Fresh Pear with Cinnamon

Fresh Pears With Cinnamon

Dessert! Who doesn’t crave something sweet after a meal? If you said “me” you’re lying (or deluded). Even if you truly don’t crave sweets, you’re missing out on one of the best things life has to offer.

The best, healthiest dessert is a simple pile of whole fruit, whatever’s in season.  In the middle of the winter, pears are perfect because they are still widely available and didn’t have to fly from Peru to North America (very bad for the environment).

  1. Cut a ripe pear into eight wedges
  2. Cut out the seeds and stem.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon, then sprinkle with some more cinnamon.
  4. Eat.

The. Best. Ever.

Photo of pear with cinnamon

Mexican Baked Tilapia from Chowhound

Super Easy Baked Chicken Breasts

Serves: 4-8 people
Hands-on time: 5 min
Total time: 30 min

This recipe for baked chicken breasts is truly super easy.  Baked (or roasted) chicken breasts can easily dry out and taste tough, but this recipe gives consistently moist, delicious results.

Ingredients

2 to 2-1/2 lbs chicken breasts
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1-1/2 Tbsp Adobo or other seasoning blend Continue reading “Super Easy Baked Chicken Breasts”

Mexican Baked Tilapia from Chowhound

Moroccan Roasted Salmon and Cauliflower

Serves: 4 people
Hands-on time: 30 min
Total time: 45 min

This roasted salmon recipe came from Cooking Light magazine. The basic recipe is intact but I modified a few things to make it healthier and fixed the time (as usual) to reflect actual prep work. (Read here about why cooking always take longer than the recipe says.)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lb salmon filet, skin on

Tools

  • medium sharp knife
  • large mixing spoon
  • cutting board
  • baking sheet
  • aluminum foil
  • spatula
  • large bowl
  • small bowl
  • citrus juicer
  • 1-cup dry measuring cup
  • set of measuring spoons
  • serving bowl

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Combine these ingredients in a large bowl:
    1. olive oil
    2. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    3. 1/4 tsp salt
    4. fresh ground pepper
  3. Using the cutting board and sharp knife, remove the hard center stem of the cauliflower, and cut the rest into bite-sized florets.
  4. Add cauliflower to the bowl with the spice mixture, and toss well with a large spoon.
  5. Put a layer of aluminum foil on the baking sheet and spread out the spiced cauliflower on it. Put in oven on a center rack. Set timer for 18 minutes.
  6. Chop cilantro and place in the cauliflower bowl.  Using juicer, juice half of the lemon and add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to the same bowl. (Reserve remaining juice for another purpose, or if you like things really lemony go ahead and throw it into the bowl.)  Cut up the other half of lemon into wedges and set aside.
  7. Combine remaining cumin and salt, plus coriander and allspice in the small bowl.
  8. Put the salmon filet on another piece of aluminum foil, skin side down, and spread spices evenly over it.
  9. When timer rings check cauliflower.  It should be golden brown but if not leave in oven for 2 more minutes.  Remove sheet from oven and turn oven temp down to 400 degrees.
  10. Move cauliflower and foil off of baking sheet, and carefully slide foil with salmon onto baking sheet.  Put sheet with salmon in the oven and set a timer for 12 minutes.
  11. Put cauliflower back into the bowl with the lemon and cilantro and toss, then move to a serving bowl (optional) and cover loosely with a paper towel.
  12. When salmon is done, check the center for doneness.  The ends will be more done than the middle, which works nicely if your eaters have different preferences for salmon doneness.  Otherwise you can cut the two end pieces off and put them on plates, and put the salmon back in the oven for three more minutes.  Keep the other pieces warm by covering them with a kitchen towel or paper towel. (Read here about using foil vs towels to keep food warm.)
  13. Serve with lemon wedges.

Tips and Timesavers

  • Use pre-chopped cilantro, but don’t use dried cilantro.  If you don’t have any don’t sweat it, the dish will taste fine without it.
  • If your ground spices are more than a year old, add half again as much.
  • Have the butcher cut your salmon filet into 4 equal pieces and reduce the cooking time to 8-10 minutes.

Nutrition (g)

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 270
  • Protein: 30
  • Fat: 11
  • Carbs: 13
  • Fiber: 3
  • Sugar: 0

Photos

Photos coming soon. Got any? Send them to us and if we like them we will post them and you will get credit and points!

Mexican Baked Tilapia from Chowhound

Healthy Chicken Piccata with Spinach (GF)

Serves: 4 people
Hands-on time: 25 min
Total time: 35 min

This recipe started as a much higher-calorie version of chicken piccata from Cook’s Illustrated magazine. I replaced the all purpose flour with millet flour to make it gluten free, omitted the shallots and parsley, used pre-minced garlic, and reduced the quantities of oil and butter by almost half. The result is a healthy chicken piccata that is much lower in calories while still retaining the delicious flavor. The spinach at the end was also my personal touch, which I think makes the dish more complete (and prettier!). [Side note: The original recipe was way too lemony for my taste so I cut that back as well. Feel free to add more lemon back in if you like it that way.] Continue reading “Healthy Chicken Piccata with Spinach (GF)”

Mexican Baked Tilapia from Chowhound

How to Prepare and Cook Kale

I’m sure a lot of people have never tried kale because they don’t know how to cook kale. I was one of those people too until just a few years ago. That was when I discovered that kale is a great tasting, highly nutritious leafy green vegetable, similar to spinach.

Kale is best when fresh, so cook it within a few days after you buy it at the grocery store. Make sure it’s a nice dark green with firm leaves and no brown spots or flimsy areas.

Kale is also very inexpensive, especially when you buy it in season. I can get a huge bunch of it in season (January-March) for about $1.29.

[Time saving tip: Make the whole bunch at once, even if you won’t eat it all that night. Store the rest in the frig for a few days. Then you can briefly microwave it and serve with another meal. That’ll save you a lot of time.]

There are three simple steps to preparing kale: wash, cut, and cook.

Wash the Kale

Rinsing the Kale
Rinse Kale Leaves Thoroughly

If it’s not organic, spray it with a natural fruit and vegetable cleaning spray first. This will absorb the fertilizers and toxins used in the growing process. It feels a little slimy when sprayed on, but when rinsed off it takes all that nasty gunk with it and feels nice and clean.

Kale has a lot of curly little nooks and crannies, so make sure to rinse it thoroughly under running water. Get all the little grains of dirt out. As you rinse it you can just dump it right into a big colander.

Let the kale drain in the colander for 5-10 minutes before cutting it. (Prepare some other part of your meal in the meantime.)

Cut the Kale

Cutting Kale - Remove the Stalk
Remove the Hard Stalk

Kale leaves have a big thick stalk, which tapers to a point in about the middle of the leaf. The stalk is very fibrous, chewy, and not as pleasant to eat as the leaves. Some people keep the stalk, but I prefer to cut it out, I just want the leaves.

Remove the stalk of each kale leaf by slicing up the side of the stalk on both sides with a sharp knife. Start at the base of the stalk, where the leaf starts to come out of the stalk, and move up the leaf.

At the top of the stalk it gets narrower and ultimately comes to a point. The leaf also gets thicker as you go up. Once you’ve sliced up both sides, the stalk basically comes right out.

There are also some little clingy leaves at the bottom of the stalk. You can just pull those off with your fingers and add them to your leaf pile.

Cutting Kale - Slice the Leaves
Cut the Kale Leaves into Bite-Sized Pieces

Still using your sharp knife, cut the rest of the leaves into bite size pieces. After you’ve cut out the stalk from maybe three or four leaves, stack them up together. Cut them crosswise into bands of 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide. You should have a large pot of cold water ready, right next to you, and you can toss them right into the cold water. Don’t turn the heat on yet though. Just keep going until you’re finished cutting the whole bunch

Cook the Kale

There are two things I’ve learned about kale that are worth keeping in mind.

1) It’s easiest to prepare by boiling. I don’t generally boil vegetables because it removes more of the nutritional value, but I’ve tried several other ways to cook kale. Boiling is easiest to get it right. Sauteing is better nutrionally but takes longer, at least twice as long as boiling, and the end result is not quite as appealing. Unless you are an experienced cook I wouldn’t recommend it.

2) It takes a lot longer than spinach. Since it’s to similar to spinach it’s easy to assume that cooking it for 3-5 minutes is plenty. It’s not. Boil it for 8-10 minutes. The exception is if you happen to get your hands on really young kale, it won’t take that long. Maybe 6-8 minutes. Young kale is smaller and thinner and not as dark as mature kale, and rarely seen in your local every day grocery store.

So you’ve got your chopped-up kale in a big pot of cold water. The kale floats so it’s hard to see when you’ve got too much water. You only need enough water to “cover” the kale, so push it around with a spoon to see how much you’ve got and remove some water if there’s too much.

Turn the heat on high under the pot of kale and let it come to a boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer the kale for about 10 minutes. Then taste it. It should be relatively soft but not as soft as spinach. Maybe as soft as a well-sauteed mushroom. I know that sounds odd, but that’s what comes to mind.

Boiling Kale
Boiling Kale

If it’s done you can pull it out with a strainer or slotted spoon. I like to use one of those chinese stir-fry spoons, with the bamboo handle and metal mesh scoop. Put it back in your colander and push down on it gently with your spoon to squeeze some more of the water out. [Note for those of you who watched my video on how to prepare kale: I did not drain the excess water out and I regretted that because it was too wet when we ate it.

Season to taste. Kale holds up well to a variety of basic seasonings. In the video I used olive oil and Mrs. Dash onion and herb blend. I’ve also used garlic, sauteed onions, garlic salt, butter, Adobo, and just plain old salt and pepper. Do whatever suits you — experiment a little.

Buen Provecho!

———————————–

Kale’s Nutrition

Serving Size: 1 Cup
Calories – 36
Fat – .5 g
Fiber – 2.5 g
Carbohydrates – 7 g
Protein 2.5 g
Kale’s other nutritional benefits: Cancer fighting food, high in antioxidants, Vit C, Vit K, Vit A. Also a moderately good source for calcium and iron.