Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chicken with Cremini Cream Sauce

  • 4 (6 oz.) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. small cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, pepper and garlic.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  3. Add the mushrooms, scallions, and remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, tossing frequently, until the mushrooms have wilted, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, cream cheese, rosemary and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir until cream cheese melts, about 1 minute.
  5. Return chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and  still juicy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Divide the chicken and sauce evenly among 4 plates and serve hot.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. Whoever says fast food is not good for you has not yet tried this dish. This dish is what I like to call the alternative to fast food or takeout. This chicken dinner is packed with savory flavor and is so good you'll want to serve this whenever you have company for dinner. I loved the combination of cream cheese, chicken broth and rosemary mixed in with chicken and mushrooms. I added garlic to the chicken because garlic always makes everything better. You can always use white wine in place of the chicken broth and your sauce will still be flavorful. When you do have company for dinner, serve this  dish over a plate of noodles for a touch of elegance and flavor. 

Greens with Tomatoes, Herbs, and Toasted Pistachios

  • 2 cups nuts, pistachios, unsalted, shelled
  • 6 ounces salad greens, baby (6 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup  fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Spread pistachios on a baking sheet; toast until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine greens, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and mint. Add oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates, sprinkle with pistachios, and serve.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook. Here is a colorful salad that is quick, easy and filling. It's also perfect to eat on a hot summer day when you don't want to cook. You can use any kind of salad greens such as arugula, spinach, romaine lettuce, etc. and any kind of tomatoes such as baby heirloom, grape or currant tomatoes ad your salad will be delicious. You can  use white vinegar and a drop of lemon juice mixed in with the olive oil in place of the sherry vinegar and the salad dressing will still brighten your taste buds. The pistachios give the salad a nice crunch to it and are packed with minerals.
Recipe Image 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Goat Cheese & Arugula-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • 2 oz. soft reduced-fat goat cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 (6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 bunch arugula (3 oz.), trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
Makes 4 Servings
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the cheese and garlic.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast to form a deep pocket. Stuff each pocket with an equal amount of the cheese mixture and the arugula. Press the edges of the pocket together to seal. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the broth, cover, and simmer for about 6 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through and still juicy. With a slotted spatula transfer to 4 serving plates. Serve hot.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. This is another delicious chicken dinner that's a great way to kick-start your healthy lifestyle. I've had different variations and I must say this was the creamiest version. The goat cheese mixed in with the arugula make this so creamy. You can use spinach or any other mixed greens in this dish and it will still be yummy. You can also add some of your favorite herbs in the cheese mixture such as basil, oregano or parsley to add a little more flavor. You can also use white wine in place of the chicken broth or a combination of wine and broth as well. I highly recommend topping the chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto for an authentic Italian flare. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins

  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. granular sugar substitute
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup light buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp. safflower or canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) raspberries
Makes 12 muffins (1 muffin per serving)
  1. Heat the oven to  375 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the quinoa flakes, flour, sugar substitute, baking powder, lemon zest, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil and egg. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the buttermilk mixture, and fold until just combined. Fold in the raspberries.
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. The people at the South Beach Diet have done it again. These fruity muffins are deliciously filling. These muffins are better than the ones you but at the grocery store and at your local bakery. This was also the first time I cooked with quinoa and it was surprisingly delicious. Quinoa is filled with protein so it will keep you going like the Energizer Bunny. You can also use blueberries or blackberries in place of the raspberries and your muffins will still be delicious.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Whole-Wheat Galette Crust

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking  powder
  • 2 tbsp. almonds, ground
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2-4 tbsp. cold water
Makes 12 Servings
  1. Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, almonds, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or fork until it is in the size of min chocolate chips.
  2. Stir in oil and vinegar. Add just enough cold water to bring the dough together; it will still be a little dry.
  3. Gather dough into a ball and form a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. To roll: Lightly spray 2 half-sheets of parchment paper (12-inches X 14-inches) with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough between the 2 sheets of parchment and roll 1/8-inch thick. To prevent sticking, periodically peel the parchment papers from the dough and then replace dough between them. Once the dough is the desired thickness, remove top sheet, keeping the pie crust on the bottom sheet of parchment paper. Place on a sheet pan for a galette, or flip dough over into a pie pan and peel off the parchment. Gently press into the pie pan. Chill for 30 minutes before baking.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. This is a wonderful recipe to use in any pie recipe you have. There is very little sugar in this pie crust and the combination of whole wheat flour and almonds give it a healthy indulgence you'll forget it's good for you. this pie crust is very fragile. Rolling the pie crust between 2 pieces of parchment paper makes it easier to transfer the pie crust to the baking sheet because it prevents the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Don't over work the dough because the crust will get tough. Add only enough water so the dough comes together. It should barely hold together and not be wet, just sticky.

Peach, Raspberry & Almond Galette

  • 3 cups peaches, washed, seed removed, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 oz. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp. sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 (11-inch) Whole-Wheat Galette Crust (see recipe)
  • 1 tbsp. agave nectar syrup
  • nonstick cooking spray
Makes 12 Servings
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Combine peaches, raspberries, applesauce, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, cornstarch and salt in a bowl.
  3. Lightly spray 2 half sheets of parchment paper (12-inches by 14-inches) with nonstick cooking spray. place pie dough between the 2 sheets of parchment and roll 1/8-inch thick. To prevent sticking, periodically peel the parchment paper from the dough and then replace the dough between them. Once the dough is the desired thickness, remove top sheet, keeping the pie crust on the bottom sheet of parchment paper. Place on a sheet pan.
  4. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon ground almonds in a 10-inch circle on the pie crust. Scoop the fruit mixture into the center of the pie crust, leaving a 1-inch rim around the outside. Be sure to capture all the juice. using the parchment paper, gently fold the 1-inch rim over the edge of the fruit all around the galette. Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon sliced almonds on top.
  5. Bake galette on the bottom rack of an oven for 50 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. The fruit juices should bubble and thicken; the crust should start to lightly brown.
  6. Remove from oven, brush edge of tart with 1 tablespoon agave syrup, and let cool for 20 minutes.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. This is a comforting and colorful dessert. Heck, you can even enjoy this treat for breakfast! This dessert is also healthier than most desserts because there isn't as much sugar as most desserts. Most of the sugar in this dessert is the natural sugar from the fruit. The combination of lemon zest and almonds add a touch of both crunch and zing to the fruity flavors. You can use any kind of summer fruit in this galette dish such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, rhubarb, apricots, nectarines or plums. You can even use pears and apples for a fall dessert in the galette dish but they will have to be peeled and sliced. I highly recommend adding a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or ginger to the fruit mixture because these spices always make your fruity desserts taste better. Serve this rustic dessert at your next dinner party and people will be happy, I guarantee.

Grilled Balsamic Pork Chops with Tomatoes & Feta Cheese

  • 1/2 cup tomato, seeded & chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 boneless, pork loin chops, cut 3/4-inch thick
  • 1 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • fresh oregano (optional)
Makes 4 Servings
  1. In a small bowl, combine tomato parsley, and balsamic vinegar; set aside.
  2. Trim fat from chops. Sprinkle lemon-season, salt, pepper and garlic evenly over both sides of each chop. For a charcoal grill, place chops on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 12-15 minutes or until done (160 F) and juices run clear, turning once halfway through grilling. For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place chops on a grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.
  3. Slice pork chops. Transfer pork to 4 dinner plates. Top chops with feta cheese and tomato mixture. If desired, garnish with oregano.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. This is such nice dinner that is quick and easy and can be served any day of the week. Pork doesn't always have to be bland. Pork can be succulent and delicious when it's cooked with the right flavors. Who knew that pork could be so good with balsamic vinegar and feta cheese. You can also add spinach or romaine lettuce with this dish to make a full salad and it will still be good. You can also use a combination of rosemary, parsley and oregano in this salad for full Mediterranean flavor. You can also use lemon zest in place of the lemon-pepper seasoning as well. I highly recommend seasoning the pork chops with minced garlic because garlic always makes everything taste better.