Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stuffed red peppers appetizer

Approx. 45 Calories per piece. Recipe makes 12 pieces.

I had plans to go to a BBQ and meet some of the friends that I had made online through my dogs' blog. I volunteered to bring appetizers, since they were planning to grill steaks, make a salad, etc. At the market yesterday, I saw the arugula flowers, these cute little peppers, and the farmer's cheese, and knew that they would find their way into an appetizer. This is one of the two that I decided to make. I will post the other recipe tomorrow.

  • 12 small red peppers (Hungarian sweet peppers)
  • 4 oz soft whole milk farmer's cheese (I used Rainbow Valley's)
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5 sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 oz white wine
  • arugula flowers for garnish
  1. Remove tops and seeds from the peppers.
  2. Grill until tender (I used my George Foreman grill).
  3. Soak sundried tomatoes in white wine to soften (approx. 15 minutes). Then dice into small pieces.
  4. Chop spinach and grate garlic.
  5. To a skillet, add olive oil, garlic, and sundried tomatoes (reserve any soaking wine).
  6. Stir fry 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add spinach and reserved wine.
  8. Cook until spinach is tender.
  9. Allow mixture to cool and then mix with room temperature cheese.
  10. Stuff the mixture into the red peppers.
  11. Garnish with arugula flowers.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Market Haul

Here's what I picked up today at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market:
1 bulb of fennel, 2 turnips, 2 carrots, 1 bunch of watermelon radishes, 1 bulb of garlic, 1 leek, a bunch of green onions, 6 oranges, 2 blood oranges, 4 grapefruit, 3 lbs pink lady apples, 1 bunch cilantro, 3 cucumbers, 1 butternut squash, swiss chard, snap peas, Brussels sprouts, vine and heirloom cherry tomatoes, 2 yellow banana peppers, 14 red Hungarian sweet peppers, a bag of arugula flowers, a bag of spinach, Romanesco broccoli, fresh farmer's cheese, and a nice piece of frozen halibut.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vegetable Medly Saute

Approx. 135 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 3 (large) servings.

I got a bit carried away with the vegetables tonight. I couldn't decide what I wanted to eat, so I tossed a little bit (ok, a LOT) of everything together. This was really tasty. I ate two servings as my entire meal (and was very full). If you are serving this with just a piece of meat, this probably makes 3 good sized servings. If it is part of a larger meal, this recipe is big enough for 6 side dish servings. The picture shows 1/3 of the completed dish.

As the vegetables sauteed, I added a little bit of water at a time. I added just enough to keep the vegetables moist and "steam" them, but not enough for them to really sit in water.

  • 1 large leek (approx. 1 1/3 cup)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (approx. 3 cups)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot (approx. 2 cups)
  • 2 banana chili peppers (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

  1. Wash and chop vegetables. I cut the cherry tomatoes in half and julienned the carrots. I also separated the chard leaves and stems.
  2. Grate the garlic and add to the oil.
  3. Add the chili peppers (I left the seeds in).
  4. Saute for about 1 minute, then add the leeks.
  5. Saute for about 1 minute, and then add the carrots, chard stems, and a little bit of the water.
  6. Saute for about 1 minute and then add the chard leaves (and more water as needed).
  7. Saute for about 2 minutes and add the tomatoes.
  8. Cook until the tomatoes are warm and just starting to soften.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fish and turnips in enchilada sauce

Approx. 325 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 serving.

The curried turnip dish was so easy to make, that I decided to make something else that was easy using the turnips. I thought about making turnips in a Thai red curry, but that wasn't really the flavor I wanted. Then I saw the can of enchilada sauce in the cupboard. Bingo!

Since everything was cooked in the enchilada sauce, this is the predominant flavor. Make sure you get a sauce that you really like. The cilantro really added to this dish and added dimension to the flavor. If you don't like cilantro, add green onions or something to help break up the enchilada sauce flavor.

  • 4 oz halibut (or other firm white fish)
  • 2 medium turnips (approx. 2 cups)
  • greens from 2 medium turnips (approx. 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup red enchilada sauce (I used Hatch brand)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • cilantro (for garnish)

  1. Wash and chop turnips and greens.
  2. Add turnips, enchilada sauce, and water to a skillet.
  3. Bring to a boil and cook until turnips are almost tender.
  4. Add greens and mix well.
  5. Add fish and cover with the sauce.
  6. Cook approx. 5 minutes or until fish is done and flakes.
  7. Serve and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chicken and Root Vegetable Soup

Approx. 190 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 3 servings.

I was going to make this soup in the crock pot, but didn't get around to putting it together on Thursday night and didn't have enough time to wash and chop the veggies before work on Friday morning. I'm glad I didn't, since the turnips would have gotten really mushy if they had cooked all day.

I initially debated whether to post this recipe. The pumpkin colored and thickened the broth, but didn't add much to the flavor. The soup tasted ok, but it probably wasn't something that I was going to make again. My mind changed though after eating the leftovers for lunch today. After the soup sat in the fridge overnight, the flavors really blended together and it tasted so much better as a leftover than it did fresh out of the pot. I could taste the pumpkin, the turnips, and the sweet potato, and they had all soaked up the garlic and red pepper flavors. If you decide to make this, you might want to either let it simmer for a lot longer than I did, or just toss it in the fridge and plan to serve it as leftovers.

  • 1 cup sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup turnips
  • 1 leek (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 cup mushrooms (I used portabella)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 7 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 6-8 cups water

  1. Wash and chop all vegetables; dice chicken.
  2. Add sweet potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Cook for approx. 4 minutes.
  3. Add chicken and spices to the pot. Cook until chicken is cooked all the way through.
  4. Add remaining ingredients. Cook until sweet potatoes and turnips are tender.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Halibut, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad

Approx. 425 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 serving.

The weather has been sunny and reasonably warm lately, so I decided to take a break from the hearty winter dishes and make this lighter summery type of salad. I really like the combination of the sweet fish, the tart grapefruit, and the rich creamy avocado mixed together.

  • 4 oz halibut (or other firm white fish)
  • 1 large grapefruit
  • 1/2 small avocado
  • cilantro (about 2 sprigs)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • black pepper, to taste

  1. Remove peel and white membrane from grapefruit and cut into segments, saving the juice.
  2. Chop cilantro and mix with grapefruit.
  3. Cut avocado in half, and peel one half of it. Then cut into thin slices. Add to grapefruit and gently toss to coat with the juice.
  4. Rinse halibut and pat dry, then sprinkle with black pepper.
  5. Add fish to a skillet with hot oil.
  6. Cook approx. 4 minutes and then flip.
  7. After flipping the fish, add water and the reserved grapefruit juice to the skillet.
  8. Cook approx. 4 minutes or until fish is done and flakes.
  9. Place spinach and lettuce on a plate.
  10. Add cooked fish.
  11. Add grapefruit avocado mixture (I arranged around the edges, you you could just pour on top).
  12. Drizzle any remaining juice over the lettuce.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Purple cauliflower and potato soup

Approx. 250 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 (large) serving.

I've been fighting a bad cold and thought a nice hot bowl of soup would make me feel better. I still had half the purple cauliflower, so I decided to make a festive purple soup. I actually thought it would turn out a bit deeper purple than it did, but I have no complaints. You can use regular cauliflower for this recipe too, but the soup will be beige instead of light purple.

This recipe makes one extremely filling serving if this is your entire meal. Divide it into two servings if you plan to eat it as an appetizer or side dish.

  • 1 medium white potato (1 cup)
  • 2 cups purple cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • green onions for garnish
  • water (approx. 3 cups)

  1. Dice potato (I left the skin on) and onion. Cut cauliflower into small bite sized pieces.
  2. Add potatoes, onion, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder to a pot and cover with water.
  3. Boil for 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Add cauliflower and cook until tender.
  5. Blend until smooth (I used an immersion blender).
  6. Garnish with sliced green onions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Curried turnips

Approx. 140 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I love that my neighborhood is filled with delicious smells almost every night as I walk the dogs. Some nights it's steaks or burgers on a grill, other nights I can spell enchiladas, and tonight, I smelled a delicious curry as I was walked the dogs past the Sikh Gurdwara. Of course, that made me totally crave curry tonight. I actually thought about getting Indian take out, but then decided to try making a curry dish using some of the turnips that I have. It really hit the spot. I had planned to eat the leftovers tomorrow, but they didn't last the night.

  • 3 cups turnips
  • 5 Roma or plum tomatoes (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup green onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • 2 Tbs grated ginger
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

  1. Dice turnips and tomatoes, slice the green onions.
  2. Grate garlic and ginger.
  3. Add to a skillet with the oil and heat.
  4. Add turnips and coat with curry, garlic, ginger mixture.
  5. Add water and tomatoes.
  6. Cook down until tomatoes are soft and turnips are tender. (Add more water if needed.)
  7. Right before serving, add green onions and mix well.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sauteed Purple Cauliflower

Approx. 95 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

Do you love the Phoenix Suns or LSU Tigers? If so, show your love for your team this Valentine's Day by making this tasty side dish in your team's colors.

I bought some purple cauliflower yesterday, and decided to make something that wouldn't compete with the lovely color. I was going to make grilled chicken to go with it, but ended up eating both servings as my main dish instead. It was quite tasty and filling. I still have half the cauliflower left, so I will need to think of a second way to use it.

Now..... where's an LSU alumni potluck when you need it?

  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower (I used purple, but you really could use regular or any of the heirloom colors)
  • 1/2 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 1 shallot (approx. 1/8 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

  1. Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces.
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters.
  3. Dice shallot and grate garlic.
  4. Add shallot, garlic, pepper flakes, and oil to a skillet.
  5. Heat until shallot softens.
  6. Add water and cauliflower.
  7. Cook until cauliflower is tender and water evaporates.
  8. Add tomatoes.
  9. Cook until tomatoes soften.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Market Haul

I developed a nasty head cold yesterday, and had to force myself out of bed this morning to brave the chilly Phoenix weather (it was only 50 degrees!!) and go to the market this morning. Once I was there, I was overwhelmed with too many choices of things to buy. That's when I remembered the maxim, "feed a cold, starve a fever". Since I have a cold, I decided to feed it this week.

Here's what I picked up today for about $30.
1 bulb of fennel, 2 white potatoes, 4 turnips, 1 carrot, 2 onions, 6 tangelos, 1 lemon, 6 lbs pink lady apples, 1 leek, 1 bunch green onions, 1 bunch cilantro, 2 cucumbers, 1 butternut squash, 1 acorn squash, romain lettuce, swiss chard, snow peas, Brussels sprouts, Roma and heirloom cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and a purple cauliflower.

I'd love suggestions on how to cook the purple cauliflower (does the color bleed into other foods?).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cherry Chicken Acorn Squash

Approx. 250 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 2 servings.

I bought an acorn squash a couple of weeks ago that I hadn't got around to eating yet. I decided that I better use it up before going to the market tomorrow. I thought about just cooking it and eating it with a bit of butter and pepper, but then decided that I wanted to stuff it with something sweet and savory. Based on the limited assortment of stuff in the fridge, this is what I came up with. I enjoyed the taste of it, but the chicken got a bit discolored because of the cherries.

  • 1 medium acorn squash (4" diameter)
  • 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 cup mushrooms (I used portabella)
  • 1/3 cup sweet cherries (I used frozen and didn't bother to thaw them)
  • 1/8 cup dried bing cherries
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

  1. Cut squash in half and remove seeds/strings.
  2. Poke skin several times with a fork, cover with a wet paper towel, and then microwave on high for 5-6 minutes, or until tender (you could also bake it in the oven if you prefer).
  3. While squash is cooking, chop cherries, spinach, mushrooms, and chicken.
  4. Add oil and chicken to a skillet. Cook until chicken is cooked all the way through.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients and cook until spinach and mushrooms are soft.
  6. Fill cooked squash halves with the chicken, cherry, spinach mixture.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Swiss chard with beans and tomatoes

Approx. 200 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 3 servings.

Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens (along with spinach) to cook. Often, I just saute it with a little garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes, but every now and then I like to dress it up a little and toss in a few other veggies or some meat. Tonight, I decided that garbanzo beans would round this out from a tasty side dish and into a main dish.

This dish is just as tasty cold as it is warm. I filled a container full of mixed greens and then added a serving of the leftovers on top and just a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I can't wait to eat my yummy salad during lunch tomorrow.

  • 3 cups Swiss chard leaves
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 onion (approx. 2/3 cup)
  • 4 Roma or plum tomatoes (approx. 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

  1. Wash and chop the chard (I didn't include the stems this time)
  2. Dice the onion and tomatoes.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans.
  4. Grate the garlic into a skillet with the oil.
  5. Heat the oil and add the onions and red pepper flakes.
  6. Cook until the onions soften.
  7. Add the chard, water, and tomatoes.
  8. Cook until the chard is tender and the liquid has evaporated off.
  9. Add the beans and mix well. Cook until the beans are hot all the way through.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Carrots and broccoli with gingered soy sauce

Approx. 120 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 serving.

I found more bolted broccoli with flowers at the market this week. I was feeling a bit uninspired and decided to just make a simple quick dish for dinner. I used my julienne peeler on the carrots so they would cook quickly and cooked using a shallow pan boil/steam. This recipe is big enough for one large main dish serving or could be divided into two servings if eating it as a side dish.

  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 2/3 cup carrots
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 2 Tbs grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup water

  1. Add water, ginger, and soy sauce to a skillet and bring to a boil.
  2. Add carrots and broccoli.
  3. Cook on high, stirring frequently until vegetables are tender and liquid evaporates off.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Brussels sprouts and tomato salad.

Approx. 120 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 serving.

I love Brussels sprouts. I love the color, I love the shape, I love the yummy taste of little cabbage goodness. Usually I eat them hot, often with just a drizzle of olive oil or just a little dab of butter.... or with Parmesan cheese. I decided to try something different and eat them cold in a salad. This made the perfect light lunch today.

  • 1 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts
  • 3 Roma or plum tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 dashes dried oregano
  • 1-2 dashes dried basil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste.

  1. Mix vinegar and spices together (you could add a bit of oil too if you want).
  2. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and cook until just tender.
  3. Run under cold water to cool down.
  4. Add to the vinegar mixture.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and mix together.
  6. Cool the salad for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator so everything is cold and the flavors can blend.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fennel Broccoli Salad

Approx. 120 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 serving.

I know a lot of people don't like to eat broccoli once it bolts and starts to flower, but I love it. I love the long spindly stems and the taste of the flower buds, although sometimes the pollen can give a bit of a gritty texture. So, when I saw this broccoli at the farmer's market, I snapped it up. I used raw broccoli for this salad, but you could easily blanch it if you like it a bit more tender.

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 Roma or plum tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup fennel
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper, to taste

  1. Remove outer layer (if tough) and core of fennel and then chop.
  2. Chop tomatoes and cut broccoli into bite sized pieces.
  3. Mix all the vegetables together.
  4. Add vinegar and season with freshly ground pepper.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Potato Dill Soup

Approx. 220 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 3 servings.

While the fish with dill potatoes dish was quite tasty, I still craved potato dill soup. I had lots of dill, so I made a big pot of soup!

  • 3 1/2 cups red potatoes
  • 1 cup onion
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • water
  • 12 sprigs dill (approx. 1/8th cup)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Wash and cube potatoes (I left the skin on).
  2. Dice onions.
  3. Add to a pot and cover with water.
  4. Boil until potatoes are soft.
  5. Remove from heat and blend (I used an immersion blender and left a few chunks for texture).
  6. Chop dill and mix in, leaving a little bit to garnish the top.
  7. Add butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dill Halibut and Potatoes

Approx. 340 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 1 serving.

I couldn't really decide what I wanted for dinner tonight. I thought about making a potato dill soup but I had some fish that I needed to use (so I didn't have to refreeze it). But I really wanted potato dill soup. That's when it hit me that I really just wanted the flavors of potato and dill together, and decided that the fish would work with it. I had planned to add a little pat of butter to it, but decided that butter wasn't needed after I tasted it. Because the potato slices were so thin, this dish had a very light taste to it, even though it was quite hardy.

I don't have much counter space, and most of my cupboards are filled with martini glasses and booze, so I don't have lots of space for kitchen appliances. As a result, my kitchen is pretty low tech. I just used a cheapo box grater to slice the potatoes and to grate the lemon zest (mine doesn't even have the fancy bottom that catches the stuff).


  • 3 oz halibut
  • 2 small red potatoes (approx. 1 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 5-6 sprigs of dill
  • water (approx. 2 cups)


  1. Wash potatoes and cut into thin slices.
  2. Grate zest from lemon.
  3. Chop dill, removing any woody stems.
  4. Add water, half the dill, and potato slices to a skillet.
  5. Heat until potatoes are tender but not completely cooked (approx. 3 minutes).
  6. Add the fish and squeeze the juice from the lemon on top.
  7. Cook for about 2 minutes and then flip.
  8. Cover the fish and potatoes with more dill and continue cooking until the fish flakes and is cooked all the way through (about 2 more minutes).
  9. Serve and garnish with the lemon zest and remaining dill.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Skillet ground chicken chili

Approx. 250 Calories per serving. Recipe makes 3 servings.

I was going to make chili in the crock pot this morning so that it would be done and ready for dinner when I got home from work tonight. I usually assemble everything the night before and didn't, and I was running a little late this morning and didn't have time. I needed to use up the ground chicken, so I made a quick skillet chili for dinner instead. The flavors aren't as blended together as they would be if it simmered all day, but it was still quite tasty, and I actually liked the non-soggy jalapeno slices in it.

  • 4 oz ground chicken breast (you could also use turkey, beef, etc.)
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 4 Roma or plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  1. Dice onion and tomatoes.
  2. Slice jalapeno (leave seeds in if you want it spicy).
  3. Add oil to a skillet and heat.
  4. Add ground chicken, onions, and spices.
  5. Cook until well blended and chicken is cooked all the way through.
  6. Drain and rinse the can of beans.
  7. Add the jalapeno slices, tomatoes, and the beans.
  8. Heat until the tomatoes are soft and the beans are hot all the way through.