Tuesday, February 28, 2012

*Mildly* Hot Pepper Sauce

I bought some bags of small peppers because they were fresh and a good price- perfect excuse to try out some "hot" pepper sauce.  I put the hot in quotations because these little peppers are really only mildly hot.  They definitely have a bit more zip to them than bell peppers, but are not as hot as jalepenos.  I think they may be fresno peppers, but not sure.  Anyway, you could try using jalepenos, anaheim chiles, or banana peppers, or a mix to create a nice level of heat.

What you need:

A couple cups of small mildly hot peppers, stems removed
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/2 head garlic, cloves peeled
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 large tomato, quartered
Olive oil spray
Salt, pepper
Cider vinegar
Soy sauce or Ketjap Manis (I had never heard of this until I was on Saba, but it is similar to soy sauce, it is just a bit sweeter and more complexly flavored)

Heat oven to 450 or broil setting on HIGH.  Grease a cookie sheet or 13 x 9 pan with the olive oil spray.  Place half of the peppers, the onion, garlic, celery, and tomato on the pan, spreading everything out evenly.  Spray with oil again and season with salt and pepper.  Bake or broil for about 15 minutes, stirring once.  The vegetables should be blackened in areas, but not completely burnt or at all dried out.  Remove from oven and let cool a bit.

Chop the remaining peppers until rough chunks and place in blender.  Add the roasted vegetables plus a few tablespoons of cider vinegar and 2-3 teaspoons soy sauce or ketjap manis.  Blend on pulse setting, adding either more vinegar (if you think it can take extra vinegar flavor) or water until a smooth but thick sauce results.  Add more pepper if you think it needs it, or try adding some other spices too.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pan-Seared Filet Minion with Onions and Portabella Mushroom in Red Wine Sauce

The other half of our Valentine's meal (the tuna I just posted was the first half).  Steak is pricey on Saba, but definitely a nice treat every once and a while- and still much cheaper than going out!  We also had a blue cheese dressed salad to accompany this.

What you need:

1 6-ounce Filet Minion
Salt and Pepper, Olive Oil Spray
1 large Portabella mushroom, sliced
1 small Onion, sliced thinly
Garlic Powder, to taste (I probably use 2-3 teaspoons)
1/2 cup dry Red Wine
Fresh Rosemary, chopped

Pat the steak dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a skillet on high and spray with olive oil, or drizzle a small amount into the pan.  Let heat up, and then add the steak.  Sear on each side for about a minute and half.  Add the mushroom, onion, garlic powder, wine, and rosemary to the pan.  Stir everything around and lower heat.  After a couple (if you want a rare steak) or a 4-5 minutes (if you want it more well done), take the steak out of the pan and let it rest while the vegetables finish cooking in the wine.  Remove from heat when they are tender.  Add more salt and pepper if needed.  Slice steak and serve with vegetables and sauce on top.  Enjoy!

Sesame-Crusted Seared Tuna with Tahini-Yogurt-Soy Dipping Sauce

Delicious!  Tuna is one of my favorite things to eat and the sauce that I made to go with it this time made it even better!

What you need for the Tuna:

1 6-ounce Ahi Tuna Steak
Sesame seeds
Salt, Pepper
Olive Olive Spray (or maybe try sesame oil or chili oil- I used olive oil because that's what I have)

Dry the tuna with a paper towel.  Lightly coat it with oil spray and then season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle both sides heavily with sesame seeds.  Let sit for a few minutes.  Heat saucepan on high and coat with oil spray.

What you need for the Tahini-Yogurt-Dipping Sauce:

1 tablespoon wasabi ginger sauce
1 teaspoon hot soy sauce
2 tablespoon plain yogurt (I used fat-free, which was great.  You could also try full-fat for a creamier sauce)
2 teaspoons tahini paste
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
A bit of black pepper and red pepper flakes (if you like a little extra heat)

NOTE:  These ingredients are just what I had on hand.  You could try switching things around a bit using the same flavors and I'm sure it would turn out great.  For example, skip the wasabi ginger sauce and just use plain soy sauce, wasabi powder, ginger (fresh or powdered), and then the yogurt, tahihi, garlic, and pepper.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oven-Roasted Asparagus

This is quick, simple, delicious, and so healthy!  Great for a snack or a side, or even chopped up into your salad, omelet, or whatever else you're eating.

What you need:
One bunch of asparagus- I think about a pound (I've done this with both white and green, thicker and thinner stalks)
Olive oil spray 
Kosher salt
Black Pepper
Garlic Powder
Red Pepper Flakes (optional, if you like a little heat)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a baking sheet or 13 x 9 pan with olive oil.  Arrange asparagus evenly across it.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.  Spray again with olive oil.  Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and tender.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Greek-Style Chicken Wraps or Salad with Yogurt Tahini Sauce

YUMMM!  The yogurt-tahini sauce is what REALLY makes this.  It is so good.

The wrap version, pre-folding.

And in salad form.

Since the sauce is the big deal here, let's start with that.  Just mix the following ingredients together:

1.5 cups low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons black pepper (freshly ground is preferable)
1-2 tablespoons garlic powder (or less, if you're not a garlic fiend like me)
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup minced onion
juice of one lemon

Now, to make the wrap or salad:

Base: Wrap plus a little lettuce OR bed of lettuce

-Cooked Chicken ( I pan-fried some chicken tenderloins in a teeny bit of olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper.  You could also use some leftover chicken, grilled chicken, or whatever.  Or some cooked ground beef or lamb if you wanted)
-Sliced tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onion
-Feta Cheese

Layer your toppings on top of the wrap or bed of lettuce and then drizzle with the sauce.  Enjoy!

Healthy Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

Low fat, low sugar (if you want) and low carb.  And pretty tasty (tastier if you opt for real sugar, I'll admit).  I made these for my boyfriend and I- started out with one batch and then split it to add real sugar to half and Splenda to the other half.  You can chose to go either way. :-)

What you need:
4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
2-3 ounces 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese
2 ounces lowfat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons amaretto  (or maybe a teaspoon of vanilla- I just like the amaretto flavor in general)
teeny pinch of salt
1 egg
1/3 cup cocoa powder
EITHER: 1/2 cup sugar OR 10-12 packets Splenda (or try using more or less, to taste)
About 20 mini phyllo  pastry shells (I used Athens brand)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Blend together the two cream cheeses and yogurt until smooth.  Add in the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Fill the phyllo shells with the mixture and bake for 20 minutes, or until mostly firm to the touch.  The sugar ones look a bit shinier, and the Splenda ones were completely dry on top.

Let cool and store in the refrigerator.  Top with some whipped cream and enjoy!

Other ideas to try with these: stir some mini chocolate chips into the batter, try making a peanut butter filling/ layer, add a dollop of low-sugar jam (like the all fruit kind, no added sweetener) on top....