Monday, November 23, 2015

Make-Fast Mondays: Garlic Chicken Stir Fry with Cashews

Stir-fry dishes are such a great meal when you want something fresh, fast and flavorful. Just chop up some chicken and veggies, whisk together a sauce, toss everything in the pan and a few minutes later you’ve got dinner on the table.

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry with Cashews 
For the sauce:
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon agave syrup (honey will also work)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon white pepper

For the stir fry:
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 medium zucchini, diced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus extra for garnish
½ cup cashews

Combine broth, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, cornstarch, agave syrup, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, chili oil, oyster sauce, ginger and white pepper in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large skillet (wok or pan will also work!) over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked. Transfer chicken to a dish and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are slightly softened. Add the chicken and cashews to the skillet. Stir in the sauce and let everything simmer for 1-2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Garnish with additional red pepper flakes and serve with rice or enjoy as-is!

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven’s Kung Pao Chicken recipe

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Scalloped Potatoes with Mushrooms and Thyme

I looooove rich, super-cheesy dish scalloped potatoes. What I don’t love is imagining how many miles I’ll need to run to burn off just one helping. The next time you get a hankering for scalloped potatoes, give this recipe a try. My version omits the cheese but is rich in flavor thanks to a low-fat sauce featuring plenty of fresh thyme and garlic. Working mushrooms into the mix also lightens things up a bit by making this dish a little less starchy.

Scalloped Potatoes with Mushrooms and Thyme 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 ½ cups nonfat milk
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
1 pound white potatoes, sliced thin
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute, until fragrant. Whisk in the milk, flour and thyme. Cook sauce, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

In an 8-by-8 square baking dish, arrange ⅓ of the potatoes in the dish, followed by ½ of the mushrooms, a little salt and pepper and a light drizzle of the sauce; repeat once more. Arrange remaining ⅓ potatoes on top and pour remaining sauce over potatoes. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover for another 10-15 minutes for a total bake time of 40-45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cabbage Rolls with Sausage and Brown Rice

Have you ever made cabbage rolls? This is something I always wanted to try but kept putting off because I thought it might be messy and laborious. Yes, it does take a little time, but I’m glad I finally got around to it, because it’s a lot of fun and the end result is so tasty and comforting on a chilly fall night.

Cabbage Rolls with Sausage and Brown Rice
1 head savoy cabbage, 12 outer leaves removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
½ cup cooked brown rice
1 large egg, beaten
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
⅓ cup grated Parmesan
1 cup chicken broth, heated
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Put the whole leaves in the pot and boil for 1 minute, then place under cold running water and dry.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, thyme and pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until onion is tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the sausage, rice, egg and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. 

Without cutting through the cabbage leaves, pare down the rib on the outside surface so it’s the same thickness as the leaf. Spoon ¼ cup of the mixture into the base of each leaf. Starting from the bottom, roll the leaf one turn, fold the sides in and finish rolling. Place the stuffed leaves, seam side down, in a glass baking dish. Add heated broth to the dish, pour tomatoes over the stuffed leaves and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes, remove from oven, and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Cooking from the Farmers’ Market by Jodi Liano and Tasha DeSerio