Category Archives: Healthy Cooking with Candi

Avocado Salad with Corn and Tomatoes and Lots of Good Stuff – Vegan

DSCN0190 DSCN0195 DSCN0194 DSCN0199Most perfect summer salad and it is a vegetarian delight. totally vegan. I am not a vegan so I was grilling steaks for dinner and wanted to do a cold salad on the side. I had 2 beautiful ripe avocados on hand and all the ingredients for this yummy salad.  I had some fresh corn so I just brought the water to a boil threw it in and when it turned yellow took it out and threw it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.   Of course I love  jalapenos , use your own discretion and this would be amazing without as well but it was kick ass with them.  You can make the salad ahead and let juices meld but don’t add the avocados till you’re ready to serve.  You can give them a little squeeze of fresh lime juice so they won’t turn brown so fast.  I like to serve salad at room temperature, you just don’t get the flavors when it’s too cold. It will keep in fridge for a few days, but you’ll have to take out the leftover avocado since it will turn brown. I cut this salad in 1/2 for the 2 of us. This easily will serve 6 as a side. By the way Joel took a bite but too much healthy stuff going on in here for his liking, although he’s gotten better he’s not quite up to this yet, it’s OK because there was more for me with leftovers.

Enjoy Memorial Day Weekend and be safe!

I was inspired for this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa recipe for Guacamole Salad. The corn was my idea.

Ingredients:

2 cobs of fresh corn ( cook and then shuck corn off the cob) if no fresh corn available use frozen . I use frozen when I have to and 1 small bag is usually sufficient. The frozen corn will defrost very quickly so just take it out and when you mix in with other ingredients it will start to completely thaw by the time you’re ready to serve. You want to serve at room temperature anyway.

1 pint grape tomatoes , halved

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced into small pieces ( app. 1/2 “)

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup small diced red onion

2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded ( app. 2 small jalapenos) use at your own discretion . Remove Seeds

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( 2 limes)

1/4 cup good olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into small cubes.

Directions:

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper. Pour over the vegetables. Toss well. In the meanwhile cook the corn , bring water to a boil throw in for a few minutes to turn bright yellow, then I throw in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking and lock in flavor and color. Then remove corn from cob. I let the salad sit for about an hour before adding avocados into the salad. Just fold avocados into the salad when you’re ready to serve. Check for seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Pasta with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes

I am clearly obsessed with tomatoes these days. This recipe is easy to make, pretty healthy and super tasty. I just love those little grape tomatoes and have been using them a lot lately in everything I cook. Of course, the spinach is an issue because of Joel, but he’ll just have to pick it out. He really doesn’t know what he is missing. Most of the ingredients you’ll have on hand. If you’re really trying to keep it lighter, omit the butter and increase the olive oil by one tablespoon. Just cook the chicken in the olive oil without the butter. It will be fine. Cut the chicken into small or large chunks (whatever you would prefer)just be sure they are all pretty much the same size to make cooking time is the same , put in a single layer and allow the chicken to brown up nicely (when you first put it into the skillet try not to touch it ), about 3  minutes on each side depending on the size of the chicken chunks. Enjoy this delicious meal–it’s perfect for a nice lunch, dinner, or brunch dish. Prep time is quick , about 1/2 hour. This is really a beautiful light meal .

*I cut this recipe in 1/2 this evening for just the 2 of us. This dish should feed 5 – 6  people nicely as is.

Ingredients:

1 pound small pasta ( penne, rigatoni, I used Fusilli Bucati ) I like a small macaroni as opposed to spaghetti in this recipe.

4 whole boneless , skinless Chicken Breasts ( adjust to how many people you’re serving) app. 2 lbs.

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons Butter ( unsalted)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Cloves Garlic , minced

3/4 cup Dry White Wine ( I use whatever is open) ( if no white wine or you don’t like cooking with wine just double up on chicken broth)

3/4 cups Chicken Broth ( you may need a bit more so have a  little extra on hand)

1 bag Baby Spinach

2 boxes of grape tomatoes (1 pint per box) sliced lengthwise , any larger ones cut in fours

Grated Parmesan Cheese for garnish

*crushed red pepper which we love but totally not necessary

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions . Drain and set aside. I try to keep a little of the pasta water in the event I may need it at the end of cooking, just take a measuring cup and scoop out a cup of water and set aside, if you don’t use it you haven’t lost anything. Sometimes towards the end I add it to finished pasta to  add a little liquid to the pasta, especially if you cook in advance. I didn’t need it tonite because we ate it as soon as it was cooked, and it was just right .

Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper ( (I prefer small chunks) Be fairly generous with Salt and Pepper.

Heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken in a single layer and don’t touch for a few minutes and let it brown up, turn over once it starts to brown and form a coating. When chicken is done, remove chicken from skillet. I prefer smaller chunks, do whatever you like, just keep them uniform for even cooking.

Turn heat down to low, add garlic and give it a quick stir, be careful not to burn garlic. Pour in wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan, raise the heat and allow the liquid to come to a boil. Allow the liquid to boil for a bit, I let it boil for about 5 minutes, reduce the cooking liquid by at least half. I then reduce to a simmer and add the tomatoes, I let them cook for about 5 minutes till they start to release their liquid a bit, and just start to soften.  I also add Salt and Pepper again here, then I add chicken to pan . stir it around, add the bag of spinach  it will start to wilt as you toss everything , then add the drained pasta, mix well and serve. So light and delicious.

Sprinkle Grated Parmesan or Parmesan shavings are good as well.

Salmon with a Mustard Glaze

IMG_7557 IMG_7571Here is another delicious Salmon recipe and so super easy. I made this for dinner last night and it was ready in no time and tasted truly delicious.It is light and easy, it doesn’t get much easier than this. The whole recipe took less than 1/2 hour to prep and cook! Depending on how thick your salmon is it could take no more than 10 minutes to fully cook right in the oven. Very few ingredients and a perfect dinner casual enough for just you and your family and can be bumped up to serve to guests. This is a winner.Last night I served with potatoes and a salad.  Almost any side dish will do alongside this. img_3593

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 heaping Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (app. 1 average size lemon)

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper ( about 1/4 tsp. of each)

4 pieces Salmon fillets ( app. 6 oz. each) with skin on

*sprinkle a little fresh thyme if you’d like!!!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray to facilitate removal of fish not to mention clean-up.

In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used a mini whisk and it came together beautifully.

Place Salmon, skin side down in a baking dish , and spoon mustard glaze over each piece of fish. Bake until salmon is just cooked through and no longer red, 6 – 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet. I added a sprinkle of some fresh thyme right before I cooked and it added some more delicious flavor, this is totally optional.

Voila! done and enjoy. I served this time with a delicious lentil side dish.

Triple Berry Crisp–Gluten Free

IMG_7716 IMG_7709 (2) IMG_7702 IMG_7698 I love sugar as much if not more than the next guy but this was an opportunity to make a berry crisp without any white sugar or flour.  I stumbled upon this recipe on one of the million blogs, sites and posts I see spouting Paleo and Gluten Free recipes. I am not a paleo eater nor am I gluten free but it can’t hurt to have a recipe that is light on the sugar and fairly healthy to boot. If you would like it a little bit sweeter you can add a tablespoon of coconut sugar or a packet of stevia, I didn’t and I liked it just the way it was.  It intrigued me since I love a crisp but hate the amounts of sugar that go into it, even though I do love eating it.

I had some fresh blueberries, some fresh blackberries and a few random raspberries that were going to go uneaten . What better time to try this? You can make this with just blueberries, or any berry or fruit you like. Berries are in abundance now and super delicious. This recipe took me all of 1/2 hour to put together. Use cooking spray on ramekins and baking sheet or use parchment paper for easier clean-up.  I used 4 ramekins but you can stretch this to 6 for sure.

I just sampled and can say that while they are not cloyingly sweet they have a bit of sweetness and crunch and you can really taste the tartness of the berries. I wouldn’t mind topping with some  ice cream or yogurt but I guess that would be defeating the purpose. There are some wonderful dairy-free ice creams out there and I suppose they would work just fine.

Just an addition– I ate it for breakfast this morning!!! with a little greek yogurt!

Ingredients:

app. 2 pints of berries — as I said you can mix them or use any one you like best. I used black, blue and raspberries. This can be made with apples, peaches, strawberries , nectarines and any combination of the above. I like making them in individual ramekins as a way of having portions already prepared which I think is very nice for dessert but equally nice made in a larger baking dish and you may need to double up on ingredients.

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup almond flour–available in most supermarkets today ( Whole Foods)

*1/2 cup slivered almonds–obviously can be made without nuts but I love the crunch

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp. maple syrup ( use pure maple not the artificial one)

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a bowl, mix together the berries with the lemon juice. Divide between the ramekins ( spray ramekins first) you can also bake this in one large baking dish of course.

You can use the same bowl or a new one, and mix together remaining ingredients until combined. Spoon the almond mixture over the berries. Bake for app. 30 minutes , until bubbly and golden brown. Mine were done in 25 minutes so check your oven after 20 minutes to see where they’re at.

Let it cool slightly before serving.

Avocado Salad with Corn and Tomatoes and Lots of Good Stuff – Vegan

DSCN0190 DSCN0195 DSCN0194 DSCN0199Most perfect summer salad and it is a vegetarian delight. totally vegan. I am not a vegan so I was grilling steaks for dinner and wanted to do a cold salad on the side. I had 2 beautiful ripe avocados on hand and all the ingredients for this yummy salad.  I had some fresh corn so I just brought the water to a boil threw it in and when it turned yellow took it out and threw it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.   Of course I love  jalapenos , use your own discretion and this would be amazing without as well but it was kick ass with them.  You can make the salad ahead and let juices meld but don’t add the avocados till you’re ready to serve.  You can give them a little squeeze of fresh lime juice so they won’t turn brown so fast.  I like to serve salad at room temperature, you just don’t get the flavors when it’s too cold. It will keep in fridge for a few days, but you’ll have to take out the leftover avocado since it will turn brown. I cut this salad in 1/2 for the 2 of us. This easily will serve 6 as a side. By the way Joel took a bite but too much healthy stuff going on in here for his liking, although he’s gotten better he’s not quite up to this yet, it’s OK because there was more for me with leftovers.

I was inspired for this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa recipe for Guacamole Salad. The corn was my idea.

Ingredients:

2 cobs of fresh corn ( cook and then shuck corn off the cob) if no fresh corn available use frozen . I use frozen when I have to and 1 small bag is usually sufficient. The frozen corn will defrost very quickly so just take it out and when you mix in with other ingredients it will start to completely thaw by the time you’re ready to serve. You want to serve at room temperature anyway.

1 pint grape tomatoes , halved

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced into small pieces ( app. 1/2 “)

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup small diced red onion

2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded ( app. 2 small jalapenos) use at your own discretion . Remove Seeds

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( 2 limes)

1/4 cup good olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into small cubes.

Directions:

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper. Pour over the vegetables. Toss well. In the meanwhile cook the corn , bring water to a boil throw in for a few minutes to turn bright yellow, then I throw in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking and lock in flavor and color. Then remove corn from cob. I let the salad sit for about an hour before adding avocados into the salad. Just fold avocados into the salad when you’re ready to serve. Check for seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Couscous Salad, Real Mediterranean Style

It’s springtime so I am thinking of lighter food, and of course salads come to my mind. I make this recipe with couscous or quinoa. I have another recipe for quinoa on my website so I figured that I would make one with couscous this time, but feel free to use either one. The dressing has a definite Greek flavor. This dish is perfectly tasty and served with grilled fish or chicken you have a perfect meal. As far as salads go, this one is perfection. This is not an exact science; if you like a lot of tomatoes, add more. If there is another item here that you don’t like, feel free to substitute, and I’d love to hear what you did. I love to hear variations on my recipes. This is so quick and easy to assemble. Can definitely be made ahead of time.

Ingredients: 

Vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 /2 teaspoon dried oregano (if you like to use fresh, use 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste – I started with a 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher Salt and a few grinds of the peppermill.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use a good one)

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk in the olive oil slowly. Adjust the salt and pepper and set aside.

Ingredients for Couscous:

Prepare 1  box (usually 10 – 12 ounces) couscous (or quinoa) according to the directions but use 1/4 less water than it calls for. For example, the Near East Couscous calls for 2 cups of water or broth so I would reduce by 1/2 cup. After cooking, allow to cool for a bit then stick in the fridge for about an hour. I usually cook my couscous in either chicken broth or vegetable broth for extra added flavor.

1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half (I like a lot of tomatoes, so use more if you do too) I tend to like my tomatoes cut into smaller pieces but cut however you like just don’t leave whole

1 cup pitted black or Kalamata olives (I prefer Kalamata because they are saltier)

1 roasted red or orange pepper (you can use from jar) I just eyeballed from the jar, use as much as you’d like

1 cup garbanzo beans (drained from the can are fine)

6 ounces cubed feta cheese

1/4 cup sliced green onions or chopped red onion would work quite well here as well

* chopped cucumbers would be a nice addition as well, I didn’t use this time

In a large bowl, gently toss the couscous, tomato, pepper, olives, beans and feta. Add the dressing, transfer to a lovely serving bowl and there you go. This is so delicious and light, it’s a perfect side dish and a beautiful salad .

Couscous Salad, Real Mediterranean Style

It’s springtime so I am thinking of lighter food, and of course salads come to my mind. I make this recipe with couscous or quinoa. I have another recipe for quinoa on my website so I figured that I would make one with couscous this time, but feel free to use either one. The dressing has a definite Greek flavor. This dish is perfectly tasty and served with grilled fish or chicken you have a perfect meal. As far as salads go, this one is perfection. This is not an exact science; if you like a lot of tomatoes, add more. If there is another item here that you don’t like, feel free to substitute, and I’d love to hear what you did. I love to hear variations on my recipes. This is so quick and easy to assemble. Can definitely be made ahead of time.

Ingredients: 

Vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 /2 teaspoon dried oregano (if you like to use fresh, use 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste – I started with a 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher Salt and a few grinds of the peppermill.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use a good one)

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk in the olive oil slowly. Adjust the salt and pepper and set aside.

Ingredients for Couscous:

Prepare 1  box (usually 10 – 12 ounces) couscous (or quinoa) according to the directions but use 1/4 less water than it calls for. For example, the Near East Couscous calls for 2 cups of water or broth so I would reduce by 1/2 cup. After cooking, allow to cool for a bit then stick in the fridge for about an hour. I usually cook my couscous in either chicken broth or vegetable broth for extra added flavor.

1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half (I like a lot of tomatoes, so use more if you do too) I tend to like my tomatoes cut into smaller pieces but cut however you like just don’t leave whole

1 cup pitted black or Kalamata olives (I prefer Kalamata because they are saltier)

1 roasted red or orange pepper (you can use from jar) I just eyeballed from the jar, use as much as you’d like

1 cup garbanzo beans (drained from the can are fine)

6 ounces cubed feta cheese

1/4 cup sliced green onions or chopped red onion would work quite well here as well

* chopped cucumbers would be a nice addition as well, I didn’t use this time

In a large bowl, gently toss the couscous, tomato, pepper, olives, beans and feta. Add the dressing, transfer to a lovely serving bowl and there you go. This is so delicious and light, it’s a perfect side dish and a beautiful salad .

Kale and White Bean Soup

IMG_0276IMG_0278 IMG_0280 IMG_0282Sometimes you just feel like making something very quickly and easy. I was sticking close to home on this particularly snowy day and felt like eating something comforting and hearty. I happen to have all the ingredients for this soup in the house and improvised with a little lemon for extra added flavor. This is why I always keep certain staples in my pantry such as chicken or vegetable stock, garlic, onions and always have extra cans of cannelinni beans. I love a good fresh bean as much as the next but sometimes only canned will do. This was one of those times. This soup can actually be made in an hour from start to finish. Big recommendation if you’re in the market for hearty comforting soup this winter. Leftovers were a snap , I just added a little more broth and heated it up. A little freshly grated parmesan never hurt any either.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large yellow onion, minced– I chopped it finely

1/2 Tbsp. fresh garlic–minced as well ( app. 1 large clove)

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter–you can omit but I liked the flavor it added

1/4 tsp. dried rosemary

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1/8 tsp. dried oregano

1 small lemon, juiced

4-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock/broth–depending on thickness of soup and consistency you like

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 (15 oz.) cans cooked cannellini beans, drained–not rinsed

1 – 2 cups loosely packed kale, spinach, swiss chard, etc. I happen to have a package of baby kale in the house so that’s what I used. Remove any rough stems and tear into small pieces if you’re working with whole heads of kale, etc.

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot, I used my Le Creuset for this. Heat oil till it is shimmering and add the minced onion, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and translucent, I do this on a low flame. Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Add the butter, and as it is melting add in the dried herbs. Let cook for another few minutes.

Add the lemon juice, add the stock and stir to combine. Cover, and bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and let it simmer uncovered for about 1/2 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the white beans and kale leaves, and continue simmering until it is hot through and through, about 5 more minutes.

Serve warm with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan or just as is.

A nice piece of warm crusty bread would also be a perfect addition!

Enjoy!

 

 

Lentils–a side dish

IMG_7563

Lentils cooking on stovetop

IMG_7571

lentils and mustard glazed salmon

IMG_7570

lentils and mustard glazed salmon

IMG_7565 I was preparing Mustard Glazed Salmon for dinner and wanted something alongside that was a little different.  Original inspiration comes from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris book. I made a few changes to suit my self and it came out totally delicious and a most wonderful accompaniment for Salmon or any fish or any thing for that matter. Joel even liked it!!!! which was the greatest shock of all!!! Not just a fabulous side dish but a nutritious one at that. Win Win on the Lentils! Of course this can be made vegetarian by subbing out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

*Good the next day if not better and can be served at room temperature or even cold right out of the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. Lentils–if you can find French green lentils great if not no worries get whatever kind of lentils you can find

1/4 cup olive oil

app. 2 cups chopped yellow onions

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

app. 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced (app. 1 Tbsp.)

app. 4 stalks of celery , chopped

app. 3 average carrots, chopped

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock/broth

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

2 Tablespoons good red wine vinegar

Directions:

Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, add the onions, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat without burning till onions become translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes.

Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, stock and tomato paste. Cover pan and simmer over low heat for about 1/2 hour.

Add the vinegar before serving mix and taste for salt and pepper.

Orzo with Feta, Tomatoes and Mint

IMG_7873IMG_7872 IMG_7864 IMG_7863Totally delicious and fresh tasting that’s what this is. Looking for an easy,  fresh side dish?  This could be it. It’s very easy and took about 1/2 hour to make whole recipe and I served it alongside Mustard Glazed Salmon for dinner. Mint gives this dish the most wonderful layer of flavor, don’t leave it out. Tastes and looks like Summertime in a bowl.  Easy, quick and packed full of flavor, you can even add crushed red pepper for a little heat if you like.

Perfection!!!!

Ingredients:

1 pound orzo pasta

1/4 cup olive oil plus 1/8 cup olive oil

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup or more feta cheese use as much or as little as you like but at least 1 cup for that tang and bite. I used crumbled feta which makes it a little easier to work with. Block of Feta is fine and equally delicious, you’ll just have to cut it up.

1 cup or more arugula ( I used a little more) but use at least 1 cup

1/2 cup fresh mint , chopped ( don’t omit)

3 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt ( you may want to taste before adding this , I used 1 teaspoon )

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( you may want to taste before adding this as well, this is what I did)

Directions:

Prepare orzo according to box directions for al dente and make sure you add salt to water

While the pasta is cooking, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and sauté until the shallots soften and the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes on a very low heat. Be careful not to burn! Add the cherry tomatoes, and then heat for another few minutes and then I put heat on the lowest setting and let tomatoes just sit on stove-top while orzo cooked. ( about 5 more minutes)

Add tomato mixture to a large bowl along with the feta, arugula, mint and balsamic vinegar.

Drain the orzo and allow to cool a little bit. Add it to the bowl, and drizzle app. 1/8 of a cup of olive oil. Toss well . Taste for Salt and Pepper, I added 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Adjust seasoning to your taste.  I put it in refrigerator till we ate dinner, it can be served cold or warm, delicious either way.

Toss and Serve.

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper