Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicken and Orzo Frittata

Recently, I posted a recipe for a wonderful side dish of Orzo with Roasted Vegetables. I ended up with plenty of leftover orzo and thought it would be interesting to try adding it to a Frittata.  I found a recipe for Chicken and Orzo Frittata by Giada De Laurentiis, over at I replaced the chicken with some leftover ham I had in the freezer, and sauteed up some onions, peppers and mushrooms to throw in the mix as well. Her recipe also calls for creme fraiche, which I don't usually have on hand, so I substituted sour cream.  I like that the whole thing bakes in the oven, rather than starting it on the stove top.  I cooked it in a 2qt glass baking dish, and it puffed up perfectly. Enjoy!

Chicken and Orzo Frittata


3/4 cup dry orzo pasta
6 eggs
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups cooked chicken or ham, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup diced roasted red bell peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the Orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, ricotta, and sour cream and stir until the eggs are beaten and the ingredients are combined. Add the cooked orzo, chicken (or ham), scallions, parsley, red bell peppers, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Place the pan under the broiler until golden on top, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with a side salad.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites

This is another Cooking Light recipe I found online and decided to give a try last night.  The chicken marinates for 2 hours or overnight, so it is a good make ahead dish.  The cooking time is only about 20 minutes.  The only substitutions I made was to use ground ginger instead of fresh, and seasoned rice vinegar instead of cider vinegar.  We absolutely loved it.  Cooking Light presented this as an appetizer, but I served it as a main dish with sides of scallion brown rice and steamed broccoli.  Enjoy!

Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites
adapted from Cooking Light, March 2003


2/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Cooking Spray
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
1 green onion, chopped (optional)


Combine first 9 ingredients in a large plastic bag, seal and shake well. Add chicken pieces, seal and toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Spray a baking rack with cooking spray and place on top of a sheet pan. Arrange chicken pieces on the baking rack in a single layer.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

While chicken cooks, strain marinade through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Place marinade in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes; skim solids from surface. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; pour glaze into a glass bowl. 

Preheat broiler. Add chicken to glaze; toss to coat. Place chicken on a sheet pan; broil 5 minutes or until brown, stirring twice. To serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion, if desired.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip

This recipe was given to me by a good friend years ago.  It comes from a 1997 issue of Cooking Light magazine.  I haven't made it in years and I can't remember why, because I absolutely LOVE it.  When I was single, I would make this for my dinner once a week.  I would eat it with nacho chips or in a tortilla.  It is inexpensive, quick and healthy, you can't beat that!  This makes a great dip to take to a party or served as part of a main meal.  My picky eaters all loved it, so you know it's a winner.  Enjoy!

Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip
from Cooking Light Magazine, April 1997

Yield: 1 2/3 cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons)  (I always double the recipe)


1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1  teaspoon  vegetable oil
1/2  cup  chopped onion
2  garlic cloves, minced
1/2  cup  diced tomato
1/3  cup  mild picante sauce
1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon  chili powder
1/4  cup  (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice


Place beans in a bowl; partially mash until chunky. Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add beans, tomato, picante sauce, cumin, and chili powder; cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice, stirring well.
Serve warm or at room temperature with fat-free corn or flour tortilla chips.


I adore avocados, and absolutely love this recipe for Guacamole.  It comes from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and it so easy you almost don't even need a recipe.  Ina says to use a sharp knife to slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced.  I prefer to use a fork to mash it up, leaving some chunks of avocado.  Better for dipping, I think.  Serve with your favorite Mexican dish, or in some delicious Pork Tacos.  Enjoy!

from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten


4 ripe Haas avocados
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
8 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded and small-diced


Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits and scoop the flesh out of the shells into a large bowl.  Immediately add the lemon juice, Tabasco, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  Toss well and mash with a fork to desired consistency.  Add the diced tomatoes and mix, taste for seasonings.  To store, cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed lightly on top of the dip, to prevent air from reaching the avocados. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Citrus Marinated Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary, 9 wonderful years together.  But, instead of going out for a romantic dinner for two, we shared a wonderful Mexican feast, at home, with the kids.  In keeping with my desire for lighter dishes, I opted to try this Citrus Marinated Pork Taco recipe, which I found over at the blog, For the Love of Cooking.  This was light, refreshing, yet still very filling.  The kids chose not to eat the Pineapple Salsa, but they really enjoyed the pork.  I let it marinate for 2 1/2 hours and it was perfectly tender and flavorful.   I just love all the colors and fresh ingredients in this meal.  The pork and the pineapple work really well together.  I also put some homemade guacamole and jack cheese on my tacos.  Absolutely delicious!

For the Pork Taco recipe, click HERE
For the Pineapple Salsa recipe, click HERE