Tag Archives: Cooking Light

Artichoke and Spinach Strata

Looking for the perfect brunch dish? This Artichoke and Spinach Strata from Cooking Light is satisfying, savory, and (best of all) easy to make ahead! Despite the suspect “green stuff,” both of my kids gobbled this up.

Artichoke and Spinach Strata

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Prep time:
Cook time:
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 10 oz package frozen spinach
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 9 oz artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 oz whole wheat sourdough bread, crusts removed and cubed (about 5 cups)
  • 4 oz reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)
  • 1¾ cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cook spinach in microwave ­according to package directions; cool slightly. Place spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze dry.
  3. Combine spinach and next 4 ingredients (through Monterey Jack cheese) in a large bowl; toss. Arrange bread mixture in a broiler-safe 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.
  4. Combine milk, Dijon, pepper, nutmeg, and eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture. Bake at 375° for 38 minutes or until set. Turn broiler to high (do not remove pan from oven). Broil 4 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

 


Pecan and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprout Salad

We love our Brussels Sprouts in this house—even my four year old will ask for seconds and thirds. Usually, I roast them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until they are soft on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. So when I saw this Cooking Light recipe for Brussels Sprout salad, I was intrigued by how they’d taste raw, since I’ve only ever had them cooked. Since Brussels are in the cabbage family, it’s no surprise that the texture of the salad reminded me of a crisp, fresh coleslaw. The flavor of the dressing, the creaminess of the cheese, and the crunch from the Brussels Sprouts and pecans … it was a perfect combination.

Brussels Sprout Salad

Pecan and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprout Salad

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Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ pound Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Place Brussels sprouts and pecans in a large bowl; toss to combine. Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Sprinkle with blue cheese.

 


Greek Chicken Wraps

Rotisserie chicken is a busy mom’s best friend. I can usually get at least three meals out of each whole chicken. And with the hardest part of the meal out of the way, I can get dinner on the table pretty quickly. I usually go for something simple, like pesto pasta with chicken, spring mix salad, or chicken sandwiches. So these Greek Chicken Wraps from Cooking Light are a nice way to mix things up. I usually have most of these ingredients on hand at home, so this is a great recipe for me to pull out of my back pocket when I’m looking for something different.

Greek Chicken Wraps

Greek Chicken Wraps

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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tbsp pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 1½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ⅛ tsp ground red pepper
  • 4 oz shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small cucumbers, chopped
  • 6 tbsp plain hummus
  • 6 (8-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Place tomatoes, olives, feta, juice, oregano, oil, pepper, chicken, and cucumber in a large bowl; toss to combine.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon hummus over 1 side of each tortilla. Top each tortilla with about ½ cup chicken mixture. Roll up wraps; cut in half.

 


Cilantro Burgers with Sriracha Mayo

One of my favorite things (cilantro) + one of my hub’s favorite things (sriracha) … this recipe had our names all over it! I’m not usually adventurous when it comes to burgers—I tend to gravitate to the usual toppings—but I couldn’t resist this Cooking Light recipe for Cilantro Burgers with Sriracha Mayo. Don’t usually go for spicy foods? No worries. These are light on heat and heavy on deliciousness.

I made just one change to the original recipe—I went for ground turkey over the ground sirloin, and I don’t feel like the recipe lost anything by going for the non-red meat option.

Cilantro burgers

Cilantro Burgers with Sriracha Mayo

1 pound ground turkey
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
4 hamburger buns
3 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp Sriracha
1/3 cup cilantro sprigs

 

1. Combine ground turkey, chopped cilantro, salt, and pepper in a bowl; mix just until combined. Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty (about 3 1/2 inches in diameter).

2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; grill 4 minutes. Carefully turn patties; grill 4 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove patties from pan. Add buns, cut sides down, to pan; grill 1 minute or until toasted.

3. Combine mayonnaise and Sriracha in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise mixture on bottom half of each bun; top each with 1 patty. Divide cilantro sprigs evenly among servings; top with top halves of buns.


Summer Vegetable Pizza

This pizza is bursting with fresh summer flavors … from the fresh basil pesto to the toppings of zucchini, tomato, red pepper, and mushrooms. I’ve never used the refrigerated dough balls before, but I figured if it was good enough for this Cooking Light recipe, I’d give it a shot. Sure, it’s a little more work than the ready-made pizza crusts, but the payoff is worth it! For only $1.70, I got one of the Safeway Select traditional pizza dough balls, which yielded a thick, chewy crust. I used my pizza stone to get a nice crunchy bottom to support all of my toppings and cheese. As with most moms, I was chasing after two kids while trying to make dinner—hence, the burned cheese. Oh well, it was still delicious!

Summer Vegetable Pizza

1 refrigerated fresh pizza dough
1 tbsp cornmeal
2-3 tbsp fresh basil pesto
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 small tomato, sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms
½ zucchini, diced
Olive oil
1½ cups shredded mozzarella

1. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 500° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).

2. Put a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal on a flat cookie sheet (using a cookie sheet will allow you to pick up and easily slide the pizza onto the pizza stone). With a little olive oil on your hands, form dough into a 14-inch circle.

3. Pierce the entire surface of the pizza dough liberally with a fork. Spread pesto sauce over crust, leaving a ½-inch border. Arrange the vegetables over the dough, and sprinkle evenly with cheese.

4. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven and slide pizza on top, parchment paper and all. Bake at 500° for 15-17 minutes or until the crust and cheese are browned. Brush edge of dough with olive oil. Slice and serve!


Lemon Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I’m not a huge baker—not from scratch anyway. I make no secret of the fact that I think boxed cake mixes are not only acceptable but quite delicious. Sure, I doctor them up and get creative, but it’s not everyday that I make a cake from scratch. When I saw this recipe for lemon cake from Cooking Light (and the great reviews it got), however, I decided it was worth the effort.

I did stray from the original recipe when it came to the frosting, choosing instead to use my go-to recipe for cream cheese frosting. The result was ah-mazing! Seriously, this is one of the best cakes I have had. I love lemon desserts, so maybe I am just a sucker for the tart mixed with the sweet, but this was really, really good. Yes, my cake was a little lopsided and not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made, but I somehow didn’t mind that too much as I was shoveling it into my mouth!

lemon cake with cream cheese frosting

Lemon Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake:

2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½tsp salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Frosting:

16 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Lemon rind spirals (optional, for garnish)

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare cake, grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans and set aside.

3. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

4. Place granulated sugar and ½ cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and nonfat buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in 2 tbsp lemon rind and 2 tbsp lemon juice.

5. Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

6. To prepare icing, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar.

7. Place 1 cake layer on a plate and carefully level with a knife if necessary; spread half of icing on top of cake. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining half of icing over top of cake and around sides. Garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.


Hands-Free (Almost) Risotto

If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I love risotto. I tend to turn this side dish into the star by adding vegetables and protein for a one-dish meal. Is risotto versatile and kid-friendly? Absolutely. Is it easy to make when you are home alone with a three year old and an infant? Not so much.

The problem with risotto is that you have to stir it, constantly, for about 30 minutes while you gradually add small amounts of warmed broth. So if the baby spits up everywhere or your preschooler yells from the bathroom that she needs you … well, you (or more aptly, your dinner) are screwed.

So when Kenji Lopez-Alt wrote in Cooking Light how he makes the creamiest risotto (and it doesn’t involve constant stirring), I was all over it.

It all starts by rinsing the rice. Mix together the broth and wine and add the rice, agitating to loosen the starchy coating on the grains. When you strain the rice out, you’re left with a liquid that’s already infused with the essential starch that makes risotto thick and creamy.

Toast the rice with some garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil, just as you normally would. But instead of adding a small amount of the liquid and stirring until it absorbs, you add almost all of the broth (saving one cup for the end), bring it to a boil, give everything a quick stir, and cover. Then you cook it for 20 minutes, stirring just once halfway through. Add the final cup of broth at the end with a touch of cream and Parmesan cheese. That’s it.

I was skeptical that this easier method could yield the same quality risotto that I was used to getting with the more tedious approach. I am thrilled to report that I am now able to balance babies and risotto because this method ROCKS!

Risotto


Are you a Fit Foodie?

For all of my readers in the DC metro area, here’s your chance to get in some exercise while indulging your inner foodie. The Fit Foodie 5K is coming to the Mosaic District June 20-22!

The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend is jam-packed with celebrity chef tastings, cooking and fitness demonstrations, a yoga session with celebrity trainer Kristin McGee, and a Power Systems fitness obstacle course and bootcamp, led by celebrity trainer Patrick Goudeau. Also expect to rub elbows with editors and contributors from Cooking Light and Health magazines who will be on hand to share tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, 10% of the sale of each ticket for the 2014 series will benefit City of Hope, a leading treatment and research center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

Tickets range from $35-$60 per event, or $155 for the whole weekend. But if you use the discount code MOMMACHINE, you can get a 10% off advance online ticket sales! To purchase tickets, go to: www.fitfoodierun.com.

Be sure to follow The Fit Foodie Race Weekend on Facebook or on Twitter at @FitFoodieRun for the latest news, contests, and promotions!


Peanut Chicken with Soba Noodles

The best part about this peanut chicken recipe from Cooking Light is that you can control the amount of heat that goes into the peanut sauce. I love the flavor of peanut sauce, but it can sometimes get a little spicy even for me, let alone my three year old. If spice isn’t an issue for you, you can always use store-bought peanut sauce to save a bit of time.

The cucumber soba noodles are a fantastic, light side to go along with the chicken, though I have to admit that I preferred the soba noodles I made a while back to these—still, these were tasty, just a bit less flavorful.

Peanut Chicken Soba Noodles

Peanut Chicken with Soba Noodles

7 oz uncooked soba noodles
3 tbsp rice vinegar, divided
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
2 tbsp honey, divided
¼ tsp sugar
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
1 medium cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Cooking spray
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp water
2 tsp sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste) or chile garlic paste
Chopped fresh cilantro

1. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain. Combine 2 tbsp vinegar, sesame oil, 1 tbsp honey, and sugar in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the noodles, onions, and cucumber; toss to combine.

2. Combine remaining 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce, ginger, and peanut oil in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Thread chicken evenly onto 4 (10-inch) skewers.

3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add kebabs to pan; cook 12 minutes or until done, turning to brown all sides.

4. Combine remaining 1 tbsp vinegar, remaining 1 tbsp soy sauce, peanut butter, 2 tbsp water, and sambal oelek in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle mixture over chicken. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with noodles.


Hearty Beef Stew

I am always looking for ways to make recipes easier, faster, and more weeknight-doable. I won’t say that I never make complicated or time consuming recipes, but it’s just not realistic for me to do it on a regular basis and especially not in the 30 minutes I am allotted during the week to get dinner on the table.

So I decided to take this multi-step recipe for Hearty Beef Stew from Cooking Light and just toss everything in the Crock Pot, crank it up, and cross my fingers that I’d end up with something edible. Could the beef have been a bit more tender had I followed the actual recipe? Yeah, probably. But considering how quickly I was able to throw this together in the morning, not bad … not bad at all. The fact that all I had to do when I got home was toast some bread and ladle the stew into bowls certainly didn’t hurt either. So it’s up to you. Follow the recipe at the link above or follow my shortcut and just wing it. You pretty much can’t lose either way.

Beef Stew

Hearty Beef Stew

16 oz boneless beef chuck
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 large onion, sliced
1 ½ cups baby carrots
6 oz sliced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
2 lbs new potatoes
3 thyme sprigs
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 tsp minced garlic
1 ½ cup Guinness beer
4 cups unsalted beef stock
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Place all ingredients in a large Crock Pot and stir well. Cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 6-8 hours.