Friday, January 30, 2009

Spicy Flank Steak with Guacamole Salad

This recipe I created myself, though it is an dish that has been made with many variations. Flank steak or London broil is a relatively inexpensive and lean piece of beef. I created my own rub using spices that have a Latin history and then grilled it. In the picture, you will see that Scott and I like our meat pretty rare. Feel free to cook your meat longer! Using a lower temperature on the grill pan will help it to cook longer and not char or burn on the outside.

The guacamole salad is basically a chunky guacamole. Since I cannot have the tortilla chips, it was really frustrating to try to eat the creamy guacamole with a fork. Not to mention that the texture wasn't great without the crisp of a chip. So I just don't mash the avocado and stir everything carefully so it doesn't get too squishy. Scott can still eat it with tortilla chips, and I can eat it with some lettuce and a fork. Works for everyone!

For those of you coming from Dr. Malone's referral, first of all, thank you so much for checking out this blog. I hope you are able to find some recipes and support here that you enjoy and find helpful! Just to let you know, I am on Stage 3 of the diet, so I have added in barley, bulgur, starchy vegetables, and various other things. I am going to do my best to continue posting recipes from my early diet stages to continue supporting you. However, most of the time, you can still make the entree recipe and just substitute a different side. If you have any questions, please let me know! I'd be glad to help you out.

Spicy Flank Steak
  • 1 flank steak, or London broil, about 1 lb.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper (to taste-- depends on how hot you want it!)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp of olive oil (depends on surface area of steak)
  • juice from 1/2 a lime
  • cooking spray
1. Combine cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Drizzle steak with olive oil. use hands to cover entire steak evenly with oil. Rub spice mixture onto oil. Do your best to cover steak evenly. Set on plate or dish and pour juice on top of steak. Let marinate for about 15 minutes.
3. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
4. Grill on medium high heat until desired doneness. (5-6 minutes on each side for medium rare; 6-7 minutes each side for medium, etc).
5. let steak rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice on the diagonal and serve.

Guacamole Salad
  • 2 medium sized avocados, cubed
  • 1 plum tomato, diced and deseeded
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • kosher salt, black and cayenne pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Mix softly until just incorporated. Leave the pit of one avocado in the bowl to prevent browning during storage. Refrigerate until serving.
Carb Options
The steak is delicious wrapped in whole wheat tortillas and served with fajita toppings (sour cream, diced tomatoes, lettuce, grilled onions & peppers).

We had this with chipotle black beans (great fiber and protein source for those Stage 3 or beyond!)
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped (derib and deseed before)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (15 oz) low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 Tbsp mild picante sauce
  • 1/4 tsp minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, plus more as needed for spiciness.
Heat oil in a medium heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, garlic, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, cumin and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occassionally, until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add beans, water, picante sauce and chipotle chiles. Cook until warmed through about 10 minutes. Add salt and more chiles as necessary.

These beans make great leftover lettuce wraps! Warm and then serve in lettuce leaves with a smear of nonfat sour cream. Delicious and light lunch!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pork Chops Oreganata and bulgur wheat salad

Wow, so it's been awhile. I sincerely apologize for the lack of posts the past two weeks. I have found in my life that January is much more busy than the Thanksgiving through New Year's time. Plus, the snow is really coming down up here, so it takes longer to get everywhere and do everything. I cannot wait until spring comes!!

This week, I am going to try to post one more recipe (after this one) and then do a little blogging about exercises. Before all the snow, I was able to go for hour long walks pushing strollers and that really helped me unload the pounds. However, with winter here, not only do I crave warm, creamy and hearty things that are bad for me, I can't walk as much. I've started doing a few exercises in my living room that I'd like to share.

Anyway, this Pork Chops Oreganata recipe is from Cooking Light. It only takes about 40 minutes, and is SO well worth it. Scott was very apprehensive about this (especially the bulgur wheat salad) and he raved. He has requested this recipe again! Though, I think I will like it much more in the spring and summer. The pork takes on a wonderful lemony oregano taste that would be perfect when there's less chill in the air. Plus, the bulgur wheat salad is pretty light, and my body really just wants warmer and heavier foods in January! Nevertheless, this is a delicious recipe that is easy to make. So turn up your heat for an hour and imagine it's spring already!

Pork Chops Oreganata
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp grated lemon rind (zest)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (4 ounce) boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • cooking spray
1. Combine first 5 ingredients in an 11 x 7 baking dish (could also use a bowl. Dish does not go into broiler). Add pork, turning to coat. Let stand 30 minutes, turning pork occassionally.
2. Preheat broiler. (use time that pork is marinating to get the bulgur wheat salad together)
3. Remove pork from baking dish; discard marinate. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and pepper. Place pork on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 4 minutes on each size or until done.

Bulgur Wheat salad
  • 3 cups hot cooked bulgur (according to package directions)
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/5 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1. combine the cooked bulgur with the baby spinach; cover and let stand until spinach wilts (actual recipe says 15 minutes, but it never takes that long for my spinach to wilt).
2. Stir in cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with feta.

This salad is best warm. For left overs, put in microwave to warm.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Roast Chicken and Roasted Winter Vegetables

This is a classic, cozy, comfort food for me. Not that I have any old memories of my mom roasting a chicken and smelling the herbs and citrus wafting from the oven before we all sat down to dinner; but, now, it makes my tummy warm and has some deliciously juicy and lovely flavors that just allude to home.

This recipe is from the Bride & Groom: First and Forever cookbook. You will be seeing a lot of recipes from this book in the months to come. EVERYTHING, from meatloaf to carrot cake, I have made out of this book has turned out perfectly delicious. I added a few different vegetables to the mix along with a few other herbs to be stuffed into the chicken. At home, I serve with the veggies, but I also saute some green beans or make a spinach salad (with bacon and a warm viniagrette) as accompaniment.

Roast Chicken and Vegetables
  • 3 carrots (or more) cut into thirds
  • 6 small red new potatoes, quartered if large (optional)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 parsnip, cut into thirds
  • 1 turnip, cubed
  • any other winter root veggie you are in the mood for (butternut squash, rutabaga, or sweet potatoes would work well, too)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted OR 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken (3-4 pounds)
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3-4 springs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1. Preheat oven to 425°
2. Place the carrots, potatoes, onions, parsnip, turnip and any other root vegetable in a roasting pan (can also use a 9 X 13 glass baking dish). Toss the vegetables with 1 Tbsp of butter or oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bottom of the pan evenly.
3. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken and discard. Rinse the bird under cold running water and pat dry. Put the chicken, breast side up, in the center of the baking dish, on top of the vegetables. Brush the chicken with the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter/oil. Season the cavity and skin generously with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
4. Put the lemon quarters, herbs and garlic cloves into the chicken cavity.
5. Roast for 45 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven. Using tongs, tilt the chicken, pouring the juices from the cavity onto the vegetables, and shake to coat. Baste the chicken with the pan juices.
* If the bird is browning too quickly (meaning, it looks golden and delicious at this point), cover with aluminum foil.
6. Continue roasting until the chicken is a deep golden brown and the juices run clear when the tip of a knife is inserted into the thigh joint, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh (away from the bone), registers 170°-175°, about 25-30 minutes more.
7. Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand for 10-15 minutes before carving.
8. Using back of spoon, smash garlic and squeeze some lemon juice into the pan juices with veggies. Toss. Drizzle any other juices over carved bird.

Carb options
Obviously adding potatoes or sweet potatoes to the veggie mix on bottom would provide a carb serving for those dining with you. Additionally this comfort food would go well with biscuits or traditional dinner rolls.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sausage & Fontina Stuffed Chicken with Tomato sauce and Spaghetti Squash

What a holiday season we had! We were able to see both sides of my family in Alabama, spend two days (including New Year's Eve!) in Atlanta, and be present for the birth of my best friend's first child. We had a great time with everyone, but we are definitely glad to be back home.

The recipe for the day is something I made up off the top of my head. So bear with me if the measurements aren't exact! We had some left over low-fat sausage in the freezer one day before we left, and I decided to use it up somehow! Plus, some friends of our had given us a large block of fontina cheese, so I threw that in there, too. In this recipe, I am going to give a measurement for more cheese than we used this time around. You couldn't taste the cheesy flavor as much as I wanted to. If you don't like the strong flavor of the fontina, you could use mozzarella, parmesan, or just leave the cheese out all together.

The tomato sauce is not one I would normally use for spaghetti. This is how Scott used to make his own sauce before we were married. I find it too thin to hold on to spaghetti, but it was a nice tomato item to go with the chicken, without being too heavy.

As far as the spaghetti squash, I pretty much just followed the directions on the side of the squash when I bought it. I know, that isn't exciting at all, but it was very tasty, and we will definitely be having it again! Hope you enjoy!

Sausage and Fontina Stuffed Chicken Breasts
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • about 1/2 lbs. of low-fat sausage (I chose a hot italian version)
  • about 4 oz. fontina cheese, grated or sliced thinly
  • salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Pound chicken between plastic wrap with mallet, large wooden spoon or rolling pin (my favorite method!) to about 3/4 inch thickness.
3. Place 1/2 of grated cheese in the center of each breast.
4. Roll sausage into 2 balls and place one on each chicken breast on top of the fontina. Fold chicken around the ball, keeping in place with a toothpick if necessary.
5. Place chicken toothpick side down in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can also put more cheese on top, if desired. Bake until done, 35-40 minutes.

Tomato Sauce
  • 1 or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • about 4 oz mushrooms
  • dry basil, oregano and parsley to taste (probably about 1/2 tsp each)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. In a sauce pan/pot, heat oil to medium heat. Saute onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms until soft, 3-5 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes and seasonings. Simmer on low until heated through and all other dishes are ready to eat.

Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 spaghetti squash
There are several ways to cook a spaghetti squash. First, decide if you want to cut the squash before cooking or after. It is much harder to cut through when it is uncooked, however, you don't have the burning-your-fingers factor if you chop it before cooking. Also, the squash can be prepared by baking, boiling, microwaving, or simmering in a crockpot. I chose to bake mine in the oven. Pierce the outside of the squash with a fork several times before putting on a baking sheet. It should cook about 1 hour at 350°.

Carb options
There are many things that would be delicious with this meal. Of course, garlic bread is always winner. But polenta could be a nice accompaniment to the thin tomato sauce as well. There are so many options, get creative!