• Chicken Posole

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    This Posole is so easy to make and so good.  Ellie, the pickiest of pickiest eaters ate this dish and she proclaimed it delicious and 5 star worthy!  Wow!!  She did ask “what is that mushy vegetable?”  I told her corn because she “tried” hominy a few days ago and said she didn’t like it, but she liked the “corn” in the Posole.  So in our house we had chicken and corn soup. ;)

    Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, April 2014

    Ingredients:

    • 10 canned tomatillos
    • 1 bunch of cilantro
    • 2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 2 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 c. chopped onion
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 3 chicken breast halves, cut up in bite size pieces
    • 6-7 c. chicken broth
    • 2 cans hominy, drained
    • Limes, quartered

    Directions:

    1. Combine tomatillos through black pepper in food processor, and process until almost smooth.
    2. Heat a soup pot oven over medium high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion and cook for 4 minutes; then add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
    3. Add the chicken and saute until the outside of the chicken is no longer pink.
    4. Add the tomatillo mixture, broth, and hominy and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through.
    5. Serve with limes.

    Chicken Posole:

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  • Thai Chicken Salad

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    This salad is really tasty and so easy to make, especially if you use a rotisserie chicken.  It’s a perfect summer dish.  The original recipe called for warm dressing, but since I’m not a fan of wilted lettuce, I let the dressing cool after cooking before adding it to the salad.

    The dressing would also be really good over rice noodles too.
    Recipe adapted from the April 2011 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 6 c. mixed lettuce
    • 2 c. shredded boneless rotisserie chicken breast
    • 2. c. fresh bean sprouts
    • 1 c. shredded carrots
    • 2/3 c. light coconut milk
    • 1 TBSP brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP creamy peanut butter
    • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
    • 2 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1/8 tsp. (or to taste) ground red pepper
    • 2 TBSP peanuts, coarsely chopped
    • Lime wedges

    Directions:

    1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl.
    2. Combine coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, and let cool.
    3. Pour cooled coconut milk mixture over lettuce mixture.  Sprinkle with peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

    Thai Chicken Salad:

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  • Grilled Polenta with Spicy Steak

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    This dish is fantastic!  Definitely tastes like something you would get at a restaurant.  The best part…it’s quick and easy.  Certainly company worthy.

    Recipe is adapted from a recipe in the June 2010 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 tsp. olive oil
    • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder (1 dried chipotle, ground)
    • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
    • 1 lb. flank steak or flat-iron steak
    • 1 (18oz) tube of polenta, cut into 8 to 10 slices
    • 1 avocado, sliced
    • 1/4 c. crumbled queso fresco
    • 2 c. pico de gallo (simply mix grape tomatoes, chopped jalapeno, chopped cilantro, garlic, salt and lime juice together)
    • Limes, quartered

    Directions:

    1. Combine 2 tsp. olive oil, salt, cumin chile powder, and pepper; rub evenly over steak.
    2. Heat grill; grill steak until done.
    3. Brush polenta with 1 tsp. olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Place a piece of foil on the grill and add the polenta; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.
    4. Arrange sliced polenta on a plate; add steak, top with pico, queso fresco, and avocado; then squirt with lime.

    Grilled Polenta with Spicy Steak:

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  • Pasta Arabiata with Sausage

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    This sauce recipe is awesome!  It tastes like something you would get in a restaurant.  The original recipe calls for cooking the sauce for 4 minutes, but I like the flavors when the sauce is simmered for a longer period of time…it’s richer and bolder.  But if time is short, you can certainly cook the sauce for a short time and it still will be delicious.

    I added zucchini to the sauce and it was delicious.  It was a great way to get more veggies, and it gave the sauce great body and flavor.
    The other thing I like about this recipe is how the cook the sausage.  It’s broiled, which is brilliant, because it’s a very low fat no fuss way to prepare sausage.

    Adapted from a recipe in the April 2010 issue of Cooking Light.
    Ingredients:

    • 1 package of sweet Italian turkey sausage links
    • 1 box of spaghetti
    • 2 small to medium size zucchini
    • 2 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes, undrained
    • 4 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • 10 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press or minced
    • 2 tsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c. torn fresh basil
    • Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese

    Directions:

    1. Place zucchini in a food processor; process until roughly chopped.  Add tomatoes to the zucchini and process until almost smooth.
    2. Heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add crushed red pepper and pressed garlic; saute for 1 minute.  Stir in zucchini and tomato mixture, sugar, and salt; cook 4 minutes.  If you can cook the sauce longer you won’t regret it.  It gets thick and rich…I let mine simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
    3. Meanwhile preheat broiler.  Arrange sausage on a baking sheet.  Spray with cooking spray.  Broil sausage for 5 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove and slice in 1/4 inch thick slices.
    4. Cook pasta according to directions.
    5. Place pasta in a large bowl; toss with sauce and sausage; add basil and peccorino.

    Pasta Arabiata with Sausage:
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  • Curried Beef

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    This crock pot dinner is really tasty, and the leftovers were delicious too.  The recipe comes from the March 2009 issue of Cooking Light. I thought the original recipe called for way too much salt, so I didn’t add the salt, other than to season the beef prior to searing it, and boy am I glad that I omitted the rest of the salt, because the dish was plenty salty.  My advice is to use the salt sparingly, because you can always add more after the dish is finished crocking.

    The recipe calls for beef short ribs, but I used just a boneless chuck roast, and it worked just fine.  If your meat cut doesn’t have a bone, then I’d reduce the cooking time.

    Ingredients:

    • 2  tsp. canola oil
    • 2  lbs. short ribs or boneless chuck roast, trimmed
    • salt and pepper
    • 1/3  c. minced shallots
    • 3  TBSP minced garlic
    • 3  TBSP minced peeled fresh ginger
    • 1/4  c.  water
    • 2  TBSP red curry paste
    • 1 can of light coconut milk
    • 1  TBSP sugar
    • 1  TBSP fish sauce
    • 1  TBSP grated lime rind
    • 1  TBSP  fresh lime juice
    • Hot rice

    Directions:

    1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add half of ribs to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in an electric slow cooker. Repeat procedure with remaining ribs.
    2. Add shallots, garlic, and ginger to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water and curry paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce. Add coconut milk mixture to cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours.  If using boneless chuck roast cover and cook on LOW 4-5 hours.
    3. Remove ribs from cooker; keep warm. Pour cooking liquid into a zip-top plastic bag and place bag inside a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Pour cooking liquid; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a small bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Stir in lime rind and juice, taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Shred rib meat with 2 forks; discard bones. Serve sauce over ribs and rice.

    Curried Beef:

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  • Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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    We went to Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house this year and we were tasked with desserts.  We brought a traditional pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cheesecake bars, and pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.  The pumpkin cake was pretty good, especially if you love pumpkin and spice cakes, and for that reason I would give this recipe 4 stars, but since our house isn’t a fan of either, we likely won’t be making this dessert again.

    Recipe from the November 2009 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    Cake:

    • 10.1  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
    • 2 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
    • 2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
    • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
    • 1  cup  packed brown sugar
    • 1/4  cup  butter, softened
    • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
    • 2  large eggs
    • 1  (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
    • Cooking spray

    Frosting:

    • 2  tablespoons  butter, softened
    • 1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract
    • 1  (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
    • 2  cups  sifted powdered sugar

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
    3. Combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, to sugar mixture; beat well after each addition. Add pumpkin; mix well. Fold in flour mixture. Spread batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
    4. To prepare the frosting, combine 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cream cheese in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until well combined. Spread frosting evenly over top of cake.

    Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

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  • Cincinnati Turkey Chili

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    It’s getting cold outside and that means it’s time for soups and chilis…my favorite time of year!  And it’s no secret that I live chili, and I really do love Cincinnati chili.  I’ve made two other versions: Cincinnati Chili and Cincinnati Chili Take 2.

    This version was quite tasty and we had enough for a few meals.  It may not get the 5 stars that Cincinnati Chili Take 2 got, but it certainly is excellent.  In all fairness it may get 5 stars next time I make it, because this time I ran out of chili powder and had to sub paprika, and even with the paprika it was really good!

    The interesting spin in this chili is the addition of semi sweet chocolate…it got my youngest to eat the meat!

    This recipe is adapted from the September 2009 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 8 oz  uncooked spaghetti
    • olive oil
    • 16 oz  lean ground turkey
    • 3 c. chopped onion, divided
    • 2 c.  chopped green bell pepper
    • 2 TBSP garlic, minced
    • 2 TBSP chili powder
    • 4 TBSP  tomato paste
    • 2 tsp.  ground cumin
    • 2 tsp.  dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp.  ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp.  ground allspice
    • 1 c. chicken broth
    • 2  (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    • 2  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 5 TBSP  chopped semisweet chocolate
    • 1/2 tsp.  salt
    • 1 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

    Directions:

    1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with olive oil. Add turkey; cook 3 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add 2 c. onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in chili powder and next 5 ingredients (through allspice); cook 1 minute. Add broth, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate and salt.
    2. Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions.
    3. Serve chili over spaghetti; top with remaining onion and cheese.

    Cincinnati Turkey Chili:

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  • Mango Jicama Salsa

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    I’m always will to try a great new salsa to top chicken tacos or fish tacos.  This salsa is so summery and refreshing, and it went great as a topper for fish tacos.

    I saw a recipe for jicama salad in the March 2009 issue of Cooking Light, which was the initial inspiration of my mango jicama salsa.
    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c. jicama, julienne-cut
    • 2-3 mangos, sliced or cubed
    • 1/2 of a small red onion, sliced
    • 1/2 of a red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, sliced
    • 1 to 2 jalapenos, chopped
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1 tsp. sugar (more or less depending on how ripe the mangos are)
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
    2. Top your tacos, and enjoy.

    Mango Jicama Salsa:

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  • Chicken Shawarma

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    Chicken shawarma is so good.  If you’ve never tried it, seek out your nearest middle eastern restaurant and try some.  If you’re like us and live somewhere where there are no middle eastern restaurants, this recipe comes close to some of the yummiest shawarma sandwiches I’ve ever had (be mindful that bad shawarma is just that, bad.)

    I sauted the chicken until all the liquid was cooked off, then let the chicken get a nice golden crust.  This crust simulates real shawarma taken right off the rotisserie spit, so I would definitely do this step.

    Recipe adapted from the July 2008 issue of Cooking Light.

    What you need:

    • Chicken marinade, below
    • Garlic sauce, below
    • Pitas, warmed
    • Pickles, optional
    • Lettuce and tomatoes, optional

    Chicken Marinade:

    • Juice of one juicy lemon
    • 1 tsp. curry powder
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
    • 2 tsp. olive oil

    Directions:

    1. Add lemon juice, curry powder, 2 tsp. olive oil, salt, cumin and garlic in a zip top bag.
    2. If chicken is frozen, allow to thaw just a bit so you can slice nice thin strips of chicken.  If your chicken is already thawed, put it in the freezer for 15 minutes or so until it’s frozen enough to make nice thin strips.
    3. Add chicken to marinade, and let marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.
    4. Heat nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken mixture and saute.  It won’t take the chicken much time to cook, but continue cooking until all liquid as cooked off and the chicken begins to get a crispy brown crust.

    Garlic Sauce:

    • 1/2 c. plain yogurt
    • 2 TBSP tahini
    • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

    Assembly:

    • Take a warm pita, put chicken, garlic sauce and any toppings on (pickles, lettuce, and/or tomatoes).  Enjoy!

    Chicken Shawarma:

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  • Coconut Curry Soup

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    This recipe comes from the December 2008 issue of Cooking Light.  The soup is delicious!!!  I substituted tofu for the chicken, but I think any protein would be really tasty.  Don’t be scared by the list of ingredients, because it comes together really quickly.  We will definitely make this one again.

    Ingredients:

    • 4  c.  water
    • salt to taste
    • 3  c.  fresh spinach leaves
    • 1/2  pound  snow peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise (or green beans)
    • 1  (5 3/4-ounce) package pad thai noodles (wide rice stick noodles)
    • 1  TBSP canola oil
    • 1/4  c. thinly sliced shallots
    • 2  tsp. red curry paste
    • 1 1/2  tsp. curry powder
    • 1/2  tsp.  ground turmeric
    • 1/2  tsp.  ground coriander
    • 2  garlic cloves, minced
    • 6  c.  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    • 1  (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
    • 2 1/2  c. shredded cooked chicken breast or 1 lb. baked tofu (about 1 pound)
    • 1/2  c.  chopped green onions
    • 2  TBSP sugar
    • 2  TBSP fish sauce
    • 1/2  c.  chopped fresh cilantro
    • 4  small hot red chiles, seeded and chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    • 7  lime wedges

    Directions:

    1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add salt, spinach, and peas/green beans to pan; cook for 30 seconds. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add noodles to pan; cook 3 minutes. Drain; add noodles to spinach mixture in bowl.
    2. Heat canola oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and the next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken, onions, sugar, and fish sauce to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Pour chicken mixture over noodle mixture in bowl. Stir in cilantro and chiles. Serve with lime wedges.

    Coconut Curry Soup:

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