Friday, October 8, 2010

Finding Joy in the Journey

Not only has my writing journey led me into full blown sock exploration, but also deeper into the realm of cooking. I have enjoyed trying new recipes and rediscovering some tried and true ones. Now I am aspiring to step in a new direction of cooking light. We all have had misconceptions that cooking healthier often means tasteless meals. Not so!
I started small going online looking at recipes that have fewer calories and healthier ingredients. Then I moved to the library for back issues of Cooking Light magazine and it was there that I discovered THE BOOK. The beautiful bound three ring binder-600 pages of Cooking Light Complete Cookbook. And no, I have not become a sales rep for the publishing company. After amassing a copious list of recipes to try I screeched to a halt. I just had to buy my own copy of the cookbook. My justification is that I will try recipes and from time post online for your enjoyment. But fear not- that does not mean my usual collection of tried and true recipes will vanish from the screen since apple crisp will be in next blog.
Here are some recipes tried with success.
Peppercorn-Crusted Fillet Mignon
with Merlot Shallot Sauce
  • 2 tsp. cracked black paper
  • 4 (4.oz) beef tenderloin,trimmed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Merlot-Shallot Sauce
  • 1/2 cup shallots
  • 1 cup sliced mushroom
  • 1-1/2 cup merlot or other dry wine
  • 1-1/2 cup less sodium beef broth
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 3 TB. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • optional: add 1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • Heat a cast oven skillet over medium heat
  • Rub pepper evenly over steaks
  • Spray pan with PAM
  • Sprinkle salt over bottom of pan
  • Cook 2 minutes on each side till browned or till desired doneness
  • Remove steaks and set aside
  • Saute shallots and mushrooms until tender
  • Mix cornstarch and wine in a small bowl and add to skillet
  • Add dried fruit bring to boil and cook about five minutes on medium-low heat
  • Stir in broth, 1 tsp. butter, parsley and pinch of salt
  • Cook till slightly thick
  • Serve over meat
  • Note: meat can be grilled and sauce made on the stove
Creamy Parmesan Orzo
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1-1/4 cup less sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TB. chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp. alt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 tsp. pine nuts toasted
  • Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat
  • Add orzo and cook 3 minutes stirring constantly
  • Stir in broth, water and wine; bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes till liquid is absorbed
  • Remove orzo from heat and stir in cheese, basil, salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve immediately
Cranberry and Apple Crumble
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 to 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter cut in very small pieces
  • 6 cups cooking apples tart like Braeburn/Granny sliced thinly
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 TB. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Spray bottom of 8 x8 glass baking dish
  • In food processor place flour, 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter
  • Pulse 10 times till mixture is coarse meal
  • In another bowl combine apples and cranberries
  • Combine orange juice, 2 TB. sugar and cornstarch
  • Pour over apple mixture
  • Toss well
  • Spoon over apple mixture into pan
  • Sprinkle with flour mixture
  • Bake uncovered at 375 35-40 minutes or until mixture bubbly and golden brown
Note: Try to resist the temptation to serve this dessert with regular ice cream look instead for a low fat/ less sugar substitute

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