This innocent looking container holds a magic ingredient that will take your food to the next level. What is it? Miso butter. Two ingredients - miso and butter - combine to make a perfect substance. So simple, but so good. You could just slap this on some toast and call it a day. But if you want to get a little more creative, I have a bunch of ideas for you.
First up - scallops seared in miso butter. That's it, it's that easy. I served these with my other miso obsession - miso creamed kale.
Next - broiled salmon topped with miso butter, served with miso butter glazed baby carrots and coconut-miso barley.
Moving away from seafood for a bit, I made this coconut chicken recipe and replaced the regular butter with miso butter. It made it so much better than the original, which I was already a fan of. I also used cherry preserves in the sauce because that's what I had, but apricot or peach would work better. I made a side salad with romaine, sliced radishes, blanched green beans, and a carrot-ginger dressing to go with it.
Lastly, we have a stir-fry made with miso butter. Fast, easy, and delicious. The salmon was broiled with a store-bought red miso and yuzu glaze. I'd say it wasn't any better than the salmon topped with the miso butter.
Best of all? All these meals are healthy and low-carb. Most of them are grain-free! What would you do with your miso butter?
Here's a quick little semi-homemade cold weather meal, perfect for weeknights. I took some store-bought fresh spinach fettuccine and thick sliced roasted turkey from the deli counter, and tossed them with a homemade pumpkin goat cheese alfredo. It's interesting enough to not be boring, but it's easy enough to not cause a headache.
The homemade part is the decadent sauce, which involves butter, garlic, cream, pumpkin, goat cheese, sage, and pumpkin pie spice. I wanted to do something a little different, which is why I went with turkey, but chicken would work just as well. And I like how the spinach pasta brought a little color to the table.
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Alfredo
adapted from Closet Kitchen
8 oz pasta of choice (I used fresh spinach fettuccine from the refrigerated section), cooked
8 oz cooked turkey or chicken, diced or shredded
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp sage, sliced thinly (or dried)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the cream, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, Parmesan, sage, and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
Add in the poultry and allow to warm through. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Toss with pasta and serve immediately.
Chicken Parmesan without the guilt? I saw a really yummy looking recipe for Chicken Parmesan Meatballs that I wanted to try, but didn't want to eat all the carbs involved in pasta. I had also been seeing cheesy spaghetti squash casseroles that looked really good, so I had the idea to combine them.
Ground chicken, onion, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, garlic, and egg are combined to make the meatballs, which are basted with tomato sauce and cooked in the oven.
Spaghetti squash goes into a casserole dish (I cook mine in the microwave). This is from two medium squashes.
Place the cooked meatballs on top, then the tomato sauce. I forgot to season the squash, oops! So I added more salt and pepper here.
I had a plan to make spinach and butternut squash lasagna roll-ups last week. But then I decided to add chicken so that Jasper would be more likely to eat it (note that this plan failed, ha). And then I thought it would be good to make my own spinach whole wheat noodles, which turned out to be too fragile to roll up, especially with the heavy chicken added. So it turned into a regular layered lasagna instead, and I'm not even sad. The colors were so pretty, and it was gooey and cheesy and filling.
So here's where I made a mistake - I thought I would be clever and puree the spinach in the food processor instead of the blender before adding in my flour in order to reduce the number of dirty containers. Except that the food processor didn't really puree the spinach very well. I even had a moment where I stopped and thought I should transfer it to the blender and decided against it, *sigh*. All those little flakes of spinach made the dough very fragile and difficult to work with, but I stuck it out.
The noodles turned out fine (and they certainly tasted good) when cooked, but they were still too fragile to roll (and not very pretty).
So I just layered them instead and all was well. Now, remember earlier this week when I talked about having leftover butternut squash? Well, this is where it went. I pureed the roasted squash and shallots together to make a sauce. A little of that went on the bottom of the pan, then a layer of noodles.
Well, Folks - it's been a great year! I look forward to keep sharing delicious and (sometimes) healthy recipes with you in the years to come. Until then - here are my most pinned recipes of 2013!
#1 - This healthy version of Shepard's Pie with Sweet Potato and Turkey. I find this funny because the photos from this post are so bad!
#2 - Homemade Meat Ravioli - yum!
#3 - Homemade Spinach Ravioli. The raviolis are popular!
I am trying to avoid carbohydrates and starches as much as possible for health reasons (and not being very successful). For this reason, I like it when I happen upon a tasty looking Paleo recipe. I do not follow the Paleo diet by any means, but I do agree with some of their basic assumptions - like grains and processed vegetable oils are bad, and animal fat is good.
I liked this recipe even more when I saw that it was for the slow cooker. Loaded up with carrots, cauliflower, onion, garlic, and chicken stock - a pot of goodness!
Now, I usually don't like chicken thighs, especially skin-on and bone-in, but I get that breasts dry out and fall apart so I followed the recipe on this one. Picking around the bone was still pretty irritating to me, but that skin that I crisped up (twice) in bacon fat? Yum city. I also threw a little fresh thyme in here because I grow it and why not?
The flavor is rich and satisfying, really great as comfort food. I will say that the proportions of this recipe as written are off. There is so little meat on these thighs that it would take 3-4 to fill someone up, especially if you don't make some other kind of side (greens would have been so good!). And there was a huge amount of puree - I had enough leftover after serving to turn into a soup! So next time, I would double the amount of chicken and will reflect that in the recipe below.
White lasagna with shredded chicken, spinach, butternut squash, whole wheat pasta, and low fat cheese for a super delicious, creamy, but light dinner? Yes, please!
This is a super quick and easy weeknight meal that works any time of year. Orange zest and juice tie the kebabs and pasta together and the sweet and tangy sauce for the chicken is delicious. Couscous cooks ridiculously fast, but you could use quinoa instead if you have more time to cook. You could also add whatever vegetables you like to it to change it up.
A while back, I posted a super tasty enchilada recipe. Now that I am practicing healthier eating habits, I wanted to revamp that recipe to be lighter. I used whole wheat tortillas, fat free sour cream, fat free soup, and reduced fat cheese and they tasted just as great as the original!
Before I get into the main part of the recipe, I want to talk about a basic technique that I use all the time. A lot of my recipes call for "cooked, shredded chicken". You could acquire that in a number of different ways (and in fact, shredding a rotisserie chicken is one of the easiest) but I want to show you my favorite method. I like to poach big batches of chicken at a time (especially when I see a bulk pack on sale), shred it, and freeze it so that I always have some on hand.
To do this, place boneless skinless chicken in the bottom of a large pot. Toss a quartered onion, carrots (no need to peel), celery, garlic, peppercorns, a bay leaf, and herbs over the top. I like to use thyme and this year I grew some myself! Cover with water (just the chicken, the veg can be floating), bring to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat to low so that the water is barely at a simmer. Partially cover and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat completely, and allow chicken to sit in the hot water for another 15-20 minutes. Doing it this way prevents is from being overcooked and keeps it moist and tender.
The last time I posted a recipe for you was over a month ago! Oh my goodness! You have my deepest apologies, dear readers, and to make it up to you I will post not 1, not 2, but 3 delicious summer recipes for you!
Let's start with this gorgeous zucchini tart from Closet Cooking (which is a blog that I highly recommend). Puff pastry is topped with a mixture of ricotta, feta, lemon, fresh herbs, and an egg along with thinly sliced zucchini and baked to puffy, golden perfection. Served on its own or with a side salad, this is the perfect summer lunch.
Next up, take advantage of those juicy summer tomatoes in a slightly different take on a fresh tomato pasta with a Roasted Tomato Sauce.