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Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
cooking
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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Fresh Tastes

Whenever Jeff comes to stay the house always smells so wonderful. The leftover spices from our cooking adventures linger throughout the house. This weekend we were smarter and tried not to overplan meals like we usually do. We made all but one recipe and used the leftovers to fill in the other meals. (The recipes are under the extended post).

Friday dinner: Cavatappi with Spinach, Beans, and Asiago Cheese
Saturday breakfast: Berry French Toast
Saturday lunch: meatball subs with leftover french bread and asiago cheese
Saturday dinner: out with friends
Sunday brunch: leftover Berry French Toast (popped in back in oven and it was just as good)
Sunday dinner: Spiced Chicken with Black-Eyed Peas and Rice
Monday lunch: leftover Spiced Chicken with Black-Eyed Peas and Rice
Monday dinner: Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce (had my parents over)
I brought the leftover tilapia for lunch today with a spinach salad. I got some eyebrows raised when I squeezed my lime wedge in the cafeteria.

Cavatappi with Spinach, Beans, and Asiago Cheese

For a simple dish, this contains many healthful ingredients, plus the flavors are complex. If you toss the spinach and Asiago cheese while the pasta is still warm, the spinach will wilt and the cheese will soften. When this happens, the flavors blend and become more pungent. This is peasant food at its best.

8 cups coarsely chopped spinach leaves
4 cups hot cooked cavatappi (about 6 ounces uncooked spiral-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
Fresh ground black pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 401(27% from fat); FAT 12g (sat 3.4g,mono 6.2g,poly 1.2g); PROTEIN 18.8g; CHOLESTEROL 10mg; CALCIUM 306mg; SODIUM 464mg; FIBER 6.7g; IRON 6.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 54.7g

Berry French Toast

2 cups frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups frozen blackberries
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cooking spray
1 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (8-ounce) loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch slices
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a 13 x 9- inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine milk, vanilla, egg whites, and egg in a large, shallow baking dish, stirring well with a whisk. Add bread, turning to coat. Let stand 5 minutes, turning bread occasionally. Arrange bread in a single layer over berries. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar.

Yield: 6 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 374(6% from fat); FAT 2.7g (sat 0.6g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 9.2g; CHOLESTEROL 36mg; CALCIUM 114mg; SODIUM 300mg; FIBER 7.4g; IRON 2.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 80.4g

Spiced Chicken with Black-Eyed Peas and Rice

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup frozen chopped onion, thawed
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1 (15.8-ounce) can black-eyed peas, undrained
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine paprika, seasoning, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; sprinkle over chicken. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side. Wrap handle of pan with foil. Place pan in oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes or until chicken is done. Cover and keep warm.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add frozen onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes. Stir in rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, hot pepper sauce, and black-eyed peas; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Spoon about 3/4 cup rice mixture into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 chicken breast half. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions.

Yield: 4 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 405(14% from fat); FAT 6.5g (sat 1.3g,mono 3.1g,poly 1.2g); PROTEIN 47g; CHOLESTEROL 99mg; CALCIUM 64mg; SODIUM 868mg; FIBER 5g; IRON 3.4mg; CARBOHYDRAT

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, divided
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
Cooking spray
3 cups hot cooked basmati rice
4 lime wedges

Preheat broiler.
Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add pepper and onions; cook 1 minute. Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and coconut milk; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.
Brush fish with 1/2 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve fish with sauce, rice, and lime wedges.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet, 1/2 cup sauce, 3/4 cup rice, and 1 lime wedge)

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 506(30% from fat); FAT 17.1g (sat 5.9g,mono 6g,poly 2.5g); PROTEIN 29g; CHOLESTEROL 82mg; CALCIUM 47mg; SODIUM 616mg; FIBER 3.1g; IRON 2.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 56.6g

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