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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Meditarannean Pizza

A staple of mine is homemade pizza. As I do not want to have the excess calories that go with ordering in pizza, for years I have taken to making my own homemade za. I have experimented with many toppings. I think my favorite thus far are the following meditarranean flavors.

Using whole wheat pizza dough and pizza sauce I topped the dough with:

1 portobello mushroom, sliced
1/2 zuchinni sliced
1/4 eggplant sliced
1 tomato, diced
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
3 sundried tomatoes in oil, sliced
1 chicken breast, grilled, diced (optional)
8 oz goat cheese
black olives (optional)

Option is to roast the portabello mushrooms, zuchinni, eggplant for 10 minutes. Then add onto whole wheat pizza crust with sauce (see recipe) along with other toppings. Top with goat cheese and cook in the oven for 15 min and broil for 5 min or on the grill for the same amount of time. Watch to make sure it does not burn. Once crust is golden and crispy and cheese is melted remove from grill or oven. Let rest 5 mins. Cut and serve.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Low Fat Banana Bran Muffins

These low fat, low sugar banana bran 'branana' muffins are really light and moist. They make for a healthy breakfast or afternoon snack.

1/2 cup organic white flour
1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3-4 medium bananas mashed (1 1/3cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup bran flakes cereal
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl beat eggs, stir in bananas and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture. Stir in bran flakes, nuts and chips. Fill muffin tin 1/2-3/4 with batter and bake for 22-25 min at 350F.

Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuna Wrap

As a runner and weight trainer it is important for me to get the proper pre and post nutrition requirements for optimal growth and recovery of muscles and to remain injury free (ha like that will ever happen).

For my post workout I try to ensure that I get the appropriate balance of carbs, protein, fats and essential vitamins and nutrition.

One of my favourite post workout lunches (mix of protein, fats/oils, and carbs) is the following tuna wrap, which I typically eat with 1% cottage cheese topped with ground flax seed and/or a handful of almonds.

1/3 can chunk white tuna
1 T light mayonnaise (Helman's)
1 T mustard
1/2 large dill pickle, diced
hot peppers
ground pepper to taste
1 whole wheat or grain 8-10" tortilla
bunch of mesculine lettuce or baby spinach
shredded light old cheddar (optional)
slices of avocado

Basically mix the tuna with the mayo, mustard, pepper and dill pickle and place in the center of the tortillas. Add on the hot peppers, lettuce, avocado and cheese. Roll tortilla and serve.

Nutritional Facts:

The tuna offers lean source of protein helping to repair torn damaged muscles, omega-3 fatty acids (helpful in the inflammation process, as well as well known protector against heart disease and arthritis), niacin and B12;

Avocado offers a source of monounsaturated fats, vitamins K, B6, C, folate, copper and contain more potassium then a banana (877g vs 470g), copper and fiber.

The whole wheat wrap replenishes lost glycogen stores as it is a source of carbs, those with grains and flax seed offer a good source of fiber, selenium..

The spinach contains phytonutrients such as beta carotene and is a good source of calcium.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Red Pepper-Tomato Sauce

This was the dish that Marc prepared along with the green beans. At first I was skeptical about kalmata olives being the base of the stuffing, however they were not overpowering at all and the sweetness of the tomato and pepper blended well with the saltiness of the olives. Overall a delicious meal and fun to make.


1 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, whole
1 bay leaf
1 cup red pepper, diced
1 cup tomato, diced (2 medium)
1 cup cold water
1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Chicken & Stuffing

3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp cilantro, chopped
1 cup kalmata olives, pitted
4 to 5 T olive oil

6 to 8 chicken thighs, boned
1/4 cup water


Directions for Sauce: heat oil in a large sauce pan over high heat. Add the garlic clove, bay leaf, peppers, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and summer until the peppers are tender, about 25mins. Add the cilantro halfway through cooking. Transfer mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and return to pan to keep warm. Makes about 1 1/2 cups and can keep in fridge for 1-2 days.

Directions for Stuffing: Drop the garlic, cilantro, olives and 1 T of the oil into food processor and process until finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse again and scrap into a small bowl. This can also be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for 2 days.

Directions for Chicken: Preheat oven to 400F. Season the inside of the thighs with salt and pepper. Put about 1 1/2 tsp of olive paste inside each thigh. Tie closed with kitchen string, or use toothpicks. Or you can do as we did and use nothing, just let the chicken cook together.

Heat 2 T oil in a large oven proof skillet over med-high heat until hot. Lower the heat to medium add the chicken thighs and saute until brown all over. Put the skillet in the oven until chicken opaque,a bout 20 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Pour off the fat from the pan and add the water (1/4 cup) and palce over medium heat and stir and scrap up all the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan (this will add amazing flavour to the sauce). Simmer until slightly reduced and add the sauce to the pan and reheat gently.

Plate the chicken and pour desired about of sauce over top of the chicken and serve with a nice side dish (recommend Lemon Butter Green Beans with Almonds). Another option is to make this a true italian dish by placing the chicken on a cup of cooked linguini pasta and pouring the sauce over it.

Serves: 2 (4 if served with pasta)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Lemon Butter Green Beans with Almonds

Once again my husband showed off his culinary skills by making a delicious meal Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Red Pepper-Tomato Sauce with Lemon Butter Green Beans with Almonds on the side. The beans only cook for a few minutes in this recipe keeping them fresh and crunchy tasting.
1/3 lbs fresh green beans
1 T unsalted butter
1 T minced shallots or green onions
1 T sliced almonds
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch salt
pinch freshly ground pepper
Heat the butter in a medium sauec pan over medium heat. Add theshallots and cool for 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Add the almonds and cook for about 1 minute. Add the green beans and toss to coat evenly. Cook just enough to warm through so beans stay crunchy.
Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
Remove fromt he heat and serve immediately.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Toblerone Chocolate Fondue

Although this was not created for Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fitting to post such a delicious and sensual dessert on Love Day.

For all you chocolate lovers - you need to try this irresistable chocolate fondue made with toblerone bars directly from Switzerland (thanks Gina), heavy cream and vanilla. This chocolate served with fresh market fruits and strawberry infused champagne is a simpe yet elegant dessert.

6 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tsp honey
2 3.52-ounce bars Toblerone bar, chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Assorted fresh fruit (strawberries, 1-inch-thick slices peeled banana, peeled pear wedges and orange segments)

Bring cream and honey to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Add chocolate; whisk until melted. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla extract. Pour fondue into fondue bowl; place on platter. Surround with fruit. Serve with skewers.

Serve with champagne with sliced strawberries.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Baguette, Brie and Mango Chutney

I recently discovered that the mango chutney I made for an indian dish went extremely well with baguette and brie. The sweetness of the chutney compliments the bitterness of the brie. Try serving this as an appetizer with a nice red wine.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mango Salsa

2 x mangos cubed
2 x green onions sliced thin
2 tbsp red onion, chopped fine
1 x Thai chili, finely chopped
(if use jalapenos without seeds salsa is good but hot!)
3-4 tbsp cilantro, chopped roughly
2 tbsp red pepper, chopped into ¼ inch cubes
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper to taste

Combined all ingredients in a bowl and add season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill mixture in refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving.

Serve with blackened fish or brie.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Shrimp in Creamy Tomato Sauce on Penne

This is a nice light tomato creamy sauce without the heaviness (calories and fat) that many cream based sauces have. Instead of using cream and loads of butter, this recipe uses 1% milk and flour to thicken the sauce. This makes for a silky and creamy texture.

1/8 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup 1% milk
1 x 190z can whole tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
1/2 lbs portabello mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini sliced
1 large tomato, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes (cayenne flakes) use 1 1/2 tsp for hotter version
1 lbs large shrimp, uncooked and deshelled
4 cups whole wheat penne
1/4 cup paremesan cheese

Melt butter in large pot and add garlic, onions and flour, cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add milk and boil for 3-4 minutes. Stir in tomotoes (canned and freshly chopped), tomato paste, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, cook for 5 minutes.

In a seperate skillet cook mushrooms and zucchini in 1 T olive oil for 4 minutes. Then add to the tomato cream mixture. Add parmesan cheese. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile cook penne. Bring water to a boil add pasta, remove from heat and let sit for 10minutes. Drain.

Add shrimp to tomato cream sauce until pink.

Either mix the penne with the cream sauce, or spoon desired amount of sauce over penne. Garnish with parmesan and parsely.

Serves: 6

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Low Fat Banana Nut Bread

1 cup whole wheat four
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup walnuts or pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in brown sugar.
In a medium bowl, combine oil, egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract.

Mix wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and add in bananas. Mix just until moist and then fold in nuts.

Cook for 50-60minutes.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mesculine, Pear & Walnut Salad w/ Dijon Vinaigrette

This is a simple salad which is nice to serve in autumn or winter. Takes 5-10 minutes to put together, making it a nice fast side dish to make for company.

6 cups mesculin salad mix
1 - 2 pears (anjou) sliced thinly or cubed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
shaved gorgonzola cheese (optional)
cracked pepper
Simple mix all the ingredients together and serve with the following vinaigrette.
Dijon Vinaigrette

2 oz olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
3 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 T grainy dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste