Friday, December 28, 2012

Fish Tacos with Spicy Mango Salsa

After days of heavy eating, I start to crave a lighter meal. The day after Christmas we decided to make fish tacos which has turned into one of our favorite meals (even my fiance's grandparents loved it!). The  filling ingredients are very versatile - you can use any firm fish that will stand up well in a taco (e.g. salmon, swordfish). I personally love using tilapia because it is firm but also slightly flaky. I also added avocado as a topper for a creamy bite. I paired this dish with fresh tortilla chips (because none of that mango salsa will go to waste!).

Fish Tacos with Spicy Mango Salsa

Serves 6

12 (6 inch) corn tortillas, warmed
2 lb. fresh tilapia
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

2 mangos, peeled and diced
1 jalapeƱo, seeded and diced
1/4 pineapple, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime

Dijon aioli:
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup light mayo
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 dashes hot sauce

1/2 green cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 avacado, sliced


1. Combine all salsa ingredients and set aside (keep at room temperature).

2. Combine aioli ingredients and place in the refrigerator.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Season tilapia with salt and pepper.
 4. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and brown tilapia (2-3 minutes per side). 
5. Lay tilapia on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 10 minutes (or until completely cooked through).

6. To serve, spread aioli on each tortilla. Top with slivered almonds, cabbage, tilapia, mango salsa and avocado.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Being at home in Michigan with my family means I've been doing a lot of cooking (not that I'm complaining!). This year I wanted to make my parents a meal they would remember by using some special ingredients.  As we sat down for dinner last night I was so happy to see everyone so excited to share the meal together. These recipes seem quite complex, but besides cracking the crab claws, everything else comes together relatively quickly. Seasons eatings!


Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Serves 6

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 slices bacon, diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total), trimmed
1 teaspoon lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons parsley and breadcrumbs and remove from heat.
2. Rinse the pork and pat dry. Butterfly the pork: make a 1-inch incision down the length of each tenderloin; do not cut all the way through. Open the meat like book so the tenderloins lie flat. Cover the pork with plastic wrap; pound with a meat mallet until about 1/2 inch thick.
3. Spread the mushroom mixture over the 2 tenderloins. Tightly roll up each tenderloin. Lay the tenderloins on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
4. Bake at 450 for 25 minutes then turn the heat down to 325 and cook an additional 30-40 minutes (until juices run clear or a meat thermometer reads a minimum of 145 degrees). Let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining olive oil and parsley with lemon zest, salt and pepper. Slice the tenderloins and brush with the parsley oil. Serve.

Because Colby couldn't try the meat, this is what he was up to....

Snow Crab Risotto

Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups uncooked arborio rice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup dry white wine
1 (32 oz) box chicken stock
1 cup portobello mushrooms, diced
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian stewed tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 cup snow crab, shelled and crumbled
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped


1. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until golden, 1-2 minutes. 
2. Add the rice and cook 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the white wine and bring to a simmer.
4. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and stir constantly until absorbed.
5. Add the portobello mushrooms, basil and tomatoes and stir until most liquid is absorbed. 
6. Add remaining chicken stock and continue stirring. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Add the snow crab and 1/2 the parmesan cheese.
8. Top with the additional cheese and fresh parsley. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes and serve.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Appetizers

Christmas is almost here and that means lots of delicious food. With indulgent sweets and savories everywhere in sight, why not try offering some lighter fare at your next holiday party? Lighter doesn't have to mean unappetizing. These appetizers are super flavorful and allow you to save room for a Christmas cookie (or two).

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas 

Yields 3 cups (Serves 16)

3 (15 oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and patted dry
1  tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt

       Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.      Toss chickpeas with the olive oil, maple syrup, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt.

3.      Place in a single layer on a greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

4.      Roast for 40-45 minutes or until chickpeas are toasted and crunchy.

5.      Allow to cool and serve.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 90, Total fat 2.5g, Saturated fat 0g, Cholesterol0mg, Sodium 520mg, Carbohydrate 12g, Fiber 4g, Protein 4g

Caprese Flatbread 

Serves 16

4 whole grain flatbreads
3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
6 oz. sundried tomatoes, julienned
2 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced thin
Salt and pepper, to taste

1.      Preheat oven to 500.
2.      Top each flatbread with pancetta slices, mozzarella cheese and sundried tomatoes. Lay on a baking sheet or pizza stone.

3.      Bake 5-10 minutes until crispy. Drizzle with olive oil and top with fresh basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 180, Total fat 9g, Saturated fat 3g, Cholesterol15mg, Sodium 360mg, Carbohydrate 20g, Fiber 3g, Protein 7g

Chicken Apple Sausage and Brie Flatbread 

Serves 16

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lb yellow onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
4 whole grain flatbreads
1 large apple, sliced thin
1 (12 oz) package Sweet Apple Fully Cooked Chicken Sausage, sliced thin
4 oz. brie cheese, sliced into thin rounds

1. In a large skillet coated with olive oil, cover and sweat onions over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. After15 minutes, remove cover and add brown sugar. Continue to cook to an additional 5 minutes until the onions are well caramelized.

2. Preheat oven to 500.
3. Top each flatbread with caramelized onions, apple slices and sausage. Finish with brie cheese.

4. Bake on a cookie sheet or pizza stone for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 150, Total fat 8g, Saturated fat 2.5g, Cholesterol25mg, Sodium 320mg, Carbohydrate 25g, Fiber 3g, Protein 8g

Cucumber Cups with Vegetable Ceviche 

Serves 20

4 cucumbers, each sliced into 5 thick rounds (do not use end pieces)
1 (10 oz) container roasted red pepper hummus

Vegetable ceviche:
1/2 red pepper, diced very small
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced very small
1 carrot, peeled and diced very small
1/2 red onion, minced
1 TB fresh cilantro, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

1.      Using a melon baller or spoon, scoop the seeds out of each cucumber round (make sure not to go all the way through).

2.      Fill each round with a small amount of hummus (using a piping bag or small spoon).

3.      Combine ceviche ingredients. Top hummus with ceviche. Squeeze extra lime juice over the top of the cucumber cups (if desired) and serve.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 35, Total fat 1.5g, Saturated fat 0g, Cholesterol0mg, Sodium 85mg, Carbohydrate 5g, Fiber 1g, Protein 1g

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Brunch

Looking to host a holiday brunch this Christmas? These recipes are quick and festive and your friends won't even be able to tell that they're healthy as well. Even better, each recipe can be prepped a day ahead of time so that the morning of the event all you have to do is pop the food in the oven.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cornbread

I thought of this recipe after I discovered the health benefits of pureed pumpkin. The end result is a moist, flavorful cornbread "cake" and the dried cranberry adds a nice burst of sweetness in every bite.

Serves 10

2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 15 oz. can 100% natural pumpkin puree
2 TB vegetable oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Zest of 1 orange

1. Spray a 13x9 baking pan or 2 9" cake pans with cooking spray. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vegetable oil.
3. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients; mix until well blended, adding more buttermilk if needed. (Batter will be thick, but easy to stir by hand.)
4. Spread batter into the prepared baking pan(s).
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Mini Mushroom, Spinach and Sausage Quiches

This quiches are perfect for serving a crowd. They could also be served as an appetizer because they're small enough to hold in your hand.

Serves 10

8 oz turkey breakfast sausage, crumbled into pieces
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
8 oz baby spinach
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
5 eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup 1% milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a nonstick muffin tin generously with cooking spray.
2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until golden, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. In the same pan, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until golden, 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the spinach and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage.
3. Whisk eggs, egg whites and milk in a medium bowl. Divide the sausage mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with cheese.
4. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the cups.
5. Bake until the tops are just beginning to brown, 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Caramelized and crispy when roasted, sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. When topped with herbs and sea salt, it takes the flavor to a new level. This recipe is simple and quick, and makes a great side for chicken or beef as well.

Serves 10

3 large sweet potatoes
2 TB olive oil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks.
3. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and coat with olive oil.
4. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, pepper and salt and toss to coat.

5. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring half way through.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lentil Soup with Crispy Pancetta

When the weather gets chilly, soup warms the soul. There are so many different flavor combinations to choose from, and it's a good opportunity to bulk up on nutrients. I recently demo'd this recipe at work and people were very impressed by the complex flavors. This soup is delicious and packs a huge nutrition punch. Served with crusty bread, this is a perfect lunch or dinner!


Lentil Soup with Crispy Pancetta

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 anchovy fillets
3 oz. diced pancetta
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 bunch kale (about 2 cups)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crusty bread, for serving

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add anchovy fillets and stir until fillets melt. Add pancetta and cook until crisp, 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the onion, carrots, potato and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes (until tender). Add the spices, fresh rosemary and bay leaf and cook 1 minute longer.

3. Add the lentils, tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes.
4. Add the kale and cook 15 minutes longer. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve.