Saturday, December 26, 2009

Shrimp and vegetables in Thai red curry

Approx. 420 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 serving.

I'm not very good and knowing when shrimp are cooked (but not over cooked), so I like to buy the already cooked shrimp and add them at the very end and heat until they are just warmed all the way through. I also like to remove the tail before cooking, so I don't have to deal with it when I'm eating. I planned to eat this without rice, so I evaporated off most of the liquid so that the curry coated the other ingredients. If you plan to serve on rice, leave more water in the sauce.

  1. 2 oz shrimp (precooked)
  2. 1 cup broccoli
  3. 2 1/2 cups snap peas
  4. 1/3 cup red bell pepper
  5. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  6. 1 Tbs Thai red curry paste
  7. 1/2 cup water

  1. Chop bell pepper and cut broccoli into small pieces.
  2. Add water, coconut milk, and curry paste to a skillet and bring to a boil.
  3. Add snap peas and cook until almost tender (approx. 2-3 minutes).
  4. Add broccoli and red bell pepper.
  5. Cook until all vegetables are tender (but not mushy).
  6. Add shrimp (if using raw shrimp, add at the same time as the broccoli).
  7. Cook until shrimp are warm and sauces is to the desired thickness.
  8. Serve alone or with rice.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Butternut squash with Swiss chard and leeks

Approx. 125 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I had half a squash left over, so I decided to make a simple saute with leeks and Swiss chard. I ate this as my main dish (entire meal) so I ate both servings, but the recipe would make two generous side dish servings.

I liked the addition of leeks instead of onions, which provided a mellow flavor. I was in the mood for something spicy, so I added a lot of red pepper flakes too.

I tossed the squash cubes in the microwave (approx. 4 minutes) while I washed and chopped the chard and leeks. This cut down on the cooking time, so nothing burnt while the squash was getting soft.

  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash
  • 2 cups Swiss chard
  • 1 small leek (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.
  1. Peel and cut squash into 1/2" cubes.
  2. Wash and chop leeks and chard. While doing this, cook squash in the microwave.
  3. Add oil and red pepper flakes to a skillet.
  4. Heat and then add leeks.
  5. Saute to carmelize leeks.
  6. Add vegetable stock and squash; mix well.
  7. Add chard and cook until chard wilts and is tender.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Curried butternut squash and apples

Approx. 175 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I was feeling chilled tonight and wanted a warm, savory, comfort type of food. While standing with the fridge door open and staring blankly into it (maybe that's why I was chilled??) I decided that squash and apples would taste good together. The cinnamon in the garam masala combined nicely with the squash and the tartness of the apples.

This recipe was enough for 2 main dish servings. If you plan to serve it as a side dish, it would probably make 3-4 servings. I'm looking forward to taking the leftover serving to work for lunch tomorrow - even if I will get scowled at for filling the kitchen with the aroma of curry!

  • 2 cups butternut squash
  • 1 cup Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup onion
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 1 Tbs garam masala
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Peel the squash and the apples and then dice into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Chop the onion and mince the garlic.
  3. Add oil, garlic, curry powder, and garam masala to a skillet.
  4. Heat and mix well, until spices release their scent.
  5. Add onions and saute until they are coated with curry and start to soften.
  6. Add water and squash.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer approx. 5 minutes until squash is almost tender.
  8. Add apples and simmer (approx. 3 more minutes) until apples and squash are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Broccoli with lemon and garlic

Approx. 55 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I wanted a nice simple side dish tonight, and I was too lazy to get out the steamer for the broccoli, so I decided to do a shallow water boil instead. The broccoli with the lemon and garlic was pretty good, but it would have been even better if I had added a little bit (approx. 1 Tbs) of butter to it.

  • 1 small bunch broccoli (approx. 3 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon
  • water

  1. Grate garlic and the zest of lemon peel.
  2. Cut broccoli into small florets, including approx. 3" lengths of stem.
  3. Add enough water to cover the bottom of a skillet.
  4. Bring to boil and add broccoli, grated garlic, and half of the lemon zest.
  5. Once broccoli is tender and water is evaporated off, squeeze in fresh lemon juice and toss.
  6. Serve and garnish with remaining lemon zest.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rolo Turtle Candies

Approx. 45 Calories per candy

My mom always makes these simple candies around Christmas time. I spoke with her the other day and she said she was mailing cookies to me, and that a few of these would be included. I've been craving them ever since. Since I was too impatient to wait for them to be delivered, I decided to make some of my own.

These are usually made in an oven at a fairly low temperature and cooked for only a couple of minutes. Since I don't use my oven, I've adapted the directions for the microwave, which is how I made them.
Ingredients (for each candy)
  • 1 mini pretzel (I used the waffle style)
  • 1 Rolo candy (chocolate with caramel inside - you could substitute Hershey's kiss with caramel)
  • 1 pecan half
  1. Place pretzels on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Place a Rolo candy (unwrapped) on each pretzel.
  3. Heat for approx. 30 seconds or until the Rolo gets soft (but not runny).
  4. Place a pecan half on top and press down so the chocolate covers the pretzel.
  5. Let the chocolate cool and harden before serving.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Swiss brazeli cookies

Approx. 70 Calories per cookie. Recipe makes approx. 45 cookies.

I was in a festive holiday mood tonight and decided to make some cookies. Since I'm afraid of my oven, that would normally be quite the challenge. Luckily, I had my handy dandy brazeli iron (also spelled bratzeli, bratzli, bretzel, brezel, etc.), so I didn't need an oven.
The recipe that mom gave me had too many ingredients and required that the dough sit overnight. I figured that I would no longer be in the mood to make cookies tomorrow, so I better strike while the iron was hot! I followed the recipe that came right on the iron, but estimated the conversions from metric to US customary measurements. I also decided to add a little bit of vanilla extract and cinnamon.

  • 8 Tbs butter
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Soften butter and slowly beat in egg and sugar.
  2. Slowly beat in flour.
  3. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix well.
  4. Let mixture sit for 2 hours.
  5. Ladle batter/dough (approx. size of a ping pong ball) onto center of the hot iron.
  6. Close the iron and press tight for approx. 1 minute, or until cookie is cooked and golden.
  7. Remove cookie from iron.
  8. Trim edges and cut into 4 sections.
  9. Continue cooking 4 cookies at a time until batter is gone.

Tortellini with rapini leaves and tomatoes

Approx. 425 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I had a partial package of cheese tortellini in the freezer and the rapini leaves from yesterday that I wanted to use. This recipe was a great way to combine the two. You could use pretty much any type of greens for this (kale, Swiss chard, spinach, etc.) if you don't have rapini leaves.


  • 2 cups cheese tortellini (I used Buitoni brand)
  • 3 cups rapini leaves, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes (approx. 2 cups chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • water

  1. Add pasta to a pot of boiling water. Boil until tender.
  2. While pasta is boiling, chop tomatoes and rapini leaves.
  3. Add oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and greens to a skillet.
  4. Cook until the greens start to get soft.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook until they are soft.
  6. Add cooked and drained pasta.
  7. Toss until mixed and serve.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rapini with onion and tomatoes

Approx. 200 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 serving.

I had the big bunch of rapini that I wanted to use it while it was still fresh. I really didn't feel like eating the leaves, so as I washed it, I removed the leaves and saved them for a different recipe. I chopped the stems into one inch sections and cooked the buds. This was just a nice simple saute of onions, garlic, red pepper, and the rapini. I didn't want the tomatoes to get too soft so I just tossed them in at the end and heated them through. This provided a very filling single serving as a main course. It could also be split into two servings if eating it as a side dish with a piece of meat.


  • 1 bunch rapini, stems and buds only (approx. 8 oz)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • red pepper flakes, to taste


  1. Remove leaves from rapini (save for a different recipe).
  2. Cut stems into 1 inch sections (toss any woody sections of the stem).
  3. Slice onion and cut cherry tomatoes in half.
  4. Add oil, red pepper, and grated garlic to a frying pan.
  5. Heat until garlic releases scent and then add onions and rapini stems.
  6. Cook until stems are tender, then add vegetable stock and rapini buds.
  7. Cook until buds are tender and then add cherry tomatoes.
  8. Cook until tomatoes are warm all the way through.
  9. Remove from heat and serve.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lingcod in Orange Vera Cruz Sauce

Approx. 225 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I'm not a fan of thawing and refreezing meat, and I didn't want the fish to sit in the fridge for too long, so I decided that I would cook up the rest of the cod tonight. I thought a Vera Cruz type of sauce would be good, but I really didn't want to take the time to look up a recipe, so I just made one up based on the ingredients I remembered (onion, capers, green olives, tomatoes). I thought I would add a bit of a twist and throw in some Clementine oranges too. It turned out pretty good. I liked the sweet taste of the orange combined with the briny taste of the capers and olives.

I had started trying to cut the Clementines into segments so that I didn't get the membrane, but they were so small and I was making a mess. I gave up on that process and just peeled the remaining orange and broke apart the segments. I don't think it impacted the taste at all. It would probably be easier if I had been using a regular sized orange, instead of the Clementines.

  • 8 oz. lingcod
  • 2 Clementine oranges
  • 1 medium tomato (approx. 1 cup)
  • 12 small Manzanilla olives
  • 1 shallot (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbs capers (including liquid)
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • black pepper to taste

  1. Slice shallot and dice tomato.
  2. Zest orange and then peel/segment.
  3. Add water to a non-stick skillet and bring to boil.
  4. Add fish, tomatoes, shallots, olives, orange segments, and half the orange zest.
  5. Simmer until fish is cooked about half way up (approx. 4 minutes) and then flip.
  6. Cover fish with sauce and continue to simmer another 3-4 minutes.
  7. If the sauce starts to dry out, add more water (small amount at a time).
  8. When the fish is done and flakes, remove from the pan and put on the serving plate.
  9. Add the vinegar, capers, black pepper, and remaining orange zest to the sauce in the pan.
  10. Mix well and then pour remaining sauce over the fish and serve.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Steamed lingcod with bok choy

Approx. 170 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I bought a one pound package of Alaskan lingcod from the Elfish Company and needed to figure out how to cook it. I decided that I would make a garlic ginger sauce and steam it with bok choy. I used half the package, planning on leftovers, but while it was steaming I remembered that I didn't like to reheat leftover fish, so I just decided to eat both servings :-) (really had to twist my arm on that one!!!)


  • 8 oz Alaskan lingcod
  • 1 large bunch bok choy (approx. 4 cups)
  • 2 large green onions (the bulb was slightly smaller than a ping pong ball)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs ginger
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 3 Tbs rice vinegar
  • water
  1. Wash bok choy.
  2. Cut green onions into 1" pieces and slice the bulb.
  3. Grate the ginger and the garlic.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.
  5. Line the bottom of the steamer basket with bok choy leaves (I filled a second steamer basket with the remaining leaves).
  6. Place the fish on the bok choy, skin side down.
  7. Spoon the garlic ginger sauce on top of the fish.
  8. Cover with green onion stems.
  9. Add green onion bulbs around edges of the steamer basket.

    This is what it looked like before I steamed it.

  10. Add 2" of water to a large pot and bring to boil.
  11. Place steamer baskets on top of the pot. (I put the fish basket on top, so juices could drip down into the basket that just contained the bok choy.)
  12. Steam for approx. 8 minutes, or until fish flakes.
This is what it looked like cooking. The top basket contains the main meal and the bottom basket contains additional bok choy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thai Red Curry Eggplant

Approx. 225 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I was craving something really spicy, so I decided to make eggplant in a Thai red curry sauce. I didn't plan to eat it with rice, so I evaporated off most of the water to make a thick sauce that really coated the vegetables. If you eat it with rice, just leave more water in the sauce.

This recipe only requires 1/4 cup of coconut milk (and a can holds 6X that much), so what do you do with the rest?

I freeze it. I frequently use 1/4 cup increments, so I just pour the coconut milk directly into measuring cups and stick them in the freezer. Once the milk is frozen, I pop it out of the measuring cup, wrap each frozen piece in plastic wrap, and then stick all of them in a plastic bag. I can just pull one out of the freezer each time I need it and drop it directly into the pan (without thawing). The thawed texture is a little off if you are using it in a cold recipe, but it doesn't seem to matter if you are cooking with it.

  • 4 cups baby eggplant (approx. 1/2 lb)
  • 3 cups snap peas (in pods)
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs Thai red curry paste (or to taste)
  • 2 cups water


  1. Chop onion and slice chili pepper.
  2. Cut each baby eggplant in half.
  3. Add 2 cups water to a skillet and bring to boil.
  4. Mix in curry paste.
  5. Add eggplant and cook until tender.
  6. Add yellow onion, snap peas, and coconut milk.
  7. Cook until eggplant is soft and peas are tender.
  8. Add sliced chili peppers. Cook until peppers are warm and water has evaporated off to desired thickness.
  9. Serve alone or with rice.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Market Haul

Today's trip to the Downtown Phoenix Public Market was very fruitful this morning. Citrus is in season, and I loaded up with 9 grapefruit (mixture of pink and white) and 2 lemons. I also brought home 2 pomegranates, 4 lbs of pink lady apples, and 1 lb of granny smith apples. I also bought a couple red chili peppers, beefsteak and heirloom cherry tomatoes, a large bunch of bok choy, a couple of onions, a shallot, a few white, red, and sweet potatoes, snap peas, baby eggplant, broccoli, and a big bunch of rapini. Plus I had a double shot of espresso.....all for under $30. Look for recipes that feature these fine veggies this week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yellow wax beans and tomatoes

Approx. 130 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

One of the farmers at the market had some yellow wax beans, so I had to buy them. I ate the first serving of this recipe warm as a side dish with a piece of grilled chicken. The next day, I ate it as a cold salad for lunch. It was tasty both ways.

  • 1/2 lb yellow wax beans (approx. 3 cups)
  • 1 medium leek (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium tomato (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock

  1. Add minced garlic and oil to a frying pan.
  2. Heat pan until garlic releases scent.
  3. Add leeks and cook until wilted.
  4. Add beans and vegetable stock. Cook until beans are crisp tender.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook until just soft.
  6. Add balsamic vinegar and mix well.
  7. Serve (this is good hot or as a cold salad).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Garlic Rapini

Approx. 110 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I bought a large bunch of rapini (also called broccoli raab or rabe) at the farmer's market this weekend. I usually just saute it in olive oil and garlic, but decided to add the sun dried tomatoes (and cook it without oil). The sun dried tomatoes didn't really add all the much, and next time I make it I will leave them out of the recipe. Cooking in just the water and no oil didn't really make a difference in the taste to me, so I will use this same method to cook it in the future.

  • 1 large bunch rapini (approx. 16 oz.)
  • 6 sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • water (approx. 3/4 cup)

  1. Chop sun dried tomatoes and mince garlic.
  2. Add enough water to cover bottom of a shallow frying pan.
  3. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients except for the vinegar.
  4. Cook until rapini is tender, and the water has evaporated (add small amounts of water as needed until the rapini is tender).
  5. Toss with vinegar before serving.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Minestrone soup

Approx. 210 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 4 servings.

While this recipe isn't quick to make, it is fairly easy. This is just a basic minestrone recipe, but could easily be adjusted for other ingredients, such as adding cooked pasta or meat to the soup.

  • 1 cup mixed dried beans
  • 2 cups Swiss chard
  • 2 cups zucchini
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • approx. 8 cups water
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  1. Soak beans overnight then rinse.
  2. Add beans to a pot of boiling water.
  3. Separate Swiss chard stems from the leaves.
  4. Add the chopped chard stems, chopped onion, and all of the spices to the pot (adjust spices to your taste).
  5. Boil for 30-60 minutes, or until beans are tender.
  6. Add diced zucchini and tomatoes and then simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  7. Add chard leaves and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Beef with snow peas

Approx. 350 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 serving.

I was looking for a quick easy dish that had very little prep work to it. This fit the bill. Just grate a little bit of garlic and ginger, slice some beef and chilis, and toss in a skillet with some snow peas and soy sauce. It doesn't get much easier than that.

  • 4 oz. sirlion steak
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 2 red chili peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbs vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  1. Cut beef into thin strips (on bias, across the grain).
  2. Grate ginger and garlic and then add to a cold pan with oil.
  3. Heat until the spices release their scent and the pan is hot.
  4. Add beef. Quick stir fry the beef.
  5. Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, snow peas and chili peppers.
  6. Cook until the beef is done and the peas are just tender.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shredded beef chili

Approx. 340 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 3 servings.

I had a big piece of steak that I didn't know what to do with, so I decided to use it up by making a crock pot full of chili. This didn't turn out quite as spicy as I had hoped, but it was still pretty good.


  • 8 oz sirloin steak
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper
  • 1 can Ro*tel diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red peppers
  • green onion (for garnish)
  1. Pour 1/3 of the can of tomatoes/chilis into the crock pot.
  2. Add spices and mix well.
  3. Cover with the beef, diced bell peppers, and spinach.
  4. Add drained and rinsed kidney beans.
  5. Cover with the rest of the canned tomatoes/chilis.
  6. Cook 8 or more hours on low heat.
  7. Shred beef with forks before serving.
  8. Garnish with chopped green onions.