Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps

September 25, 2010

Chef’s Notes: When I found this recipe, I thought it sounded like a healthy, low carb version of Chinese food. Not only is it that, but it’s also delicious! I made only a few small changes to the recipe, which I noted in italics.

Try these with Sesame Green Beans on the side.

Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps
(serves 4)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped medium
1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup soy sauce (2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup ketchup (2 tablespoons)
4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (white white vinegar)
4 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (Mrs. Dash extra spicy seasoning mix)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (2 teaspoons)
1 head ice burg lettuce, quartered at the core, core removed, leaves separated and torn into approximate 4-inch cups (leaf lettuce)
Garnish: 1/4 cup sliced scallions, 1/4 cup chopped peanuts (just peanuts)

Heat oil in a large (12-inch skillet) over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and water chestnuts; sauté until onions soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add turkey; continue to cook, stirring frequently, until meat looses its raw color, and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix soy, ketchup, vinegar, oil, pepper flakes, and sugar. Add to the sautéing turkey; continue to cook until mixture has thickened to the texture of thick sloppy Joe’s.

When ready to serve, warm turkey mixture. Lay out lettuce leaves on a serving tray. Fill each with 2 tablespoons of filling, then garnish with scallions and peanuts.


Acorn Squash with Balsamic Drizzle

September 16, 2010

Chef’s Notes: I love squash. I think it’s at the top of my list of favorite autumn foods. I was trying to decide what to do with one of the acorn squash I bought at the market and I wondered “balsamic vinegar”? I googled, checked out a few recipes, and decided to try this one. I made a few changes in cooking technique but the ingredients are the same. Seriously delicious!

Acorn Squash with Balsamic Drizzle
Serves 2

1 acorn squash
2 T. olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. rubbed sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place squash cut side down in baking dish with about 1 inch of water. Cook 30 minutes. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl and whisk to combine. Cut each half of squash into quarters and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic mixture. Bake 15 minutes.

Not Your Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole

May 5, 2010

Chef’s Notes: Almost everyone is familiar with the green bean casserole that is a staple at Thanksgiving dinner – can of green beans, can of cream of mushroom soup, can of French onions. This recipe is based on the same premise, but with a little bit of flair….and no cans.

Not Your Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole
(Serves 4)

2 C. fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (approximately)
1 C. fresh mushrooms, chopped
Cream sauce (recipe below)
1/4 C. slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place green beans in steamer over boiling water and cook until crisp-tender (not mushy), about 3-5 minutes. Combine mushrooms and cooked green beans in small casserole dish. Prepare cream sauce.

Cream sauce
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1/2 C. vegetable broth
1/2 C. half-and-half
1 T. fresh dill, coarsely chopped

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour; keep stirring until smooth and bubbly. Add the broth and half-and-half a little at time, stirring to keep smooth. Bring to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Remove from heat, gently stir in dill, then pour over green bean/mushroom mixture. Stir just enough to combine.

Place in preheated oven and bake 15-20 minutes. Place almonds in small skillet over medium heat and heat until just lightly toasted (2-3 minutes). Sprinkle toasted almonds on baked casserole and serve.

Nutty Stuffed Mushrooms

April 24, 2010

Nutty Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes 12

12 cremini mushrooms
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 T. butter
1 shallot (yield 1/4 cup minced)
1/4 C. plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 C. finely chopped pecans
4 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 tsp. Penzy’s Mural of Flavor spice mix
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
Pinch of basil
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1 T. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean mushrooms by rubbing with a dry paper towel. Remove stems and set aside. Place mushroom caps in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange mushroom caps on baking sheet, stem side down. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Drain liquid and place mushroom caps in 9X13 glass baking dish, stem side up.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the minced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Finely chop the mushroom stems and add to the skillet with the shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until tender.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, pecans, 3 tablespoons of the cheese, the spices, mayonnaise, and balsamic vineagar. Add shallots and mushroom stems; stir to combine. Stuff the mixture into the mushroom caps and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of Parmesan.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are golden and heated through.


Modified from this recipe.

Brussels Sprouts & Carrots with Lemon-Thyme Infused Butter

April 24, 2010

Brussels Sprouts & Carrots with Lemon-Thyme Infused Butter
(serves 6)

3/4# fresh brussels sprouts
1/2# fresh carrots
1/4 C. butter
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 T. fresh chopped thyme

To prepare vegetables, cut the stem-end from each brussels sprout and place in medium-size bowl. Cut the end from each carrot and cut into 1/4-inch thick circles; place carrot slices in bowl with brussels sprouts. Fill bowl with water, add a dash of salt, and let the vegetables soak for at least 15 minutes or up to several hours. Rinse and then place in steam basket over boiling water. Cook until tender crisp, drain, and place in serving bowl.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat. Add lemon juice and zest; heat over low heat for 10 minutes. Add thyme and heat for an additional 3-5 minutes. Pour over vegetables and serve.

Fried Eggplant Sticks

August 23, 2009

Chef’s Notes: I discovered cute little baby eggplants at the farmer’s market today, so I concocted this recipe to enjoy some of them. It’s nothing but a variation on fried eggplant. The chef who makes the best eggplant parm I’ve ever eaten told me that the key to good eggplant is soaking it in salt water, which removes the bitterness and makes it creamy.

Fried Eggplant Sticks | No Noodle Lasagna

Fried Eggplant Sticks | No Noodle Lasagna

Fried Eggplant Sticks
Serves 2 (about 8 sticks per person)

3 baby eggplants
1/4 cup flour
2 T. fine bread crumbs
1 tsp. fresh basil
1 egg
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. olive oil.
1 T. fresh grated Parmesan

Remove ends from eggplants and peel. Cut into sticks about the diameter of your pinky finger, about 6 sticks per eggplant. Combine about 3/4 cup water and 1 tsp. salt in a bowl and add eggplant. Let soak for at least an hour. Rinse the eggplant and blot dry with paper towels.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet.

Combine flour, bread crumbs, and basil in a shallow dish or on a plate. In a small bowl, whisk egg and garlic. Dip eggplant sticks, a few at a time, in egg mixture, then flour mixture, and place in skillet. Cook, turning frequently, until brown and crispy. When the sticks are almost done, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and cook until cheese is melted.

Serve with warm spaghetti sauce.

Pictured with No Noodle Lasagna.

Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream

August 19, 2009

Chef’s notes: When you’re trying to cook low carb, anything that sounds like pasta is intriguing! I hoped that this would taste like a spicy mac-n-cheese but, unfortunately, it didn’t. It was, however, what the title suggested – squash with a spicy cream sauce. (Knowing that, if I made it again, I would use the milder Jack cheese the original recipe suggested.) It was tasty and it was unique. But I’m not sure it’s a keeper.

Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream | Deviled Drumsticks

Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream | Deviled Drumsticks

Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream
Serves 4

1 T. butter
1 T. flour
Dash of fresh ground sea salt
3/4 C. milk
1 T. minced jalapeño
1 1/2 C. cooked spaghetti squash
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash in buttered 1-qt. casserole.

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour and salt and cook, whisking, until flour smells cooked (like piecrust). Slowly pour in milk while whisking. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, then turn heat down to medium. Add jalapeño and continue whisking until mixture thickens. Pour mixture over squash.

Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes.

This is the original recipe.

Pictured with Deviled Drumsticks.