Sunday, January 31, 2010

Miso Soup and Edamame

I've grown to love sushi. Back when I was living in the midwest, I never really had a hankering to try it. Of course, I didn't really know anything about it, but my thoughts ran along the line of, "Raw fish? People eat it? And enjoy it? Okay, keep on keepin' on, crazies."

In any case, that changed when we visited some sushi-loving friends in Toronto. They convinced us to try a bento box, a combination of salad, rice, teriyaki chicken, and a few California rolls. It was then I discovered I LOVE rolls. I still can't quite get myself to like sashimi, but I guess you can't win them all.

A sushi dinner is not complete without a helping of delicious miso soup and edamame. I need something warm to eat at dinner to really feel full, and edamame is a healthy and filling appetizer. I like to make this combination for lunch.

Fun fact: in Japan, miso soup and white rice are a traditional breakfast!

If you're going to make miso soup, though, you absolutely need two things: miso paste and dashi granules. I've never found these at my regular supermarket. I'm fortunate enough to live close to several Asian markets, which I would highly suggest visiting! Not only can you get the ingredients you need, but I just love strolling down the aisles and checking out the different Asian fare.

I prefer to use "firm" tofu, instead of silken tofu.

Yummy salted seaweed. Miso soup is salty enough, so I rinsed the seaweed and chopped it up.

Edamame is fun to eat. You lightly bite down on the pod until the beans squeeze out in your mouth, and then discard the pod. I've always purchased frozen packages, and then boiled the beans for 5-6 minutes. Let cool and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Miso soup can easily be altered to your taste. I've seen other recipes that had shiitake mushrooms, or used vegetable or chicken broth. Before I found this recipe, I used to eat a pre-made version that had udon noodles in it.

Miso Soup and Edamame

Source: All Recipes

2 teaspoons dashi granules
4 cups water
3 tablespoons miso paste
1 (8 ounce) package silken tofu, diced
2 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine dashi granules and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk in the miso paste. Stir in tofu. Separate the layers of the green onions, and add them to the soup. Simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

To make the edamame:

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil (6 for an entire package). Add 1/4 to 1/2 salt if desired. Add edamame and cook for 5-6 minutes. Drain and allow to cool. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Black-Bean Enchilada Casserole

Source: Cooking Light

I kept hearing about this recipe, so I finally caved in and made it. It was very tasty and easy! I was a little scared chopping up the jalapeno pepper that it would be too spicy, but I found it to be just enough spice for us. Instead of red enchilada sauce, I used medium-spiced green verdes enchilada sauce. It's essential that corn tortillas are used - flour tortillas will get soggy. This was quick, healthy, and I love that we have some leftovers, too!

Black-Bean Enchilada Casserole

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 cup cooked brown basmati rice or long-grain rice
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (19-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
Cooking spray
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine 1/2 cup cheese, rice, and the next 7 ingredients (rice through jalapeño) in a large bowl. Spread 1/4 cup enchilada sauce in bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Heat remaining enchilada sauce in a skillet for 2 minutes or until warm, and remove from heat. Dredge both sides of 6 tortillas in warm enchilada sauce, and arrange tortillas, overlapping, over sauce in baking dish. Top with 1 3/4 cups bean mixture. Dredge both sides of remaining tortillas in warm enchilada sauce, and arrange tortillas, overlapping, over bean mixture. Top with the remaining bean mixture, remaining enchilada sauce, and 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until bubbly.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lighten Up (Gruyere, Arugula and Prosciutto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Carmelized Shallot Sauce)

One of my goals this year has been to eat healthier. Now, I've never met a recipe with a stick of butter or a cup of heavy cream that didn't make me go weak in the knees. But it's pretty easy to have delicious food when you're only cooking with fatty ingredients. So I'm branching out this year. I am now in possession of the Cooking Light Complete Cookbook and The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. I'm enjoying going through these books, particularly the Ellie Krieger one. She has a very healthy approach to eating, as well as some very tasty looking recipes. Expect to see quite a few here in the future!

This recipe, from the previously mentioned Cooking Light cookbook, caught my eye. Maybe it's because it's quite possibly the longest recipe name I've ever encountered. Maybe it's because I have an undying love for Gruyere cheese. Whatever the case might be, this was my first recipe from my new cookbook!

The recipe suggested stuffing the chicken in advance. I did the morning I made this for dinner, and it worked out perfectly. It breaks up the recipe and makes the rest of the recipe that much easier.

Now for the verdict: I was blown away by how amazing this was, and how low in fat, too! The combination of gruyere, arugula and prosciutto was delicious, and the sauce added that little something extra. We both devoured this! I can't wait to make it again!

I bought an entire bag of arugula, so I used the rest by tossing the extra with diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add some fresh-grated Parmesan cheese and homemade croutons and you have a gourmet meal!

I don't have a large nonstick pan, so I just used my stainless steel All Clad. I think it turned out a little tastier because I was able to scrape up the brown bits from the chicken when I added the wine into the pan. Yum! I would put this in my top 5 chicken recipes!

Gruyere, Arulua, and Prosciutto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Carmelized Shallot Sauce

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes

6 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 (1/2 ounce) slices prosciutto
6 (1/2 ounce) slices Gruyere cheese
1 1/2 cups trimmed arugula
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
Carmelized Shallot Sauce:
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 cups dry white wine
2 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. To prepare chicken, place each breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Discard plastic wrap. Top each half with 1 slice prosciutto, 1 slice cheese, and 1/4 cup arugula, leave a 1/4-inch border around edges. Fold in half, pinching edges together to seal, sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Chicken can be prepared up to a day ahead, and refrigerated).

3. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook 5 minutes on each side. Place chicken in shallow baking pan, bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until done. Turn off oven and leave in until sauce is ready.

4. To prepare sauce, add shallots to skillet and saute 4 minutes over medium-high heat or until browned. Add tomato paste, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 6 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes.

5. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stir with a fork or whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to sauce and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove chicken breasts from oven and plate them; top with at least 1/4 cup sauce. Enjoy!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Source: Tasty Kitchen

I love appetizers. Sometimes I'll order a few appetizers in lieu of an entree. A few years ago, my favorite meal was the 3 For All at Friday's, with the potstickers, mozzarella sticks, and potato skins. Yum. I will take any excuse to make an appetizer, and being that I was hosting a gathering yesterday, these fit the bill!

I cannot think of an easier recipe to make. I bought frozen turkey meatballs. In the future, I'll look for smaller meatballs so there are more servings (plus smaller food is cuter!!!), but in any case, this will take you all of 5 minutes to put together. Once the meatballs had been cooked through, I put them in my crockpot on low to keep them warm. Delicious!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs


1 pound Frozen, Pre-made Meatballs
½ cups Onion, Chopped
¾ jars Heinz Chili Sauce
⅓ cups Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch, Whisked Into 1/2 Cup Water
Ground Black Pepper
2-½ Tablespoons Rice Vinegar Or Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

1. Mix all ingredients and let simmer over medium-low heat until onions are soft and meatballs are cooked through.

(If these are too zingy and not sweet enough for you, try adding a little pineapple juice or ketchup to the sauce.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

Source: The Pioneer Woman

I used to HAAAAATE mushrooms. That may be because my exposure to them was either raw, or on top of pizza. Ew. I have come to love mushrooms now. I think of them as little flavor sponges, soaking up the flavor of any recipe they're in. Yum!

Stuffed mushrooms are even more fun! These were a snap to prepare. I made these in a glass baking dish, and some of the juices from the mushrooms collected on the bottom while in the oven - I may try baking on a cookie pan or something similar next time to see if the juices cook off. Additionally, I broiled for a few minutes to crisp up the tops. These were delicious, and I'll be making them again!

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

1 package White Button Mushrooms, Washed And Stems Removed
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped
4 whole (to 5) Green Onions, Sliced (up To Middle Of Dark Green Part)
Splash Of White Wine (optional)
1 slice (wedge) Of Brie Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt butter in large saucepan. Add mushroom caps and toss to coat in butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook for 1 minute. Remove mushrooms from pan and place upside down in a baking dish.

3. In the same saucepan (without cleaning it) throw in garlic, parsley, and green onions. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and splash in wine, if using. Stir around until wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

4. Cut rind off of brie wedge, then cut pieces of brie to fit each mushroom cap. Place inside, lightly pressing to anchor each piece of brie.

5. Top mushrooms with parsley/garlic mixture.

6. Place into the oven for 15 minutes, or until brie is melted. Broil for a few minutes if desired. Mushrooms are best when allowed to cool slightly.