Monday, August 30, 2010

Patlican Salatasi (Eggplant Salad)


This summer was so hot in Marmaris it was unbelievable.  There is nothing tastier that a cold salad for dinner when it is hot and sweaty out.  I love this salad.  It is tasty and easy and has that yummy roasted flavor. 

P.S. Please excuse the quality of the photo, and the appearance of the salad.  I was on vacation and took the photo with my phone, and the kitchen at the summer house is kind of like camping, one knife, four plates, a pot and a sauce pan.


Patlican Salatasi

1 large eggplant or 3 or 4 smaller ones (I like the small ones myself)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic (mashed)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup of yogurt
A splash of olive oil*
1 tomato diced
Salt and pepper to taste


Poke holes in the eggplant(s) before you roast them.  I use the grill but you could roast them on the grill, the stovetop (over the flames) or broil them in the oven.  Whatever the method-roast the eggplant until it is soft about a half hour or so depending on the size.  After they are done, let them cool and then peel off the skin.  Dice the eggplant small ad toss in a bowl.  Dice the tomato and throw that in the bowl too.  Mash one or two cloves of garlic, to taste, remember it will be in the salad raw.  Add that to the mix as well as the juice of the lemon the yogurt and the oil if you want it.  The oil makes it taster but without it the salad is pretty light calorically, cooked eggplant has about 35 calories per cup.  I also use light yogurt.  Add about a 1/2 tsp of salt to start with and a little pepper.  Salt to taste, you may want to add more salt (I do) but I do a little at a time or to my serving on my plate as I am always afraid to over salt the whole batch. 

Mix well and chill, serve cold.  It is best served after an hour or two when the flavors have time to meld.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Garlic Shrimp Stir Fry

This was so good, I wish I had made double the amount. The good news is that it is seriously easy to make and it tastes just as good (well, better) than take out Garlic Shrimp. I only made two servings, but I had leftover sauce, so I'm writing down the sauce recipe as I made it and doubling the shrimp and veggies to make four servings total.

Garlic Shrimp Stir Fry

3 large cloves of garlic (at least 1 tbsp minced)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat, which worked fine)
1 can of Coconut Milk
about 24 shrimp
10-12 mushrooms, I used baby bella
1 cup of sugar snap peas
1 can of baby corn, rinsed and drained
brown rice, prepared according to package directions

To make the sauce, mince up three large cloves of garlic. In a small pan, melt butter. Add the garlic. Add flour and whisk until the butter is absorbed into the flour. Pour in the can of coconut milk. (If you've never used canned coconut milk before, the solids will have floated to the top, so it won't look liquid. Pour the solid and the liquid part into the pan and it will melt fast enough.) Add salt to taste. Bring to a simmer until sauce thickens a bit. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a large skillet coated with oil, saute mushrooms, sugar snap peas and rinsed and drained baby corn. When the vegetables are tender, remove to a bowl. Add shrimp and cook until almost done. Add vegetables back in and pour over sauce. Serve with brown rice.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fish Tacos

We had fish tacos for dinner tonight. They turned out great! Normally I think I'd use a corn tortilla for fish tacos but I already had some of these homemade wheat flour tortillas in the freezer so we went with what we had. I served up some homemade oven fries and some fresh cantaloupe on the side. The crisp coleslaw with a homemade yogurt dressing was a perfect accompaniment to the fish.-Amanda

Fish Tacos:
4, 6-8 inch flour tortillas (recipe HERE)
4 pieces of cod (or other firm fish)
marinade for fish:
    juice of one lemon
    1 tbsp olive oil
    pinch of red pepper flakes
     1/8 tsp ground cumin
     1 smashed garlic clove
     1/8 tsp oregano
     1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1/8 of a head of cabbage
1 grated carrot
Sauce for coleslaw:
    1/4 cup greek style yogurt (or homemade yogurt that has been drained in a cheesecloth overnight to thicken)
    1 tbsp honey
    1 tsp mustard
    salt & pepper
    1/2 tbsp olive oil

Whisk all the ingredients for the fish marinade together and set fish in it to marinade for about 1 hour. Drain marinade away from fish. Cook in a very hot skillet until fish can be easily flaked with a fork.

To make coleslaw, mix the yogurt, honey, mustard, olive oil and salt & pepper. Cut the cabbage into very small pieces and add the grated carrot. Pour sauce on top and let sit for an hour.

Built taco with tortilla, coleslaw and fish. I also added a bit of diced raw red onion on top. I served with oven fries and cantaloupe on the side.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tex-Mex Stuffed Bell Peppers and Fruit Salad

A few days ago I made Taco Mini Muffins. When I made the meal, I doubled the taco meat & veggie mixture for a meal later in the week. That was tonight. I turned the taco meat into Tex-Mex Stuffed Bell Peppers, and they were very delicious! I served them alongside a simple fruit salad with a yogurt dressing.

Tex-Mex Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 recipe of the taco meat & veggie mixture from my Taco Mini Muffins.
2/3 cup wheat couscous
3/4 cup of chicken or beef stock (or water.)
4 small bell peppers
2 oz of your favorite Mexican cheese, grated

In a small pot, bring stock to a boil. Add couscous and stir. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Add couscous to taco meat mixture and stir. Cut the tops off your bell peppers. If the bottoms are very crooked, you may want to cut of a very small amount to make them level so they will stand up. Stuff each bell pepper with 1/4 of the taco/couscous mixture. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Top each bell pepper with some of the grated cheese and broil until cheese is melted. Serves 4.

Fruit Salad with Yogurt Dressing

1 banana
1 orange
8-10 strawberries
1 cup of grapes (I did green and red
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh grated giner

Peel and chop banana. Peel and segment one orange and cut each slice in half. Cut strawberries into fourths. Cut grapes in half. Place all fruit into a mixing bowl. In another small bowl, mix the yogurt, vanilla, honey, cinnamon and ginger. Pour over fruit. Serve chilled.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Shrimp and Spinach Lasagna

I made Shrimp and Spinach Lasagna tonight for dinner. I wish I could share the recipe but again, I didn't measure. It was really good though. Basically I made a simple bechamel sauce with butter, wheat flour and milk. Then I whisked in half a block of mozzarella. I added half a package of frozen (drained) spinach. I bought pre-made whole wheat oven ready noodles and layered the noodles, with the spinach sauce, shrimp and cottage cheese (I prefer it over ricotta.) I topped it with the second half of mozzarella and baked covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15.Sorry, not much help tonight!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Taco Mini Mufins

I loved the response from my homemade chicken nuggets! Many of my friends told me they were going to try out the recipe. Please let me know how yours turn out if you do!

Today's recipe is another very toddler friendly meal idea. Although I'm going to serve this for dinner for the adults too, paired with a salad. These Taco Mini Muffins can also be made in bulk and frozen. Reheat in the toaster oven or microwave. This isn't an exact science, you can change the recipe to your preferences. Oh and I actually doubled the meat and veggies so I could have easy taco salads later this week.

Taco Mini Muffins

Cornbread Mix
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup cornmeal
4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup applesauce
2 eggs
approx 2 cups of milk, start with slightly less and add until you get a "pancake" batter consistency.

Taco Mix
1/2 lb lean ground beef
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 small onion
1/4 cup frozen or fresh corn
1/4 cup drained black beans
1/2 red bell pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
3 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup (I used homemade)
salt & pepper to taste

Dice onion into small bits. Place oil in a skillet (I used cast iron.) When it gets hot, add onion. While the onion is cooking, dice red bell pepper. Add it to the onion, stir occasionally. When onion and bell pepper are soft, add corn and beans, heat until the corn is thawed. Remove vegetables from skillet (Or if pressed for time, cook them at the same time as the meat in a separate skillet.)

Once vegetables have been removed from the skillet, add the meat. Add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, tomato paste or ketchup, salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high heat until meat is cooked all the way through.

Add meat to the vegetables and stir.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the cornbread mix, except the milk. Add 1 1/2 cups of milk and stir. Add enough milk until you have a loose "pancake" like batter. Stir in the meat/vegetable mixture. Dish about 2 tbsp in mini muffin tins. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes. If you do larger muffins, adjust your cooking time. A toothpick should come out clean and the tops of the muffins should start to brown.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Homemade Yogurt!

It worked! I made homemade yogurt! Now I wish I had saved a few of the old yogurt containers to reuse. I was pulling all sorts of containers out this morning to put the yogurt in. I'm so excited! And it cost SO much less than even the big containers you can buy at the store. I followed the recipe from "A Year of Slow Cooking." Please check out Stephanie's blog for step by step picture procedure. She even shows you how to make fruit flavored yogurt. Here is a summary:

Homemade Yogurt in Crockpot

1/2 gallon of whole milk
1/2 cup of real yogurt (either store bought, or from a previous batch)

Put the entire 1/2 gallon of milk in your crockpot. Set to low. Cook for 2.5 hours. Keep covered, but unplug to let milk cool, about 3 hours. In a small bowl mix two cups of warmish milk from your crockpot with 1/2 cup of real yogurt. Add back to crockpot and stir. Cover with entire crockpot with a bath towel to keep insulated, but keep the power off. Let sit for 8 hours. Open lid to a wonderful surprise! Yogurt!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Homemade Chicken Nuggets for your Toddler

I've done versions of this before, but everytime I do something I do it a bit differently. This is what I did this time. I made up a batch and like usual will freeze it on the cookie sheet over night. Then I take the frozen nuggets and place in a freezer bag and just reheat a few at at time for lunches for my girls. They have the texture of "McNuggets" that kids like, but somehow I don't think the McNuggets have carrot grated up in theirs! Serve it with homemade ketchup and your kids are in for a tasty treat!

Place chicken in food processor with grated carrot and oil. Pulse then add egg. Pulse until well ground up.

This is what the chicken/carrot mixture looks like. Scoop into little balls and roll in breadcrumbs.

Makes about 3 dozen nuggets.

Healthy Toddler Chicken Nuggets

3 chicken boneless, skinless thighs, some of the fat removed
1 egg
1 carrot
1-2 tbsp flaxseed oil (healthy omega-3's!)
bread crumbs (I used the ends of my homemade whole wheat bread)
Italian seasoning blend

Cut chicken thighs into 1-2 inch pieces. Put them in a food processor. Grate one carrot and put it in the food processor with the chicken. Add the flaxseed oil. Pulse until the chicken is ground up. Add one egg and pulse until it is incorporated. Dump the chicken mixture into a mixing bowl.

Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish and mix in the italian seasonings.

Using a one tablespoon scoop, scoop out the chicken mixture into little balls. Roll in the breadcrumbs and place on a sprayed cookie sheet (or parchment paper.) Flatten the balls and shape into little ovals. Spray the tops of each nugget. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen nuggets.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I tried quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) for the (second) time tonight. The first time was a disaster, I completely over cooked it and it was horrid. Tonight, I vote it was great, John did not like it and the girls ate about half of their serving. For those who have never heard of quinoa, it is a very healthy "grain." It's more like a seed and is actually related to beets and spinach. Which is why it is go good for you. It's very high in fiber and protein. For more information on it, read this wiki page.

I cooked 1 cup of quinoa in a smidge more than 1 cup of water for 10 minutes in the microwave. I was in a hurry tonight and had heard of this method. I'd like to try toasting it and cooking it on the stove top to develop more flavor, but this turned out really great. I then added a pat of butter and a few tablespoons of homemade vinaigrette. (3 tbps of olive oil & red wine vinegar, tsp of honey mustard, grated garlic clove, salt and pepper whisked well) Last I stirred in some sauted mushrooms (I like to add veggies wherever I can in a meal!)

I served the quinoa with a grilled steak and fresh greenbeans.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ham and Fruit Tossed Salad

Our salad kick has continued with this ham and fruit tossed salad. It's been fun stepping out of our "normal" routine and trying some new dishes. And let me tell you, with the weather peaking at 104-105 degrees these days a nice cool salad is perfect for dinner! I got this recipe from Salads by Carrie Holcomb.

Ham and Fruit Tossed Salad

3 medium oranges
1 3 oz package of cream cheese, softened (I used a pre-whipped variety)
2 tsp sugar
3 cups torn iceberg lettuce
3 cups torn spinach
8 oz cubed fully cooked ham (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup red (or green) seedless grapes
1/4 cup of Spicy Nuts (see recipe below)

Take the zest off one orange and set it aside. Peel and segment two of the oranges. Set the orange segments aside.
Make dressing by mixing together cream cheese, sugar, orange zest and enough of the juice from one orange to make the dressing a drizzling consistancy.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, spinach, ham, grapes, spicy nuts and orange segments. Toss lightly to mix. Pour dressing over lettuce mixture and toss to coat. Divide amount four salad plates.

Spicy Nuts

3/4 cup walnuts or pecan pieces
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
dash salt

Combine nuts, butter, red pepper, cumin and salt. Spread on a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring once. To store, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Break to room temperature before serving.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Simple Tomato Sauce Chicken Over Spinach Leaves

As most of you already know, I'm on a processed free kick. The more reading I'm doing the more I've come to realize how many chemicals we eat every day and it is pretty scary. But cooking homemade from scratch cooking doesn't always have to be time intensive! I'm also trying to eat more veggies and less carbs and a lot of times carbs are what takes the longest in a meal to cook. This dinner took only 15 minutes to assemble. The tomatoes cooked in the oven on low heat for 2 hours, but you could do them quicker if needed by broiling instead of slow roasting.

Simple Tomato Sauce Chicken Over Spinach Leaves

2 large chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb roma tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 yellow onion
2-3 cups spinach leaves
fresh grated parmesan to sprinkle on top

To make roasted tomato sauce, slice roma tomatoes in half. Place on a cookie sheet along with the onion that has been quartered and the garlic cloves, still in their paper. Drizzle olive oil on top and coat vegetables well. Roast at 275 for 2-3 hours (turning once) until nice and caramelized. Puree in a food processor (removing the skin from the garlic.)

Pound chicken breast out so it is even, season with salt and pepper. Pre-heat your indoor grill skillet to very hot. Cook chicken about 4 minutes on each side. Let rest before slicing.

Assemble: place spinach leaves on plate, top with chicken and tomato sauce. Sprinkle on a bit of parmesan cheese and enjoy! I served with another side of veggies to be carb free, but this would of course be great with pasta!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Marinated Greek Steak Salad

I decided to make a salad for dinner. Usually when I do this it is a last minute meal thrown together with ingredients from my refridgerator. So grilled chicken with carrots, cucumber over iceberg lettuce is our usual "main dish" salad of choice. But I found this salad in a cookbook, appropriately named "SALADS" by Carrie Holcomb. I set out with a grocery list and a plan. This was a very good salad. My husband who said he doesn't like Greek food even liked it! That's a win!

Marinated Greek Steak Salad
(adapted from Salads by Carrie Holcomb)

10 oz sirloin steak, cut one inch thick
1, 7oz can of artichoke hearts
1/2 of a red onion, cut into thin rings
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin rings
1/4 cup pitted greek olives
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbps of lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
1 tbsp anchovy paste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 large garlic clove
3 cups torn ice berg lettuce
1 cup torn spinach
 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Place steak under broiler 3 inches from heat for 6 minutes. Turn steak. Broil to desired doness (6-8 minutes for medium.) Cool slightly. Cut into thin slices. Place meat in a deep bowl along with artichoke hearts, onion, olive, bell pepper and tomatoes.

Make the marinade: whisk in a medium bowl, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, anchovy paste, pepper, grated garlic. Pour marinade over meat mixture. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours, stirring occasionally.

In a large mixing bowl, combine lettuce and spinach. Top with meat mixture. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
Makes 4 servings.
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