Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pecan Pesto Shells with Sausage

Pecan Pesto Shells with Sausage
Recipe inspired by Real Simple
Makes 6 Servings

12 oz. dry pasta, small shape
3 cups fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup pecan halves
16 tsp grated Parmesan
4 tbsp olive oil
1 pound Hot Italian Turkey Sausage

Cook pasta according to package instructions, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Drain pasta and return to pot. In the meantime, pulse parsley, pecans, parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in food processor. With machine running, add olive oil to the top and process until smooth. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add pesto, sausage, and 1/4 cup of cooking water to pasta. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan as garnish if desired.

Nutritional Information: 511 calories, 48 carbs, 26 fat grams and 24 protein grams.

Review: Such a rich, creamy dish! Very filling between the sausage, nutty sauce and pasta. The original recipe called for regular sausage, but I thought the turkey sausage was great. It is definitely a higher calorie meal for me, but well worth it for a hearty, homemade pesto with our homegrown basil! I will definitely make this again, especially in the fall for a nice, heavy pasta dinner!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Soy Glazed Salmon

Soy Glazed Salmon
Makes 2 Servings
Recipe adapted from

1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (juice from ½ lemon)
½ tbsp dry white wine (or water)
8 oz. salmon, skin removed
½ cup basmati rice, dry
optional topping: sesame seeds

Cook rice per package instructions on stove. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, stir sugar, oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and wine until sugar has dissolved. Spray nonstick cooking spray in square baking dish. Add fish in a single layer. Pour glaze over fish and turn to coat evenly. Bake until fish is opaque, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over basmati, spooning remaining glaze on top as a sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Nutritional Information: 401 calories, 43 carbs, 14 fat grams and 26 protein grams.

Review: The glaze was very tasty, and it made plenty to allow for the sauce to give the rice flavor. I liked how easy this was, too – I had all of the ingredients on hand! I did use wine, only because I happened to have a bottle open already, but I feel certain it would be fine with water instead like the recipe suggested as an alternative. I will definitely have this again, and think it would be great with other grains, too, like couscous or quinoa, or with an Asian-inspired salad!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sweet Chili Fish Tacos

Sweet Chili Fish Tacos
Inspired by a taco I had at Cheeky Taqueria; help with the tilapia from a Food Network recipe
Makes 2 Servings

2 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp spike seasoning (or a seafood seasoning)
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
½ pound tilapia fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp garlic
4 small flour tortillas (about 80 calories each)
2 tbsp fat-free sour cream, divided
1 cup romaine, shredded, divided
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce, divided (we use Frank's brand)
2 tsp sesame seeds, divided

 In a shallow dish, combine flour, seasoning, salt and pepper. Add tilapia and coat on each side, flipping six times. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan and stir 10 seconds until fragrant. Place tilapia in skillet. Brown for 3 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, heat tortillas and get toppings ready (I heat tortillas by flipping them one at a time directly on the stove eye grate, then stack them up and microwave for 10 – 15 seconds just before prepping.) For each tortilla, spread ½ tbsp sour cream, then top with one quarter of the fish and lettuce, ½ tbsp sauce and ½ tsp seeds.

Nutritional Information: 412 calories, 48 carbs, 12 fat grams and 29 protein grams.

Review: Loved! The sweet chili sauce definitely made them - a great, jelly-like Asian-inspired topping. The tacos were very tasty and had a lot of flavor, and best of all - they were QUICK! From start to finish, I'd say maybe 15 minutes. I'll definitely be making these again, especially since I picked up the tilapia today for only $2.50 - woo! To make this 4 servings, simply double it. And note, I included all of the flour in the nutritional information, but at least 1 tbsp was left in the pan/not eaten. To make the recipe more filling, I'd just add more fish! We will absolutely be having these again!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ricotta Shells with Homemade Marinara

Ricotta Shells with Homemade Marinara
Recipe inspired by Real Simple recipe
Makes 4 Servings

8 oz. jumbo pasta shells (28 shells)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/4 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
6 tbsp fresh basil leaves, diced; divided
4 tsp reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions (make an extra shell or two in case they stick!). Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Crush tomatoes in hands (be careful - wear an apron!) and ad them and their juices to the pan. Season with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 minutes. Mix together ricotta with 4 tbsp basil.. Stuff each shell with about 1 tbsp ricotta mixture. Place 7 stuffed shells on each plate/bowl/etc.. Top with 1/4 of the tomato sauce, 1 tsp of the parmesan cheese and a portion of the remaining basil. Top with additional salt or pepper as needed/to taste.

Nutritional Information: 440 calories, 56 carbs, 16 fat grams and 17 protein grams.

Review: We just loved this. I was at first very nervous about using so much olive oil, but it really made the sauce, which is the star of this recipe, as is the fresh basil. This was wonderful and reheated very well. For those who want less fat grams:  I feel certain that 3 tbsp would taste the same! For those who want to sub those fat grams out for something else: If you took out the tbsp of olive oil, I feel like you could replace it with light ricotta cheese (vs. fat-free) and that would be great.For those who hate stuffing shells: You can use a short pasta  (like rotini or farfalle) and just drop in balls of ricotta/basil vs. stuffing the shells - would be quicker!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shitake & Sirloin Stroganoff

Shitake & Sirloin Stroganoff
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
Makes 4 Servings

6 oz. wide egg noodles
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound sirloin, diced
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
1 cup thinly sliced leek
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp minced garlic
1 5-oz. package presliced shitake mushrooms
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tbsp fresh parsley, diced

Cook noodles according to package instructions (approx. 9 minutes). Drain. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Swirl to coat. Add beef; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook 4 minutes or until all sides are browned. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add leek, thyme, garlic and mushrooms. Saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle flour and paprika on top and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and sour cream. Stir in beef. Serve over noodles and sprinkle parsley on top.

Nutritional Information: 489 calories, 44 carbs, 15 fat grams and 42 protein grams.

Review: Excellent, hearty recipe! The mushrooms added a lot to this recipe - definitely don't do the white ones. If you want to, sub 'hot paprika' for the paprika - the recipe called for it but I didn't have it - an extra kick would be fine but it was great as was. This was my first time cooking with a leek and it added a lot of flavor, too. I am very happy with this recipe and will definitely make it again. I also liked that it only took 20 minutes from start to finish - always a plus for us!