Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Potato & Pea Cream Sauce

I think the best gifts I receive are food related, specifically fresh produce. So I felt lucky this weekend when my Dad walked me out to their garden and dug up enough vegetables to last us a week.

I don’t have specific plans for most of it, but the potatoes and peas were first on my list to use. At my parents, meals are centered around meat with veggies as a side, but I thought I’d turn their creamed potato and pea recipe into a late summer vegetarian pasta dish.

Jesse and I enjoyed this interpretation on a classic recipe, and using frozen ravioli kept it quick and inexpensive.

Clara on the other hand just ate the potatoes, but as a picky 9-year-old she believes ravioli should only come in cheese.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Potato & Pea Cream Sauce

Print Recipe
If your peas are fresh from the garden they might take about 7-10 minutes to cook, but if they come frozen, only boil them for 3-4 minutes.

1 pound waxy baby potatoes
1 cup shelled English peas
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups milk
25-ounce package frozen butternut squash ravioli (I used Safeway Select)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for ravioli.

2. If potatoes are large, half or quarter them into bite size pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Boil potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. About two-thirds of the way through cooking time, add the peas. When both are tender, drain the pot.

3. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a thick paste; gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Meanwhile, cook the ravioli according to package directions. With a slotted spoon, move cooked ravioli to a platter. Cover with potatoes and peas then poor sauce over the top.

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spinach Apple Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Another spinach salad? Yes, sorry. I couldn’t help myself.

Homemade salad dressings are in my top favorite food items. They tend to be inexpensive, super fresh and the flavor options are unlimited. I also like that I can control the calories by what I add or leave out.

This particular honey mustard vinaigrette adaption from Vegetarian Times Fast and Easy is one of my favorites.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
1 shallot, minced (About 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil.

Place all the ingredients together in a vinaigrette bottle and shake well to combine.

Spinach Apple Salad
Print Salad and Dressing Recipe
This recipe was written as a side salad for six, but serves about three as a main course. For a vegan version leave off the blue cheese and add extra sunflower seeds and apple slices.

16-ounce bag of baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 large apple, thinly sliced
1/4 cup unsalted toasted sunflower seeds (bulk section)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (Shredded Sharp Cheddar works too.)
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, above

Divide spinach among 6 salad plates. Evenly divide the toppings and drizzle with dressing.

Servings 6. Per serving 149 cal; 4g prot; 11.5g total fat (2g sat. fat); 10g carb; 4mg chol; 309mg sodium; 4g fiber; 7g sugars.

Recipe adapted from "Vegetarian Times Fast and Easy". Photo by Laura Flowers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Potato, Egg and Spinach Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

Well we did it. We bought a condo in one of our favorite locations. However, it’s in bad enough shape we’re on our way north to perform condo demolition before we can even think about allowing real live humans in there.

I’ll take some before pictures and grab a macro shot of the furry mold growing on the walls. Doesn’t that make you hungry? No?

Well then, I better stop talking and let this flavor-packed salad do it for me.

Potato, Egg and Spinach Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing Print Full Recipe

For a vegan version, skip the eggs and Parmesan and add toasted walnuts.

1 recipe Red Pepper Dressing, below
12 baby red potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon roasted garlic olive oil (I used Annie's Naturals)
Salt & pepper
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
10 cups baby spinach
4 tablespoons shaved Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the halved potatoes with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Make on a foil lined baking sheet for 35 to 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Turn off the oven and let set for another 20 minutes to brown.

2. Divide the ingredients among 4 plates starting with the spinach. Top each salad with 2 tablespoons red pepper dressing and 1 tablespoon each of shaved Parmesan.

Servings Per Recipe: 4 

Amount Per Serving of Salad without Dressing: Calories 194.4 Total Fat 10.3 g Saturated Fat 3.0 g Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g Cholesterol 215.6 mg Sodium 197.9 mg Potassium 402.7 mg Total Carbohydrate 17.2 g Dietary Fiber 2.8 g Sugars 1.0 g Protein 11.4 g

Roasted Red Pepper Dressing
White vinegar has a less stringent flavor than wine vinegars, making it possible to increase the vinegar and reduce the oil for a flavorful, but still balanced lower calorie dressing.

12 ounce jar sweet roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Dash of cayenne pepper

Puree the ingredients together with a food processor or blender until smooth.

Makes about 16 two-tablespoon sized servings.

Amount Per Two Tablespoons of Dressing: Calories 33.7 Total Fat 3.4 g Saturated Fat 0.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g Cholesterol 0.0 mg Sodium 209.4 mg Potassium 0.2 mg Total Carbohydrate 0.8 g Dietary Fiber 0.0 g Sugars 0.8 g Protein 0.0 g

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vegetables in Curried Coconut Milk

It’s difficult to get my curries not to look like cat food, so you’ll just have to trust me that this one tastes good. I’m guessing this is the reason I see more curry recipes without images than with.

This creamy vegetable filled curry is even better the next day. So pack it up for lunch and know that you’re taking something healthy and flavorful with you.

Vegetables in Curried Coconut Milk
Serve as a main dish over steamy brown rice.
Print Recipe
1 large onion, sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 large carrots, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large potato, cubed

1-1/2 cups cauliflower florets, sliced

8 mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Pinch of cayenne pepper

14.5 ounce can vegetable broth (or chicken if you prefer)

1 cup light coconut milk 

1 cup peas

Salt & pepper, to taste

1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onions, garlic, and carrots in oil on medium-high heat until the onions become translucent.

2. Add the vegetables, curry, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne, stirring often so they don't stick to the pan, cooking for 2-4 minutes.

3. Add the broth and coconut milk, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork.

4. Stir in the peas. Cook uncovered on medium-high heat stirring constantly until the liquid has thickened.

5. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over brown rice.

Servings Per Recipe: 6 Serving. Size: 1/6 recipe. Brown rice not included in calorie count. Per Serving: Calories 159.3 Total Fat 5.4 g Saturated Fat 3.0 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g Monounsaturated Fat 2.1 g Cholesterol 1.5 mg Sodium 355.9 mg Potassium 737.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 24.4 g Dietary Fiber 5.2 g Sugars 4.7 g Protein 4.7 g

Monday, August 8, 2011

Grilled Scallops with Lemon Chickpea Salad

What a great recipe from Health.com! It’s fast, beautiful, fresh and packed with some of my favorite ingredients. Don't have a grill at home? No worries. Searing scallops in a skillet works just as well.

This recipe makes four very small portions or two normal sized entrees.

Grilled Scallops with Lemon Chickpea Salad
Print Recipe
"The power duo of scallops and chickpeas provides fiber, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for brain and heart health."

15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery
1/3 cup chopped fresh leaf parsley (Or 1 teaspoon dried.)
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 pound sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry. (More is better of course.)
4 cups baby spinach
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the grill to high. Pull beards off of scallops if they’re still attached. Set aside.

2. In medium-sized bowl combine chickpeas, garlic, celery, parsley, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.

3. In another medium-sized bowl combine 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and toss in scallops to coat.

4. Divide spinach onto four plates and evenly spoon chickpea mixture over the top.

5. Grill scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until firm to the touch but not rubbery. Evenly divide among salads and serve immediately.

4 Servings (I ate two servings myself. This recipe really doesn't feed four as a meal so keep that in mind if cooking for more than two people.)

Amount Per Serving: Calories 113.6 Total Fat 3.1 g Saturated Fat 0.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g Monounsaturated Fat 1.8 g Cholesterol 18.7 mg Sodium 201.1 mg Potassium 463.7 mg Total Carbohydrate 10.0 g Dietary Fiber 2.1 g Sugars 0.4 g Protein 11.9 g

Recipe from Health.com. Photograph by Laura Flowers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Good for You Honey Banana Flax Muffins

Here’s another one of those muffin recipes my family won’t eat. They won’t touch them, won’t smell them and cringe when I even offer one.

They’d prefer fluffy fried doughnuts.

But that’s okay, because I froze the batch and I’m going to enjoy their moist, slightly buttery, nutty, banana goodness one or two at a time. All by myself.

Good for You Honey Banana Flax Muffins
Print Recipe
Muffins really don’t need the huge amounts of oil or butter they usually call for. These ones contain about a 1/2 teaspoon of butter per muffin, giving them plenty of buttery taste without all the excess calories. Instead, it’s fruit that provides moisture and sweetness.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine:
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In another large bowl combine:
4 very ripe medium sized bananas, mashed well
1/2 cup juice sweetened cinnamon applesauce
1/4 cup slightly warm honey
2 tablespoons vegan butter or butter, melted
1 egg (leave it out if you want vegan muffins)

1. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. With an ice-cream scoop, scoop and scrap off excess batter and release into each muffin cup. You may need a second muffin tin for 2 or 3 extra muffins.

2. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until done.

Makes 12 to 15 standard size muffins.

Per muffin: Calories: 129.9, Total Fat: 3.0 g, Cholesterol: 15.4 mg, Sodium: 351.2 mg, Total Carbs: 22.6 g, Dietary Fiber: 2.4 g, Protein: 2.7 g.

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Slimmed Down Single Serve Chicken Pot Pies

Can you imagine a decent size portion of pot pie with 300 calories and 8 grams of fat that still tastes good?

They do exist, but you have to make them yourself. But with a shortcut topping, these pot pies can still be weeknight food.

Slimmed Down Single Serve Chicken Pot Pies
Print Recipe
Placing the filling in 1-cup ramekins is automatic portion control. Unless you go back for a second one, but I can’t really help you there.

1 1/2 pounds chicken
14.5 ounce can low sodium chicken broth
1 cup nonfat milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter
12 ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables (Steamables are quick and easy.)
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (4 ounce) container reduced fat crescent roll dough
1 egg white, beaten

1. In a large pot, simmer the chicken breasts and broth together over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat and move chicken to a cutting board to cook when it’s cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the chicken.

2. Cook the vegetables according to package directions. Set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease six 1-cup ramekins with cooking spray. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.

4. Turn the heat back on under the pot and add the butter. Mix flour and a little of the milk together and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and the remaining milk to the pot. Bring to a simmer and stir until thickened. Add the vegetables, dill, parsley, onion powder, salt and pepper and warm through.

5. Unroll the crescent rolls. Press 8 of the triangles together so that the form rectangles. Cut the rectangles in half with scissors to make two squares each.

6. Divide the chicken mixture evenly among the ramekins. Place a crescent roll square on top of each one and brush lightly with egg white. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until top is golden and sauce is bubbly.

Makes 6 Servings.

Calories 300.6 Total Fat 8.0 g Saturated Fat 3.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g Monounsaturated Fat 2.4 g Cholesterol 71.6 mg Sodium 898.9 mg Potassium 375.1 mg Total Carbohydrate 25.7 g Dietary Fiber 1.6 g Sugars 5.0 g Protein 32.5 g

By Laura Flowers.

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