3 quarts water
2 1/2 cups uncooked penne
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
3 ounces smoked turkey sausage, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (**NOTE: I could not find any, so I used 2 1/2 hot turkey sausages. I removed the casings and sauteed them into crumbles, along with the onion and red pepper in the second step.)
1/2 cup (2 oz) pre-shredded, reduced-fat four cheese Mexican blend cheese (such as Sargento)
1. Bring water to a rolling boil. Add pasta; cook 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain; keep warm.
2. Place a large nonstick skillet covered with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic (and sausage, if applicable as I noted above); saute 5 minutes. Add Cajun seasonings; saute 1 minute. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and sausage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until thickened.
3. Combine bean mixture and pasta in a large bowl, and top with cheese. Serve immediately.
Yield: 8 servings (1 cup per serving)
Calories: 221, Fat: 5.3g, Carbs: 32.4g, Protein: 9.8g
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 meat, 1/2 fat
When I saw "Lemon-Ginger Fried Chicken" in August's Cooking Light, I knew I had to cook it. Chicken, in general, is not scary. I was not intimidated by this recipe, even though it had a long list of instructions. I planned to make it on a weeknight, but then read the instructions more closely and found it takes at least 3 1/2 hours to put together. So, I made it today. I started at 2:30 in the afternoon, and was not eating until 7:45. Sadly, I am not kidding.
Lemon-Ginger Fried Chicken
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
- 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
- 2 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
- 2 chicken drumsticks, skinned
- 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
1. Place rind, juice, and next 5 ingredients (through drumsticks) in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and shake to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.
2. Sift together flour and next 3 ingredients (through red pepper). Place flour mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Remove chicken from marinade bag, reserving marinade. Sprinkle salt and black pepper evenly over chicken. Add chicken, one piece at a time, to flour mixture; seal bag and shake to coat chicken. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour mixture. Reserve remaining flour mixture. Place chicken on a wire rack; place rack in a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate 1 1/2 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°.
4. Return chicken, one piece at a time, to flour mixture; seal bag and shake to coat chicken. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour mixture. Discard remaining flour mixture.
5. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes or until golden, turning once. Arrange chicken in single layer in a shallow roasting pan. Discard remaining oil in pan. Combine broth and reserved marinade in a small bowl; pour broth mixture into pan. Sprinkle chicken evenly with sugar, and top with lemon slices. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until golden and a thermometer registers 165°.
Yield: 4 servings (1 breast half, or 1 thigh and a drumstick)
Calories: 375, Fat: 15.5g, Carbs: 30.5, Protein: 30.8
Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 1/2 meat, 1 1/2 fat
The final verdict: I enjoyed the final product (it was, true to it's name, very lemon-gingery in flavor), but I was not overwhelmed by it. Is it too much to ask to be completely bowled over by something that took you 5 hours to make? I think not. I have made better 'fried' chicken (also healthy), that was crispier and only took a fraction of the time. I will share that all with you another time.
Something I've learned about working in university administration is that you get a lot of free food. Greg (the fiance), of course, is very happy about this. "It's like getting paid extra!" he said to me the first day I brought excess food home to him. Agreed.
So, today it was Panera. I didn't want just sandwiches for dinner, but I didn't have much in the way of side dishes. I found a great recipe that required me only purchasing a few ingredients--and yes, it's because I keep my spice rack varied and well-stocked.
Moroccan Chickpea Chili comes from Cooking Light. I think it's the best kind of recipe--cheap, easy, fast to prepare, filling, and kinda spicy (it's a nose-clearer-out-er).
Moroccan Chickpea Chili
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (I ended up adding a bit more--it needed it, in my opinion)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
2 (15.5oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2. Stir in cumin and next 7 ingredients (through red pepper); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add 1 1/2 cups water, tomato paste, chickpeas, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
4. Stir in cilantro and juice. Serve hot.
Yield: 4 servings (1 1/2 cups)
Calories: 215, Fat: 5.5g, Carbs: 36.3g, Protein: 7.7g
Exchanges: 1 1/2 carb, 1 1/2 meat, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat
My childhood household was big on meat and starches. We primarily ate ground beef in our dinners, occasionally chicken, and I was very content in my meaty little box. That is, until my friend Emily's mother made marinara sauce with tofu and served it to me for dinner. I still remember that night (which is weird--who would've thought tofu would make such a huge impression?). I was hooked. I rallied for my parents to do something similar, but it took years for that to happen (but it did happen--Mom started to make a tofu stir fry that was very tasty).
Years later, I moved in with the very same Emily. She never ate beef growing up, occasionally poultry, but mostly she ate a vegetarian diet. Needless to say, I was concerned. I had very few meals that I knew how to make without meat. That was the dawn of a new era....the era of my finding out that it's much cheaper to cook without meat! Yes, vegetarianism is the way to go when you're a penniless college kid.
And so, this was one of the recipes I made during this period of semi-vegetarianism. As far as I can tell, I got it off of Allrecipes.com. You can absolutely NOT tell that it has tofu in it. It's gooey and delicious and packed with that all-important, iron-rich vegetable: Spinach! Plus tofu, for protein. It is not a low-fat recipe, but that owes mostly to the fact that neither the cheese nor the tofu is low-fat. I'm sure you can make low-fat substitutions for both, and it would still turn out great.
Eggless Tofu-Spinach Quiche
8 oz. package tofu (12 oz is ok, too)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup diced onion
2/3 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded swiss
9" unbaked frozen pie crust, thawed
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Process tofu and milk in a blender or food processor, until smooth. Blend in salt and pepper.
3. In a bowl, mix spinach, garlic, onion, cheeses, and tofu mixture. Mix well and pour into pie crust.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until set, and golden-brown.
5. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.
- Serves 6
-Calories: 285, Fat: 18.7g, Carbs: 18.2g, Protein: 12.5g
-Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 meat, 3 1/2 fats, 1/2 vegetable
Moderation is what this blog is all about. Eat healthy most of the time, but splurge when there's something you really want. When I worked as a weight loss consultant, I told my clients that eating one 'bad' thing will not affect their weight. It's a factual and comforting thought, isn't it?
So, with that in mind, let's move to yesterday's creation: Crusty Rye Bread, courtesy of Cooking Light. It was a cold and dreary day here in Urbana-Champaign. In other words, it was bread bakin' weather.
Crusty Rye Bread
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
2/3 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
1/2 cup rye flour - medium
1/4 cup bread flour
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup rye flour - medium
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons bread flour
1. To prepare sponge, dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon 1/2 cup rye flour and 1/4 cup bread flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add these flours to the yeast mixture, stirring with a whisk. Cover and let stand in a warm place (about 85 degrees--my oven top gets really warm when the oven is on, so I placed it there), free from drafts, for 2 hours.
2. To prepare bread, lightly spoon 2 cups bread flour and 1/2 cup rye flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add these flours, 1/2 cup water, caraway seeds, and salt to sponge; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add 2 tablespoons bread flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.
4. Shape dough into a round loaf; place loaf on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
5. Preheat oven to 425.
6. Uncover and pierce loaf 1-inch deep in several places with a wooden pick. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or until loaf is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Let stand 20 minutes before slicing.
Yield: 12 servings
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 131 (5% from fat), Carb: 26.7g, Protein: 4.3g, Fat: 0.7g
Exchange: 1 1/2 starch servings
This was awesome bread! It is, as the name says, incredibly crusty bread. I got a little worried, because it was difficult to serrate my way through the crust. But inside, the bread was moist, dense without being too heavy, and lightly flavored! I would suggest adding more caraway seeds if you like more rye-flavor (which I will remember for the future).