Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vegetable Rice Salad

This makes about 3 to 4 servings. The first photo below is the leftovers we had after dinner for two with a fish entree.




Ingredients
½ to ¾ cup long-grain or brown rice or quinoa - I used long grain brown rice
½ red bell pepper, chopped
½ medium cucumber, diced
½ pint grape tomatoes, halved - I diced up a tomato because I did not have any grape or cherry tomatoes
¼ small red onion, diced or 2 green onions, chopped
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil - I did not have any fresh basil when I prepared this and took these photos (although I do today!), so I used 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon brown sugar blend




Directions
Cook rice according to directions. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes, and fluff with fork. Add bell pepper, and next 8 ingredients; toss well. I actually cut up the remaining ingredients and measured them into the bowl while the rice cooked. I then added the rice and continued as below.

Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, and brown sugar blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over rice mixture; toss well. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Whole-Wheat Low Fat Cheesy Bread Sticks

I had a few too many mozzarella cheese sticks than we would eat before the expiration date. I must have gotten a little crazy when they were last on sale, or else I did not look at the expiration dates closely! So, I came up with the following delicious idea for how to use them.


Ingredients
1 batch of my homemade whole-grain pizza dough - recipe in this blog, and in my book
Cut/chopped slices of jalapeƱos from a jar, optional - if you prefer fresh, I imagine they would be a bit crispy in the finished product unless they are partially cooked first
About 8 low fat mozzarella cheese sticks, cut in half lengthwise or into 4 cubes
Additional toppings as desired: turkey pepperoni, Canadian bacon, cooked and diced turkey bacon

Directions
Prepare the pizza dough as directed. Stir in the cut jalapeƱos with the flour and oil.

While the dough is rising, prepare baking sheet and remaining ingredients. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Cut cheese and other ingredients into desired size pieces.

When the dough is ready for the baking sheet, pick up a chunk of dough, place a cheese piece and any additional topping on the dough piece. Wrap the dough around the cheese, and then roll it between your hands until the ball or log piece is smooth and there are no holes in the dough. Add more dough, if needed.


Place dough pieces on prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise  for 15 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°. Place baking sheet in oven, and reduce temperature to 375°. You can probably keep the oven temperature at 425°; however, since I had never baked these before, I opted to turn it down to make sure 425° was not too high. Bake until done12 to 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the freezer, and preheat as needed.

I tried the cheese pieces 3 different ways
I made a couple of these with the entire cheese stick, a few of them cut in half lengthwise, and a few of them cut into 4 pieces. Next time, I would not leave any of the cheese sticks whole. The cheese goes farther if cut, and an entire cheese stick is not needed. 

Even though there were no holes in my dough pieces, a bit of cheese leaked out from a couple of them. Some might suggest using parchment paper so the cheese does not leak onto the baking sheet; however, I did not think that was necessary. The cheese that leaked out, easily came up from the baking sheet still attached to the dough piece it had run out from.

I did not use any pepperoni or bacon in these, although I would have, if I had thought of it before I wrapped them all up!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Creamy Cauliflower Lettuce Salad

This recipe is my variation of a popular salad recipe I have had for years. I added a few ingredients, and I changed some of the ingredients from the original version I had.

photo taken the next day

Ingredients
¾ cup mayo
Scant ½ cup nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons grated low fat Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry ranch dressing mix
1 tablespoon nonfat milk, if needed
¼ cup finely chopped/sliced red or green onion
2 slices cooked and crumbled turkey bacon - I used Jennie-O
Freshly ground pepper
1 small head cauliflower or ½ large head, cut into pieces
Torn romaine lettuce




Directions
Mix dressing ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Stir in onion, bacon, a few sprinkles of freshly ground pepper, and then cauliflower. The photo above has just a small amount of cauliflower stirred in. I started to add the cauliflower and then decided I should have taken a photo to show the texture before stirring it in. I used 1 tablespoon of milk.

As I have written in my book - I always use olive oil based mayo. Hellman's is slightly creamier than Kraft; however, the fat content is also higher. Therefore, I almost always use Kraft, although I occasionally purchase Hellman's.


Arrange torn lettuce on serving plates and then top with the cauliflower. May also add lettuce to salad in bowl, mix lightly, and then serve. This last photo shows all of the ingredients combined except the lettuce and ground pepper. I forgot to stir in the pepper so we added it at the table. The tiny bits of seasoning visible in the photo are from the dry dressing mix.

I took a photo of the salad at the top of this post with the lettuce when I had the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Grilled Cheese without the Bread or Cauliflower Grilled Cheese

Did everyone see the cauliflower grilled cheese sandwich on the Dr. Oz Show or in the video? If you follow the link to view the recipe and watch the video, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page, as the photo at the top of the page is a photo of a regular grilled cheese sandwich. Confusing, I thought!

I decided to try this. The taste was pretty good, although it does not replace sourdough bread, in my opinion. I would say this is an excellent idea for replacing the bread version occasionally to introduce more veggies into your diet, and to cut down on carbs. 

½ of the sandwich
Below are my results and the slightly modified quantities from the recipe on the Dr. Oz page. I intended to cut the recipe in half for 1 sandwich, which did not work out too well because my large head of cauliflower must have been much larger than the medium sized head used in their recipe.









Ingredients  
2 cups shredded cauliflower - the original recipe calls for 1 medium head of riced cauliflower. I measured my cauliflower because I wanted to know how much I had. I got 2 cups from less than ½ a large head, which was enough for 2 sandwiches. The photos here are from 1 very large sandwich.
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 3 tablespoons low fat jack or mozzarella cheese, shredded - I had Co-Jack cheese open, so I used that.
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon olive oil
⅓ cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded - again, I used Co-Jack. Half of the recipe would have been ¼ cup; however, I thought the sandwich looked like it needed more cheese, so I added more.
½  teaspoon olive oil

shredded cauliflower

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium mixing bowl combine the shredded cauliflower, egg, 2 to 3 tablespoons of cheese, a few grinds of freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. 

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Mound the cauliflower mixture onto the baking sheet, and flatten it into a thin rectangle about the thickness of thin bread. I wished I had made mine a bit flatter.

ready for the oven

For 2 sandwiches, cut the cauliflower into 4 equal squares with a knife. I made only 1 large sandwich in the photos shown here.

Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned—12 to 14 minutes. Let the slices cool before gently removing them from the baking sheet.

Heat a non-stick pan, add one teaspoon of olive oil, place slices side-by-side, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not skip this step. I put the slices on the skillet with the browned side up and added the cheese right away, because I thought it would be crispy enough. When it was done, I could tell that it would have been better if I had browned both sides in the skillet also. 

on the griddle
Turn the slices over. Sprinkle most of the cheese evenly over half of the slices, cover with the second slices, press down, and cook until the cheese starts melting. 

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the sandwiches (yes, on the outside of the slices). Flip the sandwich and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side. As long as you are using a non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil, this will not stick to the pan.