Archive | May, 2011

Strawberry Trifle

31 May

This dessert is delicious! It was very time-consuming to make, I spread it out over two days. Because strawberry wine is added to the pound cake, the cake gets pretty mushy fast so I made all of the pieces to the dessert ahead of time and the day I served the dish, I put everything together. I was afraid this dessert was going to be too sweet, but it wasn’t. I can’t wait to make this dessert again.

Recipe from Perry’s Plate

** The recipe calls for 4 pints of strawberries, I only used 2 and had plenty to fill my trifle bowl.

**The recipe only asks for cool whip on the top layer, but I added it to cover each layer of strawberries.

Strawberry Trifle

4 pints strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped
3 T. sugar
¾ c. slivered almonds
Cool whip
¾ c. strawberry wine or equivalent (jam maybe? I usually leave this out)
1 Recipe Custard
1 Recipe Sponge Cake

Combine strawberries and sugar. Refrigerate for a couple of hours until they get really juicy. Spoon one cup custard on bottom of trifle bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ c. almonds. Layer ½ of cake cubes over custard; brush cake with ½ of wine. Spoon 2 c. berries over cake layer; top with 1 c. custard. Repeat layers. Top with remaining custard. Cover and chill. Top with cool whip and sprinkle with remaining almonds. Makes 15 servings.

Custard:
2/3 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
¼ t. salt
2 c. milk
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 T. butter/marg.
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. whipping cream, whipped (or Cool Whip)

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir about ¼ of mixture into egg yolks; add egg yolk mixture back into saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 min. Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla, stirring until butter melts. Cover with plastic wrap, gently pressing it onto surface; chill at least 2 hours. Fold whipped cream into custard. Makes 3 ½ cups.

Sponge Cake:
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. milk
2 T butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat eggs at high-speed with electric mixer 3 min or until thick and pale. Gradually add sugar; beat 4 min. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually fold into batter. Combine milk and butter in saucepan; cook over low heat until butter melts (or zap in the microwave). Gradually stir milk mixture and vanilla into batter. Pour into 2 greased and floured 8” round cake pans. Bake at 350 for 16 min or until toothpick comes clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 min. Remove from pans; cool completely on racks. Cut into 1 in. cubes.

Grilled Salmon with Red Wine Butter

31 May

This dinner was a little annoying to make. You’re supposed to cook the onions and wine together, then mix it with butter, and it is supposed to cool long enough for the butter to harden again. I didn’t realize until I was ready to totally make dinner that I would need that much time for this meal. So, if you want to try this dinner…make the butter ahead of time! Aside from that little bump, this was a very nice sauce for the salmon. I like salmon 99% of the time anyway, but my husband is not a huge fan of salmon. Typically it is too fishy tasting for him, but he enjoyed this recipe.

Recipe from Men’s Health Magazine

**In place of the Shallot I just used onion

Grilled Salmon with Red-Wine Butter

1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 stick salted butter, softened for an hour at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
2 fillets of salmon (preferably wild), 6 oz each
Olive oil

1. Combine the shallot, wine, and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

2. Allow the wine reduction to cool and then add the butter, along with the thyme and a few pinches of fresh cracked pepper. Use a spatula to thoroughly mix the ingredients, and then scoop the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll it up, twist the ends to form a log, and store that in the freezer while you cook the fish. (You can do these first steps ahead of time. The wine butter will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.)

3. Preheat a grill or grill pan on medium high. Rub the salmon with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and lay the fish, skin side down, on the grill. Cook it for 4 to 5 minutes, flip, and cook it 2 to 3 minutes longer for medium.

4. Serve the hot salmon with a slice of the red-wine butter melted on top. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 440 calories, 44 grams (g) protein, 8 g carbohydrates (0 g fiber), 20 g fat, 150 milligrams sodium

Pork and Peaches

30 May

Pork and Peaches was not something I would have ever thought of putting together. The red onions and the blue cheese did an amazing job counterbalancing the sweetness from the peaches. The blue cheese was a bit much about halfway through the dinner. I think next time i make this I will definitely cut back what the recipe calls for. If you are making this dish for two people, like me, then you will probably have a ton of left over topping. Try planning for burgers or steaks the next night because the topping is great on beef too! Once again another pleasant surprise with this recipe 🙂

Recipe from Men’s Health Magazine

** Once again, I didn’t have pine nuts

Grilled Pork and Peaches

2 8-oz thick-cut (1-inch), bone-in pork chops
2 firm peaches or nectarines, halved and pitted
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat a grill set on high. Brush the pork with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. The outside should be charred (not burned), but the meat should be light pink in the middle.

3. While the chops cook, brush the peach halves with oil and add to the grill face-down.

4. Grill for 5 minutes or until soft. Remove, slice and toss with the pine nuts, onion, blue cheese and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Top each chop with half the salad and serve. Makes 2 servings

Per serving 430 calories, 38 g protein, 16 g carbs, 24 g fat (9g saturated), 2 g fiber, 530 mg sodium

Moroccan Stewed Chicken

29 May

This meal was not what I expected at all. By the title I was thinking it was going to be like a soup or a stew. In reality it was not soup like at all. I served the stew over couscous and there was just enough sauce to keep it from being dry. The only thing I would change next time would be to cut back on the amount of chickpeas in the stew.

Recipe from Men’s Health Magazine

Moroccan Stewed Chicken

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large zucchini, cut into cubes
1 can (16 oz) garbanzo beans
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock or water
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or a wide pot over medium-high heat.

2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, place them in the pan, and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until they brown thoroughly. Add the zucchini and continue cooking, stirring occasionally.

3. When the zucchini pieces have browned lightly, add the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, cayenne, cumin, and cinnamon. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Season to taste with more salt and pepper and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving 420 calories, 31 g protein, 41 g carbs, 15 g fat (3 g saturated), 7 g fiber, 610 mg sodium

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

28 May

This was a really filling dish. I made it for my husband and the guys he works with and they pretty much demolished it, though they’re men so I would expect nothing less. For me, the recipe as it sits is pretty bland. To add to the flavor a bit I added sun-dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes. I also used more garlic than it calls for, but then I typically do that in any recipe. I personally felt like the beans were a bit much too, I could have done without them, but the guys enjoyed them.

Recipe from Men’s Health Magazine

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

2 oz Barilla Plus penne pasta
2 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
Salt and pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed
2 Tbsp diced roasted red pepper
4 cups baby spinach leaves
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is boiling, season the chicken on each side with a pinch of salt and pepper, and sear it in a skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes a side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

2. Add the oil, garlic, rose-mary, beans, red pepper, and spinach to the skillet. Cook, turning frequently, until the spinach wilts (1 to 2 minutes).

3. Slice the chicken and drain the pasta; toss them with the bean mixture. Spoon the pasta into two bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan. Makes 2 servings

Per serving: 412 calories, 42 g protein, 45 g carbs, 7 g fat (2 g saturated), 9 g fiber, 423 mg sodium

Greek Style Stuffed Chicken

27 May

If you are a fan of Greek style food, you will love this recipe. It is so good, and so easy to make. I paired my chicken with a Greek salad and garlic buttered pasta. Don’t be fooled by the picture, the chicken may not look good but it tastes amazing.  The recipe does call for pine nuts, and I haven’t been able to find them anywhere, so I didn’t use them in my version. I am a big fan of garlic and the flavor it adds to pretty much anything, so I almost always use more than any recipe says to.

Recipe from Men’s Health Magazine

Greek-Style Stuffed Chicken

2 5–6 oz chicken breasts
2 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp chopped olives
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Toss together the tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, garlic, pine nuts, and vinegar.

2. Rub the chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Using a small, sharp knife, carefully cut a slit along the thick part of each chicken breast, creating a pocket. Add enough stuffing to fill each pocket and transfer the chicken to a baking sheet.

3. Bake for 15 minutes. Top with any remaining stuffing. Makes 2 servings

Per serving (including sides) 680 calories, 65 g protein, 51 g carbs, 23 g fat (5 g saturated), 4 g fiber, 910 mg sodium

Greek Salad

Romaine lettuce
Black olives
Feta Cheese
Chopped onion
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Garlic salt
Salt/Pepper

This salad is really easy to make, you pretty much just mix everything together in a big bowl. The only difficult part is that my grandmother taught me how to make this salad, so I don’t have any measurements for it at all. So, if you want to try it all I can say is use very little olive oil, lots of onions and when you add the garlic salt and the lemon juice, go a little at a time and taste it in between.

Gonzo Chicken Salad

26 May

This salad was so filling! There really isn’t much to it so I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. It was light in taste, but the chick peas made it very satisfying. The salad would also be excellent on a sub or pita. My husband and I both thought the same thing while eating it. I’m not sure what it is about the flavor, but it really would be an awesome sandwich. My only suggestion to anyone wanting to make this recipe, though, is to stick to the amount of chick peas the recipe calls for. I just used the can that I had and the salad was just swimming in them. Sometimes less really is more. 🙂

Recipe from Men’s Health Magazine

**I did not use pecans, though the recipe does call for them.

Gonzo Chicken Salad

2 cups bagged mixed salad greens
1 cup baby spinach
1/3 cup rinsed chickpeas
1/2 cup diced precooked chicken
1 tsp chopped pecans
1 scallion, sliced
3 slices avocado
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp balsamic or red-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix the greens and spinach, chickpeas, chicken, nuts, and scallion together in a bowl.

2. Top with the avocado, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Makes 1 serving

Per serving 420 calories, 30 g protein, 27 g carbs, 23 g fat (2 g saturated), 9 g fiber, 799 mg sodium