Friday, September 26

Asiago Artichoke Dip

Wow - what a long week! After my first 40 hour week ever, I needed to make some yummy food to relax. So for dinner, we had tasty burgers topped with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, with some coleslaw made with nonfat yogurt and low fat sour cream (instead of mayo). I just want to say - it was absolutely delicious with a little salt and pepper, and normally I'm not one to enjoy coleslaw. So I highly recommend using the yogurt and sour cream - it's lighter, healthier, and much more summery than mayo!

Then on to the really yummy stuff. I have a pot-luck brunch to go to tomorrow morning, and I was asked to bring some sort of appetizer. I plan to bring some homemade salsa, along with a creamier dip. Having had a delicious asiago artichoke dip back in Ithaca, I was determined to make my own. I did (adapted from epicurious) - and it turned out great (of course we had to have a little taste test!). I'll post a picture tomorrow. Here's how:

Asiago Artichoke Dip:
16 oz low fat cream cheese, soft (room temp) ($3.75)
1/3 cup low fat sour cream ($0.30)
1/4 cup low fat mayo ($0.25)
1 tbsp lemon juice ($0.25)
1 tbsp dijon mustard ($0.10)
1 garlic clove, minced ($0.25)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.05)
1/2 tsp ht pepper sauce ($0.05)
24 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced ($7.00)
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella ($0.75)
1 cup shredded asiago cheese ($3.75)
1/2 cup grated parmesan ($0.25)
1/4 cup leek, finely diced ($0.25)

Mix first 8 ingredients with blender or electric mixer. Then, mix everything else in (I found a spatula works wonders). Bake at 400 degrees about 15-20 minutes, until the top is bubbling and golden brown (not burnt!). Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips!

About $15-17 dollars for a huge bowl of dip that will serve probably 20 or so people.

Nutrition Facts:
Asiago Artichoke Dip

So in short, maybe a little high in fat content, but with all the delicious flavors, it's ok to use the low fat cream cheese, sour cream, and cheeses - you won't be able to tell the difference. Try it - it's delicious!

Wednesday, September 24

Fruity Margarita

Today was day three of my new jobs. After a full day of work, some errands, and a meeting for school, this nice fruity margarita recipe (along with some raspberry sorbet and frozen fruit) went a long way toward helping me relax. Here it is - short, simple, but not too sweet:

Fruity Margarita:
1 shot tequila
1 shot Triple Sec
1 shot lime juice (sweetened or fresh based on your preference)
Dole orange peach mango juice

If you like margaritas with salt, make sure you salt the rim first (I always seem to forget, but not this time!). Then add a couple ice cubes, the tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Fill the rest of the glass with the Dole juice. The fruit juice adds a little bit of sweetness.

So this post wasn't very long, but there was no time to make anything other than breakfast today! Tomorrow I should have more time, so check back then!

Tuesday, September 23

Black Bean Tomato Quinoa - woah

Wow.. So this new schedule is wreaking havoc on my ability to work, study, cook, eat, blog, and sleep. Hence the lack of a post yesterday. But I did make a delicious summer salad on Sunday that I'm eating for lunch this week - it's incredibly healthy and very very tasty. I got the recipe from epicurious, and have added my own tweaks to make it more simple and savory. Here's how:

Black Bean Tomato Quinoa Salad:
2 teaspoons grated lime zest ($.10)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice ($.60)
1 tablespoon olive oil ($.10)
1 teaspoon honey ($.10)
1 cup quinoa ($.50)
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained ($.50)
4 medium roma tomatoes, diced ($1.00)
1/4 cup leeks, chopped ($.75)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro ($1.00)
1 medium avocado ($.55)
1 tsp cayenne pepper sauce ($.05)
salt and pepper to taste (negl)

Wash quinoa in three changes of cold water. Mix first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Cook quinoa as you would rice, for about 15 minutes. Drain well. Mix quinoa in with liquid mixture. Stir in tomatoes, leeks, cilantro, avocado, cayenne pepper sauce, and salt/pepper. Serve hot, or let cool for a tasty summer treat!

around $5.25 for 4 servings - one serving in a wrap works perfectly for lunch for me!

Nutrition Info:
Black Bean Tomato Quinoa Salad

*Sigh* I will try and post as frequently as I have been, but I had forgotten how much work work actually is. Additionally, I'm riding my bike the 2 miles to work and back, so I'm physically tired more than anything else. Keep checking and commenting and I'll keep updating!

Sunday, September 21

A Break and a Rant

So I'm not actually going to post a recipe (today was leftover day), but I do have something to say. I'm very frustrated right now at the disposable habits of this country. To start off, my camera is broken. It still takes pictures (as that's what I've been using to post pics of my food), but the flash no longer works. I took it in to the camera shop that is conveniently located next to our apartment, to see how much it would cost to get a new flash bulb. That's when they came back and told me it wasn't a bulb problem, but a circuit problem. When I asked how much it would cost to get it fixed, they told me I'd be better off just getting a new camera!

The only thing broken on this camera is one little circuit that makes the flash go off. Yet for some reason I need to buy a brand new camera - even though everything else on my camera works great! No glitches, no scratches on the lense, nothing - and the camera is probably about 3 or 4 years old by now. But of course I can't just get it fixed, I need to buy a whole new one!

I think this is outrageous. I suppose I could just suck it up, pay an arm and a leg to fix it, and leave it at that. But for it to be cheaper to replace the whole entire camera, rather than fixing one tiny aspect of it? Insane! I'm very frustrated by this. But for now, I'm just going to keep taking pictures without the flash. I'm not really a denizen of dark places anymore anyway, so I can always just shine another floor lamp at the food. I still think it's unfair. *Sigh*

Saturday, September 20

Banana Raisin Oatmeal Pancakes

So today was very hot, and kind of a lazy Saturday. I've got two papers due early next week, and I spent a lot of time working on them. Today's only interesting meal ended up being breakfast - and it was super tasty! The bananas get ripe very quickly in this heat, so I wanted to use them up before they got all brown and mushy. Here's what I did:

Banana Raisin Oatmeal Pancakes:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats ($0.25)
1/2 cup flour ($0.25)
3/4 tsp baking powder ($0.05)
1/4 tsp baking soda ($0.05)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon ($0.05)
3/4 cup milk ($0.25)
1 large egg ($0.25)
1/4 tsp vanilla ($0.05)
3 tbsp honey ($0.10)
3 tbsp applesauce ($0.10)
1 mashed banana ($0.25)
1/2 cup raisins ($0.25)

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Combine all wet ingredients (excluding fruit) in another. Mix dry mixture into wet mixture just until blended (if you over mix, the pancakes get less fluffy because you're breaking the bonds in the flour). Fold in mashed banana and raisins. Spray griddle with non-stick spray, and cook pancakes (approximately 1/3 cup each) until golden brown.

Just under $2.00 total, or about $1.00 per serving - not bad for the most important meal of the day!

Nutrition Info:

Notes - If you are silly, like me, and don't own a black nonstick griddle, and have to use a stainless steel skillet on an electric stove, make sure not to let them burn. You may have to flip them before you really think they're done, but it'll turn out fine - I promise.

Also, these pancakes go great with a little bit of honey instead of syrup.

Friday, September 19

Honey Dijon Salmon and Garlic Sage Mashed Potatoes

HOORAY! My interviews went so well this morning, that I'm starting both jobs part-time on Monday! I am thoroughly excited, happy, and relieved. So to celebrate, I broke out the salmon from the freezer, and made one of my favorite side-dishes, mashed potatoes. It was simple and easy, and the thing that took the longest was boiling the water for the mashed potatoes! Here's how:

Honey Dijon Salmon:
1lb salmon steak, skin on ($5.50)
2 tbsp honey ($0.10)
1 tbsp dijon mustard ($0.10)
1 tbsp lemon juice ($0.25)
1/2 tsp salt ($0.05)

Garlic Sage Mashed Potatoes:
3 medium golden potatoes ($0.75)
1 tsp ground sage ($0.05)
1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
1/2 tsp salt ($0.05)
1/2 tsp pepper ($0.05)
1/2 cup 2% milk ($0.10)

Put water on to boil for potatoes (this takes the longest!). Wash and cut potatoes into small pieces, no larger than around 1" x 1/2" x 1/2". Once water is boiling, add potatoes to water.

Combine honey, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spray nonstick spray in hot skillet, lay salmon in skillet skin side down. Using basting brush, spread mixture over salmon, reserving about half. Flip salmon after a few minutes on each side, halfway through cooking spread remainder of mixture on salmon that should be a nice golden brown by now.

When potatoes are soft (about 10 minutes of boiling), drain, mash with fork, and return to pot. Add spices and half of milk, mix well, mashing with spoon. Add remainder of milk as needed for moisture. If you like your potatoes really creamy (I like some texture), peel before cooking, and using electric mixer after mashing.

Salmon: about $6.00
Potatoes:about $1.00
Salad (not pictured, so make your own): about $2.00
Total for meal: about $9.00, or $3-4 per serving (my serving cost about $3.00, but my boyfriend eats about twice as much as I do, so his cost closer to $6.00, hence the average)

Nutrition Facts:
Salmon here
Mashed Potatoes here

So this was very simple, and ended up being incredibly delicious. The honey-dijon sauce seemed a bit too tart and spicy before cooking, but trust me - it works out great in the end. The honey really comes forward and blends the lemon and mustard flavors quite well. On a scale of 1-10, my boyfriend gave the salmon an 8.8, which is pretty good for a first trial on the sauce. The mashed potatoes were also quite delicious as well - soft, creamy, without the need for any butter even. It's definitely worth it to make your own potatoes - it comes complete with 3 grams of fiber per serving without too much fat or sodium (if you wanted to reduce the fat even more, try skim milk instead of 2%). Overall, I highly recommend trying these recipes!

Thursday, September 18

Eggplant Parmigiana

Ok. I admit it. Fried eggplant smothered in cheese may not be the healthiest dinner in the world. But it is one of the tastiest! As long as you have the skills needed not to completely splatter yourself with sizzling hot oil, you can make this dish. I'll post the recipe tonight, but I'll have to add the nutrition facts tomorrow, as it's late and I have two(!) interviews tomorrow morning. Here's hoping! Anyway..

Eggplant Parmigiana:
1 cup olive oil
1 eggplant, sliced 1/4-1/2 inch thick
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 jar tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzerella
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 lb of spaghetti

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook 1lb of pasta (we used spaghetti).
Combine milk and egg in one bowl, breadcrumbs in another bowl.
Heat the oil in a skillet, coat the eggplant slices in the egg and milk mixture, then in the breadcrumbs. Cook the eggplant until golden brown on one side, then flip them. Drain them on a paper towel. Once they're all cooked, lay them layer by layer in a glass baking dish. Cover with tomato sauce, sprinkle cheeses over top, and bake about 10 minutes. Serve on top of pasta!

Cost and Nutrition Facts:
check back tomorrow!

So this was delicious, but a little on the fatty side. Still, you do need some fats in your diet, so they might as well be the good kind - olive oil, cheeses, tasty things like that!

All we really have left in the fridge at this point is another pizza crust and some salad greens, so luckily tomorrow's meals will be a lot healthier!