Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Orzo Chicken Salad

Served cold, this salad is light and full of lime/cilantro flavors.  I changed it up a bit as far as toppings.  Feel free to alter the added vegetables to include your favorite. 

2/3 cup dried orzo pasta
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 cups shredded chicken (recipe called for rotisserie, but I grilled chicken tenders then shredded them)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (my husband doesn't like tomatoes, so I used chopped red bell pepper)
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese (I didn't use since I'm dairy free now)

-  In a medium saucepan, cook orzo pasta according to package directions (about 10 minutes).  Add  corn during the last 1 minute of cooking.  Drain.  Rinse with cold water to cool quickly.  Drain well.
-  In a large bowl, combine orzo mixture, chicken, tomatoes and cilantro.
-  Sprinkle feta cheese.
-  Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
-  To serve, drizzle with Avocado-Lime dressing (see below) or purchased guacamole.

Avocado-Lime Dressing
-  In a blender or food processor, combine:
          1 small avocado (I didn't have one, so used 1 tablespoon of olive oil instead)
          1/3 cup water
          1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
          1/4 cup lime juice
          4 cloves garlic, minced
         1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I didn't use)
         1/4 teaspoon of salt (I didn't use)
-  Cover and blend until processed
-  Transfer to a small bowl and cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours

*I found this recipe in a magazine years ago.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Black Bean Soup

This soup is filled with fresh ingredients and lots of hidden vegetables.  I serve it with tortilla chips.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno pepper
2 can black beans (rinsed)
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I use vegetable broth)
Chopped fresh cilantro
Crumbled feta cheese

In a large soup pot, heat the oil.  Cook the onion, carrot and garlic until soft.  Mix in the cumin and 1 tsp jalapeno.  Add the beans, tomatoes and broth.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Transfer three cups to a blender, puree until smooth and return to the pot.  Simmer a little more until slightly thickened.  Season to taste by adding a little salt (I don't add this), pepper and jalapeno at a time and taste frequently so you aren't surprised.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro and feta cheese.

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

I made this for the first time tonight and had backup food on hand for my family in case they didn't like it.  Well, it was a huge success.  Lots of happy noises coming from around the table.  I served it with tortilla chips (for scooping or crumbling on top) and a green salad on the side.

Power ingredients:  quinoa, black beans, red and orange bell peppers

Here is the link to the recipe:


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

I love these quesadillas!!!  I especially love that they are packed with sweet potatoes and spinach.  They may sound strange, but don't be afraid to try them.  You'll be pleasantly surprised!  (I don't have a source for this one.  I cut it out of a magazine years ago.)

Prep:  20 minutes
Cook:  27 minutes

1 - 15 oz can navy beans, rinsed and drained (I use white beans)
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 small fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp ground ancho chile pepper (I don't use this)
12 oz sweet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped (I use one large sweet potato)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
4 - 10 inch four tortillas
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped baby spinach
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1.  In a medium bowl combine beans, 1/4 cup of the cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, and chile pepper.

2.  In a medium saucepan cook sweet potato in boiling water, covered, for about 15 minutes or until tender.  Remove from heat; drain.  Return potatoes to saucepan and coarsely mash.  Stir in cumin.

3.  Spread sweet potato mixture over half of each tortilla.  Top each with bean mixture, spinach, green onions, and cheese.  Fold each tortilla in half over the filling, pressing gently.

4.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook quesadillas, 2 at a time, for 6 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once halfway through.  Repeat with remaining quesadillas.  Cut into wedges.  

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta with Light Creamy Lemon Basil Sauce

I usually avoid recipes that have cream cheese in the sauce, but I'm glad I tried this one.  The zucchini ribbons blended into the pasta so well that it was hard to remember they were in there.  The lemon and basil combo was delicious.  This recipe is from one of my favorite cooking websites - ourbestbites.com


Chick-en Nuggets

These "chick-en" nuggets are actually made out of garbanzo beans instead of chicken.  It's a great way to introduce more beans into your diet.  My husband and I love them, but the kids were hesitant.  You can try leaving out the cumin to make them more kid-friendly.

Here is the link to the recipe:

Popcorn Balls

The real name for the recipe says it all:  Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cranberry Popcorn Balls

I will use more peanut butter or agave next time as the balls fell apart a little, though no one seemed to mind as they tasted so delicious!

Here is the link to the recipe: