Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

Simple combination of garlic, ginger, sesame oil, rice vinegar and a touch of brown sugar to cut the spice, with green onions, grated carrots, ground chicken, a touch of mustard powder and white pepper and some chopped water chestnuts for texture.  Spoon into butter lettuce leaves, roll and enjoy.  A great refreshing summer meal.  It also makes a quick and easy appetizer.

Spicy Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps


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This is one of my favorite summer dinners that is quite easily adaptable to vegetarian or variation.  Can’t beat that. The sandwiches for dinner tonight were served with an Asian style cabbage slaw on the side (not pictured).

The recipe was a simple construct: Portobello mushroom and mixed bell peppers in a homemade balsamic-garlic vinaigrette, grilled, mixed with chopped basil, and stacked on top of goat cheese and prosciutto, between two thin buns then grilled again until hot. A wonderful pressed sandwich for a filling dinner. One of our favorites for warmer weather.  You can easily change it around by adding a thin sliced chicken breast in place of the prosciutto or firm pan seared tofu for a vegetarian option.  We also add grilled avocado occasionally.  So play around on the grill and create something tasty!

Grilled Portobello with Goat Cheese, Roasted Peppers and Proscuitto

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In the spirit of good health and in an effort toward minimizing our impact upon the planet, we are eating more vegetarian than animal protein based meals.  We are also taking full advantage of our winter garden to supplement our grocery shopping.  Whatever we can’t or don’t grow we try to buy at the Farmer’s Market before resorting to the local chain grocery store and we are finding quite a reduction in our food bill by observing these guidelines.

Good, wholesome fresh food is not only economical but packs a big wallop in terms of nutritional benefits and disease fighting elements.  If you decide to follow a healthful vegetarian diet with just occasional animal protein you will notice a marked savings on food bill, stronger hair and nails and glowing healthy skin tones.  No doubt about it.  So what’s stopping you?  For the new year, resolve to eat well and feed your body what it needs. You won’t regret it.  And if you are daring, you will tantalize your tastebuds.  C’mon!  Try it!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Serves 4-6 depending upon portion size

2 ½ cups black beans, cooked one day ahead OR 2-15 oz. cans, rinsed and drained

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 2 ½ cups diced)

1 medium red pepper,  julienned

2 teaspoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 large onion, roughly diced

3 tablespoons chili powder

3 teaspoons coriander (cumin works well too if you like it; many people don’t)

1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or ancho chile powder for smokiness

1 teaspoon cayenne powder for heat

¼ teaspoon sea salt

2 to 2 ½ cups homemade vegetable stock or store-bought if you must

(chicken stock works if you aren’t sticking to a vegetarian diet but please use

Non-fat reduced sodium products)

2 cups chopped roma tomatoes, seeded OR a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes (please don’t)

1 tablespoon lime juice (NO, lemon juice isn’t the same)

½ cup chopped cilantro, flat leaf parslely, watercress or arugula depending on your taste

Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt

Prepare the garnishes (cilantro or other and yogurt) in small bowls and set aside.

Prepare your mise en place (all ingredients ready on the counter,  cleaned & chopped, spices assembled)


Heat the 2 teaspoons oil in a nonstick pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, red pepper slices and sweet potato and cook them, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften.  This should take between 5-7 minutes over a gas flame.  If necessary , add a bit more oil.

Add the spices: chipotle, cayenne and chili powders, salt and then garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.  Be careful not to overcook the garlic as it will turn bitter.

Add the stock (your choice, vegetable or non-fat, reduced sodium chicken stock but I’m hoping you’ll use homemade goodness.)

Bring the mixture to a strong simmer but don’t cross the fine line to boiling or you will have vegetable mush.  Cover.  Reduce the heat to keep a nice simmer.  Cook just until the sweet potato becomes tender.  This should take between 10-15 minutes depending on your burner capacity.

Add the black beans and the tomatoes.  Mix well.  Add the lime juice.  Mix well again.

Increase the heat to high and return the mixture to a mild simmer immediately.  Stir often to prevent burning and/or overcooking.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5-7 minutes.  This is not a watery chili.

Remove the mixture from the heat.

Serving suggestions: Serve in a bowl with a dollop of yogurt (or sour cream) and a garnish of green (cilantro, watercress, parsley or arugula)

Add some cornbread, jalapeno cornbread, jalapeno slices, grated white cheddar for that extra tart flavor, and it even works well with a sprinkle of pepita seeds.  Enjoy!

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My dedication to eating whole foods spurs our latest response to requests for natural foods with flair, flavor and plate appeal.  Therefore, assuming the plate is a canvas for the artistry of whole foods, we continue to work with the idea of a Portobello Mushroom Pizza.

We have evolved it to a heartier main course by adding some goat cheese and fresh baby spinach and the result was satisfying, healthful and most importantly, flavor packed!

The Portobello Mushroom Pizza is a great dish but this one takes it up a notch to a more satisfying stand-alone dish.  As a side, we offered a cup of minestrone soup, organic of course, and a couple of slices of homemade sourdough bread toasted with a touch of Asiago cheese for those who enjoy carbs.

End result:  happy diners, happy creators and full tummies.  What could be better?  Pair this meal with a lovely fresh red wine and you have a romantic dinner.

Simple process, not a recipe but a method: de-stem and de-gill two Portobello mushrooms, taking care to keep the cap intact.  Heat the broiler to high.

While the broiler preheats, chop 2 seeded Roma tomatoes into a small dice.  Add 4 small cloves of chopped garlic, 6 leaves of basil chiffonade and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to the mix.  Stir well to combine.

Measure 1 ounce of goat cheese (chevré) mixed with chopped thyme, tarragon, or basil (your preference).  Set aside.

Lightly sauté 2 cups of spinach in a fry pan over medium heat until just wilted.  No oil or butter (translate: fats) necessary if you use a non-stick pan.

Line 2 dinner plates with fresh baby spinach sprinkled with Balsamic Vinaigrette (homemade if possible).  Chill the plates in the refrigerator while you broil the mushrooms.

Place the mushroom caps on a foil lined baking sheet.  Rub just enough oil on the caps to cover both sides, about 1 teaspoonful.  Broil, gill side down, just until the cap begins to shrink and yield its juice.  Remove from oven and turn gill side up.  Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Line the cap with the wilted spinach.  Top with the tomato-garlic mixture.  Dot with half the goat cheese and repeat for the other Portobello mushroom.

Return the mushrooms to the broiler, on the foil lined baking sheet, and broil until the goat cheese sizzles and begins to turn color.  Remove immediately, transfer to the spinach lined plates and serve while hot.


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