Tag Archives: summer

Basque Pork Pasta

Summer officially ends tomorrow. It’s still pretty warm at my house, and my garden is still going crazy. Tomatoes out my ears. In a good way.

However, I was looking for a dinner that had tomatoes, but didn’t scream “trying to get rid of a counter full of tomatoes”. Enter this pasta dish. It was perfect for a warm late summer/early fall evening with lots of bright flavors. Enjoy!

Basque Pork Pasta (Serves 4-6)

Basque Pork Pasta

2 pork loin chops, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ cup parmesan
1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
8 ounces vegetable spaghetti
1 lemon, zested
juice of 1 lemon
2 tomatoes, diced

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions, without oil or salt. Add broccoli for last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork, garlic, italian seasoning, and lemon zest. Cook 7-10 minutes, or until pork is cooked through. Deglaze pan with lemon juice.

3. Add pork mixture to pasta and broccoli. Toss with parmesan and tomatoes.

Nutrient Analysis (Amount per serving):

Calories: 748
Protein: 44 gm
Fat: 23 gm
Saturated Fat: 8 gm
Cholesterol: 88 mg
Carbohydrates: 67 gm
Fiber: 10 gm
Sodium: 227 mg

Recipe notes: If you can’t find a vegetable spaghetti, you could use all whole wheat. My mom made a similar dish to this growing up and always used spinach linguine.

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End of Summer Pizza

Summer is over, or at least it seems to be now that Labor Day has come and gone. However, my garden is just starting to come into it’s own with tomatoes and zucchini. Anyone else?

I saw this trick of shredding zucchini in with cheese on smitten kitchen awhile ago. I loved it in the original grilled cheese sandwich, and I have taken to trying it in other “cheesy” foods like quesadillas. Pizza seemed like a no brainer.

Full disclosure: I thought this was delicious. It tasted fresh and just like late summer/early fall. My kids definitely picked out all the zucchini they could. BUT, I have tried the zucchini/cheese trick with older kids (8 years old) and they liked it; even the kids who said they hated vegetables generally.

End of Summer Pizza (Serves 4)

(Sorry, I was too busy eating to take a picture. Oops!)

½ recipe pizza dough
½ cup marinara sauce
1 zucchini, shredded
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped or torn into large pieces

1. Heat oven to 400. Prepare pizza dough through parbake.
2. Spread sauce over dough.
3. Squeeze zucchini between towels to remove much of the moisture. Toss the zucchini with the cheese. Sprinkle over the pizza. Top with tomatoes.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until desired doneness. Finish with basil before serving.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 147
Protein: 9 gm
Fat: 7 gm
Saturated Fat: 3 gm
Cholesterol: 18 mg
Carbohydrates: 13 gm
Fiber: 3 gm
Sodium: 246 mg

Notes: I’m writing the recipe here for one large pizza. For a quick dinner, we actually ate this on naan breads, which was great. English muffins would also work. Sometimes fun “dough” makes it more interesting to kids, too.

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Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Nothing screams summer to me like watermelon. But I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to watermelon. I see recipes for grilling it or combining it in salads all the time, and I’m skeptical. How could that even taste good?

Well, I finally broke down and tried one. And…it was delicious! I was shocked, I’m not going to lie. I really only tried it to prove a point that these recipes are gross. So, believe me when I say this is worth trying, even if you are skeptical. Hope you give it a try!

Watermelon and Tomato Salad (Serves 4-6)

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup arugula
2 green onions, chopped
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cups seedless watermelon, sliced thin
1 ounce feta cheese

1. Combine first four ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 86
Protein: 2 gm
Fat: 5 gm
Saturated Fat: 2 gm
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Carbohydrates: 9 gm
Fiber: 1 gm
Sodium: 217 mg

Recipe notes: Everything about this salad saves well except the arugula. So, if you anticipate leftovers, maybe put in less arugula and add in more as you eat it.

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Chicken Kebabs with Blueberry Salsa

I hope you had a great Fourth of July, full of food, family, fireworks, and fun.

When you hear “barbecue” what do you think of? Smoked meat? Burgers? Grilled meats? I find all of the above come to my mine in different ways.

These kebabs were some of the best “barbecue” I’ve made in a while. I was so busy making and then eating them, I forgot to take a picture. Sorry. I threw some veggies on other kebabs and had dinner ready with very few dishes. Win!

Chicken Kebabs with Blueberry Salsa (Serves 4)

1 clove garlic
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
grated rind of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 pint blueberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons finey chopped red onion
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper (or to taste)

1. Combine garlic, parsley, cilatnro, oil, lemon rind, lmeon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor until well chopped. Combine mixture with chicken in a resealable bag. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Combine ½ of the blueberries, vinegar, and honey in a small pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally pressing on blueberries with a spoon to break them up. Place in a medium bowl.

3. Place remaining blueberries in a food processor; pulse 5 times. Add to cooked berries along with onion and jalapeno.

4. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Thread chicken pieces onto skewers, not packing them in tightly. Grill for 10 minutes, turning occasioally. Serve with blueberry salsa.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 268
Protein: 31 g
Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 102 mg
Carbohydrates: 15 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 202 mg

Adapted from Cooking Light

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Grilling Nutrition

It’s beginning to feel like summer at my house.  Summer means outdoors, both for eating and cooking.  Up until recently, we had a small little camping grill we used.  It worked well, although did have severe capacity limitations.  My husband recently purchased a Traeger pellet grill to upgrade our outdoor cooking, and boy is it an upgrade.  It can smoke, grill, bake, and the list seems to go on.  We are loving it.

image

However, the risk of cancer from eating “grilled” meats has been in the news in recent years. I wondered if the same risks were true for smoked meats, as well as if it depended on the heat source of your grill (charcoal vs. gas vs. wood). So I did some research for all of us.

The carcinogenic compounds formed when grilling meats are heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). HCAs are formed when you cook meat at very high temperatures, like you can get on a gas or charcoal grill or even a very hot grill pan or broiler. PAHs are formed in the flames that flare up when fat from you meat drips into your flame and then chars the food. Some studies suggest PAHs are also formed when you smoke meats.

I couldn’t find any definitive evidence that any particular heat source causes more or less of these substances to be formed. I think it would come down to temperature and control of the flame. I do know that in our Traeger, there is a drip pan that prevents fat from getting to the flame and stops flare ups. It also cannot go above a temperature of about 500. That would make me guess that a grill like that MIGHT form less PAHs and HCAs, but I can’t be sure. And food can still become “charred” on the grill, just like in your oven when things burn. (As is seen in my kebabs below, recipe to follow next week).

Grilled Kebabs

After all my research, I actually came to the same conclusions I had before. Grilling or smoking is a great way to cook meat without adding fat while still retaining/adding flavor. However, you want to prevent lots of “char” or burn marks on your meat. And, as always, eat these foods in moderation, like everything else.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the risk of cancer from eating grilled or smoked meats in the comments. Happy summer!

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Sweet Potato Salad

I can’t believe it is almost Labor Day. Summer is really ending. I hope you have one last cookout or picnic planned for the weekend. If you do, liven up your meal with this sweet potato salad. While it is great anytime, it is the perfect transition from summer to fall. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Salad (Serves 6-8)

Sweet Potato Salad

2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 cup light olive oil mayonnaise
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup green onions
¼ teaspoon sriracha (or to taste)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Boil sliced sweet potatoes until just fork tender. Rinse with cool water.

2. Combine remaining ingredients. Lightly toss dressing over sweet potatoes until combined.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 206
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 295 mg

Source: adapted from Food Network Magazine

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Roasted Tomato Risotto

My family always had a garden growing up. Tomatoes were one of the few vegetables we grew well. I’ll admit, I haven’t always loved tomatoes. For the most part, raw tomatoes aren’t my thing, unless it is in something. Cooked is a different story. This risotto is a great way to use enjoy all of the awesome tomatoes in season right now.

Roasted Tomato Risotto (Serves 3-4)

Roasted Tomato Risotto

8 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
5 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes. Set aside.

3. Heat stock until boiling. Reduce heat to a low simmer.

4. Puree ½ of the roasted tomatoes in a food processor.

5. Heat remaining olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, saute for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add garlic; saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add rice. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add ½ cup of stock; stir to scrape up any brown bits off the pan. When stock is mostly evaporated, stir in 1 cup of stock and the pureed tomatoes. Stir frequently. When it is almost evaporated, add another ½ cup. Continue stirring and adding stock as it evaporates until stock no longer evaporates and rice is tender.

6. Stir in the parmesan, basil, and remaining roasted tomatoes.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 341
Protein: 12 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Carbohydrates: 54 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 362 mg

Recipe Source: adapted from Drizzle and Drip

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