came from Giada De Larentiis. Find it here Broield Zucchini and Potatoes with Parmesan Crust

Cod Recipe
Serves: 4 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking Time:  8 minutes

4 cod fish fillets (5 oz each)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 oz sliced prosciutto
cooking spray

1.Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Wrap 1 wide or 2 thin pieces of prosciutto around each cod. Spray with cooking spray. Preheat non stick skillet to medium-high heat.
2.Add the fish fillets and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with potatoes and zucchini.

Parmesan Potatoes and Zucchini Recipe
Serves: 4 Prep: 15 minutes Cooking Time:  30 minutes

 4 small new potatoes (red or white or both)
2 TB butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small zucchini, cut into fourths
1/2 carrot, chopped 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Bring water to boil over high heat in a medium sized pot. Add potatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain, cool, cut them in half. 
2. Place a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add butter, garlic, thyme and rosemary and let cook until butter melts, 2 minutes. Season cut sides of zucchini and potatoes with salt and pepper. Carefully place zucchini and potatoes cut side down in the melted butter. Let them cook until golden brown, 12-15 minutes. 
3. Preheat broiler. Line baking sheet with foil. Place browned zucchini and potatoes cut side up on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with parmesan. Leave under broiler for 4 minutes. Transfer to plate.


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Boil potatoes ahead of time, refrigerate.
~Cut zucchini ahead of time and keep in fridge.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Wrap the fish in a couple slices of bacon instead of prosciutto.
~Use different veggies like asparagus, bell peppers, or broccoli.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2 Quinoa Recipes = 1 Quinoa Cook-Off

About a month ago, my husband Travis e-mailed me that his work was having a Quinoa Cook-off and they were accepting entries, two dishes could be made per household.  The staff would be taste testing all the entries, and would vote on a winner.
Boy, was I excited! Quinoa is one of my all-time favorite grains, and I had a TON of recipes. Only problem? I had a hard time picking just two. So, the weekend before the cook-off, I made four different quinoa meals and our family did a taste test. We got to vote on which two would make it to the grand finale.These two salads were our favorites. 
The day of the contest, I made a gigantic batch of each one, and brought them to my husbands work. It was really fun sitting there, watching each one of the employees come into the cafeteria and taste all the different dishes (there were 7 entries total). 
Later in the day, Travis e-mailed me with the results. The Summery Corn Quinoa Salad won! The Black-Bean Quinoa salad came in fourth. Not bad! Here are the recipes for both. Enjoy!

Black-Bean Quinoa Salad Recipe
Serves: 4 Prep: 20 minutes Cooking Time:  15 minutes

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 TB olive oil
4 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2-3 TB cilantro, chopped finely
2 TB scallions, white parts only, chopped finely
2 tsp jalapeno peppers, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups black beans (or 1 15oz can)
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1 cup bell peppers, diced (to make it a multi-colored dish, get 1 orange and 1 yellow)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse Quinoa well. Place carefully in sauce pan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
2. In a small bowl combine olive oil through jalapeno peppers. Mix well.  
3. In a large bowl add black beans through bell peppers. Add cooled quinoa. Mix well. Add scallion dressing. Mix well so all of salad is coated. Serve with tortilla chips.

Click on this link for: Summery Corn Quinoa Salad

Monday, August 16, 2010

Peaches are in Season: 4 Fun Recipes

We had a great crop this year from our backyard peach tree. Every day for several weeks, it became a tradition for the kids and I to go outside with our baskets/buckets and pick the ripe ones off the tree. It was fun trying to find new things to make with them, new recipes to taste and new family favorites.

Pork Chops with Peach BBQ Sauce on a Bed of Apricot Couscous

Growing up in Germany, we ate a lot of pork. It's a staple there, and so it was fairly inexpensive to buy. Peaches on the other hand, were something imported and we didn't eat a lot of them because they were too expensive. Moving to our house in California, I was excited to find a peach tree in our backyard that had a wonderful crop that produced each year. This recipe was a fun one to try because it was Germany's staple combined with Calfornia's plentiful fruit.
Don't care for pork? The peach sauce will go well over BBQ salmon or chicken as well.  Hope you enjoy this recipe!

*this recipe was a Eating Well recipe. Find the original recipe here: Peach BBQ Pork Chops

Pork Chops Recipe
Serves: 4 Prep: 40 minutes Cooking Time:  35 minutes

1/4 cup plus 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups boiling water
3 cups ice cubes
4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops, trimmed
2 ripe but firm peaches, pitted and quartered (or 3 cups frozen sliced peaches)
1 tomato, quartered and seeded
2 TB cider vinegar
1 TB canola oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped finely
2 TB honey
1/4 tsp ground pepper

1. Place 1/4 cup salt and brown sugar in medium bowl (heat proof). Pour boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add ice cubes and stir to cool. Add pork chops, cover with plastic wrap, and keep in refrigerator for 30 minutes. (it said in the recipe to keep pork in refrigerator no longer than 4 hours, but that turned out way too salty for me, so I would keep it to 30 minutes). Remove chops from brine, rinse well and dry with paper towels. Season chops with 1/4 tsp pepper and brush both sides with some of reserved sauce. Set aside until ready to use.
2. Puree peaches, tomato and vinegar in food processor until smooth. 
3. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add ginger and cook for another 2 minutes. Add peach puree, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, honey and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of sauce to baste chops, keep remaining sauce warm in saucepan until ready to serve. 
4. Preheat grill to medium. Grill pork chops 2-4 minutes on each side. Serve with warm peach sauce and apricot couscous.

Click on this link for: Apricot Couscous Recipe
The only change I made to this recipe is I added dried cranberries.

Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~make BBQ sauce ahead of time and keep in fridge until time of use.

~cook couscous ahead of time, and reheat when ready to use.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Switch out peaches for nectarines.
~Replace couscous with brown rice or quinoa. 
~For lunch the next day, cut up leftover pork chops, and toss into couscous salad with some beans.
~Try orange marmalade instead of apricot.
~Skip the brining of the pork, and just BBQ it right away.
~Use garlic instead of ginger for the pork.

Peaches & Cream Muffins

One of our favorite snacks at the Rhodes house are muffins. They are great for breakfast, or an afternoon snack. These are filled with fiber, fruit and a yummy cream cheese filling. Try them out! I think you would really like them. We sure did!

*got this recipe from a website called SHEKNOWS FOOD & RECIPES. Check out the original recipe here: Peaches & Cream Muffins

Muffin Recipe
Serves: 12 Prep: 15 minutes Baking Time:  20-25 minutes

1 cup flour (I used half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
2/3 cup plus 1 TB firmly packed brown sugar ( I used 2/3 cup agave syrup and 1 TB brown sugar)
1/3 cup oat bran
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese
1 cup, peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
1 cup low fat milk
3 TB canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, reserving 1 TB brown sugar. Mix well.  
3. Stir together cream cheese and reserved 1 TB brown sugar in a small bowl. Fold in 1/4 cup peaches.
4. In another small bowl combine milk, oil, vanilla and egg. Add to dry ingredients, mixing just until moist. 
5. Lightly stir in remaining peaches and walnuts. Fill muffin cups with batter half way. Place 1 tsp cream cheese on top. Place rest of batter on top of cream cheese filling, about 1-2 TB in each muffin cup. 
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean in center.


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Chop and toast walnuts.

~Mix batter together without peaches, and keep in fridge until time of use.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Switch out peaches for nectarines.
~Add some nutmeg or powdered ginger to give it a little spice.
~Instead of adding walnuts to batter, make a streusel with brown sugar and walnuts and sprinkle on top before baking.
~Try wheat bran instead of oat bran. 

Chunky Peach Popsicles

Want to find the perfect summertime treat? Cool off with these homemade peachy popsicles that will delight parents and kids alike. They are filled with chunky fresh peaches, juicy lemons/oranges and a splash of vanilla.  

Peach & Blueberry Cobbler

I have fond memories of mom's blueberry cobbler. The smell drifting through the house was delightful, and it was hard to be patient when waiting for it to cool down.
This version is a bit healthier with not as much fat and whole wheat flour replacing all-purpose. Also, instead of the traditional biscuit-topped cobbler, this one has the fruit swirled with the batter to create a beautiful presentation. You can put your cast-iron pan to use by baking this cobbler in it to create a nice crispy edge. Serve with a tall glass of milk or vanilla ice cream scooped on top.

*got this recipe from Eating Well. Check out the original recipe here: Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

Cobbler Recipe
Serves: 10 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking Time:  1 hour

3 TB butter
3 TB canola oil
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup sugar (can also replace with agave or maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla
3 peaches, ripe but firm (1 lb) sliced into eighths, or 3 1/2
cups frozen
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

1. Preheat oven to 350* F. 
2. Place butter and oil in a 12 inch cast iron  or 9x13 baking pan. Heat in oven until melted 5-7 minutes. 
3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix milk, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Stir milk mixture into dry mixture. Combine well. 
4. Add melted butter mixture to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into hot pan. Spoon peaches and blueberries over batter evenly. 
5. Return the pan to oven, baking 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven, cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm.


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Mix batter ahead of time without fruit and butter, and leave in fridge until time of use.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Switch out peaches for nectarines.
~Add some cinnamon and/or nutmeg to the mixture. 
~Instead of blueberries try blackberries or raspberries. 
~Leave out 1/4 cup flour and add 1/4 flaxseed meal.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lemony BBQ Chicken with Roasted Peaches and Greek Salad

Hurray! Peach season has come. We have this lonely peach tree in our backyard that is leaning on our back fence and looks like it is about to topple over, but for the last four years it has produced a great harvest. We actually have to fight over them with the squirrels.  Every morning, I've been going out to see which ones are ripe, and picking them right away, because I have this fear that the squirrels will get all the best, most succulent peaches and leave the scrawny, icky ones for us earthlings.
One early afternoon, the kids and I were having a picnic in our back yard, when we see this squirrel tight roping our fence and about to topple over because he has this HUMONGOUS peach hanging out of his mouth. That was one determined squirrel, let me tell you! We got quite a laugh out of that!
This lemon chicken is superb. You leave the seasoning paste on it for 1 hour prior to grilling, and then stick it on the BBQ and lickety's done! Not a ton of ingredients to fuss over, just tons of flavor to enjoy!

*This recipe is from the latest Rachel Ray magazine in her meal planning guide. You can also find the recipe on her website here Grilled Lemon Chicken with Greek Salad

Chicken & Greek Salad Recipe
Serves: 4 Prep: 15 minutes Grill Time:  20 minutes 

 4 cloves of garlic (divided 3 whole in chicken, 1 in salad minced)
1 lemon, zested (grated peel) and juiced (juice divided)
2 TB olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 chicken breasts, skin on and bone-in (you will be taking the skin off)
1 TB balsamic vinegar
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (I used goat chevre)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups salad greens or spinach
 pitted kalamata olives (optional)

sliced cucumber (optional)

1. Using a food processor, puree 3 garlic cloves, lemon peel, 1 tsp juice, and salt to taste. Set aside. 
2. Remove chicken skin, baste lemon paste on to chicken, put in refrigerator for 1 hour.
3. Preheat grill to medium. Drizzle 1 TB of olive oil on to chicken. Season with salt and pepper. 
4. Arrange chicken on to grill, and cook for 15-20 minutes total, making sure to flip half way through. Transfer to work surface. Drizzle with the rest of the lemon juice, and let sit for 10 minutes, covered. 
5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 2 tsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove and season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, cheese, onion and greens. Toss to coat. Serve with chicken and grilled peaches.

Roasted Peaches Recipe

Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Grate and juice lemon and keep in fridge.
~Skin chicken ahead of time.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Try orange juice and orange peel instead of lemon.
~Instead of garlic try grated ginger, use 1 TB. 
~Use this lemon mixture on pork chops or salmon.


Breakfast: Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Healthy breakfast bars? Yes, please! These are super yummy. We always seem to have bananas that are turning brown, so I'm constantly looking up new recipes that include ripened bananas so they won't go to waste. These are soft and chewy in the middle, and kind of crisp on the outside. If you like them firmer, just stick them in the fridge overnight and they will harden up. If you like them soft, eat 10 minutes after they come out of the oven...if you can wait that long! 

Breakfast Bars Recipe
Serves: 2 dozen Prep: 20 minutes Cooking Time:  25 minutes

1 1/2 (7.5oz/210g) cups unbleached white flour (I've done half whole wheat, half white which turned out good as well)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup soft butter or margarine
3/4 (180 ml) cup agave syrup, honey or maple syrup (or 1 cup of brown sugar)
1 egg
3 medium bananas, mashed
1 tsp vinilla
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, raisins, or dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425*F. Spray cooking spray and sprinkle flour into a 13x9 metal baking pan. Sift together first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Beat together butter, syrup or sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Add bananas and vanilla and beat until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture and oats until well combined. Stir in nuts, etc. 
3. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tomato-Bean topped Polenta Circles with Lime-Buttered Corn

Here's another great way to use up those garden fresh tomatoes growing in your garden. Ours usually don't last very long, since we like to just pick them off the vine and eat them right away. 
This meal came about when I needed to clean out my fridge, and had 1 cup of pinto beans needing to be used. Ever have those mother cubbard days? I wanted to make a meal with the items pictured below, and this is what I came up with. It was YUM too! We used to eat polenta ALL the time, and actually avoided it for a time being because of it's frequent use. Hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did!

Polenta Recipe
Serves: 4 Prep: 5 minutes Cooking Time:  30 minutes
2-3 TB olive oil
8 slices of polenta, cut into circles (1" thick)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup pinto and/or kidney beans (1/2 15oz can)
1/2 cup salsa, I used peach-mango salsa
1/2 cup your favorite cheese (we used gruyere)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Turn on BBQ to medium high.
2. Brush olive oil on to both sides of polenta circles. Place on BBQ, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, that has been sprayed with cooking spray, add tomatoes, beans and salsa. Cook for 5 minutes until tomatoes are soft but not falling apart. Season with salt and pepper. 
 Pour into a medium sized bowl. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel.
3.With the same skillet over medium heat add polenta slices. Carefully place tomato bean mixture on top of each polenta circle. Sprinkle each one with cheese.  Cover with lid and cook for 3-5 minutes until cheese has melted.

Lime-Buttered Corn Recipe 

4 ears of corn, keep husks on (we used 2 ears since that's all we had, I just cut it into thirds after cooking it)
2 TB butter, unsalted and melted
1 lime, zested
1/4 tsp salt
(see Change it Up below if you like a little spice)

1. Heat BBQ to medium-high heat. Place corn on the BBQ keeping husks on. Cook for 10-15 minutes until corn is softer and husks have darkened. 
2. Microwave butter in a small bowl until it has melted, about 30 sec-1 minute. Add lime zest and salt. Pour over warmed corn and serve with polenta.


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~BBQ corn ahead of time, then just reheat in microwave when ready to serve.

~Cut polenta circles ahead of time, and keep refrigerated.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Instead of tomatoes, try red bell pepper.
~Replace your favorite beans in the recipe.  
~Use cooked quinoa instead or in addition to beans 
~Add ground meat, and leave out the beans
~Sprinkle 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder to lime-butter concoction


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