Thursday, July 30, 2009

One-Pan Spice Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

I came back from field work for about a week only to throw myself into the chaos of a move from one side of campus to the other. I think it's worth it because I am really enjoying my new place so far, despite the fact that I am still living out of boxes and don't have Internet yet (therefore I have to go to campus or a cafe to do work online).

Last night I prepared my first dinner in my new place. I finally had the room to get out my big roasting pan, which I used to roast up some chicken and different vegetables. I was primarily inspired by Nigella Lawson to roast meat and vegetables in one pan. The idea is that, while people are impressed with the meal, it's so easy to do. You have one pan to clean up and that's it. I often think people get confused between something being difficult to cook and something taking a long time to cook. The preparation maybe takes 10 minutes; you just dump ingredients into the pan and bake. While it's cooking you can go off and do other things in the house. There's no standing over a hot stove stirring a bunch of different things to get the same components in the meal (protein, carb, and vegetable).

This meal would be a perfect date meal, and of course you could augment this meal by separating the meat and the vegetables between two pans. To make clean up easier, put a layer of aluminum foil down. I attempted to do this, however I was a little shy with the amount of foil, which you can see in the pictures. At least my pan is non-stick, so it was cleaned in no time still. To make sure all the vegetables cook at the same time, cut the peppers and the onions into the largest chunks, cut the sweet potato into medium chunks, and then the white potatoes into the smallest chunks. Despite the fact that it's more difficult to cut through a sweet potato than the white potatoes, the white potatoes still take the longest to cook.

One-Pan Spice Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

1 large sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 6 wedges
6 cloves of garlic, with the skin left on
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt (preferably kosher salt) and pepper, to taste
non-stick cooking spray

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add all the ingredients to the roasting pan and toss.
3. Place the chicken skin side up in the center of the pan, giving each a little space in between, and spread the vegetables around. Sprinkle a little more paprika and pepper onto each piece of chicken so it looks pretty after roasting.
4. Bake for 40 minutes, tossing the vegetables after 20 minutes. Allow the dish to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Servings per recipe: 2
Per serving:
Calories: 561
Fat: 16.2 g
Saturated fat: 3.4 g
Cholesterol: 101 mg
Sodium: 151 mg
Carbohydrates: 63.9 g
Fiber: 9.3 g
Sugar: 12.7 g
Protein: 40.6 g

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Turkey, Vegetable, and Ranch Wrap

This past week I have been at my field site in northern Georgia working on my research. After coming here since September, I finally found an oasis of wifi in Toccoa, Georgia, at a cafe. I feel like I am a part of the real world again! Without access to email, sometimes I feel like I can barely function.

When I go out into the woods, I take my lunch with me, and yesterday I made a pretty boss wrap sandwich. It had ranch, turkey, and lots of veggies and sharp cheddar cheese. I love wraps because when you cut into them they look really pretty. The sad thing is, as I was sitting in my car eating my lunch, the biggest bee I have ever seen in my life flew into my car. I got so freaked out I jumped out of my car and half of my wrap fell into the dirt. To add insult to injury, the bee started chasing me and I was running circles around my car until the bee got bored and flew away. It was a sad thing to lose my sandwich, but at least I had the other half, which I had kept in my hand while I was frantically running around my car. It wasn't the first loss of my lunch; when I was hiking I was eating a granola bar, and half of it broke off and rolled down the hill. It was a total bummer. My apple was the only thing that stayed intact.

Here's the recipe for my lovely sandwich...let's hope I get to eat a whole one next time :\

Turkey, Vegetable, and Ranch Wrap

1 8-inch flour tortilla, any flavor
1 1/2 tbsp light ranch dressing
2 oz (about 3 thin slices) of turkey breast
1/8 cup julienned yellow bell pepper
1/8 cup seeded julienned tomato
1/8 cup loosely-packed torn baby spinach
1/8 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese

1. Lay the tortilla out flat and spread with the dressing, leaving a 1-inch perimeter bare around the tortilla.
2. Lay the turkey over the surface of the tortilla.
3. Arrange the vegetables and cheese in a line down the center of the tortilla so that the ends of the line are on your right and left side.
4. Fold the right and left ends over the tortilla, then take the edge of the tortilla that is closest to you and start rolling away from you until the seam-side of the tortilla is against your work surface.
5. Cut the tortilla in half on the diagonal. Serve immediately or wrap in foil and serve later.

Serving size: 1 wrap
Per wrap:
Calories: 265
Fat: 10.5 g
Saturated fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 41 mg
Sodium: 918 mg
Carbohydrates: 26.8 g
Fiber: 3.8 g
Sugar: 4.3 g
Protein: 17 g

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bean Burrito Bowl

While I was at my field site last week, my friend and I cooked at the house. We made a big batch of brown rice and some beans. We then topped it off with the various odds and ends that we had brought with us, like lettuce, cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, and salsa---so is was like the insides of a bean burrito, minus the tortilla. After all the hard work, it was so nice to have a filling meal. If you cook a big batch of rice at the beginning of the week, pulling this meal together would be a's takes about 10 minutes to cook the beans, and you can chop your toppings while they simmer. The best part is, beans and rice are not only a nutritious combination, they are also really cheap!

Bean Burrito Bowl

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup finely diced bell pepper (any color)
2 cans organic black beans (pintos would be good, too), drained and rinsed
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
non-stick spray

Toppings (these are only a suggestion---use whatever you like in a burrito!):
6 cups shredded lettuce
16 halved cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, sliced
8 tbsp salsa
1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
4 servings cooked brown rice

1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray, then add the garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Cook until translucent.
2. Add the beans, salt and pepper, cumin, and coriander to the pan. Using the back of your spatula, coarsely mash the beans. Allow the beans to simmer about 5 minutes.
3. Arrange the rice in the bottom of each serving bowl. Add some beans to the top of the rice and then decorate with the rest of the toppings.

Servings per recipe: 4
Per serving:
Calories: 450
Fat: 15.9 g
Saturated fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 20 mg
Sodium: 412 mg
Carbohydrates: 66 g
Fiber: 12.7 g
Sugar: 16.4 g
Protein: 18.5 g

Black Bean on Foodista

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mediterranean Salad

It saddens me that we are halfway through July (nearly), and I have only made one post on here. I have been away doing field work for most of last week, away from the Internet, so posting was impossible. At least I got a good portion of work done and was able to spend some time with my friend and her cute dog. We didn't eat out, like we normally do while doing field work. Instead, we opted to cook at the field house, where we made some really good beans and rice, which I wish to share if I have time to before I move out of my current apartment on the 27th of July. I won't get to move into my new place until the 3rd of August, so posting may be slim. If I end up staying with friends instead of staying at my field house doing work, I will definitely cook for them in return and post any recipes that I make for them!

Today's lunch was a product of my going to the store with a minimal shopping list and thinking "just get some salad ingredients." Lucky for me, I stayed within budget despite my lack of direction. I grabbed several ingredients that reminded me of two of my favorite Mediterranean dishes: horiatiki salata, which is a common Greek salad, and Italian antipasti. I have been fortunate enough to have spent some time in Greece, but I never actually made it to the Mediterranean Sea, just the Aegean Sea. I haven't been to Italy, but it's on my list of places to see before I die.

Here is my Mediterranean salad, full of vegetables with a lemon-feta dressing. I added the feta to the dressing because that's my favorite part of the Greek salad, so I wanted some cheese in every bite. The oregano as a garnish lends a mintiness to each bite as well. Feel free to add any other vegetables---cucumber and red onion would be nice additions.

Mediterranean Salad

3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp flax seed oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper, to taste
6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
9 cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese crumbles
6 tbsp black olives
1 bell pepper (any color), cut into strips
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts (about 4 heart quarters), with the residual marinade that was clinging to the artichokes
1 tsp dried oregano

1. In the bottom of the salad bowl, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, oil, honey, and some salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork to combine. Add half of the feta cheese and with the back of the fork, mash some of the cheese into the dressing and re-whisk.
2. Add all of the rest of the salad ingredients, excluding the remaining cheese and oregano, and toss.
3. Place the salad on each serving plate and garnish with the cheese and the oregano.

Servings per recipe: 3
Per serving:
Calories: 360
Fat: 14 g
Saturated fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg
Sodium: 660 mg
Carbohydrates: 44 g
Fiber: 14 g
Protein: 18.5 g

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ginger, Peach, and Toasted Almond Trifle

Yesterday friends from my graduate department hosted a 4th of July potluck. Potlucks occur often for us, whether on the small scale or large, and no matter what size they are I always enjoy them. I am lucky enough to have friends that are not only good cooks but are also enthusiastic about food, whether it's simply eating, talking about or shopping for food. Needless to say, we had a really good meal that night.

For my addition to the party, I took the opportunity to make a recipe from a cookbook I got at the library called Everyday Food: Great Food Fast (from the Martha Stewart kitchens). For a little review of the book, (though I haven't cooked hardly anything from it), I can already say I love it because every recipe has a picture! I like knowing what I am getting myself into by making a recipe, and a picture says a lot more than words. I also like that the recipes are (supposedly) quick and easy. The book is also divided by seasons, and by cooking seasonally, you are cooking sustainably, which I also love. As for my recipe, though I varied it a lot, I chose the blackberry and ginger trifle. While blackberries are in season, they are a little pricey, so I blanched and sliced fresh peaches instead (I even found a way to blanch the peaches so as not to dirty a whole bunch of dishes!) I also added toasted almonds for crunch. Angel food cake replaced the pound cake, because it is lower in fat. I did, however, keep the real whipped cream, which, once it's aerated, adds fewer calories than you would think. Plus, I think fresh whipped cream is more natural than whipped topping, which has a weird chemical aftertaste in my opinion. I will warn you that I didn't put this in a pretty trifle dish because we were travelling---I used a plastic lidded container instead, so I hope you can see the layers of the trifle in the pictures...

My friends enjoyed my slightly butchered rendition of Martha's recipe---they enjoyed it in particular because they hoped the ginger would settle their stomachs after having eaten a lot!

Ginger, Peach, and Toasted Almond Trifle

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup organic sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 lb ripe peaches (about 4-6, preferably organic)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
16 oz store-bought angel food cake
2 cups heavy cream, chilled

1. To toast the almonds, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast them until they are light brown; remove them from a pan and set them aside.
2. To make the ginger syrup, combine the ginger, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Steep for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour (this can be made ahead. After steeping, remove the ginger pieces, put the syrup in a sealed container and refrigerate).
3. To prepare the peaches, cut an "x" shape in the bottom of each peach. Add them to a large bowl and pour boiling water (use a kettle or even the microwave to boil the water---very easy that way) over them---enough to cover. Allow them to steep for about 3 minutes or until the skin slips off with no resistance. Drain the hot water away and add enough cold water and ice cubes to cover the peaches. Once they are cool enough to handle, pull the skins off and cut each peach into 12 to 16 slices. Combine the peaches with half of the ginger syrup and the lemon juice.
4. In a chilled bowl, add the cream and whip to soft peaks. Gradually add a 1/4 cup of sugar while whipping.
5. Slice the cake into 1/2 -inch slices, and with a pastry brush, baste on the remaining syrup. Cut the slices into cubes. Place half the cubes in the bottom of the trifle dish. Add half of the peaches. Add half of the whipped cream, then sprinkle half of the almonds on top. Repeat each layer, finishing off the ingredients.

Servings per recipe: 12
Per serving:
Calories: 253
Fat: 9.8 g
Saturated fat: 4.8 g
Cholesterol: 27 mg
Sodium: 291 mg
Carbohydrates: 39.1 g
Fiber: 1.6 g
Sugar: 15.9 g
Protein: 3.8 g
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