Posts Tagged ‘carrots’

Carrot Zucchini Spice Mini-Muffins

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

There are two different kinds of healthy recipes. Ones that you eat when you’re trying to eat healthy, and some that are so tasty that you’d eat them anytime.

A good example of this is Diet Coke Chicken, which we discovered when my mom was doing Weight Watchers years ago. Even though it was a Weight Watchers recipe, and the initial draw was the zero-Points sauce for the tender chicken, the dish was so tasty that it became part of our regular rotation in no time.

These muffins are another example of this kind of recipe. They’re made with whole wheat flour, and sweetened with applesauce and honey. Very low fat, high in fiber, and super-moist. They taste like zucchini bread, but the last time I looked at the recipe for a zucchini bread (my grandmother makes an awesome one!) it called for a TON of oil as well as sugar. Like the Diet Coke chicken, I found this recipe looking for a healthy treat, but I think I’d make it anyway. They were that good. (Especially with a dab of cream cheese frosting).

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Carrot Zucchini Spice Mini-Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini, shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce (I used an all-natural, no sugar added)
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a mini muffin pan by lining each cup with mini-cupcake wrappers or spraying with non-stick spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl (or in a large stand mixer) combine all ingredients and stir well. Transfer to the prepared muffin tins, filling each  cup about 2/3 full.

3. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Makes 72 muffins. One serving is 3 muffins.

Veggie & Parmesan Brown Rice Risotto

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

I stumbled across this recipe on the Whole Foods website while I searched for cooking methods for short-grain brown rice. Accidentally, at Costco, David bought us 12 pounds of short-grain brown rice. I make baked brown rice with long-grain brown rice all the time, but I wasn’t 100% sure that the same receipe would work for short grain rice. I was trying to sort out whether I need more water or what, and instead, I learned that you can make risotto with short-grain brown rice. Makes sense, after all, since traditional risotto is made with short-grain rice.

I decided to make risotto instead of sorting out how to/whether to adjust my regular brown rice recipe. Mostly, I pushed that problem off for another day, but in the meantime, I got to eat risotto. I also got to use up a zucchini we had sitting on the counter from the farmer’s market.

I made a number of changes from the initial recipe, skipping the veggies I don’t care for (most of them!) and lightening up on the cheese, butter, and oil (we’re trying to eat a bit healthier around here). I also used Vegetable Stock instead of Vegetable broth as the original recipe called for, for a richer flavor. It worked. The risotto was delicious. It’s only problem was that it was still a bit on the al dente side. One key difference between white rice risotto and brown rice risotto: the brown rice takes longer!

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Veggie & Parmesan Brown Rice Risotto
Adapted from the Whole Foods website; Serves 6 as a main dish, more like 12 as a side.

  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain brown rice
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces by weight) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method

Bring broth and water to a boil in a medium pot.  Cover broth-water mixture and reduce heat to low.

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, until toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the broth-water mixture and cook, stirring constantly and adjusting heat if needed to maintain a simmer, until liquid is almost absorbed. Repeat process, adding about 1/2 cup of the broth-water mixture each time, until rice is just beginning to get tender, about 25 minutes. Add carrots and continue process with broth-water mixture. When rice is just al dente and carrots are just tender, add zucchini and cook 5 minutes more. (If broth mixture gets low, add water as needed.)

Add cheese, butter/margarine, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add about 1/2 cup more of the broth-water mixture to finished risotto before serving, if you like.

Note: I thought this was very tasty. I expected to have to pick out the zucchini–David likes it, not me, but was pleasantly surprised. It just all kind of melded together and tasted great. I don’t think this needed more cheese at all, even though I basically halved what the recipe called for. The only thing I could’ve done was cook it longer, but we were impatient and hungry! For just us, I’d definitely half this recipe next time. We had tons of leftovers.

P.S. Sorry for the terrible picture. My camera wasn’t charged, and I couldn’t find the charger, so I had to make do with my iPhone. But a poor picture is better than no picture, right?

Company Pot Roast

Monday, February 16th, 2009

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, we had a big family dinner at our place a couple of weekends ago. The centerpiece of that meal was Ina Garten’s Company Pot Roast from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook. I am obsessed with this cookbook. I want to make everything I see–it just can’t be helped. The pictures are literally mouth-watering, and everything I’ve made so far has turned out picture perfect and delicious. (Well, except the fish, but that was our fault. We don’t like fish. The fish eater among us liked it a lot).

This pot roast recipe was more of the same. A tasty, elegant spin on a classic dish, with simple instructions and awesome results. The only change I made was that I used my slow-cooker, instead of hogging my oven all day. What can I say? I had cakes to bake, and rolls to make, and I needed my oven. The slow cooker worked well, and I don’t think it took anything away from the dish.

Company Pot Roast
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook.

  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks (2 to 4 leeks)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy (I used 1 1/2 cups of Cotes de Rhone and 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 T. Cognac or brandy
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 T. butter, room temp.

Pat beef dry and season all over with 1 T. salt and 1 1/2 tsp. pepper. Dredge entire roast in flour, including ends. In large, deep skillet (or dutch oven), heat 2 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add roast and sear for 4-5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear other side and then sear the ends. This should take 4-5 minutes for each side. Remove roast to large plate.

Add 2 T. olive oil to the skillet. Add carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 T. salt and 1 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Tie thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to pot. Put roast back into pot, bring to boil and cover. Transfer to slow cooker on high for 4-6 hours until meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees internally.

Remove roast to cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. (I used my immersion blender). Pour the puree back into the pot, place on stove top over low heat, and return to a simmer. Place 2 T. flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove strings from roast and slice meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

Note: One of the best things about doing this in the slow cooker (aside from freeing up my oven for other ventures) was that I was also able to make the sauce ahead of time. We made the sauce as listed above, and then put the roast and the sauce back into the crockpot until it was time for dinner. Gravy/Sauce making is always a little bit stressful, and at Thanksgiving, was the part that everyone ended up waiting for, so I was glad to have that task done and out of the way. I served this pot roast with mashed potatoes, using the tasty sauce as gravy. It would probably be just as good served over noodles–just comes down to personal preference, I think.

Teri’s Own Chicken Pot Pie

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

This chicken pot pie recipe is one of the few recipes that I’ve invented on my own, and it’s both simple and delicious. It was more of a sucessful experiment than anything else. I shared the recipe with my mom once, and now it’s a part of the regular rotation at my parents’ house. It’s very simple, but surprisingly delicious, and can even be made ahead and baked fresh. The way I make it now really relies on canned and prepared ingredients, but I do play with the idea of stepping it up a bit and making my own pie crust or using fresher veggies from time to time. But then I remember that one of the things I like best about this is how simple it is, and I just keep making it like this. Not everything has to be fancy, especially on a weeknight!

Teri’s Own Chicken Pot Pie

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

For the filling:

  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup (if you want to lighten it up, the 98% fat free version works just as well)
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 can of mixed vegetables (like Veg-All) or if you prefer, a can of peas and carrots
  • 1 small can of mushrooms (optional–my “test kitchen” doesn’t do mushrooms, so I skip them, but my parents include them)

For the crust:

  • 1 box 9-inch ready-made refrigerated pie crust (such as Pillsbury; you’ll need both crusts in the box for a bottom and top crust) at room temperature.
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place one half of pie crust in the bottom of a thick pie plate (we have this awesome stoneware one) or an oven-safe skillet. A 9-inch cast iron skillet works well here, but I’ve also made this dish in a nonstick skillet as well (the bonus pan, pictured here). You just want it to be deep enough to hold all of the filling. Dock the pie crust by poking it several times with a fork and bake for about 10 minutes, until light brown. This helps to keep the bottom crust crispy.

2. While the crust is baking, sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and garlic powder. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, until it the surface begins to shimmer. Add the chicken and cook through, about 8-10 minutes. The edges will begin to brown and the chicken will be hot and white all the way through.

3. Once the chicken is cooked, add the soup, milk, vegetables, and mushrooms and continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble at the edges. Once heated through, pour into the prepared bottom pie crust. Carefully cover with the second pie crust to form the top.

4. Tuck the edges of the pie crust so that the bottom and top crust meet, and cut four slits in the top to allow steam to escape as the pie cooks.

5. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes, or until crust is crisp and golden brown. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into the pie.

Note: As I said, this recipe for pot pie is quick and tasty. The pie can be prepared ahead through step 4, and then regfrigerated until ready to be baked. If making the pie ahead, bring it to room temperature on the counter before baking. This method is actually pretty versitile. You could make just about any pot pie you’d like, just by changing around the ingredients. I’ve successfully made Beef Pot Pie, with just a few substitutions, but I plan to try others. I’ll let you know how they turn out!