Monday, September 28, 2009

It's totally salad...

...Taco Salad

This is my kind of "healthy dinner." It's basically a burrito on a plate. I started with some ground turkey, grilled it up with a healthy dose of cumin, paprika, chile powder and tabasco sauce. I combined it with a can of Pinquitos, my very favorite bean ever, as well as some veggies and plenty of cheese. The dressing was a combo of green salsa and ranch dressing, and I served it with torilla chips.

This is an adaptation of one of my very favorite dinners growing up. My mom made a great taco salad... I think it had hamburger meat and cool ranch doritos in it, along with lots of cheese. It was delicious! I have made some really healthy versions of this same recipe, but the one I made the other night wasn't the healthiest... it had everything but the cool ranch doritos.

Ground Turkey Taco Salad
1/2 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
liberal dash of tobasco

Salad Contents
1 can pinquitos
1 head romaine lettuce
1 small red onion
1/2 cont. small cherry tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper
crushed tortilla chips
lite shredded cheese
Sliced avocado

1/4 cup lite ranch dressing
1/2 cup green tomatillo salsa

Brown up the turkey and add the spices. While the turkey is cooking warm up the pinquitos, then drain them and add them to the turkey. Chop the veggies and add in the meat mixture in a large bowl. Throw in the cheese and crushed tortilla chips and mix everything together. I dressed it with a ranch dressing green salsa concoction.

I sliced avocado on top and served it with tortilla chips. It made me feel like I was a kid again...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hilary vs. Cooking Light Magazine - Penne with Sage and Mushrooms

I LOVE Cooking Light Magazine. I get so excited when it comes every month and I devour the photos and the recipes, and take a lot of inspiration from it... but it seems like I never actually cook the recipes. I have the best intentions every month, and I absolutely refuse to throw them away (much to Ryan's shagrin) because I'm sure eventually I will need a recipe from the April 06 issue. So I had an idea. Maybe I should try replicating at least one recipe every month so I feel like I'm getting my money's worth.

My first try was last night: the Penne with Sage and Mushrooms recipe on pg. 122 of the September issue. The final result was delicious, but not exactly the 350 calorie per serving creation from the magazine. I also learned that even when I try I can't measure exactly, but I figure it's not baking so as long as it tastes good that doesn't matter... right?

I got home from work around 7 and decided it was waaay too late to roast a head of garlic, so I decided to use some handy dandy garlic paste from the fridge instead. I also added some mild italian sausage because I wanted to make sure there was plenty of flavor. I used fresh cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms because I have had terrible experiences with dried ones and plenty of sage and parmesan.

I liked that the sauce was only reduced chicken stock, which provided lots of flavor without masking the mushrooms or the sage and I would totally make it again. I added plenty of parmesan cheese at the end and served it with baby romaine greens. Success! Now if I could just learn to take a photograph...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Dogpatch Favorite: Kitchenette

I wanted to share one of my very favorite lunch spots in the Dogpatch. It's called Kitchenette, and is one of those places that can only exist in San Francisco. Their tagline is "spontaneous organic covert nourishment" and they serve local, seasonal, organic food out of a loading dock on Illinois street, only feet from the water. The menu changes every day, and everything is as delicious as it is simple. You can also get a great lunch for under $10, which is rare in SF.

I went there on Thursday and got the summer vegetable sandwich. It was described as "cucumber, tomato, avocado, olive oil fried peppers, onions" on their simple and easy website, which updates the menu every day, and cost $7. It was heavenly! The sourdough loaf, which was baked fresh by Acme Bread was a meal in itself, but all the veggies inside were ripe and wonderful, especially the heirloom tomatoes, which were so red they were almost purple, and the generous helping of avocado.

I am lucky enough to be two blocks from this delicious spot, but it's worth a quick drive to check it out. They are open from 11:30 to 1:30 and are cash only. They say supply is limited so come early, but I've never been there when they have run out of something.

Check out their website at for menus and more info. YUM!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grilled Skewered Shrimp and Greek Salad with Orzo

I'm back from a 10 day trip to Texas and then Monterey for work/pleasure, and so glad to be back at home after so many nights away. While in Dallas and Houston I ate some delicious Tex Mex and Barbecue, but definitely missed my vegetables, which I could hear calling to me as they went bad in my fridge back at home. Now that I'm here and back in the swing of things I hope to get back to cooking, but here is a recipe from before I left.

I made this dinner because I was craving a greek salad. It was during a warm night in last August and I spent the majority of the afternoon at work dreaming about it. I combined the veggies in my fridge with a little feta and had a great side for my grilled shrimp.

The shrimp came from Whole Foods and were marinated in a lemon thyme concoction (I think) according to the sign. All I did was throw them on the indoor grill until they were pink. Yum!

Greek Salad with Orzo
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
1 med. Red Onion
1 lg. Cucumber
1 Pear
Orzo Pasta, cooked and drained
Feta Cheese, crumbled

Red Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper

This was so long ago I can't remember what my measurements were on the dressing, but I know it was tangy with just a touch of sweet, light and refreshing. It was easy to chop the veggies while the pasta was cooking then toss them all together with an eyeballed mix of dressing ingredients. I may have gone overboard with the dressing because the salad was a little juicy. I loved the little bit of sweetness the pear provided and the way the orzo offset all the veggies. This meal was perfect for a warm night.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

40th Anniversary Party Ceviche Apps

Ryan's parents celebrated a great milestone earlier this month, their 40th Wedding Anniversary! His family is famous for their home planned and orchestrated parties and this one was no different. The 11 of us (Ryan, his 5 brothers and sisters along with significant others) put together a pretty awesome party, a sit down dinner for 60 in their parents back yard. There was a roast pig on a spit (more on that later), home made sauces, lots of salads and grilled veggies and a number of passed apps.

Ryan and I were in charge of a couple apps, and decided to try a home made ceviche in Tostitos Scoops! I was nervous about the Scoops getting soggy, but they didn't! It turned out to be a perfect bite of fish in a crunchy and salty cup! We will definitely do it again.

I didn't follow any real recipe, so these quantities are guesstimated.

Simple Ceviche
1/2 lb. Halibut
1/2 lb. Tilapia
1 lb. Bay Scallops
1 lb. medium tail-off Shrimp
4 lemons
5 limes
4 large heirloom tomatoes
1 large red onion
1 large bunch cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers
Salt, pepper, cumin and tobasco to taste
Avocado for garnish
Tostitos Scoops

I used a combo of halibut and tilapia for my white fish because the halibut was expensive and the tilapia was not as well as bay scallops and shrimp, but you could really put any combination of white fish or shellfish in the ceviche. I chopped the fish into small pieces and fully covered it with a combination of lemon and lime juice, as well as the zest of 1 lemon and lime each, and put it in the refrigerator. While the acid from the juice was cooking the fish I diced the tomatoes (the smaller the better) and thinly sliced and chopped the red onion, the jalapeno and cilantro. I combined the "salsa"ingredients, seasoned them and added them to the fish to sit overnight. It's important to let the ceviche marinate in the fridge overnight in order to make sure the fish is completely cooked as well as to get the flavors to blend. This recipe was simple, but fresh and delicious!

We served the ceviche in scooops as an appetizer, but you could serve it as an entree in a martini glass or fimly style in a crystal bowl.

*Sorry we didn't get any finished pictures... but it was definitely a beautiful app.