Seasoned Couscous

There were so many fantastic recipes in this month’s Simple and Delicious (Aug/Sept) that I hardly knew where to start.  In search of a quick afternoon snack (yes, snack, I’m weird), I went to this seasoned couscous from page 27.   It’s a good base recipe, though I think next time I’d like to make a few changes (when I do I’ll post it).  This comes in at 185 calories and 3 grams of fat per 1 cup serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pkg. (10 oz) couscous

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan combine everything BUT the couscous.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in the couscous.
  5. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Fluff with a fork.

Printable version.

Quick Roasted Asparagus

One of the best summer veggies is baby asparagus.  That lovely, thin as a pencil variety, tender green and sweet.  Asparagus is one of those foods I thought I hated.  It turned out I just hate how my mom fixes it.  She uses the canned stuff that’s slimy and thick and noxious.  :shudder:  That shouldn’t be considered a food.  And the few times she’s had fresh asparagus she didn’t know you’re supposed to snap off the bottom woody part.  But I know.  And now you know (if you didn’t already), and you’re going to enjoy the end result.

Ingredients:

  • fresh summer asparagus
  • olive oil
  • seasoning of choice (I like Emeril’s Essence)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Snap each piece of asparagus to wherever it naturally breaks.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Toss to coat.
  5. Sprinkle with seasoning.
  6. Toss to coat.
  7. Roast for 5 minutes.

Printable version.

Black Beans and Rice

I can’t remember what I used a partial container of black beans on.  Quesedillas maybe.  In any event, I was left with a cup and a half of beans that needed a purpose.   Usually in our house black beans and rice means a variation on red beans and rice…a spicy dish with sausage.   But what I had in mind tonight was more of a side dish to accompany the grilled pork chops with peach and red pepper salsa.  Paired up with brown rice, this came out as a very flavorful and filling side of 2 large servings at  332 calories and 2 grams of fat with a healthy dose of fiber and protein. This is a rice cooker recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups black beans
  • 3/4 cup brown rice (raw) (this is about how much the cup that came with my rice cooker measures as 1)
  • 1 packet ham bouillon
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely minced
  • water

Directions:

  1. Add the rice and the bouillon to the cooker and fill to the appropriate line for 1, plus about a quarter cup of water.  Stir well.
  2. Add the chipotle pepper and black beans.  Stir well.
  3. Set to cook.  Your rice cooker will turn off when it’s done (which is the beauty of rice cookers).

Printable version.

Peach and Pepper Salsa

My fellow food loving pal Jessica Tudor pointed me to this recipe last week, and I just had to try it.  Of course, being me, I had to make a few small modifications based on what I had on hand or personal preferences.  You will never see me eat a habanero pepper.  The end result is 3 cups of lovely, seasonal salsa that’s a great balance of savory and sweet.  Anybody who loves a good mango salsa will be sure to enjoy this.  Enjoy with homemade tortilla chips, as bruschetta, on sandwiches, over fish, over pork, or mixed up with cheese in a quesedilla.  This works out to 21.5 calories and a quarter gram of fat per 1/4 cup serving.  A great way to add flavor without fat and calories.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2  cups  coarsely chopped peeled yellow peaches (about 4 peaches)
  • 1 1/3  cups  chopped roasted red bell pepper
  • 1/2  cup  thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2  teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
  • 1  teaspoon minced garlic

Directions: Prep ingredients, mix and serve.  Can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days (possibly longer…it didn’t exist after 3 days in our house).

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Corn In The Husk

This is the easiest way of making corn on the cob EVER.  No brainer.  Truly delicious.  You’re going to microwave it in the husk.  This essentially steams the corn perfectly.

Directions:  There aren’t even steps.  Microwave corn in the husk, 3 minutes per ear.  Carefully pull the husk and silk

Thoughtless Thursday: Healthier Purple Hull Peas

Please excuse this week’s absence.  Our internet has been going in and out all week, which has made it difficult to post.

I actually had planned on giving you a recipe for slow cooker cassoulet, but it was a total bust, so my last minute pinch hitter is a healthier adaptation of a Southern staple: purple hull peas.  I am always astonished by how many southerners outside Mississippi have never heard of this little guy.  You like black eyed peas?  These are SO MUCH BETTER.  Late summer is the season for them, but I had several bags that have been hiding in my freezer.  Now the appropriate way to cook up a pot of purple hull peas is with some pork belly or a couple of strips of bacon.  A big hunk of country ham will do too.  But of course all the fat doesn’t exactly make for a healthy dish.  So I tried a little experiment today.  In the Latin foods section at Kroger, I actually found ham bouillon.    I’ve seen this mentioned on food blogs before, but this was the first time I’ve actually found it.  I decided to give it a shot and see if I could make a decent, healthy pot of peas.  The end results were pretty good, if not as good as the fatty version (no shock there).  Served up with a slab of jalapeno cheddar cornbread and I was quite happy.

Ingredients:

  • purple hull peas (I had probably a quart)
  • 1 packet of ham bouillon
  • salt (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Add the peas, bouillon, and 5 cups of water to the crock.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4.
  3. Add salt just before serving.

Printable version.

Oven Fries

I have no idea how I’ve managed to food blog for two years and not actually post my recipe for oven fries.  We eat them all the time!  They’re so simple, so tasty, and so much better for you than the deep fried variety.  This makes sides for 4.  I don’t know the exact nutritional info because most of the oil stays in the bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes (about 3″ in diameter)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Slice your potatoes into sticks (somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter).
  3. Toss with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with seasonings to taste (I know, I really should be more exact, but I don’t KNOW how much I use!).
  5. On a large baking sheet, arrange a couple of cooling racks (the wire kind you use to cool baked goods).  The idea is to keep the fries lifted off the baking sheet so that the heat can circulate evenly.
  6. Arrange the fries over the racks.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes.

Printable version.

Thoughtless Thursday: Prosciutto Wrapped Green Beans

Okay I know, this isn’t a crock pot recipe.   But it’s so easy, requires so few ingredients, and cooks really fast, so it counts as not requiring much thought!  This is nothing more than a dressed up version of the southern favorite green bean bundles.  They’re easy and delicious and just a little bit different.  This recipe makes 2 servings at 140 calories and 4.5 grams of fat apiece.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can whole green beans, drained
  • 6 slices prosciutto

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Divide the green beans into six equal piles.
  3. Roll each pile in a slice of prosciutto.  There’s no need for toothpicks, as it will hold itself.
  4. Layer on a baking sheet (sprayed with Pam).
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Printable version.

This recipe on Tasty Planner.

Mushroom Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes are one of those delicious and decadent foods that I never make.  It’s that whole real cream thing.  It’s hell on a diet.  But for Valentine’s Day I decided to be decadent and scalloped potatoes were the order of the day.  I started prowling for recipes and stumbled across this one from More Than Burnt Toast.  Instead of cream it uses cream of mushroom soup and adds in mushrooms.  I could work with lightening that!  Since there are only two of us, I halved the recipe, of course and made a few other changes.  It works out to 4 servings at 327 calories and 6.8 grams of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups thinly sliced red potatoes, peel on
  • 6 medium portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 4 oz. 2% cheddar cheese, grated
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • paprika, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix the soup, evaporated milk, and spices.
  3. Lightly oil a casserole dish.
  4. Layer potatoes over the bottom.
  5. Add a little cheese.
  6. Layer more potatoes.
  7. Layer more cheese.
  8. Continue this until you’re out of potatoes.
  9. Add the mushrooms.
  10. Pour the soup mixture over the top.
  11. Add the remaining cheese.
  12. Bake covered for 1 hour, removing the top for the last 10-15 minutes if you prefer a crispy top.

Printable version.

This recipe on Tasty Planner.

Roasted Vegetables

After returning home from Oktoberfest and lots of overeating and not healthy food, I’m ready to reset my body with healthy food.  I just can’t take the greasy, fast food and gas station snacks that are part and parcel of road trips.  One of my favorite go to veggie sides is straight up roasted vegetables.  They’re easy, versatile, and reheat really well.  You can use any veggies, but the ones listed below are what I use most often.  Other veggies that work well with this–any kind of squash, sweet potatoes, asparagus, bell peppers, green beans–pretty much you name it.  Roasting them really brings out the natural sweetness of them.  Absolutely delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 6 red potatoes, sliced
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cups of baby carrots
  • 4 oz. mushrooms
  • 1 package of snow peas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix the potatoes, onions, carrots, and zucchini with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray.
  4. Scoop the veggies out (don’t dump as you want the leftover oil and vinegar to remain in the bowl), into the roasting pan.
  5. Roast for 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, toss the mushrooms and snow peas with the remaining vinegar and oil and add more salt and pepper.
  7. When the first 30 minutes is up, add the remaining vegetables to the pan and stir.
  8. Roast for another 20 minutes.

Printable version.