Monthly Archives: July 2011

Ratatouille

This is my most favorite meal ever.  I make it when I cook a red meat dish for my family.  My husband calls it glorified spaghetti sauce and doesn’t touch it…more for me I say!  I usually have it with a fresh crusty bun. This recipe was taken from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen.


Ratatouille
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic
2 cups chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 medium eggplant (7 to 8 inches long; 4 to 5 inch diameter), cubed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp marjoram or oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1 medium (6 to 7 inch) zucchini, cubed
2 medium bell peppers, in strips
fresh black pepper
1 14 1/2 oz can tomatoes

1. Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven.  Add garlic, onion, and bay leaf, and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
2. Add eggplant, salt, and herbs, and stir.  Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is soft.
3. Add zucchini, bell peppers, black pepper, and tomatoes. (Break the tomatoes into smaller pieces with a spoon).  Cover and simmer for about 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini and bell peppers are tender.
4. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature – plain, or topped with parsley and/or olives.

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Grilled Vegetarian Pizza

This is my favorite pizza.  It takes some work to make but it is well worth it.  The recipe asks to cut the dough in 8 pieces, i just make 2 pizzas on the BBQ. You would think the dough would fall through the grates of the BBQ, but it doesn’t.  The crust turns out perfect every time.  I highly recommend that you make this pizza with the basil drizzle, but I have made it without and the pizza is still good.  I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough attachment to make the crust.  This recipe was taken from The Best of HeartSmart Cooking by Bonnie Stern.



Grilled Vegetarian Pizza
CRUST
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 envelope dry yeast (1 Tbsp)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided


TOPPING
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Cherry tomato sauce (see recipe below)
4 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced


1. To prepare crust, in a large bowl, combine warm water and sugar .  Sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 10 minutes, or until yeast bubbles up.
2. Stir in all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, salt and 1 tbsp oil.  (This can be done by hand or in a food processor.)  If necessary, add more all-purpose flour until dough is still very soft but does not stick to your fingers or counter.
3.  Knead dough for 5 to 8 minutes, form into a ball and place in a large bowl with remaining 1 tbsp oil.  Roll dough in oil,  cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in volume.
4. Meanwhile, to prepare topping, in a food processor, puree basil, oil and salt.
5. Punch dough down and cut into 8 pieces.  Roll out or stretch each piece of dough until very thin (about 6 inches/15 cm in diameter.) Do not worry if pieces are oddly shaped.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray or brush with a little olive oil.
6. Place dough on a hot grill and grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side.  Reduce heat to low.
7. Top pizzas with tomato sauce and mozzarella, close lid and cook for about 5 minutes, or until cheese bubbles and crust is crispy on bottom (check occasionally to make sure bottom is not browning too much.)  You can also transfer grilled dough to a baking sheet, add toppings and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 10 minutes.
8. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tsp basil oil.  (Freeze any remaining basil oil.)

CHERRY TOMATO SAUCE
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Add 4 chopped cloves garlic and a pinch of pepper flakes and cook gently for a few minutes until fragrant. Add 4 cups whole cherry tomatoes, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 2 tbsp shredded fresh basil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until tomatoes split and deflate and sauce becomes somewhat thick.  If pan becomes dry, add 1/4 cup water.  Makes 3 cups




Spinach, Tomato, Chicken and Hummus Wrap

This is another one of my 10 ten favorite meals.  You can make this ahead of time. Cover with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge until dinner time.  My husband doesn’t like feta, so I make his with mozzarella or havarti cheese.  I also just barbeque the chicken instead of sauteing it.  This recipe was taken from The Complete Light Kitchen by Rose Reisman.







8oz skinless boneless chicken breast
1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/3 cup sliced red or sweet onion
1/3 cup low-fat feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup diced black olives
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2/3 cup hummus
4 large whole wheat tortillas (or flavor of your choice)
1 cup baby spinach leaves


1. Working with one at a time, pound the chicken breasts to an even 1/2 inch thickness between two sheets of waxed paper.
2. Spray a non-stick grill pan with cooking oil and saute the chicken for approximately 8 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center.  Slice into thin strips
3. Stir the green and red pepper, onion, feta, tomatoes, olives, oil, basil and garlic together in a large bowl.
4. Spread the hummus over the entire surface of the tortillas.  Place the vegetable mixture over the hummus.  Scatter the spinach leaves overtop and add the chicken.  Roll the bottom of each tortilla up and over the filling, fold in both sides, and continue to roll up tightly.  Cut each roll in half before serving.  


  

Beef or Chicken Lo Mein

This recipe is so easy and super yummy.  It is taken from the cookbook Cooking with WOW!  This recipe is taken from the restaurant Hu’s on First.



Beef or Chicken Lo Mein
2 Tbsp sesame oil
12 oz sliced beef or chicken
1 small red onion, chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 tsp chopped ginger
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp water
1 lb fresh, cooked egg noodles
Lo mein sauce (see recipe below)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water


Lo Mein Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
In a bowl, combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and chicken stock.  Set aside.


1. In a wok, over high heat, add sesame oil, then add meat, cook until brown.  Remove meat from wok and set aside.  Add vegetables, ginger and garlic to hot wok for 1-2 minutes, add water to steam broccoli.  Cook out water.  Add meat and sauce to wok, bring to a boil, then add noodles.  In a bowl, combine cornstarch and water to create a slurry, add to boiling sauce 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve desired thickness.  

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
 
!. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds.  Add brown sugar, sugar, and baking soda.  Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 375 F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. 

Kung Pao Chicken

This is another one of my favorite recipes.  It’s easy to make and super yummy. This recipe was taken from Food & Wine Magazine’s Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook.  Instead of peanuts you can always use cashews. I don’t stir-fry them like the recipe calls for as I just add them chopped up on top.



1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup peanuts
4 scallions, white bulbs and green tops cut separately into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes 


1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sherry, and the 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, water, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sherry, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
3. In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat.  Add the peanuts and stir-fry until light brown, about 30 seconds.  Remove from the pan.  Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Add the white part of the scallions and the red-pepper flakes to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the soy-sauce mixture and the scallion tops and simmer until the chicken is just done, about 1 minute longer.  Stir in the peanuts.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I have tried many banana chocolate chip muffin recipes and this one is by far my favorite.  I tried adding more chocolate chips into this recipe but only failed as the muffin did not rise.  These are great snack option for the kids.  This recipe is taken from The Complete Light Kitchen by Rose Reisman. (In my picture below it looks like the bottoms of my muffins are burnt. They aren’t..I’m just a bad photographer!  The cooking time of 15 minutes makes perfectly browned muffins)



Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
3/4 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt (or low fat sour cream)
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

!. Preheat oven to 375F.  Spray 12 muffin cups with vegetable oil.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat together bananas, sugar, oil, egg and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until well mixed.
3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir the banana and flour mixture together.  Stir in the yogurt.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups and bake in centre of oven for 15 minutes and a tester inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.  Turn out and serve immediately. 

Minestrone Soup

This is a quick and easy soup to make.  In the picture I didn’t add the zucchini like I usually do as the grocery store didn’t have it that day.  This recipe is taken from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen.



Minestrone Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt
1 stalk celery, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 tsp oregano
fresh black pepper to taste
1 tsp basil
1 medium bell pepper, diced
3 to 4 cups (or more) water
1 14 1/2-oz can tomato puree (approx. 2 cups)
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked pea beans, chick peas, or kidney beans
1/2 to 1 cup dry pasta (any shape)
Parmesan cheese


1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven.  Add onion, garlic, and 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add celery, carrot, oregano, black pepper, and basil.  Cover and cook over very low heat about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add bell pepper, zucchini, water, and tomato puree.  Cover and simmer about 15 minutes.  Add beans and simmer another 5 minutes.
3. Bring the soup to a gentle boil.  Add pasta, stir, and cook until the pasta is tender.  Serve right away topped with Parmesan cheese.



Lime-Grilled Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa

This is a family favorite!  The recipe was taken from the August 2010 edition of Canadian Living magazine.  I use 2 avocados instead of one and 4 tomatoes instead of 2, as the salsa is in high demand! 

 
 
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup (75ml) lime juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp (5ml) salt
1/4 tsp (1ml) pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped
Half red onion, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp (15ml) red wine vinegar
1 avocado
 
Cut chicken breasts in half to create 8 pieces.  Pound each to even thickness.
In glass bowl, combine 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the lime juice, 3 tbsp(45ml) of the cilantro, 2 tbsp(30ml) of the olive oil, garlic and half each of the salt and pepper.  Add chicken, tossing to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeno peppers, vinegar and remaining lime juice, cilantro, oil, salt and pepper.  Peel and cut avocado into large dice; gently toss with salsa, without breaking up.  Set aside.
 
Place chicken on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill until no longer pink inside, about 3 minutes per side.  Serve with salsa. 
 
 
 

Ginger Cookies

When I visit my friends who have kids.  I often bring this cookie with me since it’s always a hit.

This recipe makes a lot of cookies so I often have my kids help me make them. They love rolling the uncooked balls into the sugar.

Picture 2028

This recipe was taken from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.

 



4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cups sugar


!. In a small bowl stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on low speed for 30-seconds.  Add the 2 cups sugar.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in eggs and molasses until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour mixture.
2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar.  Place 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake in a 350F oven for 8 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are slightly browned and the tops are puffed(do not overbake).  Cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minute.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.  Makes about 120 cookies.