Asian Steak with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Asian Steak with Asparagus and Mushrooms
Serves 4

1 pound lean beef steak, 1/2 inch thick
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 discs of fresh ginger, 1/8 inch thick, sliced into matchsticks
2 cloves of garlic, mashed and chopped
1 pound asparagus, chopped into 2 inch lengths
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoon Hoisin sauce (optional, but important)
Salt and pepper
Chinese Five Spice powder (optional, but important)

1.   Season the beef with salt and pepper to taste. Also use a touch of five spice powder. Set aside.
2.   Heat a large non-stick skillet. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
3.   When hot, add onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
4.   Add mushrooms and asparagus. Toss to mix.
5.   Add water, vinegar and Hoisin sauce. Stir, turn heat to high and cover.
6.   Heat a second non-stick skillet (11 inch). When hot, add the remaining sesame oil.
7.   Pan fry steaks, about 2 minutes per side.
8.   Turn the heat off the vegetables. They should be hot, but a bit crunchy.
9.   Remove the steaks, and cut into strips, about 2 inches long and a 1/2 inch wide.

Nutritional data:
Calories:       311
Fat:                  14g
Sat fat:            4.6g
Chol:               98mg
Sodium:    114.5mg
Carbs:         10.2g
Fiber:            2.3g
Protein:         37g

Personal Pizzas, Two Ways

Personal Pizzas, Two Ways

We woke up this morning and decided that we wanted leftover pizza for breakfast. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any. But we had some ingredients on hand and I made these. They both start with a 6 inch La Tortilla Factory Wrap. I spread one teaspoon olive oil on each and then added the various toppings.

In the background is the Mushroom, Tomato and Spinach Pizza. I layered, in this order:
4 ounces sauteed crimini mushrooms
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
5 Kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons shredded cheese

In the foreground I have a Mushroom, Onion and Bleu Cheese Pizza. Again, in this order:
1 ounce bleu cheese
4 ounces sauteed crimini mushrooms
1 medium Vidalia onion, sauteed with 2 ounces port wine
1 ounce bleu cheese (I was fortunate to find a mild bleu jack cheese, cut into 1 ounce slices. that made making this pizza easy.)

Sauteing onions with port is also easy. Thinly slice the onion. Heat a non-stick pan and heat 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add onions and cook over medium-high heat until they are getting translucent. Pour port in the pan, cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes, or until very soft.

Bake these pizzas on a pizza stone or other pan, at 375 for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

Nutritional data:
Mushroom, Tomato and Spinach Pizza
Calories:    296
Fat:                21g
Sat Fat:         6.7g
Chol:             30mg
Sodium:      848mg
Carbs:           22g
Fiber:         10.5g
Protein:     14.1g

Nutritional data:
Mushroom, Onion and Bleu Cheese Pizza
Calories:    483
Fat:            29.6g
Sat Fat:      13.4g
Chol:            60mg
Sodium:     464mg
Carbs:       32.2g
Fiber:        10.2g
Protein:       21g

Cheese-Stuffed Portabella Caps

Cheese-Stuffed Portabella Caps
Serves 2

2 large portabella caps
2 tablespoons Greek Yogurt
1 ounce goat cheese (or cream cheese), softened
2 tablespoons shredded cheese (your preference)
1 cup baby spinach, finely chopped
1/4 cup bell peppers, chopped
1/4 cup diced Vidalia onion
1/8 tsp black pepper

1.  Wash mushrooms caps. Remove stem from mushrooms. With a spoon, carefully scrape the gills from the underside of the cap. (This will give you more room for the filling.) Set aside.
2.  Combine remaining ingredients.
3.  Fill mushroom caps.  At this point, the mushrooms can be kept in a refrigerator for several hours, loosely covered.
4.  Preheat your grill in high for 5 minutes.
5.  Reduce heat to medium high, and place mushrooms on the grate. Cover and let them cook for 5-8 minutes. When some juices begin to bubble up around the edges, they are done.
6.  Serve open faced on toasted whole wheat bread, or half a bagel.

Nutritional data:
Calories:     124
Fat:             5.6g
Sat fat:        2.8g
Chol:           16mg
Sodium:     101mg
Carbs:      10.5g
Fiber:         1.9g
Protein:      9.3g

Ultra-Thin Crust Veggie Pizza

“Ultra-Thin” Crust Veggie Pizza
Make 3 portions (1/3 of the pizza)

1 Ultra-thin whole wheat pizza crust
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 teaspoon Italian spice blend  (I used Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset.)
2 ounces finely shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Mix garlic, spices and oil together.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes. 
2.  Spread garlic-oil mix evenly over the crust.
3.  Top with half of the mozzarella cheese.

Add your favorite ingredients.  In the picture above, I used:
1 small can mushrooms
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
10 sliced green olives
2 tablespoons red onion, minced
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
15 cherry tomatoes, sliced

4.  Place all toppings on the cheese.
5.  Top with remaining mozzarella.
6.  Place in a pre-heated oven at 425 degree, for 5-7 minutes.

Note: the label suggested 10-14 minutes in the oven.  Hah!  I checked it at 8 minutes at it was already a little too brown at the edges.  I suppose I could have avoided that by piling the topping on right to the edge, but that would defeat the idea of a light pizza.

Nutritional data:
Calories:         261
Fat:                12.7g
Sat fat:             3.2g
Chol:             14.7mg
Sodium:          484mg
Carbs:            28.8g
Fiber:               5.2g
Protein:            8.9g

(Fresh mushrooms would reduce the sodium load by 153mg per serving. But at 484mg for 1/3 of a pizza, that amount of sodium is not bad.)

Mini Veggie Pizzas!

I had some sauteed onions, mushrooms and bell peppers in the fridge that were just sitting there. I was hungry, but not sure what to make.

I preheated a pizza stone in the oven at 425.

I took a sandwich thin, opened it and spread a teaspoon of olive oil on each half. Then I crushed a clove of garlic, and divided it on each half.  On top of the garlic I layered 1/2 cup of the sauteed onions, mushrooms and bell peppers (that I had warmed in the microwave.) Finally, I placed a slice of mozzarella cheese on top.

I baked it for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Nutritional data (for two halves):
Calories:     386
Fat:            23.9g
Sat fat:         7.5g
Chol:            22mg
Sodium:      482mg
Carbs:        31.7g
Fiber:           6.3g
Protein:         18g

Mushroom and Shallot Chicken

Mushroom and Shallot Chicken
Serves 6

6 chicken breast, boneless/skinless, approximately 5-6 ounces each
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
5 large shallots
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Your preferred seasoning (Italian herbs work well.  I use Penzey’s Sunny Spain.)
4 ounces dry white wine

1.  Place chicken between thick sheets of plastic or in a large freezer Ziplock bag. Pound breasts flat (to less than 1/2 inch) with mallet. Sprinkle with your seasoning. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over each breast, return to Ziplock bag and let them rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
2.  Heat non-stick skillet.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  When hot, lay chicken breast in and cook over med-high heat for 5-6 minutes.  Remove from skillet, cover and keep warm.
3.  While the chicken is cooking, slice the shallots the long way into thin strips.
4.  In the same skillet, add remaining olive.  When hot, add shallots and mushrooms.  Saute until the mushrooms get soft (5-10 minutes.)  Remove from skillet, cover and keep warm.
5.  Add wine, and using a plastic scraper/spatula, loosen all crusty bits.  Cook down for 5-10 minutes. Return mushrooms/shallots to skillet, toss to coat.
6.  Serve chicken breasts topped with the mushroom/shallots, with a side of wild rice (cooked according to directions) and steamed broccoli (with 1 tablespoon olive oil over the broccoli) and some cherry tomatoes.

Nutritional data:
Calories:        225
Fat:                 8.7g
Sat fat:            2.2g
Chol:               65mg
Sodium:          47mg
Carbs:            6.9g
Fiber:             0.3g
Protein:        26.8g

Onion-Mushroom Tart and Roasted Asparagus

Yesterday’s dinner was a new recipe, which I modified from the Best of Cooking Light 13 book. (More recipes will be featured in this blog from that magazine, so keep coming back here.)  The original recipe was a simple Onion Tart, but I added garlic (because when I use onion, I need to use garlic, too!) and crimini mushrooms (also called baby ‘bellas because they are actually immature portabellas.)

Onion-Mushroom Tart
Serves 6 (or cut larger pieces if you want)

This recipe looks long and difficult, but in reality it is very simple to make.  Most of the time is spent waiting for the onions to caramelize and then for the tart to bake. The only real work is slicing the onions, crushing the garlic and grating the Swiss cheese.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds onions, sliced (a blend of sweet Vidalia and sharper yellow onions is excellent)
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
8 ounces of your preferred fresh mushroom, sliced
Black pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp  of your preferred herbs (An Italian blend is nice here.  I used Penzey’s Bouquet Garni.)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) crumbled Feta cheese
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) shredded Swiss cheese
1 prepared pie crust (I used a store-bought crust.)
1 egg, beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 425F. 
2.  Heat oil in a non-stick skillet.  Add onions over med-high heat.  Stir/toss occasionally.
3.  When some of the onions start to brown (about 4-5 minutes), add garlic, mushrooms, pepper and herbs.  Reduce heat to medium.  Stir/toss occasionally, until the onions are fully caramelized, and the mushrooms are fully cooked.  This will take 15-20 minutes.
4.  While the filling cooks, remove the pie crust and unroll it onto a sheet of parchment paper, or onto a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (spray is not needed when using parchment paper.) With a rolling pin, gently roll it out to a 12 inch diameter circle.
5.  Spread Feta over the middle of the crust, leaving about a 2 inch border without cheese.  There will not be a lot of cheese on the crust. That is okay.
6.  When the filling is done, pour over feta and spread evenly, maintaining that 2 inch border. Top evenly with the shredded Swiss.
7.  Gently fold the pie crust over the filling, making pleats as you move around the crust. You do not need to press the pleats together to make a tight seal.
8.  Brush the beaten egg over the crust.
9.  Bake for 25-30 minutes (or until golden brown as above), remove from oven, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

This was a delicious vegetarian meal, and I will make this again, but with further variations (not all changes will be in the same batch):

Bleu/Gorgonzola cheese instead of the Feta
A wedge of Laughing Cow cheese instead of the Feta
Smoked Gouda instead of the Swiss
Adding 2 ounces of wine (or beer) to the onions when I add the mushrooms (which is enough time to completely cook away, leaving all the flavor behind)
Adding sun-dried tomatoes to the filling
Adding sliced olives (probably green Spanish)
Shiitake and oyster mushrooms instead of crimini

Nutritional data, for 1/6 of the tart:
Calories:        252
Fat:               15.4g
Sat fat:            5.7g
Chol:               53mg
Sodium:         288mg
Carbs:           26.4g
Fiber:              1.5g
Protein:           5.5g

Roasted Asparagus
Served 3-4

1.5-2 pounds fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed off
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced onion (I prefer to use dehydrated onion for this recipe, but fresh would work)
Black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 425F.
2.  In a 9×13 pan, lay the asparagus and drizzle the oil over it.  Top with pepper and onion.  Roast it uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
3.  Roast this at the same time you bake the tart, and they will both be done at the same time.

Nutritional data (for 1/3 of the recipe)
Calories:         130
Fat:                 9.3g
Sat Fat:           1.3g
Chol:                 0mg
Sodium:             5mg
Carbs:              10g
Fiber:                 6g
Protein:              6g

Shirataki Lo Mein

Shirataki Lo Mein
Makes 3 servings, approximately 2 cups each

2 packages Shirataki (tofu) noodles (8 ounces each)
1 medium onion, sliced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced
6 ounces snow pea pods, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1-2 tsp fresh gingers, crushed and minced

1.  Drain shirataki noodles in a colander. Set aside.
2.  In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil over medium-high heat. 
3.  Add onions and mushroom, saute until the onions are beginning to get soft.  Add pea pods, carrots and the fish sauce.  Saute until the carrots are hot but crunchy.
4.  Add bean sprouts.  Toss to mix.  Remove from heat, and set aside in a bowl.  Cover to help it stay warm.
5.  In the same skillet, reheat the remaining sesame oil.  Add the crushed garlic and ginger. Stir for 1 minute.
6.  Add the drained shirataki noodles.  Toss occasionally for 2-4 minutes.
7.  Add noodles to vegetables in bowl.  Gently mix together.

Nutritional Data:
Calories:     194
Fat:             10.1g
Sat fat:          1.3g
Chol:               0mg
Sodium:       438mg
Carbs:         21.3g
Fiber:            6.1g
Protein:         7.2g

Note:  If you are concerned about sodium, eliminate the Thai fish sauce.  That will reduce the sodium per portion to 42.3mg.  However, you will need to add more spices to help bring additional flavor.  In that case, double the garlic and ginger, or add Chinese Five Spice blend.

Mushrooms and Beef in Cream Sauce

Mushroom and Beef in Cream Sauce
Makes 6 servings
12 ounces beef roast, cut into ½ inch cubes
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 ounces red wine
4 ounces water
8 Tablespoon (4 ounces) of reduced fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 cups uncooked whole wheat wide noodles
Prepare the pasta as directed on the label. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick skillet, saute the onion for 3-4 minutes, and then add the garlic and mushrooms.  Continue to cook over medium-high until everything is soft, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from skillet into a large bowl, set aside and keep warm.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. When hot, carefully add all meat.  Season the meat with pepper as needed, stirring to brown all surfaces. When the meat is browned, add to the bowl containing the cooked mushrooms.
The skilled will probably have meat and mushroom residue adhering to the sides and bottom (also called fond.)  Pour the wine into the skillet, deglazing the pan.  Then add the cream cheese, return the skillet to medium heat and stir until the cheese has melted and is mixed with the wine.  Add the water and mix well.
Return the meat and mushrooms to the sauce, and stir to coat.
One serving is 1 cup pasta (or less) and 3/4 cup stroganoff.
Nutritional data (of the stroganoff):
Calories:               226
Fat:                       11.4g
Sat fat:                  4.4g
Cholesterol:       59.5mg
Sodium:               137mg
Carbs:                   6.7g
Fiber:                    1.1g
Protein:               20.8g
Nutritional data (of 1 cup of cooked pasta):
Calories:               180
Fat:                          1g
Sat fat:                  0.0g
Cholesterol:        0.0mg
Sodium:               15mg
Carbs:                   41g
Fiber:                    6.0g
Protein:                   8g

Portabella Panini

To make one panini

1 ciabatta roll
1 portabella cap
1/2 ounce goat cheese
1 teaspoon (heaping) sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 cup baby spinach, chopped a little
1 slice of onion
Cooking spray

1.  Heat your panini pan over medium heat. (I don’t have one, but I use my George Foreman grill set to 340F.)
2.  With a spoon, carefully scrape out the gills on the underside of the cap.  This step isn’t required, but it will make the mushroom cap have a better texture when cooked.
3.  Spray the pan.  Lay the onion and portabella cap in it.  Turn the cap after 2 minutes.
4.  While that is cooking, slice the ciabatta rolls. Carefully carve out some of the bread from the top and bottom halves.
5.  Spread goat cheese on the bottom half.
6.  When the onions are soft, lay them on bottom half. Top the onions with the portabella.
7.  Spread the sun-dried tomatoes on the portabella.
8.  Fill the top half of the roll with the spinach.
9.  Lay the completed sandwich in the pan or on the grill and place the weight on it or put the lid down.
10.The panini is done when the crust is golden brown and the sandwich is flat.

Options:  Replace the sun-dried tomatoes with fire-roasted peppers.  Use feta cheese or a slice of Swiss instead of goat cheese.  Use arugula instead of spinach.  Add a slice of tomato.  Add avocado.

Nutritional data as made according to the recipe):
Calories:    224
Fat:            3.3g
Sat fat:       1.3g
Chol:        7.5mg
Sodium:   505mg
Carbs:     37.1g
Fiber:        3.2g
Protein:     9.7g