Cantaloupe Ice Pops

Cantaloupe Ice Pops

1 small cantaloupe
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely slivered fresh mint leaves
1/4-1/3 cup lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the melon

 

Cut cantaloupe in half; remove and discard the seeds. Scoop out the flesh and transfer to a food processor. Puree until smooth; measure 1 1/3 cups puree and transfer to a small bowl. (Reserve any remaining puree for another use, such as a smoothie.)

Pour water into a small saucepan, add sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in mint and immediately remove from the heat. Let stand for 1 minute.

Stir the mint syrup and lemon juice into the cantaloupe puree. Pour the mixture into 8 individual popsicle molds or small (2-ounce) paper cups.

Freeze until beginning to set, about 1 hour. Insert frozen-treat sticks and freeze until completely firm. Dip the molds briefly in hot water before unmolding.

 

Cheddar Ale Soup

Cheddar Ale Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably ale
2 18-ounce bags precooked diced peeled potatoes,
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups nonfat or low-fat milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced or finely chopped

 

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add beer; bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, broth and water; cover and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash the potatoes with a potato masher to the desired consistency.
Whisk milk and flour and add to the soup. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in 1 1/4 cups Cheddar and stir until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bell pepper.

 

Cassoulet-Style Chicken Thighs

Cassoulet Style Chicken Thighs

2 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed
3/4 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs,
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into thirds
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 pound low-fat turkey kielbasa, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

 

Put 1/2 cup beans in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the remaining beans and set aside.
Toss breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add chicken in a single layer and cook until browned, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add onion and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add rosemary, thyme and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine, increase heat to high and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits, until the wine has reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth, water, kielbasa, the reserved beans and chicken; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Top with the toasted breadcrumbs and parsley.

 

 

Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or parsley
5 cups chopped carrots
2 cups water
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, “no-chicken” broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup half-and-half (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

 

Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme (or parsley); cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
Stir in carrots. Add water and broth; bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until very tender, about 25 minutes.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Stir in half-and-half (if using), salt and pepper.

 

 

Cardamom-Crumb Coffee Cake

Cardamom Crumb Coffee Cake

OATMEAL CRUMB

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, or cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
CAKE
2 cups white whole-wheat flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom, or cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup nonfat buttermilk,
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

To prepare oatmeal crumb: Combine butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (or cinnamon) in a food processor. Process until the mixture is crumbly. Turn out into a bowl and add the remaining 1/2 cup oats and walnuts. Combine with fingertips or a fork until blended.
To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.
Sift 2 cups flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cardamom (or cinnamon), baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a medium bowl until well blended, gradually whisk in buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in 2 additions, stirring each time to thoroughly blend the ingredients together.
Spread half the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the oatmeal crumb evenly on top. Spoon the remaining batter over the crumbs and gently spread in an even layer. Top with the remaining oatmeal crumb.
Bake the coffee cake until browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

 

Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding

Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding

2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups cubed, day-old country-style bread, crusts trimmed (4-6 slices), preferably whole-wheat
2 tablespoons raisins, or currants
1 teaspoon butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until steaming, 4 to 6 minutes. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until blended; gradually whisk in 1/4 cup sugar. Slowly whisk in the hot milk until blended. Whisk in vanilla, lemon zest and nutmeg.
Add bread and raisins (or currants) to the milk mixture; gently fold together. Press down lightly with the back of a large spoon. Cover and set aside at room temperature.
Butter the bottom and sides of a round 2-quart baking dish with 1 teaspoon butter. Preheat oven to 350°F. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
Cut each pear half lengthwise into 4 slices. Place in a medium bowl and toss with lemon juice.
Heat a medium skillet over low heat until hot. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and swirl until just melted and the foam subsides. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over the melted butter. Arrange the pear slices on their sides in the pan in an even layer. Increase the heat to medium-low and, without stirring, let the pears begin to brown and the sauce slowly caramelize, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent burning, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully turn each pear slice with a fork. Return to the heat and cook until the sauce is uniformly golden, 2 to 4 minutes more.
Carefully transfer the pears one at a time to the prepared baking dish, arranging them decoratively in a circle and slightly overlapping them if necessary. Use a heatproof silicone spatula to scrape any remaining syrup over the pears.
Set the baking dish in a shallow baking pan. Spoon the bread and custard mixture into the baking dish. Press down on the bread until it is submerged in the custard. Place the pan in the oven and carefully add the hot water to the shallow baking pan until it is halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
Bake until the pudding is browned on top and set in the center, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack and let cool for at least 45 minutes. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pudding. Place a serving platter over it and invert the pudding onto the platter.

 

 

Caramelized Bananas

Caramelized Bananas

2 medium-small firm bananas, peeled
1/2 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark rum, or orange juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream, or frozen yogurt

 

Cut bananas in half lengthwise. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and lay the banana slices on top, cut side up. Cook undisturbed for 20 seconds, then add rum (or orange juice) and cinnamon. Cook for 10 seconds, then turn bananas carefully and cook for 45 to 60 seconds more, basting with the pan sauce. Divide the bananas between 2 dessert plates, drizzling the sauce on top. Serve immediately, with a scoop of ice cream (or frozen yogurt).

 

Candied Orange Peel

Candied Orange Peel

2-3 oranges
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

 

Using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from oranges in 1 1/2- to 2-inch-long pieces. Cut the pieces into very thin strips, about 1/8 inch wide. Cook in a small saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain. Bring more water to a boil and cook the orange peel for another 5 minutes. Drain.
Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange peel, cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer the syrup and peel to a bowl. Cover and chill overnight.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the orange peel to paper towels to drain before using.

 

 

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
3 tablespoons white vinegar, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound chicken tenders
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup sliced celery
1 large tomato, diced

 

Whisk hot pepper sauce, 2 tablespoons vinegar and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken tenders; cook until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add to the bowl with the hot sauce; toss to coat well.
Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in blue cheese.
To assemble wraps: Lay a tortilla on a work surface or plate. Spread with 1 tablespoon blue cheese sauce and top with one-fourth of the chicken, lettuce, celery and tomato. Drizzle with some of the hot sauce remaining in the bowl and roll into a wrap sandwich. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

 

 

Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze

Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sweet white miso paste,
2 tablespoons mirin, (Japanese rice wine)
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce, or tamari
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
A few drops hot pepper sauce
1 1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, or parsley

 

Position oven rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil. Coat foil with cooking spray.
Toast sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
Whisk miso, mirin, soy sauce (or tamari), ginger and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl until smooth.
Place salmon fillets, skin-side down, in the prepared pan. Brush generously with the miso mixture. Broil salmon, 3 to 4 inches from the heat source, until opaque in the center, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer the salmon to warmed plates and garnish with the reserved sesame seeds, scallions and cilantro (or parsley).