Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vegetable Frittata


If you ask me, the perfect vegetable frittata is airy and fluffy on the inside with a crispy, browned cheesy top, and bursts of flavor from the charred veggies in every delicious bite. Frittatas are surprisingly easy and quick to make and you can vary the veggies and cheeses you select, as almost any will do.

Today I used onions and sun-dried tomatoes because that's what I had on hand; and my beloved Parmigiano Reggiano, because you can never go wrong with that. If I'd pre-planned, I would have also added thick sliced fresh mushrooms, chunks of garden-ripe tomatoes, and perhaps some sliced zucchini, too. Oh, and creamy goat cheese would have been amazing, also!

Anyhoo, I used what I had on hand and it worked out juuuuust fine. I also leaned on this Alton Brown recipe for general guidance because it had been a strangely long while since the last time I had made a frittata. I will not make that mistake again. Frittata Friday anyone?

Vegetable Frittata
serves 4
ready in about 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 medium-sized onion, sliced or thick chopped
6 eggs
3 teaspoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
large pinch of fresh chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

Set oven to broil.

Heat a 10-inch non-stick oven safe skillet on stovetop to medium-high.  Add butter and onion and saute for about 3 minutes.


While onions are cooking, beat eggs, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper in a bowl with a fork until blended (as you would for scrambled eggs). Set aside.

Add sun-dried tomatoes to skillet with onions and saute for about 1-2 minutes.


Pour egg mixture into skillet and stir with spatula, then cook for approximately 3-4 minutes until bottom is cooked but top is still very wet. Sprinkle fresh parsley and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano on top and place in oven under broiler.


Broil for approximately 2 1/2 - 3 minutes until eggs have puffed up and browned on top.


Slide from pan onto plate, slice and serve.

Excellent served any time of day alongside a mixed green salad dressed lightly with a lemony vinaigrette.

I also really enjoyed spreading a little wedge of Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss Cheese to the top. It added a rich, creamy decadence for only a few more calories (+35 calories per wedge).


Frittatas are super easy and quick to make and look incredibly impressive when done - all puffed up and browned. Your guests will be amazed and wonder how you did it so effortlessly!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mexican Beef and Bulgur Salad


Bulgur is a healthy whole wheat grain that's low in fat and a great source of fiber and protein. The quick-cooking variety cooks in 12-14 minutes and reminds me of the mild flavor and hearty texture of steel cut oats. It's filling and can be easily transformed to take on the nuances of whatever dish it's used in.

Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking Bulgur
Net 23 grams carbs per serving (1/4 cup dry), a very filling serving

In this easy and quick recipe, I used RO*TEL Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies plus some additional Mexican seasonings to produce a delicious and hearty one-dish meal in under 30 minutes.

RO*TEL, fresh chopped onions and garlic

Mexican Beef and Bulgur Salad
Serves 4
Ready in Under 30 Minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking Bulgur, prepared according to package directions PLUS add 3/4 teaspoon salt to water before cooking
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 medium-size onion, chopped
3 to 4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro (leave out if you dislike cilantro)
1 small head iceberg lettuce, rough chopped

Optional Garnish:
low fat Mexican four cheese blend
low fat sour cream
salsa

While bulgur is cooking according to package directions, heat a large non-stick skillet to medium high and add ground beef.   Brown ground beef breaking it up as you go for about 8-10 minutes or until almost fully cooked.

Add onions, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Continue cooking over medium high heat, stirring occasionally and allowing onions and garlic to soften and become fragrant, about 3 more minutes.

Add entire can of RO*TEL and fresh cilantro to beef mixture, stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium.

By this time your bulgur should be ready (water fully absorbed).

cooked bulgur

Add bulgur to skillet with beef mixture and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt or pepper if needed.


Remove from heat and serve individually over beds of lettuce. Top with cheese, sour cream, and salsa as desired.



NOTES:
  • This mixture is excellent as a leftover and reheated the next day.
  • It's also amazing as a burrito filling. Just place in a warm, low carb tortilla, add desired garnishes, wrap and eat. Fat-free refried beans make an excellent additional filling.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Easy Lean Shredded Pork Tacos



Shredded pork tacos often involve cooking a fatty, large pork shoulder or butt roast, which can be intimidating and difficult to maneuver. For an easy and lean version, try using a lean pork tenderloin. Seasoned with a packet of your favorite taco seasoning and cooked in your slow cooker yields flavorful and beautiful tacos with little effort. I also used low carb tortillas making this even healthier.

Easy Lean Shredded Pork Tacos

Serves 3-4, 2 tacos per person

Special Equipment:  Slow Cooker

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 3 1/2 hours on low

1 pound lean pork tenderloin
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 packet taco seasoning mix, divided
1/2 cup chicken broth
8 low carb tortillas, regular size (I used La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Original Tortillas)
Optional garnishes: chopped cilantro, chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream/Greek yogurt

Heat a large cast iron or regular skillet on stove over high heat.

Remove pork tenderloin from wrapper and rub with olive oil first,  then rub half of taco seasoning packet to coat well and set aside. Reserve remaining half of taco seasoning.

unwrap pork tenderloin and rub olive oil all over to coat
use half of taco seasoning packet and rub all over to coat

In slow cooker set to low, add chicken broth and remaining half of taco seasoning and stir till well mixed. Set aside.

With tongs, carefully place coated tenderloin in hot skillet, sear for approximately 45 seconds - 1 minute per side.

carefully place coated tenderloin in hot skillet
quickly sear on each side, this is a little too brown

Using tongs, remove from skillet and place whole seared tenderloin in mixture inside slow cooker set to low and place lid.



Cook for approximately 3 1/2 hours, until tenderloin easily shreds with a fork. Be careful not to leave cooking too much longer since most of the liquid will be absorbed by this time. You may add additional chicken broth if needed to keep moist.

Using two forks, shred pork tenderloin and mix well.

shred with two forks
Turn slow cooker to warm until ready to serve.

Warm low carb (or your favorite) tortillas, top with shredded pork and your favorite garnishes like: cilantro, onions, cheese, sour cream.  And depending on your mood - pop the top on an ice cold Pacifico beer and enjoy with lots of fresh squeezed lime.

so yummy

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Low Carb Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Julian Bakery's Smart Carb #2 Bread


Who ever heard of low carb bread? I mean, isn't bread by virtue of the fact that it's, well, bread the ultimate carb-laden food??


Made with healthy, all-natural whole and sprouted grains - each thick and hearty slice comes in at a whopping 14 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber, only 1 gram of fat, no sugar, and  2 net grams of carbs - wow!  Check it out:


Lately, in between my protein shakes and low carb pasta dishes, I've been enjoying this delicious, guilt-free treat made with Truvia instead of sugar. I also like to use Brummel & Brown's yogurt spread in place of regular butter.  All in all, I think this might just be the healthiest cinnamon raisin toast ever. And it tastes fantastic!


  • Toast a slice of Julian Bakery's Cinnamon Raisin Bread
  • Lightly spread your favorite healthy butter-like spread
  • Sprinkle cinnamon atop
  • Sprinkle a small amount of Truvia atop (or your favorite zero calorie sweetener; Truvia is my hands-down favorite, it's made from Stevia and looks and tastes just like sugar)
  • Enjoy

PS - I buy Julian Bakery breads at Mother's Market in Southern California. You can use the Bread Locator on Julian Bakery's website to find a list of other stores that carry their products, as well as order online.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Low Carb Pasta with Wilted Mache



Al Dente's Carba-Nada Fettuccini has quickly become my favorite go-to pasta. It's all natural, high in fiber and protein, and low in fat and carbs. I like the roasted garlic variety and order it by the case via Amazon. A case has 6 bags (5 servings per bag), costs about $23/case, and I get free 2-day shipping through my Amazon Prime membership, so it's very reasonable, especially for such a unique and wonderful product.

The pasta only takes about 5 minutes to cook and since I tossed it with fresh mache, this dish couldn't be easier or quicker to fix - about 10 minutes in total. Mache is an ancient wild green originating from France, but Epic Roots grows it domestically in beautiful Northern California. The taste is mildly earthy and "green". I loved it tossed with the pasta and accented with the tang of sun-dried tomatoes and bite of fresh garlic.

Mache is a salad green that tastes mildly earthy and green.

Pasta with Wilted Mache (using Al Dente's Low Carb Pasta)

Serves 4-6
10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 10-ounce bag Al Dente Carba-Nada Roasted Garlic Fettuccini, prepared according to package
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
4 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1  3.5 ounce container of fresh mache (or about 2 1/2 cups)
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Stir and cook until garlic is fragrant and beginning to lightly brown, about 1-2 minutes.

Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Add pasta directly to skillet with tomatoes and garlic, toss and remove skillet from heat. Next add fresh mache and about half of the pasta water. Season with salt and pepper, add the Parmigiano Reggiano and toss gently to coat. If too dry, add more of the pasta water. The mache will slightly wilt from the heat of the pasta. Serve immediately with more Parmigiano Reggiano.


Low Carb Pasta with Wilted Mache - fresh and yummy!


Another low carb pasta dish you may enjoy is Perfect Pasta - it's full of flavor with spicy Italian sausage, fresh asparagus, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Easiest and Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts Ever

The Brussels Sprout

Dear Brussels Sprouts,

I love you so much. I cannot stay away from you. I seek you out at the market every time I go. I'm not embarrassed to stare at you, touch you, pick you up, and ultimately take you home with me. I love you more than any other vegetable. Even the pea (and I love me some peas).

I love that you look like a tiny little green cabbage head. I also love how your wispy outer leaves fall away when I quarter you, and how those same leaves get all crispy, caramelized, and brown in the oven.

Can I tell you something? I didn't always love you. When I was a kid, I kinda didn't even like you. At all. Sorry. Had I known how absolutely amazing you are fresh or easily roasted, I would've felt much differently. Can you forgive me? I promise to spend the rest of my days loving and cherishing you.

Love,
The Enchanted Cook

The Easiest and Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts Ever

serves 4 as a side

Oven 450 degrees F, 20 minutes

Ingredients:
16-20 large fresh organic brussels sprouts, quartered (see Cook's notes for how to clean and prep)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fresh cracked black pepper
sea salt flakes (I like Maldon's)

In a large bowl, toss the quartered brussels sprouts with olive oil, pepper, and salt so that they are evenly coated. It's okay that the leaves start to come apart.

Spread the coated and quartered bsprouts on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and place in oven. 

Roast for 10 minutes, then take a spatula and turn bsprouts over. Roast for another 10 minutes or until crispy and brown on the outside, and soft and delicious on the inside.

The Easiest and Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts Ever

Cook's note:  How To Clean and Prep Brussels Sprouts


To prepare brussels sprouts - wash thoroughly, cut the ends off of each, and quarter (see below).
trim ends
cut each head into four pieces
trimmed and quartered

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Perfect Pasta with Al Dente's Carba-Nada Fettuccini {Low Carb}



Now you can have your pasta and eat it, too! Al Dente has a full line of low carb pastas that taste amazing. They're called Carba-Nada and they're all natural, high in fiber and protein, and low in fat and carbs.

Just take a look at the label:
Low carb, delicious AND it cooks in 5 minutes!

Guilt-free pasta - now that's what I'm talking about!

This pasta is excellent tossed with a little olive oil and fresh garlic, or with any of your favorite ingredients. One of my (many) favorite ingredients is asparagus and I just happened to have picked up some beautiful thin organic asparagus at the farmer's market yesterday.
fresh organic asparagus diced small

Combined with one of my other favorite ingredients, sun-dried tomatoes, makes for a great pasta dish.

I like these sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil).
They're much easier to chop when they're dry.
diced fresh organic asparagus and chopped sun-dried tomatoes

To these I added some spicy Italian sausage, a light and creamy tomato sauce (the creamy part comes from adding fat-free Greek yogurt), the low carb pasta and topped it off with my favorite Parmigiano Reggiano. If that's not perfect, I don't know what is.

My Perfect Pasta dish is:
  • low carb
  • high in protein and fiber 
  • full of rich flavor
  • quick and easy to make (less than 30 minutes, including prep)


What more could you ask for?
Yummy "Perfect Pasta"!

Perfect Pasta

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 10-ounce bag Al Dente Carba-Nada Roasted Garlic Fettuccini Noodles, prepared according to package
1 bunch fresh organic asparagus (the thinner the better), diced small
3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 large links hot Italian sausage, removed from casing (or you can use chicken sausage cut in small pieces like the one I used here)
1 26.46-ounce box of Pomi Marinara Sauce (or use your favorite brand of marinara)
1/2 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt (I like Chobani)
salt
fresh-cracked pepper
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat a large skillet to medium-high and add the sausage. Break up with your spatula as you cook for approximately 5-10 minutes or until sausage is fully cooked.

I love this sausage, but any spicy Italian sausage will do.

Next add the asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes, plus a dash of salt and fresh cracked pepper (just enough to season the veggies you're adding).

Stir and cook for approximately 2 minutes then add the marinara sauce and cook a couple more minutes until warmed through.

Next add the Greek yogurt and stir until creamy.

Last, add the cooked pasta and toss together with the sauce.

Top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and enjoy!

Enjoy this delicious "Perfect Pasta" guilt-free!