Black Bean & Corn Salad (low fat)

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans (14 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels (rinse in cool water to defrost quickly)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A few basil leaves, julienned or a handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • juice of one lime
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (taste with one and add another if necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Crumbled tortilla chips for serving

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine, then toss and serve.

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Carrot Flax Oatmeal Pancakes (Gluten Free)

The first time my son tasted these he was 6 years old and asked why we were having cookies for breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (or any flour)
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a blender, liquefy the carrot and milk. Pour the milk into a bowl and stir in the oats. Let sit for 20 minutes or overnight.

To the oat mixture, stir in eggs, vanilla and sugar.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Mix the two bowls together. If the batter seems too thick, add milk – one tablespoon at a time – until the consistency is pourable.

Heat a highly greased griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Gently spread out the pancake if it poured into a mound.

Cook until bubbles appear on top. Flip and cook the other side until lightly browned.

Note: These pancakes tend to brown quickly. Adjust the heat as necessary. You may need to lower the heart and cover the pan if they seem to be cooking too fast on the outside.


3 Bean Salad

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 white or red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
  • DRESSING:
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Set up a large bowl of ice water. Add the green beans to the pot and cook until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Drain and plunge the green beans into ice water. Drain again.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
  3. Add the vegetables to the bowl and toss well. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight (the longer it sits the better it gets); and toss again before serving.


Summer Gazpacho

Photo from lavenderandmacarons.com

Adapted from lavanderandmacarons

Ingredients

  • 6 very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 slices slightly stale bread (optional)
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 bell pepper (or Anaheim Chile)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for a richer soup, use up to 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine, apple cider, sherry vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

  1. Roughly chop tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy but still with some texture.
  3. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  4. Chill Gazpacho in a refrigerator for 30 minutes or serve at room temperature topped with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, chives and a drizzle of olive oil.


Egyptian Barley Salad

Original recipe by Americas Test Kitchen.
I absolutely love grain salads. They are so hearty and nutritious and hold up well in fridge.

When I made this I found it needed additional dressing than the recipe called for.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups pearl barley (do not substitute hulled barley or hull-less barley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped coarse
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (¾ cup)
  • 6 scallions, green parts only, sliced thin
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Cook barley according to package instructions. If using bulk with no instructions, follow original recipe, although I found my barley took longer: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add barley and 1 tablespoon salt, return to boil, and cook until tender, 20 to 40 minutes. Drain barley, spread onto rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

2. Whisk oil, molasses, cinnamon, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Add barley, raisins, cilantro, and pistachios and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread barley salad evenly on serving platter and arrange feta, scallions, and pomegranate seeds in separate diagonal rows on top. Drizzle with extra oil and serve.

Nutrition Facts: 280 calories, 10g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 41g carbohydrates, 7g protein, 7g fiber, 320mg sodium


Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers

This recipe is adapted from an Alton Brown’s Refrigerated Banana Pudding recipe. This version reduces unnecessary fat and sugar. This photo shows the pudding before it is fully assembled.

The amount of sugar added is, in my opinion, the least possible amount to add. It is just sweet enough – very possibly not sweet enough for some. Taste the pudding while it is still hot. If you would like to add additional sugar, stir it in until fully dissolved.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoons butter (optional but adds a touch of richness and gloss)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Approximately 45 vanilla wafers (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (2 large or 3 small bananas)
  • Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1- 2 tablespoons powdered or fine grained sugar

Directions

  1. Using a whisk, combine milk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat on stovetop.
  2. Allow milk to scald (heat to the point when tiny bubbles form around edges of pan). Whisk occasionally.
  3. Remove milk mixture from heat.
  4. Temper the eggs by adding about 4 tablespoons of the hot milk into eggs. Whisk it all together and then add the eggs into the hot pan, stirring constantly.
  5. Return the pan to heat and whisk gently until custard thickens, another two or three minutes. Do not boil.
  6. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla.
  7. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and into a bowl for cooling.
  8. Spray a round piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and cover the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until the pudding is completely cold, approximately 2-3 hours.
  9. When the pudding is cool, remove the parchment and whisk or beat with a blender to cream it up. Sometimes I add a bit of milk if it seems too thick.
  10. Spread a small amount of the pudding in the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart glass mixing bowl. Cover with a layer of vanilla wafers, followed by a layer of banana slices. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining pudding on top of the bananas and repeat, ending with a layer of pudding.
  11. Put the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer, 1-2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk just until stiff peaks form.
  12. Spoon the whipped cream over the cooled pudding and spread to cover completely.
  13. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Alternate recipe by Trisha Yearwood. I watched this episode on Food Network. It looked really good, but I haven’t tested it yet.

  • †4 large eggs (3 yolks plus 1 whole)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch salt 
  • 2 cups whole milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 30 to 40 vanilla wafers 
  • 3 to 4 medium ripe bananas 
  • Separate the yolks from the whites of 3 of the eggs; set aside the whites. Add the remaining whole egg to the yolks.
  • In a {cold} saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in the whole egg and 3 yolks, and then stir in the milk. {Now turn on heat} Cook uncovered, stirring often, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Spread a thin layer of the pudding in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Arrange a layer of vanilla wafers on top of the pudding. Thinly slice the bananas crosswise, about 1/8 inch thick, and arrange a layer of banana slices over the wafers. Spread one-third of the remaining pudding over the bananas and continue layering wafers, bananas and pudding, ending with pudding.
  • Top with whipped cream

Orzo with Everything

This is a no-recipe. Add as much or little of these as you like. For ideas of other ingredients to add, see Ina Garten’s wonderful recipe for Orzo with Roasted Vegetables.

Ingredients

  • Half a package of orzo
  • Dash of cayenne or pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Pine nuts, pan toasted in a bit of butter (until butter and pine nuts are browned)
  • Golden raisins, chopped into pieces
  • Garbanzo beans (start with 1/2 cup)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Black olives, chopped
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
    Dressing:
  • Lemon juice to taste (start with 2 tablespoons)
  • Olive oil to taste (start with 4 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (start with 1 teaspoon salt)

Directions

  1. Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain and cool.
  2. Toss the orzo with dressing and taste to adjust.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Add more lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper as needed.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Za’atar Oil

Recipe adapted from Milk Street’s Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Aleppo Pepper Oil

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon salted butter (I use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into 1/2 inch-dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup red lentils (picked over and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons long-grain white rice (I skip this)
  • 5 cups water
  • kosher salt

For Serving

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper (I use za’atar)
  • Chopped fresh mint leaves, to serve (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. I like to use an immersion blender to puree the soup. I also like to boil it down until it is thickened to my liking.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. If using z’atar, stir in extra-virgin olive oil until desired consistency is reached, .
  4. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper or za’atar oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.

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DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.

Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.


Allspice & Panko Crusted Chicken

My grandma starting making this long before “Shake and Bake” existed. It’s surprisingly delicious. The allspice is essential!

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I prefer Organic Smart Chicken)
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoned Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Place a wire rack over a sheet pan and spray with cooking spray. For easy clean up, line the pan with aluminum foil.
  3. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, mix together Panko, flour, allspice, Old Bay, salt, and pepper and mix well. I don’t add any butter or oil to the breadcrumbs, but mixing in 3-4 tablespoons will result in a richer, more golden coating.
  4. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and a spoonful of milk or water.
  5. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip both sides of chicken in eggs and then transfer to the Panko mixture. Dredge both sides in the mixture while pressing to adhere.
  6. Transfer chicken to prepared wire rack, spacing evenly apart. Try not to place too close together. I once tried making a double batch on one sheet pan and they didn’t cook properly.
  7. If you’d like, spray the chicken with cooking oil to enhance browning.
  8. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the chicken is 165. If you’d like the bottom side to brown, flip the chicken and set the oven to broil for a minute or two. I personally don’t mind the browning on one side only. If you find the top isn’t browned enough after 15 minutes, put on the broiler for about 5 minutes, watching constantly.

Bone-in chicken thighs work well too, but cooking time will increase to approximately 30 minutes.


Chicken Francese

Photo from Real Food Tastes Good

Tyler Florence isn’t the first person that comes to mind when thinking of easy recipes, but this one actually is. It’s a great weeknight dinner, but elegant enough for entertaining. Original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 4 Thinly sliced, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
  • All purpose flour, for dredging
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, with rind, cut into the rounds
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Put some flour in a shallow bowl and mix with salt and pepper.
  2. In a wide bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water.
  3. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet.
  4. Dredge both sides of the chicken flour, and then dip in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off.
  5. When the oil hot, add the cutlets and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden, turning once. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer.
  6. Toss the lemon slices into the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine, broth, and lemon juice, simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly.
  7. I like to tip the pan to drain any leftover oil, without wiping – so to leave any browned bits in the pan.
  8. Roll the butter in some flour and add it to the skillet, this will thicken the sauce. Stir to incorporate and dissolve the flour.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the chicken to the pan; place the lemon slices on top of the cutlets.
  10. Simmer gently for 2 minutes to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.