Friday, May 18, 2012

Veggie Inspired

The bodega by my house is having a great sale on produce this week. I woke up Monday morning craving nutritious food so it was great timing. Here are a couple things I made this week with my bounty of produce.

Baked Herb'd Chicken with Spinach and Roasted Pepper with Veggie Quinoa

I baked the chicken that I had seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper while roasting the red peppers. Once they were cooked I peeled the chard skin from the pepper, topped it with a handful of spinach, topped with chicken, some crumbled feta and a few pieces of diced pepper. 

The qunioa was made by sauteing thinly sliced onions, adding quinoa and then chicken broth and cooking though. Near the end of cooking I added a bunch of spinach cut chiffonade and let it wilt and cook down. Near the end of that I added some carrot that I had shredded. It was a new way to cook the quinoa, but it is so universal you can do anything with it. 2 thumbs up from me and DH as well.

Stuffed Mushrooms

I haven't made stuffed shrooms in ages. I used to make them all the time but with diet changes and life changes, I had abandoned my old friend. DH loves mushrooms and so do I but I knew it was time to re-make theses boys when an old friend of mine said "I used to have a friend who used to make me stuffed mushrooms." I knew they must be missed and it was time to reinvent them to fit out dietary style. The old recipe had a block of cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese and ground meat as well.

For this recipe I cleaned the mushrooms, removed and trimmed the stems and chopped them. I sauteed some finely chopped onion with the chopped stems until cooked down. I added my favorite herbs and a pinch of nutmeg and then added diced red pepper and some spinach cut chiffonade and melted a tablespoon of low-fat, lower calorie butter and a couple tablespoons of panko and parm cheese. Remarkably, they were full of flavor. For a little richness I added 2 teaspoons of light sour cream. I cooled the filling and cooked the mushroom caps in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes each side to release some of the water. Then I stuffed them, sprinkled with a tiny bit more panko and baked for about 15 more minutes. They were out of this world! Welcome back stuffed mushrooms to our lives :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Union Grill Inspired

My favorite restaurant in town is the Union Grill. I usually order the same thing when we dine there. It's their Caprese salad. Red tomatoes, red onions, fresh mozzarella on a bed of pesto drizzled with a balsamic reduction and served with fresh baked foccaia bread. My mouth is watering as I describe it. DH had the great idea to model a pizza we made at home after it. It was amazing and delicious.

Pizza Dough
Thinly sliced red onions, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella
Shredded mozzarella
Balsamic vinegar

I made pesto while DH rolled out the dough for the pizza. Once the dough is rolled out, you coat with pesto. 

Sprinkle a small amount of shredded mozzarella over the pesto. Then layer the tomatoes.

DH used a mandolin to cut everything thin. Just a tip: freeze the cheese for awhile before cutting. It makes an easier task of it.

Layer onions and cheese on pizza.

Top with a few more onions and bake. Ours baked at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Once the pizza is cooked, drizzle with balsamic reduction. The reduction is made by boiling down balsamic vinegar with a pinch of sugar (or Splenda) until greatly reduced. It will continue to thicken up on cooling.