Tag Archives: healthy

Best-ever roasted potatoes

Now, if you don’t like spicy things, I suppose you should just skip this recipe. But oh jeez, it’s amazing! Especially paired with my tomato garlic bisque. These potatoes are fragrant, creamy and a delight to add to any meal. Also, they couldn’t be easier to make! 

 

Best-ever roasted potatoes

2-3 potatoes, washed and scrubbed

cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, ground rosemary and pepper to taste

1-2 tbsp oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F(176°C). Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Cut the potatoes into chunks, about two-bite sized. Place them on the cookie sheet, then drizzle with oil (don’t overdo it) and sprinkle on the spices. Using your hands, toss them to coat in the oil and spices.

When the oven is preheated, pop them in and set your timer for 35 minutes. About halfway through, toss them with a spatula to get the other side nice and cooked as well.

When the timer goes off, check with a fork for tenderness (doneness) and, if they aren’t, put them back in for 5-10 minutes. If they are, take them out to cool, and do your best not to eat them until they’re ready to handle.

Enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under Baking, Miscellaneous

Mushroom soup!

Now, isn't that pretty?

I really hate heavy meals sometimes. There are just some times where a heavy meal packed with butter and calories isn’t going to cut it. That’s why I invented this delightful(ly light!) yet filling mushroom soup: for those nights when something light and beautiful is called for.

When I realized that I needed something light, yet filling and delicious, I couldn’t help but reach for mushrooms. They’re meaty and tender, yet light and airy. With a few tweaks to the usually butter- and cream-laden creamy mushroom soup recipes littering the internet, I came up with a creamy yet not cream-filled recipe for mushroom soup. It goes absolutely stunningly with some baguette slices topped with broiled Parmesan, or a little swirl of cream to fill out the flavors.

Pheasant’s Creamy Mushroom Soup

6 medium-large Crimini mushrooms OR 2 medium Portobellos, diced

6 button mushrooms, diced

1 rib of celery, sliced thinly

1/4 boiled, peeled potato (optional), diced

1/4 small yellow onion, diced finely

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

4 large walnut halves, minced

3 tbsp soy sauce (Aloha brand highly suggested)

4 1/2 c hot (near boiling) beef broth

 

In a small soup pot, saute the celery, potato if you’re using it, onion, garlic and walnut together. When the onion and celery are beginning to brown, move everything to a food processor. In the same pot, add all the mushrooms and saute until golden and wilted. Add those as well to the food processor. Start the food processor on low and process the entire mass until smooth and thick. While the processor is running, add the soy sauce.

Transfer the final, smooth blend to the original soup pot. Set the burner to medium and add in the beef broth slowly, stirring to combine. Taste and adjust for spices.

M liked this soup…granted, she preferred it once I’d added at least a half cup of cream and a tablespoon or so of butter to her bowl. She really likes her creamy goodness. For the rest of us, though, a nice swirl of heavy cream on top after the soup is dished up will do just fine. And, ah, a few drops of truffle oil never hurt it, either…enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Autumn, Seasonal, Soup

Pumpkin-oat Breakfast Brûlée (ramekins, part III)

Last night was full of nice things, pheasants, but it was also full of Thai food. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Thai food. I love it a little too much, if you know what I mean. And after nights of indulging like that, I enjoy nothing more than waking up and preparing a breakfast that is filling, light in calories, and simple, both in flavor and preparation.

With that in mind, I woke up and stared at the surplus of baked pumpkin we have sitting around and decided to whip up some pumpkin oat cakes, with a little touch of brûlée. It’s tasty, good for you, and fun to make! Little kids will love this recipe, I’m sure, topped with a little maple syrup and cream. Served as a dessert with some of my special hot cocoa (recipe to come) it would also make for a great dessert!

Pheasant’s Pumpkin-Oat Breakfast Brûlée

1 c pumpkin puree

4 tbsp oats, divided

butter to coat

1/2 tsp sugar

In a food processor or spice grinder, grind the dried oats until they form a flour. Lightly butter two ramekins and, using about 1/4 of the oat flour, dust them to coat. Move the remaining flour to a bowl and mix in the pumpkin puree. Divide the mixture bewteen the ramekins to bake, at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes.

Once the cakes are done, sprinkle sugar over the cakes and, using a brûlée torch or your broiler, melt the sugar until a thin crust forms. Let cool, and enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Autumn, Baking, Pastas, grains and oatmeal, Seasonal

Ramekins, part II

Isn't that just beautiful?

M is really sick today…poor thing. We woke up at six to hear the fire alarm in our building going off, and ended up standing outside until about half past, waiting for the fire department to check it out. Turns out, there was no fire. Go figure.

I want to tell you all about how much I love and crave spicy, though. It’s so delicious! Especially chipotle…I have a special place in my heart for chipotle anything, most certainly anything chipotle with a creamy texture. So, last night as I was lying in bed, craving spicy, I asked myself, why don’t I just make myself a healthy, spicy, delicious breakfast?

So, I mentally checked off things in our fridge that would be delicious spicy: egg, broccoli, onion, garlic, and cheddar. “Hold up…cheddar? How can that be healthy?” Everything in moderation, pheasants. This most certainly won’t be drowned in cheese.

And wow, pheasants, it turned out well. The cheddar was just pungent enough to lend the chipotle and broccoli some well-needed flavors, as well as offsetting the bite of onion and garlic. The broccoli cooked up nice and soft, but not too soft, with a great crunchy, spicy flavor. I served mine with a piece of Dave’s Good Seed bread and a cup of fat-free milk to make it a meal. It was most definitely a lovely start to a rainy day.

You can easily use pre-shredded cheddar, but we had a block of it, so I cut mine into tiny chunks. If you don’t have a blender or don’t want to bother, just chop everything very finely.

Spicy Broccoli and Shirred Eggs

1 egg

approx. 2/3 c broccoli

1/2 chipotle chili pepper (use less if you’re not a fan of spicy)

1/4 tsp adobo sauce (comes with the peppers)

2/3 ounce of cheddar

black pepper and cayenne to taste

1/2 tsp heavy cream (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°F (191°C.) In a small, 6-8 ounce ramekin, spray Pam, or very lightly butter. Coat the inside with a dusting of finely-ground cornmeal.

Place the broccoli, chipotle, half the cheddar, and adobo into a small hand blender (I used a Magic Bullet.) Pulse until it’s at your desired consistency. I kept mine chunky, but if you blend it until it’s smooth like guacamole, I can imagine it would be good, too.

Spoon the broccoli mixture into the ramekin, filling it about 3/5 up, or more. Crack the egg on top, and place into the oven for 8-10 minutes. When the time is up, take out the ramekin, and pour the cream over the top of the egg, sprinkling on the last bits of cheddar. Replace in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the white has cooked through. Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under All things eggs

Baked tilapia with coconut curry

How delicious does this look? Trust me, it's ten times better than it looks!

As you can tell, I’m a really, really big fan of fish. I love it, and for good reason: it’s healthy, it’s delicious, and there are so many things you can do with it. That being said, I have another fish post for you, and I really think you’re going to adore this one: flaky, moist fish, nestled inside a rich, flavorful coconut curry sauce. I served mine up with some delightful vegetables mixed in to keep it healthy and filling.

Now, before I go any further, I’d like to address tilapia. What is it? Where does it come from? Why does my dad hate it so? Things like that. So, here we are:

Tilapia isn’t one kind of fish, like red snapper or yellowfin tuna. In fact, it’s a lot like tuna or salmon in that a lot of different species of fish fall into the category. Most of the time, though, tilapia is never labeled as anything but “tilapia.” Tilapia, fish of the cichlid family, can be found all over the world, but for all intents and purposes, unless otherwise stated, assume your tilapia comes from China.

Tilapia are notably low in mercury, and are low fat, low calorie, and extremely high in protein. Even better? They’re cheap. Cheap is good for college students!

That being said, a lot of people have a shared memory that dates back to who knows when, which alerts them that tilapia tastes…muddy. Because wild tilapia are bottom-feeding fish, they do indeed have a muddy aftertaste. Farmed tilapia, however, is totally different: it has a cleaner, more cod-like flavor to it. So, for those of you with reservations about tilapia, fear not! It is tasty!

Now, onto greater and tastier things. This recipe, for example. I’d consider it…very Thai-inspired. It’s creamy, smooth and spiced, with hints of coconut and lime. What more could you want in a supper? Serve it over rice for something beautiful, delicious and easy. M has declared that she doesn’t need the lime to make her love the curry, and so she eats hers without. I absolutely adore the very Asian-tropics coconut-lime flavor, so I go nuts with the limes.

This recipe is SO good. I hardly ever condone using caps for emphasis. That’s how good this curry is!

Tilapia with Coconut-Lime Curry 

2 tilapia fillets (approx 3-4 oz apiece), cut into 1/2×1 inch chunks

4 curry blocks (Vermont or Golden House)

1/2 crown of broccoli, cut into small florets

1-2 carrots, cut into coins

1/3 yellow onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper (optional)

1/3 can coconut milk

5 cups fish stock

curry powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and paprika to taste

cumin to taste (optional)

1/2 lime, cut into small wedges

So, for starters, you can do this recipe two ways: you can brown all the vegetables to start with, or you can just dump everything in and go. If you’re in a hurry, go with the latter. If not, I’d highly advise going with the browning method. It makes everything tastier and more beautiful in the long run. This curry will, however, be absolutely delectable with the quick method too. If you’re going the recommended route, read on. If you’re doing curry in a hurry, though, skip to the third paragraph.

Set a medium to large pot on medium-high and drizzle in a little garlic oil if you have it, butter if you don’t. Let it melt/bubble, then add in the carrots. Try to keep them all in a single layer, so they get evenly browned. When they’re all golden-brown and beautiful on one side, flip as best you can to the other (don’t sweat it if you only get half flipped.) Brown this side, then transfer the carrots out of the pan. Repeat the process with the garlic and onion, as well as bell peppers, if you’re using them. Transfer everything out of the pan and set it to medium.

Once all of this is done, add in the fish stock and broccoli bits. You can cut them small or large, per your preference, but we prefer them large enough to keep a good bite. Simmer the broccoli for about two minutes, then add the curry blocks, curry powder, cayenne, garlic powder, cumin and paprika. Place the carrots, broccoli, onion and bell pepper back in the pot, and stir. Bring it to a simmer and keep it there, stirring every so often to keep anything from sticking to the bottom.

When the curry blocks have melted and the curry begins to thicken, bring the heat slightly higher. We want thick, rich curry here. Allow it to simmer for another few minutes until it has thickened further, then add half the coconut milk and all the fish.

Taste frequently…you want to personalize the curry to your tastes. If you like it thinner, add more stock or coconut milk. If you want it more coconut-y, add more of the milk. It all depends on your tastes.

Cook, stirring infrequently, for about six minutes, or until the fish is flaky when squeezed between your fingers. Transfer it all to a bowl and serve immediately, with lime wedges.

Served with white or brown rice, this makes for a very filling, surprisingly hearty meal. It’s light and summery in flavor, though, which makes it quite pleasing.

2 Comments

Filed under Ethnic, Seasonal, Winter

Of lonely nights, and desperate suppers

M is working tonight, y’all. Know what that means? It means my usual two-person meals are useless here (unless I want to eat both servings…which, sometimes, I do.) So, what’s a gal to do on lonely nights when she’s got no one to feed but herself? Cereal? Take out? Toaster waffles?

“Hell no.” Pheasant said sharply. “You march into that kitchen and make yourself a meal to be proud of!”

And, pheasants, that’s exactly what I did. So now that you know that, I’ll talk to you a moment about my love affair with curry, shall I?

At the tender age of between 14 and 17 (I can’t remember exactly when…but we’ll pretend I stayed tender for a long, long time) I decided one night that curry was what I wanted to eat, and any other would not satisfy me as a proper curry could.

I’d never actually eaten curry before then, nor did I know how to make it.

My father showed me the curry bricks in the cabinet, pointed to a hunk of meat in the fridge, and told me to go at it, although most everyone (including him) wondered what my intense need for curry was all about. To this day, I don’t know why I had the urge, but I thank every particle of my being that I did. It was glorious: smooth, spicy and rich, with hunks of meltingly-soft potato and beef, slices of carrot, and slivers of sweet, sharp onion…it was like heaven in my mouth. We ate it over rice, and I’m pretty sure that I alone ate two or three bowls of it myself. And the next morning, I had it for breakfast. My curry lust, however, had not been sated.

For the next five months or so, I made curry at every available moment, scarfing it down. I made it spicy, sweet, mild; I made curry in red, green, gold and purple with pink polka dots. We had lamb curries, beef curries, chicken, shrimp, and fish curries…but alas, one day, my family grew tired of my near-East love affair, and they told me, no more curry. So for months, I kissed new dishes and dated new foods, but my one true love, curry, was never far from my mind.

Now that I’ve moved out, I can technically make curry whenever I like, but M isn’t as big a fan of it as I am, so it’s not an often occurrence. Tonight, however, I rolled myself up some chicken meatballs, broke out the curry bricks, and made myself some beautiful, tasty, exceedingly healthy lonely night curry. It’s definitely a dish to be proud of. If you’d like to make it entirely vegan, find yourself some vegan curry blocks and cut out the chicken meatballs (I’d suggest using mushrooms to “beef” up the dish, though.)

Stag-night Curry

4 ounces ground chicken

1 red chile, chopped (optional…if you like it spicy like I do, go for it!)

1/4 c plus 2 tbsp sliced onion

1/2 a carrot, sliced into coins

frozen mixed vegetables (or use your favorite)

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

curry powder

cayenne pepper (optional)

garlic powder

3 tbsp quinoa (optional)

1 3/4 c water, divided

1 curry brick (I prefer Golden House brand, because they thicken well)

Combine the chicken, 2 tbsp onion, one garlic clove, curry powder, garlic powder and cayenne in a bowl. Form into meatballs and set aside. In a pan, saute the carrots, onion, garlic and chile together until softened and fragrant; transfer them out of the pan. Add in the meatballs and sear well, then place the sauteed vegetables, frozen veggies, and 1 1/2 cups of the water into the pan, along with the curry brick, quinoa and extra curry powder, if you like. Bring it all to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover it, set a timer for 13 minutes, and let it go. Check every five minutes or so to make sure the water isn’t evaporating too quickly.

Once the quinoa is cooked through, add in the last quarter cup of water, stir it around to mix, and let it simmer for a moment. Then, take it off the heat, let it cool a bit, and dig in.

I really loved how the little bits of quinoa soaked up curry flavor and turned into little spice bombs…it was delicious. And, with the chopped chile (seeds and all!) and the cayenne, it had just enough of a kick to keep me coming back for more. This meal is definitely something to curl up with on a cold, winter night.

Questionable content: 

Is there any food you absolutely cannot live without?

2 Comments

Filed under Ethnic

Spicy, skinny chicken nuggets!

If you’re like me, you’re kind of addicted to hot wings. I absolutely adore spicy food, and hot wings are no exception…spicy barbecue, mild or “so hot I can barely see straight,” I love them all. There’s just something about the crispy chicken skin, moist meat and spicy, blow-your-socks-off flavor that keeps me coming back for more. M and I have even found our favorite place to go for wings (and burgers!) It’s a great place on the Ave in the U District called Wing Central. I’d never had a burger so flavorful, or a hot wing so beautiful in all my life before we found that place. It’s glorious!

But, sometimes I get in the mood for hot wings when I’m not willing to splurge 800 calories to get the wing fix I want. That exact thing happened this morning, and I realized that I absolutely must come up with a way to enjoy them without throwing away more than half a days’ calories (as well as more than twice my daily sodium intake, my entire daily fat consumption, etc.) I wanted something delicious, crunchy, satisfactorily spicy, and something I could make quickly when I’m craving, without having to worry about how many calories it will kill for the day.

So, I stood there staring at a defrosting chicken breast for a while. It came to my attention early on that using egg wouldn’t keep the calories low at all…that left very few ideas. Thankfully, I found a quick replacement to that. The sauce was easy enough: hot sauce itself is generally very low-fat and low-calorie, so the only thing to watch would be the sodium amount. Most places and recipes mix butter in with the sauce, but I could definitely do without that…I did, however, want something creamier, something more rib-sticking, lip-smacking and finger-lickingly delicious than I’d had before. This was the ultimate challenge. I ended up with a mix of sauces and a small half teaspoon of sour cream (to give it a creamy, delicious taste.) I’ll miss the bleu cheese dressing…but not by much! You can toss them in the sauce like normal chicken wings, or dip them in, which is my favorite way.

As for the lack of nutritional information: I’ve decided that, because of a recent change of heart, I won’t be posting the caloric content here anymore. If you like, you can use the Livestrong MyPlate website to tally, which is where I entered them in before. It’s a great website! I’d urge everyone aiming to gain a healthier body to look it up.

Pheasant’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets

1 chicken breast (about 12 0z)

6 tbsp breadcrumbs (I like to mix Progresso breadcrumbs with craggy, homemade ones)

1 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp Frank’s Red Hot Wings (I used Hot Buffalo style)

2 tbsp Texas Pete Original (or any vinegar-based, 0 calorie hot sauce)

1/2 tsp reduced fat sour cream

1/8 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C.) Then, place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix them with your favorite spices; I used cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper, parsley and a little onion powder. I’d caution you to not use salt, because the hot sauce has a whole bunch of sodium in it already. Cut the chicken up into approximately 24 nuggets of more or less equal size. Then, in a bowl, toss them with the olive oil until they’re all very well-coated.

Dip the nuggets into the breadcrumbs, coating them well. Place them on a foil-lined, Pam’d baking sheet and then slide those puppies into the oven for 9 minutes; take them out, flip them all over and replace them in the oven for 4-5 more minutes. While the nuggets are baking, mix up your hot sauce. Place the sour cream in a small snack bowl and pour the Frank’s Red Hot over it. Mix them together until smooth, then add in Texas Pete and mix again until combined. If you’re using the liquid smoke, add it in along with the Texas Pete hot sauce.

Once the nuggets are done, take them out and let them sit for a bit. If you choose to toss them in the sauce, do this now. If not, serve ’em up and dip them to your heart’s content!

Now, these nuggets were fantastic! I had them with some baked potato wedges and peas…wow, they definitely hit the spot. If you start getting a craving for spicy and crispy, this is definitely the way to go!

Leave a comment

Filed under Chicken