Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mushroom and Barley Risotto

Got this recipe from Kayln's Kitchen.  A wonderful blog with lots of South Beach diet recipes.  I've never really had risotto and was wary...but this was a great surprise and so YUM-O!

6 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or use 4 cups stock and 2 cups water)

Kayln's Kitchen recommends 1 tsp Better than Boullion Mushroom base.  I did not have and did not use.
1 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced celery

1/2 large onion, finely diced

3/4 lb. mushrooms, finely diced  - I used Crimini
1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 T fresh thyme chopped.  Or 1 tsp dried.
fresh ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cups barley

1 bay leaf

2-3 T chopped parsley to garnish (optional)

Put chicken stock (plus mushroom base if using) in sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil then turn heat to very low and keep hot.

In medium-sized heavy pot, heat 1 T olive oil, then add onion and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, carrots, and thyme and cook about 10 minutes more, or until mushrooms have released liquid and it has evaporated.  Don't be tempted to add salt.  I was worried that this would be bland and added some salt - turned out to be WAY too salty.

Add barley, bay leaf, and 1 cup simmer stock. Increase heat to medium high and simmer, stirring every few minutes, and waiting for liquid to be absorbed into barley. As most of the liquid is absorbed, keep adding more stock and stirring, until all the liquid is absorbed and barley is softened.

Broth would absorb about every 5 mintues. It took me about 30 minutes after I started adding stock.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Zuppa Tosana

I am a huge fan of Olive Garden. I don't get to go very often, but I love their soup and salad. MMMM.... I don't usually order Zuppa Toscana but my friend invited me over the other night and she made Olive Garden's recipe. I am now a forever fan. I loved her twist on it WAY more. Enjoy!

Makes: 6-8 servings


• 1 lb ground Italian sausage (you can use sweet basil sausage)

• 1½ tsp crushed red peppers (you can omit if you don't like spice)

• 1 large diced white onion

• 4 Tbsp bacon pieces (real bacon bits work great! not mushy)

• 2 tsp garlic puree

• 10 cups water

• 5 cubes of chicken bouillon

• 1 cup heavy cream

• 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes

• ¼ of a bunch of kale

1. Sautee Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.

2. In the same pan, sautee bacon, onions and garlic for approxiamtly 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.

3. Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.

4. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.

5. Add heavy cream and cook until thoughouly heated.

6. Stir in the sausage.

7. Add kale just before serving. Delicious!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Adobo Chicken

I took and adapted this recipe from Kayln's Kitchen. It is a South Beach Phase 1 meal. And was DELICIOUS. The kids scarfed it. I made plenty for leftovers so that I could have a quick lunch this week.

6 chicken thighs (with skin and bone)
1 cup soy sauce (low-sodium soy sauce or Tamari is probably best, since the sauce gets reduced)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar (I used half white vinegar and half white cooking wine since our commisary did not have this)
1 1/4 cup water
2 tsp. garlic puree
3 bay leaves
1 small onion, sliced in large slices
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Trim excess skin and fat from chicken, but leave some on. Put chicken in single layer, skin side down, in heavy pan on Med High. Brown on each side.

Mix other ingredients and pour over chicken. Simmer for 1/2 hour or so until cooked nearly cooked through, turning once. Remove chicken and place on broiler tray or in shallow glass casserole which will fit under your broiler.

Strain liquid to remove onion pieces and bay leaves. If you have a fat separator (like a pitcher where the spout comes from the bottom) to degrease the sauce, a step I recommend if you have access to the fat separator or have the patience to cool the sauce and skim off the fat. After fat is removed, boil down the liquid until the sauce is thick enough to barely coat your spoon.

Preheat broiler. Put chicken under broiler, skin side down for 5-10 minutes. Turn and broil skin side another 5-10 minutes (depending on how hot your broiler gets). Serve immediately with sauce.

Goes great with brown rice if you are on Phase 2 or 3. I served mine with roasted asparagas.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dessert Pineapple Enchiladas with Vanilla Macadamia Sauce

This is a creation I thought up. The tortillas were good, but I think puff pastry or phyllo dough would be really good too. I was inspired by a sauce used in Kailua at BOOTS & KIMOS restaurant that is served over pancakes. I adapted the sauce recipe from one I found online.

1 fresh pineapple (you could use a large can of crushed too)
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cornstarch

Peel and core pineapple, chop finely or put in a food processor/blender to make crushed.
Put in a pot and cook over medium heat with brown sugar and vanilla. Cook for 5-10 minutes, then add corstarch mixed with a little water to thicken. You don't want it totally dry, but not watery either.

In a smaller pot, melt 1/2 stick of butter with a few tbsp sugar (brown or white) and stir until sugar is melted.

Take approximately 8 snack size flour tortillas (or dough, pastry) and fill with pineapple filling. Roll into enchiladas and place in a 9x9 pan. (you may have a lot of pineapple leftover and could easily fill a 9x13 pan of enchiladas)

Bake for approximately 20 min at 350.

Meanwhile, prepare Vanilla Macadamia Sauce.

1 cup macadamia nuts
1 tbsp butter
2 T. flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbps sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla (you could use vanilla bean too)
3/4 tsp. lemon juice

Process the macadamia nuts in a food processor until finely ground. Be careful not to leave too long, because it will turn to macadamia butter. I like to take a few nuts and chop them too so I can have some bigger pieces. Spoon the nuts into a medium saucepan and fry over medium high heat for 2 min or until fragrant. Lower heat to medium and add the butter, stirring until melted. Stir in flour and cook 1 min. Slowly pour in milk and cream, constantly whisking the whole time. Add sugar, salt, vanilla to the pan. Cook 5 min or until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in lemon juice.

Pour over hot enchiladas and serve warm. Aloha!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tortilla Soup

1 small onion chopped
1 4oz can chopped green chilies drained
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tabl veg oil
1 cup peeled & chopped tomatoes (I use canned diced)
1 can beef boullion
1 can chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp worcesthire sause
1 Tablespoon steak sauce

Saute onions, chillies & garlic in oil - add rest of ingredients. Simmer on low for one hour

I add shredded chicken

Serve with toppings:

Corn Tortillas : cut in strips and fry to crisp - salt and pepper
This is the best part!!!

1 cup Cheddar Cheese grated

avacado diced

Sour Cream

I usually double the recipe - leftovers are good.

Pineapple Salsa

This sounded horrible to me when I went to a Pampered Chef party when I first arrived in Hawaii. I had no idea how I would become obsessed with it! Yummers!!!

1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored. You can buy a pineapple/apple corer from Pampered Chef which is expensive although I much much covet is not necessary. You may also used canned pineapple, but if you have the chance to get a fresh one it is worth it.

1 small onion (red, maui, white...your choice)

1/2 cup or so cilantro. (Until recently I loathed cilantro and made this without it....turns out just great)

Garlic to I like TONS. 1 clove or 2 is standard

1 Cucumber peeled and seeded

1 tomato seeded and cored.

1 jalepeno stem removed

Juice of 1 lime. I like to add some lemon or lime zest as well.

Salt to taste

You can chop all these by hand or place in a food processor etc.

It makes a fun and different appetizer or snack.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Paula Deen's Chocolate Toffee Trifle

1 box chocolate cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
1/2 cup coffee liqueur (Khalua)
2 cups fudge sauce (CLick here for my personal recipe), or 1 (16-ounce) jar fudge sauce
3 chocolate covered toffee candy bars, broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups heavy cream whipped and sweetened with 1/3 cup sugar
Prepare the cake according to the package directions for a 9 by 13-inch cake. Cool thoroughly.
Prick the entire top of the cake with a fork. Pour coffee liqueur over the cake and allow it to soak in. Wrap the cake with plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Slice the cake into 1-inch thick pieces.

Line the bottom of a large glass bowl with a single layer of cake. Pour 1/4 of the fudge sauce over the cake, top with 1/4 of the candy bar-bits then 1/3 of the whipped cream. Repeat layering 2 more times ending with fudge sauce and candy bits. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cook's Note: Assemble the trifle shortly before serving or it will get soggy.

Guacamole Dip - non traditional

2-3 avocados,
1 bunch cilantro,
juice of 2 limes,
1 garlic clove or some garlic salt or powder,
1/2 onion,
couple shakes of chili powder-

Blend in food processor or blender for a creamy aioli texture. Or hand chop/mash for a more traditional guacamole.

Salsa - simple and delicious!

2 cans fireroasted diced tomatoes,
1 bunch of cilantro(end cut off),
juice of 3 limes,
2-3 garlic cloves,
1 jalepeno with seeds,
1 small onion

Toss is food processer. Tastes great! I mix with a little ranch to make a low fat yummy salad dressing.

Diana's Fig Sauce

FIG SAUCE (this I definitely measure)
2 1/2 cups port
8 dried black Mission figs, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 c chicken broth
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (DO NOT use dried for this)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon of honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Fig Sauce:
In a medium size, heavy saucepan, combine the port, chicken broth, figs, rosemary, cinnamon and honey. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 30 min. Discard the rosemary sprigs and cinnamon sticks (some of the rosemary leaves will remain the port mix. Transfer the port mix to a blender and puree until smooth. Blend in the butter, salt and pepper. (the sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using------I don’t do it in advance)

Moules Frommage Bleu

Teddy Folkman's Moules Fromage Bleu

Serves one as a meal; two to four as an appetizer

1 1/4 pound rope-grown P.E.I. mussels
4 tablespoons blended oil (40 percent extra-virgin olive oil, 60 percent canola oil)
1/3 cup diced applewood-smoked bacon
1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/4 cup Hook's Blue Cheese, or a similar mild, creamy blue
1/3 cup white wine, preferably a dry Chardonnay
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup baby spinach, cleaned and destemmed
Sea salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed

Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and it is slightly browned. Add the shallots and mussels and toss together. Add the white wine and lemon juice and toss together.When the mussels start to open, add half of blue cheese, melting it into the broth. As soon as all mussels are open, toss in the spinach. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.Plate the mussels and top them with the remainder of the blue cheese. Serve with a French baguette and frites.


I have always wanted to try braciole. An avid lover Italian I just knew I would love this dish and boy was I right! Yum! I looked at several recipes online and combined a few and tweaked it to make it fit what I wanted. Enjoy! This is best if you can make it in the morning and let cook all day.

Pronounced "bra-jole" or "bra-zhul"


1 Flank steak or 8 pieces of beef, thinly sliced. I used a flank steak and that had at it with a meat tenderizer to make thin and tender. Then I sliced it into 5 pieces.

Prosciutto thinly sliced, enough to cover the flank steak

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs I went a little easy on the bread crumbs due to my personal tastes.

1/2 cup milk - eyeball it

2/3 cups Parmesan or Romano I used a block of parm and grated it fresh...mmmm.... and did about half of this to make room for other cheese

Approximately 1/2 cup mozzarella/provolone/fontina grated

1 small onion chopped


Toothpicks 2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced

Butter, approximately 2 tbsp but who doesn't like a little extra butter?

Crimini mushrooms 6-12 depending on your taste. Finely chopped. I think zucchini would be a fun addition as well, finely chopped

2 tbsp flour

1 cup chardonnay - remember don't cook with wine you wouldn't drink! I think 2 buck chuck is a great choice for this. Too bad I can't get it here in Hawaii!

1 cup beef broth few tbsp of tomato paste. I like mine pretty tomatoey so I added about half a small can.


1 cup arugula or spinach. I did not add this but would be a nice addition for flavor and nutrition.

2 handfuls chopped fresh flat leaf parsley. I replaced with a few shakes of dried parsley because that is what I had on hand

1 handful of dried fruit such as cranberries or dried cherries or raisins. I will definitely do this next time. I think would really enhance the flavor

1 handful of pine nuts. MMMMMmmm......


Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place prosciutto on meat after it has been pounded thin, enough to cover. Cut into serving size pieces.

In a bowl, moisten bread crumbs with milk. Add cheeses, onion, parsley, arugula and other chosen fillings. Spread a thin layer over each piece of meat and roll tightly. Secure with toothpicks or string.

Heat a large skillet with olive oil over high heat. Add some garlic if desired. Quickly roll each braciole in hot oil on each side (including the ends) to seal in juices and brown slightly. You are not cooking them, just a quick browning.

Place meat in a pot or crock pot.

Add butter to the skillet. Add chopped mushrooms and garlic to the melted butter. Saute for a few minutes. Add flour and quickly stir and cook 2 minutes. Whisk wine into the pan. Scrape up the pan drippings - enhances the sauce! Let reduce for about a minute. Then whisk in beef broth and tomato paste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

I doubled the sauce because I like alot. It did make quite a bit, but made for wonderful leftover spaghetti sauce. I did not add extra mushrooms. Might have been overwhelming for my family.

Pour sauce over meat in the pot. Cook on low ALL DAY. The longer the better. It is SOOOOO tender. My kids...picky as they are....devoured it. Rachel Ray - who I adapted this recipe from - actually COOKS the meat in the pan, makes the sauce and then serves immediately. Would be good but not as tender and flavorful. You can also use your own sauce, or a bottled sauce but this one is really delicious. And I am snobby about my own special sauce, so I think that says something. :) Enjoy!