Orzo With Eggplant and Red Pepper Sauce

14 10 2014

This tasty dish comes together in less than a half hour, perfect for weeknight dinners and meatless Mondays. Comfort food can be healthy, and it doesn’t have to take all day either!

Orzo With Eggplant and Red Pepper Sauce

The following serves 4 (compliments of Cuisine Light and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 heaping cup of dry whole wheat orzo
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Grated parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season liberally with salt and cook orzo to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve a little of the pasta water, then drain the orzo.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute a few minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 minute. Add bell pepper and saute another few minutes. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Next add the eggplant and cook until eggplant begins to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add wine to eggplant and simmer until liquid is almost evaporated. Stir in the broth and tomato paste and mix well. Add chickpeas and  simmer until mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and season with salt to taste.

Next add the orzo and a little of the pasta water, mix well to combine and cook on low for another minute or so. Stir in a good dusting of lemon zest and some of the chopped parsley. Mix to combine and taste, adjusting seasoning if needed.

Dish out the orzo and garnish with more parsley and parmesan.

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Tabbouleh Salad With Farro and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

28 04 2014

This is such a tasty meatless meal, packed with loads of flavor and healthy ingredients! Tabbouleh is a Lebanese grain salad typically made with bulgur wheat. I didn’t have bulgur so I improvised with the ancient grain farro, but kept the rest of the traditional ingredients the same with mixing in parsley, mint, cucumbers, tomatoes and dressing with lemon juice and olive oil. Heads up, there’s a lot of chopping to be had here, so grab yourself a sous chef to help!

Tabbouleh Salad With Farro and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Tabbouleh Salad With Farro and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

The following makes 4 servings (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • Minced zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package (10 oz) grape tomatoes, halved (you could also use a mix of tomatoes and chopped red bell pepper if you wanted)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz) drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup sliced scallions or green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms (4-6 oz each) stemmed and gilled
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, crumbled feta cheese

Cook the farro according to package directions. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve 3 Tbsp of the vinaigrette to brush on the portobellos.

Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, scallions, mint, olives, and cooled farro. Toss with vinaigrette and chill until ready to serve.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil.

For the mushrooms, brush both sides with reserved vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Grill mushrooms, uncovered, until grill marks appear and mushrooms are softened, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and transfer to a cutting board. Slice mushrooms into 1/2-inch-thick strips.

To serve, plate the tabbouleh salad, top with sliced mushrooms and garnish with feta.





“Greek Salad” Chicken

15 04 2014

This speedy supper is a take on a pasta dish I found in my latest issue of the Food Network Magazine. They used ingredients commonly found in a Greek salad, cooked them up and tossed them with spinach pasta. Looked delicious, so I thought I’d use the same ingredients with chicken, for a low-carb option instead.

"Greek Salad" Chicken

“Greek Salad” Chicken

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Food Network Magazine):

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 bell pepper, red or yellow, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 heaping cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 packed cups organic baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, crumbled feta cheese
  • Lemon flavored oil for serving

Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Season chicken lightly with salt and garlic powder, then add to the hot skillet and cook until browned on both sides, 5-8 minutes, flipping half way through. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Lower heat to medium. Add remaining Tbsp of oil to the same skillet and add peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and oregano and cook for a minute until fragrant. Next add the chickpeas and season very lightly with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is lightly browned, another 3-5 minutes. Next add the olives and deglaze with the chicken stock bringing to a slow bubble, and scrapping up any brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the skillet. Slide the browned chicken back in, lower heat and simmer until cooked through, 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the arugula until wilted (you may want to remove the chicken first to give yourself more room to work with). Divide the pepper and chickpea mixture among plates, top with pieces of chicken, crumbled feta and a drizzle of the lemon flavored oil (or extra-virgin olive oil).

Pasta option: If you wanted to make the pasta option, simply cook up 12 oz of dry penne to al dente, save 1/2 cup of the cooking water and toss the penne and the starchy water with the rest of the cooked ingredients. Finish the dish the same way, with feta and a drizzle of olive oil.





Curried Turkey and Chickpea Pie

19 03 2014

Whether sweet or savory, there’s something special about serving pie…and this recipe is no exception. You can make a delicious and impressive dinner, fairly quickly! Don’t be intimidated by the phyllo dough, it makes this dinner phy-nominal 🙂

Curried Turkey and Chickpea Pie

Curried Turkey and Chickpea Pie

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Everyday Food):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (save time by using it from the tube)
  • 2 heaping tsp curry powder
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 large can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Half a bag of frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 sheets thawed phyllo dough

Preheat oven to 400. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil. Add ginger and curry powder and cook for 2 minutes. Add turkey and chicken stock. Saute turkey until cooked through, breaking up with a spatula, about 10 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and cook until warmed through. Add peas and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then allow to cool slightly.

Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface and lightly brush with olive oil. Keep the extra phyllo covered while you do this. Stack remaining 5 sheets on top, rotating each sheet slightly so edges are offset and brush each with oil. Gently transfer the stack to a 9-inch pie plate sprayed with nonstick spray. Fill with turkey mixture, then fold edges of phyllo over top.

Bake until golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer pie to a cutting board, cut into pie pieces and serve.





Buffalo Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Chicken

25 02 2014

Have a craving for greasy bar food like buffalo chicken wings but trying to eat healthier? Try this quick and tasty buffalo salad! This meal, which offers a nice buffalo kick but isn’t drowning in sauce, is packed with protein and fiber, quite obviously healthier than a fried chicken wing. And the creamy blue cheese yogurt dressing is a perfect complement to the tang of the hot sauce, but lighter than anything you’ll be served up in a bar. Winner, winner…buffalo chicken dinner! 🙂

Buffalo Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Chicken

Buffalo Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Chicken

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Girl Makes Food):

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Half a head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp diced green onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt to taste. Spread the cauliflower evenly in one layer on a lined (or sprayed with non-stick spray) baking sheet. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, or until cauliflower is brown and crisp on the edges.

Meanwhile, add a little olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and saute until cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Next add the drained chickpeas and a couple of dashes of Frank’s hot sauce. Continue to cook the chicken and chickpeas a few more minutes, until chickpeas toast slightly.

While the chicken and cauliflower are cooking, make the dressing. Add yogurt, blue cheese, vinegar, parsley, green onion and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. If the dressing seems too chunky and sticking to the sides of the food processor, add a little oil, a tsp or so while the machine is running to help it keep moving. Set aside until you’re ready to serve. This Girl’s tip: I don’t mind the light green tint of the dressing, which comes from the parsley and green onion. However if it bothers you, leave the parsley and green onions out while you process the other ingredients until smooth, then lightly toss in the herbs after.

Add the celery and hot sauce to the same large bowl you used earlier. Add the roasted cauliflower, cooked chicken and chickpeas and toss everything until well coated. Taste, and season with salt if needed (although you probably won’t need it).

Divide the chicken-cauliflower mixture among plates and top with the blue cheese dressing to taste.





Cumin-Spiced Chickpea Salad with Lime Dressing

12 06 2012

Old Mother Hubbard inspired the basis of this meal years ago, when I went to the cupboard and it was bare. Inside was a can of chickpeas and black olives, and in the fridge was a tomato, onion and lime. I sautéed everything with a few spices I had and ate my concoction with tortilla chips, which I also found in the cupboard. True story…and to my surprise, it was actually pretty good!

Over the years I’ve made this meal several ways, but have always kept the basis the same. And each time I make it, I’m reminded that no matter how bare the cupboard is, I’m creative enough to make something from nothing 🙂

Cumin-Spiced Chickpea Salad with Lime Dressing

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • Quarter of a red onion, diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Handful of black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • Good pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • Good pinch of season salt
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Mozzarella cheese to garnish
  • Pita

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil. Cook onion and garlic until soft. Add chickpeas and spices (I just eyeball the amount of spices I put in, so start with the above measurements and adjust to your own liking), stir until well coated and cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, olives and juice from 1 lime. Continue to cook and stir occasionally until everything is well combined, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in parsley and remove from heat to let cool slightly.

While the chickpeas cool, make the salad by combining some olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with romaine lettuce.

To serve, plate the tossed romaine and make a well in the middle. Scoop the chickpeas into the well and garnish with mozzarella cheese and pita wedges.