Spicy Shrimp & Feta Pizza

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Spicy Shrimp & Feta Pizza

I’ve been playing with the new pizza stone I got for my birthday — pizza on the grill is amazing and makes for such an easy dinner.  My daughter Samantha actually made the request for a shrimp pizza (yes, I was thrilled), so we decided on shrimp, feta, and grilled yellow bell peppers (for my half).  I’ve previously written about all the delicious ingredients I’ve picked up at Oil & Vinegar at Watters Creek, and this was the perfect opportunity to put my two latest purchases to use:  Peperoncini Oil, and the “Hot Shot” spice grinder.  The Peperoncini Oil is light and flavorful with just a bit of spice.  The Hot Shot spice grinder contains all kinds of wonderful things:  chili pepper flakes, sea salt, mustard seed, coriander, onion, garlic, and paprika, to name a few.

We brushed the pizza crust with the oil, then topped with a bit of tomato sauce.  Next we added cooked shrimp, grilled bell peppers, a little shredded cheese (a 4-cheese blend), and lots of feta cheese.  Finished it off with a generous amount of the Hot Shot spices (only on my half!).  Delicious.

Peperoncini Oil & Hot Shot

Five Eggs and a Nest

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Rice Krispie M&M Eggs

This recipe for “Hidden Surprise Easter Egg Treats” was too hard to resist.  You use the ingredients for Rice Krispie Squares, but instead mold the ingredients into plastic egg halves and fill with M&M’s.  My girls had a ton of fun making them — there is nothing quite like using melted marshmallows as glue, and getting to snack on M&M’s throughout the process.  While these aren’t going to win any healthy food competitions, they are pretty light as far as dessert goes, and we opted for the whole grain “brown” Rice Krispies.  Most importantly, they got a good lesson in improvisation:  we were making six eggs (and there would be six people at our dinner table), but the eggs must have been a little two large, as we ran out of “egg” near the end and had to make one “nest”.  My mother was gracious enough to request that one.

Rice Krispie and M&M Eggs (Adapted from Kellogg’s “Hidden Surprise Easter Egg Treats”):

6 Plastic snap-apart 3×2-inch Easter eggs

1 1/2 tbsp butter

2 cups mini marshmallows

3 cups whole grain Rice Krispies

1/4 to 1/2 cup M&M’s (we used white chocolate and dark chocolate)

Clean, then coat the inside of plastic eggs with cooking spray.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat.  Add Rice Krispies and stir until well coated.

Using greased hands, firmly press 1/4 cup of the cereal mixture into each plastic egg half.  Use fingers to make hollow center in each half.  Remove from molds.  Place on wax paper and cool slightly.  Place about 6 M&M’s in one half of each egg.  Gently press two halves of each egg together until they stick.  Cool completely.

Red Lentil Pancakes

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Red Lentil Pancakes

I like how virtuous and healthy I feel when purchasing something like lentils.  Until now, every package of lentils I have bought has sat in my pantry until I threw it away — not healthy and certainly not virtuous!  I came across this really simple recipe for red lentil pancakes from Wendy Van Wagner and finally decided to give dried lentils a try.  You soak the lentils overnight and then buzz them in the food processor with a few other ingredients before pan-frying.  They were really tasty with the turmeric and cilantro, but a bit dry, so take her advice to use them for dunking — I served mine with plain greek yogurt and a big salad…perfect.

Red Lentil Pancakes (Adapted from Wendy Van Wagner):

1 cup red lentils

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground pepper

2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro, or to taste (I used twice this amount)

2 tbsp coconut oil for frying

Rinse the lentils well and place in a large bowl.  Cover with 2 cups warm water and soak for least 8 hours, or overnight.

Drain the water and place lentils in food processor.  Blend until smooth, adding 1 tbsp of water at a time to make a smooth batter (I used 3 tbsp in total).  Blend the salt, turmeric, pepper, and cilantro into the batter.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, and add 1 tbsp oil.  Drop spoonfuls of batter to make 4 pancakes, about 3-4 inches wide and 1 inch thick.  Cook about 2 minutes, until set.  Drizzle a little oil over the top and sides before flipping (I struggled with this and just sprayed a bit of olive oil spray before flipping) and cook another minute or 2 or the other side.  Repeat with 2nd batch of pancakes, adding more oil as needed.

Serve warm with a big helping of greek yogurt, sour cream, guacamole, applesauce, chutney, or creme fraiche.  Makes about 8 pancakes.

Savory Greek Yogurt Snack

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Cucumber Salad

I’ve been on the Greek yogurt bandwagon for a while (Fage is my absolute favorite) and recently went from buying the kind with the sweetened fruit to getting the plain versions and mixing in my own cereal, fruit, etc..  I’m always hearing that Greek yogurt is the perfect substitute for sour cream and can be used in many savory ways, but I had yet to find a good use until seeing C&J Nutrition’s recipe for Cucumber Salad in Self Magazine.

To 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt, add 1/2 cup diced cucumber, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 1/4 chopped avocado, and salt & pepper.  That’s it.  It tastes amazing and is a nice change from my normal sugary yogurt snack.

Loving the Looneyspoons Loaf

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Pumpkin, Banana, Zucchini, Walnut, Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin, banana, zucchini, walnuts, chocolate chips…yum.  There is a lot of stuff in this recipe from Janet & Greta Podleski.  The “Loaf of Your Life” recipe was in the original Looneyspoons cookbook, but the authors sent out a new and improved (and even healthier) version in the March 2012 issue of their Recipe Newsletter.

I made this bread with my daughter Samantha, and it was great to see her fascination with grating the zucchini after telling me how “gross” it was when we picked it up at the grocery store.  Of course, once baked into this delicious bread, she had no further issues with the zucchini.  There is hope.

 

 

Pumpkin-Banana-Zucchini Loaf with Flax & Walnuts (adapted from Janet & Greta Podleski’s March 2012 Recipe Newsletter)

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup each whole-wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)

1 cup canned pure pumpkin

1 cup grated packed zucchini, unpeeled

1/2 cup low-fat greek yogurt (I used fat-free Fage)

1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 egg

1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used 1/4 cup and sprinkled on half of the loaf)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.  Don’t use a 8×4 pan.  Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.  In a large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients through egg until well blended.  Add dry ingredients and mix using a wooden spoon just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Spoon batter evenly into prepared pan.  Bake on middle oven rack for 50 to 60 minutes (my oven needed 60 minutes), or until wooden skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Wrap leftovers well and store in fridge for up to 5 days; can also be frozen.

Scrumptious Sushi Salad

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Sushi Salad

Best.  Salad.  Ever.  This Sushi Salad from Clean Eating Magazine is essentially a deconstructed crab and avocado roll with all the authentic sushi flavors — right down to the wasabi-soy dressing.  Both my husband and I loved it.  I did make one fairly significant change (we’ll call it an upgrade) — cutting the rice in half and doubling the lump crab.  If you like sushi rolls, you must try making this salad (oh, and it’s quick and easy to put together).

Sushi Salad (Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine):

1 tbsp wasabi paste

2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

2/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp honey

1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice

1 English cucumber, diced into 1/4 inch chunks

4 nori sheets, quartered and cut into 1/4 inch strips

1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 lb lump crab meat

1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced

4 cups baby spinach

In a small bowl, whisk together the wasabi, soy sauce, vinegar, and honey.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the rice, cucumber, nori, and carrot.  Drizzle in dressing and stir to combine.  Gently fold in crab.  Divide spinach into 4 bowls and top with crab mixture and avocado.  Serves 4.

Goat Cheese & Chive Omelette with Roasted Potatoes

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Goat Cheese Omelette and Roasted Potatoes

One of my current obsessions is the goat cheese omelette with herbs at Bonnie Ruth’s restaurant in Watters Creek.  Sadly, I haven’t been there in a couple of weeks, so I figured I could attempt one at home.  I was also motivated by the fact that my daughter Samantha has started stealing all the goat cheese off my salad at Bonnie Ruth’s, so it was a good opportunity to make something she would love for dinner too.

I used Allison Fishman’s herbed omelet with goat cheese recipe as a rough guide.  The omelette at Bonnie Ruth’s is brimming with tarragon, which I didn’t have, so I went with chives.  And I wouldn’t dare try to replicate Bonnie Ruth’s amazing french fries, so I made a simple side of roasted baby Yukon gold potatoes.  All in all, I was quite happy with my first omelette attempt.  I definitely got my goat cheese fix, but as I’m typing this, I’m now craving the real thing (french fries and all), so we will be heading back to Bonnie Ruth’s soon.  Hey, I tried, right?

Goat Cheese and Chive Omelette

1 tbsp butter

5 eggs

2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs

Salt and pepper, to taste

1.5 oz fresh goat cheese

Preheat the broiler.  Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium ovenproof skillet.  Combine the eggs, herbs, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and beat lightly.  Add to the skillet and let the eggs begin to set, about 2 minutes.  Crumble the goat cheese over the eggs, then put the skillet under the broiler for about 1 minute, until the eggs are set.  Fold in half.  Serves 2 adults and 1 seven-year old.

Roasted Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes

1 lb baby Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp paprika

Generous sprinkle of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Toss all ingredients on a baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes, turning half way through.  Serves 4.