Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Smoked Trout Salad in Cherry Tomato Cups

  • 1/4 lb. smoked trout
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 30 large cherry tomatoes
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish (optional)
Makes 10 (3-piece) Servings
  1. Place trout in a medium bowl and break up into small pieces with a fork. Add sour cream, lemon juice, and chives; stir to combine. Season generously with pepper.
  2. Using a serrated knife, cut 1/8 inch off the stem end of each tomato and a tiny bit off the bottom so the tomatoes will stand. Remove the seeds using a small melon baller. Fill each hallow tomato with a generous 1/2 teaspoon of the trout salad. Sprinkle each with a few chives, if using, and serve.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook. Here are some elegant Phase 1 Hors d' Oeuvres to serve at a party or even as a light snack. The smoked trout salad can be made up to 1 day in advance, refrigerated in a covered container and be brought to room temperature before using. These little treats look and taste festive and they are easy to eat.

Grilled Shrimp on Rosemary Skewers

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 30 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 10 rosemary sprigs, at least 8 inches long, with thick, woody stems
  • salt
Makes 10 Servings
  1. Whisk together oil, garlic, lemon juice, zest, pepper and chopped rosemary in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. With 3 marinated shrimp around each rosemary sprig, leaving at least 1/4 inch between shrimp for even cooking. Season lightly with salt. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill shrimp, brushing with any leftover marinade, until cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Discard any remaining marinade. Transfer shrimp on skewers onto a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook. You can have your party, party food and eat it too. These shrimp can be marinated 1 hour in advance or overnight in the refrigerator in a resealable plastic bag. The longer the shrimp is marinated, the more flavorful they will be. The rosemary skewers make these shrimp look elegant when they're set on a pretty plate. The combination of olive oil, garlic, lemon and herbs marinated and cooked on fish or shellfish is so deliciously aromatic. I highly recommend using Lemon, Garlic or Rosemary Infused Olive Oil from the Imperial Olive for more flavorful shrimp. For more information, visit www.TheImperialOlive.Com.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Plum Phyllo Pouches

  • 6 medium plums, black-skinned
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 9 sheets phyllo dough
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter                                                                                                       
Make 12 Servings (1 per serving)
  1. Slice plums in half, remove pits and then slice each plum half into four slices each. Combine plums with cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl; toss to coat and set aside for several minutes until plums weep (start to give off juice).
  2. Place plum mixture in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer plums gently until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes; remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush bottoms and sides of a 12-hole muffin tin with a small amount of melted butter; set aside.
  4. Place sheets of phyllo dough in a single stack. Cut the stack of dough into four equal-sized rectangles. Immediately cover phyllo tightly with a piece of plastic wrap and then place a damp dish towel over plastic wrap. Keep phyllo covered until you are ready to use it (make sure to cover it back up between each use).
  5. Use three rectangles of phyllo dough to make each tart as follows (take only 1 rectangle out at a time): Working with one rectangle of phyllo dough at a time, brush one side with melted butter. Place a second rectangle of phyllo dough on top of the first one in a cross-wise manner; brush top with melted butter. Place a third rectangle of phyllo dough on top of the second piece so you are forming a six-pointed star; brush with melted butter.
  6. Place the phyllo star in a hole of prepared muffin tin allowing the edges to fall out over the top of the hole; fill with four pieces of plum and a little sauce. Pinch the sides of the phyllo dough together to loosely close pouch. Repeat until all 12 pouches are made.
  7. Bake until top turns golden and fruit begins to bubble, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature
Note: This recipe appears on These individual desserts highlight one of summer's most delicious fruits. When the weather is cool enough, turn on the stove and oven to make these elegant desserts. I added nutmeg and a touch of vanilla to this dessert because a little touch of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla go a long way and add great taste. Use a soup spoon to lift each pouch from the muffin tin to a plate so you don’t rip the phyllo. You can use plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots and even cherries in this dessert and it will still be delicious. Serve this dish for dessert when you have company for dinner and maybe add a touch of vanilla gelato or yogurt or even crème frache to make it more elegant.
Plum Phyllo Pouches 

Chili-Rubbed Flank Steak with Sweet Onion Relish

  • 1 1 /2 lbs. flank steak
  • 7 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium sweet onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Heat the broiler
  2. Rub both sides of the steak with 2 teaspoons of the lime juice. Sprinkle both sides with 2 teaspoons of the chili powder and rub it in. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Let sit while you make the onion relish.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the onion, cilantro, remaining 5 teaspoons lime juice and remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (add more chili powder to taste if you'd like).
  4. Broil the steak 6 inches from the heat for about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes before thinly slicing at an angle before the grain.
  5. Divide the steak and onion relish evenly among 4 plates and serve warm.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. This Phase 1 dinner is another great way to kick-start your healthy lifestyle. This steak is full of heat and flavor and the onion relish will cool your taste buds. If the weather is nice, I highly recommend grilling your steak because steak tastes just as good grilled as it does broiled. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summer Breakfast Strata

  • nonstick olive oil cooking spray
  • 6 slices whole-grain bread
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sautéed mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sautéed zucchini
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 slices Canadian bacon, cut into thin strips, or 1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Makes 6 Servings
  1. Lightly coat a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the dish with bread slices, cutting to fit.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, scallions, cream cheese, salt and pepper until well mixed. Pour eggs evenly over bread. Sprinkle with bacon or ham. top with tomato slices and cheese. Cover and refrigerate 4-24 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. 
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. This is a great dish to make on the weekend and, if you're lucky, enjoy it throughout the week. Strata means layers and this dish has plenty of them. This particular strata is loaded with vegetables, eggs and cheese and it's very colorful. It may look messy but it's really delicious and will leave you filled.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Indian Spiced Grilled Chicken

  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4  tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 10 (6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Makes 10 (6 oz.) Servings
  1.  Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, garam masala, paprika, salt, black pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Divide mixture between 2 large resealable plastic bags. Place 5 chicken breasts in each bag, seal bags and turn to coat chicken with marinade. Lay bags flat in the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or over night.
  2. Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Remove chicken from bags. Brush grill with oil and grill chicken until cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Serve warm.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook. Here's another dish that is a great way to kick-start your healthy lifestyle. Indian food has its share of spices and can be flavorful. Garam masala is a classic Indian spice mixture that means hot spices. Garam Masala is a blend of spices that are common in Northern Indian and South Asian cuisines and contains ground black or white peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cardamom, cumin, dried chiles, fennel, mace and nutmeg. You can find this in the spice section of your supermarket or make your own variation. This version of grilled chicken is so juicy and succulent it will leave you filled up and satisfied. 

Grilled Vegetable Skewers

  • 4 medium zucchini (about 2 lbs.) cut into 40 (3/4-inch) pieces
  • 20 button mushrooms
  • 2 medium yellow summer squash (about 1 lb.) cut into 20 (3/4-inch) pieces
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4. tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges
Makes 10 (2 skewer) Servings
  1. Alternating the vegetables, thread 1 piece of zucchini, 1 mushroom, 1 pieces of summer squash, and another piece of zucchini onto each of 20 (6-inch) skewers. Place skewers in a single layer on a baking dish.
  2. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour marinade over vegetable skewers. Marinate 30 minutes at room temperature or overnight , covered, in the refrigerator, turning several times.
  3. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill vegetable skewers, turning several times, or until vegetables are cooked and lightly charred, about 8 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook. Who does not love shish kebabs? Anytime the weather is warm, I love to grill, Baby, grill. Grilling vegetables is so much fun and the end result is delicious. The combination of lemon juice, olive oil and garlic is so heavenly delicious and it smells nice when you're cooking something. I highly recommend Lemon or Garlic Infused Olive Oil from the Imperial Olive. For more information, visit