Juicy tomato, cold, crunchy Romaine lettuce, sweet basil, creamy mozzarella and the tang of a Balsamic vinegar reduction…..delicious! Sure, a caprese salad won’t do for a full family meal but for a decadent lunch or as a side salad with dinner, this dish is packed with flavor and texture and other good-for-you-things! I really was having a craving for fresh basil a while back. I wanted it in any food I ordered out, I wanted it in food I made at home and I thought that not only did this salad sound like a nice change in our vegetable routine, but it calls for fresh, raw basil. In my opinion, this is the type of dish that the quality of your ingredients really can make or break it. Being mostly uncooked, if your tomato flavor is flat or the mozzarella isn’t quite the right texture, the whole thing falls apart. My advice, and the reason I call it decadent is because I pull out the good stuff for this one. I am using my “good” olive oil, the oil I save for special dishes where the flavor of the oil will really be apparent. I selected the tomato carefully and bought a type that not only looked nice but has a good flavor. In this case, regardless of what you feel about organic products, here organic usually IS better. Interesting aside – in the race to produce more, larger, and more bug-resistant tomatoes, they have bred the flavor OUT of most commercially grown tomatoes. The farms get more per plant and a more even growth rate but they aren’t taking into account how those tomatoes taste. Some growers are taking that problem back to the root of things and are breeding the flavor back into their crops but right now, it seems UF (go Gators!) and Publix (go Lakeland!) have the market cornered. Here is an article on UF’s new breed of tomato, only available at Publix supermarkets right now. So I picked out a few nice tomatoes, bought the fancy, fresh mozzarella and made sure the basil was not spotted or dried up at the corners. Then I bought a good balsamic vinegar (raspberry flavored at that) to reduce. The rest of this salad is simple, you’ve got the main part done before you get home!
- Fresh, firm, tasty tomatoes, 1/2 – 1 medium tomato per salad
- Fresh crispy romaine lettuce
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Fresh Basil
- Good olive oil
- Good Balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup for 2 salads
- salt and pepper to taste
Chop up, wash and pat dry the Romaine, toss in a little olive oil and salt/pepper to taste and split among the plates. Wash and slice the tomato and place them neatly on top of the lettuce. Slice up the mozzarella and finely chop the basil; put those ingredients on the salad. Lastly, reduce the vinegar by putting a small amount in a sauce pan on high. The vinegar will boil quickly and reduce even more quickly so don’t walk away! Once boiling, durn the heat down and allow to reduce for a couple of minutes. What you want here is a thicker, more syrupy consistency to the vinegar so swirling the pan will give you an idea. When ready, drizzle over the salad and enjoy.
100% Dukan Diet Worthy Stage 3 or higher.
I don’t make desserts often, in fact, probably only 2 – 3 times a year and usually only for a birthday or major holiday. Not to say we don’t eat sweets but having a box of cookies lying around is in direct conflict with our diet! This recipe is one that my Mom gave me after she read it in her local newspaper. The nice thing is that it is a nice treat and 100% on the Dukan Diet! If you are lactose intolerant then this post is most definitely not for you. Let’s get to it!
- 2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 3/4 cup Splenda (Truvia probably would work too but I used Splenda for baking)
- Skim milk
- 1-2 teaspoons flavoring such as: mint extract, Kahlua, Creme de Cacao, Bailey’s Irish Creme or Grand Marnier
- fat-free whipped cream
Place all ingredients except flavoring into your blender and mix. Add more or less skim milk by the tablespoons to the consistency you’d like your mousse. The recipe states 1+ Tablespoons, I used closer to 1/4th a cup but added it tablespoon by tablespoon so as not to get too much. Can’t take it back out! Chill when done. I mixed my flavorings in separately so that we could have multiple flavors and we liked it with Bailey’s Irish Creme the best, would have used Kahlua if we had it on hand. Anyway, mix in the flavoring into your serving, top with whipped cream, (and sprinkle it with a teeny-tiny bit of real sugar just for fun if you like) and enjoy. Cool treat on the Dukan Diet and even better there is about 5 grams of protein in a serving of ricotta and even a little Vitamin C! Thanks Mom!
100% Dukan Diet Worthy on all stages of the diet.
Simple twist on a theme. How many ways can you prepare ground beef or poultry? Let me go a little Forrest Gump: Hamburgers, meatballs, tacos, spaghetti bolognese, sausages, stuffed zucchini, chili, meatloaf, burritos, lasagna, shepherds pie….the list could go on and on. Ground meat is versatile, relatively inexpensive and if you buy the lean ground beef, ground meats are a good source of lean protein. What I did for a quick dinner the other night was to take my meatball recipe and pop it into a half of a raw pepper. A bag of green peppers at Sam’s costs about 6$ and resulted in 12 pepper halves. Bake, top with a spaghetti sauce of your choosing and a slice of provolone cheese and voila! Throw a salad down with it or another vegetable of your choice and you have a filling, healthy meal plus leftovers. I cleaned out my pepper halves without taking out the stem, I chose to leave that on during cooking to help hold in more meat and just cut it out during the meal instead. Cutting it out ahead of time is fine too, whichever works best for you! Let’s get to it!
- 1 lb ground meat
- 1 whole egg
- 1/3 cup dried minced onion (or 1/2 a finely minced fresh onion)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 – 1/4 black pepper (to taste)
- 1/8 – 1/4 white pepper (to taste)
- 0.5 – 1 tsp rubbed sage
- 0.5 – 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
- 5-6 large bell peppers – any color will do!
- spaghetti sauce
- sliced cheese (I used provolone)
Wash and slice the peppers in halves, cleaning out the insides of their seeds and membranes and place them on a cookie sheet lined with tin-foil. Mix all the but last three ingredients in a bowl well. Place a small handful of the meat into each pepper being sure to press the meat down into the bowl of the pepper. Repeat this process until the meat has been distributed evenly through the peppers. (it is OK if the meat is rounded up a little higher than the sides of the pepper). Bake at 350°F for 45-60 minutes or until the beef is cooked well. Plate the peppers you will be serving that meal, top them with the spaghetti sauce and cheese and microwave them a minute until the cheese is melted and the sauce is warmed. I did it this way so that the leftovers could be packed and prepared at work without being messy and so that the cheese didn’t over-cook being melted more than once. The sliced cheese was sent with work lunches wrapped separately because re-warming the pepper requires more time and the cheese will get crusty when nuked that long. Warm the meat up partially in the microwave, then add the sauce and cheese if having as these as leftovers.
It’s been a long time since I sat down here to share anything I’ve found. I’ve actually just been trolling my own blog’s recipes and cooking off that for a while. Eventually my short gastronomic attention span ensured that I come back to cooking new food after a while so here I am. I have made a few new dishes recently that I didn’t think were all that great so that has delayed my coming back with anything new also. So this dish has Moroccan roots, Morocco is on the northwest tip of Africa, just across from Spain on the Straight o Gibraltar. The storyline for the classic movie “Casablanca” was set in the city of the same name in Morocco. Much of their food was influenced not only by the regional foods that grew there but also by Arab, Moorish and Berber cultures, basically Middle Eastern influence. That means, of course, a lot of spices and actually, sometimes even more spices than other Middle Eastern food. Moroccan food can be uniquely cooked in a vessel called a tagine (which is also a dish) which looks a bit like the player piece to the board game “Sorry”. The tagine is generally made of clay and promotes long, slow cooking and keeps moisture in and circulating as food cooks. It’s the original crock-pot! Now, I didn’t have a tagine and used a regular pot but maybe I’ll look into one if I keep this up. It looks like it may be a “one function item” for the kitchen and with my lack of space, may be a prohibiting factor. Anyway! So I was craving something with olives in it. A quick scan of the search results found this recipe on Epicurious.com and the title sounded like it would hit the spot. I’m not going to say that this dish is show-stopping, but it was easy to make, flavorful and on the Dukan diet. Let’s get to it!
- 2 Meyer or regular lemons (I used regular)
- 1T olive oil
- 1 large onion, cut in thin half rings
- 2-3 large garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 T paprika
- 2 t ground cumin
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1 t ground ginger
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 lbs skinless, bone-in chicken
- 1/2 cup chopped green olives
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large pot that has a lid. When it’s hot, salt and pepper the onion then brown until it’s golden, about 8 – 10 minutes on medium to high. Cut up the first lemon into 8 wedges and squeeze at least 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice out of the second lemon into its own container and reserve for last. Next, after your onion is deliciously golden, add the garlic, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and ginger. Mix around and allow to the spices to mingle and then pour in the chicken broth. Allow that to come to a boil before adding the lemon wedges and the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with a little salt and pepper, reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is done. This should take about 30 minutes, halfway through you should turn your chicken to get better cooking and to allow the spices to cook into both sides of the chicken. When the chicken is finished cooking, remove them to a plate and set aside for a few minutes and turn the heat back up to high. Add the olives and lemon juice to the pan and allow to boil uncovered for 5 -7 minutes. Keep stirring it occasionally to prevent the onions from sticking. When ready, pour over the chicken and serve. This dish was very aromatic, slightly tangy and salty and was very good served over whole-grain couscous! We also ate it without the couscous and it still was good just the juices ran all over and weren’t as “part” of the meal.
THREE CUPS of salt? Kosher salt even like the good salt? You’ve got to be kidding. This is the first thing I thought about this recipe. The next thing I thought was “well, if it doesn’t work out we can order pizza.” Long story short, I think it may have been worth it although I need to work on the technique a little more. The new cookbook I’m working out of titled “The New Spanish Table” by Anya von Bremzen has a lot of really awesome looking dishes in it. The downside though is that the kitchen experience level is above “novice” for a lot of them. So far, I have managed to find a few good ones that are not hard at all and stayed within the lines more or less of the Dukan Diet but this recipe pushed the envelope with technique. Not impossible mind you, I have never ever before cooked with this method and to be honest, didn’t know anyone cooked anything by fixing it up all nice and then dumping a lot of salt on it and baking it. That went against every natural inclination I had in my kitchen. Enshrining food in a salt crust for cooking makes the food cook evenly and slowly at fairly low temperature and if done correctly, will crack off easily leaving behind very little additional salt. That’s the catch there though, doing it right so the salt comes back off. So my end result here was an extremely flavorful pork loin, perfectly cooked and moist that was a little too salty on the bottom for my taste. Room to get better! Anyway, the marinade/rub that goes on here is fantastic and I think that this dish was worth the risk and I will definitely be making it again. Just not often….
- 6-8 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 TBS flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 TBS fresh oregano, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
- 1 TBS smoked sweet Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp hot paprika or cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 3 TBS high quality white wine vinegar
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 pork loin (2.5-3 pounds)
- THREE CUPS KOSHER SALT!
- 5 large egg whites, beaten
Put all the ingredients down through the olive oil into a food processor and get it down to a coarse paste. Put the pork into a baking dish and rub the spice paste all over it evenly. Cover and refrigerate anywhere from 6 hours to overnight. *Make sure you take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temp before cooking or the whole thing will be off. When you’re ready to cook it, have the oven at 375°F. Mix the salt and beaten egg whites together in a bowl until evenly moist, it should just barely hold together when you let it fall off a spoon. Kinda clumpy. If it doesn’t, mix in a little water until it does. Pour the salt mixture over the pork and get it thoroughly coated, pushing up excess salt on top and around the sides in a little salt-pork-loaf in the pan and bake about 35-40 minutes or until your meat thermometer reads 155°F. Let the meat rest after taking it out of the oven for 5 minutes and then smack it with a spoon or butter knife. The salt should crack and come away in pieces, you can (and should) wipe away any excess salt, especially from the bottom with a paper towel. This recipe was presented with a Cilantro “mojo”, or sauce…kinda like a chutney.
- 1.5 chopped fresh cilantro
- 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 cup high quality white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup high quality light olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
Put it all in a food processor and puree it. Let it sit together in a bowl to “let the flavors develop”…make friends and all that…for 30 minutes before serving.
This side-dish is so simple it is ridiculous. I really like fresh asparagus for a lot of reasons, one of which is how fast it is to prepare. On an evening where I don’t have a hot veggie planned or ready, steamed asparagus is a go-to item. This method requires only a few more ingredients but virtually no additional time. I love contrasting flavors and this tangy-sweet sauce soaks up nicely into the head of the asparagus stems making a good veggie even better. I found this recipe in “The New Spanish Table” by Anya von Bremzen and am combing the book for more interesting and tasty dishes with Spanish flair. If being strictly strict on the Dukan Diet then the honey involved here will reduce this to only the last stages of the Diet but overall, it is not a lot of honey. Let’s get to it!
- 2 LB Asparagus
- 4 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tsp honey
- 3 TBS aged sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt and pepper
Trim the asparagus ends and wash the stalks, pat dry. Toss them with 1 TBS of the oil to get a good coating and sprinkle with some salt. Spread evenly on a tin-foil lined cookie sheet and place under the broiler on medium, 6 – 10 minutes turning them once during cooking. You will want them to just be getting browned to blackened. While those are going, mix together the honey, vinegar and leftover oil and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Return the cooked asparagus to the bowl with the sauce and toss again to cover and serve. Grilling the asparagus is also an option. Very tasty, very quick, very easy. What more could you want?
Up until recently Daniel and I have resorted to buying a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from Publix for our lunches when I didn’t have leftovers. That gets tiring after a while and will lead us to temptation because well, it is hard to eat healthy when we are tired of the same healthy every day. Now this won’t come as a shock to anybody but chicken is cheap. Typically, the less processed (de-boned, de-skinned, marinated, cooked…etc) any food is, the cheaper it is. Now, I understand and am not judging people who don’t like to see their food looking more like the animal it used to be, but it doesn’t get much more cost-effective than buying and preparing a whole chicken. $0.94- $1.00/lb. Even better, there are so many ways to bake a chicken that the variations can keep my taste buds interested! This recipe I found on southernfood.about .com and it interested me not only because it included curry powder, but also because it calls for peach jam or preserves. The combination sounded interesting and I happen to still have some curry powder my parents brought me from Dubai, the combination of the spices and the sweet is really quite good. The recipe was buried in an article about baked chicken in general but I think I am going to try more of their suggestions for dressing up a chicken dinner!
I made this dish three ways to see what tasted best and what alteration could be made to cut out some of the fat out. The first way I made exactly like the recipe stated (as I do most of my recipes here) as far as leaving the skin on and baking it. This way was great and tasty but leaving the skin on increases the fat content and it was hard not to eat it because of the yummy curry/jam glase that was on top! The second way I spread the spices under the skin and baked it like the recipe stated but before I put the jam/mustard topping on I pulled the skin off and threw it out. Lastly, I took the skin off before the chicken was cooked, covered it with tin-foil and followed the rest of the recipe. Out of those two methods, it was not only easier to take the skin off after it had baked but the chicken was more moist as well. There are debates that cooking the chicken with the skin on increases the fat content in the meat because it traps the fats which may be true to an extent but I think overall, that method falls in the middle and taking the skin off reduces the fat by about 12 grams! Taking the skin off before baking would remove the most fat but that chicken was also a tiny bit dry and it takes more time and effort to remove the skin raw. It’s up to you, we enjoyed all of the chicken any way it was cooked! Anyway let’s get to it.
- 4-5 lbs of chicken (whole or quartered, skin on)
- 2 TBS curry powder
- 1/2 lemon squeezed
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Vegetable oil (enough to make a paste and coat the chicken)
- 3 TBS peach jam or preserves
- 3 TBS grainy dijon mustard
Heat oven to 450°F and place chicken on a foil-lined baking tray. Mix all but the last two ingredients together and rub the meat under the skin. Mix the last two ingredients together in a separate bowl and set aside. Give a light coat on the outside of the skin with a small amount of the curry rub as well. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes at the high temp to get the skin crispy then lower the oven to 350°F and bake for about 50 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven, spread the peach and mustard glaze on the top and return it to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked close to the bone. Dukan Diet Worthy on Phases 2 (in moderation) or higher. Quick, tasty, and a little different from your average baked chicken dish!
I know it has been a while, but I think I may be back in the swing of things. Spring just makes you want to get all excited and GET THINGS DONE! I have had to pace myself with all the many projects that need doing around here and making time to actually sit down and do the things I love which definitely includes cooking and trying out new recipes. I really liked this one in particular from the Barefoot Contessa, (Food Network) for how pretty and green this dish is and how it really brings Spring to the table. Fresh veggies are abundant with the peas, beans, broccoli in season and this recipe makes good use of them all. If you aren’t familiar with cooking vegetables by the blanching method, this will be a crash course for you. Blanching is a way to cook vegetables that preserves their crunchy goodness and color and is easy to do. Basically you need a pot with a boiling basket or strainer to fit it and a bowl of ice water. For most vegetables, just a quick 1 -2 minute boil then throw them into the ice water is it! After the blanching, reheat the veggies however your choose to but don’t actually cook them any longer, this recipe uses the same pot on the stove. I switched out some ingredients to cut down on the cost (isn’t it terrible that eating fresh veggies and healthy food is more expensive?) and I doubled the recipe to have more leftovers. You know I couldn’t make a meal without leftovers. Let’s get to it!
- 1/2 lb trimmed green beans (use the French ones if you can)
- 1/2 lb trimmed sugar snap peas
- 1/2 lb asparagus cut to 2 inch spears
- 1 lb broccoli florets, cut the larger ones in half
- 1 TBS butter
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 3-4 thinly sliced shallots
- salt and pepper to taste
So starting with the blanching you will need all your vegetables washed, trimmed and cut how they need to be and ready to go. Once we get started it will go fast! Have your pot with enough water in it boiling to cover the veggies and have your basket insert in there too. A large bowl of ice water waiting will also be needed. When you have all that ready, get set to put the beans in first for a 60 second boil. Remove them with your basket or if you don’t have one, then a slotted spoon, and immediately get them in the ice water to stop the cooking process. Repeat this with the peas and broccoli. The asparagus will need a 2 minute boil before the ice bath. Once all your good greens are good and cold, drain them and pat dry. Dump out the boiling water and add the butter and oil to the pan and lightly saute the shallots until browned. (5-7 minutes give or take) Add in your iced vegetables, the salt and pepper and stir to combine, allow them to sit on the stove just long enough to heat through and you have yourself a wonderful celebration of Spring right there.
This is 100% Dukan Diet worthy on any vegetable + protein day and no matter what your diet this is a tasty way to get in your green!
Two words: Dinner. Party. Super motivation to get some new food on our table! I was excited to have some good friends over and to try out this recipe I found on Food Network’s website. I’d say this dish was easy-moderate difficulty but 5 stars for flavor and presentation. The best part is that the roasted chicken is 100% on the Dukan Diet. Now the herbs kick the cost up a bit but it wouldn’t work with dried herbs right I don’t think. If you really need a reason to talk yourself into spending the extra few bucks on the herbs think about this, all the herbs provide wonderful vitamins and nutrients when eaten raw and the dried alternative just won’t do! There wasn’t much chicken left, or anything really, so that was compliment enough. I think it is safe to say everyone thought it was as delicious as I did but I am disappointed that I totally forgot the yogurt sauce in the fridge. Oh well, let’s get to it!
- 1/2 medium red onion, rough chop
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4- 1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh dill
- 1/4 cup chopped black walnuts
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1//4 cup olive oil
- 1 TBS red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and ground pepper
- 3/4 – 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
- 1 five – six pound whole roasting/fryer chicken
- cooking twine
- 2lb plum tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
You need a food processor for this fantastic dish and you need to get the onion, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, 2 TBS of the dill, the walnuts and the garlic in there. Get them a little chopped up then add 3 TBS of the olive oil, the vinegar, 2 tsp salt and pepper to taste and process that until it is nice and smooth. Separate half out and mix it into the yogurt, set aside in the fridge until you are ready to serve (and don’t forget it there!).
Preheat your oven to 450° F. Now here comes the messy part. Put your cleaned chicken in a pan or dish lined with foil. With your fingers, separate the skin from the meat of the chicken at the base of the breast and the neck to where you can run most of your hand up under the skin. Then, with the chicken face-down, slice a cut in the skin at the top of the thigh and loosen the skin from the meat on each thigh/leg piece. When you are able to run your fingers through easily, start rubbing the herb mix up under the skin and on the outside until you use it all up. Season the inside and outside of the chicken with some salt and pepper and put your bird face-up. With a piece of twine, tie the legs together so they don’t flop around and possibly fall off when cooking. You can tie the wings back too if you like, I didn’t bother with that. Anyway, stick it in your super hot oven and let it roast for 30 minutes. The skin should get a golden brown. While this is cooking, wash and slice up your tomatoes. Toss them in some salt, pepper and the rest of the olive oil until they are well coated. Take the chicken out of the oven and reduce the temperature to 375°F and put all those tomato’s on the pan with the chicken, sliced side down. Baste your bird with the drippings and put it back in the oven for an hour. Sprinkle with the rest of the fresh dill and serve with the yogurt sauce. DON”T FORGET THE SAUCE!
Very very tasty, guaranteed to make your house smell fantastic and your mouth to water. 100% Dukan Diet Worthy for any protein + vegetable day! To keep it Paleo Friendly, leave out the dipping yogurt. The chicken is super flavorful on it’s own!
So much to do, so little time! I have been making some food in the new house but not a lot of new dishes, old favorites and simple things like hamburgers have been on the table lately. It is time-consuming to find recipes I think I can tweak to fit our diet, not to mention the added time during prep and cooking while I run back and forth between the stove and the cookbook to make sure I’m doing it right. Oh and since this is a new house and I don’t know where anything is….more time just to FIND the cumin or that chicken broth I know I bought a while back! My friend Misty Dawn took the time to help me out though and sent me this recipe for Feta stuffed Poultry burgers, we enjoyed them and since they were simple and we needed a change from our grilled chicken and hamburgers, it hit the spot! So this is definitely quick and easy, throw a salad down next to it and you’re doing a good dinner in very little time. Using some ground turkey or chicken breast meat mixed in with general ground turkey/chicken will lower the fat but still allow for some moisture from the dark meat. Using a fat-free feta wouldn’t change the overall flavor too much either, I suggest using half fat-free and half regular or reduced fat feta. Cut the fat and calories but still get some of the enjoyment out of a good tasty cheese. Anyway, let’s get to it!
- 1 pound uncooked extra lean ground chicken breast or turkey breast
- 1 TBSP fresh oregano chopped
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 7 TBSP crumbled feta cheese (can use fat-free)
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken or turkey, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper, garlic, and feta. Mash together well. Divide mixture into four balls and then press gently into patties. Grill, broil, or pan cook patties until internal temperature of burgers reaches 165F (about 7 to 8 minutes per side). Done! Either serve plain with a side salad and a vegetable dish to stay Dukan Diet Worthy (phase 3 and up) or on a bun with red onion, lettuce and a light mayo or alioli spread.