Monthly Archives: July 2008

Taste of the Middle East

Zucchini Falafels

1/2 pound grated zucchini
1-14oz can chickpeas, drained
1 red onion, chopped
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
Bread crumbs

  1. If you are soaking your own beans, do so over night and cook as directed on the bag.
  2. Place the onion, spices, and baking powder in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Add in the zucchini and chickpeas and pulse again to begin to break up the mixture.
  4. Place the mixture into a bowl, add a lightly whisked egg and stir it through. The mix will be soft. Add just enough breadcrumbs to create a malleable mix.
  5. Take small amounts of the mix and roll into balls or for a quicker and more even result, use a small ice cream scoop to form the falafel.
  6. Roll each ball in breadcrumbs and set them aside. You can store these in the refrigerator or on paper towels if you aren’t cooking them right away.
  7. To cook, either shallow or deep fry until golden and heated through. Drain on paper towels and eat when hot.

Alternate Cooking method (I have not yet tried this, but hope to do so soon! I will let you know how they turn out)

  1. Take a baking tray and line it with baking paper or silicon sheet. Drizzle oil on the paper and spread it roughly over the paper. Add the balls and roll them around to moisten.
  2. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for at least 30 minutes – check after 10 minutes and give them a shake to turn them over.
  3. Check again at 20 minutes and rearrange if necessary.
  4. Continue checking every 10 minutes until they golden. You will notice that oil will be released as they cook so once they are done, place them on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil


Salad Ingredients
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried mint
1/2 cup soaked Bulgar
1/2 pint cherry

Dressing Ingredients
Juice of a small lemon
1/2 teaspoon allspice powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil


  1. Soak the bulgar a s directed on the package. A quick soak method is to place equal parts of bulgar and water in a container and let stand at room temp for 1 hour.
  2. To prepare dressing: Place the ground allspice and cinnamon into a bowl and add the lemon juice along with the salt and pepper. Stir until the spices have almost dissolved and then begin to whisk in the olive oil until a thick emulsion has formed. You can add more or less as needed.
  3. To prepare the salad: Place the bulgar in a large bowl. Add the parsley and mint and mix throughouly. Cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze out the seeds and then cut into a small dice. Add the tomatoes to the bowl. Add the dressing a spoonful at a time until the grains are well moistened.
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Posted by on July 30, 2008 in Grains, Vegetarian


Sautéed Vegetables with Pasta

This is probably my favorite, quick dinner to make. You can use any vegetables, pasta and cheese you have on hand.

◦ Diced vegetables of your choice
◦ 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
◦ Pasta of your choice (try whole grain penne, bow-ties, or spiral noodles)
◦ Grated cheese of your choice.
◦ Italian seasonings (garlic, oregano, a blend, etc…)

1. In a medium sauce pan, cook noodles.
2. Once finished, drain, rinse, and return to pan.
3. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and some of the desired seasonings to give the noodles some flavor.
4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil and add onion (if using).
5. Add firm vegetables (potatoes or carrots) and sauté for 5-10 minutes, or until little resistance remains when cut.
6. Follow with semi-firm vegetables (broccoli, pea pods, peppers, etc…) and cook for 3-5 minutes.
7. Add tender vegetables (zucchini and squash) and cook for 2 minutes.
8. Turn off heat and add tomatoes (if using).
9. Season with garlic and Italian seasoning.
10. Serve vegetables over noodles and top with grated cheese.


Steak Fajitas

Sorry about the fuzzy picture…my camera didn’t want to work right. Jason and I love using Jerk seasoning and pineapple with meats and vegetables. Here is something we threw together the other night.

1 can of diced pineapple in its own juices
4 oz steaks (as many as you’d like)*
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
½ onion of your choice (we used Vidalia), diced
Jerk Seasoning
Olive oil
Sour cream
Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
2 freezer bags (the size depends on how many steaks you have)

*you can use a tougher cut if you want to save money, because this recipe marinates overnight, allowing the acid in the pineapple to tenderize the meat.


  1. The day before you plan to eat prepare the marinade; pour the juice from the can of pineapples into a freezer bag that is big enough for your steaks to all fit and not be too crammed (the more surface area each steak has with the marinade, the more tender it will become). Put the pineapple in a storage container and store in the refrigerator until tomorrow. Rub the steaks with the Jerk Seasoning and place them in the bags. Remember, Jerk seasoning has some kick, so if you don’t like spice, don’t over do it! Place that bag in another freezer bag to prevent leaking. Keep in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next day, discard the marinade and grill the steaks. Once done, cut steaks into strips.
  3. While the steaks are being grilled (if someone else is helping you prepare dinner) or shortly before or after they are grilled, heat oil in a small frying pan. Once warm, add the onions and peppers and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Then add the pineapple and sauté for 2-3 more minutes. Season with Jerk seasoning (again, don’t over do it if you don’t like a little spice).
  4. Warm tortillas for a few seconds before serving. Serve pineapple mixture and steaks with sour cream and cheese.
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Posted by on July 28, 2008 in Favorites, Meat


Quick and Easy Italian Casserole

Italian Casserole

◦ 2 servings of whole grain penne pasta
◦ 1 green pepper
◦ 1 sweet pepper
◦ 1 pint cherry tomatoes
◦ 1 medium zucchini
◦ 2 cups raw broccoli florets
◦ 8 ounces of part-skim mozzarella cheese
◦ ¼ – ½ cup Sun-dried tomato dressing (I used Kraft)

  1. Heat oven to 375F
  2. Cook noodles for ½ the recommended cook time.
  3. Grease a large casserole dish.
  4. Pour cooked noodles into the casserole dish.
  5. Add 1-2 tbsp of dressing and toss to coat noodles.
  6. Add ½ of the vegetables and top with 1-2 tbsp of dressing and 3 ounces of grated mozzarella cheese.
  7. Add remaining vegetables, top with 1-2 tbsp of dressing and finish off with the desired amount of cheese (1 ounce=1 serving)
  8. Bake for 35 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.

A Man's Meal with a Woman's Touch

I just thought this was funny, so I wanted to post it…no real recipe. Jason grilled the brats, topped them with relish, ketchup, and mustard. I sauteed some vegetables in extra virgin olive oil and added some garlic and Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil seasoning. As the post says, a man’s meal with a woman’s touch…I do not think I quite realize how lucky I am that Jason enjoys his vegetables!

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Posted by on July 25, 2008 in Meat


Whole Wheat Pear and Walnut Coffee Cake

Whole Wheat Pear and Walnut Coffee Cake
(adapted from

This is a delicous, healthy alternative to orginial coffee cake. I made this for my friend Perky (mentioned in the last post) when he came for brunch before leaving for PA. It turned out to be a hit and he took about half with him for the road!


– 2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

– 1/3 cup natural homemade or no-sugar added applesauce

– 1 tablespoon butter, softened

– 1 tablespoon canola oil

– 3/4 cup sugar

-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

– 3/4 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

– 1 large egg

– 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 2 small, firm, ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

– 1/2 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins


  1. Combine 1/4 cup flour, fruit applesauce, butter and oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Spread in a shallow pan, cover and freeze until firm but not stiff, about 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray
  3. Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  4. Cut the chilled fruit-puree mixture into small pieces and work into dry ingredients with your fingers or a pastry blender until crumbly.
  5. Measure out 1 cup and mix with walnuts.
  6. Whisk egg, yogurt and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth.
  7. Stir the egg mixture into remaining dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Fold in pears and cranberries (or raisins).
  8. Spread the batter into prepared pan.
  9. Sprinkle the walnut mixture evenly over batter and press gently to help crumbs adhere.
  10. Bake the cake until top is golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean 50 to 60 minutes.
  11. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove pan sides and cool for 20 minutes more. Serve warm
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Posted by on July 25, 2008 in Desserts, Favorites


White Sauce

Back in May, a friend of mine (Perky) was amazed to learn how easy it is to make a homemade white sauce. I told him I would be sure to post a recipe for it, but am just now getting around to it (sorry about that Perky).

When most people hear of white sauces, they instantly think of phrases, such as, bad food, high fat, taboo, off-limits, indulgence, and forbidden. However, this is far from the truth with homemade white sauces where you can tweak the ingredients as you wish. There are two kinds of white sauces. First, the traditional white sauce, which calls for starch (flour), fat (butter), and liquid (milk). More recently people have tried to make lower-fat versions of this white sauce; a common one is called the slurry-method. This method calls for starch (flour) and liquid (milk) and gives the option of adding a fat source at the end for taste and texture.

Looking for a lighter white sauce? Try the slurry method (see below) instead of the traditional white sauce, or make the traditional white sauce a little runnier. Also, you can choose skim milk to cut the calories down. If you are trying to limit saturated fat, but would like to use the traditional white sauce method, opt for canola or olive oil instead of butter.

Jason and I were in the mood for a childhood favorite: mac and cheese. However, I am not the biggest fan of the boxed varieties and Velveeta is too rich and heavy. Instead, I decided to make a slurry, add cheese and seasoning and serve over whole grain elbow noodles. The result: perfection! Jason loved it and the minimal leftovers were gone within 24 hours. This homemade version offers the traditional health benefits of macaroni and cheese (calcium and vitamin D) but also has added fiber with the whole grain noodles and less saturated fat than traditional varieties.

Traditional White Sauce (also called a roux)

  • 2 TBSP fat (butter, oil)
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour (or 1 TBSP cornstarch)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 cup milk (preferably skim milk but a higher fat milk will offer a more creamy texture and mouthfeel)


  1. Melt fat in a saucepan or skillet
  2. Add flour, salt, and any additional seasonings (i.e. onions, pepper, garlic)
  3. Remove from heat
  4. Slowly add milk in small portions; blend thoroughly after each addition, until all the liquid has been added.
  5. Return to a medium heat and stir constantly. Bring to a boil and boil for 1-3 minutes until at 75% of desired consistency. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.


  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour (or 1 TBSP cornstarch)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 cup milk (preferably skim milk but a higher fat milk will offer a more creamy texture and mouthfeel)
  • 2 TBSP fat (butter, oil) – optional


  1. Blend the flour and salt with 1/4 of the cold liquid; stir until all umps of flour have been separated.
  2. Add the remaining liquid and stir thoroughly.
  3. Place the mixture in a saucepan or skillet on medium heat. Add any seasonings being used (i.e. onions, pepper, garlic).
  4. Stir constantly and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-3 minutes until at 75% of desired consistency. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.
  5. optional: as the mixture boils, add half of the desired fat and blend fully. If still desired, add the remaining fat.


  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour (or 1 TBSP cornstarch)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Salad Supreme Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 4 ounces Marble Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 4 servings, as stated on package, Whole Grain Elbow Noodles
  • Directions

    1. Boil noodles as directed on box. Drain and return to saucepan (be sure to place on a cool burner).
    2. Prepare the Slurry Method as stated above.
    3. Add seasonings and onion at step 3.
    4. While mixture is boiling in step 4, add marble Cheddar cheese and stir constantly until fully blended.
    5. Add cheese mixture to pot of noodles and stir completely.
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    Posted by on July 2, 2008 in Sauce, Vegetarian