Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fresh Vegetable Barley

It seems like getting more fibre and whole grains in your diet is all the rage at the moment, so much so, that in the October edition of Cooking Light they had a whole section on recipes that would give you a fibre boost. I was actually very happy about this because I have recently discovered the joys of eating more interesting grains such as barley, quinoa and bulgar wheat. These are my new favourite grains, as I love the taste and the texture...and getting an added boost of fibre doesn't hurt either. Oh, and they are lower in calories than rice, which makes them super foods in my book.

Anyway, I was surprised to find this recipe in the Autumn/Fall edition of Cooking Light as the ingredients are distinctly summery. And as my summer CSA subscription has now finished, I had to purchase supermarket tomatoes and zucchini for the first time in almost 6 months...the horror!!!

But it turned out ok. This dish was very tasty, almost risotto-like in texture and great as a vegetarian meal. Even my meat eating hubby enjoyed it very much. At 177 calories per serving, you can't go wrong!

Fresh Vegetable Barley
(Serves 4)

1 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (about 1)
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs crumbled feta cheese
chopped fresh parsley

1. heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add barley and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, over and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Stir in zucchini, tomatoes, salt and pepper, then cover and cook for a further 5 minutes. Ladle barley mixture into bowls, then top each serving with 1 1/2 tsp of feta cheese and parsley.

Brunswick Stew

As I sit here looking out my window at a cold, windy and rainy afternoon (it looks like 7pm at 4pm), I thought it would be a good time to post this recipe that I made at the start of the week. This stew, is kind of a cross between a soup and a stew and is very satisfying for a wintery day like today. The chicken makes it very hearty, but with loads of veggies, this is a low calorie and extremely tasty dinner, that's good for you too. And its served with garlic bread, my fave!! yum!

The recipe is from the October edition of Cooking Light.

Brunswick Stew
(Serves 6)

1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tbs peanut oil
1 tbs all purpose flour
1lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups fat free, less sodium chicken stock
2 tbs no-salt added tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
1 10 oz package of frozen corn, thawed
1 10 oz package of frozen Lima beans, thawed
6 slices Italian bread, toasted
2 garlic cloves, halved

1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan in cooking spray, then add bell pepper, onion and celery to pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add oil to pan. Combine flour and chicken in a bowl, tossing to coat. Add chicken to pan and cook until lightly browned. Gradually stir in stock and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (through to Lima beans) to pan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Rub toasted bread with cut sides of garlic bread and discard garlic. (Optional: I also like to add a bit of olive oil to the bread before rubbing the garlic, but this adds a few extra calories). Serve 1 slice of bread with each serving of stew.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chicken Risotto

In putting this recipe on my blog, I almost feel like I am giving away one of my trade secrets. This is a recipe that I reserve for special occasions and it has never let me down. My husband asked me to make it this weekend, so I will pass it on and hope that if you make it, that it might become one of the weapons in your cooking arsenal, too.

This is one of those recipes, that when you look at the ingredients, you think it can't possibly be that good, yet when they come together, it just blows your mind. This is definitely my favourite risotto recipe and I have many of them....risotto is one of my favourite foods. This one always surprises me in its simplicity and tastiness. I can't stress enough how flavourful this dish is. You'll just have to try it for yourself.

Unfortunately I can't take credit for inventing the recipe, it comes from a book I bought years ago called the practical encyclopedia of potato and rice. Enjoy!

Chicken Risotto (Serves 6)

2 tbs olive oil
8oz skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 1/3 cups risotto rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp saffron threads
7 1/2 cups simmering chicken stock
2oz prosciutto, cut into thin strips
2tbs butter, cubed
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
salt and freshly ground black pepper
flat leaf parsley to garnish

1. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring until it turns white.

2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring until the onion is soft. Stir in the rice and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly until the rice is coated in oil.

3. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed. Stir saffron into simmering stock, then add ladlefuls of stock to the rice, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next.

4. When the rice is three-quarters cooked, add the prosciutto and continue cooking until the rice is just tender and the risotto is creamy.

5. Add the butter and Parmesan and stir until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve risotto sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Apple-Cheddar Soup

This has been a crazy week weather-wise. We started off in the 90's and today was in the low 60's! A nice excuse to make some soup though. This recipe comes from this month's Better Homes and Gardens in a section on apple's. I have never even heard of apple-cheddar soup, but thought it would be fun to try...and I'm glad I did. This soup was actually delicious. Almost like having cheese fondue (one of my favourite things) for dinner, but not as bad for you!!

I decided to serve it with cheddar roles that I got from Shawnda at Confections of A Foodie Bride. My only problem was, I ran out of bread flour, so had to substitute one of the cups with some whole wheat flour. This made the roles a little heavier, but still delicious. A nice accompaniment to the soup.

This was a very "fall-inspired" recipe, that was great for a windy, autumnal day....enjoy!

Apple-Cheddar Soup
(Serves 4)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1tbs butter
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups apple cider
1tsp snipped fresh thyme
1/2tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 medium cooking apple, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
fresh apple slices
green peppercorns

1. In a large saucepan, cook onion in butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in potatoes, cider, thyme, salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chopped apple and simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes or until potato is tender.

2. In a small bowl combine milk and flour. Stir into soup and cook until bubbly. Slowly add cheese, whisking until cheese is melted. Divide evenly among serving dishes and top with apple slices and peppercorns.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Korean Beef Salad

This recipe comes from a New Zealand magazine that I found the other week in Barnes and Nobles called Dish. I haven't seen this magazine before, but it is fabulous....certainly on par with Donna Hay. This particular recipe was in a section entitled "meals for every night of the week", so it was nice and quick. The recipe was delicious and healthy and I would definitely make it again.

Korean Beef Salad
(Serves 4)

2tbs soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
5cm piece ginger, grated
2 scallions (spring onions), thinly sliced
1tsp sesame oil
2tsp sugar
1tsp salt
1tbs sesame seeds, toasted
1lb sirloin steak, thinly sliced
1tbs sesame seeds, toasted
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2tbs rice vinegar
2tsp soy
1tsp sugar
1tsp freshly grated ginger
1tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch of chilli flakes - optional
400g thinly sliced cabbage
1 carrot, peeled julienned
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 cup snowpeas, blanched and julienned
1 red capsicum (red pepper), thinly sliced
shredded mint leaves
2 tbs sesame seeds, toasted

1. Combine the soy, garlic, ginger, spring onions, sesame oil and sugar in a bowl. Grind the salt and sesame seeds together in a mortar and pestle. Add to marinade along with beef and mix well. Leave for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

2. For the dressing, grind the sesame seeds in a mortar and combine with remaining ingredients.

3. For the salad, toss all the ingredients in a large bowl with the dressing.

4. Heat a wok or large fry pan with 2tbs of vegetable oil until very hot. Add the beef and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, or until just cooked. Either toss the beef through the salad or divide salad between serving bowls and top with beef. Sprinkle extra toasted sesame seeds to serve.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Turkey Spinach Toss

Wow, its been a little while since I updated my blog and I apologise. This has mainly been due to being out of town, being sick and then not cooking anything blog-worthy for a while. This doesn't mean I haven't been cooking, but nothing has really grabbed me in the last couple of weeks.

However, this recipe tonight was actually pretty good, so I thought I would share. It comes from the recent edition of Better Homes and Gardens, of all places and was in their section on autumn dinners. It was fast, tasty, healthy....all the things I love in a recipe. Felt a bit more summery than autumn I thought, but seeing as we are still getting 90 degree days, I think its fitting.

Turkey Spinach Toss
(Serves 4)

2 8oz turkey breast tenderloins, halved horizontally (I couldn't find any, so just used turkey breast chops)
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbs butter
2 oz thinly sliced deli ham, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup orange juice
2 10 oz pkgs of fresh spinach
1 orange cut into wedges

1. Season turkey with pepper. In very a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook for 12 minutes, or until no longer pink. Turn once.

2. Remove turkey from skillet, slice into strips, cover and keep warm. Add ham to skillet, cook for about 1 minute or until heated and starting to crisp. With slotted spoon remove from skillet, add juice and bring to boil.

3. Add spinach, half at a time, to skillet. Cook 1 minute or until just wilted. Add orange wedges with second batch of spinach. Using tongs, remove from skillet, divide among plates sprinkle with slat and pepper. Top with ham and turkey. Drizzle with remaining juices from the skillet.