Whole Wheat Orzo Risotto with Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts (low-fat)

Inspired by Ellie Krieger’s Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta. The way the orzo is cooked in minimal liquid, adds a yummy, creaminess.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12oz) package frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups water or broth (for orzo)
  • 1/4 cup water (for artichokes)
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp (21-30 count)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Spices – Whatever you like – my preference for this dish is lemon pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided), more for drizzling 
  • Parmesan or feta cheese for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Place fresh or frozen pieces of shrimp in a single layer. Sprinkle each piece with spices of choice.
  3. Cook for a minute or two and then flip the shrimp. Cook on the second side until pink and no longer translucent. Remove to a plate.
  4. To the skillet add orzo, water/broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and stir; continue to cook 3 more minutes or until tender and all liquid is absorbed. If the orzo is still firm, add a bit more water.
  6. Turn off heat, squeeze some lemon juice on top and taste for salt.
  7. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, and artichoke hearts. Allow artichokes to brown slightly.
  8. Add 1/4 cup water and cover for a few minutes until artichokes are tender.
  9. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and greens, and toss until the greens are wilted. Remove from heat.
  10. To the pot with orzo, add the artichokes, greens, and shrimp. Sprinkle with feta or parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix

Rather than paying a higher price to consume artificial flavor, disodium phosphate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, mono and diglycerides, artificial color, yellow 5, yellow 6, bha (preservative), make your own mix! It only takes a minute.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In a container with a lid or a ziplock bag, combine all ingredients. When ready to make, pour the powder into a cold pot and add the following ingredients:
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir over medium heat until thickened. Enjoy warm or refrigerate until cold.

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 tablespoon and add another tablespoon if necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Crumbled tortilla chips for serving

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine, then toss again and serve with crumbled tortilla sprinkled on top.


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.


Swiss Bircher Muesli (Overnight Oats)

My new favorite breakfast! Delicious, Bircher Muesli is a Swiss recipe that precedes overnight oats. It’s basically the same thing, but almost always includes yogurt and grated apples. Traditionally, the oats are soaked overnight in apple juice, but I prefer to soak them in milk, along with all the other ingredients.

Inspired by Pret a Manger

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 apple, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
  • Pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds for topping
  • Drizzle with honey (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except toppings) in a jar or bowl.
  2. Top with pumpkin and pomegranate seeds.
  3. Allow to soak overnight or at least 3 hours.

Egyptian Barley Salad

Original recipe by Americas Test Kitchen

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, as brands may differ; or try ATK’s instructions: 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


Horseradish Coleslaw

Light, crisp, tangy horseradish coleslaw. My mom had a salad like this while visiting Prague recently and it’s become a new family favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Shredded Green and Red Cabbage with Orange Carrots
  • 1/2 apple, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper, to taste

Directions

Add all the ingredients for the dressing into a jar and shake well; taste. If it’s too tart, add a teaspoon of mayonnaise, or a little more olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss.


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
  • 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 a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper or Za’atar and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  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.


Turkey & Black Bean Chili

Adapted from a food network recipe by Matt Martinez.

One of my favorite one-pot meals. This is a quick and incredibly flavorful turkey chili with vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt (I use 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 3/4 tablespoon black pepper (I use 1/2 a tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet white onions (I use 1/2 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped green chilies
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes (I drain the tomato juice into the pot and then chop up the tomatoes into smaller pieces before adding them to the pot).
  • 2 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I use one pepper and remove the seeds, otherwise it’s too spicy for us)
  • 1 cup fresh corn (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chicken stock (I add 2 cups)
  • I like to add 1 can black beans, drained and barely rinsed

Directions

  1. Preferably using a cast-iron skillet, brown the turkey in the oil.
  2. Add all the ingredients except zucchini and chicken stock, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables and stock, and cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve immediately.
  5. I like to serve this with fresh baked corn bread crumbled on top.
  6. *tip – Since you only need one chipotle pepper, separate the peppers in a ziplock bag and freeze for next time.

White Beans in Tomato Sauce

This is a very simple dish that comes together in 10 minutes. It’s my son’s absolute favorite meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce (preferably Hunts)
  • 2 cans cannellini, great northern, or navy beans (or 1.5 cups dried beans soaked overnight in a brine of 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt to 3 quarts water)

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium pot, Dutch oven or stovetop pressure cooker.
  2. Add onions, salt, and pepper and cook, partially covered, until the onions are completely soft, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato sauce and beans and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you prefer the sauce to be thicker, uncover and simmer until desired consistency is reached. We like ours pretty saucy.
  5. Pressure cooker instructions: Sometimes, rather than using a regular pot, I’ll prepare this in my stovetop pressure cooker. I let it come to pressure for about 5 seconds and do a quick release. It’s amazing how much of an impact that makes on the final result.

Serve over rice.