Greek Style Grilled Calamari

Greek Style Grilled Calamari

Serves 2
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved

This recipe is proof that calamari doesn’t have to be deep fried to be tasty. I came up with it after having the grilled calamari at my favorite Greek restaurant Akti, which is in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens. When Mahir, Meenakshi and I go, we order the grilled squid and shrimp platter to share, and I always relish the tender squid! Since calamari is one of the least expensive fish, takes literally two minutes to cook and has around 205 calories for a half-pound (according to Calorie King), it a no brainer to make it at home. Unfortunately, it’s also overlooked as the star it can be, and most home cooks I know don’t have it as part of their lineup. Hopefully, this super easy recipe will inspire you to change that!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

one pound of calamari, tentacles and body (most fishmongers already sell it cut up and divided into these two parts)
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Warm a large non-stick grill pan over medium heat.

In a bowl, toss together all of the ingredients with the squid.

Grill the squid until done. About 45 seconds to one minute per side. Take care not to overcook or the dish will be chewy.

Squeeze with extra lemon juice, if desired.

Serving Suggestions:

In keeping with the Greek theme, eat this dish with a salad of chopped romaine lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, a little feta cheese and a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. Warmed whole wheat pita is a good starch pairing.

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Poached Huevos Rancheros

Poached Huevos Rancheros low fat recipe

Poached Huevos Rancheros
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved

This is one of our favorite meals of all time. Seriously, Scott and I eat this a lot! It’s fantastic for breakfast, but makes an equally good lunch or dinner. The combination of eggs, whole grain corn and beans provides great fuel for the body which is also quite easy to digest. If you like Mexican flavors this is going to be a new favorite in your recipe collection. You’ll need 3 pans on the stove (or you can use a microwave for the beans), and a bit of coordination and timing to get everything on the plate, but the extra effort is all worth it when you take that first bite!    ~ Susan

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1 can of black beans
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup of your favorite salsa – try Shivani’s roasted salsa recipe!
1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce
1/4 cup water
4 corn tortillas
1 heaping tablespoon shredded sharp cheddar – Cabot makes outstanding cheddars which are widely available, our favorite is the Racer’s Edge sharp cheddar – we love those Vermont cheeses!
sliced scallions for garnish

Instructions:

Fill a large non-stick skillet (or well seasoned cast iron skillet) with just enough water to poach the eggs (I like my yolks to stay bright yellow, so I poach in a shallow amount of water to keep the tops of the yolks from turning white). Turn on heat to get the water boiling.

Meanwhile, open the can of black beans, drain out a little bit of the liquid from the top. Add the cumin, salt & pepper directly into the can and stir well to combine. Put about 1 cup of black beans in a small pan (or microwave safe bowl) and heat just until hot. Set aside. Save the rest of bean mixture for another use.

Put the salsa, hot sauce and 1/4 cup water into a shallow wide saucepan, big enough to fit a corn tortilla without bending it. Stir the mixture together and turn on the heat. This is your “ranchero” sauce.

Crack 2 eggs at a time into a small dish and gently slide them into the poaching water. Repeat with remaining 2 eggs. Turn heat down to medium and let them cook for about 3-4 minutes, this will give you nicely poached eggs with slightly soft yolks.

While eggs cook, dip one corn tortilla into the warm salsa mixture, leave it in the sauce just for about 10 seconds, then use a wide spatula to transfer it to your plate. Repeat process with other tortillas, putting 2 tortillas on each plate, the second tortilla almost on top of the first one, but a little off center so they’re not completely stacked on on top of each other.

After you plate the sauced tortillas, you can put the heat up to high for a minute to “cook down” the sauce if you want it a little thicker. Divide the rest of the warm ranchero sauce over the tortillas. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from poaching water and place 2 eggs atop each of the 2 tortillas. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the eggs. Spoon the beans onto the plates next to the eggs and tortillas, top with plenty of sliced scallions and dig in!

Serving Suggestions:

Breakfast – this needs nothing else, it’s a perfect meal to start your day.

Lunch or dinner – add a big salad (try lettuce with shaved red cabbage and grated carrots) to complete the meal.

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Spice Coated Tilapia

Spice Coated Tilapia
Serves 2
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved
Vegetarian Substitutes

This recipe is all Mahir. I was getting ready to coat our tilapia with our usual fajita seasoning mix when he stopped me and said he wanted to come up with something. We had recently dined at an Italian restaurant where we ate the most delicious fennel crusted chicken, and we both were craving that fennel taste so he used that as a starting point. Since our cupboard is replete with Indian spices and fennel is also used in Indian cooking, his creation took a turn to our home cuisine. Mahir likes to cook healthy, but he’s not quite as diligent as me so I was surprised that he came up with a no oil dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as Mahir enjoyed coming up with it.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound of tilapia
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds (powder is okay if you don’t have seeds)
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 dried red chile or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
salt, to taste
1 handful of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
fresh squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Instructions:

Turn on your oven broiler.

Using a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, blend the spices including salt until they are fine like powder.

Squeeze lemon juice on fish, and coat with spice mixture.

Place fish on foil lined cookie sheet or tray and broil until done (about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish).

Top with cilantro, if using, and squeeze with additional lemon juice.

Serving Suggestions:

To make this a complete Indian meal, try with Indian Style Mushrooms and Green Beans or with My Mother’s Gobi.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

This spice mixture would also taste great on sliced tofu or seitan. You can broil them, but they would also work grilled.

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Shrimp & Broccoli Lo Mein

shrimp and broccoli lo mein lowfat recipe

Shrimp & Broccoli Lo Mein
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers
Vegetarian Substitutes

Sometimes you just want noodles, and nothing else will do. I’ve been in carbohydrate mode during this pregnancy — apparently it takes a lot of extra carbs to grow a baby! That’s okay, any good reason to eat more carbs is fine by me… This dish is a perfect quick meal, easy enough for any night of the week and impressive enough for dinner guests or special occasions. It’s another one of those recipes where you can make endless combinations: using different vegetables, substituting tofu or chicken for the shrimp, adding hot sauce or fresh chiles to spice it up. Have fun using your own creative ideas to make this dish your own.       ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb pre-cooked peeled & deveined shrimp
2-3 cups cooked & drained whole grain noodles: udon, angel hair, linguini, etc…  (or, use rice noodles to keep it wheat-free)
1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cups fresh broccoli florettes
1 cup sliced carrots – slice in half the long way, then into diagonal slices
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
tamari soy sauce to taste – we use San J wheat-free tamari
1/3 cup sliced scallions – slice them on a strong diagonal for a great presentation
optional – hot sauce to taste

Instructions:

Heat the peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet (or well seasoned cast iron skillet) on medium heat. Leave the oil in a little pool as opposed to spreading it in the pan.

Add the garlic and ginger to the oil, spread it out just enough to let everything cook evenly over the heat, and let it all sizzle for a few seconds without actually browning.

Add the sherry and the mushrooms, and let it all simmer for about 30 seconds.

Add the cornstarch/water mix, and about 2 tablespoons of tamari soy sauce. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula over the medium heat until it begins to thicken.

Add broccoli, carrots and shrimp and stir it all together for about a minute – just until broccoli is bright green and shrimp is heated throughout.

If sauce gets too thick just add a little more water and stir it in.

Add noodles and toasted sesame oil. Toss everything together using two spatulas or wooden spoons to evenly coat the noodles with the sauce. Add more tamari to taste if you like.

To serve – divide mixture equally onto two plates, and scatter the scallions over the noodles.

Serving Suggestions:

Put hot sauce on the table for each person to spice it up as they like. I like this dish best with a good dose of Frank’s Red Hot on top – it adds a zesty tanginess as well as a kick!

Not in the mood for noodles? Try using cooked brown rice in their place.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Tofu, edamame or seitan is perfect in place of the shrimp.

Green Bean and Ginger Chicken

Green Bean and Ginger Chicken
Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers| Freezes Well
Vegetarian Substitutes

This recipe is another Tess creation- she made this with some leftovers we had in the fridge for Meenakshi’s lunch. It looked and smelled so good that I added it on to the following week’s menu. Chinese restaurants make similar dishes but obviously with loads more oil. So next time you’re craving Chinese takeout, try this instead- it’ll be ready to eat before your delivery order arrives.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 pound of chicken breast cutlet, cut into strips
1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (we love the Kikkoman brand)
black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

In a large large non-stick pan, warm oil over medium heat and saute onion until it starts to soften, about three minutes.

Add in garlic and ginger, and saute two minutes.

Add in tomatoes, and saute for one minute.

Add in chicken, and saute for three to five  minutes or until partially cooked. Take care not to cook the chicken all the way or else it will overcook.

Add in green beans and soy sauce, and cook until beans are soft and chicken is done.

Vegetarian Subsitutes:

Try the recipe with cubed tofu instead of chicken.

Serving Suggestions:

You’re already getting in protein and veggies so for your starch fix, try brown rice or soba or buckwheat noodles.

Yogurt with Berries and Almonds

yogurt with berries and almonds

Yogurt with Berries & Almonds
Serves 1
Can be doubled | Can be halved

Oh my goodness, this week has been crazy, and the weather has been hot! Any meal where I don’t have to use the oven or stove on has been calling my name. Being so busy, I’ve been eating “on the fly”, so this dish has been a frequent choice for breakfast and lunch. It’s quick, and so satisfying, while at the same time very light and refreshing. I can throw it together in a snap, and it’s chock full of natural food nutrition! Think of this as a fresh alternative to yogurt and granola. It’s lighter in fats and calories and (in my humble opinion), much healthier for the body. The added complex carbohydrates from the optional oats provide an extra energy boost, and I love the added texture too!     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 cup of your favorite lowfat yogurt, Stonyfield Farms is organic, and widely available
1 cup fresh strawberries – quartered
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon sliced raw almonds
optional – 2 tablespoons raw rolled oats – we love Bob’s Red Mill brand

Instructions:

If you want to make a beautiful presentation for guests or just for yourself, start with the yogurt in a wide shallow bowl, surround the edges with the berries in an artfully arranged pattern, and place the sliced almonds in a little pile in the center.

If you’re adding the oats, put them in the middle of the berries, and then top with the sliced almonds.

When I’m in a hurry I just toss it all together in a bowl and dig in!

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Indian Style Mushrooms and Green Beans

Indian Style Mushrooms and Green Beans
Serves 3 to 4
Can be Doubled| Can Be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers

On Indian restaurant menus, mushrooms are usually served in a rich sauce that’s often cream based, and green beans are part of a vegetable medley. In fact, these two vegetables work beautifully together in their own dish. I came up with this recipe by accident- I had lots of leftover mushrooms and green beans in the fridge, and I didn’t have the time to make two dishes so, in an effort of not wanting to waste either, I made them a team. The recipe was a success and amazingly easy and light but with a hint of spice- great for summer!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound crimini mushrooms, halved
1 pound green beans, halved
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon of olive or canola oil
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garam masala (add more for more heat)
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup water
salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)

Instructions:

Warm oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.

Add onion, and saute for three minutes or until it starts to soften.

Add ginger and garlic, and saute for another two minutes.

Add spices, and saute for two more minutes.

Add in water, lower heat, and let the mixture simmer for five minutes.

Add vegetables, increase heat back to medium, and cook until done- five to ten minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

Try with spiced tofu steaks or chicken curry. You can also scoop up the veggies with a whole-wheat tortilla or enjoy with brown rice.

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Tilapia with Leeks, Garlic, Capers, Tomatoes & Basil

tilapia with leeks, garlic, capers, tomatoes and fresh basil low fat recipe

Tilapia with Leeks, Garlic, Capers, Tomatoes & Basil
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved
Vegetarian Substitutes

This leek and tomato mixture is something I’ve been making for over 20 years. My mom found the original recipe in a magazine, which called for a similar mixture tossed together with linguini, and passed it on to me during my vegan years. It was a big hit. Today, we still enjoy the pasta version now and then, made with whole grain noodles, but this sauté is also fantastic with fish or seafood. It’s one of those dishes which will impress guests while keeping your job in the kitchen nice and simple. It takes only minutes to prepare, and the result is a beautiful plate which also happens to be amazingly delicious!     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

2 large or 4 small fillets of fresh tilapia
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sized leek – washed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 large cloves garlic – minced
2 roma tomatoes – cut into large dice
1 tablespoon capers – drained
2 large leaves fresh basil – torn into small pieces
optional – 10 whole kalamata olives
optional – hot chile flakes to your liking

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Season the tilapia with a sprinkle of sea salt and plenty of ground black pepper and bake for about 10 minutes, our until fish is done (easily flakes apart with a fork).

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet, allowing the oil to remain in a pool as opposed to spreading it out all over the pan. Add the leeks, gently placing each slice into the pool of oil. Let leeks cook over medium high for about 2 minutes, or until they begin to brown nicely. Add the garlic to the oil and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Now add the chopped tomatoes and capers and gently stir to combine.

Turn off heat.

Add your optional olives and hot chile flakes now too, if you like.

The less you stir it, the better the leeks will hold their shape – which is the goal for a nice presentation of the final dish.

Add the torn basil just before serving, and spoon mixture over the tilapia on the serving plates.

Serving Suggestions:

Fantastic with any whole grain on the side.

For a real gourmet presentation – plate the fish and leek mixture atop a nest of whole grain cappellini.

Or, try serving this dish with a side of quick-cooking polenta with just a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese stirred in while you cook it.

Vegetarian Options:

Pan sear tofu slices which have been lightly seasoned with black pepper and serve this saute artfully spooned on top. Elegant and beautiful!

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Greek Quinoa Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad
Serves 3 to 4
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers

Sometime in early June, Mahir was beginning to tire of the usual lunches he took to work. He liked the poached chicken salad and leftovers I packed but was asking for something new. Inspired by summer and the mood to cook a meatless main dish that was light but satisfying, I came up with this recipe. Mahir loves Greek salad so I used that as my inspiration. Instead of leaves, I used quinoa, and I added chickpeas for some satisfying protein and fiber. I’ve had had trouble getting him to eat quinoa in the past, but he came home with an empty lunch box, and I’ve made it several times since.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 cup of uncooked quinoa
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice, to taste

Instructions:

Cook quinoa as per package instructions.

Mix with all the other ingredients and season with lots of lemon juice and salt and pepper until the salad is to your liking.

Serving Suggestions:

You get in your protein, carbs and veggies with this dish so there’s really no need to add in anything else. You can substitute grilled chicken bits for the chickpeas for some variety.

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