Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Seventh Heaven

It was a week of babies around here! I had already planned to bring meals to two different friends who recently had their third babies. And then my sweet nephew decided it was time to make an appearance! I'm baby crazy anyways, so this week has me in seventh heave!. In celebration, here are seven of my favorite recipes to share with you. :)

I cut this recipe out of a magazine back when we were CSA members and always looking for something to do with an abundance of zucchini. It's a great appetizer, but more often than not I make it as a sandwich. And I like to only brush one side of the bread with oil so it's not a greasy mess when you pick it up. It's quick and easy and the flavors play so nicely together! 

Zucchini Crostini - V
Serves 8
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ciabatta loaf, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 t. salt
4 oz. neufchatel (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1/8 t. pepper
2 T. basil, chopped
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Preheat broiler to high. Combine garlic and olive oil in a medium bowl. Arrange half of the bread on a baking sheet and brush with garlic oil mixture. Broil 2 minutes or until toasted. Repeat with remaining bread. Add zucchini, onion, and salt to garlic oil mixture and stir to coat. Spread on baking sheet and broil 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cream cheese, pepper, basil, and zest. Spread on toasted bread. Top with zucchini and onions.

After my 2013 cleanse, I started following some of the recipe contributors and ended up buying Dr. Susan Blum's book, BlumKitchen Nutrition Guide and Cookbook. It's a great book and this soup couldn't be easier, healthier, or tastier.

North African Red Lentil Soup (adapted from BlumKitchen) - GF, DF, V
Serves 4
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
10 baby carrots, chopped
1 t. cumin
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 t. salt, divided
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup red lentils
1/2 t. pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
1 T. parsley
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, cumin, garlic, and 1/2 t. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until golden. Add chicken broth, lentils and remaining 1/2 t. salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Stir in pepper and juice and sprinkle with parsley.

A few years ago, my older son and I found an ice cream maker on sale and we were so excited to start making our own ice cream on a regular basis. But... it's so expensive! You pick up the cream and the half and half and whatever else you're adding in and then you see the $1.99 ice cream quart in the freezer case on your way to the checkout line and end up throwing in the towel. Sorbet, however, is a whole different ball game. There are far fewer sorbet flavors available at the grocery store and it's fun to experiment with whatever fruit you have on hand. (I have a tri-melon sorbet freezing up right now!) The methodology is also interesting to me. The lime sorbet I made last week calls for simple syrup, while this sorbet just calls for the sugar to be stirred straight in. And the melon sorbet I'm currently making adds 2 tablespoons of vodka to the mixture. I see a lot of sorbet taste-testing in my future...

Watermelon Lime Sorbet (adapted from Ellie Krieger) - GF, DF, V
Serves 8
9 cups cubed, seedless watermelon
1 cup of mint leaves
Juice of 2 limes
1/3 cup sugar
Working in 2 batches, puree watermelon and mint in a blender. Add lime juice and sugar and refrigerate overnight. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze in airtight container at least 3 hours before serving.

This recipe takes about an hour from start to finish, but it's worth the effort. It also freezes well, so it's a good one to make ahead or double and freeze half. It's especially delicious served over mashed potatoes.

Chicken Cacciatore (adapted from Ellie Krieger) - GF, DF
Serves 4
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
8 chicken cutlets
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. dry white wine
14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 t. oregano
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown in two batches, about 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan and add onion and peppers.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook uncovered until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 t. salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes and simmer covered over low heat for 10 minutes. Return chicken to pan and simmer covered 20 minutes longer.

This entire recipe can be made in the time it takes to cook the pasta. So easy. So yummy. 

Green Bean Ravioli Salad (adapted from Whole Living) - V
Serves 4
12 oz. frozen haricot verts or green beans
20 oz. fresh cheese ravioli
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 T. sliced almonds
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
Microwave haricots verts or green beans according to package instructions. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots and cook about 2 minutes until golden and crispy. Add beans, ravioli, almonds, and lemon juice and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

What a fun surprise these were! I love to make a tarragon-dressed Bibb lettuce salad with fennel, radishes and hard boiled eggs for Easter, but there are always leftover radishes. So this year I thought I'd fry them up and see what happened. Yum-o! This week I used them in place of croutons on a very veggie salad and they were delish! Although, it's hard to keep them from being eaten long enough to top a salad...

Radish Chips - GF, DF, V
Serves 4
1 lb. radishes, thinly sliced on a mandoline
Canola oil
Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy bottomed skillet. Add a handful of radish slices and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining radish slices.

This is another great summer appetizer. We've even turned it into a main course by making it into a pizza. Delish!

Serves 4
2 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1/2 t. dried oregano
1 t. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1 sliced whole wheat baguette
Cooking spray
Alouette Reduced Fat Garlic and Herbs Soft Spreadable Cheese
Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl. Preheat broiler. Spread baguette slices on a baking sheet and spray both sides with cooking spray. Broil 1 minute on each side or until crisp. Spread with cheese and top with tomato mixture.

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