Southeast Meets West

December 7, 2011

At first glance, this recipe looked like a healthy, vegetarian meal.  Great dish for a Meatless Monday

At second glance, I questioned if Paula Deen got her her hot little hands on the original recipe. I mean, vegetable oil for frying and 11 TABLESPOONS of butter?!?  Since when did Paula start fixing tofu???

After I got over the amount of oil and butter in the recipe, I realized it looked like a great dish with a lot of yummy flavors, so I may as well give it a shot.  I tweaked it a bit with the addition of green bell pepper, decreased the amount of serranos (I mean, eight?!? I guess Bobby Flay got his hands on this, too) and I lessened the amount of butter, reflected below.  I just can’t consciously tell people to put 11 tablespoons of butter in their food. 

It turned out to be an extremely flavorful dish that I will definitely make again.  I hope you enjoy it just as much as  we did!

Black Pepper Tofu

  • 1 3/4 lbs firm tofu
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 stick  of butter
  • 12 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 16 small and thin green onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch segments
  • I green bell pepper, julienned

Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come 1/4 inch up the sides and heat. Cut the tofu into large cubes, about 1 x 1 inch, then add to the hot oil. (You’ll need to fry the tofu pieces in a few batches so they don’t stew in the pan.) Fry, turning them around as you go, until they are golden all over. As they are cooked, transfer them onto paper towels.

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then put the butter inside and melt it. Add the shallots, chiles, garlic and ginger. Sauté on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have turned shiny and are totally soft. Next, add the soy sauces and sugar and stir, then add the black pepper.

Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute. Finally, stir in the green onions and green bell pepper. Serve hot, with Jasmine rice.

Monday Menu Plan

December 5, 2011

It’s a new week, a new month and time for another weekly menu plan:

 

Meatless Monday:  Rice and Gandules

 

Tuesday:  Black Bean Soup and Grilled Chicken Tostadas

 

Wednesday:  Chicken Chow Mein

 

Thursday:  Holiday Party

 

Friday:  Holiday Party

What’s on your menu this week? 

Super Squash

November 30, 2011

Not only is spaghetti squash super good for you, it’s super delicious!  I’ve always heard of baking this winter melon and using a fork to fluff out the spaghetti-like interior to use as a base for marinara, or anything you’d put on top of pasta, but quite frankly, I was a little bit skeptical.  Until last night.

I now have a new favorite winter staple!  It’s so easy to prepare, tastes delicious (think really al-dente pasta) and is loaded with nutrients.  The topping for the “spaghetti” really made it shine and I will definitely be experimenting with this versatile fruit again in the near future!

Mediterranean Style Spaghetti Squash

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons evoo
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  cup chopped tomatoes (I used two Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 red bell pepper, choppped
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 40 minutes in the preheated oven.  Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and red bell pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
  4. Remove vegetable mixture from heat and add feta and olives.
  5. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in two serving bowls. Top with the vegetable mixture. Serve warm.

Not Your Mama’s Lasagna

October 26, 2011

This comforting dish not only looks and smells like fall, it tastes like it.

The sweet aroma of roasting root vegetables with maple syrup and nutmeg wafting from your oven will let your family know that it’s not just October outdoors, but that it’s arrived in your kitchen, as well.  Although, it’s not the traditional lasagna recipe with ground beef and marinara, it’s sure to be a family favorite and has certainly been added to my fall menu rotation.

A warm slice of heaven

Roasted Carrot and Butternut Squash Lasagna

Printable Recipe

Serves 8-10

  • 1 butternut squash, chopped into 1″ dice
  • 1 bunch carrots, chopped into 1″ dice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour, AP or whole wheat
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 12 sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 amaretti cookies (amaretti is the Italian word for macaroon)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Italian fontina
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 package lasagna noodles, regular or whole wheat
  • 18 basil leaves  

 1.Combine the squash, carrots, half the olive oil, brown sugar, half the nutmeg, maple syrup, half the salt and pepper on a sheet tray. Roast at 450 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until it starts to caramelize.

Goin' in the oven

2.Meanwhile, make the bechamel by combining the flour and butter in a pan for a couple minutes. Add the milk and the remainder of the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

DSCN4603

Whisk away!

3.Combine the roasted vegetables with the remainder of the olive oil, amaretti, and sage leaves in a blender. Blend into a thick puree. You can thin it out with the stock until it’s the right consistency, but don’t make it too watery.

DSCN4605

The food processor works great for blending

4.Put a thin layer of the vegetable puree on the bottom of a buttered lasagna pan. Put a layer of noodles and then a layer of puree and a layer of bechemel sauce. Sprinkle some of each grated cheese on top and spread out some basil leaves. Continue to layer in the same order until you have finished the puree and bechemel. Sprinkle more cheese over the top and drizzle some additional olive oil over the top. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 40 minutes at 450 degrees. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes until bubbling. Let cool 10 minutes until serving.

You can even serve a small slice of the leftovers cold as a dessert…or a late night snack ;0)

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Meatless Monday

September 14, 2010

Ok, so I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but I have a good excuse(s).  In the past month, I have gotten engaged, turned 30, started WeightWatchers (the latter because of the former two) and been out-of-town 11 out of the past 22 days.  Oh, and my camera has been in the shop — hence the picture below, which was taken with a BlackBerry (not too bad, I think).  Needless to say — it’s been a crazy few weeks!

So, in honor of starting a healthier way of eating, I thought I’d post a WeightWatchers recipe I made last night.  I must say, I was a little leery about trying a WW recipe.  I thought if it’s only a few “points” it can’t taste good, right?  Wrong.  This is your perfect Meatless Monday Meal.

Pan-Roasted Mahi-Mahi with Olives, Lemon and Spinach Orzo

(Serves 2, 7 points)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 TSP olive oil
  • 2 skinless Mahi-Mahi fillets (I have the best luck with the frozen fillets)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced vertically
  • 1/4 cup sliced pimento stuffed olives
  • 6oz bag of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1/2 TSP dried dill
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  While orzo cooks, heat EVOO in a pan over med/hi heat.  Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, to taste, on each side and add to pan.  Cook fish 4 minutes per side, remove from pan and keep warm.

Add onion to pan and saute until clear, about 4 minutes.  Add olives, spinach, wine, zest, dill and salt and pepper to taste and stir until spinach begins to wilt.  (I like to throw a lid on the pot for about a minute to help wilt the greens.)  Stir in the orzo.  Divide evenly between two plates, add the fish and serve with lemon wedges.  And who said healthy had to taste bad?

 

Mahi Mahi w/ Olives, Spinach and Orzo

Only 7 points!

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