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A fresh tasting pasta salad with roasted southwestern flavors. Double the dressing to add a bit more flavor. Add chopped cooked chicken or steak for a full meal.

2  poblano peppers
2  red bell peppers
2  ears shucked corn
4  cups  hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
2  cups  halved grape tomatoes
1  cup  finely chopped onion (optional)
1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
1  chopped peeled avocado
3/4  cup  (3 ounces) queso fresco
Dressing:
2-4  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
1-2  tablespoon  extra virgin olive oil
1  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
1  garlic clove, minced

Preheat broiler.

Cut poblano and bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Add corn to baking sheet. Broil 18 minutes or until peppers are blackened and corn is lightly browned, turning corn occasionally. Place peppers in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop. Cut kernels from ears of corn.

Combine juice, oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, and garlic in a large bowl; stir. Add peppers, corn, pasta, and remaining ingredients except cheese; toss. Top with cheese.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup pasta and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese)
Calories: 234 (29% from fat)
Fat: 7.5g (sat 1.6g,mono 4.1g,poly 1g)
Original recipe

I'd never had South African food until a few weeks ago at my cousin's rehearsal dinner at 10 Degrees South in Atlanta. The chicken curry was some of the best I've had, slightly sweet, topped with a bananas, onion, and tomato chutney, and sprinkled with shredded coconut. Looking for something similar, I came across this on Tastespotting. The meatballs are lemony, slightly sweet, and full of curried flavor. They are tender and fall apart rather easily, so add a beaten egg if you want a more traditional meatball texture. The banana relish is good, but needs tomatoes and coconut. I think I would try an apple-based chutney next time.

1 lb good quality ground beef
2 large slices of bread, cubed fairly small
1/2 medium onion grated
1/2-3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
zest and juice of a lemon
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp coriander
chopped cilantro (optional)
1/4 c. dried currants or raisins (optional)
milk
vegetable oil
Soak the bread in milk. When the bread is completely drenched, squeeze out the liquid and mix with all the other ingredients. Form meatballs and fry in vegetable oil until cooked.

Banana-Onion Relish
2 large onions - peeled and sliced thinly
1/2-1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1-2 tsp sugar
vegetable oil
salt/pepper
2-3 bananas - peeled and sliced
Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions with the curry powder and the turmeric. The onions must be soft, but still holds its texture. Add the sugar and the vinegar and let the relish cook until the liquid is all gone. Should take 1-2 minutes. Taste and season. Add the sliced bananas and let it just stand for a while so that the flavors can infuse the bananas. Do not cook the bananas.

Original recipe

Soft, homemade crepes filled with ricotta and topped with tomato sauce take the place of manicotti shells in this rich Italian dish. Suggested additions to the filling: cooked Italian sausage, chopped spinach, sauteed vegetables. Note: making large crepes requires thin batter and a skillful hand, smaller ones are easier to cook and flip.

For the crepes
1 large egg
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup whole milk, more as needed to thin the batter
canola oil, as needed to lightly grease the pan

For the filling
16 ounces ricotta or cottage cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan or locatelli cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Add the pasta ingredients to the bowl of a blender. Blend, adding more milk one teaspoon at a time, until batter is a thin, almost runny consistency. Heat a nonstick 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Brush pan lightly with oil, if needed (see note). Hold pan at an angle, and swirl pan as you pour in enough batter to coat bottom of skillet. Cook 30 to 45 seconds, flip and cook for 15 more seconds. And don't forget, the first one or two might end up being sacrificial until you get the hang of swirling the pan.Transfer to a flat dish or tray. Repeat with remaining batter.

Preheat oven to 350F. Spread ½ cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl; mix well. Lay pasta crepes on a flat surface and spoon an event amount of filling in a long strip down the center of each one. Roll crepes closed, and place seam-side down into the casserole dish. Evenly pour remaining sauce over filled crepes. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese over top and bake 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Original recipe

Hearty Cajun flavored rice dish, with turkey kielbasa, dark meat chicken, olives, peas, green peppers, and onion.

 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
8 ounces turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups long-grain parboiled rice (such as Uncle Ben's)
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup sliced pitted stuffed manzanilla (or green) olives
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp Cajun seasoning

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken pieces; cook 2 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in peas, sliced olives, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add rice mixture; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.

4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
Calories: 428 (24% from fat)
Fat: 11.5g (sat 2.6g,mono 5.4g,poly 2.4g)
Original recipe

Sauteed tofu gets more of a fish style preparation with fresh, tangy Mediterranean flavors: tomatoes, green olives, basil, oregano, bay, and marjoram. Don't skip the pickle juice, it sounds weird, but adds a vinegary tang that makes the whole dish work.

1 14oz package of extra firm tofu.
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
4 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped (or a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes)
2 tablespoons liquid from a jar of sweet pickles
10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 green olives, pitted
Slice the tofu into four slabs and pat dry. Lay them on a plate and cover with the lime juice.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes on medium-low.
Add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes, turn the heat up a little and saute for 15 minutes, stirring often
Add the pickle juice, herbs, salt, and olives, saute for another 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is cooked off.
Remove the bay leaf.
In another pan, melt the butter on medium to medium high heat.
Add the tofu and fry for 3 minutes on each side.
Remove from pan and top with the Veracruz sauce.

Original recipe
These Turkish-style meatballs are uniquely flavored with mint, cumin, and a little cinnamon, served in pitas with tomato and plain yogurt. They can be made from ground lamb, beef, or a combination.

1/2 cup prechopped white onion
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pound lean ground round
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices plum tomato (about 2 tomatoes)
4 (6-inch) pitas, split
1/4 cup plain yogurt
lemon juice
Preheat broiler.

Combine first 12 ingredients in a large bowl; stir until just combined. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions; shape each portion into a (2-inch) patty. Place patties on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 tomato slice and 1 patty in each pita half; top each half with 1 1/2 teaspoons yogurt and lemon juice.

Original recipe


Adding the mixture of white bread and milk to these meatballs makes them tender and moist. Lots of fresh parsley, garlic, and some mild Italian sausage add plenty of flavor. Can be baked or sauteed. Serve with pasta or as sandwiches with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.

1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound ground sirloin
1/4 pound mild Italian sausage
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 large egg white
Spaghetti sauce
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°. Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup cheese, and remaining ingredients (cheese through egg white). Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) meatballs, and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until done. Add meatballs to sauce; cook over low heat 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Original recipe

This chicken dish is highly spiced with coriander, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon, and slightly sweet from a little brown sugar and a lot of chopped dates. Starts out on the stove & finishes in the oven.

Chicken:
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cups shallots or sweet onions, peeled and quartered
1 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
12 whole pitted dates, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Couscous:
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare chicken, combine first 9 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Reserve remaining flour mixture.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on one side. Turn chicken; remove skillet from heat. Combine reserved flour mixture and shallots; add to skillet. Stir in 1/4 cup broth and dates. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until chicken is done.

Remove chicken from skillet. Place skillet over medium heat; stir in 1 cup broth. Cook 1 minute; stir in cilantro. Return chicken to pan. Cover; remove pan from heat.

To prepare couscous, combine 3/4 cup broth, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cumin in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in almonds. Serve with chicken and sauce.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 thighs, 1/4 cup sauce, and 3/4 cup couscous)
Nutritional Information
Calories: 590 (24% from fat)
Fat: 15.9g (sat 3g,mono 7.2g,poly 3.3g)
Original recipe
Quick sauteed Greek chicken in pitas with onion, bell pepper, and lemon yogurt sauce.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper (about 1)
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup grated English cucumber (optional)
1/4 cup 2% Greek-style yogurt (such as Fage)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 (6-inch) whole-wheat soft pitas, cut in half
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper (and oregano). Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until done. Remove from pan.

Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add chicken, garlic, and oregano; cook 30 seconds.

Combine cucumber and next 6 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt). Serve chicken mixture with yogurt sauce, warmed pita, and tomato slices.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup chicken mixture, 1/4 cup sauce, 1 pita, and about 1/4 cup tomatoes)

Nutritional Information
Calories:361
Fat:7.4g (sat 2.3g,mono 3.3g,poly 0.8g)

Original recipe 

Hearty and healthy, this meatless soup is flavored with cumin, chili powder, tumeric, and fresh cilantro.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/3 cups water
2 1/3 cups dried lentils
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
Chopped fresh tomatoes (optional)
Cilantro sprig (optional)
balsamic vinegar (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion; sauté for 3 minutes or until tender. Add the turmeric and the next 6 ingredients (turmeric through garlic); sauté for 1 minute. Add water and next 4 ingredients (water through diced tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 hour.

Optional: Reserve 2 cups lentil mixture. Place half of remaining mixture in blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with other half of remaining mixture. Stir in reserved 2 cups lentil mixture. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and a cilantro sprig, if desired.

Yield: 11 servings. (serving size: 1 cup)
Nutritional Information
Calories:186 (9% from fat)
Fat:1.9g (sat 0.3g,mono 1g,poly 0.4g)
Protein:14.1g

Original recipe

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