Monday, April 26, 2010

Black Bean and Corn Tostadas

Tostada literally means "toasted" in Spanish and is used to describe a variety of different dishes. Oftentimes it is a tortilla that is toasted or deep fried and then topped with any mix of ingredients. This healthy version bakes the tortillas as opposed to deep frying them and is also vegetarian, although grilled chicken or shrimp would be a great addition; just cook the meat before adding it to the other ingredients. This meat-free version has protein rich black beans and cheese as well as healthy veggies. Unfortunately I didn't have any avocados on hand as these would have been a great topping after the tostadas were cooked. Feel free to add in other veggies or leave something out. The great thing about tostadas is that they are super easy and fast to make and can be made with a lot of things that can be kept on hand. I used a bit of salsa verde that I had to finish the dish but any salsa or guacamole would work too (or the aforementioned avocado slices). Mix a simple green salad and you've got a great, healthy dinner any night of the week in about 15 minutes. Doesn't get much better than that!

Black bean and corn tostadas (serves 2 or 3 people)
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, thawed
  • 8 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (Mexican blend, Cheddar or Monterey Jack work well)
  • Salsa, salsa verde, sliced avocado
Preheat oven to 450F.
In a medium bowl, mix black beans, corn, tomatoes, and pepper flakes.
Squeeze the juice of the lime over the mix.
Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Lay the tortillas out evenly (a little overlap is ok).
Brush each with olive oil.
Top with about 1/3 cup of the bean mixture.
Sprinkle about 1-2 tbsp of cheese over each.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas start to brown.
Remove from oven and top with salsa; serve immediately.

For a printable recipe click here

Black Bean and Corn Tostadas on Foodista

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mustard and Honey Salmon with Spiced Brown Rice Pilaf

One of my first posts on this blog was about salmon and, to be honest, I haven't made it a lot since then. It's often on the more expensive side at the fish counter and I generally just don't think to buy it. Fortunately, it was on special this weekend and I'm really glad I picked some up. This preparation tastes very different from the earlier recipe but is made in a similarly easy fashion. I also highly recommend serving it with the brown rice pilaf as the flavors compliment each other nicely. The pilaf would also be a great side dish to any meat, as it has a lot more flavor than plain brown rice. Adding a touch of cayenne pepper to the rice gives it some heat that balances well with the sweetness of the mustard and honey glaze on the salmon. I like my salmon on the medium rare side but cook it to your own liking by leaving it in the pan a bit longer. Add a nice vegetable like roasted broccoli and you have a great meal in only about 30 minutes.

Mustard and Honey Glazed Salmon
  • 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4, 4-6 oz salmon fillets, skin on
Mix together mustard, honey, cumin and vinegar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Brush mustard mixture all over salmon.
Put salmon in the hot pan, skin side down.
Cook for 4-5 minutes, until skin is crisp and salmon begins to cook.
Flip over and cook until salmon reaches your desired doneness.

Spiced Brown Rice Pilaf
  • 1 small shallot, diced small
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt
Heat olive oil in a saucepan with a lid.
Saute shallots for a few minutes to begin cooking, without browning them.
Add rice, cooking for another couple of minutes, stirring to ensure all of the rice is coated in oil.
Season with cumin, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt.
Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Turn the rice down to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. (Check instructions on package as different brands vary in cooking time).
Fluff with a fork and check seasoning.

For a printable recipe click here

Mustard and Honey Glazed Salmon

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spicy Chicken Pasta

I want to begin by apologizing for my lack of posts this month. I realize it's over half way through April and I've only posted twice! My only excuse is that I've been incredibly busy with school work (and some wedding planning thrown in there too!) but since everyone is busy with something or another, I will try to do better. This dish is great for anyone who is busy and doesn't want a long cooking time or a lot of dishes to do after the meal is over. I know that after a long day of school (or work) I want to enjoy a good meal without a lot of work either before or after. This meal needs a large pot for boiling the pasta and one large pan with a lid to cook everything else. With lean chicken breast, zucchini and tomatoes, this dish is definitely healthy and if you use whole wheat pasta, which I highly recommend for its delicious nutty flavor, you'll add even more health benefits like fiber. All in all, a simple weeknight dinner that's great for both your mental and physical health.

Spicy chicken pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3-4 medium zucchini
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 lb whole wheat penne pasta (or whatever type you like)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pan, with a lid.
Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes for about 30 seconds.
Pour in both cans of tomatoes, stirring to combine; season with basil, a pinch of salt and pepper.
Stir in the chicken and cover; cook for about 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
Slice the zucchini lengthwise into four spears (half and then half again), then cut into 1/2 thick sections.
Stir zucchini in with chicken and cover; cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, until zucchini are tender; remove chicken as it cooks through.
When water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to package directions, about 10 minutes.
Drain pasta and toss with sauce and parmesan cheese; adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

For a printable recipe click here

Spicy Chicken Pasta

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chicken in Mushroom and White Wine Sauce

I was completely stumped tonight on what to make for dinner. I was feeling totally uninspired at the grocery store today and just picked up a few things to try to come up with something at home. This is not a strategy I recommend. It's much better to make a plan before going to the store to ensure buying the right ingredients and not missing anything when cooking starts. I usually do this myself but for whatever reason I couldn't think of anything I wanted to make earlier today. So I ended buying a package of portobello mushrooms, chicken breasts, and asparagus (which are in season right now and absolutely fantastic). With these simple ingredients and a few things I had on hand, I managed to make a pretty good version of a dish I made in one of my cooking classes earlier this year. The dish we made in class is Chicken Chardonnay, a classic mix of mushrooms, Chardonnay and cream served over breaded chicken. The version I made is much lighter but still full of flavor. I used portobellos because that's what I bought, but any mushrooms would work. I also had a bottle of Verdejo, a white wine from the Rueda region of Spain, on hand so I used that instead of Chardonnay. Any dry white wine will work fine. I served the chicken over bulgur cooked in chicken broth with a side of roasted asparagus. For not much planning, this turned out to be a great weeknight meal.

Chicken in Mushroom and White Wine Sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium grill seasoning, or a combination of garlic salt, pepper and cayenne
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
Season both sides of the chicken with grill seasoning or spice mixture.
When oil is hot, place chicken in the pan and cook on one side for about 5-8 minutes, till golden brown on the bottom.
Flip the chicken over and finish cooking through, another 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness.
Remove chicken and reserve on a plate; cover with tinfoil.
Toss the mushrooms in the same saute pan.
Allow to brown for a few minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper; cook until tender.
Pour in the white wine, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan; reduce by about half.
Pour in the chicken stock, let boil for a few minutes and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Slice the chicken and serve over bulgur or rice and cover with the sauce.

For a printable recipe click here

Chicken In Mushroom and White Wine Sauce

Monday, April 5, 2010

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This simple mix of black beans, corn and tomatoes is so easy it can barely be considered a recipe, as it is really more of an idea. I decided to write about it anyway because I think it's a pretty good idea and lends itself to so many different uses that it deserves it's own post. I served this salsa as a topping for a taco bar I made for guests last weekend. It definitely works great anywhere you would use a store bought salsa but with lots more flavor, nutritional benefits and homemade goodness. It would even work as a dip for your favorite chips. However, because the salsa is more than just a mix of tomatoes and onions, you could easily serve it as a light, summer salad. Serve it with greens and maybe some chilled grilled chicken or shrimp and you have a light, fresh tasting meal, perfect for a hot evening. You could also grill chicken or fish and serve the salsa as topping or "sauce" to liven up the meal. Feel free to add some chopped onions or jalapenos, if you want to add a spicy kick. I kept it simple with sweet corn, meaty black beans and farmers' market tomatoes. The lime juice brings it all together for a tasty treat that goes with almost anything.

Black bean and corn salsa:
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, thawed if frozen
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
In a medium bowl, combine black beans and corn.
Cut tomatoes into wedges and remove the seeds and pulp.
Chop tomatoes to be about the size of the black beans.
Add the tomatoes to the bowl with the lime juice.
Chop the cilantro, adding more than 1 tbsp if you really like cilantro.
Season the salsa generously with salt and pepper.
Toss everything to combine the flavors. Check seasonings.
The salsa keeps well in the refrigerator and deepens in flavor as it marinates together.

For a printable recipe click here