Tag Archives: healthy

Warm Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad

22 Apr


Shhh…if you’re reading this, don’t tell the Filthy Fowl. I’m supposed to be packing.

Yes, we are 4 days away from The Move. We are leaving our balcony, our full-size, brand new stainless steel appliances, my 30 minute commute, and one of the prettiest neighborhoods in New York City. We’re getting no outdoor space, 3/4 size stove & oven, half the counter space, and a longer commute for me. And we couldn’t be happier.

Turns out I’m just not a Brooklyn girl. Maybe I’m not hip enough. Maybe I have an unnatural affinity for Fairway or running around the Central Park Reservoir. I don’t know, but I’m okay with it.

What I’m not okay with is the massive undertaking that is packing. The Filthy Fowl and I are trying to empty out our cabinets as much as possible so we don’t have to lug a butternut squash or half a container of tahini from Brooklyn to the Upper West Side. When thinking of things to make, I remembered this incredible salad from Smitten Kitchen that I’ve made before. I actually have ALL of the ingredients!

I was a little skeptical the first time I made this, but it’s delicious. I was SURE the Filthy Fowl wouldn’t like it…and he didn’t…he loved it. So I’m making it tonight, if I can find my kitchen counter under the mess we’ve created while packing. Enjoy!

Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad
from Smitten Kitchen (who adapted it from Orangette and Casa Moro)

For salad:
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoons ground allspice (I skip this)
2 tablespoons olive oil
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

For tahini dressing:
1 medium garlic clove, finely minced with a pinch of salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, garlic, allspice, olive oil, and a few pinches of salt.  Toss the squash pieces until evenly coated. (I do this on the baking sheet – why get another bowl dirty?) Roast them on a baking sheet for 25 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini, and whisk to blend. Add the water and olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. The sauce should have plenty of nutty tahini flavor, but also a little kick of lemon. You will probably need to add more water to thin it out.

To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro or parsley in a mixing bowl. Either add the tahini dressing to taste, and toss carefully, or you could serve the salad with the dressing on the side. Serve immediately.


A Simple Supper

28 Mar

There’s a fish market in my hometown that sells the most amazing spice mixture. My family was obsessed with it, and now they’re kind of over it. I came to the party late, however, so I still use it all the time. This is one of my favorite things to use it on.

This is another meal that I make for myself when the Filthy Fowl is out. I’m sure he would like it, but for some reason I often choose to make it when I’m debating between ordering take-out and making something light, and that’s usually when he’s out.

This isn’t really a recipe so much as throwing a few things in a frying pan. But I love it, and highly recommend it on a night when you only have a few minutes to throw something together. I usually serve it with regular or Israeli couscous, but I bet it would also be good with quinoa or even pasta.

I’m sure I was inspired by some recipe, but I’ve been making this for so long that I’m really not sure!


Shrimp with Tomato and Basil

by me – measurements are very much estimates!

1-2 cloves garlic, minced (to taste)
1-2 tsp olive oil
handful of grape or cherry tomatoes
1 lb shrimp (or enough for however many people you’re serving)
fresh basil
juice of one lemon
lemon zest, optional
salt & pepper
any seasoning you like (mine is a Greek blend that has salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, parsley, and “spices”)

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the garlic and let it cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft, but still keep their shape. Add the shrimp and cook 1-2 minutes on each side. Do not overcook.

When shrimp is almost done, add the lemon juice, basil, and any spices.

Serve over hot couscous or any other grain.

Braised Leeks

28 Mar

Sometimes, I come across a recipe that looks amazing, but that I know the Filthy Fowl will hate. Rather than try to force him to eat it (which obviously I don’t have the power to do, nor would I try), I make things like this on nights that he’s out.

Braised leeks are one of those things. He doesn’t like leeks, he doesn’t know what “braised” means (although, do I?) and he would never eat something like this for dinner. I, on the other hand, could easily make a simple meal out of this.

I seriously love the blog this came from, Smitten Kitchen, and you’ll be seeing more of her recipes shortly as I’ve made a few recently. As she suggests, this is delicious paired with an egg and a sharp vinaigrette. And maybe, just maybe, a slice or two of proscuitto. Yum.

And I think her whole recipe would be amazing. I might even get the Filthy Fowl to eat leeks.


Braised Leeks

from Smitten Kitchen (I halved, this is the full recipe)

6 large leeks
About 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used much less)
1 cup sliced shallots (I forgot the first time I made this, didn’t matter)
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove any bruised outer layers from the leeks. Trim off to the roots, leaving the root end intact. Trim the tops of the leeks on the diagonal, leaving 2 inches of the green part attached. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, and submerge in a large bowl of cold water to clean them. Shake the leeks well to dislodge the dirt stuck inside. Let them sit a few minutes, to allow any grit inside the layers to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat the process until the water is clean. Place the leeks, cut side down, on a towel and pat dry completely.

Turn the leeks over so their cut sides are facing up, and season with 2 teaspoons salt and a few grindings of black pepper.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil, and wait 1 minute. Place the leeks in the pan, cut side down, being careful not to crowd them. (you will probably need to saute them in batches or in two pans. Add more olive oil to the pan as needed, for each batch.) Sear them 4 to 5 minutes, until they are golden brown. Season the backs of the leeks with salt and pepper, and turn them over to cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer them to a large gratin dish, lining them up, cut sides facing up. (Choose a baking dish or gratin dish that can go from oven to table and that will accommodate all the leeks and chick thighs, or use two smaller dishes.)

Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the shallots, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, until the shallots are just beginning to color. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add 1 1/2 cups stock, and bring to a boil over high heat.

Pour the liquid over the leeks. The stock should not quite cover them; add more stock if necessary.

Braise in the oven 30 minutes, until the leeks are tender when pierced.

Shrimp Etouffee

27 Jan

The Filthy Fowl and I have both been sick, and haven’t been on a good eating schedule. We had no appetite Saturday, and then around 9:30 pm decided we HAD to have Thai noodles. It’s been one of those weekends.

Because I was sick, I planned to spend a good amount of time watching our brand new TV. Now, I’m sure many of you can relate to the fact that besides some of my cheesy teen dramas, the majority of my TV time is spent on The Food Network and TLC. I was excited to see how the cooking shows would look in HD and if Stacy London’s streak of grey hair would be any less annoying (although I love the show and Stacy, if you’re reading, plllllease hook me up!). However, when we switched to the new HD box, we had NO Food Network OR TLC!

The cable people came Saturday afternoon and fixed it, but now the cable box has completely stopped working and the Filthy Fowl has to wait around tomorrow between the convenient hours of 10 and 2 for the geniuses at Time Warner to once again visit our apartment.

Anyway…that’s a long way of telling you that during the 20ish hours that we DID have cable, I saw this recipe for Shrimp Etouffee on Paula’s Party. This is something I would never think of making, but for some reason it sounded really good for tonight, and I had most of the ingredients on hand.

Because Paula is Paula, and I am me, I made some adjustments to the recipe to make it a little more figure-friendly. Where Paula used oil, I used chicken stock. Where Paula used a half stick of butter, I used one tablespoon. I’m not sure what the difference in taste is, but mine was pretty darn good and I don’t think we missed all that extra fat and calories. I think overall this is pretty healthy, and I served it over brown rice to up the fiber content and soak up all of the sauce.

A warning: I read and saw on the show that this is extremely spicy. We like spicy, but I got a little nervous so I left out the hot sauce and figured I could add it later. Well, this certainly didn’t need any more spiciness. It was pretty spicy, and I have a high tolerance. So if you have any doubt, leave out the hot sauce and decrease the cayenne. You can always add it in later, but you can’t take it out.

There are a lot of ingredients, but most are basics. Enjoy!

Shrimp Etouffee

Adapted from Paula’s Party (my camera is out of battery so see a picture here!)

Serves 6-8


  • 1 cup chicken stock, plus more as necessary
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra flour, optional
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if desired
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 to 3 dashes hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can clam juice
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • Salt (Cajun seasoning has salt already)
  • 2 pounds small or medium shrimp peeled and deveined (recommended: (31/35 size count)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Rice, optional
  • Diced green onions, for garnish


Make the roux, mix chicken broth and flour in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk flour into the broth to form a paste. Add more broth as necessary. Continue cooking over low heat and whisk continuously, until the mixture turns a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma, about 15 to 20 minutes.

To the roux, add the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic and cook over low heat about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are limp. Add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, green onions, parsley, and hot sauce to taste.

Add 1 can clam juice and the tomatoes with their juice, stir to blend. Add the salt, starting with 1 teaspoon, then add more if needed. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add shrimp and stir. It will take about 3 minutes for shrimp to cook, don’t overcook. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir; the heat from the dish will melt the butter. Transfer the etouffee to a tureen, serving bowl, or if you prefer, over rice. Garnish with the green onions.

Healthy muffins…really!

19 Jan

Muffins are one of those foods that we all know are bad for us, but they’re so tempting. Luckily I don’t love them enough to eat 700 calories worth of muffin, but many people do. Before he was on his health kick, the Filthy Fowl ate one several days a week. Even the reduced fat blueberry from good old Dunkin’ Donuts has a lot of fat and calories.

So, wanting something that I can grab in the morning and eat on my way, I looked for a muffin recipe that’s a little lighter on the calories. What I found was Strawberry-Cinnamon Muffins from Cooking Light. These are delicious. I’ve only found two problem with these. One – they’re actually kind of hard to eat on the run, because the strawberry part of the recipe is right in the middle of the muffin, and two – it’s hard to eat just one of them.

These taste great and the strawberry surprise in the middle is so good, especially if you use jam with whole strawberries like the one I got at Trader Joe’s. Yum.

Wait until you see what's inside...

Wait until you see what's inside...

Told you!

Told you!

Low-Fat Strawberry-Cinnamon Muffins


  • 1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 2 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2/3  cup  vanilla fat-free yogurt
  • 1/4  cup  butter, melted
  • 3  tablespoons  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4  cup  strawberry jam
  • 1  tablespoon  sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375º.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Combine yogurt, butter, milk, and egg in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Place 12 foil cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each liner. Top each with 1 teaspoon jam (I used a makeshift piping bag – a Ziploc with the tip cut off). Top evenly with the remaining batter. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375º for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; place on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 165 (24% from fat)
Fat: 4.4g (sat 2.6g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g)
Protein: 3g
Carbohydrate: 29g
Fiber: 0.6g
Cholesterol: 28mg
Iron: 1mg
Sodium: 206mg
Calcium: 94mg

Enchilada Casserole

13 Jan

Tonight was Mexican night in the City Girl kitchen! It was slightly unusual because I generally don’t love Mexican food, but the Filthy Fowl was away for the weekend and got back this morning, so I wanted to make something I knew he would like. However, since his weekend trip included a hot dog-eating contest, I wanted something that was pretty healthy (although not light). And, adding to my challenge was the fact that today was my first day at a new job (!!!) so I wanted something easy that I could just throw together when I got home. This recipe fit the bill. With only 249 calories and 5.7 grams of fat, it’s amazing that it tastes so good. I did make some substitutions which may have affected the calorie/fat count, but I don’t think it changed TOO much. Also…I didn’t even have to throw this together…because I made it yesterday! I assembled everything then put it in the fridge (covered in foil) uncooked. When I got the call that the Filthy Fowl was on his way home, I threw it in the oven. It doesn’t get easier than that!

I assembled last night

I assembled last night

I found this recipe from a link on cookinglight.com. I think the site, myrecipes.com, puts together recipes from several different magazines. It’s a great site for lots of healthy recipes. This originally called for turkey, but since 97% lean ground sirloin was on sale at Whole Foods (and I had a gift card), I used that instead. Oh, and did I mention that it was DELICIOUS? We both loved it. I served it with a vegetable salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and celery tossed with lemon juice, salt and pepper. The Filthy Fowl added a little olive oil, but I liked it with just the lemon juice. Here’s the finished product…it tasted better than it looks in these pictures! Cooked casserole It wasn’t light, but it didn’t leave you feeling gross like a lot of Mexican food. You can’t tell that you’re eating healthy with all this gooey (low-fat) cheese. blog-pics-029 I noted my adaptations in italics…

Enchilada Casserole

adapted from MyRecipes Makes 8 to 10 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast (1 lb 97% lean ground sirloin)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (mix of cumin, coriander, chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salad oil (olive oil)
  • chopped pickled jalapenos – the kind that come in the jar
  • 1 can (29 oz.) red enchilada sauce
  • Salt
  • 12 corn tortillas (6 in. wide)
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat jack cheese (8 oz.)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (omitted, by accident)


1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, stir turkey, onion, garlic, oregano, and cumin in oil until turkey is crumbly and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. (At this point I did have to drain the mixture a little. I’m not sure if this would also happen with turkey.) Stir in 1 cup enchilada sauce. Add salt to taste. 2. Meanwhile, cut tortillas in half. Arrange a fourth of the halves evenly over the bottom of a shallow 3-quart casserole, overlapping to fit. Sprinkle a fourth of the cheese evenly over the tortillas, then top with a third of the turkey mixture, the chopped jalapenos, and a fourth of the remaining enchilada sauce, spreading each level. Repeat to make two more layers of tortillas, cheese, turkey mixture, and sauce; top with another layer of tortillas and sauce, then cheese. 3. Bake in a 425° regular or convection oven until cheese is melted and casserole is hot in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 249 (20% from fat)
Protein: 27g
Fat: 5.7g (sat 3.1)
Carbohydrate: 23g
Fiber: 1.7g
Sodium: 1048mg
Cholesterol: 58mg

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks

10 Jan

Fish sticks? Really? I was never a big fan of those frozen fish sticks – I don’t think my mom really served them – but when I saw this recipe on Cooking This and That, I was intrigued. These aren’t really fish sticks – they’re panko-crusted tilapia. I’ve been wanting to try panko for a while, because I recently made something with breadcrumbs and it just didn’t have the crispiness that I like. Also, the Filthy Fowl and I went to Maryland a few years ago and were inspired to buy some Old Bay Seasoning – but haven’t been inspired to use it yet.

So I made these Panko-Crusted Tilapia with Herbed Dipping Sauce. It was really good and I served it with roasted baby red potatoes and roasted green beans. Yum.

Filthy Fowl got really into taking pictures, but the pictures still don’t do it justice. Hopefully with some practice we can make the food look a little more appetizing. As a side note, after the “official” pictures, Filthy Fowl arranged the potatoes, fish, and green beans into a smiley face. He forgets to take pictures at oh, say, any of our wedding events or trips, but fish-based smiley faces, he’s all about.

Finished product

Looking good...

(As another side note, I’m not entirely sold on calling him Filthy Fowl in a cooking blog, but he likes it. Go figure).

Here’s the recipe…(and more photos below)

Roasted Potatoes & Green Beans: This is simple and standard. I just tossed whole baby red potatoes with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400 degrees. After about 20 minutes, I added the green beans to the same pan (also tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper). This is a great space saver in the oven and for clean-up as well.

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks with Herb Dipping Sauce
from Everyday Food via Cooking This and That (and thanks for my first blog comment, Colleen!)
Makes about 3 servings

1 large egg
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cups panko
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound tilapia fillets

(I very much estimated on these. I hardly used any mayo.)
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
2 teaspoons prepared white horseradish

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F, with racks in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil.

Cut tilapia filets in half lengthwise, and then again the other direction. You now have 4 sticks per fillet.

Crack egg into shallow bowl, lightly beat with fork. Season with salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, combine panko, Old Bay, and olive oil.

Dip each tilapia stick into egg, shaking off the excess; then into panko mixture, pressing mixture so that it sticks.

Place on prepared baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes, until panko is lightly browned and fish is cooked through.

Meanwhile, mix all sauce ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and serve alongside fish sticks.

Here's a shot with the dipping sauce.

Here's a shot with the dipping sauce.

Aforementioned photo from the Filthy Fowl...

Aforementioned photo from the Filthy Fowl...