Peanut-Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Pretty easy. Goes well with red wine steamed vegetables. 

Via Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
Cooking spray
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Preparation

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl, tossing well.

2. Combine peanuts and bread slice in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over chicken. Dredge chicken in the breadcrumb mixture.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Serve chicken with pineapple mixture. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet and 1/4 cup salsa)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 219(30% from fat); FAT 7.4g (sat 1.1g,mono 3.4g,poly 2.1g); PROTEIN 28.9g; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 27mg; SODIUM 398mg; FIBER 1.3g; IRON 1.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 9.1g

Simple Sausage and Spinach Soup

This was very quick to make, very tasty, and was pairs excellently with a bold white wine.  We served with some bruscetta and baguettes.  Four stars!

Sausage and spinach soup

Fresh herbs are added after the soup cooks so they'll retain their bright color and flavor. You can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for each tablespoon fresh, but add them with the tomatoes. Serve with a toasted baguette.

Ingredients

10 ounce sweet turkey Italian sausage
 Cooking spray
1 cup prechopped onion
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can organic stewed tomatoes, undrained (such as Muir Glen)
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons grated fresh Romano cheese

Preparation

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and 2 teaspoons garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese.

A Parting Gift for Microsofties: Free Mocha

I realized that there were so many blog entries I hadn't written about life at Microsoft. Of all the posts I had in mind I think this has to be the most important since it has to do with free caffine.  We all know that Microsoft has those swanky iCup machines from starbucks, but did you know you can make yourself a really good mocha as well as drip coffee?

Step One: Make a short "left side" coffee

Step Two: Make a short cocoa… I bet you know where this is going now.

Step Three: Combine cocoa and coffee to desired level of mocha-ness. I prefer to pour about 50% of the cocoa into the coffee since I like my mocha's less sweet. 

And that's my parting gift to anyone at Microsoft who hasn't discovered this delicacy.

 

Stovetop Sausage Mac and Cheese

I've made this simple recipe a few times now since I spotted it in Cooking Light.  It's one of those where you question the "light-ness", but you really don't need a larger serving since it's very filling. 

The one change I'd recommend to the recipe below is using hot or spicy Italian sausage instead of the sun-dried tomato sausages.  It gives this recipe a bit more of a kick.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

4 ounces chicken and sun-dried tomato sausage (such as Gerhard's), chopped
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (about 1 1/3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
5 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

Heat a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Combine milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in cheeses, onion powder, and garlic salt; cook 3 minutes or until cheeses melt, stirring constantly. Stir in pasta. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 433(29% from fat); FAT 13.9g (sat 7.8g,mono 3.8g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 23.6g; CHOLESTEROL 56mg; CALCIUM 340mg; SODIUM 538mg; FIBER 2.7g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 53.1g

Southern Cornbread with Molasses-Bourbon Butter

Last weekend we made this recipe for corn bread and the accompanying butter spread to go with stew.  The corn bread recipe itself seemed a little pedestrian so we kicked it up a notch and made more of a Mexican corn bread by adding real corn kernels and diced jalapeno peppers.  I'd give the bread 3 of 5 stars.

The butter, on the other hand, was a great touch.  The reviews on cooking light are correct that the molasses-bourbon combo can be a bit overpowering, but using a little less than what's called for and giving it a day or so to gel together made a big difference.  4 out of 5 for the spread.

From Cooking Light

 

2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fat-free buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
5 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
2 teaspoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon bourbon
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 425°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and egg; stir just until combined.

Place an 8-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes, and remove from oven. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons butter to pan; swirl to melt and lightly grease pan. Stir melted butter into batter. Add batter to preheated pan. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Slice into 8 wedges.

Combine remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, molasses, bourbon, and rind in a small bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined (about 1 minute). Serve butter with warm corn bread.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 corn bread wedge and about 1 teaspoon butter)

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 231(30% from fat); FAT 7.8g (sat 4.7g,mono 2.1g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 5.4g; CHOLESTEROL 46mg; CALCIUM 118mg; SODIUM 349mg; FIBER 1g; IRON 1.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.5g

Sea Scallops in Chanpagne Sauce

Last week Gret and I made the Scallops in Champagne Sauce.  We served a simple salad on the side.  Make sure your skillet is hot enough to brown each side of the scallop so you get the proper texture when making this.  This one gets a 4 out of five. The sauce was great.

 

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 4 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1/2 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. Add scallops to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add mushrooms and shallots to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken. Stir in Champagne, mustard, salt, and tarragon, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Serve with scallops.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 4 ounces scallops and 3 tablespoons sauce)
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 238(33% from fat); FAT 8.6g (sat 2g,mono 3.9g,poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 30.3g; CHOLESTEROL 64mg; CALCIUM 76mg; SODIUM 534mg; FIBER 0.4g; IRON 1.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 8.1g

Quick Vodka Chicken Cream Pasta

Got this from the Rachael Ray 30-minute meal book.  The basic recipe is simple and easy, almost too easy. So I'd recommend adding some chicken or sausage chunks. Gret and I have also learned that (out of necessity) raspberry vodka will work as well. 🙂

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn

Crusty bread, for passing

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

Easy Fig and Blue Cheese Pork Tenderloin Roll

For Christmas Gretchen got me a subscription to cooking light magazine to help inspire some fun meals. Our goal is to pick two recipes each month to try out.  Last night we gave this one a try. I agree with the 5 of 5 star user ratings. 


This was totally easy. Slice open tenderloin roll, pound down to a roll-able thickness, wrap up dried figs and blue cheese crumbles, and cook for 25 minutes.  You get four servings of 274 calories each.  We served with a simple salad and wild rice on the side with a sangiovesi.


1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 cup dried figs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 Cooking spray
1 tablespoon apple jelly, melted


Preheat oven to 450°.
Slice the pork in half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Open the halves, laying pork flat. Place pork between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle figs and blue cheese over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch margin around outside edges. Roll up the pork, jelly-roll fashion, starting with long side. Secure at 2-inch intervals with twine. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper, and place on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.


Bake at 450° for 20 minutes. Brush jelly over the pork. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Let stand for 10 minutes. Discard twine; cut pork into 12 (1-inch-thick) slices.


Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 slices)