Friday, April 24, 2009

Angel Hair Pasta with Sesame-Peanut Sauce

I made this last night, a little skeptical as to its acceptance by my family. And it was a hit! A vegetarian meal that actually went over well. I will definitely be making this again. I got excited this morning thinking about lunchtime leftovers.
(recipe from The New American Plate Cookbook)
8 ounces whole wheat angel hair pasta
4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon minched peeled fresh ginger (I used ginger paste)
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon evaporated fat-free milk, plus more as needed to thin sauce
Dash of cayenne or pinch of dried red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup shredded or grate carrots, for garnish
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, trimmed, for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts, for garnish
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, blend the peanut butter, broth, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, sesame oil, milk and cayenne until completely emulsified. When the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and return it to the hot pan. Add the peanut sauce and toss to coat. Garnish with carrots, scallions, and peanuts. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Variation on Chicken Noodle

This recipe orignally came from Cooking Light Magazine October 1996, here it is with slight variations.

1 1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. diced celery
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. dried thyme
1 t. salt
6 c. chicken broth
2 diced and peeled baking potatoes
2 c. diced leftover roasted chicken (Costco's is great)
1 c. skim milk
2 c. uncooked noodles (fettucini, angel hair, egg noodles all work)
Fresh Thyme

Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and saute 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour oregano, and thyme over vegtables and cook 1 more minute. In large pot pour in broth, potatoes, salt. Bring to boil. Add vegtable mixture. Reduce heat, simmer partially covered 15 minutes. Add chicken, milk and noodles, cook 10 minutes or until noodles are tender. Check soup, and if it is now too thick add more milk. Add salt to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Falafels by Nasser

I love falafels (I also love chickpeas). While I was studying in Jerusalem in college, we had some great falafels while touring Israel.

This recipe comes straight from the head chef at the Jerusalem Center, Nasser. It is the best one I've tried, so I hope it works for you too. I tried to go a little healthier and baked, instead of fried, the falafels, and they still turned out great.

And the great thing about this meal is you can eat make peanut butter sandwiches out of the leftover pitas, or my kids ate them with butter and jam on them. At any rate, this gives you some versatile leftovers.

(recipe via Stephmodo)
1 lb. garbanzo beans/ chick peas
1 oz. parsley
3 medium onions
5 cloves garlic
1 tB. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tB. cumin
Soak garbanzo beans/chick peas for 24 hours. Drain. Grind them on the fine setting of a food processor. Grind them again, this time gradually adding parsley, onions and garlic. (I sauteed the onions in a little olive oil until they were clear before adding them to the food processor). Grind one more time. Add salt, papper, cumin and baking soda. Mix all together and shape into balls. Deep fry.Serve with pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, hot sauce mixed with chutney, french fries and/or eggplant.
Pita Bread
(recipe via

1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

Preparation:Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Make a small depression in the middle of lour and pur yeast water in depression.Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.PLace dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer stick and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags. Storing Pita BreadPita bread can be stored for up to a week in a pantry or bread box, and up to a month in the freezer. Be sure to use freezer bags when storing in the freezer.
Yogurt Dill Dipping Sauce
(recipe via

1 cup yogurt, low-fat strained (Greek-style)
1 clove garlic (small, minced)
1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel (finely grated)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small bowl, mix yogurt with garlic, fresh dill, lemon peel, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. (I used Dannon plain yogurt and dried dill. I also didn't add the lemon peel.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Giveaway Winner

And the winner of the Donaldson's Honey Cashew Granola is.....(drumroll please)....the author of comment number ten, Amy S, who said:

I'm excited for your blog. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in my dinner ruts. I would love to win granola!

Congratulations, Amy! Please e-mail me your address (to and I will make this for you very soon. Just let me know if there's anything from the recipe you'd like me to leave out or substitute.

Thanks for all your comments. I hope you'll come back often for more dinner ideas and healthy recipes. And if you have a recipe you'd like to share, please feel free to e-mail me that too. I always love new recipes!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Light Chicken Chili

My friend Stacey gave this recipe to me and it is great because it is light enough that you can add sour cream, cheese or salsa, if you choose, or just serve it plain. It is versatile and easy.

4 cups chicken broth
1 cup salsa
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup white onion
3 cups chicken breasts, cooked (sometimes I used canned chicken)
3 cans beans

Saute the onion in a little olive oil until tender. Then add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes or so and serve warm.

Perfect Broccoli

This recipe came from Ashley and it has forever changed the way I cook broccoli. It cooks it perfectly: crisp, not soggy, yet cooked perfectly.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small head of broccoli cut into bite-size chunks
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (I use regular kosher salt)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/4 cup water

Heat oil in pan on medium high. Add brocolli, salt, garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes or until brocolli is crisp-tender.

Blackbean Soup

This has become a staple recipe at our house. Even the kids like it, so we eat it quite a bit. I have to thank my sister Erin for passing this on to me. And blackbeans are high in antioxidants, along with the fiber!

2 tablespoons butter (I use olive oil)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons jalapeno, finely chopped (I've left this out before and it was fine)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cubes vegetable bouillon
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water
2-15 ounce cans black beans, undrained
15 ounce can white beans
1/4 teaspoon salt (I omit this)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
juice of 1 and 1/2 limes
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

In large stock pot melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the onion, celery, peppers and garlic. Cook until the onion begins to turn translucent. Mix the boullion and boiling water and add to the pot. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the beans, salt, cumin, brown sugar and black pepper. Stir well and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. In a small glass combine the cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water. Stir well. Add this mixture and the lime juice to the soup. Stir well.

Allow to simmer and thicken for about 10 minutes. You may now serve soup or turn the heat to low and allow the flavors to muddle until you are ready to eat. This soup keeps well for a few days in the refridgerator. The flavors will become deeper overnight.

(Sometimes I serve this over brown rice, or with tortilla chips and salsa, sour cream and cheese. It's delicious plain too).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Paprika Poppyseed dressing

I adore this dressing. It's light and flavorful and every time I make it, I crave salads! It is especially a great compliment to spinach salads with fruit. I love a spinach, feta, cranberries and walnut salad; or a spinach, feta, pear, walnut salad. (Just lay low on the feta!) It's also nice over a more traditional spinach, tomato and yellow pepper salad.

Just combine and mix. (It gets better with age as the flavors infuse the olive oil, so make ahead if you can.)

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (I've never toasted mine)
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Tofu Meatballs

I was skeptical before I had these, but these are delicious. I've made them several times now and I really like the crunch that the walnuts add. They're versatile too; you can add or take out certain spices. I've adapted this recipe a little each time I've made it and they've turned out fine every time.

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large carrot, grated
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large egg (I use egg substitute)
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
3/8 cup walnuts, ground
1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped (I used dried)
3/4 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds firm tofu, pressed
(I have also added a little worchestershire sauce and hamburger seasoning)

Saute the onion, carrot, pepper, garlic and dried herbs in oil until tender, for about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add bread crumbs, walnuts, parsley, olive oil and chicken broth. Crumble the pressed tofu with your hands and add it to the bowl, along with the sauteed vegetables. Mix well. Form into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until crisp brown on the outside. Add cooked "meat"balls to your favorite tomato sauce and serve over your favorite pasta.


Who doesn't love happy mail? And in this case, homemade happy mail in the form of homemade granola? Your morning breakfast will never be the same, or your afternoon snack or your evening snack, for that matter. Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a batch of Donaldson's Honey Cashew Granola, made just for you (don't like sunflower seeds, no problem, I will leave them out or substitute with almonds), and shipped straight to your door.

One comment per person. Giveaway open until Sunday evening at 9 PM EST, April 19th. Winner will be announced Monday, April 20th. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crock Pot Coconut Chicken Curry

Place items in crock pot in this order:

1 large chicken breast (can be frozen)
1/2 T. olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 t. fresh minced ginger
1 T. curry powder
1/2 t. ground tumeric
1 c. water
1 chicken bouillon cube or 1 t. chicken bouillon powder
1-2 sliced chili pepper (the smallest kind) with seeds (hotter) slice down into small circles
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 uncooked russet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1 " cubes
2 medium sized carrots sliced diagonally
1/2 medium sized onion chopped corsely
1 15 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1 t. salt
3 t. sugar

Do not mix together, the ingredients will cook together in the crock pot. Cook on low 6 hours or high 2-3 hours. Before serving get chicken out with a fork and cut it with kitchen shears into long thin slices. Place back into curry mix. If consistency is thin, cook without lid for the last 20 minutes. Add more salt to taste.


Shredded Baking coconut
Sliced Almonds-Toast almonds and coconut in 1/2 T. butter melted in a frying pan
Fresh pineapple chunks

Serve over your favorite rice.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Donaldson's Honey Cashew Granola

I love the sweet, but not too sweet, flavor of this granola. Since I made it, I haven't been able to stop eating it. It's great for a snack by itself, with milk or with yogurt. I made these little cups for a playdate last week and the kids seemed to like them. It's also very easy to throw together.

(recipe via Whitney Fredin)

6 cups rolled oats

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds

3/4 cups cashew halves

1 t. cinnamon or nutmeg

1/2 cup cooking oil

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup raisins

Combine oats, coconut, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, cashews and cinnamon in large bowl. Mix oil, honey, water, salt and vanilla. Pour over dry mixture; stir well to coat. Spread mixture evenly on 2 greased baking sheets. Bake at 325 for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool, add raisins. Store in airtight container. Makes 10 cups.