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 www.TheImperialOlive.com.

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 www.TheImperialOlive.com for sophisticated flavors. Also, for more information on Casa Tua Restaurant, visit www.casatualifestyle.com

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 www.TheImperialOlive.com.

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?  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Chicken Saute with Lemon-Caper Sauce

  • 4 (1/4 lb.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to a 1/8-inch thickness
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. drained capers
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Makes 4 Servings (1 piece of chicken with generous 1 tbsp. sauce)
  1. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper.
  2. Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Add the broth, lemon juice, capers, and oregano; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, turning the chicken once to coat with the sauce, until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in the remaining 1 teaspoon butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Note: This recipe appears in the WW Ultimate Chicken Cookbook. This is a nice meal that's quick and easy and your family & friends will literally eat this up. This is what they would serve at a restaurant but if you make this dish at home, it's healthier for you and you know what's in the dish. if you want to serve this dish to company, serve this dish over wide egg noodles. Serve 1/2 cup egg noodles alongside the chicken for an extra 3 points per serving and it will be delicious. I added the garlic because garlic always makes everything better. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach, Carmalized Onion & Goat Cheese Fritatta

  • 1 cup onions, julienned
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup skim or low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • pinch Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp.freshly ground black pepper
  • Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese
  • sliced scallions (optional)
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Makes 4 servings
  1.  Spray a skillet with nonstick spray. Saute the onions and garlic over medium heat until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add diced roasted red peppers and spinach; sauté until wilted. Drain excess liquid in a colander. Return to sauté pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, scallions, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Pour eggs into skillet; do not stir. Ass eggs set, run a spatula around the edge of the skillet, lifting eggs so uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking and lifting edges until eggs are almost set (surface will be moist).
  4.  Remove skillet from heat; Sprinkle in pieces of crumbled goat cheese. Cover and let stand for 3-4 minutes or until top is set. Loosen edge of frittata. Transfer to a serving plate; cut into wedges to serve. Garnish with additional sliced scallions and parsley, if desired.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. Who does not love a frittata from time to time? This is what I call a Mediterranean frittata because of the roasted red peppers, spinach and goat cheese. The original recipe called for feta cheese but goat cheese works just as well and make the frittata more creamy and delicious. You can make this on a Sunday and enjoy it for breakfast every day of the week. Eggs and vegetables will quickly fill you up and you're not as hungry throughout the day.

Creamy Artichoke Dip

  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. celery, diced small
  • 1 cup frozen artichokes, cooked
  • 4 oz. low-fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 can white beans, drained (reserve liquid)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. chives, chopped
  • 1 pinch cayenne or Tobasco
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Makes 1 cup, 8 servings (2 tbsp. per serving)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. add garlic and celery and cook until garlic is aromatic, about 20 seconds. Add artichokes and sauté until the artichokes are slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Cool in refrigerator.
  2. Combine the cream cheese and white beans in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add cooled artichoke mixture. Puree until slightly chucky. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add chives and cayenne or Tobasco sauce.
Note: This recipe appears in the New Sonoma Cookbook. This dip makes a great snack with homemade chips, vegetables an even proteins such as chicken tenders or beef cubes. This dip also taste great on warm flatbread or in sandwiches as well. The cannellini beans not only add fiber and another vegetable serving; they also add a rich, creamy texture to the dip. You can also use shredded basil or tarragon in place of the chives and the dip will still be good. I highly recommend using Kraft Philadelphia Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese for a more authentic vegetable taste.