Acorn Squash Polenta

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I love the savory flavors that acorn squash adds to dishes, so I decided to try making  a healthier version of creamy polenta by using acorn squash that was first roasted and made into a puree.

  • 1 acorn squash, chopped into pieces
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp of butter -melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for about 30-45 minutes until soft.
  2. Remove skins from acorn squash, chop into small pieces and mash. Mix with 1 tsp of melted butter or a little olive oil. Set aside

IMG_3336 Basic Polenta Recipe

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1-3/4 yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
  2. Add in the acorn squash mixture after the cornmeal, working the pieces into the polenta as it cooks.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes
  4. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.

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Red Potatoes Au Gratin with Skinny Sauce

Every now and then, I like to make something cheesy and comforting yet without all the calories. I started making this “skinny sauce” and like to use it for my Au Gratin and Macaroni and Cheese. I made 4 portions in this pie pan and calculated it as 175 calories per portion.

  • 2 medium/large red potatoes or 3 cups of potato slices
  • 1 teaspoon of Savory (or Herbs de Provence or Italian Seasoning) for herbal flavor
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Slice Potatoes into wedges. For 4 portions, I sliced 2 medium to large red potatoes. I boiled them in about 3 cups of water with the savory, salt and pepper. Cooked to about 8 minutes, cooked through yet not mushy.20130530-171035.jpg

I drain the water from the potatoes, yet keep a little. Like 1/4 cup of the herbed water. Then I make the sauce in the drained pan.

  • 1-2 tablespoons or pats of butter
  • 1/4 cup herbed water from potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pinch of cracked salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon of Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese

Heat butter in pan, add water and milk. Let boil and add salt. Add Cream Cheese and Yogurt or Sour Cream and break down with a fork. Let boil for 3 minutes or so and add Parmesan as you stir and thicken the sauce. 20130530-171216.jpgHeat Oven to 375 degrees. Arrange your Potatoes in a Pie pan. I like to save some of the herbs from the water. Pour Sauce over Potatoes in Pan. Sprinkle a little more Parmesan and cracked pepper or cayenne. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn on high broil for 5 minutes or raise heat to 400 to crisp the top. 20130530-171250.jpg

Fried Egg Over Asparagus

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It’s very simple, but the flavors work very well together. It also makes a nice plate.

  1. In one pan, add water about 1.2″ high. Add asparagus and boil by turning. Leave somewhat crisp, although cooked.
  2. In another pan prepare a fried or poached egg. I prefer to leave mine as runny as possible. 
  3. Plate the asparagus, add shredded cheese or parmesan and plate the egg on top.
  4. Add salt and pepper to finish

Cilantro Rice with a Fried Egg

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While I love fried eggs with anything, I love them with rice. I make this cilantro rice. Can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Cilantro Rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter or oil (optional)
  1. Bring the water to boil in a pot, I like to use a bigger pot to ensure that it doesn’t boil over. A 2-quart saucepan for one to two cups of uncooked rice is a good size.
  2. When the water has come to a boil, stir in the rice, salt, and butter (if using), and bring it back to a gentle simmer.
  3.  Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Don’t take off the lid while the rice is cooking — this lets the steam out and affects the cooking time. Total 15-18 minutes.
  4. Add in Cilantro Sauce while stirring the fluffy rice.

Cilantro Sauce

  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp Cracked Salt
  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until fully pureed. This will produce a very flavorful cilantro sauce. Store up to a week.

Refried White beans

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To make the refried white beans, you need to pre-soak your beans overnight. Change the water every few hours and replenish with new water.

Refried White Beans

  • 1 package of white beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 teaspoon of italian herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

In a large stockpot, add pre-soaked beans, cumin, cayenne, italian herbs and water. Bring to a Boil, then reduce to low heat for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until tender. Drain beans, leaving some of the water.

Blend beans in a food processor or mash by hand. The blender will make them smoother without adding more oil or overcooking the beans.

Heat a large pan with olive oil. You can add finely diced onion or garlic for more flavor. Then fold in the mixed bean. Refry the beans to make a smooth, flavorful consistency.

To get the perfect refried bean, it really has to be based on your individual taste and whether you want more or less oil/fats. I start with the basic recipe and then stand over the pot, stirring to make it smooth, add olive oil to loosen it up and adjust the spice, salt and pepper levels.

Sautéed Garlic Chard

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I love swiss chard. I cook it very simply sometimes, so this will be an easy recipe.

  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 pats of butter
  • 2-4 tablespoons of water
  • 2 cups of swiss chard

Add the garlic and butter to a wok or a large frying pan. Once that has cooked for a couple minutes, add the water to create a sauce to sauté the swiss chard in. Add swiss chard and cook for 5 minutes or until wilted and cooked.