Two Sisters, One Kitchen

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

Pan-Fried Polenta Cakes with Salmon, Zucchini, Ricotta, Tomatoes, and Fresh Basil February 8, 2015

Jamie says: In less than one week, I’ll be moving to my new place! I’m having that “this is my last time” doing (insert local activity here) feeling. Like tonight, it was “this is (probably) my last time eating dinner on the patio.” And yesterday, it was “this is my last time going to this church.” (You get the picture). It’s bittersweet, but I’m certainly super excited about my move. I’ve also been squeezing in a lot of activities, and let’s be real, restaurants, that I’ve wanted to try. My sister told me by the time I leave, I will have I milked this city dry. She made me smile. I like to think I’ve had the full experience. The cool thing is is that I’m not moving too far and can come back. And as my friend at the gym said, I’m about to expand my circle even more. Let the count down begin.

Pan-Fried Polenta Cakes with Salmon, Zucchini, Ricotta, Tomatoes, and Fresh Basil

Pan-Fried Polenta Cakes with Salmon, Zucchini, Ricotta, Tomatoes, and Fresh Basil

Crispy polenta, creamy ricotta, rich salmon, golden zucchini, juicy tomatoes, and savory basil… yum!

Crispy polenta, creamy ricotta... and I'm just getting started...

Crispy polenta, creamy ricotta… and I’m just getting started…

Italian flag colors with Italian flavor.

Bam! Brilliant colors and brilliant flavors!

Bam! Brilliant colors and brilliant flavors!

Pan-Fried Polenta Cakes with Salmon, Zucchini, Ricotta, Tomatoes, and Fresh Basil

Ingredients:

  • one 17-oz roll polenta, original (Marjon)
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 zucchini, organic (Pero Family Farms, fresh wrapped)
  • 6 oz salmon filet, boneless and skinless, defrosted (Publix fresh frozen sockeye salmon, wild caught, USA)
  • 1 tomato, organic (Tasti-Lee)
  • 12 leaves fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, low-fat

Directions:

  1. Slice polenta roll into about 12 even slices. Pour 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan. Place polenta on top. Using a spatula, flip polenta to coat other side in olive oil. Turn heat on to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown, reducing heat to medium-low if needed.
  2. Place zucchini in food processor to julienne cut. Pour 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a small sauté pan, and add julienne-cut zucchini. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place salmon in a sauté pan on medium-low heat and cook for about 7 minutes, flip, and cook an additional 7 minutes or until done. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Chop tomato. Tear basil.
  5. Arrange cooked polenta cakes in a circle in the center of two plates (6 per plate). Place cooked zucchini in the middle of the cakes, and top zucchini with ricotta cheese. Arrange salmon around ricotta on top of the polenta cakes. Place chopped tomatoes in between polenta slices on the outer ring. Top with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Servings: 2

  • Nutrition note: Gluten free (always check the packages to confirm, though) for those with Celiac disease or a gluten-intolerance. No additional salt is needed as the polenta is already salted.
Advertisements
 

Stove-Top Bourbon Chili January 14, 2015

Jamie says: Bourbon chili. It’s been my go-to, delicious meal of 2014. It freezes perfectly and, I swear, the leftovers taste even better than the amazing original batch. I’ve modified my 2012 recipe over the years and wanted to share the latest version of the recipe with you. So cheers to Stove-Top Bourbon Chili- and an awesome and delicious 2015!

Stove-Top Bourbon Chili

Stove-Top Bourbon Chili

Bourbon chili pairs perfectly with cornbread. Check out my Two Sisters One Kitchen’s Skillet Cornbread recipe for a great side. P.S. You can freeze the cornbread, too.

Pairs perfectly with Skillet Cornbread (recipe also on TSOK)

Pairs perfectly with Skillet Cornbread (recipe also on TSOK)

I’ve enjoyed sharing this meal and recipe with friends, and I hope you’ll absolutely love it, too.

Chili explosion!

Chili explosion!

Stove-Top Bourbon Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (Publix), divided
  • 1 lb ground chicken (Perdue)
  • 26.46 oz box petite cut tomatoes in light puree (Dei Fratelli, Truly)
  • 15 oz canned low sodium dark red kidney beans (Publix GreenWise Market organic)
  • 15.8 canned reduced sodium great Northern beans (Bush’s Best)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder (Badia)
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar (Publix)
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (Blanton’s The Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, 93 proof)
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded 2% Mexican style four cheese (Kraft)
  • 12 oz (two 6-oz cups) fat free (0%) plain Greek yogurt (Fage or Chobani)
  • Directions
  1. Peel onion and chop. Heat a large pot on medium heat. Add chopped onion and 2 Tbsp canola oil. Cook for about 7 minutes or until soft and lightly brown, stirring frequently with a heat-proof spatula.
  2. Add ground chicken and remaining 2 Tbsp canola oil. Cook an additional 3 minutes or until cooked throughout, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Add entire package of tomatoes (including puree) to pot.
  4. Rinse and drain kidney and Northern beans. Add to pot along with chili powder, white vinegar, and bourbon. Stir well, cover with a lid, and increase heat to low/medium-low heat for a gentle simmer. Cook for about 1 hour 30 minutes. (You can really eat it right away since the meat is cooked, but the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.)
  5. Serve in bowls (or allow to cool slightly and freeze in jars) and top with a sprinkling of shredded cheese and a generous dollop of Greek yogurt. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-5

Serving suggestion: Serve with Two Sisters One Kitchen’s Skillet Cornbread.

  • Nutrition note: Recipe makeover! What makes this recipe better for you? Using ground chicken (instead of ground beef), reduced fat cheese (2%) instead of full fat cheese, fat free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream makes this recipe a better choice. Yup! The fat and sodium were cut and the probiotics, calcium, and protein amped up, while, in my opinion, the flavor was enhanced! Talk about a win-win situation!
 

Parchment Sesame Tuna December 23, 2014

Jamie says: Parchment fish. It’s trendy- and for good reason. I tried it once and let’s just say, it wasn’t worth writing about. When I went home for Thanksgiving, my Mom cooked an outstanding parchment fish meal. I’m talking amazing and inspiring. My next mission should be to recreate her recipe. So despite the first hiccup I had a few months ago in parchment paper cooking, I’m back at it. Here’s my first blog-worthy one: Parchment Sesame Tuna.

 

Parchment Sesame Tuna

Parchment Sesame Tuna

I love the taste of sesame oil. In addition to fish, it tastes great on brown rice.

Simply sesame

Simply sesame

Parchment Sesame Tuna

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz tuna steak (wild)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots (organic)
  • dash salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Fold a large sheet of parchment paper in half and cut to form a heart. (Think back to making Valentines in elementary school.) Open paper.
  2. Place tuna in the center of half of a heart. Drizzle with sesame oil. Top with carrots.
  3. Fold the other half of the heart over so the edges line up (just like when you first cut the heart). Fold two inch pieces upwards and repeat (half way around) to form a pouch which seals in the fish. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked throughout. Open carefully. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

  • Nutrition note: Sesame oil contains mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are the heart healthy fats we should have more often than the saturated or trans fats.
 

Taco Bar Party with Mole Pork Tacos, Saffron Rice and Beans, and Sangria November 30, 2014

Jamie says: So truth be told, I love the number 23. It’s my favorite number. I thought this was interesting because I really didn’t have a reason to love the number 23 (it’s not my birthday number or anything), but I liked it regardless. I get excited when it’s the 23rd of any month, too. Then, recently, I discovered my Baptism date- November 23rd. Answer delivered. I can now say I have a connection with the number 23 because it’s my birthday with the Catholic church. Done.

This year was the first year that I celebrated my Catholic birthday (since my actual Baptism in 1986). Hey, it’s a birthday and it’s a big deal. So why not celebrate it and everything worth celebrating. Makes me think of those Carvel commercials (you know, “I lost my tooth today, started my school play”… so catchy. Carvel cake to celebrate everything.) So to celebrate my Catholic birthday, I had a Taco Bar Party with Mole Pork Tacos, Saffron Rice and Beans, and Sangria and invited my friends over.

Let’s start with the sangria. I used a bottle of The Spanish Quarter wine my parents got me for my birthday. (We went to Spain this summer so it was totally reminiscent of a great trip.)

Spanish wine

Spanish wine

Then I added all the types of frozen fruit from my freezer. (For this dietitian, that would be 6 different types in case you were wondering. I know you were.)

Frozen fruit for the sangria

Frozen fruit for the sangria

Then came the mixing of the fruit and the wine- plus some (might I add, very good) bourbon. Then off to the refrigerator it went until party time.

Wine, bourbon, and frozen fruit- Ready for the club soda and the company

Wine, bourbon, and frozen fruit- Ready for the club soda and the company

Right before the company came, I added a the club soda and tossed in a wooden spoon to scoop out the fruit with. And there you have it, Berry Punch Sangria. Ok, so what’s next you ask?

Berry Punch Sangria

Berry Punch Sangria

I had cocoa-dusted almonds, popcorn, black bean chips (salsa came later from a friend), and maple bacon chocolate. I had fun setting up the appetizer table and using some cool hostess accessories from friends for my birthday.

Appetizer table

Appetizer table

And then then, the main course- a taco bar with mole pork, whole grain tortillas, and about 16 toppings.

The taco bar

The taco bar

I served the bell peppers and onions fajita style in an electric wok.

Fajita peppers and onions with black beans

Fajita peppers and onions with black beans

And what do you get when you put it all together! A tasty, stuffed taco with a side of saffron rice and beans. Oh, and a happy tummy and good times with friends.

Taco night dinner- mole pork tacos with fajita peppers and onions and a side of saffron rice and beans

Taco night dinner- mole pork tacos with fajita peppers and onions and a side of saffron rice and beans

There were definitely leftovers to be had. I packaged a jar up for work to heat in the microwave- a layer of beans, followed by fajita peppers and onions, and topped with mole pork. Yum!

Leftovers to-go!

Leftovers to-go!

Taco Bar Party with Mole Pork Tacos, Saffron Rice and Beans, and Sangria

Mole Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs Boston butt (pork)
  • 1/4 bottle mole sauce (Sky Valley)

Directions:

  1. Place Boston but in a slow cooker (Crock Pot) on low heat for 3 hours. Increase heat to high and heat an additional 2 hours.
  2. Shred pork using a fork. Add mole sauce and mix in. Enjoy (on tacos)!

Saffron Brown Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cup brown rice (organic)
  • 5 1/2 cup water
  • 0.25 g saffron (from Spain!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Pour rice and water in a large baking dish. Add saffron. Stir. Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Enjoy (with black beans)!

Fajita Peppers and Onions

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 5 small bell peppers (red, orange, green)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • dash salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice onions and peppers. Place in an electric wok on medium-low heat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir occasionally and place lid on in between. Cook for about 15 minutes or until soft. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve.

Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of frozen fruit (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, mango, pineapple)
  • 1 bottle cabernet sauvignon (The Spanish Quarter)
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 L club soda (Seagram’s)

Directions:

  1. Place frozen fruit in a large pitcher. Pour wine and bourbon on top. Mix with a spoon. Refrigerate. Before serving add club soda and stir. Those 21 and over, enjoy!

Taco toppings:

  • Soft whole grain wraps, medium-sized (La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious White Whole Wheat Mini and Tam-x-icos Wrap-Itz Lo-Carb Wheat tortillas)
  • Limes, sliced
  • Fresh avocado slices with lime juice and freshly ground pepper
  • Romaine lettuce, cut into shreds
  • Fresh cilantro, snipped
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Bell peppers (red, orange, and green) with onions sauteed in olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Steam-in-a-bag corn
  • Canned low sodium black beans, drained and microwaved
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Black olives
  • Matchstick carrots
  • Fat free Greek plain yogurt
  • Shredded cheese
  • Hot sauces

 

  • Nutrition note: A taco bar party can be great for a group where there may be different food preferences/intolerances. Everyone can make their own meal according to what they desire to or can have.
 

Baked Eggplant Parmesan November 29, 2014

Jamie says: I went to the farmers’ market in St Petersburg for the first time. I love food markets. They have this contagious and bustling energy about them. There’s food to eat now and food to make later. After a picnic lunch on the lawn watching a cooking demo, I strolled through the fresh produce and this misfit eggplant called my name. Funny-shaped food intrigues me. You could say I’m embracing nature’s bounty, but I’ve also always liked the weird M&M’s, too. You know, the lumpy ones with one and half peanuts in them. So here’s my eggplant…

Funky farmers' market eggplant

Funky farmers’ market eggplant

And so what did I do with my eggplant? I made Baked Eggplant Parmesan. And not just any eggplant Parmesan, but my best eggplant Parmesan yet! One that I had to show a picture of to my Italian Grandmother.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

I think the key to a great eggplant was a good sauce, light olive oil, fresh mozzarella, and fresh snips of basil.

Lightened up eggplant that's delish!

Lightened up eggplant that’s delish!

It went perfectly between two slices of whole wheat bread to make an eggplant parm sandwich. I froze the leftovers and brought them to work. What a treat to have during the work day.

Fit for a king. Perfect for a sandwich.

Fit for a king. Perfect for a sandwich.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • spray extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
  • jar of favorite sauce
  • 1/2 fresh mozzarella ball
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • a dozen leaves of fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice eggplant into disks. Spray both sides of sliced eggplant with spray extra virgin olive oil and top with freshly ground pepper.
  2. Place slices in one layer on a baking dish and pour half of sauce on top. Spread sauce evenly. Use remaining eggplant to a second layer and pour remaining sauce on top. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Slice mozzarella. Sprinkle baked eggplant with Parmesan cheese and distribute pieces of sliced mozzarella evenly on top. Heat an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is hot and melted.
  4. Remove eggplant from oven. Use kitchen sheers to cut fresh basil over cooked eggplant. Enjoy!

Serves: 6-8

Serving suggestion: Serve with whole wheat bread to make eggplant Parmesan sandwiches.

  • Nutrition note: Make baked eggplant instead of fried eggplant to reduce the calories while maintaining the delicious flavor. Using spray olive oil and a single layer of cheese helps reduce the calories even further. No sacrifice in taste here.
 

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Wilted Greens and Ricotta October 4, 2014

Jamie says: Yay! I did it. I used my pressure cooker again- and this time had great success. After enjoying a delicious spaghetti squash dish at Ciccio’s Cali during a lunch with my sister, I was inspired to make my own. So I bought the last spaghetti squash at Publix, prepared it four different ways, and enjoyed them all. I’d like to introduce you to my Italian version…

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Wilted Greens and Ricotta

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Wilted Greens and Ricotta

Although pasta is awesome, spaghetti squash definitely deserves a chance… it’s filling and fun. Give it a try and you just may agree.

Watch out spaghetti!

Watch out spaghetti!

Olive oil and ricotta make this an Italian classic. The spaghetti squash is the wild twist.

Classic Italian- with a twist

Classic Italian- with a twist

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Wilted Greens and Ricotta

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs spaghetti squash
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 oz package super greens (Organic Girl)
  • dash salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, part skim

Directions:

  1. Slice spaghetti squash in half length-wise. Remove seeds (if desired, save for toasting).
  2. Follow directions for cooking squash in a pressure cooker. (Fill the bottom of the pressure cooker with water. Place the two open halves on top of each other in a cross formation. Secure lid on top of the pressure cooker and adjust knob to allow cooking. Place on high heat until a strong steam forms. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle, even steam. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and place under cool running water until pressure is released. Open pot and remove squash halves.)
  3. Allow to cool slightly. Use a fork to scrape spaghetti-like strips from squash. Place in a bowl.
  4. In a large saute pan on medium heat, add oil, spaghetti squash, and greens. Mix with a wooden spoon.
  5. Serve in 4 bowls. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve each with a 2-Tbsp scoop of ricotta cheese. Enjoy!

Serves: about 4

  • Nutrition note: Spaghetti squash is much lower in carbs and calories than pasta. 1 cup of spaghetti squash only has 35 calories and 7 grams of carbs, compared to 1 cup of pasta which contains about 200 calories and 45 grams of carbs. Source: University of Illinois Extension.
 

Curry Chicken Tenders, Mac & Cheese with Sauteed Onions, and Vinegar Beets August 31, 2014

Jamie says: Sometimes grown-ups need kid food, too. Maybe there’s a comfort factor to it, the familiarity of something tried and true. But what happens when you make kid food, grown-up style? Well, that’s where the fun begins…

Curry Chicken Tenders, Mac & Cheese with Sauteed Onions, and Vinegar Beets

Curry Chicken Tenders, Mac & Cheese with Sauteed Onions, and Vinegar Beets

…You get wild dishes like crunchy chicken tenders with 3 types of spices; and mac and cheese made with surprise ingredients like Greek yogurt and topped with fancy things like caramelized onions, and you get fresh beets with the most brilliant red beet juice that even Red 40 can’t compete with. Now that’s fun and delicious.

Kid food, grown-up style

Kid food, grown-up style

Vinegar Beets

Ingredients

  • 1 large fresh beet
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove stem from beet. Rinse beet and wrap in a large piece of aluminum foil, adding about 2 tsp of water. Bake in oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat. Allow to cool.
  2. Peel skin and discard. Chop into bite-sized pieces. Place in a small bowl and top with vinegar. Stir to combine. Serve in small bowls.

Serves: 4

  • Nutrition note: Beets are an excellent source of folate which has been associated with happiness.

Curry Chicken Tenders

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • dash cumin
  • dash turmeric
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 4 cups arugula

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet with no-stick cooking oil.
  2. Slice chicken breasts into strips.
  3. In a small bowl, combine, curry powder, cumin, and turmeric. Stir in panko bread crumbs.
  4. Roll chicken strips in bread crumbs and place on baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until cooked throughout. Allow to slightly cool. Serve on top of arugula.

Serves: 4

  • Nutrition note: The benefits of these tasty tenders (compared to many of their restaurant counterparts) are whole grains, antioxidant-containing spices, and no added saturated or trans fats.

Mac & Cheese with Sauteed Onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 4 oz shredded cheese
  • 1 Tbsp margarine (Smart Balance)
  • 1/2 container (~2.5 oz) plain, fat free Greek yogurt
  • dash salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice onion. Cut slices in quarters.
  2. Add olive oil to a medium pan followed by cut onion. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally or until onions caramelize and are golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, cook macaroni according to directions on package (bring water to a boil, cook for 10 minutes, drain water).
  4. Stir in shredded cheese, margarine, Greek yogurt, salt, and pepper. Top  with sauteed onions.

Serves: 4

  • Nutrition note: Using fat free Greek yogurt and margarine helps add creaminess and good for you fats, while cutting back on some of the saturated fat and calories.