No creamy dressings for me! Yes, you saw that correctly, I said “no creamy dressings for me!” Well, let me backtrack a little…
Back in the good old 1990’s and early 2000’s fat was BAD. Like really BAD. Like if you even thought about adding avocado to something, people would scorn you. So sad, right? Indeed, it was a sad time, because during that time, I decided to give up some pretty yummy foods.
decree Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein – from the show Portlandia
Perhaps you haven’t seen this episode of one of my favorite shows. If you haven’t, Google it, because it’s hilarious. The premise is that you can pickle anything. And they mean anything from dropped ice cream cones to parking tickets. The skit is genius and I love it.
You’ll wonder why you’ve never made tomatillo salsa before…
I know, you’re doubting me when I say that, right? Why make it when you can buy a perfectly decent canned version? Hear me out! Besides being fun to play with (I mean, how awesome are those papery skins they come in?), tomatillos are a breeze to work with. And I have to say, fresh tomatillo salsa is darn good! I mean, really good. So good you’ll want to add it to everything you make. From scrambled eggs to chicken salad, it’ll be your new favorite condiment!
What else is there to love about tomatillo salsa? Don’t worry, I’ve made a list! 🙂
1) It’s made with fresh, simple ingredients without weird additives or preservatives.
2) Those ingredients just happen to also be healthy and taste awesome.
3) You can use it wherever you would use other salsas.
4) It makes a great party, better!
5) Your kids will eat it (at least the ones I served it to did).
Ok, now it’s time to go out and get yourself some tomatillos people! But WAIT! Before you go, a tip – buying tomatillos is a little like buying tomatoes. Choose ones that aren’t super soft, that don’t have brown spots or look wrinkled. Select tomatillos that still have their skins. Those skins should be closely attached to the fruit and mostly closed (see my pics below!). Enjoy!
A fresh and tangy salsa made with fresh tomatillos, perfect for tacos or for enjoying with tortilla chips.
15 ounces tomatillos, skins removed and washed
5 ounces white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, skins removed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to broil and line a sheet pan with foil that has been coated in non-stick cooking spray.
Quarter the tomatillos and add them to a bowl along with the onion, garlic and olive oil. Toss to coat. Pour mixture out onto prepared baking sheet.
Broil 4 minutes, stir, then broil 2 more minutes. Stir again and broil an additional 2 minutes or until tomatillos and onion are blistered and browned. Remove and cool slightly before transferring to a blender or the bowl of a food processor. Add the jalapeño and lime juice and puree** until smooth. Season with salt to taste, if desired.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups salsa.
**When pureeing hot or warm liquids, use extreme caution. Allow to cool slightly first, work in small batches if needed, and allow a place for steam to escape.
As a kid, I loved the fish sandwich from a certain fast-food chain that shall remain nameless. There was something about it that I just really enjoyed…and I’m quite convinced it was the tartar sauce. For some reason, I always felt that tartar sauce was something special, reserved for fast-food meals or vacation fish joints. We never had it at my house, making it even more alluring.
My fascination with tartar sauce continues. To me, there’s nothing better than a little dab of it on a grilled piece of tilapia or smeared on a hearty bun along with a piece of blackened perch and lots of lettuce. It’s the perfect complement to so many great fish dishes.
That’s why I’ve created my own, simplified, healthier tartar sauce recipe. The ingredients are mostly staples in the pantry, and I’ve used granulated and powdered versions of onion and garlic, respectively, for even quicker and easier preparation. Of course I swapped out most of the mayo for low-fat, plain Greek yogurt, saving calories and adding protein and calcium!
Try it as is, or add a splash of hot sauce or sriracha to spice it up. Experiment with fresh herbs like dill and thyme. It’s the perfect condiment compliment to your favorite fish dish!
It’s Monday! That means it’s time for a new recipe, one designed to be used for the whole week. Last week I started the Series off with Roasted Garlic. I hope that you were able to enjoy those yummy sweet cloves in all of your dishes.
This week I would like to introduce you to balsamic reduction. You’ve used balsamic vinegar countless times, but did you know that when you cook it down it becomes a rich, thick syrup? It’s a delicious, low-calorie treat with endless possibilities. I like to use mine as a dressing for mixed greens or drizzled over a bowl of hearty grains. It’s also fantastic spooned over frozen yogurt or sliced strawberries.
The recipe is simple and you can keep it in the fridge to use all week. Just be sure to cover with a tight-fitting lid and keep below 40’F.
Cooking is all about building flavor. And when you’re cooking healthfully, putting that into practice is even more important. Because by layering flavor, you can turn a boring dish into an amazing one. One simple way to do that is to start your dish with a blend of herbs, spices and peppers known as a sofrito. Sofritos are commonly used in Latin American cooking, and vary greatly depending on culture. That’s why there are so many unique variations for one seemingly simple recipe. The version I have created here is based loosely on the Puerto Rican interpretation. Puerto Rican sofritos don’t typically call for tomatoes, so you’ll notice there aren’t any in my recipe. I also roasted my vegetables first, which adds a level of sweetness to the sofrito. Cubanelles are one of the main ingredients, but if you can’t find them at your grocery, you can substitute another sweet bell pepper.
What do you do with the sofrito once you make it? There are several fun ways to incorporate sofrito into the dishes you are already making. If rice is on the menu, saute up the sofrito in a little olive oil first, then add the rice and water, cover and cook until done. Or if you are making a soup, sweat some onion, celery and carrot in a pot in a little olive oil, add the sofrito and cook until fragrant, then add your broth and remaining ingredients. What else can you do? Stir sofrito into sauteed vegetable dishes, beans or stews. Or use it as a spread for sandwiches or tortas. The options are truly endless. So enjoy this amazingly healthy recipe to add bold flavors to your next meal.
A simply healthy and delicious recipe that can add flavor to anything from rice dishes to beans.
1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and cut into 2-inch planks
3 cubanelle peppers, seeded, stemmed and cut into 2-inch planks
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head garlic, loose, papery leaves removed
1 cup cilantro, washed
Preheat the oven to 425’F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Toss the red bell pepper, cubanelle peppers and onion with half of the olive oil in a large bowl. Spread out in an even layer onto the baking sheet.
Slice off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves. Place the garlic with the cut end up on a piece of foil then drizzle with the remaining oil. Fold up the sides of the foil and loosely close at the top. Place on the sheet pan or directly on the rack in the oven.
Roast vegetables for 30minutes or until tender, stirring the pepper and onion mixture halfway through cooking time.
Allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Transfer the peppers and onions to a blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the blender and add the cilantro. Blend for about 1 minute, processing until slightly smooth, preserving some of the texture.
If you head down the condiment aisle in the grocery store you’ll notice that the salad dressing industry is booming. It used to be that there were just a handful of varieties and more often than not, you were reaching for the Ranch or Italian version from the brand of your choice. Now it can take 5 minutes to just narrow down the choices. While I appreciate the convenience of pre-made salad dressing, I still choose to make my own. Why? Well, because like most of the other food I make, I know what’s going in it. It’s also almost always cheaper and it doesn’t even take that long to make. One of my favorites it’s a creamy, spicy chipotle dressing. Not only is it great on salad, but it’s also delicious tossed with cold pasta and veggies for a Southwest pasta salad. You can also use it as a spread for sandwiches or wraps. It can be a fun swap for sour cream in tacos or other Mexican dishes. It’s worth a shot and who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself skipping that condiment aisle at your next trip to the grocery!