Friday, September 28, 2012

Cauliflower "Breadsticks"

Saw these on a low carb blog and wanted to give 'em a try. I keep meaning to do the cauliflower pizza crust thing, but never end up getting to it.  Here's a compromise.

To be honest, they did not turn out quite like I expected and definitely stuck to the pan.  But they were tasty and pretty healthy, and I'm pretty sure I'll make them again.  I just need to get a food processer when I get off Saba and that will make it a lot easier.

What you need:

One (small to medium) head of cauliflower
2 eggs
1/4 cup shredded cheese ( I used a "pizza" blend- I would have used either low-fat mozzarella or cheddar or low fat anything if they had it here)
2 Tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt
Salt (maybe a teaspoon?), pepper to taste, dried oregano, garlic powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 13 x 9 pan with olive oil cooking spray (or maybe a full coating of olive oil- mine stuck pretty badly).  Cut the core out of the cauliflower and purree the rest in a food processor or dice it REALLY finely by hand (which is what I did- messy, time-consuming, but possible, even for an impatient person like me).  Mix cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients and then press into pan.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until browned around the edges.  Then flip and bake for another ten minutes (at 400 degrees instead).  Cut into pieces and serve with a marinara sauce.

Enjoy!  (and don't stress if it fall apart a bit when flipping.  mine did too, but it was still tasty!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BAKED BRIE with Roasted Red Pepper and Walnuts (best wine dinner ever)

Baked brie topped with a mix of spicy and sweet cannot be beat.  Especially if you are pairing it with a bottle (or two? oops) of wine while dining with your sweetie.

This is my favorite "cheat" meal.  I make it differently depending on my mood and what's in the cupboards and fridge.   The picture shows the recipe below, but at the end you will also find further suggestions.  Use bagel chips, pita chips, raw veggies (baby carrots, sliced red pepper, and cucumber), or homemade veggie chips to dip.

What you need:

Brie cheese, either a round or a wedge.  I guess a round is fancier if you have company, but the wedge suits us fine.
Roasted red pepper (either homemade or from the jar), cut into small pieces
Walnuts, chopped (2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup, depending on how much brie you are making)
Red Pepper Flakes

Slice the brie in half lengthwise and place on greased baking sheet (if you have something that both looks nice and is oven-proof, use that.  This thing isn't moving after baking).
Top with roasted red pepper and walnuts.  Drizzle LIGHTLY with honey and sprinkle the red pepper flakes.  Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or until the brie is completely melted and bubbly at the edges. (If you have a toaster oven use that!  It broils it a bit as it cooks, which helps toast the nuts and caramelize the sugar a bit).


And some variations:

Instead of roasted red peppers and walnuts, try out the following combinations:

*spread low sugar/ "just fruit" apricot or orange jam on top of brie and then top with sliced jalapenos or red pepper flakes
*top the brie with thinly sliced fresh peach/nectarine and then sprinkle on the jalapenos or red pepper flakes
*try adding almonds/ walnuts to either of the above options
*if you are like me, and living somewhere you can not easily get jalapenos or red pepper flakes, Tabasco sauce works in a pinch to add some heat to your fruity brie

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Salmon with Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Topping

Quick and tasty weeknight fare.  Definitely took less than half an hour to throw together, but looks (I think) a little nicer than that.

What you need:

2 (5-6 ounce) salmon fillets
Fennel Seeds, Salt, Pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1 zucchini, sliced thinly
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 chopped arugula (I only added this because I was trying to use it up, but it was good, so if want to, throw it in)
Garlic powder 
Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
2 Tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

Start by heating your oven to broil on high.  Place salmon fillets on a lightly greased baking sheets.  Rub each piece with 1/2 teaspoon of honey (or a bit more if you aren't trying to cut back on sugar).  Sprinkle with fennel seeds, salt, and pepper.  Place in oven and broil for 5-10 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets and how hot your oven gets.  Salmon should be browned and flake easily with a fork when done.

While the salmon is cooking, saute the zucchini and onion in an olive oil-sprayed saucepan with a pinch of salt.  After a couple minutes, add the tomatoes and arugula.  Add a splash or two of balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add the walnuts.

Top each piece of salmon with vegetable mixture and half of the goat cheese.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Baked Veggie Chips

Crispy, flavorful, and totally healthy.  The perfect accompaniment to any dip, or delicious on their own.  We made these to go with a brie, peaches, and hot pepper dish for a "fun supper" night (which I like to have every now and then while drinking a few glasses of wine).  They take a while, but the actual labor is not so much and the oven temperature is low enough that you do not need to be super attentive (also see note at the bottom for a quick fix alternative).

What you need:

Variety of vegetables (we used sweet potato, beets, carrots, and zucchini), sliced as thinly and evenly as possible.  A mandolin would be handy for this, but I just used a sharp kitchen knife and mustered up whatever patience I could manage (let's just say the slices were not perfect).  But, really, the thinner and more even they are, the better the results.

Olive oil spray
A couple of baking sheets 
Seasoning- salt and whatever else you want to add (pepper, garlic, cumin, seasoned salt)

After slicing the vegetables, pat them dry with paper towels to get rid of extra moisture.  Spray two large baking sheets LIGHTLY (all the vegetables are going to really shrink up and will end up greasy if you add to much oil.).  Spread the vegetables across the baking sheets so that they are just touching.  Spray lightly again and season with salt and whatever else you like (I've done just seasoned salt, just salt, and salt, pepper, and garlic on different occasions- all worked well).

Place in the oven and heat to 275 or 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook forever.  Or 1 and half to 3 hours, depending on how thick you cut them.  Since the oven temp is pretty low, you do not have to check them too often and worry about burning.  The end result should be lightly browned, shrunken, and slightly crispy.  Once they cool a little, they will finish crisping up. 

Repeat with two more pans if you have the dedication (Two pans don't really make much because they shrink so much).

Enjoy by themselves or with the dip of your choice!


You still have to suck up thinly and evenly slicing the veggies.  But I've made the beets, regular potatoes, and carrots in my toaster oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit or on a low broil in the oven for much less time (maybe 20 minutes with a possible need for flipping over).  For these, I didn't even spray the beets or carrots with oil, just added a little salt.  I did spray the potatoes though.  You have to keep an eye on them with this method because they can burn quickly.  Good luck!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Salmon Topped with Goat Cheese and Roast Vegetable, Olive, and Walnut "Tapenade"

Tasty, healthy, and pretty simple to make.  We ate it by itself, but it would pair nicely with some sort of rice or potato dish if you want some carbs.

What you need:
1 large red bell pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1/2 onion, cut into slices
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Olive oil spray
Salt and pepper
2 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 ounces goat cheese
3 tablespoons toasted walnuts
1/4 chopped green olives 
1 teaspoon hot red pepper paste (or use red pepper flakes to taste)
garlic powder (I probably used nearly a tablespoon, but we like it garlicky around here)
2 teaspoons dried oregano (or throw in some fresh and maybe basil too if you have it)
1/4 panko crumbs

Start by roasting the vegetables:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a baking sheet with olive oil and spread onions,bell pepper (skin facing up), and tomatoes across it.  Season with salt and pepper and spray again with the olive oil.  Place in oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.  Remove tomatoes and place pan back in the oven.  Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until bell pepper is slightly charred and onions are completely cooked and slightly brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Now, start the salmon:

Place the salmon on a greased baking sheet, skin side down.  Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of honey on each piece, then season with salt, pepper, and fennel seeds.  Spray with olive oil.  Broil on high for 5-7 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned.  Remove from oven.

As the salmon cooks, make the tapenade:

Skin the bell pepper, and chop it, the onions, and the tomatoes into small pieces.  Place in medium-sized bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon of honey, garlic powder and red pepper (to taste), oregano, olives, and walnuts.

Now, assembly time:

Spread one ounce of goat cheese on each piece of salmon and top with a thick pile of tapenade.  Sprinkle evenly with the panko crumbs.  Broil for 2-3 on high, or until top is lightly browned.