Posts Tagged ‘pine nuts’

Sizzled Green Beans with Crispy Prosciutto and Pine Nuts

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Leah, an integral part of my “Test Kitchen” here, gets recipes emailed to her from her work’s wellness programs. She emails them to me when they sound good, and even though I almost always agree with her, I believe this was the first one that I’ve made.

Fresh beans were expensive at the store, so I opted for whole frozen green beans (Green Giant Selects, I believe, which seemed a little better quality than the store brand frozen veggies we usually buy). I also skipped the sage, and used thyme instead, because that’s what we had on hand. Finally, I halved the recipe you see below, and it was plenty for the three of us.

Sauteeing the green beans brings out just a touch of  sweetness, and the prosciutto adds a tasty balance of salty flavor. The toasted pine nuts are delicious, too.

Even David ate his veggies that night, and he doesn’t care for green beans at all. I’m sure we’ll be making these again.

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Sizzled Green Beans with Crispy Prosciutto & Pine Nuts
Adapted from, well, Leah’s email

  • 2 pounds of green beans trimmed (I used frozen)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt divided
  • 2 teaspoons of minced fresh sage (I used minced fresh thyme leaves)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 ounces of prosciutto thinly sliced, cut into ribbons
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add beans, return to a boil, and simmer until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto; cook, stirring, until crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
  3. Wipe out the pan; heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add the beans, garlic, sage, 1/8 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are browned in places, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in pine nuts, lemon zest and the prosciutto. Season with lemon juice, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I’m always on the lookout for healthy recipes that don’t look like healthy recipes. Partly because I’m not generally a fan of HEALTHY healthy food. Partly because I don’t care for very many vegetables. Partly because I like cooking too much to give up all the tasty things I love to make. Partly because if I want to eat healthy, I’ve got to find a way to make sure my “test kitchen” wants to eat it also.

This recipe sounded promising from the start. Cream cheese? Pesto? Crunchy chicken breast? Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Hardly sounds healthy at all, really. Except that the cheese is low-fat cream cheese, the pesto is made with heart-healthy olive oil, the breading is egg whites and super-crunchy panko and the chicken is briefly pan-fried before being finished in the oven–giving it all the crunch of a fattening fried chicken breast, with much less oil.

Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Adapted from EatingWell Magazine

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese (neufchâtel cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning blend
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine cream cheese, pesto and pepper in a small bowl with a fork.

3. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up each breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.

4. Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place both kinds of breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Stir in italian seasoning and garlic powder. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in the egg white, then dredge in the breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)

5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per chicken breast: 233 calories; 7 g fat; 71 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 30 g protein; 1 g fiber; 231 mg sodium.

Note: This is one of the most decadent healthy recipes I’ve come across in a long time. If you’ve never used neufchâtel cheese you’ll be pleasantly surprised; it’s like cream cheese, but has 1/3 less fat than traditional cream cheese, without any of the aftertaste or texture problems of “low fat,” “reduced fat,” or “fat free” cream cheese. Look for the “1/3 less fat than cream cheese” in the product name, and you’ll know you’re buying the right one. I did use a small container of storebought pesto, only because my basil crop wasn’t quite ripe for picking. I served this with Pesto Mashed Potatoes, which is code for leftover mashed potatoes with pesto in them (about 1 Tbsp of pesto for every cup of mashed potatoes). The whole dinner was delicious.

Toasted Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

In case you aren’t familiar, Israeli couscous is completely different from normal couscous. The regular couscous, which you’ve probably had before, is a middle eastern grain dish, shaped like little tiny dots of pasta. It cooks like rice, and is good for just about anything you’d use rice for. It’s quite tasty, and there are more and more options available in the regular grocery store these days: different flavors, different varieties, different brands. David’s not crazy about it, but Leah and I like couscous a lot.

In contrast, Israeli couscous rather than being made from a grain directly, is just small pearls of pasta. It has a lot in common with Orzo, actually, but the pasta is smaller and completely round.

This recipe, from the Bon Apetit Fast, Easy, Fresh cookbook, was pretty simple to make, but very, flavorful. The cooking method reminds me of a risotto, and maybe that’s why it shouldn’t surprise me that the couscous thickened like a risotto, and took on a sort of creamy texture. The toasted pine nuts added a lot of flavor to the dish as well. We had this with the Valentine’s Day Pork Chops, but I’m sure we’ll make it again. It was really good, and a nice change of pace from our usual repertoire of side dishes.

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Toasted Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts
Adapted from Bon Apetit’s Fast, Easy, Fresh Cookbook

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts (about 3 1/2 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 3 cups (16 ounces) Israeli toasted couscous
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 3 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh Italian parsley

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add pine nuts and stir until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in same pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add couscous, cinnamon stick, and 2 bay leaves and stir until couscous browns slightly, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add broth, wine,  and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until couscous is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and pine nuts. Season with black pepper. Transfer to serving dish.

Note: As I was making this recipe, I noticed a similarity in ingredients to how we make our risotto, and decided to sub the white wine for a portion of the broth. It turned out really well.

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

Monday, January 5th, 2009

My name is Teri, and I don’t like broccoli. At all.

Occasionally, I will tolerate broccoli flavored things. Like cheesy rice. Or cheesy casserole. Or cheesy sauce on a baked potato. Or cheesy soup. You might have noticed a trend, and it’s got very little to do with broccoli.

Still, the Barefoot Contessa cookbook has proven itself again and again, and this glowing review at the Amateur Gourmet gave me the courage to try it (incidentally, I was pleased to see that someone else likes the Back to Basics cookbook as much as I do). But as far as the broccoli goes–guess what? I liked it!

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics

  • 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli (I’m not that crazy! I used about a pound and a half for the three of us)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (I just minced mine)
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

2. Spread the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until crisp tender, and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

3. Remove the broccoli from the oven and toss with 1 1/2 tablesppoons of olive oil, the lemon zest, the lemon juice, the pine nuts, Parmesan, and Basil. Serve while hot.

I couldn’t believe how tasty this was—it was more like fresh pesto than anything else. The broccoli wasn’t bitter at all, but instead had a dark, nutty flavor. The dressing, with the lemon, oil, and basil really brightened everything up. And of course, what isn’t better with cheese? You know the drill–no green cans. Freshly grated. I’m pretty sure I’ll make this again, especially since we bought a giant bag of broccoli at Costco, and I’m going to have to use that up somehow.