Thursday, December 29, 2011

Crustless Breakfast Quiche

My boyfriend and I decided that plane tickets were too expensive and travel was too messy to make the trek home to California for Christmas this year.  We knew it would be hard to be away from our families on such a memorable holiday, so we were sure to have a lot of good food and alcohol to lesson the pain.  On Christmas Eve we went to the famous Willard hotel for overpriced cocktails, then we cruised the National Tree display at the Whitehouse.  On Christmas morning, I popped on some Michael Buble' Christmas music, and prepped this simple quiche while he finished wrapping my presents...typical.  I popped it in the oven before we opened gifts and it was ready to eat just as we finished our first round of mimosas.

2 large turkey sausages (castings removed)
1/2 onion
1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and pepper
1/2 cup frozen spinach (thawed)
1 medium tomato
4 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesean

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray.  On medium heat, saute' sausage, onion and seasonings until done.   In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and the milk.  Add the cooked sausage and onion, then add the sliced tomatoes and thawed, dried spinach.  Pour the entire mixture into the pie pan and sprinkle the cheeses on top.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges and the center is cooked through.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Meaty Garden Lasagna

Believe it or not, I have never made lasagna in my life.  Mostly just because I was always more of a pizza/eggplant parmesan kind of girl.  I decided to give it a shot but wanted to make something that both my boyfriend and I would enjoy.  He likes a lot of meat, I usually opt for a variety of veggies.  So I decided to do a combo of the two.  I kept it healthy by using whole wheat noodles and part skim cheeses.  My boyfriend ate the leftovers for lunch three days in a row... success.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 large yellow onion
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped yellow squash
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 links of sweet Italian lean turkey sausage, castings removed
1 1/2 cups of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup of white wine
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Whole wheat lasagna noodles

Cook lasagna noodles to al dente and run under cold water to cool.  Heat olive oil over high heat and add garlic and onions, saute until soft, then add the rest of the vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper.  Once the vegetables soften, add the turkey sausage and Italian seasoning.  Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and white wine.  Stir and simmer until meat is cooked through.  In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg and Parmesan cheese.  To assemble the lasagna, spray a dish with cooking spray and spread just a little bit of the meaty veggie sauce on the bottom.  Add one layer of noodles, then spread the ricotta cheese mixture on top.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Then pour a generous amount of the meaty veggie sauce on top of the cheese, followed by another layer of noodles, more ricotta mixture, more meaty veggie sauce and sprinkle the remainder of the mozzarella on the very top.  Cover with foil and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Orange Cranberry Walnut Loaf

December has been a fun, social month, full of lots of eating.  Last weekend I went to a ladies brunch with my best girlfriends in the city.  We each brought something to contribute.  Unfortunately, the egg and meat dishes were claimed first, so I decided to bring the carbs.  This loaf of bread, which I made in my bread machine, came out absolutely perfect (that rarely happens).  A nice crispy crust, a light, soft center, a great crunch from the walnuts, and tons of bright citrus flavor.  I found the original recipe on and adapted it slightly for the ingredients I had in my pantry.

1 1/8 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon dry nonfat milk powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Place ingredients in the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. I selected the basic white bread cycle, and 1.5lb loaf.  Press Start.  Add the walnuts and cranberries at the beep.

Friday, December 16, 2011

BBQ Pulled Pork

BBQ Pulled pork sandwiches are one of my absolute favorites.  I love making pulled pork because it's inexpensive, it's easy, and it lasts for days!

There is not much to it...
Pork Shoulder (or Boston Butt)
Bottle of Root beer
Sliced Onion
Your Favorite BBQ Sauce (I like Hickory Smoked Safeway Brand)

Put it all in a crockpot on low and cook for about 7 hours.  Remove and shred with a fork, removing any fat as you go.  Stir in BBQ Sauce.  Serve between two slices of soft white bread or hamburger buns.  Sometimes I also pile it on tortilla chips and make pulled pork nachos, or eat it "as is" with a good old fashion fork!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

No-Butter Chicken

My good friend Alexis hosted a fantastic girls dinner and wine night at her apartment last week. She created a delicious Indian dish inspired by "Butter Chicken", but without all of the butter and the fat. It was spicy, flavorful, and surprisingly quick and simple. Piled on top of warm naan, it made a delightful Winter night meal. I added onto the original recipe by including garbanzo beans (my favorite!), which added a nice balance to the spices.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion chopped
2 tablespoons garlic chopped
2 tablespoons ginger chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup garbanzo beans (from can, rinsed and drained)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
2 pieces of naan (heated in the oven for a few mins)

Heat oil in large skillet, add onion, garlic, and ginger, and saute for about five minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin, brown sugar, garam masala, chile flakes, and salt. Stir everything together until fully combined. Add garbanzo beans and chicken breast cubes. Saute for about 6 minutes, until chicken is about halfway cooked. Add Greek yogurt and water. Simmer for about 6 more minutes. Scoop on top of naan and serve.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pasta with Shrimp, Spinach and Butternut Squash

Made another trip to the Dupont circle farmers market. I went without a recipe, just knew that I wanted to buy a lot of fresh produce, but couldn't buy more than I could carry home. I settled on a butternut squash, spinach, homemade pesto, and apples. I concocted this recipe from nowhere, but it ended up being one of the best dishes I have ever prepared.
*Note: The apples were devoured prior to making the meal below :)

1 medium butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch squares)
1 tablespoon olive oil
About 20 medium uncooked shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (oregano and basil work fine also)
a few hand fulls of spinach
3 cups whole wheat rigatoni pasta
Prepared pesto (I used a spinach pesto I found at the farmers market, but I also have a pesto recipe that would work well)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash with a little olive oil or cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about an hour. After about 45 minutes into roasting the squash, cook the pasta and heat a skillet and olive oil over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add shrimp to hot pan. Add Italian seasoning and sauté until shrimp is almost cooked through (about five minutes). Lower the flame to low and add spinach, toss until the spinach is wilted. Mix shrimp, spinach, and roasted squash to cooked pasta. Stir in several tablespoons of the pesto.