Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pork Medallions with Balsamic Honey Mustard Sauce

In my attempt to keep up the healthy cooking, I have been trying to find different recipes that sound flavorful but lack the butter and cream so many of my previous recipes include.  

With that mentality, I have scoured Pinterest and even set up a new board of Healthy Recipes!  As my search continues I become more comfortable wih the fact that cooking healthy doesn't necessarily mean nibbling on raw vegetables and rice cakes...this can actually be an interesting challenge.

Healthy and delicious....what southern cook would have ever thought those two adjectives could be paired together?  Not me, but for the first time in my life I am actually enjoying being proven wrong!

Well hang on folks because we are in for a ride!

Pork Medallions with a Balsamic Honey Mustard Sauce
as adapted from For the Love of Cooking

3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chicken broth
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pork tenderloin, silverskin removed & cut into 1 inch medallions
2 tbsp chicken broth

Combine the olive oil, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, spicy brown mustard, honey, thyme, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, and minced garlic together in a large zip lock bag.  Mix well; pour 3 tbsp of the marinade into a separate dish then cover with a lid. Reserve for later use.  Remove the silverskin from the pork tenderloin. Cut the tenderloin into 1 inch thick medallions. Place into the zip lock bag and seal. Place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Remove the meat from the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat an OVEN proof skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the pork medallions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. 
Flip the pork over, add some of the marinade to the pan, then place the pan into the oven and cook for 13-15 minutes or until pork is cooked through. 
Remove from the oven. 
Place the medallions on a serving platter then drizzle with the sauce from the pan. 
Garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy.
And just because I can't get enough of this kiddo, here is a recent pic of my adorable nephew!
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Avocado Shrimp Spring Rolls

Because I work at one of the greatest places on earth, I am provided lunch every day so it is rare that I leave work for lunch.....but when I do, I go big!

My favorite place to go is this Vietnamese restaurant that has the worlds BEST spring rolls.  This is where we typically go when we decide to skip out for lunch and it is the place where I order two orders of said spring rolls....that's it, that's all I need....nothing more!

I never knew something could be so delicious and then you go and add a peanut sauce to it and I am in absolutely heaven!!

I came across this recipe a few months ago and had been wanting to try it and with my new mission to eat healthy but still eat "yummy" I thought there was no time like the present.  

I must admit, I was preparing myself for failure from the beginning.  How could they possibly compare to Miss Saigon....how could they possibly be that tasty?  Well dear readers, I didn't have enough faith in myself armed with a fantastic recipe!

It was perfection!!!  Oh, and not nearly as complicated as I had envisioned....double bonus!!

Avocado Shrimp Spring Rolls
as adapted from What's Gaby Cooking

Rice paper for rolling (I couldn't find this at my grocery so I used soy paper....too expensive for me so next time I will look harder for the rice paper!)

1 cup of dry rice noodles, cooked according to the package directions
1 large carrot, thin julienne cuts
3 scallions, thinly sliced
fresh mint
fresh cilantro
2 avocados
1/2 pound fresh shrimp, cooked and sliced
Butter lettuce
For the sauce:
1/4 cup hoisin
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

For the sauce: Combine all of the ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk together. Taste and add more soy sauce if you want it a bit saltier. Set the sauce aside until ready to serve.  I did this first so that the sauce could sit while I was preparing everything else....makes the flavors marry...I think it makes a difference but that is totally a matter of preference!

For the Avocado Shrimp Spring Rolls
Soak one spring roll paper at a time, for about 30-45 seconds in a shallow bowl of water. Once fully soaked, place the spring roll paper onto a clean cutting board. They should be pliable when you take them out of the water and then become soft once they are on the cutting board. If they don't quite get flexible enough to roll, dip them in some more water.

Place the fillings in the bottom third of the wrapper. I used about 2 tablespoons of the rice noodles, a few cuts of carrots, 1 teaspoon sliced scallions, a pinch of fresh mint and basil, 2 avocado slices, 2 pieces of shrimp and a piece of butter lettuce per roll.
Fold the wrapped over the filling and start rolling everything into a roll. About halfway through the roll, stop and fold in the sides. Then continue to finish rolling until you have a tight roll. Transfer the finished roll to a clean plate and drape with a damp towel while you assemble and roll the remaining spring rolls.
Once all of the spring rolls are assembled, serve immediately.
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Friday, January 3, 2014

Low Fat Spinach Lasagna

It's a new year and with it comes many resolutions.  I have never been big on resolutions for the common fact that I typically only stick to it for a few weeks and then I'm done...throw in the towel, I give up, kinda done!

This year my only resolution is to use less butter. 

Seems simple, right?

Well if your answer was yes then you clearly don't know me well at all.

It is a small goal, and one for which I know I can find healthier substitutes and as long as they still bring with it the delicious flavor, then I am good.....

Basically my goal stands as this: I want delicious foods that will help me get in shape...seems easy enough....and I am sure turning water into wine is a sinch too....

Here goes nothin'!  For my first run at this one it was unanimous...it was so delicious that even I, yes ME, I.ATE.LEFTOVERS!

Low Fat Spinach Lasagna
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
nonstick cooking spray
1 package Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Sausage, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (8 oz.) no-salt-added tomato sauce, divided\
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
pinch cayenne pepper
1.5 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Prepare noodles according to package directions, omitting salt; drain.  Rinse under cold water, drain.
Coat large skillet with cooking spray.  Add sausage, mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook and stir over medium heat until vegetables are tender.  
Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, rosemary and cayenne.  
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  
Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combined cottage cheese, ricotta, egg whites and bread crumbs in a medium bowl.  
Stir spinach into cottage cheese mixture.  Spread 2 tablespoons tomato sauce in bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch casserole.  Layer 4 noodles over sauce, overlapping slightly.  
Top with half of the spinach-cottage cheese mixture.  
Layer 4 more noodles over top, slightly overlapping noodles.  Top with half of the tomato mixture.  
Repeat layers, ending with tomato sauce mixture.
Cover and bake 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes or until cheese melts.  
Sprinkle with parsley.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
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