Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Potato Salad with Mint and Lemon, by Al Roker

Written By: Chris - Jul• 13•17

I recently watched Al Roker of the TODAY show prepare this salad and decided to make it myself based on the feedback of the other hosts who were sampling it.  We don’t eat a lot of potatoes these days but love this lightened up version of potato salad because it satisfies your starchy cravings without a lot of added fat and excess calories.  I’ve also prepared this dish by replacing the potatoes with chopped, roasted butternut squash and it was delicious!

I have an abundance of mint growing in my herb garden and am always looking for ways to use it.  You may also consider using mint by chopping it scattering over a tossed green or grilled salad. The leaves will add trace amounts of nutrients as well as a bold flavor.  Fresh mint, including spearmint and peppermint, contains several key vitamins and minerals you need for good health, though they’re not present in huge amounts. For example, fresh mint contains trace amounts of iron, a mineral you need to make red blood cells. Mint also has small amounts of fiber, vitamin A and potassium.

Consider stirring chopped mint into marinades or meatballs, and you can always flavor water or iced tea by adding chopped mint leaves.

Ingredients:
3 pounds Baby Yukon Gold potatoes
1 Lemon, juice, and zest (about 2-4 tablespoons)
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
Flaky Sea Salt, for garnish

In a large saucepan, cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and cover them with cold water and season the water with salt (to taste like the sea). Bring to a boil over high heat and cook the potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and let stand until cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss the chopped potatoes with the dressing and chopped mint leaves.

Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with flaky sea salt.

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

Zesty Lime Corn Chicken Salad

Written By: Chris - Apr• 12•17

I was inspired to create this salad after recently visiting the sky lounge of our frequent airline.  They often serve the same old same old options for lunch, but both  Bill and I were thrilled when we saw that the lounge had a few new options including a vegetable salad with a very forward taste of lime!  I happen to love this zesty tropical fruit that has a somewhat bitter, acidic taste – and also adds brightness and freshness to dishes.  Limes not only taste great, but they are good for you!  They are rich in vitamin C, can regulate sugar absorption in diabetics and can also help prevent heart diseases.  I read recently that lime peel and lime juices contain antioxidants that can slow down the process of atherogenesis, the buildup of plaque on artery walls; which is a good thing!

I decided to incorporate Jicama, a round, bulbous root vegetable (pronounced hee-cama) that is part of the legume family and grows on vines.

I love its light crunchy texture and was surprised to read that like potatoes, should be used sparingly due to the high carbohydrates content.  (They are a free – 0 point item on the Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™ program) Jicamas are also good for you with health benefits mainly derived from the unique mixture of vitamins, minerals, and other organic compounds, including dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, and a small amount of protein.  Chopped, cubed, grated or sliced into fine sticks, raw or cooked, it is versatile and great for stir-fries, salads, slaw, soup, and combined with other veggies and fruits like oranges, apples, carrots, and onions, as well as meats and seafood.  A favorite Mexican recipe is chilled jicama slices sprinkled with chili powder, salt, and lime juice; so I thought this would be a perfect combination!  This is a simple salad to toss together and it sure reminds me of summer – finally within reach!

Ingredients: 

2 Corn cobs, cut from cob
1 Cup Grap Tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters
1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped 
1/2 Cup Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 Cup English Cucumbers, chopped 
1/2 Jalapeno Pepper, minced
1 Cup Jicama, grated
2/3 Cup Cilantro, chopped 
1 Whole Lime, plus zest (about 2 to 4 Tablespoons juice) 
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lime infused if available
1 teaspoon Champagne Vinegar
1 teaspoon Skinny Girl Stevia liquid, or 1 Tablespoon Sugar to taste
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 Cups Cooked Chicken Breast, boneless, skinless 

Start by blanching the corn.  Drop shucked whole ears of corn into salted, boiling water and let boil for about five minutes.  Then plunge the corn into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Once cool, use a sharp knife to remove corn from the cob.  Cut the other vegetables into small pieces, grate the Jicama and combine in a bowl.

Whisk together the lime juice, zest, vinegar, oil, sweetener, and salt and pepper.

Gently toss the lime vinegarette with the vegetables.

I use a rotisserie chicken that has already been cooked with skin and bones removed that I purchase from Costco.  Cut it into small bite-sized pieces and combine with the salad.  Stir in chopped Cilantro.

Enjoy immediately!
Cheers!
~Chris

 

Cauliflower “Fried” Rice

Written By: Chris - Apr• 10•17

Bill and I  have been trying to cut back on carbohydrate-containing foods.  I’m sure you’ve been seeing Cauliflower as a huge food trend lately?  Well, I’ve been using it to replace white rice, a controversial food.  On the one hand, some nutritionists call it an empty source of calories and recommend avoiding it while others consider it a “safe” starch and say it is ok to eat in moderation.

It can be confusing, but there are reasons why we try to avoid carbohydrates such as rice, which has no fiber.  Did you know that rice cannot be digested before it is thoroughly cooked?  When it is cooked it becomes sugar and spikes circulating blood sugar within half an hour; almost as quickly as it would if you ate a sugar candy.  It can fill you up long before your blood sugar spikes because the fiber bulks and fills up your stomach and since white rice doesn’t have fiber, you tend to eat more of the calorie dense food before you get filled up.  Besides all of that cauliflower is good for you.  Studies show strong nutrient richness in both raw and cooked cauliflower.  It is high in nutrients like vitamin C, is a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.

This dish is really flavorful and while the texture is great, it tastes fantastic!  One wouldn’t even know you’ve skipped the rice!

Ingredients:

1 Head cauliflower, medium with stem removed (about 3 or 4 Cups)
1 Tablespoons Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1 Onion, medium chopped
2/3 Cup Carrots, chopped
2/3 Cup Celery, chopped
1/2 Cup of Peas, frozen
Other vegetables like red bell pepper, mushrooms, cabbage, etc. can be used! 

3 Garlic Cloves, pressed
2 Tablespoons dried Ginger
4 to 5 Tablespoons 5 Spice
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce, plus more for serving, optional
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 cup frozen mixed peas and carrots, thawed
3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 Eggs, scrambled (or Egg Beaters)
Cooked Ground Turkey, left over Pork Tenderloin or chicken, chopped, optional

I’ve recently prepared this twice.  The first time I used the food processor to “rice” the cauliflower.  More recently, I used the pre-packaged cauliflower that was already done for me that I found at Costco!

If you buy the whole head, start by cutting the cauliflower into chunks. Working in batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until coarse in texture, like rice.

 

Otherwise, just open the package of riced cauliflower that you purchased!

 

Chop and prepare your veggies of choice.

 

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the canola oil and saute the onions, celery, and carrots until they start to become soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for about a minute before adding the cauliflower.  Continue to stir fry until all of the vegetables are tender about 5 to 10 minutes.  If using peppers and/or peas, I tend to wait and add them last since they cook quickly.  As the vegetables are cooking, whisk the soy sauce and sesame oil together in a small bowl along with the spices befor stirring it into the cauliflower mixture.

 

You can either cook the eggs in a separate pan and later transfer them back into the stir fry, or create a well and cook them in the center and then stir them in.  If adding mushrooms, I recommend cooking them separately to thoroughly brown before mixing them in.

 

Stir in the green onions and cooked meat if desired and serve with hot sauce and additional soy sauce if desired.

I served this dish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a beautiful, crisp Chardonnay by Charles Krug.

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

Crockpot Turkey Chili

Written By: Chris - Jan• 11•17

The temperatures are very cold here in Minnesota in the middle of winter.  After a day with this cold, there isn’t much more comforting than a steaming bowl of chili!  Even though we bundle up in heavy sweaters and blankets, eating hot foods not only keeps you warm but also keeps us happy.

I crave hot meals during the winter months due to their warming powers.  I came up with this simple chili recipe not too long ago and am almost ready to make it again!  The best part about this dish is that I always have most of these ingredients on hand.  This dish is so simple to throw together in the crockpot and just walk away!

2 lbs. Ground Turkey
1 lg. Onion, chopped
2/4 Garlic Cloves, pressed
3/4 stocks Celery, chopped
1 Orange (or any) Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Jalapeno, chopped fine
2 Bay leaves (retrieve later)
2 to 4 Tablespoons Better than Bouillion Chicken, to taste
2 Cups Water (warmed)
2 cans White Beans,  drained
2 cans chopped Tomatoes
2 to 3 Tablespoons Chili powder (to your liking)
2 to 4 Tablespoons Cumin (to your liking)
Fresh Oregano, to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a skillet, saute the ground turkey with the onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onions become translucent and the turkey is browned.  Season with salt and pepper and add the chopped celery, peppers and combined warm water that has been combined with the Better than Bouillion chicken until dissolved.  Add these and all remaining ingredients into the crockpot and stir well to combine.

Set on high for at about three hours and then reduce heat to low and cook for at least another hour, up to six hours total stirring occasionally.

 

Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

Roasted Tomatoes

Written By: Chris - Dec• 15•16

If you haven’t slow roasted tomatoes, I strongly recommend it!  We have an abundance of tomatoes year round available at the local grocery stores and if you’re like me – fresh tomatoes are one of my tasty and nutritious snacks.  They are easy to add cooked ones to your diet and to incorporate into your healthy eating plan too.  Once you taste a slow-roasted tomato, you will want to put them on everything and the possibilities are endless.  I’ve recently created flavorful hors d’oeuvres and crustini’s or tarts.  I add them to salads and pasta dishes, chicken and shrimp dinners, and even mix them into Bill’s daily breakfast of crustless quiche.

It’s easy to slow roast tomatoes and there’s really not too much art to the process.  You can change them up by using various herbs including Italian seasoning, garlic, basil, oregano, or marjoram, which all pair nicely with tomatoes.

The cooking process increases the antioxidant activity in tomatoes that can offer you certain health benefits. Cooked tomatoes are low in calories and fat and supply you with a good dose of protein and fiber.  They are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that might reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and macular degeneration (an eye disease that causes vision loss), heart disease and other chronic health conditions.  Tomatoes contain a good dose of vitamin C, and the cooking process doesn’t destroy this important nutrient.

Depending on how much time you have, I’ve cooked them low and slow, but have also speeded up the process by turning up the heat and using the convection oven.

Ingredients: 

1 pound Cherry Tomatoes, halved (or any tomatoes)
Fresh or Dry Herbs, or Garlic Cloves
2 Tablespoons (or more) Olive Oil
Salt & Black Pepper, freshly ground

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees for two to three hours or 325 for a little less time.  Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and lay them cut-side up on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper and top with a sprinkle of herbs or garlic seasonings of choice.

Roast for a couple of hours, until shriveled but still moist.  You can use them warm, or allow them to cool and serve at room temperature.  Depending on the tomatoes, they may take longer to cook.

The tomatoes will keep for a few days in the refrigerator as well.  Here are a couple of different uses that I created with roasted tomatoes.  This is a room temperature appetizer made with balsamic, mozzarella balls and fresh basil.

Below is roasted tomato and beet salads on fresh Arugula, topped with roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, pepitas (squash seeds), and fresh thyme – drizzled with my thyme vinaigrette.

 

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris