Fresh Pear with Cinnamon

Farro con Pollo

Serves: 4 people
Hands-on time: 40 min
Total time: 40 min

This recipe was adapted from a Bobby Flay Fit recipe called “Quinoa con Pollo with Peas and Green Olives.”  It took me a ridiculously long time to make (ok, I admit it, it was 2 hours, ugh) but was absolutely delicious.  It was worth spending the time figuring out how to get it down to a 40-minute recipe.  If you have the chicken already pre-made from a previous night’s meal you can shave another 10 minutes off of the hands-on time.

Given that it’s winter, I opted for the meatier toothiness of farro instead of the more delicately textured quinoa. That turned out to be a great adaptation because the meal is very flavorful and the farro holds its own better than I think the quinoa would have. Continue reading “Farro con Pollo”

Fresh Pear with Cinnamon

Roasted Pork Loin with Pears

Serves: 2-4 people
Hands-on time: 20 min
Total time: 40 min

I made this Pork Loin with Pears recipe last year when I found it on the Williams Sonoma website and it was “quite good” or at least that’s what I wrote in my notes. It just so happens that we received a box of Harry and David pears for Christmas this year and I’m looking for something to make with them, so decided to try this recipe again.

I changed a few things this time around. Since I wanted to create a larger quantity of pork, I bought a 3-lb pork loin roast instead of the 1-lb loin the original recipe called for. Obviously this big roast was going to take much longer than the 1-lb loin, so I sliced it into three pieces and increase some of the other ingredients to compensate. Some of the pork is going to be saved for later in the week so I didn’t need to triple the pears and such, just the seasonings and browning oil.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. I think it makes a great-tasting but easy Sunday night meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 pork loin roast, about 2.5 to 3 lbs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 pears
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or use 12-15 fresh sprigs if you prefer)

Directions

  1. Peel, trim and cut onion into 6-8 wedges. Put in a bowl.
  2. Wash and core the pears, and cut them into wedges as well. Add to bowl with onion.
  3. In a large ovenproof sauté pan (cast iron works great!), warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  4. In the meantime, slice the pork lengthwise into three somewhat equal pieces, approximately 1 lb each. (No need to get too anal about this, cooking is easier when you don’t stress about it :-). Just take your best guess.)
  5. Sprinkle the pork pieces with salt and pepper and dried thyme (if using). (Go heavy! Bobby Flay overseasons everything and his stuff is friggin awesome.)
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  7. When the oil is shimmering (don’t let it smoke), sear the pork, turning occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  8. Add the onion and pears to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Return the pork to the pan and drizzle with the honey and vinegar. If using fresh thyme sprigs, quickly strip off the leaves add them to the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the juices run clear when the pork is pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut one of the pieces into 1/2″ thick slices (save the rest for later in the week).
  10. Serve 1/4 to 1/3 of the sliced pork, pears and onion wedges on each person’s plate and drizzle with the glaze from the pan.

Excellent served with a toothy grain like farro and some steamed broccoli or cauliflower.  Mmmm!

Comments?  Modifications?  Improvements?  Tell us below!

Tips and Timesavers

  • There’s not a lot you can do to reduce the time on this recipe, as I’ve already reduced it to its essence.  Best thing here is to pre-chop your veggies and measure your ingredients, then cook this straight through.  Especially if you like to watch TV on your iPad while cooking, like I do (all those little steps makes it hard to multi-task).

Nutrition (g)

Sorry I don’t have this section filled out yet. Coming soon!

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories:
  • Protein:
  • Fat:
  • Carbs:
  • Fiber:
  • Sugar:

Photos

Step 1

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Fresh Pear with Cinnamon

The Versatile Salad Bowl

This is one of my favorite ways to use up leftovers at the end of a week. It was inspired by those assembly line-style, create-your-own-salad restaurants that are popping up like weeds in malls across America.

Start with the base, usually lettuce or rice (I prefer lettuce), then just add a bunch of healthy add-ins (leftover items from your frig) and top with a homemade vinaigrette. It’s a perfect “clean out the fridge” meal.

The thing to remember here is that you are going for a balance of colors, textures, and macro-nutrients. Try to use ingredients that have not been previously seasoned, so you won’t have strange combinations of seasonings from different meals. (Hey, if you want to try that anyway, go for it, sometimes you hit the jackpot.) Try different things! Experimentation is good — it teaches you what works and what doesn’t work — it helps you improve your ability to “throw a meal together.”

So, enough preamble. Let’s get to the instructions already. Continue reading “The Versatile Salad Bowl”

Fresh Pear with Cinnamon

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!

Fresh Pear with Cinnamon

Pasta Mish Mash

Serves: 2 people
Hands-on time: 10 min
Total time: 20 min

This pasta dish is a great way to use up leftover items from the week.  A thick pasta (penne or fusilli work great) plus a ton of veggies and some protein are all it takes.  The ingredients are very flexible, and I’ve never had a bad batch!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb thick pasta such as penne or fusilli (gluten free preferred)
  • 1 C of onions, peppers, shallots, fennel, cabbage or other fragrant vegetable with a lot of water content
  • 1 C any leftover non-starchy vegetable such as broccoli, green beans, brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc.
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-1/2 C leftover protein
    • meat-based: chicken sausages, meatballs, chicken, steak, pork chops, etc.
    • vegan/vegetarian: cooked chickpeas, tofurkey, etc.
  • 1/2 C white wine or chicken broth (veggie broth if vegetarian/vegan)
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasonings (or herbs de provence)
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • parmesan cheese (optional, omit if vegan or dairy-free)

Tools

  • 1-cup dry measuring cup
  • cutting board
  • medium sharp knife
  • large pot for pasta
  • 10″ saute pan
  • large serving bowl
  • large serving spoon

Directions

  1. Fill pot with water, leaving 1″ at the top. Let water come to a boil over high heat while preparing other ingredients. When water comes to a boil cook pasta as directed on package.
  2. Add oil to saute pan and heat to a shimmer over medium heat.
  3. Coarsely chop the first set of veggies and add them to the saute pan. Saute, stirring occasionally,
    until translucent.
  4. Add wine or broth to pan, carefully scraping up any brown bits on the bottom. Turn heat up to medium high and let simmer until reduced by about half.
  5. In the meantime, chop the second set of veggies. Add to saute pan and cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. When veggies are crisp-tender, add protein and 1/2 C of the pasta water and stir until simmering.
  7. Strain pasta and add to serving bowl. Pour contents from saute pan into serving bowl and give it a good stir.
  8. Serve immediately with parmesan cheese and a side of condiments such as olives, marinated artichoke hearts, or tapenade.

Notes

  • This is a very versatile and forgiving recipe. Use whatever you have on hand.
  • Using greens (spinach, swiss chard, etc) is not recommended because it will become mush if you cook it too long. If using greens for your second set of veggies, increase the amount to 4 cups and reduce the time in step 5 to about 1 minute.
  • Do-ahead tip: As part of a weekly meal plan, put this meal at the end of the week and generate the chopped vegetables on earlier days.  This eliminates most (if not all) of the chopping, and shaves off about 10 minutes of prep and cleanup time combined.

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!

Fresh Pear with Cinnamon

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)”