Tilapia with Black Beans and Salsa

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This is a very easy and delicious way to make fish during the busy work week. You can use healthy salmon with its Omega 3s, if you prefer!

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 ounces) pieces of tilapia (or fish of your choice)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 teaspoon sunflower oil
  • 1 cup organic black beans
  • 1 cup pico de gallo salsa
  • 2 scallion greens, sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 12″ x 15″ pieces of parchment paper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place each piece of fish in the center of the parchment paper. Add salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of sunflower oil on fish. Sprinkle with ¼ of the black beans, salsa and scallion greens. Fold the side and ends of parchment paper 2 to 3 times, making a packet. Repeat until you have 4 packets.
  3. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake in oven about 10 minutes, until fish is opaque. Baking time will vary depending upon the thickness of the fish you use.
  4. Place each individual fish on a plate and cut the paper carefully in the center, making a “cross.” Serves 4.

Blogger’s note: You may want to add salsa and scallions after fish is baked (makes for a prettier presentation), but I prefer it baking with the salsa juices. I also prefer using a hot salsa.

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Mrs. Parish’s Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Many, many years ago, I had Christmas Eve dinner at the home of my friend’s parents. Mrs. Parish served the most delicious pumpkin cheesecake! Since then, I have been making this cheesecake every year for Thanksgiving or Christmas! I believe it is okay to indulge once in a while, but I try to make it “healthier” by using reduced fat cream cheese and organic ingredients when possible.

Crust:

  • 1 cup ginger snap crumbs (approximately 18 cookies)
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons melted organic butter

To make ginger snap crumbs, put some cookies in a plastic bag. Using a rolling-pin, crush the cookies. Repeat until you have 1 cup of crumbs. Mix ingredients together well, so that the crumbs are “moist.”  Pat the crumbs down evenly on the bottom of a greased 9″ springform pan. Bake until brown at 325 degrees. Cool crust.

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1½ (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • ½ teaspoon organic vanilla
  • 1 organic egg

Whip the cream cheese and the sugar together. Add vanilla and egg to the cream cheese mixture and beat. Pour the mixture on the cooled cookie crust and spread evenly.

Pumpkin Filling:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) organic pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup organic sugar
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash of sea salt

Mix all ingredients together and pour on top of cream cheese mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 1½ hours. Baking time may vary from oven to oven. Be careful not to over bake the pumpkin custard. To try to prevent cracking, turn heat off while the center is still “jiggly.” Leave cheesecake in the oven to let it cool down slowly for about 15 to 20 minutes with the oven door slightly open. Then take out of oven to finish cooling.

Spicy Eggplant Pasta Sauce

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During my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, I came across some really nice eggplants and decided to make my spicy pasta sauce. What is great about this sauce is that it can be made quickly during the busy work week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ pound eggplant, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) organic diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt

Directions:

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes over low-medium heat. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, add the eggplant. Sauté until the eggplant starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve over cooked pasta of your choice. Serves 4.

Blogger’s note: This is a thick sauce and you may need to add a little water to have a little juice. For those who prefer a sauce with more liquid, use a 28 ounce can of tomatoes and adjust the seasonings.

Taco Salad with Cilantro Dressing

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Since I don’t like to waste food, I decided to make a taco salad with the leftover ingredients from the tortilla soup I made earlier this week.This salad is gluten-free, but can also be vegetarian, if you omit the cheese and chicken. What makes this salad special is the cilantro dressing, which gets its tang from the lime juice, the bite from the jalapeno pepper and the subtle sweetness from the agave!

Cilantro Dressing:

  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1  large garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon organic agave
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Place in cilantro, jalapeno pepper, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, water, cumin and agave in a blender and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Salad:

  • 1 organic romaine lettuce heart, shredded ½ inch strips
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn, thawed
  • 1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, chopped and cubed
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut in half and sliced into ¼ inch strips
  • ¼ cup lite shredded Mexican blend cheese (optional)
  • 4 chicken breast tenderloins, cooked and thinly sliced (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tortilla strips on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Assemble the ingredients for the salad, finishing with the tortilla strips as the garnish. Drizzle the salad with the dressing. Serves 3 to 4.

Organic Peanut Butter Cookie with Hershey’s Kiss

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With Christmas just around the corner, I wanted to bake one of my favorite cookies using entirely organic ingredients. I tried to find a suitable replacement for the Hershey Kiss, but was unsuccessful. Oh darn! So here is the recipe for Hershey’s “Peanut Butter Blossoms” using organic ingredients, except for the famous foil-wrapped Kisses!

Ingredients:

  • 48 Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup organic butter
  • 3/4 cup organic creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 1 organic egg
  • 2 tablespoons organic nonfat milk
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • Additional organic granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take the foil wrappers off the Kisses.
  2. Beat butter and peanut butter in a large bowl, until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar, beat ingredients until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla extract, beat until well mixed. Stir in flour and baking soda.
  3. Shape cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a Kiss in the center of each cookie. The cookie will crack around the edges. Place on a wire rack to cool. Makes about 48 cookies.

Blogger’s Note: I omitted the salt, used nonfat milk, and only rolled the top half of the cookie dough balls in sugar. I always try to reduce sugar, fat and salt, whenever I can.

https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=5191

Tortilla Soup

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My husband and I had a soup weekend, but nothing is better than tortilla soup, especially for a Mexican food lover! My inspiration comes from Wolfgang Puck’s “Tortilla Soup,” Pizza, Pasta & More!, Random House, 2000. As usual, I did modify it just a bit, but it is wonderful! You won’t be disappointed!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups frozen organic corn, thawed
  • 4 or 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 4 large Roma tomatoes (1 pound), coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 (32 ounces) boxes organic chicken broth
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Garnish:

  • 3 corn tortillas
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 8  cooked chicken breast tenderloins (or 1 large chicken breast)
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn, thawed
  • ½ cup Trader Joe’s Lite Mexican Blend Cheese
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil over low heat in a large pot. Add the tortilla squares and cook until they are slightly crisp. Add garlic, onion, jalapeno pepper and corn. Stir ingredients until they are coated with oil and simmer.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and 2 teaspoons of cumin. Cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Slowly pour stock into pot over low heat and cook until soup is reduced a little. (The recipe recommended by one-third, but I thought that was too much).
  3. Wait for soup to cool before putting a blender. Puree ingredients and then pour back into pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more cumin, if needed.
  4. Prepare the garnish: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tortillas in half and in thin strips. Place on baking sheet and bake until strips are crisp. Peel and dice the avocado. Slice chicken into thin strips.
  5. Add avocado, corn, and chicken into pot. Keep warm until ready to serve. Place soup into bowls, add cheese, cilantro and tortilla strips. 6 to 8 servings.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tortilla-soup-recipe.html

Organic Apple and Dark Tart Cherry Cobbler

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I have always liked eating baked apples with a little cinnamon and sugar. This morning I thought about using the apples in a simple, delicious and healthy dessert. I also wanted to incorporate the frozen dark tart cherries that I had in my freezer. So I thought a cobbler would be the perfect way to use both the apples and the cherries. My husband, who is my biggest critic, loved this! Hope you do too!

Apple Filling:

  • 4 organic gala apples, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons organic sugar

Mix apples, cinnamon and sugar together in a medium bowl and cook in microwave for 1½ minutes.

Cherry Filling:

  • 1 ½ cups frozen organic dark tart cherries
  • 3 teaspoons organic sugar

Blend together in a medium bowl and cook in microwave for 1 minutes:

Crumble Topping:

  • ¼ cup organic all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
  • 3 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoons organic butter
  • Pinch of sea salt

Using a pastry blender, mix ingredients together in a small bowl so that you have small clumps.

Cobbler Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using a vegetable oil and a paper towel, grease the inside of 6 (3½” x 1¾”) ramekins.
  3. Place apples along with a little juice on the bottom of each ramekin. Then add the cherries along with a little juice. Finally, sprinkle with crumble topping.
  4. Place ramekins on top of a baking sheet. Bake until topping is brown and juices are bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. Serves 6.