Tag Archives: lemon juice

Tabouli with Quinoa

Usually I am not a big fan of mint. No mojitos for me.  And definitely none of that flourescent green mint jelly when I have lamb! That is wrong to my taste buds on so many levels. Luckily my husband is not a fan either. So many recipes have mint in them and most of the time, to me anyway, it’s too much. So when I tried Tabouli years ago I was surprised to find that there was mint in it! Imagine that! I liked it in spite of that! And now with my new favorite food, quinoa, I can have that delicious tabouli salad with a more healthy twist! It’s a refreshing and filling salad for lunch or a side dish or just for snacking in the afternoon. I will also add crumbled feta cheese to mine for a little extra zip. You can use goat cheese if you want too, anything you like really. Just don’t go crazy and kill all the good with too much cheese. Moderation! This recipe is also one time where you should have the fresh parsley rather than dried.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water

¼ cup fresh parsley, without stems

2/3 cup green onions (scallions), cut into ¼” pieces

1½ cups peeled cucumbers, cut into ¼” pieces

1½ cups chopped tomatoes, cut into ¼” pieces

1 garlic clove, minced (no garlic powder on this)

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon dried mint (optional)

½ cup crumbled light or fat-free feta cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Put quinoa in a fine strainer and rinse under running water until water runs clear. Drain well. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Cover pan, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until water is absorbed. Quinoa will be fluffy. Chill in the refrigerator or rinse cooked quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer under COLD running water. Drain well.

2. Toss remaining ingredients with quinoa and serve!

Makes 5 cups (1 cup per serving)

Sandwich Spreads

When we make sandwiches we usually put either mayonnaise or mustard or both on them. I’m the last person to put down mayonnaise but why not try something different. I actually use guacamole sometimes if I have leftovers in the fridge. Have to use it before it turns brown so I use it on sandwiches, hamburgers and even hot dogs! So good! I have a few other substitutes that we can all use on our sandwiches that will definitely give them more pizzazz! Don’t be scared, try it, you may like it. And I of course will use the light versions of most of these items if they are available. These spreads will last up to a week in the fridge!

BLUE CHEESE & WALNUT BUTTER

This is great on roast chicken, beef or apple sandwiches.

Beat ½ cup soft butter and ½ cup crumbled blue cheese in a bowl. Stir in ¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts. Makes 1 cup

CREAMY PEPPERY GREENS

This is great on roast beef or corned beef sandwiches.

Stir 1/3 cup minced arugula, 1/3 cup minced radicchio, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper  into 1 cup mayonnaise. Makes 1 2/3 cup.

FIG JAM

This is great for turkey or grilled cheese sandwiches.

Plump 1 cup chopped dried figs in 3 cups hot water for 25 minutes. Drain the figs, reserving some liquid. Puree in a food processor. Add the saved liquid until the mixture is spreadable. Like jam! Stir in ¼ teaspoon orange zest. Makes 2/3 cup.

ZESTY WHITE BEAN

This spread is delicious on ham, veggie or tuna steak sandwiches.

Blend one 15-ounce can rinsed cannellini beans in a food processor with 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Makes 1 cup.

Mini Upside-Down Key Lime Pies

Key Lime Pie is one of my all time favorite pies. If I splurge and get dessert when we’re out for dinner and Key Lime Pie is on the menu I can’t resist. (Unless there’s crème brûlée or tiramisu also!) But with the crust and sugar and rest of the high calorie ingredients I am always hesitant to order it. This recipe makes 5 little “pies” so it’s portion controlled and using lighter ingredients helps me stay in control. The recipe calls for sugar-free Jell-O, this can be an issue for me. Jell-O uses aspartame in their sugar-free product and I am allergic to it. I get intense migraines from even a little bit. So unless I find a sugar-free gelatin with sucralose in it I will probably use the full sugar version on the Jell-O.

For illustrative purposes only!

INGREDIENTS:

1 4-serving package (or half an 8-serving package) Jell-O Sugar-Free Lime Gelatin dessert mix

1 no-calorie sweetener packet (Splenda)

1½ tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups Cool Whip Free, thawed

2 sheets (8 crackers) low-fat honey graham crackers, lightly crushed

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup boiling water with gelatin mix and sweetener. Stir for at least 2 minutes, until completely dissolved.

2. Mix in lemon juice, vanilla extract, and ½ cup cold water. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, until slightly thickened but still mixable.

3. Stir in the Cool Whip. Whisk until completely blended. Divide mixture among 5 small bowls. Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

4. Once ready to serve, evenly distribute crushed graham crackers over the pies.

Makes 5 servings

Per pie: 83 calories, 1g fat, 15g carbs, 5g sugar, 1g protein, <.5g fiber

Lobster Rolls

This one’s for you Cheryl! Lobster rolls always remind me of my visits to Maine in the summer. They come on those square-like  New England-style split-top rolls. If you can’t find those rolls just use a regular long sandwich roll or even a larger hot dog rolls. This salad can be made with cooked lobster or shrimp. Either way it will be delicious and the salads should last up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Then again I am sure they won’t last that long so it won’t be a problem! If you are watching the calories or carbs you can always serve this on a bed of lettuce or in a hollowed out large beefsteak tomato or bell pepper! They will be so much better than anything you can buy already made! It’s funny, when in Maine or anywhere in New England they sell Lobster Rolls everywhere. At the rest stops on the highways, fast food restaurants, small restaurants, big restaurants, you name it, you can find the “rolls” pretty much everywhere! This will bring a little bit of New England to your home no matter where you live!

INGREDIENTS:

1½ pounds (4 cups) cooked lobster meat (preferably cold water lobster meat), cut into chunks

¾ cup finely chopped celery with leaves

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; more to taste

freshly ground pepper

6 hot dog rolls, preferably New England-style split-top rolls


DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, stir the celery, mayonnaise, chives, tarragon, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the lobster meat and season to taste with more lemon, salt and pepper.

2. Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat broiler to HIGH. Toast both sides of the rolls under the broiler, about 1 minute per side. Spoon the lobster salad into the rolls, using about 2/3 cup per roll.

VARIATION: Substitute 2 pounds cooked large shrimp (31-40 per lb.) cut into ½-¾” pieces.

Don’t forget to go to http://www.cucinadiandrea.com for more food fun! And if there is any recipe you’d like to see on here please leave a comment here or on my website and I will do my best to get you what you want!

Pesto #3: Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto

Spinach and pine nut pesto is almost the same as the basil pesto. It looks the same and tastes just as good. Basil can be expensive especially if you’re using a large quantity of it. But with the wonderful bags of washed, pretrimmed spinach making a spinach pesto is a snap. Using the bags saves so much time as well, you don’t have to keep cleaning it over and over to get all the dirt out of it. And there are sales almost all the time for the bags of spinach. Many of them are buy 1 get 1 free! So this is a more economical way to make a great pesto! This pesto is great with grilled chicken, pasta, anything!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups (tightly packed) baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

1-2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about ½ lemon)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon salt, more to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste


DIRECTIONS:

1. In a food processor, combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon zest, and lemon juice. With the machine running, gradually add the oil, blending until it is creamy.

2. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl. Stir in the cheese, salt and pepper. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.

Makes 1 cup. The pesto can be made 2 days ahead of time.

Crockpot Lemon Chicken

I was swamped today so I cannot take credit for this recipe. I got it from “The Hillbilly Housewife”. Check her site by clicking on her crockpot icon on the side of this page.  It used the ‘crockpot’ as stated and makes a great dinner when you don’t have the time. The recipe is easy and mindless, which is something we need every so often! Plus it’s healthy and full of protein! So enjoy!


INGREDIENTS:

4 chicken breast boneless skinless (about 25 oz)
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tbsp light butter
2 cloves garlic minced
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp no sodium chicken bouillon granules

DIRECTIONS:

Start by cutting the chicken into bite sized pieces. Mine are roughly 1 inch square. The chicken will shrink as it cooks, so keep the chunks a little larger than you would like them to be in the end. As always when you are working with raw chicken, be sure to wipe down all surfaces, cutting boards and knifes well.

Get out a medium-sized bowl and pour the flour and spices in it. Add the chicken pieces and cover them to coat all sides with the flour.

Get out a large pan and add the oil and butter. I’m using the butter for flavor and the oil for the higher cooking temperature. If you are watching your budget, you may omit the butter and use a little more oil instead. Put the pan on medium high until all the butter has melted.

Take the chicken out of the flour mixture, shaking off any extra flour as you go and drop them into the hot grease. I usually cook this in two batches. Cook the chicken for a few minutes until it has a chance to brown nicely on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and put it in your crockpot.

Pour the water and lemon juice in the pan you cooked the chicken in and add the garlic and bullion. Stir them to combine and use your spatula to scrape the bits of chicken and flour mixture off the bottom of the pan. They will help thicken the sauce as it cooks. Pour this mixture over the chicken in the crockpot.

Close the lid and cook everything on low for about 3 hours. Remove the lid and cook on high for 30 to 40 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

I serve this with brown rice and a green vegetable like broccoli or green beans. In the summer I serve it with a mixed salad.

Summer Shrimp Salad

Shrimp salad always reminds me of summertime, the seashore, the beach and a quick easy salad that is delicious. This version adds a little twist, the twist being avocado. It is also a salad without all the mayonnaise, and that means fewer calories. A great light summer delight for lunch or a light dinner with a sandwich or even cup of chowder! This recipe serves 6 but if you want to make it for less people cut it in half. Avocados are so good for us with their good fats and along with the rest of the salad we’re eating much healthier, which is a good thing!


INGREDIENTS:

1 pound large cooked shrimp, peeled

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved

2 avocados, cut into cubes

1 shallot, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Grated peel of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, tomatoes, avocados, shallot and basil.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the lemon peel, lemon juice, garlic and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Slowly pour in the olive oil whisking constantly until combined. Pour the dressing over the shrimp and serve.

Serves 6

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