Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Matzoh Ball Soup

  • 1/2 cup matzoh meal
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup seltzer water or water
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 6 cups homemade or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Makes 6 Servings ( 1 cup soup
  1. To make the matzoh balls, combine the matzoh meal, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Combine the eggs, seltzer water, and oil in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the matzoh meal mixture and stir until just blended. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Bring the broth, carrots and shallot to a boil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the carrots are partially tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. With wet hands, shape the matzoh mixture into 12 balls. Carefully drop the balls, one at a time, into the simmering soup. Simmer, covered, until the matzoh balls are cooked through and tender, 20-30 minutes, stirring in the peas during the last 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley just before serving.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW Ultimate Chicken Cookbook. This was my second attempt at making Matzoh ball soup and it was delicious. Matzoh ball soup is a traditional favorite first course meal during Passover but you can enjoy this soup anytime of the year. Making the matzoh balls may get a little messy but they will be perfect when you carefully put them in the soup and they cook for 20-30 minutes. They're like cracker meatballs. I highly recommend adding 2 cloves of minced garlic because garlic always makes everything better. I also recommend using thyme or rosemary if you don't have parsley on hand.

Poached Chicken with Asparagus & Hoisin Sauce

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 (5 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lb. slender asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 tsp. Asian (dark) sesame oil
Makes 4 Servings
  1. Stir together the hoisin sauce, rice wine, water, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper flakes in a large skillet; bring to a boil. Add the chicken; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through, 10-12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook just until crisp-tender; about 3 minutes; drain.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat; boil until slightly thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil and any accumulated chicken juices. Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Divide the chicken and asparagus among 4 plates. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and asparagus.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW Ultimate Chicken Cookbook. This quick and easy dinner is tastier than takeout and tastes just as delicious. This chicken is succulently juicy and melts in your mouth. Cooking chicken in a liquid over medium and gently heat will guarantee that your chicken will be moist, while slicing it on a bias makes it tender and delicious. Hoisin sauce is found is the Asian and international isle of most supermarkets. Hoisin sauce is made from soybeans, chiles, garlic, and spices. If you're ever in the mood for Asian takeout, don't pick up the phone, just get the ingredients and cook this dish.

Bittersweet Chocolate Grand Manier Souffle Cake

  • 1 tsp. whole wheat flour
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup nonfat yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. Grand Marnier
  • 2 tbsp. half-and-half
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • parchment paper
  • powdered sugar for dusting
Makes 12 Servings
  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place a parchment circle in bottom of pan. Lightly dust with 1 teaspoon flour.
  2. Combine chocolate, yogurt, Grand Marnier, half-and-half, and orange zest in a double boiler over low heat. let melt, stirring periodically to prevent scorching the chocolate. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whip for 5-8 minutes on high speed or until light in color and fluffy; the mixture should form ribbons when lifted from the bowl.
  4. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in cocoa powder.
  5. In a clean bowl with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until frothy. add the salt and cream of tartar. Use high speed to whip egg whites just to stiff peaks.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture, adding 1/3 of the egg whites first, then gently folding in the remaining 2/3 until just mixed.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or until the center is set.
  8. Let cool. The cake will fall slightly when cooled. run a knife around the edges of the pan to remove from springform pan. Gently invert to remove paper from he bottom of the cake.
  9. Serve with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Note: This recipe appear in the New Sonoma Cookbook. This is quite a dessert with such a nice after taste. Making any kind of soufflé is always a challenge because you want to make sure the egg whites are whipped to perfection. Make sure you COMPLETELY separate the egg yolks from the egg whites because any presence of yolks in the whites interferes with the formation of the foam and will prevent the egg whites from  whipping to a light fluffy meringue. Once you start beating the eggs, do not stop or else the meringues will be flat. The combination of orange and chocolate is so decadent. You can use any kind of liquor such as rum, brandy, cognac, Bailey's Irish Cream, Kahlua or even Godiva chocolate Liquor and the dessert will be heavenly delicious. Also, do not slam the oven door when placing the cake in the oven because the egg whites are delicate and will lose volume if overfolded or banged on the counter.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Provence Goat Cheese Burgers

  • 1 lb. ground sirloin
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp. minced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • 4 oz. reduced-fat goat cheese, crumbled (2/3 cup)
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 whole-wheat or whole-grain hamburger buns, lightly toasted
Makes 4 Servings
WW POINTS VALUE: 5pts without bun 8 pts. with bun
  1. In a large bowl, combine ground sirloin, egg yolk, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, mustard, herbes de Provence, and goat cheese. Season beef mixture with salt and pepper at your own leisure. Form mixture into 4 patties, about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick.
  2. Lightly coat a large skillet or grill with olive oil flavored cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add burger patties and cook until cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers to 160 F.
  3. Serve burgers on buns, if using, or on bed of romaine lettuce, arugula or spinach and top with aioli, grilled onions, sliced tomatoes or sun-dried tomato pesto.
Note: This is a recipe I created this past weekend when I was cleaning out the refrigerator and had a craving for a gourmet cheeseburger. Sometimes when you're craving beef but you don't want to cook steak and vegetables a cheeseburger will do just fine. I was craving a gourmet cheeseburger and so I was looking through my refrigerator to see what I had to eat. Thank goodness I had all the items I needed to make a gourmet cheeseburger. I have never been to France but I can only imagine this is what Provence tastes like: creamy and heavenly delicious. The crumbled goat cheese gave the burger a nice tangy taste and the tomato paste gave it an extra kick of flavor. If you have to use bread crumbs in this burger to hold everything together, I highly recommend it. As for the toppings, I highly recommend a bed of romaine lettuce, arugula or spinach, sliced grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, tomato, aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and/or sun-dried tomato pesto for an authentic Mediterranean flare. As for the olive oil, I highly recommend Herbes de Provence Infused Olive Oil from the Imperial Olive. Fore more information, visit

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Casa Tua Restaurant Tuna Tartare

  • 2 lbs. tuna, sashimi or sushi quality, chopped
  • 1 oz. capers in salt, rinsed
  • 6 oz. olives nicoise, pitted and cubed
  • 4 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, cubed
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh red chile pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Fleur de sel (French sea salt) or kosher salt
Makes 8 Servings

Mix the tuna, capers, olives, tomatoes, cilantro, and pepper, and season with oil, vinegar, and Fleur de sel.


Note: This recipe appears in the South Beach Diet Cookbook. This recipe was created by chef Sergio Sigala of Casa Tua Restaurant in Miami. Casa Tua is an elegant restaurant in a  converted Mediterranean villa in South Beach where guest can enjoy Northern Italian cuisine, fine wine and art. I've never been to Miami but when I do visit Miami, I hope I can eat at this restaurant. This is an elegant appetizer that is delicious and packed with flavor. This appetizer is a marriage between Northern Italy and Miami. I LOVED this appetizer. I really love sashimi tuna because I think it's the filet mignon of the sea, rich in flavor when it's cooked right. Even though the recipe calls for raw sashimi tuna cut up, I cooked the tuna about 1-2 minutes on each side after seasoning the tuna with salt and pepper. I really like a sashimi tuna with a salt and peppered crust with a RARE center. That is the best! I also used a sweet red bell pepper in place of the red chile pepper and kalamata olives in place of the nicoise olives and the dish was still delicious. This appetizer is delicious by itself or on top of cucumbers or small slices of toasted French bread. If you want to kick it up a notch in flavor with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, visit for sophisticated flavors. Also, for more information on Casa Tua Restaurant, visit

Provencal Chicken Strips

  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6-8 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/4 tsp. dried
  • 3 cups hot cooked whole-wheat pasta
Makes 4 Servings (1 1/2 cups chicken & pasta mixture per serving)
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the chicken, stirring constantly, 4 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, 2-4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, capers, vinegar, and rosemary. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Serve the chicken mixture over the pasta.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW New Complete Cookbook. This is what I call the healthy and sophisticated version of fast food. You will never find this dish at Chick-Fil-A, TRUST ME! I have never been to France but visiting France (especially Paris!) is at the top of my travel bucket list. This dish is delicious and what I think Provence tastes like, elegant and sophisticated. if you keep your panty stocked with these basic ingredients, you can make this dinner any night of the week and everyone will be happy. As for the olive oil, use Rosemary or Garlic Infused Olive Oil from the Imperial Olive in Williamsburg, VA. For more information, visit

Braised Pot Roast

  • 3 lbs. beef top round, lean
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups onions, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, cut into 1/6-inch thick
  • 3 cloves, garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp. thyme, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Makes 10 servings
  1. Season meat with salt and pepper
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and meat. Sear meat all over until nicely browned. Remove from pan and place in crockpot.
  3. Add onion, celery, and carrots to sauté pan; sauté for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and turn up heat to brown. Add garlic and spices; cook until aromatic. Add tomatoes and red wine; reduce by half. Add beef stock and soy sauce. Pour over meat in crockpot. Turn crockpot on low, cover, and let cook for 6 hours or until the meat is tender.
  4. Remove the meat from the crockpot. Place on a cutting board. Let sit. degrease the sauce; adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Stir in parsley. Slice the meat. Add to sauce and serve.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. This meal is a great comfort food for whenever you're feeling cold and you want some comfort. You can make this meal in the morning and let it sit in the crockpot in the morning and let it cook nice and slow so it will be delicious after a long day. The amount of cooking that is necessary will depend on the shape of the roast. The longer and skinnier the roast, the shorter the cooking time. The more dense the roast, the longer it needs to cook.  There is also a healthy portion of vegetables in this meal which will fill you up. The original recipe calls for chicken stock so I use beef stock instead for a more beefy flavor. Don't forget to serve potatoes alongside the pot roast. What's a great meat dinner without a side of potatoes?