Easy Chicken Stir Fry with Veggies

IMG_2979Cooking with MU Women's Soccer

This week I had the privilege of teaching a cooking class to 16 upperclassman at Marquette University.  They are members of Marquette’s Women’s soccer team.  I brought my ‘Kitchen Simple’ recipes: 10 easy recipes from 15 main ingredients (the ones promoted for Myplate2yours 3rd Birthday!)  This Easy Chicken Stir Fry was one of the recipes we made.  What makes this ‘easy’ is the simple prep of the ingredients (using already shredded carrots and pre washed baby spinach leaves).

It was enjoyed by all of these rising chefs!

MU Soccer cooks!Easy Chicken Stir Fry with Veggies (serves 4)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch strips

2 tablespoon oil, separated

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cut into strips (the size of matchsticks)

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup sliced onion

1 handful baby spinach

1/2 cup soy sauce mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup brown rice, cooked to package directions

Heat oil in skillet with medium-high heat. Quickly stir in garlic to lightly brown. Add chicken strips. Cook until lightly brown on all sides and no pink remains in middle. Remove from pan. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. When hot, add onions, peppers, and carrots. Stir fry until tender crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to pan and add spinach. Stir fry until spinach wilts. Stir the soy sauce mixture and add to pan. Stir fry until sauce heats and thickens. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Marinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Salsa

Marinated Salmon

Dinner in less than 20 minutes?  It is possible with fish!  I tasted this recipe for the first time in Florida.  My mom made it for dinner when my oldest daughter and I were visiting.  We loved it!!! Since then, I’ve tweaked it a bit and made the recipe several times and even taught it in one of my classes.  I thought for sure I’ve posted this recipe on my blog but found out today (while I was searching for the recipe on http://www.myplate2yours.com) that I haven’t published it yet.  So, HERE IT IS!  Make it soon while mango and kiwi are affordable, ripe and yummy!

Marinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Salsa (serves 4)

4, 6 ounce salmon filets (about 1 inch thick)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Salsa:

1/2 cup diced mango (1 small)

1/2 cup diced kiwi (2 whole)

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Mix honey, soy sauce, oil and pepper in a ziplock bag. Add fish. Marinade for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix salsa ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt, to taste.  Refrigerate.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium high. Cook fish, 5 minutes and flip for an additional 5 minutes, until fish is cooked through.

Serve salmon with salsa on top of each filet. Enjoy!

Salade Nicoise

Salade Nicoise

Produce and eggs fresh from the farmer’s market last weekend sparked my desire to make this beloved salad.  Its roots are in Provence and traditionally is made with tomatoes, anchovies, black olives, capers, French beans and lemon juice. I prefer tuna to anchovies in my version and have opted for the olives but not the capers.  It is slightly labor intensive but so worth the effort for this main dish salad. And, because I don’t use lettuce, leftovers of this dressed salad keep nicely in the fridge for a few days.  This salad is one of the many reasons I don’t want summer to end!  Enjoy!

Salade Nicoise (serves 6)

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

1 pound tiny new potatoes, scrubbed

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

2 or 3 medium ripe tomatoes, quartered

2 or 3 baby cucumbers (or 1/2 large English cucumber), sliced

3 scallions, green and white portions sliced

2, 5 ounce cans water-packed albacore tuna, drained

3 eggs, hard cooked and peeled

1/2 cup black olives

Vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons good quality cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves. chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Slowly whisk in the oil.  Stir in garlic and parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Steam green beans for 5 minutes or until tender crisp.  Rinse cooked beans immediately under cold water to quickly cool.  When drained and dry, combine beans with the bell pepper and toss with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette to lightly coat.  Set aside.

Cook potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and while warm, add a few tablespoons of vinaigrette.  Toss and set aside.

To assemble the salad, use a large platter.  Place potatoes on the platter and top with the beans/peppers.  Flake the tuna on top of the salad and add scallions and olives.  Arrange the cucumbers and tomatoes around the salad and add quartered eggs.  Drizzle the final creation with a few tablespoons of vinaigrette.  Bon Appetit!!

Mexican Creamed Corn

Mexican Creamed Corn

Meatless is the name of a newer cookbook from the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living.  I recently enjoyed opening this book for the fist time and flagged several recipes to try.  This is the first one and it was fabulous!  I love that it uses non-fat yogurt instead of the mayonnaise that is typically used in this dish.  YUMMY!  Sweet corn is abundant this time of year and this is a terrific way to enjoy that sweetness!

Mexican Creamed Corn (serves 4) Adapted from Meatless

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 jalapeño, finely chopped (seeds and ribs removed)

1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped

4 ears corn, kernels and pulp scraped

1 cup water

1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt, plain

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons crumbled feta or queso fresco

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium.  Cook jalapeño and onion, stirring until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add corn and pulp and water.  Cook, stirring until corn is tender and most of the water evaporates, 5-7 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in yogurt and season with salt and pepper.  If more heat desired, sprinkle with ground cayenne pepper.  Serve immediately, top with feta and cilantro.  Enjoy!!

College Cooking Class!

Lynn Dugan, MS, RD

Calling all college students who want to learn to cook!  Please join me next week, Thursday, July 16th from 6:30-8:30p, at Marcel’s in Glen Ellyn for a cooking class no college student should leave home without! Make college cooking life easier and more affordable while learning tips and techniques that you will be able to use for the rest of your life. This hands-on class will show you how to make three deliciously easy chicken dishes that will help you avoid costly take-out (and it’s sure to be tastier, too)! On the menu: Spicy Orange Chicken Thighs & Rice, Perfect Chicken Parmesan & Creamy Polenta, and Mediterranean Chicken with Potatoes, with Monster Cookies for dessert.  Click here to register and for more information!

Please note:  this class is back by popular demand with fresh ideas and recipes so that any returning students will receive new information and taste new dishes!

Meatless Monday: Black Bean Cakes with Chipotle Sauce

Black Bean Cakes

I recently made these Black Bean Cakes for family dinner and served them on slider rolls.  YUM!  My meat-loving son enjoyed them, too!

Black Bean Cakes with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce (makes 10 small cakes)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup diced sweet onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1 teaspoon each: cumin, chili powder

1/2 cup grated sweet potato

1- 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

Chopped cilantro, as garnish

Chipotle yogurt sauce: 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt, 1-2 chopped Chipotle peppers, 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, 1/4 teaspoon cumin. Mix ingredients thoroughly and chill.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet and sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic for 3 minutes, until onion is translucent. Stir in cumin, chili powder and sweet potato. Heat until spices are fragrant. Remove from heat.

Place beans in a bowl and roughly mash with a large fork or potato masher. Stir in contents of skillet and combine. Sprinkle in bread crumbs and pour in milk. Stir again to combine. Divide mixture in half and make 5 equal cakes from each half. Place on an oiled baking sheet. Spritz top of cakes with oil. Place in middle of oven and bake for 5 minutes until cake tops begin to crisp. Flip and bake 2-3 minutes more (when second side gets crispy). Serve on a platter with a dollop of Chipotle Yogurt Sauce and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Black Bean Cakes were adapted from Simple Gourmet

Meatless Monday: Sweet Butternut Squash and Chick Pea Curry

Sweet Butternut Squash and Chick Pea CurryYou’ll enjoy the heartiness of this meatless recipe with its slightly sweet and savory flavor.  The sweetness in this curry dish originates from a small butternut squash and a pinch of cinnamon. Prep time and cook time both require 15-20 minutes.  You can save some prep time by purchasing squash that is already peeled and diced (only 12-16 ounces needed).  You may just need to adjust the dice to make smaller.  Enjoy this delicious dinner!

Sweet Butternut Squash and Chick Pea Curry (serves 6)

1-1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced (1/2 inch)

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

1-14 ounce can ‘lite’ coconut milk (unsweetened)

1 medium sweet onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1- 15 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup sweet green peas (fresh or frozen)

Basmati rice or Naan bread

In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onion, ginger and garlic for about 3 minutes until onion becomes translucent. Add coconut milk, curry, tomato paste, and cinnamon. When mixture boils, add squash and sweet green peas. Cover and simmer on low until squash is tender, 10-15 minutes. Uncover skillet and add chick peas. Heat through and taste. Adjust flavor with a sprinkle of curry powder, salt, and/or a pinch of sugar. Serve on a platter surrounded by triangles of toasted naan bread or over basmati rice. Enjoy!

My 10 Reasons to Love Dairy!

June_Dairy_Month_LogoJune is Dairy Month. What makes 2015 so special is the 100th year celebration of the National Dairy Council. It isn’t a surprise that we use a dairy term every time we want others to smile… “CHEESE!”. Today, I want to make you smile as I share my 10 reasons to love dairy.

Love dairy for its taste:

1.  Dairy is a great ‘grab and go’ food. Simply grab a cheese stick, a glass of milk or a container of your favorite yogurt. In our busy lives, this makes getting the nutrition we need super easy!

2.  Creamy yogurt is in my diet daily.  I enjoy pairing it with fruit or granola, or enjoy it plain. Everyday!

3.  Milk is yummy in my morning coffee or oatmeal and I use it to dip my graham crackers when I snack.

4.  Cheese adds a perfect addition to any sandwich, salad, pasta, taco and egg dish.

5.  Dairy is a key ingredient in many of my favorite recipes including Roasted Asparagus with Yogurt Ranch DressingCheddar Chicken and Potato PacketsCreamy Avocado Soup, and Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Love dairy for its source:

6.  It takes less than 48 hours for fresh milk to get from the farm to the grocer’s dairy case…now that’s farm to table!

7.  Milk is produced by farmers who care about their animals and their land.  I have had the unique privilege to meet many dairy farmers in the Midwest and I am awed by their commitment to produce safe, wholesome milk.

Love dairy for its nutrition:

8.  Dairy has a unique nutritional profile with 9 essential nutrients including calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

9.  Delicious chocolate milk has just the right balance of carbohydrates and proteins for muscle recovery and makes a fantastic post work-out drink.

10.  Smoothies made with milk or yogurt are a perfect snack or light meal for my active kids. Some of our favorites are: Chocolate Monkey, Strawberrylicious, and Dreamsicle smoothies.

Celebrate milk because it is one of a kind: it is often imitated but it’s hard to duplicate with its taste, source, and nutritional profile.  The reasons to love dairy don’t end here. Check out more from Midwest Dairy Council and SMILE!

Fresh Herbs Create Fresh Flavors

Herbilicious!

Whether in your garden or from a farmer’s market or grocer, fresh herbs can create fresh flavors in your kitchen.  Fresh herbs can be added as a finish to green salads, sautéed vegetables, bruschetta, pizzas, dips, salsas and dressings…. the possibilities are endless.  And if you are substituting fresh herbs for dried in a recipe, use a 3:1 ratio.

Here are some tips to help with the use and storage of fresh herbs:

  1. Pick herbs frequently if home grown. Snip chives often for a sturdy plant with frequent new leaves. Parsley and cilantro, whose new growth comes from the middle, should be picked working from the outside, in. Basil should be picked from top. Scissors are best to trim herbs.
  2. Wash herbs gently. Fill a salad spinner with cold water and swirl the herbs gently loosen any dirt. Drain the water and spin the herbs dry.
  3. Store Sturdy Herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, chives) by arranging them in a single layer on a slightly damp paper towel.  Loosely roll up the paper towel and transfer to a plastic zipper lock bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator, 2-3 weeks.
  4. Store Tender Herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, tarragon) by snipping off the bases of the stems. Transfer them to a large jar with an inch of water in the bottom. Seal the jar by covering it with a plastic bag sealed with a rubber band. Store in the refrigerator 2-3 weeks.
  5. Store Basil by snipping off the bases of water at the bottom. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Avoid direct sunlight.

And here is a yummy triple herb pesto that can be used with pasta, as a sandwich spread, or in my Portobello Pesto Egg Bake and Pesto Tortellini Salad. It’s HERBILICIOUS!  Enjoy!!

Basil-Mint-Parsley Pesto (makes 1 cup)

1-1/2 cup basil

½ cup mint

¼ cup parsley

½ cup hazelnuts or pine nuts, toasted

4 cloves garlic

½ cup parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

1/4 cup EVOO

In a food processor, blend garlic and nuts.  Add basil, mint, parsley and cheese.  Occasionally scrape down sides to blend evenly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Slowly drizzle the olive oil to blend.  Adjust oil amount, as needed, for proper consistency.

Go for Color!

Go for Color!

The color we see around us in the springtime should remind us of the colors we need to regularly eat as fruits and vegetables: green, orange, yellow, red, and purple. Color is an indicator of the nutritional content, specifically, the phytonutrients that are unique to plant foods.  Phytonutrients offer a variety of health benefits including protection from heart disease and cancer.  Many of these phytonutrients work as antioxidants in the body, protecting cells from damage.

The USDA’s ChooseMyPlate recommends we fill half our plates with fruits and vegetables everyday. Finding easy ways to color our diet is key and having the right ingredients on hand can make a significant nutritional impact. Here are a few tips for adding quick color to your plate (PLEASE NOTE: Colors from artificially colored breakfast cereals, ‘fruit’ gummies, and sports drinks do not count!):

Shredded carrots- Purchase ready-made or shred whole carrots in a food processor and store in the fridge. These add crunch and sweetness to salads, wraps, skillet dishes and tacos.

Baby spinach- These tender leaves are easy to add fresh to any salad, sandwich, and wrap. Throw in a handful at the end of cooking a stir-fry, soup, or egg dish.

Bell peppers- Choose yellow, red, orange or green, cut into strips and store in the fridge. Munch on at snack time, add to a wrap, and use for any stir fry, skillet or salad.

Sugar snap peas- Slice for salads, steam for a side, or enjoy ‘as is’ for snack time. Their crunchy sweetness is hard to resist.

Red and purple grapes- Use in green salads, grain salads and chicken salads. Freeze a bunch to enjoy as a warm weather snack.

Broccoli slaw- Find this slightly nutty and crunchy slaw in a grocer’s salad section. Enjoy the flavor and texture it adds to salads and wraps. Try it on its own with a light dressing as a yummy side.

This list of ideas can continue!  Please share your favorite, easy ways to ‘Go for Color’ with fruits and vegetables.