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Pan-Seared Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Parmesan

Pan-Seared Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta & Parmesan

Now that it’s November all I can think about is Thanksgiving.  It is my favorite holiday.  Obviously the emphasis on food doesn’t hurt, but it is just a no-stress enjoyable time with the family.

I love brussel sprouts and have decided to add them to our Thanksgiving dinner this year.  We have a couple of gluten-free eaters and this will just be another option for them and me to load up on!

I have made this twice now, both on weeknights and it has been devoured before we can even get to the rest of the food.  It’s quick, easy, healthy, and delicious!

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 1 oz pancetta*
  • 1 tsp. bacon fat, olive oil, or duck fat**
  • 1/2 oz Parmiggiano-Reggiano, finely shredded
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Remove stray, ratty looking, or loose leaves from brussel sprouts.
  2. Fill a large bowl with some ice cubes.  Set aside.
  3. Fill a heavy pot with 6 cups of water and 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Add brussels sprouts to water and blanch for 3 minutes.  While sprouts are blanching, fill bowl of ice with cold water.  Remove sprouts from heat and plunge into ice water immediately to stop cooking.
  4. Once cooled, transfer brussels sprouts to a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.  Dry brussels sprouts completely.  Cut brussels sprouts in half, lengthwise.
  5. Cut pancetta in strips, and crisp in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat.
  6. Melt 1 tsp. bacon fat** in a cast-iron skillet over high heat.  Add brussel sprouts.  Using tongs to turn brussel sprouts until all are turned on their flat side.  Allow to sear for 2 minutes.
  7. Add balsamic vinegar and pepper to skillet and stir to coat brussel sprouts.  Remove from heat.
  8. Sprinkle brussel sprouts with pancetta strips and parmesan.  Serve immediately.

* Pancetta doesn’t have as much fat to it as bacon so will burn if the heat is too high.  Remember we’re talking pancetta here, prosciutto doesn’t deal with heat too well so get your P’s right people!!!

**I used bacon fat because I always have it in my fridge.  That’s how I roll!  You can certainly use olive oil.  I would steer clear of extra-virgin for this recipe because you are going to pan-sear these babies over high heat and you wouldn’t want to ruin their amazing flavor with oxidized oil.  If you want to be super luxurious use duck fat.  I wasn’t going to do this for a Tuesday dinner at home, but I will seriously consider it for Thanksgiving.  It really would bring this dish to a whole new level.

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Posted by on November 2, 2013 in Fall, Sides, Uncategorized

 

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Summer Quinoa Salad

Summer Quinoa Salad

This is one of my most requested recipes so it’s about time I put it on the blog.  It’s very versatile so you can add anything that is in season at the time you make it.  It’s a very fresh tasting salad and works as a really nice side dish at a summer bbq.  It can be left out at room temperature and since it’s not mayonnaise-based, you don’t have to worry about it making anyone sick if left out too long.  It’s also very healthy, packed with protein, and gluten-free.

For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa, it is a small grain similar in texture to couscous.  It is very high in protein, gluten-free, a good source of fiber, and iron.

Jicama is another ingredient in this recipe that might be unfamiliar, and might not be readily available in all grocery stores (I’m thinking the small town in South Dakota where I grew up).  It adds a nice crunch to the salad so if you can’t find it, try substituting some chopped water chestnuts.  Jicama is a root and it’s texture would be similar to a crisp, firm apple.  It has a sweet flavor which comes from oligofructose inulin, which is a prebiotic.  It is also high in fiber, and vitamins A, B, and C.

Yield: 14 Servings
Assembly Time: 15 minutes    

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice, about 6 limes (see note below)
  • 8 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp. fresh ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 ears corn, cut from cob
  • 1 cup chopped jicama

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.  Remember to rinse your quinoa well in a mesh strainer.  The saponin on quinoa’s outer exterior imparts a bitter flavor that you want to avoid.  Rinsing two or three times will do the trick!
  2. Toss everything together.  The salad is best if allowed to sit overnight to let the flavors come together.

* Juice your limes before cutting to get the juices flowing.

Summer Quinoa Salad Label

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Salad, Uncategorized

 

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Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche

Yield: 20 appetizer servings    Prep Time: 20 minutes     Active Time: 30 minutes

My husband and I recently bought our first home.  The second day we moved in, we were tearing down walls and opening up counter-space for my dream kitchen!  We may have slightly under-estimated how much work a full kitchen remodel actually would be, but hey, we’re young and determined!  I initially thought, “Ok in a month when this kitchen remodel is done, we will throw a house-warming party.”  Ha!  A month?  In my dreams!    Sooooo…here we are 5 months later and the time had finally come.  We invited friends, old and new, into our “brand new” house.

I decided that I wanted to attempt shrimp ceviche for the party.  I had never made this before, but we were in Vegas for a wedding last summer and had the most amazing ceviche at Sushi Samba in the Palazzo.  The next time you’re in Vegas stop in.  They have a very reasonable happy hour from 4-7pm Sunday-Friday that offers $6 mojitos and $6 appetizer specials one of them being a shrimp ceviche that I couldn’t get out of my head for months.  The shrimp was perfectly acidic and complimented by sweet tropical fruit and a kick of spice from aji peppers.

So here I was attempting to recreate this wonderful concoction from what was now a faint memory from months prior.  Aji peppers are not easy to find…yet!  I have a feeling we will be seeing these in more abundance in coming months as the Peruvian food scene really kicks off.  I decided to make my ceviche with beautiful fresno peppers for their bright red color and the kick of heat they provide.  I paired this with shrimp that was marinated in a blend of lemon, lime, and orange juice.  Mangoes and papayas were the fruit of choice, jicama for crunch, and creamy mashed avocados on the side to bring it all together.  I thought about making plantain chips which I think I would attempt next time, but for times sake I just fried up some corn tortillas and sprinkled them with a bit of lime and salt.

I most likely marinated my shrimp MUCH longer than needed.  After reading up on other recipes, I see the marinating time ranges from 4 minutes to 30 minutes at most.  Since I had never done this before, and am a freak about food safety, I went for 4 hours hoping to see the shrimp turn pink.  This really didn’t happen.  Not in the way you see when you saute shrimp.  What you want to look for is the shrimp to become opaque.  Once they are opaque, remove them from the fruit juices and toss with the other ingredients except the avocado.  My shrimp still had a good texture to them, but you live and you learn.  Now I know for next time!

Final result, YUM!!!!

SHRIMP CEVICHE

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium raw shrimp
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 2 mangos, diced
  • 1/2 papaya, diced
  • 1 cup jicama, diced
  • 4 Tbsp. red onion, minced
  • 2 fresno chiles, seeded, deveined, and minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. minced cilantro
  • 6 avocados, coarsely mashed
  • corn tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:

  1. Peel shrimp, remove tails, and coarsely chop.
  2. Mix together orange, lemon, and lime juice in a medium bowl.  Pour juice over shrimp making sure shrimp are entirely covered.  Cover with shrink wrap and refrigerate checking every few minutes.  Once shrimp turn opaque, drain shrimp in a colander.
  3. Toss together mangoes, papaya, jicama, red onion, fresno chiles, salt, and cilantro.  Fold in cooked shrimp.
  4. Serve with avocado mash and tortilla chips.

Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche

 
8 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Appetizers, Uncategorized

 

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Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

Cheesecake-stuffed strawberries
Simple, Delicious, and Low-Calorie!

Yield: 40 strawberries          Active Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints strawberries, rinsed and hollowed with a pairing knife
  • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice + 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 4 graham crackers, finely crushed

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and zest until light and fluffy.
  2. Cut the small corner off a zip-top bag and spoon filling into bag.  Pipe cream cheese filling into hollowed strawberries.
  3. Dip cream cheese tops in crushed graham crackers.
  4. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries Label

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Dessert, Uncategorized

 

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White and Green Bean Casserole

White and Green Bean Casserole

Here is a new twist to the classic holiday green bean casserole.  You can eat this any time of the year as I have added white beans in place of all the holiday guilt!

Servings: 9

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes (topping); 15 minutes
(casserole)

Ingredients

Topping:

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt

Casserole:

  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 12 oz fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed, and halved
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 (15oz) can S&W white beans, drained and rinsed

Directions
Topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 475F.
  2. Combine topping ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to fully coat onions.
  3. Spread onions evenly on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  4. Cook until golden brown for ~30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.

Casserole:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 Tbsp. salt.  Add green beans and blanch for 5 minutes.  Strain beans through a colander and plunge into an ice bath to quickly stop cooking.  Once green beans are cooled, strain and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add flour and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth.
  4. Add pepper, garlic, and nutmeg.  Continue heating over medium heat until sauce is smooth and has thickened.
  5. Reduce heat to low and stir in half-and-half.
  6. Add white beans and green beans to sauce mixture until heated through.
  7. Pour sauce mixture into a casserole dish and top with onions.
  8. Bake until bubbly, ~15 minutes.

White and Green Bean Casserole Label

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Beans, Entrees, Holiday, Made from Scratch

 

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Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

This is a great snack and adds a nice spicy crunch to any salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14oz) cans S&W Garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Transfer chickpeas to a paper-towel lined cookie sheet to dry chickpeas as much as possible.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients.
  4. Transfer dried chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil then mix in the spice blend.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chickpeas are very crispy being careful not to burn.

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas Label

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Appetizers, Beans, Holiday, Uncategorized

 

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Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili

Serves: 10
Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6.5-8.5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16oz) can S&W 50% reduced-sodium black beans
  • 1 (16oz) can S&W 50% reduced-sodium kidney beans
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 10oz package frozen corn
  • 2 (14.5oz) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (30% reduced-sodium)
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine onion, beans, tomato sauce, corn, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, cumin, and chili powder in a crock-pot and stir to combine.  Add chicken breasts.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken is tender enough to shred with a fork and cooked thoroughly with no pink remaining.
  3. Remove chicken from crock-pot and shred.   Place back in slow cooker, stir to combine all ingredients, and allow to cook for another 30 minutes for flavors to combine.
  4. Serve in bowls with cilantro garnish.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Beans, Crockpot, Entrees, Uncategorized

 

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Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna

About 8 Servings (Serving Size is 1 cup)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15oz) can S&W black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups corn
  • 4 greens onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 1.5 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 5-6 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 4oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Combine black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro,and taco seasoning in a large bowl.
  3. Spread a layer of crushed tomatoes on the bottom of a 9″ loaf pan.  Layer with lasagna noodles, bean mixture, and then cheese.  Repeat process until all ingredients are used.
  4. Cover the pan with tin foil.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  5. Remove from oven and let stand at room temp. before serving.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Beans, Entrees, Uncategorized

 

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Crockpot Chicken and Rice with Black Beans

afunfoodie

Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3-4 hours (on high); 7-8 hours (on low)

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can S&W black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, preferably cut off of cob
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup heavy cream or 2% milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle chicken breasts with smoked paprika and place in crockpot.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

                                          Nutrition Facts for 1 cup of Prepared Casserole

                         HEAVY CREAM                                                   2% MILK

HEAVY CREAM

2% MILK

 
46 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Beans, Crockpot, Entrees, Uncategorized

 

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Kale and White Bean Bruschetta

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15oz) can S&W white beans + 1 can water
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups kale, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 baguette, cut in half, sliced, and toasted
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Add entire contents of beans to large pot.  Refill the can with water and add to the pot.
  2. Add onion, garlic, bay leaf, and salt.  Simmer with lid on med-low heat for 8 minutes for flavors to combine.
  3. Add kale and return to burner another 5 minutes, covered.
  4. Drain contents of pot through a colander, discarding liquid.  Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and stir in oil, red wine vinegar, and crushed red pepper.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Spoon bean and kale mixture onto toasted baguettes and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Appetizers, Beans, Uncategorized

 

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