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Category Archives: Main Dishes

Spicy Red Pepper Dip, Superbowl Chili Bowls and Mocha Biscotti

I’m baaaaack!  It’s been a pretty slow month cooking wise, health issues and my daughter’s wedding have taken precedence!  Anyway, no excuses.  My back is still hurting from overdoing a Group Sculpting class (I should know better!) and there is still wedding “stuff” to do, but I needed to share some recipes and tips!

Superbowl Sunday was yesterday and although I am a die-hard Jets fan, anyone from NY was a Giants fan yesterday.  Watching the game with my daughter and husband  (while addressing wedding invitations!) required some snacks and food!  We are all trying to be svelte for the wedding so I decided to make the food healthy!  The next three recipes are tweaked Weight Watchers recipes, all are scrumptious, I assure you.

The game was a nail biter!  My Giants prevailed in the end and the food was yummy.  All the recipes can be doubled, even tripled for a crowd.  And, of course, they are just as good for a winter supper or a different kind of party (not just Superbowl) or for any day of the week.  Who doesn’t love nice, crunchy biscotti dipped in coffee or tea!

Spicy Red Pepper Dip

1 – 7 oz. jar roasted red pepper, drained, reserve liquid

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a food processor, puree the peppers, tomato paste, vinegar, garlic and cayenne. Slowly add juice until desired consistency.  Refrigerate until served, mixture thickens when refrigerated.

Tips

1. Drain the peppers well, otherwise the mixture is too loose.

2. You can make this as spicy as you like, just add more cayenne.

3.  Serve with crudite and crackers- I love Fiber One Crackers, they’re healthy and delicious.

4.  You can use this as a sandwich spread or thin with some olive oil and use it as a salad dressing!

Superbowl Chili Bowls

4 tsp. olive oil                                                 1 T. chili powder

2 onions, chopped                                         2 tsp. cumin

1 carrot, chopped                                           1 tsp. dried oregano

1 celery stalk, chopped                                 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 c. seeded and chopped green pepper          1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes

4 garlic cloves, minced                         1(16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp (or more) deveined and seeded jalapeno        1 tsp. kosher salt

1 lb. very lean ground beef                pinch black pepper

Topping:  chopped fresh cilantro, chopped red onion, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream

In a large Dutch oven heat the oil and saute the onions, carrot, celery, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno until onions are translucent and vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes.

Add the beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano and coriander, cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, beans, salt, pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer gently, partially covered, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.  Serve.

Tips

1. Make sure you use good quality chili powder and oregano-I order my spices from Penzey’s-they are a great source for all kinds of spices and recipes.  They’re fast,  reliable and reasonably priced and of excellent quality!

2. If you think the chili looks to dry after adding the tomatoes you can add a little crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce (NOT spaghetti sauce!).

3. You can serve the chili over rice (brown to keep it healthy) for a heartier meal!

4. You can use ground turkey, chicken, pork or vegetarian ground beef substitute and the chili would still be great!  Just make sure it’s lean.

5. Change up the beans-use your imagination.  Add other veggies, sautéed eggplant or zucchini (don’t add it raw, to watery!) or chopped sautéed portabellos would be great.  Corn would be a nice addition as well.

6. You can also serve this with tortilla chips (baked to keep it healthy!).

Mocha Biscotti

2 c. all-purpose flour                                   1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. slivered almonds                              1 c. sugar

1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder          2 large eggs

2 1/2 T. ground coffee                                3 T. strong brewed coffee

2 t. baking powder                                       1 1/2 t. vanilla

3/4 t. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or use silpat.

Combine flour, almonds, cocoa, ground coffee, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl combine the sugar, eggs, brewed coffee and vanilla.  Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture and beat on low-speed with an electric mixer.  It will form a fairly dry dough.  Divide in two and shape each into a 15″ X 1 3/4″ log (about 1″ high)   Transfer to cookie sheet and pat down tops until each piece is about 3/4″ high and 2″ wide.

Bake until the logs are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean., 20-25 minutes.  Transfer the logs to a cutting board and let cool 10 minutes.  With a serrated knife cut the logs crosswise on an angle into 1/2″ slices.  Arrange in a single layer on sheet. Lower oven temp to 300 degrees F. Bake 12 minutes per side, turning once.  Transfer to wire rack, they crisp as they cool.

Tips

1. Go wild, use your imagination, use flavored ground coffee and brewed coffee.

2. Use the nuts of your choice; pistachios, walnuts, pecans-they’re all good.

3. Use almond extract or coconut, your choice.

4.  Add mini chips or dip on side in melted chocolate or just drizzle with melted chocolate-all delicious!

Xochitl’s Chicken Enchiladas Suizas and Mexican Rice

I am back in the land of the living! After a six-week bout of bronchitis and numerous family “invasions” (to my family, that is meant lovingly!) I am back at the blog.

New Years Even and Day were spent with 11 family members and 5 dogs sleeping at my house! It was fun and included Xochitl’s (you know who you are!) recipe for one of my favorite things. Her recipe is easy and outstanding. I hope you can find Las Palmas Green Sauce in your area, it really is delicious. Of, course you can make your own tomatillo sauce if you can find fresh tomatillos, not an easy task during the Winter where I live! The medium isn’t too spicy, but if you’re not up to any spice-you can use the mild.

Crema Fresca is best here (not the canned Crema). If you can find Cacique brand-yum! Otherwise, you can use sour cream. You can substitute Queso Fresco or Oaxaca cheese for the mozzarella, if you can find it.

No pictures this time, I was too tired and sick to remember when we were making them! However, the recipe is easy enough and well worth the effort.

The Mexican Rice is easy too, and can be adjusted to your taste!

Chicken Enchiladas Suizas (4-5 servings, can double and triple)

1 lb. boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 T. Knorr chicken bouillon powder (not cubes!)

10 small size corn tortillas (fresh, not fried)

chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

oil for frying and sauteing

tomatillo enchilada sauce (preferably Las Palmas)

mozzarella cheese or mexican equivalent, shredded

Crema Fresca (preferably Cacique) or sour cream

Poach the chicken thighs in water until cooked through and hot. Reserve 1/2 c. of the poaching liquid. Pull chicken apart with 2 forks while still hot. You need a fairly fine shred.

In the same pot, saute the onion with some of the oil until slightly caramelized. Add the chicken back to the pot with the bouillon powder. If the chicken seems dry use the reserved liquid so the chicken is moist but not too wet. Add the chopped cilantro to taste. Set chicken aside.

In a small frying pan, use enough oil to cover the small tortilla. Heat the oil and fry the tortillas one at a time. Only cook 10 seconds on each side, just to make the tortillas slightly firm, but pliable. Drain on paper towels.

Heat enchilada sauce. When cool enough to handle, dip tortillas in the sauce and place on a lipped baking sheet. Add chicken mixture and roll. Use up all the chicken. Top rolled enchiladas with some more sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F. until hot and cheese is melted.

Serve topped with crema or sour cream. Yum!

Mexican Rice (serves 4, can double or triple)

1 small onion, chopped 1 T Knorr chicken flavor bouillon powder

1-2 cloves garlic, minced 1 3/4 c. water

olive oil 1/4 c. (approximately) plain tomato sauce

1 c. long grain white rice chopped cilantro

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a medium sauce pan until slightly caramelized. Add rice to pot and brown until golden. Add bouillon powder, stir. Add water and tomato sauce. Should be light red in color. Bring to boil and then simmer, covered, until liquid id absorbed and rice is cooked and fluffy. Add chopped cilantro, fluff with a fork and serve.