Category Archives: Healthy Cooking with Candi

Middle Eastern Salad

This salad appeals to me on so many levels. Firstly I love Middle Eastern food , I love raw salads, I love the freshness that is going on in this salad and did I mention that it’s super easy with very obtainable ingredients.

I served with toasted pita bread cut into small triangles.

Ingredients:

5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

2 pints of small grape /cherry tomatoes or any tomatoes that you want to use. You can use up to 1 lb. of fresh cut up tomatoes

1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise , seeded and 1/2 inch diced

1 can 12 to 16 oz. size of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/3 cup cut up fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice — you may need up to 4 small lemons or 2 very large ones. I use my juicer for this.

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic — app. 3 cloves

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste– start with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 tsp. pepper– you’ll taste for additional salt and pepper at the end.

1/2 cup good olive oil

8 oz. good feta cheese, buy a chunk and dice it up

Toasted Pita Bread for serving

Directions:

Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, drained chickpeas, parsley , mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, garlic 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream till it emulsifies. Pour the dressing over the salad tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add in the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper *if necessary. Serve the salad alongside the toasted pita.

Yum!

Pasta with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes

This is a delightful  “what’s in the house ” kind of dinner.  Most of the ingredients in this recipe you’ll have on hand and are easily obtainable.   Enjoy this delicious light pasta meal–it’s perfect for a nice lunch, dinner, or brunch dish. Prep time is quick , about 1/2 hour start to finish.  This is really a beautiful meal in one bowl– protein and veggies.

*I cut this recipe in 1/2 this evening for just the 2 of us. This dish should feed 5 – 6 This recipe is delicious at room temperature or hot or even cold the next day. Wonderful left-overs are always a good thing.

Ingredients:

1 pound small pasta ( penne, rigatoni, I used Fusilli Bucati ) I like a small macaroni as opposed to spaghetti in this recipe. Boxes vary and sometimes a box of pasta is 12 oz. — which is fine

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

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or you can use 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil and 1 Tablespoon unsalted Butter — your call

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.

Use a large skillet or large frying pan

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  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.

Ginger, Honey Soy Salmon

Another recipe from Jessica Seinfeld that we enjoy. This is a wonderful recipe which is very tasty and very light. And did I mention easy? Very easy with very few ingredients. 5 ingredients including the salmon.

I made it this time with roasted brussels and rice pilaf .

Enjoy and continue to be safe

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. skinless salmon fillets — I like to have it cut from the center so they’re the same size

1/3 cup soy sauce– I like to always use low sodium

2 Tablespoons Honey

2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice — juice from probably 1/2 an orange

1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger ( app. one inch piece maybe a little more) if you absolutely cannot get fresh ginger use about a 1/2 tsp.. powdered ginger

Directions:

Place the salmon fillets in a large ziplock bag.

In a liquid measuring cup measure the soy sauce, then add the 2 Tablespoons Honey and fresh orange juice.

Using a vegetable peeler peel the ginger, cut off any small knobs before you peel. Grate the ginger then add to the soy sauce mixture. Whisk it all together.

Reserve 3 Tablespoons of the mixture and set aside. Pour the remaining mixture over the the salmon in the bag , squeeze the air out of the bag and seal the bag and put in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes ( flip it over half way through so both sides get marinated ) don’t marinade too long — I marinaded for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile spray or line a sheet with aluminum foil — this is a sticky marinade so pan will burn — I sprayed .

Heat the broiler with oven rack app. 4 inches from the top.

Place Salmon on the prepared pan and discard the marinade from the bag. Broil until the top of the salmon starts to char– 5-6 minutes depending on your broiler. Pull out the pan and spoon the rest of the soy marinade over the salmon and broil for another minute or so. The salmon should be blackened in spots but not burnt. ( see photo)

You can check for doneness by inserting the tip of a paring knife into the thickest part of the salmon. If it flakes easily but still has a darker orange center it’s done. If not broil for another minute.

I like my salmon medium rare to medium. If you like it cooked more, you can broil it until it is the same color throughout.

www.jessicaseinfeld.com

Salmon with a Mustard Glaze

this is the same recipe with sliced lemons on top also a delicious variation

IMG_7557 IMG_7571Here is another delicious Salmon recipe and so super easy. This is a light easy to make dinner perfect Spring Time Meal.  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.

Roasted Brussels on another night were also perfect.

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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.

Sheet Pan Salmon with Brussels and Butternut Squash

In these crazy times with all the bad news coming our way with the Coronavirus occupying our every waking moment it’s good to know that a home cooked meal can still bring you a moment of peace in another wise chaotic time.

I am not saying that I won’t eat out just yet but cooking and eating at home is in my control and that gives me a sense of contentment.

This is a wonderful weeknight or any night meal. A very light Asian flavor with soy and sweetness with honey paired with brussels and creamy butternut squash. Sweet and Savory. I think this meal is pretty healthy and brimming with healthy vitamins and heart-healthy omega -3 fats. Fairly easy to make with easy to get ingredients.

Enjoy! and follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

 

Ingredients:

app. 1-1 1/4 lb. Salmon — I used a center cut piece or you can use skin on Salmon Fillets — your choice

cooking spray of your choice

1 1/2 Tablespoon lower sodium soy sauce or Tamari

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil –divided ( see instructions)

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice — 1 lime should do

2 cloves garlic–minced and divided ( see instructions)

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

2 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed

12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 Tablespoon sliced green onion for garnish –(scallion)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large rimmed sheet pan ( app. 13 x 18 ) with cooking spray

Combine soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, honey, lime juice, 1 minced clove of garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. Use a whisk and whisk all ingredients together and then set salmon piece or pieces in the bowl to marinate–set aside

In another bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, remaining clove of minced garlic, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, salt , pepper and paprika. Toss to coat. Spread out vegetables on pre-sprayed baking sheet, avoid over-crowding. Bake at 400 degrees for app. 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir vegetables and push to edges of pan to make a space in the center of pan for Salmon.

Place marinated Salmon in the open center space of pan. Pour any leftover marinade over the salmon. Bake at 400 degrees for at least 15 minutes and check salmon doneness — I cooked for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top Salmon with the green onion. I served with Basmati Rice and Brussels and Butternut.

Keep Calm and Keep Cooking

 

 

Kale and White Bean Soup

IMG_0276IMG_0278 IMG_0280 IMG_0282Sometimes you just feel like making something very quickly and easy. I was in the mood for soup 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!

 

 

Salmon Baked in Foil

Easy baked salmon on a baking sheet with aluminum foil with garlic, lemon and fresh rosemary. A delicious simple and healthy recipe. Turns out perfectly every time.

You’ll need a large rimmed baking sheet and aluminum foil

I served alongside long grain wild rice and roasted cauliflower.

Ingredients:

2 pound side of Salmon–boneless– I like the skin on and whatever kind of salmon you like

5 sprigs of fresh Rosemary

2 Lemons–1 for slicing and 1 for juicing

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic–peeled and chopped

Directions:

Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature while you prep the other ingredients.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a large piece of aluminum foil.

Lightly coat the aluminum foil with baking spray, then arrange 2 sprigs of Rosemary down the middle. Cut one of the lemons into thin slices and place 1/2 the slices down the middle with the rosemary. Place the Salmon on top.

Drizzle the Salmon with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Rub to coat, then add the chopped garlic cloves on top. Place the remaining 3 sprigs of Rosemary and lemon slices on top of the salmon. Juice the second lemon and pour the juice over the top.

Fold up the sides of the aluminum foil and place another sheet on top and crimp the two together making a sealed packet . Make sure to leave a little breathing room in there for air to circulate. Don’t make packet too tight.

Bake the salmon for at least 20 minutes and check it . I actually cooked my piece for 30 minutes. You’ll want the thickest piece to be cooked through. Check every 5 minutes after the initial 20 — you’ll want to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick it may need longer . Depending on thickness and your oven .

*if you’d like you can change the oven setting to broil and open the foil so that fish is completely uncovered and return fish to oven and broil for about 3 minutes until the top of the salmon and garlic are slightly golden and the fish is fully cooked. It’s up to you — I didn’t this time but it’s a good option to finish cooking the fish but be careful you don’t burn the garlic.

 

Enjoy!

 

Avocado Salad with Corn and Tomatoes –Fresh and Delicious

DSCN0190 DSCN0195 DSCN0194 DSCN0199It’ s June so let’s break out all the delicious summer food. This is a most perfect summer salad and it is a vegetarian delight . It is totally vegan. I am not a vegan but totally love this salad with all it’s fresh flavors . 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.

Middle Eastern Salad

This salad appeals to me on so many levels. Firstly I love Middle Eastern food , I love raw salads, I love the freshness that is going on in this salad and did I mention that it’s super easy with very obtainable ingredients.

I served with toasted pita bread cut into small triangles.

Ingredients:

5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

2 pints of small grape /cherry tomatoes or any tomatoes that you want to use. You can use up to 1 lb. of fresh cut up tomatoes

1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise , seeded and 1/2 inch diced

1 can 12 to 16 oz. size of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/3 cup cut up fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice — you may need up to 4 small lemons or 2 very large ones. I use my juicer for this.

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic — app. 3 cloves

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste– start with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 tsp. pepper– you’ll taste for additional salt and pepper at the end.

1/2 cup good olive oil

8 oz. good feta cheese, buy a chunk and dice it up

Toasted Pita Bread for serving

Directions:

Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, drained chickpeas, parsley , mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, garlic 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream till it emulsifies. Pour the dressing over the salad tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add in the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper *if necessary. Serve the salad alongside the toasted pita.

Yum!

Summer Pasta with Tomatoes, Eggplant and Stringbeans

IMG_1456Here is a new recipe that I tried last night for Meatless Monday. Sometimes it’s good to lighten up the menu with no meat.   I love when I try something new and it’s so delicious that I know it will stay in the rotation all summer long.This is a delightfully light pasta dish with really no sauce just some delicious fresh vegetables and some amazing fresh burrata. Of course you can leave out the burrata and sprinkle a little parmesan cheese or just leave out the cheese all together. I improvised a lot with this recipe please feel free to do the same.

The beauty of this pasta dish is that it would be delicious served hot off the stove or at room temperature. You can prepare ahead , assemble and just let it sit out while you prepare other dishes if you’re serving to a larger group as a side dish.  It was just the two of us so we ate it hot off the stove as our main meal.

We love cheese in our house so we went with delicious fresh burrata. A little sprinkle of fresh thyme at the end and I sprinkled crushed red pepper at the end because I love a spicy pasta.

*Fresh Burrata is a delicious cheese with a creamy interior. It’s like Mozzarella on the outside.

Ingredients:

8 oz. Pasta — I used casarecce because I love that pasta when I can find it. Fusilli or Penne would work just fine — you can also use whole wheat pasta for an extra fiber boost.

8 oz. French Green Beans if you can find them if not use yellow wax beans or fresh green beans –trim them

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil — you’ll start with 2 and you may need a little more this will depend on how dry the eggplant seems while it’s cooking. I used about 2 1/2 Tbsp.

2 cups Chopped Eggplant– I used a regular eggplant and just chopped up into small pieces ( keep it uniform in size) you can use Japanese Eggplant as well. 1 average eggplant should work

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 Tbsp. White wine vinegar

Kosher Salt– I sprinkled about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt on the eggplant and tomatoes but I added more at the end. Salt to taste.

1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper– again to taste

6 oz. Burrata– if you don’t want to use Burrata you can also use fresh Mozzarella just cut into bite-size pieces.

2 Tsp. chopped fresh thyme– of course this is optional but fresh herbs always add a delicious layer of flavor.

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Add green beans for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before you drain the pasta.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the cut-up eggplant and sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt , cook, stirring occasionally until tender — about 5 minutes. Add in the fresh garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes and cook until the juices from tomatoes start to release –another few minutes.

Add the wine, cook and stir often until most of the wine disappears. Add pasta and beans, toss to combine. Add the reserved pasta, cooking liquid– a little at a time– I used almost all of it. It depends on how dry the pasta is. Stir in the vinegar and taste for salt and sprinkle that 1/2 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper here.

Put Pasta in individual pasta bowls and top evenly with burrata and a sprinkle of chopped fresh thyme. I also sprinkled crushed red pepper on mine at the table.

This should serve 4 nicely even with only 8 oz. pasta as a side dish. It was just the two of us so we ate it as a main and there was left-over which will be delicious cold the next day.