Saturday, December 2, 2006

Some of my latest favorite recipes




I'm a taste fiend. I was pre-op and I am post-op except now I don't go back for seconds and thirds...

Some of my latest favorite recipes:

Spanakopita Burgers

I eat a half of a burger wrapped in lettuce with a dollop of the tzatziki sauce below and I crumble the leftovers on a salad.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (10 ounce) box frozen spinach, defrosted
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (dried will work)
1/4 lb feta, crumbles
1 1/3 lbs ground chicken or ground turkey breast, 1 package
1 tablespoon grill seasoning (recommended Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
To one side, add a little extra-virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. When butter melts, add the chopped garlic and chopped red onion and cook 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and garlic to a bowl to cool. Return pan to heat. Squeeze all the water out of the thawed spinach. Separate the spinach as you add it to the bowl with cool onions, garlic and season with 1 teaspoon of oregano. Add in feta crumbles then chicken or turkey, grill seasoning and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix and form into 4 patties, 1-inch thick. Raise heat on pan to medium-high. Add patties and cook 6 minutes on each side. Great served wrapped in a lettuce leaf with Tzatziki (Yogurt & Cucumber Sauce) or crumble leftovers on a salad.



Tzatziki

I put this on lots of things the burgers above or chicken or beef shish kabobs to keep everything moist and easy to swallow.

1 pound (1 pint) plain yogurt (whole milk or low fat)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.
Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.



Parmesan Tilapia

You can use this topping on any white fish. It's so simple and good.

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
2 lbs tilapia fillets
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease baking pan. In small bowl, mix together the cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice, basil, onion powder, salt and pepper. Arrange fillets in a single layer in prepared pan. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until done and flaky.
Remove fillets from oven and cover them with the cheese mixture on top side. Place under broiler for 2 minutes or until the topping is browned. Be careful not to overcook the fish. 8 servings.



Roasted Eggplant Spread

I was a dipper and needed a healthy alternative for holiday parties. I take this to potlucks and it disappears. I have it with soy crisps or veggies but non-ops like it with crispy pita chips.

1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons good olive oil
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly. Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with veggies, soy crisps, toasted pita triangles or crackers. Serves 6 to 8.



Canellini Bean and Tuna Salad

This was so refreshing in the summer and full of protein.

1 can of canelli beans, drained & rinsed
1 can of tuna
1/4 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 cup sliced olives
1 t capers
1 small lemon, juiced
1 t dried oregano
salt & pepper

In a small bowl, add the rinsed beans and the can of tuna. Mix in the chopped vegetables, capers, oregano, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Mix.



Chicken Roulades

So good... I won a cooking contest with this. Try it... it's high in protein for us and your family with still love it. I serve it with veggies for me and angel hair pasta for the non-ops.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 (3-ounce) log goat cheese, softened
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
16 large fresh spinach leaves
1 (7-ounce) jar roasted sweet red peppers, drained
marinara sauce (jarred is fine I use Rao's)
1 Tbs. butter
oil for frying


Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap & flatten to 1/4" thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Stir together goat cheese, cream cheese, and basil; spread evenly over each chicken breast. Top each with 4 spinach leaves and roasted red peppers. Roll up, jellyroll fashion, starting with a short side. Secure rolls with wooden picks. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter with olive oil. When hot, brown roulades on all sides. Remove to baking dish. Cover with marinara sauce. Place in a 11x7-inch baking dish. Bake, covered, at 350 for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until chicken is done.



Salmon Gremolata

This topping is great... makes ordinary grilled salmon special.

3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 salmon fillets (about 6 ounces each) skin left on

In a medium-size skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are toasted. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Set aside.
Preheat the grill till very hot and carefully brush with oil. Brush the salmon with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill. Grill it for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through. Transfer to serving plates, sprinkle with gremolata, and serve. Serves 6



Fish Tacos

This is our unofficial food of San Diego.

3 lbs. tilapia (or other mild, white fish)
1 Tbsp. oil for frying fish
1-2 cups of flour for dredging
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream or mexican crema
Taco/Hot sauce (Cholula is my favorite, or a smoky chipotle sauce)
1-2 limes, cut into small wedges
1 pkg. white corn tortillas

Rinse fish and blot with paper towels. Heat oil in large skillet. In separate bowl, combine flour and seasonings. Season according to your taste. Dredge fish in flour (light coating) and fry; drain on paper towels.

Heat tortillas: on grill, in pan with olive oil or in microwave under a damp paper towels.

To serve, put 2-3 pieces of fish in a tortilla. Top with shredded cabbage, sour cream, hot sauce, then a squeeze of lime. Roll up and enjoy. I eat the insides only and leave the tortillas for everyone else.



Bacon Wrapped Scallops

I have these with cole slaw as a meal or I make them for parties and they get gobbled up. Scallops are a great protein source.

2 lbs bacon (regular sliced, not thick)
2 lbs sea scallops (if very large, cut in half)

Wrap a piece of bacon around each scallop; secure with water soaked toothpick or skewer (or better yet invest in a metal set of skewers I love mine) Arrange the wrapped scallops on a baking sheet. Broil 5 inches from heat for 3 minutes per side, or until bacon is crisp. I usually just throw these on the BBQ a few minutes per side.


White Bean Hummus with tomato and fresh basil

Yummy dip for soy crisps.

2-3 cloves garlic
½ cup vegetable broth
3 cups cooked white beans
juice of 1 lemon
1 slice whole wheat bread, crumbled
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped (including juice)
1 T. minced fresh basil
pinch of sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

In a small saucepan, combine garlic & broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until garlic is tender (about 8 minutes). Place broth and garlic in a processor or blender along with beans, lemon juice, bread, tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth. Great with soy crisps or veggies.

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