Archive for the ‘Foo’s Cookin’’ Category

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Zucchini Patties with Dill Dip

August 11, 2010

I finally spent some time in the kitchen last night. It made for a very late workout, but I enjoyed cooking and pretty much destroyed every flat service with prep bowls, spoons, bowls, measuring cups, etc. Hmm, really wasn’t missing that part, hah!

Earlier this Summer I picked up Taste of Home’s Summer Appetizers Magazine while waiting in line at the grocery store. $9.99, ouch – but I did mark about 5 or 6 recipes, so that’s not too bad. I found a recipe for Zucchini Patties with Dill Dip and made some slight changes and was good to go.

I bought a bunch of zucchini for my slicer, but also wanted to try something different. I had picked up some yellow squash at the produce ranch I visited last weekend and wanted to use that as well.

Dill Dip Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Dill
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to Taste – I would say at least an 1/8 of a teaspoon for each

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. ( The fresh dill smelled awesome).

Ingredients for the Patties:

2.5 Cups Shredded Zucchini – I did a combo of zucchini and yellow squash
1 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs – I used Trader Joe’s Organic
1 Teaspoon Seafood Seasoning – I used Old Bay
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Eggs,  lightly beaten – the recipe only called for 1, definitely needs two.
2 Tablespoons Butter – melted
1 Large Carrot – thought I would need 2, but 1 was plenty
1/4 Cup finely chopped onion – left my onion a little chunkier – used a white onion
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Canola Oil

I got everything prepped on my lunch hour.

I got the zucchini and squash washed, shredded and then I removed the excess liquid by squeezing the shredded pieces between paper towels.

I got my carrots and onions chopped and to be honest, wasn’t very precise with the chopping or measuring. I was in a rush due to the time constraints. I got everything loaded into the fridge and waited to do the rest after work.

I started by combining my breadcrumbs, seafood seasoning and garlic powder in a large bowl. I got all of the dry ingredients mixed well and then I added 1 lightly beaten egg and the butter. I then blended everything before adding the carrot, onion, zucchini and squash.

I gave  it another good mixing…

This is when I realized I needed another egg. The mixture wasn’t holding together well enough to make the patties. I quickly added a second lightly beaten egg and that worked out great. I then placed the 1/4 cup of flour into a shallow dish to make it easier to coat the patties before frying. My hands were too gummed up to grab the camera for that step.

I started forming the patties and then got them coated with flour before putting them into the canola oil. I had the stove set to high at first and then turned it down to medium/high for the cooking. They sizzled as they entered the pan.

I cooked them for about 3-4 minutes on each side. I removed them with a spatula onto paper towels and then served them with the dill dip. The recipe said that it yielded 2 dozen – I made 5 large patties and then put the rest of the mixture in the fridge for future meals – probably had enough to make 5 or 6 more. I was eating them as a main dish, so I wanted bigger portions. I grabbed about a golf ball size of the mixture before forming the patties for mine.

They were awesome. I am thinking they would also be good as veggie burgers wrapped in lettuce…yum!

I don’t usually eat a lot of fried foods, but these weren’t greasy at all. They did not taste heavy and it was another fun way to incorporate zucchini and other veggies  into a main meal. Enjoy!

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Scalloped Tomatoes

August 4, 2010

I was super excited to see a big bag of home-grown tomatoes on my desk yesterday morning. My co-worker John has been bringing in his garden goodies to share with a few of us for years. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

My wheels started turning and I hit up some websites on the iPad while sitting in front of the TV during my lunch hour. I got so into the recipe hunt, I ended up not eating a big enough lunch to hold me over until dinner. Food distraction while eating, awesome.

I found a recipe on AllRecipes.com for Scalloped Tomatoes. It looked super interesting and I had all of the ingredients except the bread. I stopped at the store on my way home from work and picked up a mini loaf of freshly baked Pain Pour Deux. I was all set and ready to cook once I walked through the door.

The Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Butter – yes, that’s a lot of butter
1 Onion Chopped – I used a white onion
1 Teaspoon Salt
Ground Black Pepper to Taste
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Basil – I also used fresh – about 3 small leaves
4 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
5 Sliced Tomatoes – I used the entire bowl of small tomatoes (about 25) – I will for sure use small ones next time too.
2 Cups of white bread cubes – I definitely think Pain Pour Deux did the job, sourdough would also be good. I might even try a whole grain wheat next time.
1/2 Cup Shaved Parmesan Cheese – I had the Nugget Market’s fromager (cheese guy) shave mine for me – fresh is fabulous! – This was not in the original recipe.
1 Garlic Clove – I used the frozen Trader Joe’s garlic – This was not in the original recipe.

Directions:

I set my oven to 375 degrees F., and then started on my prep work.

I got my onions and tomatoes chopped while my butter was melting in a sauté pan on the stove set to medium/high heat.

I then got my onions in the pan and stirred them until they became soft and translucent. They started to brown on the edges, so I knew it was time to add my spices. Salt, pepper, basil (fresh and dry) and brown sugar. I then added the tomatoes.

I added a frozen cube (1 crushed clove) of the Trader Joe’s garlic at this point and got everything mixed together. I then added the chopped up bread into the pan.

The bread immediately soaks up the butter (sinful) – continue to stir until everything is evenly coated.

Not sure if it was the brown sugar or the basil, but the smells coming from that pan were out of this world. I was almost too impatient to even put the dish into the oven. I was ready to eat it right then and there.

Next you will need to transfer the mixture from the sauté pan into a greased casserole dish. I used a shallow one and actually just coated it with an olive oil spray.

Sprinkle the top of the dish with the shaved parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. The top will be a golden brown and the edges of the bread will be crispy like croutons.

I can without a doubt say that this is one of my favorite Foodiddy dishes to date. I EASILY could have eaten the entire casserole dish – I had to refrain from doing so. I kept going back for one more tomato, one more piece of bread… OMG, it was incredible and I will definitely serve this at my next dinner party. Who’s coming?

My thought is that it would be the perfect side dish to anything grilled. Chicken tops my list of possibilities. I ate it as my main meal last night. The AllRecipes recipe says it yields 6 servings. That’s a freakin’ joke… there is no way – I’d say 4 max as a side dish and 2-3 as a main dish.

Oh tomato and cheese bread goodness how I love thee… and to think it all started with a bag of fresh tomatoes on my desk. Life is good!

One more photo because I can’t stop thinking about it.  I finished the evening with 5 miles on the treadmill and honestly thought about the dish the entire time. Will walk/run for food!

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Red Corn with Cotija Cheese

August 3, 2010

I was strolling through the produce section at my local grocery store and was drawn to a package of red corn. The brand was Colorful Harvest and they came 4 to a package. Sweet Red Corn to eat? I had no idea… thought it was just dried for wreaths, cornucopias and other Thanksgiving decorations, hah!

As you can tell by previous posts, I’m a total sucker for packaging, color, etc. when it comes to grocery shopping. It’s the designer in me.

When I got home I looked up “red corn” on the iPad and found out that like red pomegranates and purple grapes, red corn derives its color from health-promoting antioxidants. It also said that this means that it’s both more visually appealing and healthier than traditional corn. Um, it’s also more expensive 😉

I found a simple Red Corn with Cotija Cheese recipe online (on 4 different websites – so not sure who gets credit) and thought I’d give it a try.

The Ingredients:

4 Ears of Red Corn
4 Teaspoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Lime Juice (I used the cheater juice, my limes had dried up)
3 Tablespoons Cotija Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste

I cut the corn from the raw cobs and added them to a sauté pan with the olive oil on medium/high heat.

I stirred the kernels and then added the sugar and let them cook for a good 3-4 minutes – until lightly browned. I added the lime juice, salt and pepper and then let the corn cook for an additional 3 minutes.

I then sprinkled on the Cotija cheese and got it all mixed in. In case you aren’t familiar with Cotija cheese, it’s a mild flavor Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture. I find it in the refrigerated cheese section next to the salsa at my local grocery store.

The kitchen smelled amazing. I could not wait to dive into the bowl.

A different view…

I will definitely be making this dish again. Dan doesn’t like to eat corn off the cob, he usually cuts his, so this is perfect. No boiling water, no steaming – just a quick 10 minutes and you have an awesome side dish.

I served it with a protein smoothie which I don’t recommend, hah! – I had just gotten off the treadmill and was starvin marvin… I needed the calories and didn’t feel like fixing a protein to go along with the corn. I’m also going to try the recipe with regular yellow or white (10 for a $1) corn. One of the recipes also added cilantro, might try that next time.

The red corn package also came with a recipe for Chipotle Butter and Lime – so I’m going to share that too.

Ingredients:
1 Stick of unsalted butter (for 6 ears of corn – geez, that’s a lot of butter)
1/2 Tablespoon Minced Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce
2 Teaspoons Fresh Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Salt

Directions:
In a pan melt butter and add minced chipotle peppers. Saute for 1 minute. Add lime juice and stir.  Brush ears of corn with butter mixture and refrigerate until butter solidifies. Grill corn on medium heat turning frequently until cooked through. Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve.

Sounds delicious… definitely trying that next.

So how do you like your corn? Steamed? Grilled? Do you use corn holders? Butter? Salt? Pepper? Plain? Tell me your corn secrets…

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Meatballs – Childhood dish with a twist

July 30, 2010

This week has been a little stressful. “Little” would probably be an understatement, but I’m trying not to go all drama llama queen on this blog, hah! I just feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to fit everything in. I know things will slow down a bit, but until then, it’s cook when I can, grab healthy on the go alternatives the other nights.

Growing up I had a list of favorites that my Mom made and Porcupine Meatballs (My Mom’s name for them) were one of my favorite dishes. She used white rice and just added bread, egg, seasonings and tomato soup. I decided to switch things up a bit to make a new Foodiddy version. The porcupine name came from the way they looked with the rice sticking out of the meatballs, making them look spiky.

Ingredients:

1 lb. lean ground sirloin – I used 7% (Could easily be made with ground turkey)
Fresh baby spinach – chopped – as much as you want – I used the entire bowl (about 2 cups)
Brown Rice – I used 2 servings – Trader Joe’s frozen – cooked it before adding to the meatballs
1 Large Shallot – diced and sautéed with 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Reggiano
1 Egg
1 Can Tomato Soup
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
2 Teaspoons garlic powder
2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning
Salt
Pepper

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. I then got the spinach chopped, the shallots sautéed, the brown rice cooked and everything besides the tomato soup added into a big mixing bowl.

I used a spoon and then my hands to get everything really mixed up.

I made 15 fairly large meatballs and placed them into a glass baking dish. No need to coat the dish.

I poured the tomato soup into a glass measuring cup and added a can of water per the soup instructions. I then poured the soup contents on top of the meatballs.

No need to cover the meatballs. Just place them directly into the oven.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. I checked them at 15 minutes and ladled sauce over the tops of each meatball. While they were finishing up in the oven, I broke out my veggie slicer. I sliced 2 zucchini to create my pasta bed for the meatballs. I added them to a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil and garlic salt and then put them on my plate.

The zucchini noodles were perfect since there was already brown rice in the meatballs. I loved the texture – the onion and added spinach and softness of the brown rice really worked well together.

Dan thought the meatballs were too centered in the first photo, LOL… so I added the second. He gobbled them up (minus the zucchini pasta) – woohoo, another dish to add to the rotation. On the days that I don’t post, it’s more than likely that I’m enjoying something I’ve already posted.

Thanks Mom for all of the amazing childhood food memories, I loved sitting down to dinner as a family.

Good times, good food and lots of laughs.

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Kale Chips – They’re Magically Delicious

July 20, 2010

Kale chips have been all the rage in blogging over the past several years. The first time I saw them was on KERF – Kath Eats Real Food back in 2008. Kath said that she read about them somewhere and knew she had to try them. The weight loss community and vegetarian communities all seemed to be eating kale chips.

I have bought kale on 3 different occasions specifically to make chips. Each time something comes up and it goes bad before I get the chance. I think my new baking sheets were the exact push I needed.

I purchased a bunch of curly kale at the grocery store.  I took it home, photographed it and then gave it a bath and ride in my new collapsible spinner – thank you Mom and Dad. I swear, they got me the best birthday presents ever!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

After tearing or cutting the kale into bite size pieces,  put them into a spinner. They need to be washed because little bugs like to hide in the curls – especially when it comes straight from the farmer’s market.

You should be left with a bunch of stems that look like this:

Once you get your bite size kale pieces out of the spinner, put them on a paper towel to get any extra drips of water off them. It’s important that they are dry.

I arranged my pieces on the baking sheet – gave them a good coating of olive oil spray – if you don’t have a spray, you can just toss them in drizzled olive oil. My spray is garlic infused, it was perfect! I then grated Parmigiano Reggiano onto the pieces (a fine grade) and then added kosher salt. Use as much or as little salt as you like. I went with the same amount I’d use on French fries – pretty generous. I checked the chips at 8 minutes. I left them in for another 4-5 minutes. When you start seeing brown around the edges, and can easily move them around on the sheet, they are done. You don’t want them to burn… unless you are that freak that digs the burnt potato chips out of the bag, hah!

This is a direct quote from Dan – “Dude, it looks like you dug that plate of stuff out of the yard waste!” – LOL… he had no interest in even trying one. I sat on the couch and happily crunched away. They are super light and crispy. They really do crunch like potato chips and practically dissolve right in your mouth. I dipped some of them in ketchup and loved that too! I am super excited to have a new (old to most) side dish. I am picturing them piled next to a fabulous veggie or turkey burger and a multi-grain bun, yum!

Be brave, give them a try – they’re magically Lucky Charm delicious!

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Foo’s Cucumber and Shrimp Bites

July 16, 2010

I’ve been trying to come up with fun ideas for my lunches. I think I’ve already mentioned this, but for any new readers – I go home for lunch every day. I have the luxury of working only a few miles from my house. I get to spend time with Higgy, save money and eat healthier – it’s a win, win.

The problem is that I keep running out of clever ideas. I stopped buying frozen meals when I started this blog and my time is limited. I came up with something yesterday that will definitely be in my weekly rotation –  not to mention, an awesome appetizer idea for parties.

A girlfriend introduced me to a shrimp dip at one of her holiday parties. I decided to make it this morning so I could have something new for lunch. The cans had just been sitting in the pantry for months. She serves the shrimp mixture on a plate surrounded by crackers. I wanted to go veggie, so I played off my love of sushi.

Ingredients:

2 Cans of Shrimp – I used Geisha Tiny Shrimp – never had canned shrimp until trying the dip
2 Stalks Celery – finely chopped
3 Green Onions – white and green parts
2 Tablespoons Light Mayo
Several shakes of Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

You want to drain and then rinse the shrimp. I set mine between paper towels to dry. I added all of my ingredients and then gave it a good stir. 2 Tablespoons of mayo doesn’t seem like enough, but you want a chunky texture – you don’t want it to be wet like tuna can get.

I then peeled and sliced a cucumber, added salt and pepper to the cucumber slices, put a spoonful of the mixture on top and then drizzled a spicy island ponzu dipping  sauce on each one. (Two Sisters Gourmet by Partylite – my friend Michelle sells it and I love the taste and thickness, it’s awesome!)

Super low calorie – 200 calories for both cans of the shrimp, 60 for the mayo, 20 for the ponzu sauce, and if you’re a Weight Watcher – the cucumber is free right? Hah! – less than 20 calories for that. My serving size was 10 – because 9 fit on the plate and I had to test one with sauce before I did them all.  I have lots of the shrimp mix left in the fridge – one batch could easily make a tray of 20-25 depending how generous you get with the mixture. That makes them right around 15 calories each.

Yay for me – I stepped away from my slicer. Can’t wait to come up with other new lunch items.

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Mo’ Faux Pasta

July 15, 2010

Sometimes it’s just got to be super simple. While the recipes are fun, fun, fun – I don’t always plan ahead and ingredients don’t get purchased. I had some yellow squash and since I had only used my slicer with zucchini, I thought I’d give it a try. I ended up slicing 1 large yellow squash with the spaghetti shaped cutter.

I put chopped black olives, marinated sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a sauté pan with some of the flavored oil from the jar of tomatoes. I added some oregano, Italian seasoning, fresh basil, salt and ground pepper.

I am not kidding when I say, “I could eat this every night!” – no joke. I’d have the most boring blog on the Internet, but a heaping bowl or plate of this actually tricks my brain into believing I’m eating a huge portion of pasta – yet I don’t get the bloated feeling pasta gives me.

I used the same sun-dried tomatoes and garlic combo to whip up a shrimp dish a few nights back.

I swear, if the slicer was sold on HSN, I would be the caller ordering up one for every friend I have – I’m loving it THAT much – best gift ever Mom and Dad.

Sure, a good pasta craving would send me to the nearest Italian restaurant… but quick mid-week meals of mostly veggies are a much healthier option.

I still want to try a terriyaki stir fry with my faux noodles, that might be next on the list!