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I saw this on Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger yesterday morning, and when I went to Costco today, they had halibut, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did! It was very good, although I felt it needed a little more lime juice at the table, and my husband agreed. The broth was delicious, and would have been nice with some crusty bread.
As it was, the brown rice and spinach left in the broth at the end was very satisfying. The husband gives it the thumbs up for a do-again, and I agree, it was very good.

Except for the spinach and fish, I had everything else that I needed in the pantry, which means this is the kind of recipe I could do at a moment's notice whenever I pick up some fish. That's always a plus.

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You remember I'm not a food stylist, right? It actually tastes better than my presentation would suggest. If you click on the link to the recipe on the food network site, there is a better picture!

Thai-Style Halibut with Coconut-Curry Broth

Source: Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 shallots, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste*, or 2 teaspoons curry powder
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon, plus more for seasoning
4 (6-ounce) pieces halibut fillet, skin removed
Steamed spinach**
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving

*Available in the Asian section of most supermarkets
**Steam or microwave 5 cups of washed baby spinach for 2 minutes

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes.

Season the halibut with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Arrange the fish in the pan and gently shake the pan so the fish is coated with the sauce. Cover and cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 7 minutes.

Arrange a pile of steamed spinach in the bottom of 4 soup plates. Top with the fish fillets. Stir the cilantro, scallions, and lime juice into the sauce and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Ladle the sauce over the fish and serve with rice.

Yield: 4 servings

Episode#: EK0203
Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

Carrot Soup

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This goes in the category for Easiest Dinner Ever! This is adapted from the excellent How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart by Pam Anderson which I purchased back in 2000 or 2001. The book did it's job well with this recipe, and a few others. In it, she teaches basic techniques so you only have to substitute ingredients in the correct proportions to get something good.

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Carrot Soup
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 lb. carrots, chopped
1/4 lb. fingerling potatoes, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
enough chicken broth to cover, I used about 3 cups because my onion was really large.
1/2 cup half-and-half
fresh basil for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Start the broth warming up to a boil while you chop the veggies. Toss them in as you finish chopping (except for the basil). Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until you can break up the carrots with the back of your spoon.

When the soup is done, add the half-and-half, and use an immersion blender to blend til smooth, or puree in batches in a blender.

Add salt and pepper to taste. (Depending on your chicken broth, you may not need to add any salt.)

Serve with a chiffonade of basil on top.

This makes about 3 servings, and is quite filling. I usually don't add the potatoes, but I didn't have enough carrots to make a pound, and I had the fingerlings so I threw them in with the skin on. The blender makes the soup quite smooth even with the skin on, plus gives you a little extra fiber!

The idea for this recipe is to substitute 1 lb of veggies and the fresh or dried herb of choice to come up with your favorite Cream of XXX soup. The first one I ever tried was carrot, and that's what gets requested all the time, so I actually haven't tried any others. You could use broccoli, cauliflower (you'd have to tie me down to make me eat that, though) butternut squash with ginger, red pepper, really anything you've got. I've made it with beef, vegetable, and chicken stock, and we both prefer the chicken stock version the best. The vegetable stock competes with the carrots, I think. Anyway, this is a great recipe for clearing out the crisper, so give it a try and see if you like it?!

Since this was last night's dinner, I thought I'd post a review while it's still on my mind.

This was an amazingly quick recipe, full of flavor, and surprisingly filling. I served it with brown rice. On Skylar's recommendation, I tried the Trader Joe's frozen brown rice, and I found it to be much more tasty and with a better texture than their pre-cooked packaged rice. Plus the size of the package is small, which keeps us honest in the portion size!

I had to wait almost a week for the plantains to turn black and be ripe enough for eating, so if you want to make this, keep that in mind when you do your shopping.

Confession time - it calls for 4 servings, but we only eeked three out, it was so good that we both dug in to the for the lunchbox portions, leaving only one lunchbox portion left, which my husband ate today. We both really enjoyed it, and as long as we can find plantains, it will be on regular rotation.


Caribbean Black Beans with Sauteed Plantains
Source: A Year in the Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop 2004, p 374

Ladled into bowls, black beans spiked with garlic, chile, and citrus juices are topped with sauteed plantains. Use only the ripest, black or mostly black plantains. Rice (either on the side or served under the beans and plantains) makes and excellent addition to this meal.

2 large ripe plantains (mostly or all black)
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves

Trim the pointed ends from the plantains. Cut the plantains into 2-inch chunks. Use a paring knife to slit the skin lengthwise in several places on each piece. Carefully remove the skin with your fingers and discard it. Cut each 2-inch chunk in half lengthwise.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the plantains and cook, turning once, until quite browned but not burned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the plantains to a plate and sprinkle with salt. Cover to keep warm.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic, and the chile to the empty skillet. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, orange juice, and lime juice and cook, stirring often, until the beans are heated through and have absorbed most of the juices, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt to taste.

Spoon beans into individual bowls. Top each portion with some sauteed plantains and serve.

Spicy Yogurt-Marinated Chicken with Couscous

Here's one that has been in my repertoire for a long time, and is always good.

Sometimes I use breast meat instead of thighs, if that's what I have on hand. In that case, I have to adjust the cooking time so it's not too dry.

I also use whatever dried fruit I have on hand for the couscous. The last time I made it, I used dried
cranberries, and it was delicious.

I usually use a 5 oz container of Total 0% Fat Free Greek Yogurt, since it's a handy size.

Spicy Yogurt-Marinated Chicken with Couscous

Source: Cooking Light May 2001

1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon rind -- grated
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
cooking spray

FOR COUSCOUS
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
3/4 cup couscous -- uncooked
2 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon green onion tops -- sliced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

To prepare chicken, combine first 11 ingredients in large zip-lock bag. Seal
and marinate in refrigerator 24 hours, turning occasionally. Remove chcken
from bag; discard marinade.

Preheat broiler. Place chicken on broiler pan coated with cooking spray.
Broil 4 inches from heat for 10 min. or until meat thermometer registers
180.

To prepare couscous, bring broth to boil in medium saucepan; gradually stir
in couscous. remove from heat; cover & let stand for 5 min. Fluff with
fork. Stir in currants, onions and pepper.

Black Bean-Salmon Stir-Fry

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This is the first recipe that I've made from Eating Well Magazine that has turned out a little...meh. That's a really Lenny description, but I may or may not make it again. There was nothing wrong with it, but nothing exciting either.

The only changes I made were to add more salmon, since the piece I had was about 1.5 lbs instead of 1 lb., and to add a stalk of broccolli, so I wouldn't have to make a veg on the side. I just cooked it a bit first so it would all finish at the same time.

I'm not a huge fan of bean sprouts, but I actually did like them in this recipe, but I left them crunchier than the description.

Maybe I didn't make this recipe at all.. I altered it a bit. Ah well, take a look and see if it sounds like something you might like.

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Black Bean-Salmon Stir-Fry

Source: Eating Well Magazine

Yield: 4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Ease of preparation: Easy

We use a generous amount of fiber- and vitamin C-rich bean sprouts in
this quick stir-fry that combines tender cubes of salmon and a rich
black bean-garlic sauce. Make it a Meal: Serve with store-bought
crepes and plum sauce.

1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons black bean-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound salmon, skinned and cut into 1-inch cubes
12 ounces mung bean sprouts (6 cups)
1 bunch scallions, sliced

1. Whisk water, vinegar, black bean-garlic sauce, rice wine (or
sherry), cornstarch and crushed red pepper in a small bowl until
combined.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add
salmon and cook, stirring gently, for 2 minutes. Add bean sprouts,
scallions and the sauce mixture (the pan will be full). Cook,
stirring, until the sprouts are cooked down and very tender, 2 to 3
minutes.

I have a pressure cooker, and I don't use it nearly enough, but this is one recipe that makes me dig out the pressure cooker from the bottom of the drawer of pots and pans.

Once you have prepared the ingredients, this recipe goes so fast you won't know what to do with your free time! If you buy the squash already cut up, like they have at Trader Joe's, then all you really need to do is mince your onion and you're almost done.

This could be served as a side dish, but truthfully, I usually fill up my bowl and have it alone with some extra parmesan cheese. It's that good.

Yesterday was a comfort-food-needed kind of day, so this really hit the spot.

Risotto With Butternut Squash and Sage

Source: "The Pressured Cook by Lorna Sass"

1 Tbsp Butter or Olive Oil
1 C Minced Onion
1 1/2 C Arborio Rice
1/2 C Dry White Wine or Dry Vermouth
4 C Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1 1/2 Lbs Butternut Squash -- peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 Tsp Salt -- or to taste
1 Tsp Dried Sage Leaves -- heaping
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese -- freshly grated
3 Tbsps Minced Fresh Parsley -- for garnish

Heat the butter in the cooker over medium-high heat until it begins to foam. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, taking care to coat it with the oil. Add the wine and continue cooking and stirring until most of it has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the broth, squash, and salt.

Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 4 minutes. Quick-release the pressure by setting the cooker under cold running water. Remove the lid, titlting it away from you to allow the excess steam to escape.

Crumble the sage leaves into the risotto. Boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the rice is tender but stil chewy, most of the squash is pureed (a few small chunks here and there are fine), and the risotto loses most of it's soupiness and becomes creamy and thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan and additional salt, if needed. Serve immediately in large shallow bowls garnished with parsley.

"For a creamy risotto without the cream, this recipe can't be beat. The squash melts down into a puree, napping the kernels of rice in a thick pale-amber sauce. Like special friends, sage and squash bring out the best in each other."

I just made this for dinner and it was very good.
Next time I make it I'll cut back on the honey, maybe use 2 teaspoons to make it less sweet, but otherwise, we both really enjoyed it. I'll bet one could make it veg by using extra-firm tofu that's been pressed and dried and then marinated a few minutes in the soy sauce. I may try that next time, instead of the pork.

I used soba noodles instead of the rice noodles suggested in the recipe. I had them on hand, so why not? I also threw some sesame seeds on top too, it seemed like they would go well, and they did.

Does it seem like I'm eating a lot of pork tenderloin lately or what? Its odd, my husband and I both seem to have developed an allergy to beef, or at least a bad reaction to it, so we have pretty much cut it out of our diets, except for the occasional burger. Pork tenderloin is relatively inexpensive, it's easy to remove any fat left on it, and cooks up nicely, although needs some kind of sauce or marinade to carry it. Like beef tenderloin, it doesn't have that much flavor on it's own.

We got bored of chicken all the time, and I went for years without eating pork at all, so I've been adding it into our diet. Since these are the new recipes I am trying, that's why you are seeing them here. Over time, I'll start adding my tried-and-true recipes to the mix.

I picked up the latest issue of Eating Well magazine today, so there may be some more recipes from that magazine in my upcoming menus. It will be hard to stay on track for the next month, but if I plan ahead, it should help.

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Hoisin Pork and Snow Pea Stir-Fry

The slightly sweet, soy-based hoisin sauce is to Chinese food what ketchup is to American food. Look for hoisin and rice noodles with other Asian foods in most supermarkets.

4 ounces uncooked rice noodles or rice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and thinly sliced
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon honey
4 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
3 cups snow peas, trimmed (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon bottled ground fresh ginger
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.
Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce and pork, tossing to coat. Set aside.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, broth, hoisin, cornstarch, and honey in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned. Remove pork from pan. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil to pan. Stir in peas, bell pepper, ginger, and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Return pork mixture to pan; stir in broth mixture. Simmer 2 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in green onions. Serve pork mixture over the noodles.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup noodles and about 1 cup pork mixture)

CALORIES 395 (22% from fat); FAT 9.6g (sat 2.1g,mono 3.7g,poly 2.5g); PROTEIN 28.1g; CHOLESTEROL 74mg; CALCIUM 53mg; SODIUM 690mg; FIBER 2.4g; IRON 2.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.7g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2006

Butternut Squash with Apples

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When I visited my father-in-law in France a few years ago, he served wild boar (that he killed himself!) with sauteed apples. I hadn't really had apples without the usual cinnamon/nutmeg/sugar mixture, and it really opened my eyes, so to speak.

Since then, I've added apples to my repertoire of side dishes, and came up with this one last year. It goes great with a pork tenderloin, with whatever sauce goes with the pork. I'm sure it would go well with chicken also.

When you have too much butternut squash, this is a good way to use it up. It's a great contrast of sweet and savory. Sage might go nice with this too, but I don't have any fresh in the house.

Butternut Squash with Apples

1 T butter
1 lb. Butternut squash, cubed (about 3 cups)
1 onion, sliced
1-2 granny smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into eighths.
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a nonstick saute pan. Add the remaining ingredients and cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, or until the squash is cooked. Be careful not to burn the onions, or they'll turn bitter.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

This was good, but it took longer than the recipe stated it would to make the glaze. It took more like 20 minutes, and finally I gave up and it was still a little watery, but tasted wonderful.

I made it with the Butternut Squash with Apples but used olive oil there instead of butter. The acid of the sauce went well with the onions, apples and butternut squash, but it took so long for the glaze that the apples pretty much disintegrated.

Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Glaze From Cooking Light

For safety reasons, a portion of the glaze is kept separate to baste the pork while raw and during cooking; the remainder is served with the cooked roast. The glaze will thicken significantly if made ahead; microwave at HIGH for a few seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until glaze is thinned.

2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 (3/4-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine juice and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 8 minutes). Pour half of glaze into a small bowl; set aside.

Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and pepper. Place pork on the rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan. Brush pork with half of glaze in saucepan. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145°. Baste pork with remaining glaze in saucepan; cook an additional 5 minutes or until thermometer registers 155°.

Remove pork from oven; baste with half of glaze in bowl. Let pork stand 10 minutes. Cut pork across grain into thin slices. Serve pork with glaze mixture.


Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork and 2 teaspoons glaze mixture)

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 215(16% from fat); FAT 3.9g (sat 1.3g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 24.2g; CHOLESTEROL 74mg; CALCIUM 19mg; SODIUM 263mg; FIBER 0.0g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 20.1g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2006

This is an interesting combination of flavors that work well. The orange really stands out. I made it with some egg noodles, and ended up adding about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce to make it go a little further to have some sauce for the noodles. It didn't cut the flavor at all.

I think next time I make it, I might use more onion, since I really like onion in general.

And I will make it again, and my husband agrees. In fact, the leftovers went in our lunchboxes this morning, instead of the pasta from yesterday that he also really, really liked.


Pan-Roasted Chicken Cutlets with Maple-Mustard Dill Sauce

Pounding chicken breast halves ensures they'll cook quickly and evenly. Serve with pasta to soak up all the flavorful sauce.

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon grated orange rind

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes or each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to pan; cook 1 minute. Add syrup and remaining ingredients; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve sauce with chicken.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and about 2 tablespoons sauce)

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 287(11% from fat); FAT 3.5g (sat 0.6g,mono 1g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 40.3g; CHOLESTEROL 99mg; CALCIUM 63mg; SODIUM 640mg; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 22.5g

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