January 28, 2013

Red Lentil and Squash Curry Soup

Most red lentil stews I have made don't incorporate many vegetables, but with both squash and greens in this one it is a keeper in our house. Not to mention the great flavors that I spices lend to the stew. If you are looking to make this dish a bit richer and creamier, try adding some coconut milk - I used 1-2 tablespoons per serving. Enjoy!

1/2 TBS Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tbsp curry powder 
1 tsp garam masala (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 cups low-sodium broth
1 cup red lentils
3 cups cooked butternut squash or pumpkin, pureed
2 cup greens of choice (I used spinach)
salt & black pepper, to taste

In a large pot, heat the EVOO over medium heat; add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, garam masala and ginger and cook another 1-2 minutes (this really livens up the spices so don't skip this step). Add the broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the squash puree and greens. Cook over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes or until heated through and the lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 3-4, depending on how hungry you are ;-)

Adapted from:

January 24, 2013

Crock-Pot Balsamic Chicken

I love the fresh tomato flavor of this dish - no tomato paste taste here. However, I did find the "sauce" a bit thin to serve over pasta, so I recommend draining the diced tomatoes in an effort to make it a bit thicker. Otherwise, it was a delicious change from your standard tomato-based pasta dinner and super quick and easy to prepare. Enjoy!

2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or thighs
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium onion thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp each: dried oregano, basil, and rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
ground black pepper and salt to taste
Cooked angel hair pasta for serving

Pour the olive oil on bottom of slow cooker, add chicken then salt and pepper each breast. Place the sliced onion on top of chicken then put in all the dried herbs and garlic. Pour in the vinegar and top with tomatoes. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours (until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce has thickened a bit), serve over angel hair pasta.

Serves 4-6

Minimally adapted from:

January 21, 2013

Creamy Chicken Soup with Vegetables

Super quick, healthy and delicious, this soup is a great addition to my weekday recipe box. The curry flavor is fairly mild, but if you are not a fan of curry just leave it out. We enjoyed it with some rustic bread for a filling supper. Enjoy!

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large carrots, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup coconut milk (full-fat) or half-and-half
2 teaspoons cornstrach
1 cup frozen baby peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer over moderate heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Dissolve the  cornstarch in the coconut milk to make a slurry (a fork works best here). Stir the slurry into the soup along with the peas and corn and simmer over low heat until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken and cook just until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve .

Adapted from:

January 17, 2013

Turkey Tikka Burgers

This is one of my favorite Rachel Ray recipes and is my go-to turkey burger recipe. They are fairly spicy (if you don't like spicy use a mild curry paste), juicy, and have a wonderfully unique combination of flavors that my family and I love. Enjoy!

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
2 scallions, chopped
2 inches ginger root, grated (no need to peel it!)8
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped red bell peppers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon McCormick's Montreal Brand steak seasoning
1/2 cup plain yogurt
olive oil (for drizzling)
4 whole wheat buns, split
mango chutney
lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Mix the turkey, scallions, ginger, garlic, bell pepper, cilantro, curry paste, grill seasoning, and yogurt together. Form into 4 large patties. Cook the burgers in the hot skillet, approximately 5 minutes on each side.

Place burgers on bun bottoms; spread mango chutney on bun tops. Top the burgers with lettuce, tomato, and sliced cucumber; set bun tops in place.

*Note: I find it best to keep my ginger root in the freezer so I always have some on hand and it is much easier to grate when it is frozen. 

Original recipe by Rachel Ray, 

January 13, 2013

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

I always think of biscotti as taking so much work and time, but with this recipe they are super easy and quite delicious. I gave these out around Christmastime and everyone loved them. I also made a version using toasted almonds instead of the pistachios and dried cranberries in place of the chocolate chunks. Both were savored to the last crumb. Enjoy!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks (I use the 365 brand ones that are dairy free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 egg beaten with a little warm water (for egg wash)

Preheat the oven to 325.

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix with a wooden spoon or slightly damp hands until all the flour is incorporated. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute until smooth (don't over knead as that will make them tough).

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a long log, about 10-by-2-inches. I find it is easiest to do this on a lined (parchment or silicone mat) baking sheet rather than trying to move the logs to a baking sheet once formed. Brush with egg wash.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and then carefully slice the logs diagonally with a serrated knife into cookies. Place each cookie cut side down back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden, flipping cookies over halfway through.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen biscotti. 

Slightly adapted from:

January 10, 2013

Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes

I made these cakes for my daughter's first birthday party and everyone loved them! They are super rich and chocolaty. The original recipe called for frosting as well (I used a Chocolate Buttercream instead), but they didn't need it. The frosting actually takes away from the flavor of the cake. They are best completely cooled (or chilled) and dusted with cocoa powder or powdered sugar. Enjoy!   

6 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups semi-sweet or bittersweet (or a combo) chocolate chips
5 ounces butter

Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt the chocolate and the butter together over very low heat. Set aside to cool slightly. 

While that’s melting, whip the eggs with a mixer at high speed until they start to become thick and pale, then add the sugar slowly. Continue whipping on high until the mixture is thick, pale and ribbony (this takes a little while - be patient it is worth the wait).

Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture while gently folding with a spatula. Be careful not to stir, only fold, because that will cause the batter to lose it’s air.

Pour batter into mini-muffin tins that have been lined with paper cups. Bake for 9-11 minutes or just until set and let cool in the tins for another 10 minutes before gently popping them out of the tin.

Makes approximately 36-40 mini-cakes, 18 cupcake-size cakes, or 2-regular round cakes. 

Adapted from:

January 7, 2013

Vegetable Quinoa Soup

I was a bit concerned that this soup would not be flavorful enough for myself and my husband, but we really enjoyed it. He kicked it up a bit by adding some heat to it (chipotle or cayenne pepper). 

The soups was surprisingly filling and had a great fresh taste. You can mix it up by changing/adding the vegetables - maybe add some mushrooms - and by changing the type of beans - red kidneys instead of garbanzos. Enjoy!

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
32 ounces vegetable or chicken broth 
1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tsp dried basil
2 cups cooked red quinoa*
1-15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots, zucchini, and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the broth, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and basil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cooked quinoa and garbanzo beans and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.

*Note: To cook the quinoa, rinse 1 cup quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, 2 cups water, and a pinch of salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Serves 4

Adapted from: