025 -- Peanut Thai Noodle Salad

My friend Lulu had a few of us over for dinner a few weeks ago. She had recently introduced me to this awesome food blog, Our Best Bites, which always has yummy looking recipes. To intensify my love for OBB, Lulu made their Thai Peanut Noodle Salad. I have seriously had dreams, ok well really daydreams, about that salad. It was way too yummy for its own good. Obviously (a) I have major issues, and (b) I had to give it a try of my own.

Plus, this gave me an opportunity to use my *new* blender. My parents gave me a blender/food processor combo about 3.5 years ago (I think) for Christmas. They share a base, but have different tops. Since then I have used the food processor tons of times, my general favorite thing to make being hummus. However, I had never actually pulled the blender portion out. Now I feel a lot better about it. I swear I usually don't wait that long to use gifts... the week the infamous pasta roller shows up I plan to make something special :)

In other conversational news... this was the first time I actually used raw ginger in a recipe. I usually sub ground ginger, skip it, or just skip the recipe in the first place. I think am closing in towards having cooked with most of the veggies at our little Kroger save the greens.

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 lime
2 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbl rice vinegar
2 tbl soy sauce
3 tbl honey
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbl minced ginger
1/4-1/2 cup copped cilantro
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1-3 tsp siracha chili sauce
2-4 tbl water (as needed to make dressing-y)

6 cups chopped Nappa Cabbage/Savoy Cabbage, or some other greens
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, sliced or chopped
Handful of baby carrots, julienned
1 box whole wheat linguine

Combine all dressing ingredients in blender and mix. Set to side and chill

Cook linguine until al dente. Rinse in col water. While linguine is cooking chop vegetables.

Toss dressing, pasta, and veggies and serve!

Awesome! It doesn't taste like I remember Lulu's tasting, but i could still have dreams about this. I'm sold on OBB! About the only problem i see is that it feeds a bunch! I knew it would be more than a meal or two when I looked at it, but I was dumb enough to think I didn't need to halve (or quarter) it. Really, since the dressing is the super star of this meal, you could make a pretty good meal out of just the veggies and the dressing without the noodles, but what fun would that be? So, anyone want to come over for dinner tomorrow or Tuesday? You can see the super awesome yellow kitchen in person!!


024 -- Spanakopizza

The weekends are pizza time at my house. It harks back to childhood and growing up in Chicago. I had some feta cheese left over from last week's lentils, so I decided I wanted to do something with them. I had been reading some recipes on the web and decided to make a Greek spanakopita inspired pizza. MMMM pizza and spanakopita -- a combination that can't go wrong, right? I feel so Rachel Ray in naming my dish :)

Olive oil spray
1 Can refrigerator pizza dough
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Green pepper, chopped
1/4-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Feta cheese
1 Lemon

First, spray the surface of a baking sheet with olive oil. Roll out the pizza dough to the desired thickness and spray the surface with olive oil again. Bake at 400 (or temperature on can) for about 7 minutes.

Pull the pizza out of the oven and start topping. I put the minced garlic down first, followed by peppers and onions. The spinach took the place as the top veggie. Spread the feta over the spinach. Top with dill, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Finally, sprinkle with lemon juice.

Bake for about 8 minutes longer and enjoy!


Winner! This was excellent, definitely one to enjoy again. I adore dill and feta, making this a yummy combo! Plus it was pretty darn healthy. I thought that the lemon brought out the dill and oregano and made it pretty darn tasty!! Warning, since there isn't a lot of cheese (its really more of a flatbread...) the toppings like to slide here there and everywhere.



I enjoyed a GREAT lunch with GREAT people at Anchuca today. Somehow I had never been there before. It's a gorgeous b&b located in an antebellum home in downtown Vicksburg. I enjoyed the special, a grilled salmon salad. It was to die for! The salmon was moist and flavorful, the fruit was fresh, the goat cheese and candied walnuts were yummy, and the dressing wasn't overly done. I can only imagine how great Sunday Brunch is!


023 -- Sweet and Savory Mediterranean Lentils and Rice

I was looking for something 'nutritious and delicious' for lunch this week. This recipe from the AHA Cookbook promised me a sweet and savory combination that would delight so I was intrigued. Plus, it involved a 'new' ingredient for the cooking repertoire -- lentils. I've had them before, just never actually cooked with them.

2 tbl oil
1 onion, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
2 cups vegetable broth
1 small can crushed tomatoes (undrained)
2.5 cups water
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/3 cup dried currants
feta cheese

In a nonstick pan cook oil, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and onion over medium heat. This will seem like aromatherapy.

Add lentils and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 20 minutes.

Add tomatoes and juice, water, rice, and currants. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 40 minutes until rice is tender. Serve with feta sprinkled on top. Makes 4 servings

Since this was lunch it went from pan to Tupperware. Don't you love my beautiful picture that was taken at my desk the other day! Thank you camera phone. I was a little worried about this one. When I finished cooking it I took a little tidbit as a taste test and it seemed like the cayenne was a bit much for me. Since this was not the first time I had this reaction recently, I decided I might need to a) buy new cayenne -- perhaps mine has increased in heat with age, or b) start using reduced amounts of cayenne in recipes again -- I used to do this when I had full on yankee tongue after growing up in the salt house. Turns out, it was ok. Perhaps the heat was just actual heat from the stove :) Or maybe the cayenne mellowed in the fridge. Either way, this was a total winner and repeat worthy. The lentils and rice were really filling -- I could barely finish it. The currants and tomatoes gave it nice texture and I loved the sweet/savory combo of cinnamon and currants/onions and cayenne. I really can't say enough about this one!

I can also say that now, not only do I feel totally comfortable cooking/eating lentils, but I no longer fear currants. I actually lost the fear over Christmas when Dad made lemon-currant coffee cake from grandma's recipe (Dad, if you are reading this I need her recipe). Until then I had major currant fear. I thought they were some sort of gross icky dried fruit that i associated with fruit cake and nothing else. Then padre let us in on a secret, they are just little raisins. Mystery solved. New food for the cupboard :)


022 -- Asparagus and Artichoke Quiche

After beer and crawfish this weekend I wanted something light tonight. A veggie quiche seemed like just the ticket. This asparagus and artichoke quiche is based on a recipe from the American Heart Association uses brown rice for the crust. I liked this idea! It was something different!

2 1/4 cups vegetable broth and/or water
1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
1 cup brown rice
Egg substitute equivilent to three eggs
12 spears, asparagus trimmed to about 1/4 in. pieces
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
2 medium plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup half and half
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/4 tsp pepper
1. Cook rice according to directions, using water and broth. After cooking rice, place in a bowl in fridge for about 10 minutes to cool off. Mix cooled rice with your seasoning of chioce and egg subsitute equivilient to one egg.

2. Spray bottom and sides of deep dish pie pan with vegetable oil spray. Pat rice mixture onto bottom and sides of the pan to make crust. Bake at 400F for about 7 minutes until rice is golden brown.

3. Layer asparagus, artichokes, and on crust.

4. Mix substitute equivilent to two eggs, half and half, pepper, and 3/4 cup cheese together. Pour over the veggies. Place tomoatoes on top of quiche. Push down to partially cover with egg mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over quiche. Bake at 325F for about 45 minutes until egg mixture in center is set and does not jiggle.


This was great! I loved it!!! I really liked the layering of the vegetables. The cruchy rice instead of pie crust was a unique twist, and i liked it. I'm going to try one with cous cous sooner or later too.
If you are in my family, you know that I detest eggs.. but i'm learning if you throw enough crap in with them i'll happily eat them! Just don't ask me to consume a fried egg.


021 -- Zucchini, Corn, and Black Bean Quesadillas

I had big plans for dinner tonight. Then I went and forgot my shopping list at home. So, I improvised. Rebecca at EzraPoundCake has a Meatless Monday thing going on. In an effort to be more cost effective, sustainable, and healthy she eats meatless one day a week, so I knew she would have some more good meatless recipes for me to choose from. She didn't disappoint. These Quesadillas are based on one of her zucchini and corn quesadillas.

I added black beans and used the super fiber reinforced tortillas that I get from the Fresh Market. This was definitely yummy! I'm not always a huge fan of cilantro, but this hit the spot. I'm not actually sure the beans were needed, especially since i used the aforementioned tortillas. This was definitely high on the yum meter anyways. I look forward to eating leftovers tomorrow.

It really is amazing how the meatless thing works out. I love the fact that its got me new vegetables, eating beans, and feeling good. Post Lent, I would like to try to do the Meatless Monday thing. I think it will be AWESOME when Farmer's Market Goodies start to come in!

olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
olive oil spray
4 tortillas
2 cups grated cheddar-jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a large skillet heat 3 tbl oil over medium heat. Cook onion and salt, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic, cooking for about 1 minute.

2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and slice thinly. Add zucchini and corn to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally until zucchini is soft and corn has thawed. (I added beans at this step, but I would hold off to step 3 next time)

3. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and beans.

4. Spray one side of two tortillas with oil. Place tortillas oil-side down on a baking sheet and top with 1/2 filling apiece. Cover each tortilla with half the cheese. Top with remaining two tortillas. Spray with oil and press down with spatula to seal.

5. Bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and quesadillas are golden brown. Remove from oven and slice. Makes 4 meal-size servings or a bunch of appetizer-y goodies.


020 -- Southwest Veggie Eggrolls

While scouring the food blogs I ran across this recipe at Ezra Pound Cake. It spoke to me and I've been thinking about it ever since I read this recipe. After a great day of springtime fun it was definitely what the doctor ordered -- and at 2 WW points per eggroll it isn't too shabby on the health side. Taste-wise this was absolutely A-Ma-Zing! Plus it was good and filling. I would serve with greek yogurt or some guacamole if I had one of them on hand.

2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
10 oz package chopped spinach, thawed and dried
1 1/2 cup colby jack or mexican cheese
4 oz can of diced green chiles, drained
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash cayenne pepper
20 eggroll wrappers

Combine everything except the eggrolls and mix well.

Place about 1/4 cup of mixture on top of an eggroll wrapper.

Wrap eggrolll up. Roll one corner towards center. Continue rolling and fold sides over center. Wet final corner and roll up to seal. This recipe should make about 20 eggrolls in this manner.

Spray baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Place eggrolls seam-side down on baking sheet. Spray top of eggrolls with vegetable oil spray. Bake for about 15 minutes at 425 F, until crispy and brown. Turn eggrolls once during cooking.

Serve and ENJOY!

019 -- Simple Baked Cod

This recipe is pretty simplistic recipe i found on Big Oven. I have really come to enjoy fish, however I'm still learning to cook it. For years my fish experience was summed up in the words fish sticks. As I've gotten older I've gone outside my box and begun to eat more seafood. i can now say that I love to eat fish while out, but funny thing, yummy fish is usually covered in hollandaise or some other crazy unhealthy sauce when you eat out. So I'm starting to try to cook fish more. This was my first attempt at a breaded fish from scratch.

1 lb cod fillets
vegetable/olive oil spray
2 tbl flour
2 tbl cornmeal
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1-2 tbl grated parmesan cheese

rise cod and pat dry. spray with oil spray on both sides. Meanwhile combine flour, cornmeal, onion powder and pepper in a bowl. Dip fish fillets in flour mixture and cover both sides. Place in glass baking dish. Spray tops of fish with oil and cover with parmesan cheese. Bake at 450 for about 12-14 minutes until fish is cooked.
This was ok.. nothing fabulous, but not horrid. I imagine if i used butter instead of oil, as suggested, it would have been a ton better. I will continue on in my efforts to find an adequate healthy breaded fish. In retrospect would try putting more species into the mixture and would use panko breadcrumbs instead of the flour/cornmeal mixture. However, I think I'm just generally a bigger fan of tuna and salmon than white fish.

Recipe 18: Spinach and white bean soup

I needed a quick, easy meal the other day, so i turned to my old favorite, soup :) This was a sort of quickie take on traditional pasta e fagioli.

4 cups chicken stock
1/2 box whole wheat pasta
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
28 oz can diced tomatoes
fresh baby spinach
salt, pepper, and your favorite italian herbs to taste

Cook pasta according to box. Combine stock, cooked pasta, beans, and tomatoes in large stockpot. Bring to boil and allow to simmer for a few moments until beans and tomatoes are cooked through. Stir baby spinach into soup and allow to wilt. Season as desired and serve.

This was ok. I didn't add enough of my favorite hers and spices (i used a tuscan herb mix i had on hand), so it was a little bit bland. However, it was certainly filling between the beans and whole wheat pasta.


Recipe17: WW Veggie Soup

I was wanting something veggie filled and light last weekend. I was DESPERATE to lose at least half a pound, so I thought I would try the 'staple' WW veggie soup (because apparently I don't eat enough soup?). Although, soup is one of the things I find easiest to make in a veggie form that keeps me filled up.

4 garlic cloves
medium onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced
1 sweet pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
2 cups cabbage, shredded
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
dried thyme
6 cups vegetable/chicken broth
2 tbl parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lemon

Combine vegetables, broth, thyme, and garlic in large stockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and the juice of a lemon.

This was pretty ok and fairly filling considering that it is essentially calorically non-existent. I can see why its a 'staple' of weight loss in weight watchers. The recipe called for swiss chard, but alas our kroger was without so i bumped up the rest of the veggies accordingly to account for the missing chard. I also used a green pepper instead of red -- red would have made it even more visually appealing. WW claims that this makes 12-1 cup servings. Personally, if this is the main portion of the meal I, needed 2 cups and a fresh multi grain roll with some sort of fat product on it. I've got some of it stored up in the freezer for a soupy day :)


Broiled Italian Eggplant

From the New American Heart Association Cookbook
1/2 cup italian dressing
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 large eggplant
1 oz can tomato sauce
pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Combine italian dressing, rosemary, and oregano. Meanwhile slice eggplant in 3/4 in. slices.

Place eggplant and dressing mixture in a baggie or bowl and mix to cover. Allow to sit for 1 hr to marinate.

Preheat Broiler and place eggplant on a baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes per side until browned.
Layer eggplant, tomato sauce, and pepper to taste in an 8 in. baking dish. Place cheese over top layer and broil for an additional 2-3 minutes until melted and browned. Enjoy!

This was super easy. It took a while just because of the marinade time. Otherwise it was a no muss, no fuss sort of supper. It was also pretty yummy, particularly for an easy meal. During the summer I would consider making this using some farm fresh eggplant and chopped up tomatoes rather than the sauce. I think that could give it some awesome texture and flavor layering. Still easy peasy! And if you were trying to think economically, it was less than five dollars for 4 servings!