thai coconut mussels

unnamed-2Let’s hear it for Chef Michelle!

I just love Thai food and was excited to try out this new recipe from The Skinny-Taste Cookbook by Gina Homolka. This was easy to make, healthy, and everyone went back for seconds so this is another KEEPER! For those of you looking for a new cookbook that features, as Gina puts it, “Light on calories, big on flavor,” recipes, I highly recommend this one. It has quickly turned into one of my favorite, go-to cookbooks.

Hands-on Time: 30 min.
Total Time: Under 1 hour.
Serves 5 (easily)

Ingredients:unnamed
1 teaspoon coconut oil
½ finely chopped red bell pepper
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger*
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can light coconut milk (I went with Gina’s recommendation of using Thai Kitchen brand)
1 to 2 fresh red chiles, finely chopped or ½ to ¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes)**
½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 pound mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded (about 60 medium)***
½ lime
Loaf of crusty bread for soaking up the yummy sauceunnamed-1

michelle’s musings
*Since I didn’t have fresh ginger on hand I used 1 packet of sushi ginger. I usually keep a few packets from sushi takeout in my refrigerator just in case.

** I used ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

***I used 1 bag of Wegman’s Organic Mussels and we had plenty for 6 servings.

Directions:
1. In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add the bell pepper and scallions and cook, stirring, until soft, 1—2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, chilies or red pepper flakes, ¼ cup of the cilantro and salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

2. Add the mussels, cover, and cook until the mussels open, 5—7 minutes. Squeeze the lime over the mussels and top with the remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Divide the mussels and broth equally among bowls and serve with crusty bread.

ENJOY!

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Nutrition Information (courtesy of the Skinny-Taste Cookbook):
1 Serving (12 mussels): 302 calories; 12.5 fat (5.5g saturated); 33g protein; 21g carbohydrates; 1.5g fiber; 54mg cholesterol; 5g sugars; 918mg sodium

loaded baked potato casserole

This was so easy it was criminal and yet flavorful and yummy. If you make it on a weeknight, leave yourself some time to make the bacon and do some chopping–but it’s definitely doable. Literally a meat and potatoes meal, and delish to boot. Enjoy!

Originally found on A Household Almanac Rachel Schultz

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, cubedIMG_2024
  • 4 chicken breasts, uncooked and cubed
  • 1 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cheddar
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, sliced
  • Salt & pepper
  • Season Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.IMG_2033
  2. Place potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Stir to coat potatoes. Mix in bacon, raw chicken, and cheddar.
  3. Lay butter slices over casserole. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.IMG_2035
  5. Top with green onion.

tara’s tips: I used kosher salt on my potatoes and chicken instead of table salt. And when it came to mixing things up, I used my hands–sometimes there’s just no better way. I used salt, pepper, and season salt on my chicken. I fried 7 pieces of bacon and then crumbled it. Once again, I used thin sliced chicken breasts, which for recipes of this nature, does not make for easy chopping, I’d recommend using regular chicken breasts. Because I seasoned my chicken and the potatoes, I did not season with salt and pepper after adding the butter slices. It goes without saying, I grated my own cheese, in this case, an entire block of mild cheddar. And I admittedly forgot to cover with foil, so I baked for 70 minutes uncovered and it still came out yummy.

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creamy chicken and gnocchi with asparagus

As I continue to incorporate more poultry into my diet, my quest for yummy recipes with chicken breasts continues. This one hit the spot. And while the original recipe came from Diabetic Living… I made some substitutions they probably wouldn’t be so happy with… But delish it was! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used regular)
  • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch piecesasparagus
  • 2 cups whole wheat potato gnocchi
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (I didn’t use this)
  • 12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces (I used super trim & fit thin sliced breasts)
  • 1/2 of an 8-oz. package reduced-fat cream cheese (I used a full package of full-fat cream cheese)
  • 1 tbs. snipped fresh oregano

tara’s tips: Ok, yes, I strayed from the majority of what made this diabetes friendly, so if anyone actually follows the recipe, let me know how it tastes. Also, I learned the hard way that I must season my meat and vegetables, so I did. Salt, pepper, and Season All on the chicken and the asparagus. I let the cream cheese sit out to soften as I was prepping. I cooked the chicken just using cooking spray, no oil in the pan. However, I did drizzle a little garlic infused olive oil over the asparagus and tossed by hand before I roasted it.

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 450. In a bowl whisk together broth, flour, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  2. Place asparagus in a single layer on a large baking sheet; coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Roast 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender, turning once or twice. (I didn’t turn)
  3. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
  4. chicken and sauceCoat an extra-large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink and starting to brown. (I cooked it until it was done; come on, it’s chicken!)
  5. Stir broth mixture and cream cheese into chicken in skillet. Cook and stir until sauce is thickened, adding enough reserved cooking water to thicken sauce. (I didn’t add any water) Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in gnocchi and oregano; heat through.
  6. Divide roasted asparagus and chicken mixture among four dinner plates. If desired, sprinkle with additional oregano. (I did and added some grated parmesan cheese as well)

creamy chix and asparagus

fast shepherd’s pie–guest post!

Master Chef Michelle is in the kitchen and The Edible Bookmark couldn’t be happier! In honor of Easter and the recent chilly temperatures, she’s sharing a family favorite made with lamb and love. Without further adieu…

Michelle P.
Ok, who isn’t sick of the cold yet?! If I could get my hands on that ground hog…well, as an animal lover I guess I have to let some things go. Just gives us more time to enjoy hearty, warm, and comforting foods. Here’s my take on Fast Shepherd’s Pie from Cooking Light.

I’ve taken this fast recipe and made it a tad bit faster. The only downside I have found is that it may be a bit more “saucy,” but can we say clean plates by all?? That = A KEEPER recipe in my book.

Hands-on Time: 30 min.
Total Time: Under 1 hour.
Serves 6 (easily)

Step 1aIngredients:

  • 6 lamb loin chops, meat removed from bones and cut into bite size pieces*
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¾ tp. kosher salt (I swap this out and use Secolari’s Black Truffle Sea Salt)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas & carrots mix**
  • 1 package Bob Evans mashed potatoes***
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups, fat-free, low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

michelle’s musings:
*I just ask the butcher in my grocery store to cut the meat from the bones so it makes it easier to cut them in smaller pieces at home. I also suggest using 8 chops for a more meaty taste.Step 3

**/*** : These are the items I use to speed things up even more. The original recipe calls for microwaving baby carrots, slicing them up and for making frozen Ore Ida Steam n’ Mash potatoes.

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle lamb evenly with salt and pepper. Add lamb to pan; saute for about 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove lamb from pan with a slotted spoon. Add onion to pan; saute for about 4 minutes and stir occasionally.
  3. Stir tomato paste into onions in pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in carrots, peas, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a boil; cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in browned lamb.
  5. Add butter to Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes and microwave for just the first cooking cycle.Step 7
  6. Spoon lamb mixture into a 2-quart broiler-safe glass or ceramic baking dish. Top with Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes. Broil 4 minutes or until lightly browned.

ENJOY!

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Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (approx.. ¾ cup lamb mixture and ¾ cup potatoes): 377 calories; 13.7 fat (5.2g saturated, 4.3 g mono, 0.8g poly); 20.2g protein; 39.9g carbohydrates; 5.7g fiber; 59mg cholesterol; 2.9mg iron; 536mg sodium; 59mg calcium

garlic, butter shrimp scampi

IMG_1973Initially, I paused in blogging about this recipe. Then I realized how I could help it! And to be fair, I did go back for seconds of the original recipe. This is another quick, week-night meal that I think would pair nicely with a simple side salad. Let me know what you think!

Original recipe is from How to Nest For Less.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) of butter
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 package McCormic® Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi Seasoning Mix
  • 1 tbsp juice of a lemon
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Old Bay
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

  • Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in large skillet on medium heat until butter is melted. Add shrimp and Seasoning Mix; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice.
  • Toss with cooked pasta to coat well. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

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tara’s tips: Personally, I need my protein (i.e. meat) to be flavorful. I suggest seasoning the shrimp with Old Bay, salt, and pepper, and if you can handle the kick, red pepper flakes. Without the last 4 ingredients, the dish is fine for all–again, I did go back for seconds. But we know me, to take a page out of Emeril’s book, I like to kick things up a notch.