I’m always looking for a new way to jazz up an old favorite. I’m also a big fan of one dish meals. So when I saw some beautiful napa cabbage at the farmer’s market last week, I knew immediately that I wanted to make stuffed cabbage rolls. Now, I’ve never had a cabbage roll I didn’t like. Most of them have the same basic ingredients – ground beef, cabbage, tomato sauce. Pretty standard, right? The difference is in the spices (and if you’ve looked at some of my previous posts, you know how I love spices!)
These cabbage rolls have a hint of clove in the beef mixture that gives them an herby sweet aroma. Doused in a cilantro scented tomato sauce, each round pocket is packed with flavor. I recommend trying out your own favorite spices in this easy-to-make dish and surprise yourself with your own ingenuity! At around 50 calories per roll, you have every reason to enjoy!
If I had to pick a favorite vegetable, one that I could eat every day for a month, it would be sugar snap peas. I really could eat them every day and that is saying a LOT for me! So sweet and crisp, they are the Rolls Royce of green vegetables. I love these delectable green pods so much that I decided to attempt to grow them.
Now I have a love hate relationship with my garden. Some things never came up out of the ground, others were attacked by what I believe to be rabbits and still other items grew so big and out of control it was as if they were trying to make up for the failures. Do I have any complaints? Naahh. This is a learning process… Plus I scored because my peas decided to make up for the beets and arugula!
My favorite way to eat sugar snap peas is by themselves, raw, no dip, crunch by juicy crunch. When I have them with a meal, however, I do like to dress them up a bit. I usually steam or blanch them quickly and then toss them in a light sauce. This version is distinctively Asian with hints of ginger, garlic and sesame. Next time, I think I’ll turn this into a super fast stir fry with other delicious veggies added in.
Have you ever wondered what scallopini really means? I have ordered it several times in a restaurant and always knew what I was going to get when I oh-so-artfully try to fake a horrible Italian accent. But did I have any idea what the word actually means? Of course not. So I, with my wandering mind and weird questions à la Seinfeld style, just had to Wiki it.
Turns out that Scallopini (or Scaloppine in Italian) is a thinly sliced cut of meat. It is usually made with veal or chicken, dredged in flour, pan fried and served with a wine or cream-based sauce. Armed with this new information, I embarked on a quest to make a whole new healthier version of this traditional dish that is fancy enough to serve for guests and simple enough to have as a weeknight meal.
Last weekend was beautiful in San Diego. It was so sunny and warm outside I could hardly believe it was January! I love the warm sun on my face and the calm feel that summer weather brings. It reminds me of those wonderful summer vacations where nothing was required and anything could happen. This last weekend brought that feeling back and what better way to celebrate it than with the light and fresh taste of summer.
The sweet and spicy essence of the scallops remind me of all the adventures I had in my summers growing up. The salad has contrasting flavors of bold fennel with crisp apple and fresh green peas that pop in your mouth. This meal is bright and cheery and so delectable. Perfect for Saturday lunch on a sunny day. Yes, I was California dreamin’ this last weekend!
When I make a dish, I rarely make enough for just one meal. I usually make at least four servings of everything for a couple of reasons. 1) My hungry jumbo-lunch-eating boyfriend likes to take the leftovers to work the next day and show off to everyone that he has an amazing girlfriend who cooks amazing dishes for him (ok, so maybe I’m tooting my own horn just a little!) and 2) many things I make can be turned into another, completely different dish the next day. I like to call this “Remixing”. You know, kinda like that mixed tape you got from that boy who had a crush on you in junior high, but tastier and way less weird! Not only do remixes taste great, but they are quick and easy to put together so they keep you from eating the same thing every night which I find quite boring, no matter how good the meal is!
When I recently put together my Stuffed Poblanos, I just knew I had to remix the filling. It was so creamy and delish, what better way to turn it into a quick and easy meal than to make it into a casserole? Now I have this friend who told me recently how much she loves casseroles and being that she did not grow up in the U.S. she was not accustomed to them until a few years ago. I never really thought about the casserole as being something unique because, well, let’s face it, in the Midwest you have a casserole at least twice a week. It’s a staple in the cuisine, just like a baked potato or a steak. To me they are just a conglomeration of whatever you have leftover thrown together in a standard 9×13 and baked until bubbly. But my friend is right about something… They are GOOD!
This casserole combines the Mexican flavored turkey stuffing mixture from my Stuffed Poblanos with some high fiber penne, topped with cheese and baked in the oven until the edges are crispy. This is a quick and straightforward meal that will satisfy Midwestern folk, East-coast peeps, West-coast chillaxers, Southern belles and even those from foreign lands!
Having lived in the Southwest for many years, I developed a real adoration for Mexican food. It is a truly unique cuisine, and like Chinese or Indian, you know it when you taste it. There are so many Mexican dishes I love. Enchiladas and tacos top the list along with the oh-so-distinctive chile relleno. Stuffed with cheese, battered and deep fried and often covered with sauce, the chile relleno is in a class of its own.
I have my own healthy take on the chile relleno. Omit the batter, oil and most of the cheese. Stuff the pepper with seasoned turkey, corn, beans and black olives and I promise you won’t even miss all that greasy gooeyness of a traditional relleno. You can even use the mixture rolled in tortillas and baked like enchiladas, place in tacos, mix with pasta in a casserole or top your favorite salad greens.
I made my own taco seasoning for this recipe although you can certainly make it easy on yourself and use the pre-made packets. I also served these with a side of pineapple salsa made with tomato, green onion, chopped jalapeno and cilantro (see below). The sweetness and acidity of the pineapple matched well with the smoky, spicy flavor in the stuffed poblanos. Garnished with a few toasted pepitas, you have a satisfying, flavorful and healthy meal!