New Years Greens-Spinach with Dried Fruit and Goat Cheese

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While black-eyed peas are supposed to bring luck for the New Year, another superstition in the south is to serve greens such as cabbage, collards, greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach to bring money or prosperity in the New Year. As a Recipe Developer, I have created hundreds of spinach recipes for magazines and food companies, and I wasn’t sure which one to share with you for the New Year. I made this version two nights ago by just using what I had in my pantry and in the refrigerator, and it was an instant hit at our dinner table. It’s only 5 ingredients and is healthy, colorful and has a sweet and salty crunch along with the creaminess of goat cheese. Feel free to use what you have in your home. and I wish everyone much hope for a happy prosperous New Year!

 

Spinach with Dried Fruit, Nuts and Goat Cheese

Prep and cook: 3 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 (6-ounce) packages fresh baby spinach

Kosher salt to taste

2 tablespoons organic fruit and nut trail mix (I used “Good Sense Organic”)

2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

Preparation

1. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fresh spinach to skillet, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Sprinkle with salt, trail mix and goat cheese. Serve spinach with slotted spoon or tongs.

Perfect Thanksgiving Side Dish-Simple Roasted Asparagus

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Whether I am having Thanksgiving dinner or just a weeknight meal, I like to prepare asparagus by simply roasting it in the oven. It comes out crisp-tender, and the flavors intensify perfectly. Be sure to cover the baking pan with aluminum foil, spray it with cooking spray and cleanup just got to be even easier. If you don’t like pine nuts or have guests who are allergic to nuts, just substitute almonds or pecans or eliminate them from the recipe. To me less is more with asparagus, but feel free to top this recipe with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice or even crumbled feta or goat cheese. 

 

Simple Roasted Asparagus with Pine Nuts

Asparagus is full of vitamins such as Folic Acid, Vitamin C and Potassium, so enjoy.

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

3  pounds  fresh asparagus

1  tablespoon  olive oil

2  garlic cloves, minced

1/2  teaspoon kosher  salt

1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

1/2  cup  pine nuts, toasted

Preparation

1. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus; place asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with olive oil; sprinkle evenly with garlic, salt, and pepper.

1. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or to desired degree of tenderness, tossing gently half-way through cooking time. Transfer asparagus to a serving dish; sprinkle with pine nuts. 

Easy Lemon Herbed Chicken

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I have 2 nieces in college who asked me to give them and their college friends some great easy recipes, starting with ideas using boneless chicken breasts. My niece, Meredith, has her own apartment this year. She loves to cook and gets tired of eating out. College students are really not so different from me and my friends (okay, maybe just in some ways). We are all busy, but we want to eat healthy, flavorful meals that are simple and fast. This recipe fits that bill so let me know what you think.

 

Lemon Herbed Chicken

This recipe is also fabulous when grilled.

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I like to use chicken cutlets)

1 lemon, thinly sliced

Directions

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well. Pour lemon marinade over the chicken in a zip-top resealable bag; marinate 1 to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

2. Place chicken on a lightly greased baking sheet (or cover baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray for easy cleanup). Broil 51/2 inches from heat (with electric oven door partially open) 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until tender; serve with the lemon slices.

 

For the Broccoli Stir-Fry pictured above:

Saute 1 (12-ounce) package broccoli slaw and 1 (12-ounce) package broccoli and carrots in a large saute pan coated with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce and saute over medium heat 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often.

Sunday Night Dinner Menu

There’s always been something about Sunday night dinners that I love. When I worked as a Food Editor at Southern Living Magazine we spent a lot of time on ideas for Sunday night dinners and even featured a monthly column devoted to “Sunday Night Suppers”. It’s actually a time where my kids don’t usually have any sports actitvites, and we can sit down all together (okay for me, maybe when it’s not baseball season). Enjoy this steak that’s really simple to prepare with only 5 ingredients. The marinade is really versatile and works well with almost any side dishes or salads.

 

Grilled London Broil

This marinade makes a flavorful London Broil. For convenience, you may make the marinade the night before. The longer you let this recipe marinate, the more time the flavors have a chance to penetrate the meat. Based on individual tastes, you can marinate meat up to 24 hours. You can fancy up this simple dish with grilled mushrooms and a wine reduction sauce. Look at our the long version recipe below.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Marinade time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 pound lean top round steak

Preparation

1. Combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon thyme in a small bowl. Pour over steak and marinate in a zip-top plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
2. Grill steak, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until steak is desired degree of doneness, basting steak occasionally with marinade. 

Cooking Tips: Be sure to cut the meat across the grain in thin slices. Look for natural striations in the meat, which resemble lines running in the same direction (the grain). Cutting across the grain helps tenderize the meat by breaking down the meat’s natural structure. 

Grilled London Broil – Long Version

This is the expanded version of our London Broil recipe which includes grilled mushrooms and a shallot wine reduction sauce.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Marinade time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 pound lean top round steak
1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms
1 (6-ounce) package sliced Portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup red wine or fat-free, beef broth
Thyme springs (optional) 

Preparation

1. Combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon thyme in a small bowl. Pour over steak and marinate in a zip-top plastic bag in the refrigerator 1 hour.
2. Brush mushrooms with olive oil. Grill steak, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until steak is desired degree of doneness, basting steak occasionally with marinade. Grill mushrooms at same heat 2 to 4 minutes on each side.
3. Sauté shallots in a small skillet over medium heat 3 minutes or until tender. Add wine and remaining thyme and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Pour over steak and mushrooms and garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Laura’s Lean Beef http://laurasleanbeef.com

 

Dijon Roasted Potatoes

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

11/2 pound small red potatoes, quartered

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup chopped green onions

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Toss potatoes with olive oil and next 2 ingredients and place on a large lightly greased baking sheet. Roast 25 minutes or until tender.

3. Whisk vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Toss with potatoes before serving.

 

Sautéed Spinach with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 (5-ounce) packages fresh spinach

Vegetable cooking spray

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted

Preparation

1. Add half of spinach in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes; add remaining half, salt and pepper and cook until spinach wilts. Top with goat cheese and pine nuts; serve immediately. 

Election Night Party

Raspberry Lemonade from Sunset

   My friend called me yesterday, and said she was having an election night party and asked me what should she serve? I was stumped at first as her ideas were muffalatas and shrimp creole or pizza and lasagna. This was going to be a casual party with friends and children so it got me thinking…

   For those for McCain, I think Tex-Mex would be a great way to go so try my fajitas and guacamole with margaritas, rice or a salad, and you’re all set. 

   And if you’re pulling for Obama, I hear it’s Chicago deep dish pizza or chili that are his favorite foods. Since this election is so special and unique, my suggestion is to come up with something for everyone, so I hope you will enjoy some of my patriotic favorites.

 

Raspberry Lemonade

This recipe is so great, and kids love it! My son decided to take this on all by himself. You may want to double this recipe as it only serves 4.

Yield: Makes about 4 servings

Preparation

To make In a small bowl, with a potato masher or spoon, mash 1 cup rinsed fresh raspberries (6 oz.) with 2/3 cup sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Press through a fine strainer into a pitcher (at least 1 1/2 qt.); discard seeds. Stir in 1 cup lemon juice and 2 cups water. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Pour into tall, ice-filled glasses.

And the celebration begins….

 

Honey Chiptole Barbecue Sandwiches

Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches from Cooking Light

This recipe yields slow-cooked barbecue flavor in less than an hour. The sandwiches need to be broiled at the last minute.

Yield: 4 sandwiches (serving size: 1 sandwich)

Ingredients

1/2  cup  water

1  teaspoon  ground cumin

4  garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breast

1  (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1  teaspoon  ground cumin

1/2  cup  canned tomato puree

1/4  cup  cider vinegar

3  tablespoons  honey

1  tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce

4  (1 1/2-ounce) sandwich rolls

2  ounces  Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced

4  (1/8-inch-thick) slices red onion

Preparation

Combine water, 1 teaspoon cumin, 4 sliced garlic cloves, and chicken in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Drain, and place chicken on a cutting board. Cut chicken across grain into thin slices; keep warm.

Remove 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from can; set aside. Remove 2 chipotle chiles from can; finely chop and set aside. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon cumin; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomato puree; cook 4 minutes or until mixture thickens to a pastelike consistency, stirring constantly. Stir in reserved 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, 2 chopped chipotle chiles, vinegar, honey and Worcestershire. Add sliced chicken to sauce; simmer for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Preheat broiler.

Split rolls in half; arrange in a single layer, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 1 minute or until lightly toasted. Remove top halves of rolls from baking sheet. Divide chicken mixture evenly among bottom halves of rolls, and top chicken mixture evenly with cheese. Broil chicken-topped rolls 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; top with onion and top roll halves. Serve immediately.

Red White and Blue Potato Salad

This recipe uses a trio of potatoes, but use all of one type if you prefer. Blue potatoes are starchier than the others and tend to bleed, so cook them separately. If you need to, prepare this dish a day ahead, but add the blue potatoes just before serving. If your potatoes are larger than the ones we call for, cut them to a uniform size.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Ingredients

2  cups  fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise (about 10 ounces)

2  cups  small red potatoes, quartered (about 10 ounces)

2  cups  small blue potatoes, halved lengthwise (about 10 ounces)

1/4  cup  finely chopped red onion

2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley

1  tablespoon  chopped fresh dill

1  tablespoon  chopped fresh chives

3  hard-cooked large eggs, finely chopped

1/4  cup  red wine vinegar

2  tablespoons  olive oil

1 1/4  teaspoons  salt

2  teaspoons  Dijon mustard

1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

1  garlic clove, minced

Preparation

Place fingerling and red potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Place potatoes in a large bowl.

Place blue potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Add blue potatoes, onion, parsley, dill, chives, and eggs to bowl; toss gently.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture; toss gently to combine. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.