Monday, October 20, 2014

Risotto with Swiss Chard

  • 3 1/2 cups Basic Vegetable Stock or reduced-vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups Aborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 
Makes 4 Servings (1 1/2 cups per serving)
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Saute the onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice; cook, stirring until transluscent, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 1 cup of the stock; cook, stirring, until the stock is absorbed. Add the wine; cook, stirring; until the wine is absorbed. Stir in a handful of the chard. Alternate adding the remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, with the chard, a handful at a time, stirring until the stock is absorbed before adding more, until the rice and chard are just tender. The total cooking time should be about 25-30 minutes. Stir in the cheese, pepper, and nutmeg. Serve at once.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW New Complete Cookbook. Risotto is the ultimate comfort food of Northern Italy. This is a wonderful dish to make on the weekend and serve to family and friends. I highly recommend using 2-3 cloves of minced garlic in your risotto because garlic always makes everything taste better. You can serve this as a main meal or as a side dish. You can serve this with seasoned proteins such as chicken, turkey, or fish. You can also use escarole, kale or spinach in place of the Swiss chard and your dish will still taste good. Also, if you want to serve this dish to kids, you can use vegetable stock in place of the wine for a more vegetarian flare.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Savory Egg Salad Sandwiches

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 4 large green olives,  chopped (optional)
  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices whole-grain bread, toasted (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups baby arugula
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let eggs sit for 20 minutes. Drain and places eggs in a bowl filled with ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel eggs.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash 5 whole eggs and 3 egg whites together with the salt and pepper; stir to combine. Cover bread slices, if using, with arugula, top with egg salad, and serve open face.
WW POINTS VALUE: 6 pts with bread, 5 pts. without bread
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook. Who says you can't enjoy summer cooking all year round? If you love deviled eggs, you will love this egg salad. I like to call this dish 'Deviled Eggs Get Messy.' Although the recipe calls for you to use all the egg whites and reserve 3 egg yolks, use all the eggs because it  makes the salad much creamier. I added a touch of freshly ground black pepper because salt and pepper always make the food taste better. You can enjoy this egg salad on its own with out the bread or arugula it is that delicious. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cod with Artichokes and Basil

  • 1 1/2 lbs. cod filets
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp.. dried basil
  • 10 oz. marinated artichoke hearts (about 12 pieces) + 1 tbsp. liquid from jar
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Heat the oven to 450 F.
  2. Place cod in an ovenproof dish, brush with oil, sprinkle with basil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange artichoke hearts around fish and drizzle with artichoke liquid.
  3. Bake until fish is opaque and just flakes with a fork, 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook. If you're thinking about ordering takeout or going out for fast food, STOP!!!! You can make this dinner in 20-30 minutes any day of the week. Artichokes are an excellent source of fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, folate, and Vitamin C. I highly recommend adding a touch of fresh lemon juice and garlic to the fish because the combination of lemon, basil and garlic on fish is so divine. Also, don't oversalt the fish because it came from the ocean and already has a salty taste to it. You can use other fish in this recipe such as halibut, haddock, snapper, pollock or turbot and it will still be delicious. I highly recommend using Basil, Lemon or Garlic Infused Olive Oil  from the Imperial Olive for more bursting flavor. For more information, visit

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sicilian-Style Beef Flank Steak

  • 1 lb. boneless beef  flank steak, cut 1-inch thick
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
  • 1 tbsp.capers, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp.fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped 
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Trim fat from meat. Season meat with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add meat, cook for 8-10 minutes or until browned, turning once. Remove meat from skillet.
  3. In the same skillet, cook celery over medium-low heat about 4 minutes or just until tender. Add garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper; sauté 1 minute until aromatic. Stir in tomatoes, olives and capers. Bring to boiling; reduce heat Simmer, uncovered, until liquid begins to thicken. Return meat and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness (135 F for medium-rare or 140 F for medium).
  4. To serve, remove meat from tomato mixture; cut into thin slices. Stir parsley into tomato mixture in skillet; serve over meat.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. You can enjoy the flavors of  Sicily in your home without going out to a fancy Italian restaurant. This meal is even tastier than what you would get at a steakhouse. This meal is bursting with flavor with the tomatoes, capers and olives. I highly recommend using fresh tomatoes because fresh tomatoes are always better than canned tomatoes. You can also use sirloin steak, pork chops, pork tenderloin, or boneless chicken breasts and your dish will still be delish. I highly recommend using Garlic Infused Olive Oil from the Imperial Olive  for a more authentic Italian flare. For more information, visit

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bistro Chicken & Garlic

  • 1 blub garlic
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white whine or dry vermouth
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Separate cloves and garlic, discarding small papery cloves in the center. Trim off stem end of each garlic clove but do not peel. (This will facilitate squeezing garlic from peel after it is cooked.)
  2. In an oven proof skillet, heat olive oil aver medium-high heat. Add garlic cloves and chicken. Cook about 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, turning chicken and stirring garlic cloves. Sprinkle chicken with basil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; transfer skillet to the oven. Bake, covered, for 12-15 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink and garlic is tender.
  3. Using a slotted spatula, transfer chicken to a serving platter, reserving juices in skillet; cover and keep warm. Transfer garlic cloves to a small bowl; set aside for 1-2 minutes to cool slightly.
  4. add vermouth or white wine to skillet. Squeeze softened garlic from skins to skillet; discard skins. On range top, bring garlic mixture to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat. Simmer gently, uncovered, about 6 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly, stirring frequently. Pour garlic sauce over chicken. If desired, garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. This is what I like to call French Bistro at it's best. Who says you have to go out for really good bistro food when you can enjoy it at home? There's nothing like roasted garlic on chicken, beef, or pork. The combination of roasted garlic and dry white wine is so heavenly. I really like the sauce with the herb-crusted chicken. Garlic is a strong herb with a rich history. Ancient Egyptians ate it for strength while medieval healers believed it could scare off vampires. In today's world, garlic is recommended to fight off cancer with the antioxidant allicin. Other health benefits of garlic include reducing blood pressure and improving cholesterol. This dinner can be enjoyed any day of the week and will quickly fill you up and leave you happy. I highly recommend using Garlic or Rosemary Infused Olive Oil from the Imperial Olive for an authentic bistro taste. For more information, visit 

Broccoli with Goat Cheese & Walnuts

  • 1 lb. broccoli, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 oz. semisoft goat cheese or feta chees, crumbled
Makes 6 Servings
  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon salt; bring back to a boil and add broccoli. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, parsley, mustard, olive oil, thyme, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Add the broccoli and red onion; stir gently to coat. Top with walnuts and goat cheese.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. I really love broccoli and this side dish is delicious and packed with flavor. You can also add bell peppers or cherry tomatoes in place of or along with the broccoli and the side dish will still be colorful and delicious. You can prepare this dish ahead of time by doing all the things except do not top with walnuts and goat cheese. Cover and chill for up to 4 hours. When ready to serve, top with walnuts and goat cheese. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Almond Chocolate Biscotti

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup almonds, slivered & toasted
  • 1/4 cup mini-dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 4 tbsp. plain non-fat yogurt
  • parchment paper
Makes 3 dozen cookies (2 cookies per serving)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add almonds and chocolate chips.
  3. In a mixer using a paddle or with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, egg white, vanilla and almond extract, beating well after each addition. Pour half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, mixing well. Add yogurt and stir; then add remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Divide dough into 3 logs, each 6 1/2 inches long by 2 inches wide. Place on the parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool for a few minutes.
  5. Transfer to a cutting board, removing them from the parchment with a large metal spatula if necessary. Using a serrated knife, trim 1/4-inch of end; then cut the logs crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet, arranging them cut side down.
  6. Bake until the biscotti are golden brown and dry, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. They will crisp up as they dry. Store in an airtight container.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. Biscotti is a twice baked cookie that hails from Italy. Baking cookies twice gives them a nice, crunchy texture. The combination of almonds and chocolate is a heavenly guilty pleasure that can be good for you when it's done right. This was my first time making biscotti and the end result was a success. They were crunchy yet chewy due to the yogurt, egg, egg white and chocolate chips. You can use regular chocolate chips if you don't have mini chocolate chips; just chop them up with a knife or in a food processor. You'll have more chocolate flavor in your biscotti if you chop up the chips. You can also use pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts or cashews in this recipe as well as dried fruits in this recipe for your taste buds to try out. Biscotti goes great with tea, coffee or a glass of port for dessert and are perfect for any holiday celebration.