Watermelon Margarita

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This is a great cocktail for a hot summer night, light refreshing with a little kick. I used the Vitamix to blend it up then stored in the freezer until cocktail time. You could also serve over ice.

2 TBSP superfine sugar
1 lime wedge
3 1/2 c cubed seeded watermelon
1/2 c tequila
3 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 TBSP Triple Sec

On a small plate, pour sugar. Use like wedge to moisten the rim of your glasses, then dip into sugar.

Pour sugar and remaining ingredient into a blender and purée.

Serves 4.

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Chorizo spaghetti Squash

I love using spaghetti squash in place of pasta. I usually cook one up when I’m heating a pizza stone, scoop out the insides and freeze 1/2 and use the other 1/2 for dinner the next night.

This dish just came to me, I had been to the Mexican market, picked up some chorizo and cheese and just happened to have some prepared spaghetti squash. It was wonderful and while high in fat it is packed with tons of fiber and vitamins. You could use soy chorizo to cut the calories.

Ingredients:
2 onions, chopped
1 c peppers, chopped
1 lb Mexican chorizo
1/2 c Cotija, crumbled (Mexican cheese)
1/2 spaghetti squash, cooked

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large pan over medium high heat, cook the chorizo, breaking up into small bits. Add onions and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes.

In a large baking dish, add spaghetti squash and combine with sausage mixture and cheese. Cover and bake 30.

Serves 6 – 8
8 WW PP per serving (8 servings)

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Eggplant, Shiitake, Broccoli and Tofu Stir Fry

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This is the perfect recipe when you’re craving Asian and don’t want greasy takeout. Of course I’ve healthed it up a bit cutting back on the fat and using chicken broth. Serve it with rice, I uses black rice.

Ingredients:
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
16 oz firm tofu, diced
1 eggplant, chopped same size as tofu
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
16 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, Sliced
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, Chopped
1 c chicken broth, give or take
2 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP honey
2 TBSP ginger, chopped
2 TBSP garlic, chopped
1 TBSP, Sriracha sauce

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar and tofu. Toss gently to coat tofu and eggplant, set aside to marinate.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu ad eggplant, reserving marinade, and cook until crisp and golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove the tofu and keep warm.

Heat chicken stock in the pan tp deglaze, until reduced by 1/2. Add the honey, scallions, ginger, garlic and Sriracha to the pan, add the mushrooms and broccoli. Sauté the vegetables until the broccoli is tender, about 2 minutes. Add tofu and eggplant to heat through.

Serves 4.

Spiced Apple Cupcakes

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Nothing says fall like apple spiced cake cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting! These are a healthy version. I swapped out melted butter for apple sauce and used coconut palm and day sugar. They taste just as good but with all the processed sugar and fat.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/2 c apple sauce
1/4 c canola oil
2/3 cup light brown sugar (coconut palm sugar)
1/3 cup sugar (date sugar)
1/4 c sour cream, fat free
1 TBSP vanilla
1 and 1/2 c flour (3/4 whole wheat & 3/4 regular)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
3 small apples, chopped into fine pieces

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin pan with baking cups. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, apple sauce, oil, sugars, sour cream and vanilla until completely smooth. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slowly add the wet ingredients and stir until JUST combined. Do not overmix. Slowly mix in the apples.

Fill each baking cup about 2/3 full and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool and frost.

Frosting:
8 oz low far cream cheese
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine in a food processor and frost cupcakes.

Roasted Tomato Soup

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This soup is heavily – sweet tomatoes – hot smoky chipotle!!! I used my Vitamix to purée & cook the soup.

3 pounds tomatoes, sliced in half
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4 to 5 cloves garlic, left in the skins
1 red pepper, cored and sliced in half
Olive oil
Salt
1 to 2 chipotle chiles (canned in adobo),
2 c chicken stock
Sliced fresh basil or chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a rimmed baking pan or baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes and red pepper cut side down on the sheet. Place the garlic cloves and onion on the baking sheet. Paint olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle salt over the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and onions, and bake in the oven 45 minutes, or until the skins of the tomatoes and peppers start to blacken.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Remove red pepper skins off and discard. Peel the skins off the garlic and discard. Reserve the baking sheet. Put the roasted tomatoes, onions, peeled garlic, roasted peppers, and chipotle into a food processor or blender. Add any of the tomato liquid that may be left in the baking pan. Pulse until you have a rough purée, about 60 seconds.

Pour the purée into a medium pot. Add 2 cups of stock. Heat the soup to a simmer. Add salt to taste.

Wild Salmon with Spinach Pesto

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This is from the Oct 2012 issue of F&W, with a few minor changes.

Ingredients:
8 oz spinach, blanched
1/2 lb orzo, cooked almost al dente
1/4 c grated parmigiano
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp champagne vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/4 c olive oil
8 oz salmon, cut in 1/2
2 TBSP white wine
4 thin lemon slices

Preheat oven to 375.

Add arugula, cheese, garlic, lemon zest, vinegar, shallot and Tabasco to food processor, pulse to chop. Drizzle in olive oil with machine running. Season salt and toss with orzo.

Arrange 2 16×12 inch sheet of parchment on counter. Mound 1/2 orzo in center, top with salmon, drizzle with wine, salt & pepper and top with lemon slice. Bring up two opposite sides over fish and fold to seal.

Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 18 minutes, until slightly puffed. Transfer to plates and carefully open.

Serves 2.

Foie Pâté with Balsamic Glaze

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This one does not actual count as cooking in my book because all I did was bring some various bits and pieces together. It was super amazing so I’m sharing it!

Ingredients:
1 4 oz block Foie
1 apple sliced thin
Water crackers or thinly sliced toasted bread
Balsamic Glaze (Trader Joes)

Remove Foie from can, drizzle with balsamic glaze, serve with apple and crackers or bread.

Serves 4.

Ginger’s Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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This recipe is from my step-mom Ginger. Super easy, super quick, one for now – one for later and there is even veggies in it, did I mention CHOCOLATE?!!! OK so I trying date and palm sugar – you can use regular.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c flour (1 c wheat, 1 1/2 regular)
1 1/2 c sugar (3/4 c palm sugar, 1/2 c date sugar)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c chocolate chips
3 large eggs
3/4 c apple sauce
1/4 c canola oil
3 c zucchini, grated
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet in a separate bowl. Stir all ain’t ingredients together add nuts, chips and zuks. Pour into 2 bread pans or a bundt pan. Bake 50 – 55 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Rum Syrup
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 c rum

Combine bring to boil to dissolve sugar. Add 1/2 c rum. Poke holes in the cake and pour over cakes – be sure to wrap cooled cakes in a foil or container to contain the rum.

Makes 2 loaves or 1 bundt cake.

Five Spice Halibut with Roasted Mushrooms And Two Sauces

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This weeks fresh caught fish, a thick piece of meaty halibut from the Pacific Ocean – thanks fishmonger @ the Hayward Farmers Market!!

This dish was inspired by a recipe I found on Epicurious. I added the five spice rub to fish to add a little extra kick, roasted some oyster mushrooms, and served it on a bed of baby greens. Healthy and very flavorful!! Also, it comes together in about 30 minutes so a great weeknight meal.

For the mushrooms:
1/2 lb of oyster mushrooms, cleaned
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss mushrooms with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For vinaigrette:
1 1/2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 tsp Asian chile sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Combine in a blender or food processor and set aside.

For wasabi cream:
2 tsp wasabi powder
3 TBSP water
1/4 c sour cream

For halibut
1 halibut steak (1 1/2 inches thick), skinned, boned, and cut into 4 pieces
Five Spice powder
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper fish and rub with Five spice.

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat, cook fish about 2 minutes on each side and put in the oven to roast for 5 minutes.

To plate:
Toss salad greens with vinaigrette. Place fish on greens and drizzle with a little more vinaigrette. Serve mushrooms and wasabi cream on side.

Serves 4.

Zucchini Pasta with Pancetta, Pecorino, and Pepper

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I love using zucchini in place of pasta – and I don’t have to feel guilty having seconds. This is my take on an Italian classic pasta of peppers and cheese. I added pancetta for a crispy crunch.

Ingredients:
6 – 7 medium zuks, julienned
1 c fresh pecorino
4 oz pancetta, chopped
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook pancetta until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Add Zucchini and cook for 8 minutes until softened. Remove from heat and stir in most of the cheese, a generous amount of black pepper and red pepper flakes to your taste.

Serve, top with cheese and pancetta.

Serves 4.
5 WW PP per serving