GRILLED CALIFORNIA STYLE BACON WRAPPED TURKEY DOG

  It’s summer and nothing says summer like a barbecue! If you are looking for an unusual “top dog”, this recipe won’t disappoint. It combines the health benefits of lean turkey and heart healthy avocado in the iconic southern California style dog.  For those of you wrinkling your nose at the idea of a healthy hot dog….this recipe has bacon too.  What’s not to love about that?

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INGREDIENTS:                                                                                                                                                                                                         

6 pcs                                    regular cut bacon

6 ea                                      turkey dogs

6 ea                                      high quality hot dog buns (top split) with poppy seeds

1 ea                                      avocado, mashed with 1t lime juice

½ C                                       no-fat or reduced fat mayonnaise

3T                                           cilantro, minced

1 ea                                      lime juice

1/2  C                                 pineapple, diced

¼                                            red bell pepper, minced

2 t                                         red onion, minced

Pinch                                   cayenne pepper

1 t                                         brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 METHOD:

Prepare pineapple relish:  Combine diced pineapple, red bell pepper, red onion, cayenne, brown sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Prepare cilantro mayo: Whisk cilantro, mayo and lime juice together.  Set aside.

Prepare turkey dogs:   Place 3 layers of paper towels on a microwave safe plate and arrange bacon on top in a single layer.  Cover with 3 more layers of paper toweling.  Microwave on high power until fat renders but bacon is still soft and pliable. 3-6 minutes depending on strength of microwave.  Carefully spiral-wrap each turkey dog with a piece of bacon.  I have not found it necessary to secure bacon with a toothpick but you may want to.  Set aside while grill heats.

Heat grill to medium low.

When the grill is hot, place dogs on grill and let them cook, repositioning as needed to avoid flare ups and prevent burning.  Because the bacon is partially cooked and much of the fat has been rendered flare ups should be minimal.  When the bacon and turkey dogs are cooked through remove from heat.  Grill buns just until heated and lightly toasted.  Serve bacon wrapped dogs in buns with avocado mash, pineapple relish and cilantro mayo.

 

Serves 6                              

 

 

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SPICY SHRIMP PASTA IN PARCHMENT

 

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This recipe makes use of a cooking technique called‘en papillote’ –  It is cooking in a  parchment package where the food is steamed in its own juices which yields a highly flavorful sauce and delicately cooked shrimp.  It is a quick, healthy, no-mess way to cook.  The packet may be assembled several hours ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to cook.  Remember it is important to open packet immediately after baking to prevent the shrimp from overcooking.  If you can‘t find parchment paper, you can use heavy duty aluminum foil.

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INGREDIENTS:

 

2 C                                        crushed canned tomatoes

1 T                                         tomato paste

2 clove                               garlic minced

2 t                                         minced anchovy filet  or 1 t anchovy paste (or to taste)

1 t                                         granulated sugar

2 t                                         crushed red pepper

1 t                                         smoked paprika

2-3 T                                    high quality olive oil

½ C                                       white wine (optional)

1 C                                        reserved pasta cooking water

1 #                                        linguini

1 #                                        16-20 count shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese

Minced parsley

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare pasta bowls:  Cut parchment paper squares to fit 6 (2 cup capacity) oven proof pasta bowls with a 3” overhang on all corners.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta reserving 1C cooking liquid.  Set aside.

Combine crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, anchovy, sugar, crushed red pepper, paprika, wine (if using), and olive oil in a bowl.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Set aside

Divide pasta equally among bowls.  Top with shrimp.  Divide the tomato mixture equally among the bowls.  If pasta seems dry add a little of the reserved cooking liquid to each packet.  Bring the ends of each parchment paper square together and tie with kitchen twine.  Take care to completely enclose the pasta shrimp mixture, crimping edges if necessary. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through.  Remove twine and open packets at the table.  Enjoy the ohh-la-la coming from your guests!!!  Drizzle with additional olive oil and minced parsley and parmesan.

Serves 6

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MATCHA MELON BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE

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Matcha is a green tea powder that is ground from premium Japanese green teas.  It is an antioxidant, highly nutritious, mood enhancing and a metabolism boosting locomotive to boot!!   Because the entire tea leaf is ingested, when you add it to a recipe, you are receiving 10X the benefit of traditionally brewed green tea.  Matcha has a pleasant “grassy” taste which I have found to be addictive.  By adding melon, banana, vanilla, Greek yogurt and a touch of honey, you can start your day with simple, protein packed breakfast.

INGREDIENTS:

½ C                                       Non-fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt

2 t                                         honey (if desired)                              

¼  C                                      fresh orange juice

1 C                                        frozen cubed melon, honeydew, cantaloupe or watermelon

½ ea                                     frozen banana

1 -2 t                                   high quality matcha

METHOD:

Combine ingredients in an electric blender.  Process on high speed until well combined.  Pour into tall glasses with or without ice. Garnish with cubed melon, berries or citrus.

Serves 2

 

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FRESH RICOTTA AND SPINACH DUMPLING WITH SMASHED TOMATO SAUCE

  ricotta gnocchi (2)

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This recipe makes use of extra house made ricotta cheese.  If you don’t want to make your own, substitute high quality store bought.  You could also substitute any light tomato sauce or even an herbed butter sauce for the topping. However, the acidity of the tomatoes is a nice counterbalance for the richness of the ricotta dumplings.

INGREDIENTS:

 

1 C                                        ricotta, homemade or high quality store bought

½ C + 2T                            grated parmesan cheese

2 eggs                                 eggs

¾ C                                       all-purpose flour, plus more if needed

2 ea                                      garlic cloves, minced

1 C                                        spinach, cooked and well drained and chopped

½  ea                                   zest of lemon

2 ea                                      pint cherry tomatoes

3 T                                         fresh, basil minced

1  ea                                    small shallot, minced

1 T                                         garlic, minced

1 ea                                      anchovy fillet, minced or equal amount anchovy paste

2 T                                         extra virgin olive oil

1 T                                         white wine vinegar

2 T                                         unsalted butter

Salt and pepper

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

METHOD:

 

Prepare smashed tomato sauce:  Combine halved cherry tomatoes, basil, shallot, anchovy garlic, oil and vinegar in a bowl.  Toss to combine and smash lightly with the back of a spoon or potato masher.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

 

Prepare the dumplings:  Combine ricotta, grated parmesan, eggs, garlic, lemon and chopped spinach in a bowl.  Add the flour 2T at a time until a slightly stick dough forms.  Roll dough into  3-4 ropes about the width of finger  (3/4” diameter) and cut into ¾” pieces.  Arrange in a single layer on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Dust lightly with flour and set aside.

 

Cook dumplings:  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add dumplings in batches and cook until dumplings rise to the surface.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined baking sheet.  When all dumplings have been cooked, melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the dumplings and cook until golden, turning once.  Add smashed tomato sauce and heat through.  Serve with additional parmesan.

 

Serves 6

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Korean Style Rice Bowl with Chicken and Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce

 This is one of those dishes that uses up whatever ingredients you might have in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.  The ingredient list seems long, but really you can vary the veggies depending on what you have on hand.  While the chicken and rice are cooking the vegetables can be easily prepared. Topping the rice bowl with a poached or sunnyside up egg is the traditional preparation, so feel free to add one!

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CHICKEN INGREDIENTS:

1 #                                         boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 ea                                      cloves garlic, minced

2 ea                                      scallions, finely chopped

1 T                                         ginger, minced

2 T                                         brown sugar

3 T                                         soy sauce

2 T                                         rice wine vinegar

1 T                                         sesame oil

1 t                                         cornstarch

PREPARE CHICKEN: Whisk marinade ingredients together in medium bowl.  Add thinly sliced chicken and toss to coat.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.  Heat 2 t olive oil in a large non-stick sauté pan over high heat.  Remove chicken from marinade allowing excess liquid to drip back in bowl.  Stir fry chicken until browned nicely and cooked through.

RICE BOWL INGREDIENTS:

2 C                                        brown or forbidden black rice, cooked according to package directions

1 ea                                      English cucumber, diced or cut into julienne strips

1 ea                                      red pepper, diced or cut into julienne strips

1 ea                                      carrot, peeled & diced or cut into julienne strips

1 C                                        purple cabbage, shredded

1 C                                        frozen  shelled edamame, thawed

3 C                                         spinach, kale or other greens, steamed

3 ea                                      radish, diced or cut into julienne strips

½ C                                       cilantro

 ¼ C                                        mint

1T                                          sesame seeds

Assemble rice bowls:  Divide the rice equally among 6 bowls.  Arrange  cooked chicken, julienned vegetables.  steamed spinach and herbs on top of the rice.  Top with poached or fried egg if desired. Drizzle with sweet spicy chili sauce (recipe follows).

SWEET SPICY CHILI SAUCE:  Whisk together ½ C orange juice, ¼ C miso paste, 2 T sesame oil, 2 T honey, 2 T brown sugar, 3 T rice wine vinegar plus Siracha to taste.  Heat in saucepan until simmering and sugar dissolves. Let rest 30 minutes before serving

Serves 6

 

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QUICK AND EASY BLENDER AVOCADO HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

 avocado hollandaiswe very best

This recipe is a quick and easy way to make a delicious but unique twist on the traditional hard to make hollandaise.  It uses a method similar to making a mayonnaise or vinaigrette and yields perfectly tasty results every time without all the stress (and calories) of traditional hollandaise sauce.  It’s perfect for fish, steamed vegetables or soft boiled eggs!

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INGREDIENTS:

2 very ripe, medium size avocado

2 t water                          

¼ t Dijon mustard

1 ea  fresh lemon juice

Generous pinch of salt & cayenne pepper

½ C high quality olive oil

 

METHOD:

Place avocado, water, mustard, lemon juice and cayenne in a deep, narrow bowl.  Thoroughly combine ingredients using an immersion blender. .  Using the immersion blender on high speed, slowly drizzle olive oil into avocado mixture.  Blend until thick but still thin enough to pour. Taste for salt.  Serve over poached eggs, fish or steamed vegetables.

 

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MY VERSION OF TACO BELL’S BREAKFAST CRUNCH WRAP QUESIDILLA

Embarrassingly, I recently ate breakfast at a fast food Mexican chain restaurant…..the quesadilla was to die for!  However, I am certain my heart was not lovin’ the heavy dose of fat and oil.  So after a little R&D (meaning REPLICATE AND DUPLICATE) here’s my version of Taco Bell’s breakfast crunch wrap.  I swapped out the high calorie hash browns, cheese and corn chips for sweet potatoes, black beans, and whole wheat tortillas.  Add a spicy pico de gallo and avocado and this is one healthy breakfast.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 medium                         sweet potato, peeled and diced small

1 C                                         onion, minced

½ ea                                   jalapeno, minced (optional)

2 t                                         chili powder

1 can                                   black beans, drained and rinsed

6 ea                                      large eggs

2 T                                         skim milk

½ C                                       cheddar cheese, shredded

1 bunch                             spinach, sautéed and well drained

4 ea                                      large whole wheat flour tortillas

1 ea                                      avocado

Sour cream and Pico de Gallo for serving

METHOD: 

In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat 2 T olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and diced jalapeno and sauté until translucent.  Add diced sweet potatoes and chili powder. Cook until sweet potatoes are browned and tender.  You may need to add a little bit of water to pan to prevent sticking.  Add rinsed black beans.  Heat through until flavors are well combined.  Transfer to a dinner plate and allow to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, skim milk and salt and pepper.  In the same skillet you used for the sweet potatoes, cook the eggs until almost cooked through.  Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheddar cheese.  Transfer to plate to cool.

Wipe out the skillet and return to heat.  Sauté spinach in 1 t olive oil until wilted but still bright green.  Transfer to plate to cool.

Assemble the quesadillas by dividing sweet potato black bean mixture, spinach and cooked eggs among the 4 tortillas.  Fold the tortillas in a wheel pattern to cover the ingredients completely.  Wipe out the skillet, spray with olive oil pan spray and heat over medium high heat on stove top.  Carefully place quesadilla seam side down in skillet and press lightly to set tortilla and filling.  Cook until browned nicely.  Flip and cook on second side until golden brown.  Remove from heat and top with sliced avocado, pico de gallo and sour cream if desired.

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GRILLED CHICKEN PIADINA

  piadina best

Piadina is a traditional Italian flatbread that often sandwiches a variety of savory fillings.  The dough needs minimal rest time and is a snap to put together.  For the filling, I subbed out the standard prosciutto and high fat cheese fillings in favor of a lighter grilled chicken arugula salad.  I added the flavor punch of pesto and a light smear of homemade ricotta  (recipe on this website) for extra deliciousness.

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INGREDIENTS:

 

2 C                                        unbleached all-purpose flour

1 C                                        whole wheat flour

2 ½ t                                    baking powder

¼ C                                        olive oil

1 C                                        water

2 t                                          salt

4 C                                        arugula

1 basket                            grape tomatoes, halved

¼ C                                        fresh basil leaves, torn

¼ ea                                      red onion, thinly sliced

4 ea                                      grilled chicken breast, cut into bite size strips

2t                                           red wine vinegar

3T                                           olive oil

¼ C                                        prepared basil pesto

½ C                                       ricotta cheese (recipe on Petite Feast’s website)

 

 

METHOD:

 

Combine flours, salt, baking powder in a medium bowl.  Mix in olive oil and water. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic film and let rest at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour.  Divide dough into 8 equal portions.  On a lightly floured board, roll out dough into thin rounds that are 7” in diameter. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Cook individual piadinas, on dry skillet, for 1-2 minutes per side.  Cover cooked piadina with a clean dish towel while preparing filling ingredients.

 

Combine arugula, grilled chicken, grape tomatoes, herbs and red onion in bowl.  Toss lightly with 2t red wine vinegar and 2T olive oil.  Adjust salt and pepper.  Spread warm piadina with ricotta.  Top with pesto and arugula salad. Fold and serve.

Serves 6-8

 

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ANGELFOOD STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CUPCAKES

  strawberry shortcake cupcake

These cupcakes are a lovely spring dessert that screams strawberry flavor.  By macerating the berries with a little saba and sugar, the filling is a sweet-tart taste that balances perfectly with the angel food.  Add a light topping of whipped cream and this dessert can’t be beat.

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INGREDIENTS:

 

1 C                                         cake flour

1 2/3 C                               granulated sugar (separated)

¼  t                                       table salt

2 C                                        egg whites (from about 15 large eggs)

1 T                                         fresh lemon juice

1 T                                         lemon zest

2 t                                         vanilla extract

2 t                                         cream of tartar

FILLING AND TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

2 T                                         Granulated Sugar

3T                                           Saba (balsamic grape juice) or substitute 1T sweet balsamic vinegar

1 ea                                      basket strawberries, washed, stemmed and chopped fine

1 ½  C                                 heavy cream, whipped with 2T sugar

METHOD:

PREPARE THE CUPCAKES:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Sift together flour, 2/3 C sugar and salt.  Set Aside.  In a large bowl, beat egg whites, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until frothy using an electric mixer on medium speed.  Add the cream of tartar (it stabilizes the whites) and continue beating until whites are soft and fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes.  Gradually add 1 C sugar.  Beat 4-5 minutes until whites are shiny and hold a firm peak when whisk is lifted out.  Sift ½ flour/sugar mixture over beaten whites to prevent clumping. Using a wire whisk, blend in flour mixture taking care not to deflate whites.  Add remaining flour and blend.  Spoon batter into a 24 cup cupcake pan lined with paper liners.  Bake 15-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and top of cupcakes are golden brown.

PREPARE FILLING:  In a small mixing bowl combine chopped strawberries, 3 T saba, 2 T sugar and macerate for 15-20 minutes.  When cupcakes have cooled, cut a small x in the top of each cake.  Do NOT remove cupcakes from baking tin during this process.  The tin will help cupcakes keep their shape while filling. Fill each cupcake with strawberry filling using a pastry bag fitted with a large #6 tip.  Alternately, you can use a ziplock bag fitted with the tip. Top each cupcake with whipped cream and serve.

MAKES 24

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BRUSSELS SPROUTS ‘CAESAR’ SALAD WITH GRILLED CHICKEN

 sprout caesar 2

Brussels sprouts are one of my husband’s favorite vegetables and I have to confess, they’re not one of mine.  Their cabbage-y smell when cooked, is just too much for me.  However, in this salad, the sprouts are left in their glorious, crunchy, raw state and paired with a no-fail Caesar vinaigrette.  The salad is then served over a grilled chicken breast for a super easy and delicious dinner.  Any extra vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

 

¼ C                                        non-fat Greek yogurt

½ C                                       non-fat or reduced fat mayonnaise

1 clove                               garlic minced

1 t                                         worcestershire

3 ea                                      anchovy filets or 1 T anchovy paste (or to taste)

¼  C                                      parmesan cheese, grated

1 ea                                      juice of 1 lemon

2 t                                         red wine vinegar

Pinch                                   cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

                                                Water to thin if needed

 

CROUTON INGREDIENTS:

 

1 slice                                 whole wheat bread

1 T                                        olive oil

1 large clove                  garlic, minced

3 T                                         parsley, minced

 

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

 

2 #                                        brussels sprouts

¼ C                                        parmesan cheese, coarsely grated

6 ea                                      grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast

 

METHOD:

 

Prepare croutons. Process whole wheat bread in food processor fitted with metal blade until fine crumbs form. In small skillet, over medium heat, warm 1T olive oil.  Add garlic and bread crumbs.  Toast until crumbs are crispy and fragrant.  Remove from skillet and salt and pepper liberally.  Toss in chopped parsley. Set aside

 

Prepare Caesar Dressing:  Combine garlic, worcestershire, anchovy, parmesan, lemon juice, vinegar, and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until well combined.  Add mayonnaise and yogurt and pulse gently.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.  Add a little water if dressing seems too thick.  Dressing may be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

 

Prepare the sprouts.  Trim the rough ends off the sprouts and carefully remove outer leaves.  Shave remaining inner bulb into thin ribbons.  Alternately you can use a food processor to shred sprouts. Combine brussles sprouts and remaining parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl.  Lightly toss with ¼ of the  prepared Caesar vinaigrette.  Add additional dressing as needed. *Take care not to overdress the salad.  Serve the salad on top of grilled chicken breast topped with seasoned breadcrumb croutons.

Serves 6

 

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