Warm Pasta Salad

Friday, June 24, 2011

With summer finally here -- huzzah! -- it’s the perfect time to start trying out recipes of the lighter variety. So I was very excited to stumble upon Salads: A Collection of 100 Essential Recipes.

I’m a big fan of pasta (carbs = bliss), so I recently tried out the cookbook’s recipe for warm pasta salad. My favorite part was whisking together the olive oil, vinegar, sugar and mustard. Who knew making tasty dressing could be so simple?

Total prep time is about 25 minutes. For a healthy, delicious dish ideally suited to the season, you can’t beat that. Here’s the full recipe:

Seared Salmon Steak

Friday, June 17, 2011

Like everything else in life, learning how to cook is made much sweeter with the support of fabulous girlfriends. My friend Lisa recently reminded me of this when she surprised me with 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know, a cookbook from the editors of GLAMOUR that’s been on my shopping list since it came out a few months ago.

Craving something healthy after a weekend of gastronomic indulgence in Boston, I turned to the seafood section and a recipe for Simply Sophisticated Seared Tuna Steak. When a trip to the supermarket revealed a $16 differential between tuna and salmon, the recessionista in me opted to go with the latter.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it taught me something I didn’t know – namely that seafood can only be marinaded (in this case, an hour) for a limited amount of time before it starts to cook. My other favorite part – the exquisitely simple but delicious marinade itself: ginger, soy and brown sugar mixed together. Combine that with olive oil in the pan and the result is yum-ola!

“Glamour.com assistant editor Meredith Turits calls this her go-to dish anytime she wants to make something easy and impressive,” says the recipe intro.

Simply Sophisticated indeed.

Prep Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 minutes

Here’s the complete recipe:

Squash Gratin

Friday, June 10, 2011

When it comes to culinary inspiration, one of my favorite muses is most definitely my beloved sister-in-law Barb. In addition to her extensive repertoire, she has a great collection of cookbooks. I recently thumbed through one that featured entrees under 300 calories per serving, and was excited to find a recipe for butternut gratin.

Having never made a squash dish before (or a gratin, for that matter), this was uncharted territory for me. I didn’t realize how large a butternut squash in until I saw it in the supermarket, at which point I happily made the suggested substitute for acorn squash instead.

One of the things I love about this recipe is how easy it is. You nuke the squash and then the gratin mixture, and prep time is about 30 minutes. The flavor combination of squash, pork chops, onions, bread crumbs and reduced-fat cheddar cheese is delicious. A satisfying entrée that scrimps on calories and not taste. Here’s how to make it:

Baked Chicken Cutlets In Olive Oil, Acorn Squash With Buttered Maple Syrup

Friday, June 3, 2011

Now that I’ve been cooking regularly for a couple of months, I’m feeling more confident about creating dishes without the help of a recipe. This week, during a girls night in with my beloved twentysomething cousin Alexandra, that’s exactly what I did.

For our entrée, I made baked chicken cutlets. In a bowl, I mixed together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon each of chopped basil and onions. After dredging the cutlets in the oil, I placed them on a Pyrex dish lined with aluminum foil, topping them off with sliced tomatoes. I cooked the cutlets for about an hour at 400 degrees.

As a side dish, it doesn’t get any easier or tastier than acorn squash. After piercing one squash several times, I nuked it in the microwave for ten minutes until it was tender. Cutting the squash in half lengthwise, I removed the seeds and drizzled buttered maple syrup -- here, I turned to Paula Deen for guidance -- and cinnamon over the sides and cavities.

Alexandra said the meal was yummy. If I do say so myself, I agree with her!

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