Monday, August 29, 2011

Pesto Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms

Pesto Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms
If you are looking for a simple, healthy and filling appetizer than these babies are for you! No pun intended :) It is super quick, not to mention super cheap, to make these and they can satisfy any crowd. Classic pesto is made with basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese but to mix things up for these stuffed mushrooms I made my own pesto with spinach, walnuts and red bell pepper. You can also use portobello mushrooms and make one or two per person for larger appetizers but I prefer eating four or five smaller mushrooms. These guys are hearty and still good for you. Perfect for any dinner party.

1 bag baby spinach
3 garlic cloves
1 medium yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
20 baby bella mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Place the first seven ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Three garlic cloves may seem like a lot but once they are cooked the flavor mellows out immensely. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and clean the tops with a slightly damp paper towel. Place the baby bella mushrooms on a foil lined baking sheete and lightly drizzle the balsamic vinegar into each mushroom. Then place a heaping tablespoon of the spinach walnut pesto into every mushroom top. Place the baking sheet in the oven for ten to twelve minutes or until each mushroom has released some liquid. Garnish with minced red bell pepper and enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Cookies
Yes folks, you read right -- breakfast. cookie. Cue the excited child that still lives inside you that has always wanted to eat dessert first. These may not be your typical chocolate chip cookie but they definitely satisfy in the same way. These cookies were conceived on an average morning where I lounged about in my pajamas until too late and was too lazy to go to the store but needed to scratch my itch to bake something. Ergo, the breakfast cookie. These are not only healthy, but tasty and will keep you full for an entire morning of whatever keeps you running around like the rest of us. They are quick, chewy and sweet!

1/2 cup regular oats
6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Kashi cereal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup pureed peaches, apricots, pears, plums or pumpkin (hint: baby food works for this)
1 egg
2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Chop raisins into small pieces and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil and spoon batter into evenly spaced dollops on the baking sheet. Batter should form eight to ten cookies. Bake in the oven for 12 to 14 minutes until the tops of the cookies are just slightly crispy and allow to cool on a wire rack for fifteen minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I had been getting pretty tired of the broccoli slaw side dish that is a staple in our summer refrigerator when I opted to make this tabbouleh. My mom is also on a lowering-her-cholesterol kick which means eating a mainly plant based diet with lots of whole grains so this was the perfect dish for her as well, not to mention being totally delicious. Tabbouleh is a mediterranean salad that consists of bulgur wheat and parsley with some other classic mediterranean flavors mixed in. I added chopped artichoke hearts for some extra briny flavor but the balance of parsley, lemon and bulgur wheat was refreshing, satisfying and healthy. Capers, ollives or feta cheese would also be great in this recipe!

1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 english cucumber
2 large tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts
1 1/2 cups chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

The hardest and most time consuming part of this recipe is chopping the vegetables. Place a pot of boiling water on the stove and put the bulgur wheat in a medium sized bowl. Once the water is boiling, pour 1 1/2 cups of the water over the bulgur, cover with foil or plastic wrap and allow to sit for a half hour. In the meantime, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Dice the cucumber, tomatoes and artichoke hearts and place them in the large bowl as well. Finely dice the parsley and place in the large bowl. After a half hour has passed use a large spoon to transfer the cooked bulgur to the large bowl with the parsley, diced vegetables and vinaigrette. Fold the mixture together until everything is well incorporated. Chill in the refrigerator for a half hour and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa
You know a cookbook is well-loved when the pages are all splattered with sauces and ingredients and no corner is left unscathed by a cook's messy thumb. Mark Bittman's Quick and Easy Recipes is one of those cookbooks that my parents have really left their mark on. My dad actually uses one of the steak marinades for this pork recipe and let me say that it is spectacular. People don't always think of pork tenderloin as a summer dinner item but grilling is always on people's minds. Grilled pork tenderloin is delicious with a flavorful crust on the outside and tender light pink meat on the inside. This pork was marinated in a slightly asian style marinade for just a few hours before grilling and topped with a fresh salsa to bring a summery brightness to the meal. Yum!

2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 lime
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 peaches, diced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the soy sauce, fresh ginger, honey, garlic and juice of the half lime in a large tupperware and season with freshly ground black pepper. Allow the pork tenderloin to marinate in this mixture for two to three hours before grilling. In the meantime, dice the peaches and yellow pepper and mince the shallot. Combine these in a small bowl and add the juice of the half lemon, olive oil and fresh mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir and place in the refrigerator so that the flavors in the salsa can marry and it will be even more delicious by the time the pork is ready.

Grill the pork over indirect high heat, approximately 450 degrees, for eight to nine minutes a side so that a nice crust has formed on the outside of the meat. Allow the meat to rest for five minutes so that the juices can redistribute inside then slice into medallions about three quarters of an inch thick. Top with a few spoonfuls of the peach salsa and enjoy!