Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blackened Cumin-Cayenne Tilapia

I made this, along with roasted vegetables for the gang (Jack, Tamara, Andrea, & Lupita) over our spring break in Phoenix.


Photo: Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Rose Nguyen

Blackened Cumin-Cayenne Tilapia via myrecipes.com

YIELD: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet)



1 tablespoon olive oil

4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray


1. Preheat broiler.

2. Rub oil evenly over fish. Combine cumin, salt, garlic powder, and peppers; sprinkle over fish. Arrange fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or desired degree of doneness.

Cooking Light

Friday, April 22, 2011

Potato Cheese Casserole

7 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and grated
Mix together:
1/2 cup melted margarine
1/3 cup dry onions
1 1/2 cup grated cheese
2 cups sour cream
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
1 tsp. salt
Pour mixtures over grated potatoes and mix. Spread into a 9X13 pan.
Sprinkle with crushed cornflakes or parsley. Bake 45 minutes at 350.
Tips: Don't over boil the potatoes or it will be hard to grate. A chopped onion can be substituted for dry onions. Place dry or fresh onion with the margarine when melting. Frozen potatoes can be used (but not as good!).

Date Pop Tarts

2011-04-21 19.04.11Filling
16 dates
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Make the filling: Open dates and remove pits. Dice. Boil and reduce to simmer. While simmering, mash the dates until you’re happy. I liked mine with some chunks left in them. If you don’t like any chunks at all, you might have to put it in the blender. When dates look thickened enough to spread with a spoon, they’re done.

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Paint with egg whites. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

Note: I adapted this recipe from http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/04/homemade-pop-tarts/ where there are ideas for other fillings. Apparently this recipe had there been adapted already from someone else's site.

I blogged about the making of these at jack.turner08.com, where I also included more pictures. I put the recipe on www.dailyburn.com too, and it turns out that each pop tart has about 650 calories.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Strawberry Agua Fresca

With strawberries on sale and Spring here to stay, I thought this was a fun way to celebrate a bit of warm weather.


Spanish for "fresh water," agua fresca is a refreshing, fruit-infused drink that is served throughout Mexico. Depending on the ripeness of the berries, adjust the amount of sugar for desired sweetness.

YIELD: 8 cups (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)


  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 cups hulled strawberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)


Combine water and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Place strawberries in a blender, and process until smooth. Combine the sugar mixture, strawberry puree, and juice; stir well.

Traci Des Jardins, Mijita, San Francisco, California, Cooking Light MAY 2005

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Herbed Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I halved the recipe and made these with fresh oregano (left over from the carrot salad).

Herbed Roasted Sweet Potatoes

These easy, pretty sweet potatoes are good either hot or at room temperature. Use any favorite fresh herbs; we had the best results with leaves of Italian parsley, small sprigs of rosemary, and oregano leaves. PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 hour

Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings


  • 8  sweet potatoes (about 4 lb. total), such as Garnet or Jewel (sometimes sold as yams)
  • 1/2  cup  olive oil
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper
  • 16  sprigs fresh herbs, such as Italian parsley, rosemary, or oregano (see notes), rinsed and patted dry


1. Scrub sweet potatoes; trim and discard any spots where skin is discolored or broken. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise.

2. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into each of two 9- by 13-inch glass baking dishes and tilt to coat pan. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.

3. Lay an herb sprig flat on the cut side of each sweet potato half, then lay half, cut side down, in oil (halves can touch).

4. Bake in a 425° oven until potatoes are soft when pressed on top and cut sides are golden brown (carefully lift up pan to check), about 1 hour. Using a metal spatula, carefully transfer sweet potato halves to a platter. Discard remaining oil in baking pans.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 167 (34% from fat)
Protein: 1.8g
Fat: 6.3g (sat 0.9)
Carbohydrate: 27g
Fiber: 3.3g
Sodium: 15mg
Cholesterol: 0.0mg

Sunset, DECEMBER 2004

Apricot Lamb Chops

Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr

I made this for a double date with some friends and it was quite the hit. Since I’m frugal, I used lamb shoulder, since it was more economical than the lamb chops. I served it with roasted sweet potatoes and a couscous salad.

Total: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 lamb chops and about 2 tablespoons sauce)


  • 1/2  cup  apricot preserves
  • 2  teaspoons  Dijon mustard
  • 1  teaspoon  bottled minced garlic
  • 1  teaspoon  lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2  teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 8  (4-ounce) lamb loin chops, trimmed
  • Cooking spray


1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. Combine salt, cinnamon, and pepper, and sprinkle over both sides of lamb. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add lamb to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove skillet from heat; add apricot mixture, turning lamb to coat. Place 2 chops on each of 4 plates; spoon remaining apricot mixture evenly over chops.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 287
Fat: 8.6g (sat 3g,mono 3.8g,poly 0.6g)
Protein: 26.1g
Carbohydrate: 26.7g
Fiber: 0.3g
Cholesterol: 81mg
Iron: 2.1mg
Sodium: 350mg
Calcium: 32mg

David Bonom, Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2010

Coconut Jasmine Rice

Combine 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice, 1 1/4 cups water, 1/2 cup light coconut milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer; cook 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat; fluff rice with a fork. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro. Yield: 4 servings.

Fresh Blueberry Sauce

My roommate introduced me to this delicious sauce. I found that it makes the perfect topping to a cheesecake.

Fresh Blueberry Sauce:

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 4 (1/2-inch-wide) strips lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Combine blueberries, lemon peel, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring berry mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on solids to release as much liquid as possible. Discard solids and return sauce to a clean saucepan. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, stirring until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the blueberry sauce, stirring until the sauce comes to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool sauce to room temperature.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

I served this with Coconut rice. Delicious! I made this a few weeks ago for Whitney and another friend.

Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr

Total: 27 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced ginger
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (about 1 large pepper)
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts


1. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chicken; sauté 3 minutes or until chicken begins to brown.

2. Combine 3/4 cup water and the next 5 ingredients (through crushed red pepper), stirring with a whisk until sugar dissolves. Add water mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Add bell pepper and snow peas to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and sauce thickens. Sprinkle with nuts.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 275
Fat: 13.8g (sat 2.6g,mono 5.3g,poly 4.8g)
Protein: 25.3g
Carbohydrate: 11.9g
Fiber: 2.2g
Cholesterol: 94mg
Iron: 2mg
Sodium: 502mg

SaBrina Bone, Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2010

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pork Loin Chops with Cinnamon Apples

Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

Warm flavors like sage and cinnamon play up the contrast between the juicy chops and caramelized apples. Tart Granny Smiths and slightly sweeter Braeburn apples both work well for this dish.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop and 3/4 cup apple mixture)


  • 1  teaspoon  dried rubbed sage
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 4  (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  vegetable oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  teaspoon  butter
  • 4  cups  (1/2-inch) slices peeled Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium)
  • 1  tablespoon  brown sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • Dash of salt


Combine first 3 ingredients, and sprinkle over the pork. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add pork; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove the pork from pan. Cover and keep warm.

Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add apples and remaining ingredients, and cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Serve the apples with pork.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 251 (30% from fat)
Fat: 8.3g (sat 3.1g,mono 3.3g,poly 0.9g)
Protein: 24.1g
Carbohydrate: 20.2g
Fiber: 2.3g
Cholesterol: 67mg
Iron: 0.9mg
Sodium: 388mg
Calcium: 38mg

Abby Duchin Dinces, Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2003

Since chicken doesn’t agree with my boyfriend, I’m experimenting with different types of meat. I’m enjoying having someone else to cook for, and it’s fun to try out new recipes. I really enjoyed the sautéed apples. Mmmm yumm. 

Balsamic Carrot Salad

Picture from myrecipes.com

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)


  • 4 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices carrot (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat carrots. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight to enhance flavors.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 59 (29% from fat)
Fat: 1.9g (sat 0.3g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.2g)
Protein: 0.8g
Carbohydrate: 10.3g
Fiber: 2.1g
Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Iron: 1.1mg
Sodium: 164mg
Calcium: 42mg

Silvina Bates, Orange, California, Cooking Light, JULY 2006

I made this yesterday for a few friends and it was a definite hit. I felt like it didn’t need as much garlic, unless you enjoy being a fire-breathing garlic-dragon. It adds a nice crunchy texture to a dinner.

Well, we didn't quite make it as the Robertson Family Singers: let's see how we do with cooking...