Tag Archives: South-Beach Friendly Recipes

White-Bean, Zucchini, Tomato & Parmesan Salad for Grilling

Just in time for your Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, or Labor Day celebration! This quick, easy salad is packed full of flavor, healthy ingredients, and versatility. This will serve four as a side dish, and goes well with a simple grilled steak, salmon, or even chicken.  Originally inspired Martha Stewart’s  White-Bean Salad with Zucchini and Parmesan, I felt that adding one simple ingredient and a little more oil sent an already-delicious recipe over the top.  Perfect for people on South Beach Diet, or for anyone trying to eat healthier.

Admittedly, when I first read Martha’s version, I wasn’t sure how I’d like raw green beans and zucchini in a salad.  But, as the Iron Chef says: “with an open mind and empty stomach”, I recalled that I once had the pleasure of attending a cooking class offered by Chef Charlie Trotter, now known for his involvement in the raw food movement just before his book was published, Raw, (co-authored by Tim Turner). I’d also had the pleasure of dining at Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago  – and despite the big-ticket it came with – my socks were knocked off.

All of my doubts disappeared the first time I made Martha’s recipe, and as often is the case, I was inspired to make it even better.  This easy yet impressive recipe serves 4 as a side dish. I double-dog dare you to eat raw!

GATHER THIS:

  • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2  pound zucchini (1 large), trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
  • about 3 ounces green beans, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal (2/3 cup)
  • 2 good, ripe plum tomatoes, seeded & diced
  • 2 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

DO THIS:

In a medium bowl, place cannellini beans, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, lemon zest and juice, and oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.  I love this with grilled salmon or steak and a crusty Italian bread to soak up the extra dressing.

Note: The texture of the Parmesan in this dish makes all the difference.  I used Stella Parmesan, and crumbled it in my Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus for perfect tiny bites of cheese flavor.  Shavings or grates just aren’t the same – and, at the risk of sounding like a foodie snob, if you are the canned Parmesan type… this recipe probably isn’t for you 😉

Leave a comment

Filed under All Other Recipes, Budget Friendly, Grilling, Healthy Recipes, Italian-inspired, Quick & Easy, South Beach Phase 1

Grilled Onion & Mushroom Salad with Arugula & Goat Cheese

I prepared this side dish to compliment my grill recipe Chicken Pesto Burgers with Tomato Topping, but it would also be excellent with grilled steak or other grilled meats.  It’s easy to prepare and comes together in less than 15 minutes, including the grilling time. It’s FANTASTICO!  This will serve 4 as a side dish.

GATHER THIS:

  • 1 large vidalia onion, peeled, & cut into 8 wedges, leaving part of the root intact
  • 4 oz. white or cremini mushrooms, quartered and stems trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • coarse salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups loosely packed young arugula (large leaves are tough and bitter), rinsed and spun dry
  • 2-4 oz. crumbled goat cheese, as desired (I could eat the whole package with a spoon)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (pignolias)

DO THIS:

Preheat grill to medium.  In a medium bowl, toss together the onion wedges, mushrooms, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and salt and pepper.   Set aside and make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the vinegar, sugar; season with coarse salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

Grill for about 10 minutes on a grilling rack or a vegetable basket, or until onions are slightly charred and mushrooms have cooked down a bit. Transfer to a serving bowl.  Allow to cool to room temperature; then toss together with arugula and dressing.  Top with crumbled goat cheese and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Note: if  you are unfamiliar with pine nuts, they usually can be found in the baking section of your grocery store, or with the display of Italian products next to pasta.  To toast, place them in a small skillet over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes or until just golden.

Leave a comment

Filed under French Recipes, From My Own Kitchen, Grilling, Healthy Recipes, Italian-inspired, Quick & Easy, South Beach Phase 1

Chicken Pesto Burgers with Tomato Topping

One of my summer choices for a healthy burger is this recipe – what was originally inspired by a recipe called Chicken Burgers with Warm Mushroom Salad. I thought the original burger recipe itself had potential, so I just changed it up a bit and made it even better.   Admittedly, I do my own thing on the salad –  I don’t think her salad recipe does the burger justice.  I followed the notion of involving mushrooms in the side dish, however, since it is in keeping with the Italian influence and compliments the burger well. Wait till you taste these!

I have to give credit where it’s due.  In her 2003 cookbook,  More Low-Carb Meals in Minutes, Linda Gassenheimer collected and created and some wonderful gourmet-inspired recipes that are appropriate for many of the more popular low-carb diets.  It targets diet crazes such as Protein Power, Atkins, and now, South Beach Diet. I refer back to this book frequently when I am in Phase One of the SBD, for something more inspiring than lean chicken and a pile of roasted vegetables.  This is an excellent supplement for the SBD books because it has beautiful pictures and recipes that are a step up from the menus in the original diet plans, and most are quick and easy to make.  Since that book was published, there have been more, updated versions – equally beautiful and with great new recipes, and I intend to purchase this one called Good Carb Meals in Minutes, which is geared for the latter phases of low-carb diets and appropriate for anyone who just wants to eat healthy, delicious meals and not spend an hour in the kitchen doing so.

My modified recipe takes about 30 minutes, so if you’re using a charcoal grill (which I prefer), light it up and get started.  Makes 6 burgers.

GATHER THIS:

  • 1 lb. package of ground chicken
  • 2 turkey sausage links, casings removed
  • 2 tablespoons refrigerated store-bought pesto sauce
  • coarse salt & fresh ground pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon each
  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 scallions, tops and bottoms trimmed, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dressing from the Grilled Onion & Mushroom Salad with Arugula & Goat Cheese recipe
  • 6 slices Gouda cheese

DO THIS:

In a large bowl, gently mix together the ground chicken, ground sausage, pesto, salt and pepper.  Take care not to overwork the meat, as is it easy to toughen.  Form into 6 patties, about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Place on a plate or platter and refrigerate until ready to grill and prepare side dishes.

Prepare topping:

In a medium bowl, mix together the tomatoes, scallions, and dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook burgers: Heat grill to medium.  Oil the grates well with vegetable oil (chicken burgers stick easily). Grill patties, turning only once, about 6-8 minutes per side.  During the last minute of grilling, top burgers with Gouda slices, put cover on grill down until just melted.   Serve on toasted or grilled whole-wheat sandwich buns and top with tomato mixture.  Phase One dieters, serve without buns or open-face with one slice of toasted whole-grain bread.

Leave a comment

Filed under Grilling, Healthy Recipes, Italian-inspired, Kids Favorites, Quick & Easy, South Beach Phase 1

BLT in a Bowl: Salad for South Beach Cravers

I’ve been on South Beach Diet Phase One now for 2 weeks.  Having gone through the phases before, I get bored quickly with the recipes in the book.  Today, I was craving a BLT sandwich.  As the man says, “pork fat rules” (Emeril).  So, I concocted this simple salad to satisfy my craving.  Not only did it come together in five minutes – but it completely satisfied my desire for that delicious bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich that mom used to make – sans the bread.  The recipe that follows makes one serving.

GATHER THIS:

  • 4-5 thin slices good quality Canadian bacon
  • 2 Tablespoons reduced-fat Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of coarse salt and fresh black pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes, large dice
  • 2 cups greens, washed and dried, a choice of mesclun mix, romaine, or Boston lettuce

DO THIS:

Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray (or, alternatively, brush the bottom with a little vegetable oil).  Over medium heat, cook the bacon in the pan until just browned a bit, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to a paper plate or paper towel to cool slightly, then chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice, salt, and pepper for your dressing.

Arrange greens in a serving bowl.  Spoon dressing over greens.  Top with chopped tomatoes and Canadian bacon.

Variations: add diced avocado, chopped hard boiled eggs, or cubed cheese (remember though, this adds more fat content and, in my opinion, is not necessary).   I may try a few slices of cucumber or red onion next time; but for a true craving, I wouldn’t want to interfere too much with the integrity of the original BLT.

Leave a comment

Filed under All Other Recipes, From My Own Kitchen, Healthy Recipes, Quick & Easy, South Beach Phase 1

5-Minute Broccoli Slaw for Grilling

It’s grilling season! I’m always looking for new side dishes that interest me more than the usual cole slaw and potato salad.  When you’re in a hurry, throw this great 5-minute broccoli slaw together and wait for friends and family to ask  for the recipe!  Kid-friendly, and healthy too. Great with grilled burgers, fish, and pork,  or alongside Mexican-inspired main courses.

GATHER THIS:

  • 1/3 cup Hellman’s light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Daisy light sour cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions, tops pulled off, trimmed, and sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • juice of 1 medium lime, freshly squeezed
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar, to taste
  • coarse salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 10 oz. package of broccoli slaw mix (I like confetti slaw: red and green cabbage, broccoli, carrots)

DO THIS:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients.  Toss in the broccoli slaw mix.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately, or chill for up to 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

What I like best: quick, easy, delicious – and not too sweet – though you can use more sugar or some honey for a little more sweetness if desired.  For South Beach Diet Phase I, substitute Splenda for sugar.

1 Comment

Filed under Budget Friendly, From My Own Kitchen, Grilling, Healthy Recipes, Mexican-inspired, Quick & Easy, South Beach Phase 1

Baked Shrimp with Tomato & Feta

What can I say?  Once again, Martha’s people inspiring me.   This is so easy, delicious, and a little outside of the box.  Throw it together in no time.   I usually change a few things in a recipe, but I had a hard time needing to fuss about this one. I just changed a few things that were minor – but  I’ve made it several times now, and never seem to change it much.  One thing I think is crucial to change, though, is to season the shrimp with salt and pepper before cooking.  There is salt in feta cheese, but the shrimp itself was a bit bland until I started to lightly season it before cooking.

For a family of four,

Gather This:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved – or about 6-8 plum tomatoes, cut into large dice
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large frozen shrimp, thawed, tails removed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh fresh mint, plus more for garnish
  • 4 ounces feta cheese

Do This:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees with rack set in upper third. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add scallions, garlic, and Italian seasoning; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add tomatoes. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until no liquid remains in skillet, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add shrimp and mint to skillet. Stir to combine; transfer to an 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dish. Crumble feta over top.
  4. Bake until liquid is bubbling, cheese is beginning to brown, and shrimp in center of dish are opaque, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with a light side of whole-wheat pasta, tossed with olive oil and lemon; and sprinkled with additional chopped mint.  If you’re in phase one of South Beach – just use some cooked green beans or asparagus tossed with olive oil and lemon and garlic for a great side.

The only other change I can think of making is that I use an oven-proof, non-stick skillet so that I don’t have to fuss with transferring to another dish and consequently cleaning more.  🙂    Please, if you’re going to skip the mint – don’t bother with the recipe! It’s the make or break, in my opinion.  What a great way to start off a low-carb diet!  That being said, this dish would also benefit from some delicious vesuvio-style roasted potatoes… mmmm!

This is the original recipe from Martha’s site: Baked Shrimp with Tomato and Feta .   It’s one of many recipes from a magazine I love, Everyday Food (Martha Stewart).  I’ve gotten it for the last four years.  If you’re looking for easy recipes like this you need to fork out the $15 for the best collection. Beautiful photos that inspire you to cook.  Are you kidding?  For me, food is so visual.  That’s why I’m trying to improve my photo skills for this blog.   Get this great book here:

 Everyday Food Great Food Fast

<iframe src=”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=recipereporterblog-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0307354164&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr” style=”width:120px;height:240px;” scrolling=”no” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ frameborder=”0″>

Sorry, WordPress doesn’t let me paste a really cute looking ad here so the link will have to do.  Just take my word for it that this is a great investment! You will love this book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Culinary Chit Chat, Healthy Recipes, Quick & Easy, South Beach Phase 1

Super-Quick, Fantastic Greek Chicken Cutlets

We are South-Beaching it for a few weeks here at the homestead.  After the Super Bowl every year, my husband and I go on our “annual diet” – because we tend to pack on the poundage during the holidays.

We don’t have a regular recipe rotation in our house.  But there are a few recipes that I make, repeatedly – when the mood strikes – because they are just great and easy to make when you’re in a hurry.  This one is on my top ten list.  Best of all, it’s great for high-protein dieting and the first phase of South Beach.   This recipe was originally printed in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine in April of 2007, one of my favorite cooking magazines, recipes from which you will see me blog about frequently.

GATHER THIS:

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, coarsely crumbled (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds thin chicken cutlets (about 8 )

DO THIS:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, feta, mint, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Heat a grill pan over high; brush lightly with oil. Season cutlets with salt and pepper. Cook, working in batches as necessary, until chicken is cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Top chicken with tomato mixture, and serve.

From Everyday Food, April 2007  – Serves 4

What’s good about this is its simple sophistication, but you can easily set aside one of the cooked cutlets and serve it with some noodles and another veggie for the kiddos.

In the first phase of South Beach, I am usually starving – so I bulk it up with some chopped cucumber and up the ratio of oil and sprinkle some lemon juice over the whole deal for added kick.

For accompaniments, I serve it with good-quality hummus (I like Trader Joe’s, Tribe or Sabra) and some extra low-carb veggies for dipping.   If you’re not in the first phase, a good, healthy side dish would be some whole-wheat couscous cooked in chicken broth and tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and some fresh chopped scallions.   This recipe will do alright with fresh parsley or cilantro instead of mint – but it will knock your socks off with the mint!

1 Comment

Filed under Budget Friendly, Healthy Recipes, Quick & Easy, South Beach Phase 1