Friday, December 06, 2013

Chicken with Tarragon and Quick-Roasted Garlic

Mushroom Chicken 7

Where oh where have I been?? It seems like every Fall, I fall off the blogging radar (I haven’t posted since August!).  But I’m here! And despite being busy with teaching (although I gave my LSU final yesterday…it’s officially Winter break for me!) and Saintsations, I still manage to cook plenty.

Cooking on my schedule can kind of put me in a rut sometimes…I eat lots of salads, eggs, fish, sometimes sandwiches and soups…all things that I’ve prepared at home…but I get out of the habit of trying new recipes. And I have SO MANY I want to try!

Mushroom Chicken 1Mushroom Chicken 2Mushroom Chicken 3Mushroom Chicken 4

A while back, I went through my recipe binders and chose two new ones to make: Chicken with Tarragon and Quick-Roasted Garlic and Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Mint, Cucumber, and Feta .

For the couscous salad, I swapped the couscous for quinoa and added tomato…reminded me of tabbouleh without the parsley.

Mushroom Chicken 5

For the chicken dish, to up the veggie quotient (and because I LOVE LOVE LOVE them), I added mushrooms.

Don’t be tempted to swap the heavy cream for something else lower in fat…two tablespoons for the whole dish does NOT add too much fat. Promise!

Both keepers…and will become part of my repertoire for sure.

Mushroom Chicken 6

Chicken with Tarragon and Quick-Roasted Garlic
adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 4 servings

3 large unpeeled garlic cloves
4 small skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth (or water)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
8-16 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used 16…love mushrooms!)

Heat skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cover and cook until browned in spots and tender when pierced, turning occasionally, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer to work surface to cool.

Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter and oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate (do not clean skillet).

Peel garlic. Add garlic and wine to same skillet; cook until reduced by about half, mashing garlic finely with fork and scraping up browned-bits from the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute. Add broth/water and tarragon; simmer until liquid is reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes (this took longer for me). Add cream and simmer to sauce consistency, about 1 minute. Return chicken to skillet with any accumulated juices. Simmer to heat through, turning occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; spoon sauce over.

To now empty (still not cleaned) skillet add sliced mushrooms. Over medium-high heat, sauté until mushrooms release liquid and are lightly browned, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper and add to the chicken and sauce.

Notes – I served this with sautéed spinach…for some “green”; all of the animal products that I used were organic (chicken, butter, cream)

327 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated), 7 g carbohydrates, 1.2 g fiber, 44 g protein (exchanges: 2 ½ fat, ½ vegetable, 6 protein)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Avocado Dip


I’m a sucker for anything avocado.  Guacamole is a must every time I step foot in a Mexican restaurant.  A half of an avocado finds it’s way on my breakfast plate on most days (avocado and eggs!! try it).  They are definitely a staple on my grocery list. 

Admittedly, its because I love the flavor and texture…but the fact that avocadoes are so healthy for you doesn’t hurt. 

avocado dip 1  avocado dip 3avocado dip 4  avocado dip 5

This recipe from Food and Wine magazine is intriguing because not only does it call for cilantro (one of my FAVORITE herbs), it has basil in it too.  I’ve never thought to put basil with avocado, but believe me, it works!

I doubled the recipe and served with blue corn tortilla chips.  In F&W the dip is actually part of a whole meal…Spiced Shrimp with Tomato Salsa and Avocado Dip…one day I’ll try the entire thing!

avocado dip 2

Avocado Dip

adapted from Food and Wine magazine

3 - 4 Hass avocados—pitted and peeled
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
8 large basil leaves
juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt

In a food processor, combine the avocados, cilantro, basil and lime juice and puree. Season with salt. Taste and adjust flavors to your liking (more lime? herbs?, salt?) Scrape the dip into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the dip, and refrigerate until chilled (if you can wait that long!).

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Haute Off the Grill!


Summer is here!  And just in time, I have some great summer recipes over at Haute Off the Rack…spiced salmon kebabs and frosty peach buttermilk popsicles.  Go check it out!  I had such a great time shooting this guest blog post with the talented Kaela and Jenn.  Thanks girls!!


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Homemade Salad Dressing

Salad dressing 6

You have probably realized by now, I eat a lot of salads.  Typically one of my meals each day is a main course salad...nothing boring of course!

You may have also noticed, I don't buy salad dressing from the store…ever…I always make my own. It's so easy! This way I don't get stuck with a whole bottle of dressing that I may or may not like, I can change the flavor with each salad (which I think makes eating salads more interesting and delicious), and I get to decide what ingredients get used.  And did I mention it's easy?

I mostly make vinaigrettes (with oil, vinegar, and seasonings) ...sometimes I replace the vinegar with another acid (lemon, lime, or orange juice). The type of oil, vinegar (or citrus juice), and seasonings I use varies depending on the type of salad that I am making.  For example:

Mediterranean - olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper
Asian - canola oil and peanut/sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, honey, salt or soy sauce, cilantro, ginger
Mexican - lime juice, canola oil, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper

Salad dressing 5  Salad dressing 4 

The possibilities are endless.  Some of my favorites from DG include:

Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette
Strawberry Vinaigrette
Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette
Creamy Feta-Red Wine Vinegar Dressing …one of my FAVES!
Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette

Most chefs would recommend using a 3:1 or 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar...that would make for a dressing that is higher in calories and fat than I want on a daily basis. I use a 1:1 ratio...if I use 1/4 cup of vinegar I also use 1/4 cup of oil.  And I try to only use 2-3 tablespoons of dressing or less for a good sized salad (per person).

For a basic dressing made with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (plus salt and pepper) the nutrition info would look like this:

Per 2 tablespoons - 112 cal, 12 g fat (2 g saturated); counted as 2.5 fat exchanges

It may seem like a lot of fat, but its healthy (unsaturated) fat and this is where I choose to get my fat from each day (along with nuts/nut butter, fish, avocado, eggs, and some dairy). We all need fat to stay healthy. If you buy fat-free everything you may not be getting enough fat in your diet and your body won't be able to function efficiently.
Salad dressing 2  Salad dressing 1

All of the following recipes are for salad dressings...a few are higher in fat/calories than others, but all are healthy. Some have several ingredients, some only have a few.

Honestly, I don't follow a recipe - I use the 1:1 ratio and then add what ever I feel like adding.  I typically make salad dressing by shaking all of the ingredients in a small jar (I save mustard jars or small jelly jars).

I keep on hand several oils (sesame, olive, canola, walnut), vinegars (red wine, white wine, balsamic, rice wine, apple cider, sherry) and mustards (Dijon and whole grain), plus lemons...this way I can make a variety of dressings all the time.

For some of the recipes I've provided a link to a salad that the dressing can be paired with, but you could easily create your own.

And if you do buy bottled dressing, read here for the best ones.

Salad dressing 3

Dijon-Lemon Vinaigrette -

Honey Vinaigrette -

Green Goddess Dressing -

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette -

  • Per 2 tablespoons - 19 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 1 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein (exchanges: free food)
  • Notes - Use caution when blending hot mixtures…make sure you leave the lid slightly open to let hot air escape

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette -

  • Per 2 tablespoons - 106 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated), 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein (exchanges: 2 1/2 fat)

Creamy Caesar Dressing -

  • Per 2 tablespoons - 52 calories, 3.6 g fat (0.4 g saturated), 3.2 g carbohydrate, 1.6 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat)
  • Can be used with:
    - Caesar Salad with Bagel Croutons

Balsamic Vinaigrette -


Here is an interesting article on the history of our relationship with fat.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beach Day Tuna Salad

tuna salad 5

Yet another recipe from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook I just bought(the other was Blueberry Corn Salsa…in case you missed it!).  The thing that caught my attention was the raisins!  I mean, raisins in tuna salad? Crazy?? DELICIOUS!

Tuna is standard in my lunch time meal repertoire and has been for most of my life.  My typical version would be tuna/mayo/celery/eggs.  That’s how my mom and Bernie made it growing up.  But I’ve also made curried tuna salad and this cilantro tuna salad…both really good!

tuna salad 1

The recipe in the book only makes 2 servings (it uses 2 cans of tuna).  I adjusted for more and used 5 5-ounce cans (chunk light for the lower mercury content…packed in water).  But I didn’t think it was necessary to increase the mayo/oil/mustard by much…I don’t like any of my salads (chicken, egg) overly creamy.  I left out the parsley too…I used the inner celery leaves instead.  This is something I always do, they have so much flavor! 

tuna salad 2

The sweetness from the raisins is subtle.  And just note, I couldn’t find golden raisins so I ended up using regular brown ones.  This salad works on whole grain toast for a sandwich option.  Or you could serve it over lettuce/spinach/some other green.  Make a big batch like I did.  I promise, you will wish you had more…especially if you have a roommate!!

tuna salad 4

Beach Day Tuna Salad
adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

makes 4-5 servings

5 (5-ounce) cans water-packed tuna (I used chunk light)
1/3 cup raisins
3 celery stalks, diced…including some of the inner leaves
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise or extra-virgin olive oil…depending on how creamy you want it
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drain tuna well and put into a mixing bowl. Soak raisins in warm water for 5 minutes to soften, then drain. Coarsely chop raisins and add them to the tuna.

Add celery, mustard, lemon juice, and mayonnaise or olive oil to the bowl and stir well to combine, breaking up the larger chunks of tuna. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at once, or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.

Per serving (based on 5 servings…only the tuna salad…no bread/lettuce/etc): 262 calories, 8 g fat (1.3 g saturated), 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 37 g protein (1 1/2 fat, 5 protein, 1/2 fruit)…FYI…4 servings would make it 327cals…that’s probably what I end up eating

* The amounts in this recipe are completely up to you…less celery? Sure.  More lemon or mustard?  Why not!  You might fall in love with the raisins and decide to add more of those too.  Just don’t be tempted to add TOO much mayo/oil.  Here’s my opinion of mayo…you might be surprised!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Coconut Pinkcherry Frozen Yogurt

pinkcherry 7

For Christmas 2008, I got an ice cream maker from one of my favorite dancers and David Lebovitz' "The Perfect Scoop", an incredible ice cream cookbook, from my favorite Mel! Let me tell you, I have since put both to good use!

If you have an ice cream maker you NEED this book (and if you don't have one, consider purchasing one...I have this Cuisinart model). So far I've made Toasted Coconut, Vietnamese Coffee, Tiramisu, and Butterscotch Pecan.

I have also made Coconut Pinkcherry frozen yogurt which is adapted from the book on (my favorite blog!).

pinkcherry 1

This recipe and the Vietnamese Coffee recipe are both relatively light. The other two, not so much. But the good thing about making your own ice cream is that you can't make very much at a time (my machine makes 1 ½ quarts = 6 cups = 12 ½-cup servings) and you have total control over the ingredients. You can limit the sugar (and fat sometimes), and there are no crazy additives, artificial colors and flavors, or preservatives. And you can use all organic ingredients like I did.  Gotta love it!

Another good really have to work for this ice cream. You have to freeze the churning bowl for 24 hours (although mine stays in the freezer…ready to go at all times!), buy the ingredients, make the ice cream base, and then freeze for 30 minutes in the machine. You won't do this all of the time...only for a "special treat".

pinkcherry 2pinkcherry 3pinkcherry 4pinkcherry 5

I eat ice cream in a small bowl...its a visual thing. A ½ cup serving (or maybe a little more…) looks like a lot more in a small coffee cup than in a big soup bowl.

By the way, this frozen yogurt is good...I mean really good! I hope you have an ice cream maker and can enjoy it as much as I do.

pinkcherry 6

Coconut Pinkcherry Yogurt
adapted from

Makes about 1 ¼ quarts (or 10 ½-cup servings)

3 cups Greek yogurt or strained yogurt*…fat free or not (I’ve used both)
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup cherries, pits removed and roughly chopped (I used frozen…and ended up using the whole 10oz bag)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used full-fat, but lite would probably work as well)

Mix together the yogurt, sugar, almond extract, cherries, and coconut milk. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

* To make 1 cup of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth (I use coffee filters), then scrape 16 ounces or 2 cups of plain yogurt into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt, set the strainer over a bowl, and then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Make sure you use all-natural yogurt (I like Dannon), because if there are any additives, the yogurt might not strain as well.

Per ½-cup serving…using fat free yogurt (117g**) - 150 calories, 5 g fat (4 g saturated), 20 g carbohydrates, 18 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 8 g protein, 7%DV calcium (exchanges: 1 fat, ½ dairy, 1 starch)

Compare to Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt:

Per ½-cup serving (100g**) - 160 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated), 32 g carbohydrates, 22 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein, 15%DV calcium

INGREDIENTS: Skim Milk, Water, Liquid Sugar, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cherries, Cream, Sugar, Corn Syrup Solids, Egg Yolks, Coconut Oil, Natural Flavors, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Cocoa, Carob Bean Gum, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Caramel Color, Red Cabbage Juice Extract (For Color), Milkfat, Soya Lecithin, Yogurt Cultures

Compare to Dreyer's Slow Churned Yogurt Blends Black Cherry Vanilla Swirl:

Per ½-cup serving (60 - 65g**) - 100 calories, 3 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 17 g carbohydrates, 13 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein, 10%DV calcium

INGREDIENTS: skim milk, sugar, cream, cultured skim milk, corn syrup, maltodextrin, whey, mono and diglycerides, milk minerals concentrate, natural flavors, guar gum, locust bean gum, carrageenan, Blue #1, annatto color, Red #40

**Note the serving size weight. With the slow churned you are eating the same volume but about half the weight; basically you are eating a lot of air which has no calories...that's why the Dryer's has about 50 calories less than the other two.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Blueberry Corn Salsa

blueberry corn salsa 1

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a thing for cookbooks…every birthday, holiday, (or just any given day!) the collection grows!


The newest addition is The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook…from the blog of the same name.  And I am LOVING it!  Fresh ingredients, whole foods, delicious recipes…right up my alley.

sprouted kitchen 2

I bought it with a birthday Anthropologie gift card on Saturday, and after flipping through it I immediately HAD to try this salsa (and some incredible tuna salad that I’ll share later). 

blueberry corn salsa 3  blueberry corn salsa 2 

In the cookbook, the salsa is served over polenta squares…which I’m sure is delicious. But you know me, this was destined for a salad.  So I modified it a little to give it even more of a Mexican feel…lime juice and a extra cilantro! 

The salad I made included romaine, shredded carrot, chicken (that I marinated in lime juice, garlic, cumin, a little apple cider vinegar, and olive oil), queso fresco, and a lemon vinaigrette.  Topped with crushed tortilla chips.  I’m thinking it would work really well on fish tacos too.

blueberry corn salsa 6

Blueberry Corn Salsa

adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook

3 ears of corn (which will be about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of kernels)
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and diced (optional)

Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from corn cobs and put the kernels in a bowl (I cut the kernels off this way).

Cut the blueberries in half (some of the bigger ones I quartered) and add them to the corn along with the cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, jalapeño (if using), and a pinch of two of salt.  Stir to combine. 

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, checking for seasoning before serving.