Hello - I'm a bit behind because my job has me out of town but I will be updating with more recipes very soon. Thank you for your patience.

Weekly Sustenence Chef (2/28/2009)

UPDATE: I'm just two weeks behind now (If you count this week). Hang in there!

UPDATE #2 - Life has gotten busy but I will return post a family emergency. Back to the hosptial! 4/28/2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Meal: Chicken and Asparagus in White Wine Sauce

Chicken and Asparagus in White Wine Sauce: I have substituted salmon in this dish on occasion but just omitted pounding and dredging it in flour.

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken breasts evenly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add wine, broth, and garlic to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes. Add asparagus; cover and cook 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and juice. Serve asparagus and sauce with chicken.

Cookinglight October 2007

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Simple, garlicky potatoes. If you prefer not to have the potato skins, peel before boiling.

2 large baking potatoes, quartered
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup skim milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Fill a small pot with cold water , add the potatoes and bring it up to a boil. Reduce to a low boil and allow to cook for about 20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. When cooked, pour off water. In the same pot, mash potatoes with a potato masher (you can use a hand mixer if you prefer a smoother consistency). Add in butter, milk, garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to mash in seasonings. Add in additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Meal: Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew with Buttered Egg Noodles

Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew with Buttered Egg Noodles: This is a great twist on a classic beef stew recipe. If you have leftover homemade cranberry sauce consider using it instead of the canned variety

1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 (12-ounce) Guinness Stout
1 (10-ounce) package frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce

8 cups cooked egg noodles (about 1 pound)
Chopped fresh thyme (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle over beef. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add chopped onion, broth, bay leaves, and stout; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in pearl onions and mushrooms; cook, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine 1/4 cup water and flour in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and cranberry sauce to pan. Cook 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve with noodles. Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired.

Cookinglight October 2007

Meal: Mussels Marinara with Linguine, Garlic Bread, and Tossed Salad

Mussels Marinara with Linguine: This reminds me of a great east coast Italian restaurant I once visited.

3 cups Basic Marinara
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 pounds mussels (about 80 mussels), scrubbed and debearded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 lb cooked linguine noodles
1 loaf frozen garlic bread, cooked according to package directions

Tossed Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
1 roma tomato diced
1 small cucumber, diced
favorite salad dressing

Bring Basic Marinara and pepper to a simmer in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add mussels to pan; cover and cook 5 minutes or until shells open. Discard any unopened shells. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve over hot linquine noodles.

Serve along side with warm garlic bread and tossed salad

Cookinglight October 2007

MENU: February 15-22, 2009

1. Mussels Marinara with Linguine
SIDE: Garlic Bread
SIDE: Tossed Salad

2. Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew
SIDE: Buttered Noodles

3. Chicken and Asparagus in White Wine Sauce
SIDE: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Weekly Shopping
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 head romaine lettuce
1 fresh roma tomato
1 small cucumber
8 oz package button mushrooms
1 lb fresh asparagus spears
4 pounds fresh mussles
1lb boneless chuck roast
1 loaf frozen garlic bread
1 10-oz package frozen pearl onions
1 can Guinness stout
1 can whole cranberry sauce

Pantry Items
crushed red pepper
1lb linguine noodles
favorite salad dressing
dried thyme
black pepper
cooking spray
1 medium onion
1 can fat free beef broth
2 whole bay leaves
all purpose flour
1 lb egg noodles
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
dry white wine
1 can fat free chicken broth
4 cloves garlic
lemon juice
2 large baking potatoes

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Meal: Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Garlic and Herbed Goat Cheese, Buttery Polenta, and Roasted Root Vegetables

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Garlic and Herbed Goat Cheese:

1 whole garlic head
1/3 cup (3 ounces) goat cheese with herbs, softened
6 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap head in foil. Bake at 350° for 1 hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins. Combine garlic pulp and cheese, stirring well; set aside.
Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 4 teaspoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken evenly on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn chicken over. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°; let stand 5 minutes. Slice before serving on top of Buttery Polenta.

Cookinglight October 2007

Buttery Polenta: This side dish can also be easily adapted to accompany basic roasted chicken, pork, or beef by stirring in your favorite cheese at the end.

5 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry polenta
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine 5 cups water and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring often. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and pepper. Serve polenta topped with the stuffed chicken breast.

Cookinglight October 2007

Roasted Root Vegetables:

1 (9-ounce) fennel bulb with stalks
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 1/2 cups (1-inch-thick) slices parsnip
1 1/2 cups (1-inch-thick) slices carrot
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
Cooking spray
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°.

Trim tough outer leaves from fennel. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise; discard core. Cut each half into three wedges. Combine fennel, squash, and next 7 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a large shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle vegetable mixture with cheese, if desired.

Cookinglight October 2007

Meal: Almond-Crusted Salmon, Orzo Pasta in Vinaigrette, and Broccoli Rabe

Almond-Crusted Salmon: Serve with broccoli rabe, orzo pasta, and pinot noir.

1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup panko
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
4 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 500°.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish; set aside.

Brush tops and sides of fish with juice: sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working with 1 fillet at a time, dredge top and sides in almond mixture; place skin side down on broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle any remaining crumb mixture evenly over fish; press gently to adhere. Bake at 500° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with lemon wedges.

Cookinglight October 2007

Orzo Pasta in Vinaigrette:

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, shallots, parsley, lemon juice, orange juice, and mustard in a small bowl, stirring well. Slowly add olive oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Drizzle the shallot mixture over pasta; toss well to coat.

Cookinglight October 2007

Broccoli Rabe: This plant has a slightly bitter taste which is decreased when it is boiled prior to sauteeing.

2 pounds broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cook broccoli rabe in boiling water 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge broccoli rabe into ice water; drain. Coarsely chop.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broccoli rabe, salt, and peppers.

Cookinglight December 2006

Meal: Chicken, Pasta and Chickpea Stew

Chicken, Pasta and Chickpea Stew: To make the soup ahead, omit the pasta and refrigerate or freeze the soup. As the soup reheats over medium heat, cook pasta separately according to package directions, then stir it in shortly before serving.

Vegetarian Variation: Omit the chicken and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.

Cooking spray
1 cup thinly sliced celery
¾ cup diced carrot
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 cups Basic Marinara (or favorite Italian tomato sauce)
1 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
¾ cup uncooked ditalini (very short tube-shaped macaroni)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch pieces (or 2 large chicken breasts)
6 tablespoons shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add celery, carrot, and onion to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broth and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with cheese.

Cookinglight October 2007

Saturday, February 7, 2009

MENU: February 8-15, 2009

1. Chicken, Pasta, and Chickpea Stew

2. Almond-Crusted Salmon
SIDE: Orzo Pasta in Vinaigrette
SIDE: Broccoli Rabe

3. Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Garlic and Herbed Goat Cheese
SIDE: Buttery Polenta
SIDE: Roasted Root Vegetables

Weekly Shopping
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Ditalini pasta (short tube-shaped macaroni)
1 lemon
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 lbs broccoli rabe
3 oz goat cheese
1 fennel bulb
1 small butternut squash
1 parsnip
2 carrots

Pantry Items
4 cloves garlic + one whole head of garlic
2 cans fat-free chicken broth
3 cups Basic Marinara sauce (or favorite Italian sauce)
8 oz skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts)
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup almonds (ground into meal ~1/4 cup)
panko bread crumbs
ground coriander'
ground cumin
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
lemon juice
kosher salt
black pepper
orzo pasta
orange juice
Dijon mustard
olive oil
cooking spray
crushed red pepper
dry polenta

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tasty Tidbit:Basic Marinara Sauce

Basic Marinara Sauce: I like to make large batches and freeze it for use at a later date.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onion (about 3 medium)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 (28-ounce) cans no-salt-added crushed tomatoes

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients (through fennel seeds); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar; cook 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 55 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

To store in the freezer: Ladle room-temperature or chilled sauce into plastic containers or zip-top plastic bags. Seal and freeze for up to four months. Consider freezing the sauce in one-cup increments (two servings’ worth). That way, you can pull out exactly as much as you want for future meals.

To thaw sauce - Try one of three methods:

1. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Place frozen blocks in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a low simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Place frozen blocks in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave at HIGH one minute at a time, stirring after each increment until thawed.

To boost taste: Long stints in the freezer can dull the taste of tomatoes. To perk up thawed sauce, add one-half teaspoon finely grated lemon rind or one teaspoon balsamic vinegar while reheating.

Try Basic Marinara in one of these dishes:
Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Cookinglight October 2007

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Meal: Shrimp Fra Diavolo and Caesar Salad

Shrimp Fra Diavolo: Italian for “brother devil,” if you want the dish to be spicier you can increase the crushed red pepper to 3/4 tsp.

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 10 ounces)
2½ cups Basic Marinara
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
Parsley sprigs (optional)

Caesar Salad recipe

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; keep warm.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 6 minutes. Add Basic Marinara, red pepper, salt, and black pepper; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Serve over pasta. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

Cookinglight October 2007

Meal: Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions, Basmati Rice and Sauteed Broccoli

Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions: This is a very flavorful vegetarian dish.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 whole clove
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 dried hot red chile
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
1 cup dried small red lentils
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 cup Basmati rice, cooked according to package

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; cook 2 minutes or until charred. Carefully turn over onion, and cook an additional 4 minutes or until blackened and charred. Remove from heat. Coarsely chop; set aside.

Combine mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and clove in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook 1½ minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Combine mustard mixture, cinnamon, cardamom, and chile in spice or coffee grinder. Pulse until ground.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a small Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in spices; sauté 1 minute. Add broth, lentils, and tomato to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; add onion, and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and juice.

Cooking Light October 2007

Sauteed Broccoli:

1 head broccoli, cut into pieces
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic

Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add in broccoli, garlic and lemon juice. Saute until broccoli is tender but still crisp. Remove from heat and toss in zest. Serve.

Meal: Enchiladas Verdes with Refried Black Beans

Enchiladas Verdes: This meal uses leftover chicken from Double Herb Roasted Chicken but if you don't have any left over just use a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store.

Salsa Verde
1 pound tomatillos (about 15)
1¼ cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
¼ teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

2½ cups shredded Double-Herb Roasted Chicken (about 12 ounces)
½ cup (2 ounces) shredded asadero cheese or Asiago cheese
⅓ cup finely chopped onion
⅓ cup minced fresh cilantro
⅓ cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
⅓ cup fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Cooking spray
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
¼ cup fat-free sour cream
Sliced jalapeño pepper (optional)

To prepare salsa verde

Discard husks and stems from tomatillos; cut into quarters. Combine tomatillos, 1¼ cups broth, ¼ teaspoon salt, and chopped jalapeño in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tomatillos are tender. Cool slightly. Place salsa verde in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth or mash with a potato masher. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add salsa verde; cook until reduced to 2 cups (about 1 minute).

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare enchilada filling, combine chicken and next 9 ingredients (chicken through black pepper) in a large bowl.

Spread ½ cup salsa verde in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about ⅓ cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up. Arrange enchiladas, seam sides down, crosswise in dish. Pour remaining salsa verde evenly over enchiladas. Cover and bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with sour cream, and garnish with sliced jalapeño, if desired.

Cookinglight January 1999

Refried Black Beans: This is a light version so you can enjoy it without the guilt but all the flavor.

2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tbsp corn oil
1 (19-oz) can black beans, including liquid
½ to 1 C water
¼ C chopped fresh cilantro

Cook garlic in oil in a skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beans with their liquid and mash with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon to make a coarse purée.

Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot. Stir in enough of water to thin to a creamy consistency. Add pepper to taste.

Serve warm, sprinkled with cilantro.

Gourmet September 2000

MENU: February 1-8, 2009

1. Enchiladas Verdes
SIDE: Refried black beans

2. Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions
SIDE: Basmati rice
SIDE: Steamed broccoli

3. Shrimp Fra Diavolo
SIDE: Caesar Salad

Weekly Shopping
1 pound tomatillos (about 15)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 lemon
10 oz cremini mushrooms
1 small head romaine lettuce
1 head broccoli
shredded asadero cheese or Asiago cheese
1 jalapeño pepper or green chilies
corn tortillas
1 can black beans
red lentils
1 tin anchovies

Pantry Items
1 can chicken broth
black pepper
1 onion
sour cream
lime juice
ground cumin
5 cloves garlic
olive oil
mustard seed
coriander seed
cumin seed
fresh ginger
vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes
lime juice
Basmati rice
spagetti noodles
2-3 cups marinara sauce
crushed red pepper
1 lb medium shrimp
Parmesan cheese