Greek Pasta With Sausage And Cheese

Again, another great recipe from Serious Eats. I absolutely love this recipe for Greek Pasta with Sausage and Cheese. Again, per usual, I made some changes to make this leaner without sacrificing for taste.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt, to taste
8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 ounce reduced fat blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fat free heavy cream substitute (Recipe here)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the sausage and cook until golden, stirring only occasionally, 7-10 minutes.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of salty water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Once the sausages are browned, add the wine and turn the heat to high. Reduce the liquid for 2 minutes, then lower the heat and add the blue cheese, cream, and oregano.

Once the cheese is melted, add the pasta along with some of the pasta cooking water as needed to create a creamy, loose sauce.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among plates, and garnish with Parmesan.

Fat Free Heavy Cream Substitute

I found this recipe for a Low-Fat Heavy Cream substitute and with a simple change, I made a fat free version.

Ingredients

8 ounces non-fat cottage cheese
3 tablespoons non-fat powdered milk

Combine and stir until well-bended.

This turned out to be a great substitute for heavy cream. I used it in a recipe in that I would normally use heavy cream and I didn’t notice the difference.

You can use this fat free heavy cream substitute in the following:
Greek Pasta with Sausage and Cheese

 

 

Caprese Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I had a pasta salad similar to this while I was in Chicago and I thought I would attempt to make it on my own.

Ingredients

1/2 pound whole wheat fusilli pasta
1/4 pounds sun-dried tomatoes roughly diced
1/2 pound fresh, water-packed mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 packed cup basil leaves, washed, spun dry, and slivered

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it heavily (it should taste like seawater), then add the pasta and cook until just done.

Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes and cheese and put them in a very large bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.

Drain the hot pasta and shake it dry (don’t rinse it), then add it to the bowl with the cheese and tomatoes and stir with a rubber spatula to combine. Then fold in the basil.

Came out great! Really easy to make too. Also made a lot of servings so this will be in the fridge for a while.

References
Caprese Pasta Salad

Scallop Ceviche with Avocado

This is my favorite ceviche recipe. It’s easy to make, light, and refreshing. In my other post, I included the recipe for red pickled onions. Again, I highly recommend making the onions! The onions can go with this recipe too.

Ingredients

1 pound bay scallops, quartered
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup finely chopped red onion
2 green serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup seeded and diced tomatoes
1 Hass avocado, peeled, seeded, and minced
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt

Tostadas to serve

Combine all the ingredients except avocado in a nonreactive bowl (I used a glass casserole), sprinkle Kosher salt, and stir to mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least until scallops have become opaque.

Before serving, add cubed pieces of avocado to the ceviche and mix lightly so avocado keeps its form. Put ceviche on tostadas with some pickled onions on top if desired.  Add additional salt if needed.

References:
Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche 
Scallop Ceviche

Octopus Ceviche with Avocado and Red Pickled Onions

Ceviche is one of my favorite summer foods. It’s light and it tastes delicious. It’s also easy to make. Last weekend, my friend Meatball wanted octopus ceviche. We were in Glendale and no one wanted to go out and attempt to find some. So for Sunday night, I made octopus ceviche for him. I never made this before so I did some researching and came up with the following.

I included a recipe for red pickled onions from Border Grill. It’s optional, but I highly recommend trying them. They are crazy good.

Ingredients for Ceviche

1 lb cooked octopus meat
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 8 limes 
3/4 cups of finely chopped cilantro
Kosher salt 
2 serrano peppers
1 avocado
tostadas for serving

Cut the octopus meat into small bit size slices. Place the octopus in a non-reactive container (I also use a glass casserole), add the lime juice, the onions, cilantro, and serrano peppers. Sprinkle some Kosher salt and combine well. Let marinate overnight.*

*A lot of recipes out there say to marinate for a few hours. That’s ok to do here because the octopus is cooked. I like to marinate overnight because the octopus takes a nice citrusy flavor.

Ingredients for Red Pickled Onions

1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon roughly chopped cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 small beet, trimmed, peeled and cut into 8 wedges

Place the onions in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Strain and set aside the onions.

Combine the vinegar, black pepper, cumin, oregano, garlic, sugar, salt and beet in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 7 minutes. Add the blanched onions and gently simmer an additional 7 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a container, cover and refrigerate at least a day before serving.

The next day, take the onions out of the mixture. Reserve until ready to be served.

Serving it all up

Before serving, add cubed pieces of avocado to the ceviche and mix lightly so avocado keeps its form. Put ceviche on tostadas with some pickled onions on top if desired.  Add additional salt if needed.

References:
Ceviche de pulpo or octopus ceviche 
Recipe: Peruvian ceviche at Ciudad

Fried Rice with Sriracha and Ham

I found this recipe for Sriracha and SPAM Fried Rice on Serious Eats. I’m not a fan of spam though so I decided to use a slice of fully cooked smoked ham and diced it up. I also changed a few things: eliminated the corn, used reduced sodium soy sauce, and used brown rice instead of white.

Ingredients

1/4 cup Sriracha
3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil 
1-1.5 lb slice of fully cooked smoked ham (I like Farmer John’s), diced
2.5 cups cooked brown rice, cooled (preferably day-old)
2 eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
Sliced green onions, green part only, for garnish 

In a small bowl whisk together the Sriracha and soy sauce. Reserve.

Heat a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet or wok over very high heat until it is very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet and let it heat up until it begins to shimmer and wrinkle, 10 to 15 seconds. Toss in the ham and cook until the meat begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add an additional tablespoon of oil to the pan, and heat for 10 seconds. Add the rice, stirring to coat each grain with oil. Stir-fry for 3 minutes.

Move the rice mixture toward the outer edges of the pan, creating a “well” in the center. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the center of the pan, and heat until it shimmers, 10 to 15 seconds. Add the eggs and garlic, stirring feverishly.

Cook until the eggs are cooked through, then drizzle the Sriracha/ soy mixture over the rice. I recommend not using the entire amount of the mixture unless you want the rice to be extremely spicy hot. I used about 3/4 of the mixture. Toss everything together to combine, cooking for an additional 30 seconds or so.

Mound the rice into bowls, garnish with Sriracha and green onions (I used chives here because I didn’t have green onions in the fridge), and serve immediately.

I really love fried rice and sriracha so this dish is one of my favorites. It also makes a lot of food so it’s easy for me to heat up for a meal. Hope you enjoy it!

 

Caramelized Onion Dip

Serious Eats posted a recipe for Michael Schwartz‘s Caramelized Onion Dip with Thick-Cut Potato Chips. I love onion dip! Normally I make the pouch version that just requires sour cream to be added, however the dehydrated onions always grossed me out. Thus, making this with fresh onions appealed to me. Of course I changed some of the ingredients to make this into a healthier version of the original and I changed some of the quantities too.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” or other butter substitute
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup light mayo
Chopped fresh chives

Put a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions and season with 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown and caramelized, roughly 20 minutes. Watch carefully—you don’t want the onions to burn. Set aside and let cool.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and free of lumps. Mix in the sour cream and mayo. Fold in the onions with all their juices; season again with salt and pepper if needed.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. I left this in the fridge over night. The next morning the dip looked like this.
And it smelled AMAZING!
I garnished with chives and put some potato chips on the side.

Considering that I used fat free or reduced fat ingredients for this dip, it still tasted extremely rich and full of flavor. I would also recommend not using the chips in the picture above. This dip is really thick so get some Ruffles instead. I got baked Ruffles and they were great. I took this dip to a meeting and a party. People that tried it really liked it. I will be making this again!