Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chicken with Salsa de Pina

  • 1 1 /2 cups chopped pineapple
  • 1-2 canned chipotle in adobo sauce, drained, seeded & finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. finely shredded lime zest or lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Make 4 Servings
  1.  In a medium bowl, stir together pineapple, chipotle peppers, chives, honey, lime zest and juice. Let salsa stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Lightly brush chicken with olive oil. In a small bowl, combine thyme, salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over chicken;  rub in with your fingers.
  3. Place chicken on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4-5 inches from heat for 12-15 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink (170 F), turning once.
  4. Slice chicken and serve with salsa.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. This is a great dinner that's packed with flavor and heat. Salsa de Pina is Pineapple Salsa. This dish makes a great weeknight or weekend dinner because it a colorful dish that quickly fills you up and it's easy to make. Who knew that chicken breast paired with juicy pineapple could be so delicious. You  can use any kind of chile pepper such as jalapeno or habanero peppers and your salsa de pina will still be firey and juicy. Don't forget to wear gloves when working with chiles because they contain oils that can burn your eyes and skin. If you do touch the chiles with your bare hands, immediately wash your hands with soap and water. You can also sauté  the chicken breast in a pan on top of the stove or grill them if you don't want to broil them. I also highly recommend adding garlic with the salt, pepper and thyme when seasoning the chicken because garlic always makes everything taste better. I highly recommend using flavored  olive oils such as Lime, Chipotle or Garlic Infused Olive Oil  (from the Imperial Olive in Williamsburg, VA) for more flavor. For more information, visit

Monday, December 8, 2014

Pumpkin Pie

  • 6 (9-by 14-inch) sheets, whole wheat phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1/2 cup granular sugar substitute
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can 2% evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp. sugar-free maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • light or fat-free whipped topping (optional)
  • bittersweet chocolate shavings (optional)
Makes 8 Servings
  1. Position rack in middle of oven and heat oven to 350 F. Stack phyllo sheets on plastic wrap or wax paper; cover with a barely damp towel to prevent sheets from drying out.
  2. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Lay 1 phyllo sheet in the pie plate. Coat sheet with cooking spray, making sure to spray edges. repeat with remaining  sheets, rotating each slightly in the pan to form a circle. Fold and crimp edges.
  3. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on top of crust. weigh crust down with pie weights or dried beans and bake until edges are lightly golden, about 10 minutes. While crust is baking, combine sugar substitute, cinnamon, ginger, salt, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat pumpkin puree, egg whites, and egg yolk until well blended. Slowly add milk, maple syrup, and vanilla, beating until blended. Add spice mixture and blend well.
  5. Remove pie weights from crust. Pour filling into crust and bake until tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Remove pie from oven  and cool at room temperature to set. Just before serving, top each slice of pie with 1 or 2 tablespoons whipped topping and chocolate shavings, if desired.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook. Nothing says the holidays are here like pumpkin pie. This is a healthy version of a holiday dessert classic. It had a nice flavor to it with the spices and maple syrup but it tasted more like pumpkin mousse than pumpkin pie. I wouldn't recommend phyllo dough as a pie crust. I highly recommend using puff pastry or graham crust for the crust. It is a nice alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Five-Spice Duck Breast with Steamed Broccoli

  • 4 cups broccoli, cut into florets
  • 4 (6 oz.) boneless duck breast halves, skin removed and discarded
  • 1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/3 cup no-sugar-added apricot fruit spread
  • 1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Steam broccoli in vegetable steamer until bright green and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle duck with five-spice powder and salt. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add duck and cook, turning once, until browned and medium -rare, about 6 minutes. Transfer to plate and keep warm. Return skillet to heat and add remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Add shallot, garlic, and ginger; cook, stirring, until very fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in wine or sherry and cook until nearly evaporated. Add fruit spread and soy sauce and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
  3. Thinly slice duck and fan on 4 plates, Divide broccoli among plates; spoon sauce over duck.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW Tastier than Takeout Cookbook. Duck is a wonderful protein that's fatty and full of flavor. You can enjoy duck at home without breaking the bank like you would at a restaurant. Duck may be expensive at a restaurant but if you can buy a 1-pound duck breast for less than what you'd pay for a restaurant meal, you save money. This dish may look like a hot mess but it's really delicious. You can enjoy Chinese food without having to call for takeout and it can be good for you when it's done right. I know you can't get this quality meal when you go to your local Chinese takeout venue. The sauce is so delicious you can put it on chicken, beef, turkey, pork and even certain kinds of fish. If you don't have Chinese Five-Spice in your pantry, make it yourself. use equal portions of ground cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan pepper and ground cloves for that sweet and savory flavor. One bite of this dish and you'll find yourself parting ways with the takeout menu.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Flank Steak with Middle Eastern Spice Marinade

  • 1 lb. beef flank steak, cut in half, lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. chile flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Season steak with salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients.
  3. Spread spice mix evenly over both sides of the steak; rub in with you fingers. Place steak in a shallow dish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-24 hours.
  4.  For a charcoal grill, place meat on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 17-21 minutes or until medium doneness (160 F), turning once halfway thought grilling. For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place meat on grill rack over heat. cover and grill as above.
  5. Transfer grilled meat to a cutting board. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. To serve, slice very thinly across the grain.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. Here's another quick and easy way to enjoy your steak without having to go out to the restaurant. If you enjoy Mexican food or any other spicy food, you'll love this dish. The key to the heat in this spicy is the combination of cumin and cardamom. You can enjoy this steak on it's own with a side of sautéed vegetables, serve it in a salad or serve as a sandwich in a pita with a sauce. You can also use this Middle Eastern marinade on chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, and if you dare, fish and your protein will still be delicious. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Turkey Romesco

  • 1 1 /2 lbs. boneless, skinless turkey breast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup natural whole almonds
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled & minced
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (from a jar), drained & rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Heat the oven to 450 F. Tuck under the thin ends of the turkey so it's all the same thickness. Season on both sides with paprika, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Coat with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Place the turkey in a small roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan and roast for 10 minutes longer, or until the turkey is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer registers 155 F. Tent the breast with foil ( the temperature will rise as the turkey sits and the juices recedes into the meat).
  3. While the turkey is resting, in a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over low heat. Add the almonds and garlic. Cook until the garlic is golden and the almonds are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender or a food processor and add the peppers, tomato paste, vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water. Puree until well combined.
  4. Thinly slice the turkey and serve with romesco sauce.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick & Easy Cookbook. This meal is a surprisingly delicious way to kick-start your healthy lifestyle. It's better than takeout and it's a colorful meal when you take the time to prepare it. Romesco sauce is the official sauce of Spain. It's made of roasted red bell peppers, almonds and garlic and is usually popular when topped on grilled Spanish onions. If you can't find roasted red peppers in a jar, use red bell peppers instead. Place the red bell peppers under the broiler and broil them until they turn black on sides, let them rest until cool enough to handle, peel away the skin and put into the blender or food processor along with other ingredients and blend together. I added freshly ground pepper to this recipe because food tastes better when it's properly seasoned with salt and pepper. If you have extra Romesco sauce, save it and use it on top of chicken, pork or even scrambled eggs. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Roast Chicken with Chili-Lime Sauce

  • 2 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (10 oz.) bone-in, skin-on, chicken breast halves
  • 1/3 cup tomato juice
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Makes 4 Servings
  1. heat the oven to 425 F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the herbes de Provence, 1/4 tsp. of salt, pepper and garlic. With your fingers, carefully lift the chicken skin without removing it. rub the herbes de Provence  mixture under the skin and over the chicken.
  3. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes or until cooked through but still juicy. Let cool briefly. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin.
  4. Meanwhile, in another small bowl, whisk together the tomato juice, lime juice ,chili powder and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk in the oil.
  5. Divide the chicken among 4 plates. Drizzle each serving with 2 tablespoons sauce and serve warm.
Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook. The folks at the South Beach Diet have made another chicken dinner winner. It's a Phase 1 dish that's can be made in 30 minutes or less and it's a good excuse to turn on the oven and warm up the kitchen. I highly recommend adding freshly ground black pepper and minced garlic with the herb mixture because garlic and pepper always make the food taste better. The chili-lime sauce gives the chicken a nice kick of flavor and the chicken is so moist and juicy when it comes out the oven. I highly recommend using Lime, Garlic or herbes de Provence-Infused Olive Oil for the sauce. For more information, visit

Tostados with Pork & Chipotle Cream

  • 1 (1-lb. ) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 tsp. minced chipotle en adabo
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 cup fat-free canned refried beans, warmed
  • 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
  • 2 cups sliced romaine lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
Makes 4 Servings
  1.  Cut pork tenderloin into 4 equal pieces. Slice each horizontally at the middle without cutting entirely through the meat  and open up each like a book. Combine chili powder, salt, cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle onto pork, coating all sides.
  2. Spray large skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for 3 minutes; cut into strips.
  3. Combine sour cream, chipotle, lime juice, and sugar in a small bowl. Spread warmed refried beans on tostados. Top with lettuce, strips of pork, and tomato; drizzle chipotle cream sauce evenly  over top of each.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW Tastier than Takeout Cookbook. These will be your new Mexican guilty pleasures instead of the other food you get at the other Mexican fast food joints. It's a very filling meal that's filled with protein and will quickly fill you up. You can use black beans in place of the refried beans but it may change the point value. You can use chicken, steak or even turkey in this tostada and it will still be good.