Monday, July 25, 2011

Quinoa and Kale

I've posted this recipe before. I like it so much that I want to be sure everyone has seen it. If you're not familiar with Quinoa (keen-wah), let me catch you up.

Quinoa is a complete protein source with high levels of B vitamins, manganese, magnesium and iron. While the texture makes you think of eating a grain, quinoa really is a seed. Mixed with a phytonutrient-rich leafy green, you can't find a recipe that is much healthier! Then you add scallions, a little goat cheese or feta, olive oil, fresh lemon juice and zest, and pine nuts and you have a recipe filled with loads of complimenting flavors.
This recipe originated on the food blog Mostly Foodstuffs, and I think it's genius--one pot, twenty minutes total time, couldn't be easier or healthier, and it's really delicious!

I have substituted spinach and broccoli when kale isn't available, and it's equally as delicious and healthy.

Try it just once. I believe you'll enjoy it again and again!

Quinoa and Kale
(4 large servings, 7 Points Plus each)

1 cup quinoa
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped into 1" lengths
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese (for this Points Plus value, I used fat free feta)
salt and pepper
Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil in a pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine half of the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, olive oil, pine nuts, and cheese.

Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed -- the water should be absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff the pilaf, and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. As the hot quinoa hits the scallions and lemon it should smell lovely. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper, and the remaining lemon juice if needed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cakes

2 servings of two salmon cakes each

(6 Points Plus per serving)

8 oz. fresh salmon, roughly chopped

1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

2 scallions, roughly chopped

~1 inch ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped

One-fourth cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Zest from one lime

2 tsp. Nature's Seasons by Morton, or similar seasoning blend

1 egg

1 heaping tsp. Wasabi Sauce (I use Atlantic brand) or other wasabi product

One-half cup Panko Lemon Pepper flavored Crispy Bread Crumbs

1 T extra virgin olive oil

Lime wedges

Add salmon to food processor and pulse to chop. Add the next 8 ingredients and pulse until combined. Don't over-pulse. You want to be able to see the different elements.

Remove blade and add Panko, stirring to thoroughly combine.

Divide mixture into four equal parts. They will be very moist, so remove from food processor with a large spoon and add directly to hot pan.

Place nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When pan is hot, add salmon cakes. Cook for about 4 minutes per side without disturbing until ready to turn. Cakes should be nicely browned and firm before turning.

Serve with a wedge of lime.


Salmon Cakes with Dill Tzaziki Sauce

2 small cans wild Atlantic salmon, skinless and boneless

3 small scallions, chopped

One-half small can water-chestnuts, drained and diced or chopped celery

One-fourth tsp. pepper

One-half tsp. salt

1 T dried dill

1 T dried parsley

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 T lemon juice

One-third cup mayonnaise

1 egg, beaten

One and one-half cups saltine cracker crumbs

1 T extra virgin olive oil

Tzaziki Sauce*

Drain salmon well. Gently mix salmon, scallions, and water-chestnuts. Add pepper, salt, dill and parsley. Combine lemon zest and juice, mayonnaise and egg. Fold egg mixture into salmon mixture. Finally, add cracker crumbs and stir together with a fork. Form into eight patties.

Add olive oil to nonstick skillet over medium heat. When olive oil is hot, add patties. Cook on each side for four to five minutes, until browned and cooked through.

Serve with Tzaziki Sauce.

*Tzaziki Sauce

1 cup low fat Greek yogurt, drained

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)

1 T dried dill

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash cayenne

One-half cucumber, peeled and seeded, grated and drained (optional)

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Pie

This has to be the best really easy summer dessert in my collection of recipes. If you know of one that's as easy and is actually better, please let me know. Remember, I have a special affinity for anything 'banana'. I don't think anyone would complain if you added coconut to the bananas and garnished with coconut instead of peanuts and M&M's. I was catering to the younger crowd with this one.
Just a few hours in the freezer and you're ready to serve. Plus, it makes two pies--one for today, and another for tomorrow or to share with a friend.

As you can see, the ingredients are basic and there's nothing to cook. This would be a good recipe for the young aspiring chefs in your family. They could even do it themselves.

(For my Point Counting Friends, use Splenda Brown Sugar, reduced fat and fat free products and skip the garnish!)

Peanut Butter and Banana Pie

(makes 2 pies)

2 pre-made chocolate cookie crumb pie shells (I used Keebler's Ready Made Chocolate)

One and one-half cups brown sugar

8 oz. Cream cheese

1 cup good peanut butter (you chose, smooth or crunchy)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 large container (12oz.) cool whip

3 bananas

Prepared chocolate syrup (I used Reese's Shell syrup)

Extra cool whip, chopped peanuts, and M & M's for garnish, optional

Beat brown sugar, cream cheese, peanut butter and vanilla until well combined. Beat in half the cool whip, then fold in the remaining cool whip. (Don't forget to lick the beaters!)

Slice bananas, and divide equally between pie shells, covering the bottoms.

Pour peanut butter mixture over bananas. (Share licking the bowl!)

Cover and freeze.

Remove from freezer and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. This is an important step!

Serve with extra cool whip, chopped peanuts, M & M's and chocolate syrup as garnish (optional).