Two Sisters, One Kitchen

Quick, healthy meals by a loving team. See what’s cooking in J & K's kitchen!

Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Pasta March 29, 2011

Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Pasta

Kathryn says: I cooked a quick dinner for J and I before we went to see American Idol Lee DeWyze (2010 winner) in concert. I made pasta, and for the sauce, I used a creamy yogurt salad dressing. J said it got her “nutritional seal of approval” since it was a tasty alternative to alfredo sauce, and it was a healthy, low-fat, low-calorie meal; I used whole grain pasta too.

We liked it so much that we couldn’t stop eating it – but we didn’t want to miss the concert. We showed up in time to see Lee perform several awesome songs, and we even got to go backstage after the show to meet him.

We gave Lee a business card with our blog site on it, and he said he’d check it out and try to Tweet it! We hope he visits and reads up on our pre-concert meal.

We came home from the concert with an adrenaline rush from having met such a talented guy, and we reminisced about the incredible evening while polishing off the leftovers.

Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Pasta

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. whole-grain spaghetti
  • 1 carton fresh, sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 tbs. yogurt salad dressing (I used Bolthouse Farms’ Chunky Blue Cheese yogurt dressing.)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 3 tbs. balsamic vinaigrette (I used Bolthouse Farms’ Classic Balsamic vinaigrette dressing)
  • 1 tsp. dried basil

Directions:

  1. Boil water. Cook pasta and drain.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, combine washed, sliced mushrooms with yogurt dressing in a medium frying pan. Cook on medium-high heat until mushrooms are lightly browned.
  3. At the same time, in another medium frying pan, mix chicken with balsamic dressing. Cook on medium-high heat until meat looks thoroughly cooked.
  4. Put pasta in a bowl. Pour mushrooms and chicken on top.

We also shared this recipe on The Independent Florida Alligator’s Web site.

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Parsley Shrimp, Plantains, Beans & Rice March 23, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Kathryn,Search by Chef,What's Cookin' — J & K @ 12:20 am

Parsley Shrimp, Plantains, Beans and Rice

Kathryn says: This week is a pretty busy one for me. I know many students can relate. I have a project due, a test to take,  a job fair to attend, an application for graduating with honors to submit, and group fitness instructor auditions to go to. Thus, I needed to come up with some simpler meals. Although this one looks like something fancy enough to order in a Cuban restaurant, it requires few ingredients and is quick and simple to make. My friend Erin was over while I was cooking, and she was surprised at how fast the flavorful meal came together.

Parsley Shrimp, Plantains, Beans and Rice

Serves: 2

Parsley Shrimp:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 dozen shrimp
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbs. dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pour olive oil into a medium pan. Add shrimp and mix on medium-high on the stove.
  2. Once shrimp begin to turn pink, flip them. Chop the onion and add it to the pan.
  3. Add Parsley, salt and pepper and mix. Cook until onions soften and brown. Make sure the shrimp are fully cooked before removing the mixture from heat.
  4. Serve on top of beans and rice.

 

Plantains

Ingredients:

  • 2 large, ripe (yellow-brown) plantains
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper t0 taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel plantains and cut into 1/2-to-1-inch-thick slices.
  3. Put plantains in a pan and toss with 2 tbs. olive oil and salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, flip plantains with a spatula, and bake another about 15 minutes, until slightly brown.
  5. Remove from oven and serve hot.

 

Beans and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 can beans (I used kidney beans)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used yellow rice)
  • Directions:

    1. Prepare rice as directed on package.
    2. Heat beans in a pan on medium heat on the stove until warm.
    3. Serve together.

    We also shared this recipe on The Independent Florida Alligator’s Web site.

     

    Cilantro Garlic Bread March 22, 2011

    Cilantro Garlic Bread

    Jamie says:  Spring ahead for daylight savings = dinners outside on the picnic table = wonderfulness.  Enjoy the beautiful weather and take your dinner outside.  Kathryn and I are still using our infamous “Golden Tray.”  (It’s our second one; thank you, Aunt Carrie). 

    Cilantro Garlic Bread

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 long loaf of bread (i.e. French bread)
    • 2 Tbsp Smart Balance original buttery spread
    • 6 large cloves garlic
    • 1 cup cilantro, fresh
    • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
    • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese

    Directions:

    • Preheat oven to 350°F.  Cut the bread into two long pieces and then slice each piece.  Spread Smart Balance on open face of loaves.  Peel garlic and press in garlic press.  Spread garlic on top of bread.  Using kitchen sheers, cut cilantro and arrange on top of bread.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle sea salt on top.  Bake for 12 minutes or until warm and toasty.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Serves: 2-4.  Enjoy!

    Fresh.  Delicious.  Garlicky.  I like how the garlic is not completely cooked.  It’s a little strong but I think that’s what makes it so good…reminds me of garlic bread from my favorite Italian restaurant back at home.  Beware of garlic breath, though…

    • Nutrition note:  Garlic may offer cardiovascular benefits such as reducing blood pressure.
     

    Baked Kale March 21, 2011

    Baked Kale

    Jamie says:  Mothers are always right.  I usually saute kale, but Mom suggested I try a new way of cooking it-baking it.  Yes, it’s quite true, Mom is always right.

    Baked Kale

    Ingredients:

    • 27 oz bag kale (Glory Foods)
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (Filippo Berio)
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt, coarse
    • 1/8 tsp freshly ground red pepper

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Divide bag of kale evenly among two large baking dishes.  Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle sea salt, and grind pepper over kale.  Mix well.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until slightly crispy.  Serves: 4.  Enjoy!

    I love the crisp!  This is my new favorite way to cook kale.  I’m already craving some more of it.

    Nutrition note:  Kale is high in vitamin K.  Vitamin K is important for making proteins that aid in blood clotting.  If you are taking the anti blood-clotting drug warfarin (Coumadin) it is important to have a consistent vitamin K intake.

     

    Thai Peanut Lettuce Wraps March 19, 2011

    Thai Peanut Lettuce Wraps

    Jamie says:  Lettuce wraps with fancy names don’t have to be just a restaurant thing.  Make your own tastier and healthier version at home.  This recipe is so easy and quick to make (about 5 minutes) and requires very minimal clean-up (a one bowl meal).

    Thai Peanut Lettuce Wraps

    (recipe adapted from Publix GreenWise Market Peanut-Stuffed Lettuce Wraps)

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce (Hokan)
    • 1/2 cup all natural creamy peanut butter (Publix)
    • 1 Tbsp, 1 tsp water
    • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
    • one 16 oz bag coleslaw (shredded green cabbage, carrots, and red cabbage; Publix)
    • 1 cup dry roasted, lightly salted peanuts (Publix)
    • 1 head boston lettuce (Tanimura & Antle hydroponically grown)

    Directions:

    1. In a large bowl, mix together hoisin sauce, peanut butter, cider vinegar, crushed red pepper.  Add coleslaw and peanuts.  Toss to coat.
    2. Scoop mixture into lettuce leaves and roll to serve.  Serves: 4.  Enjoy!

    So tasty!  The coleslaw and lettuce are light but the peanuts and peanut butter make it substantial.  Kathryn called it “restaurant-quality.”

    • Nutrition note:  Go natural!  Many peanut butters have trans fats (even if they say they don’t).  Scan the ingredients for partially hydrogenated oils or hydrogenated oils.  If you see either, move on to the next jar.  I like all natural creamy peanut butters (i.e. Publix or Smuckers).  You have to stir them yourself, but it’s better for your heart (and it’s kind of fun to make a little bit of a mess).
     

    Whey Protein “Ice Cream” on a Waffle “Cone” March 17, 2011

    Dark Chocolate Whey Protein "Ice Cream" on a Waffle "Cone"

    Bourbon Vanilla Whey Protein "Ice Cream" on a Waffle "Cone"

    Jamie says: I’ve been on a protein-kick lately.  Nothing crazy, but just recognizing the benefits of protein and trying to get a little more of it in my diet.  I got some free samples of a whey protein powder called Tera’s Whey from my triathlon team, so I gave them a try.  I instantly loved the ingredients and nutrition facts label (see nutrition note below) and the taste is awesome, too. 

    Whey Protein “Ice Cream” on a Waffle “Cone”

    Ingredients:

    • 1 medium banana, sliced and frozen
    • 1 oz (30 g) packet of Tera’s Whey (bourbon vanilla or fair trade dark chocolate)
    • 1 cup skim (fat-free) milk
    • 2 ice cubes
    • 2 Kashi 7 Grain waffles

    Directions:

    1. The night before, slice banana and freeze slices in a single layer (i.e. in a Tupperware or on a baking sheet).
    2. Toast waffles in the toaster until golden brown and slightly crunchy (i.e. one toasting cycle on the highest setting).
    3. To make whey protein “ice cream,” blend frozen banana slices, whey protein powder, milk, and ice cubes in a mini blender for about 30 seconds or until well-mixed.  (If a firmer consistency is desired, the whey protein “ice cream” can be placed in the freezer.)
    4. Right before serving, top one waffle with whey protein “ice cream.”  When your finished eating the first waffle, top the second waffle with “ice cream” (so it doesn’t get soggy).  Enjoy the remaining whey protein “ice cream” with a straw or a spoon.  Serves: 1.  Enjoy!

    A guilt-free sweet treat that has lots of protein and tastes like dessert!  Both the bourbon vanilla and fair trade dark chocolate are tasty, but the bourbon vanilla is my favorite (which means the vanilla must be ridiculously good because I LOVE chocolate). 

    • Nutrition note:  This meal contains a total of 34 grams of protein!  I was very impressed by the ingredients and nutrition facts label of Tera’s Whey.  There are 20 grams of protein in the powder (which is a good amount), the ingredients are natural, and Stevia leaf extract is used as the sweetener.  There’s even a little fiber in there, too.
     

    Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Italian Herb Toast March 16, 2011

    Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Italian Herb Toast

    Jamie says:  This is what I craved (and ate for lunch) the day before my triathlon- the Waldo Sprint Triathlon.  The triathlon was a lot of fun!  I feel I did well (5th female overall, 2nd in my age group), felt great at the end of the race (1 hour and 18 minutes and 22 milliseconds later) and wasn’t sore at all the next day.  I believe good nutrition played a key role in my success. 

    Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Italian Herb Toast

    Ingredients:

    • 2 slices sesame seed bread (Panera bakery)
    • 4 cups fresh spinach
    • one 5 oz can solid white albacore in water, drained (Bumble Bee tuna)
    • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (Filippo Berio)
    • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries (Sun-Maid)
    • 1 small tomato
    • 1/2 cup canned chick peas
    • 1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
    • dash freshly ground red pepper
    • 1/2 tsp oregano
    • 1/8 tsp rosemary
    • 1/4 tsp basil

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Slice bread and place on a baking sheet.  Heat for about 6 minutes or until lightly toasted.
    2. Pour spinach on a plate.  Drain tuna.  In a small bowl, mix tuna with 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (reserving the other Tbsp) and dried tart cherries.  Scoop on top of the spinach.  Chop a tomato and add to spinach salad.  Drain chick peas and add to salad.
    3. When bread is toasted, drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top.  Season with sea salt, freshly ground red pepper, oregano, rosemary, and basil.  Serve on the side of the salad.  Serves: 1.  Enjoy!

    Quite tasty!  The cherries add a nice tart flavor to the tuna and spinach salad.  The toast was great, too.  I liked the toasted sesame flavor combined with the bold Italian spices and olive oil.

    • Nutrition note:  Since there are many countries that border the Mediterranean, there is no one Mediterranean diet/ eating pattern.  In general though, Mediterranean diets encourage vegetables, fruits, olive oil, grains (often whole grains), and nuts.   This eating pattern is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.  (Dietary Guidelines for Americans)

    We also shared this recipe on The Independent Florida Alligator’s web site.