January 2012

January 2012 posts

Market-Fresh Noodle Stir-Fry

Vary a couple of ingredients to this basic stir fry recipe for a new dish each time. The possibilities are endless! One of our favorite secret ingredients—chili garlic paste—adds a burst of flavor to this and so many other recipes. Available in your grocer’s Asian foods aisle, this ingredient packs a punch. Serves 6.


  • 8 ounces ⅜ inch thick rice noodles
  • Optional lean protein: 2 ounces per serving of cooked shrimp, seared scallops, thinly sliced beef, chicken, tofu or pork


  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce


  • 4 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, thin sliced diagonally
  • 1 cup English cucumbers, cut length-wise, seeded, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound (4 cups) napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced in thin matchsticks
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup cilantro


  1. Rehydrate rice noodles in warm water until soft, about 15 to 30 minutes. Drain well just before cooking.
  2. Combine sauce ingredients and prepare vegetables, keeping in separate piles.
  3. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil, and heat until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Add garlic and onion; stir-fry.
  4. Add vegetables with the longest cooking first, e.g. carrots, cucumber, cabbage, bell peppers, and bean sprouts. Stir occasionally only to keep vegetables from burning, about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan when 90% cooked.
  5. In same pan, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add rice noodles and press them down into the pan for about 30 seconds or until slightly crispy and translucent. Turn noodles over for another 30 seconds. Add the sauce mixture to the pan and toss. Return vegetables to pan and mix lightly. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Per serving: 233 calories, 5g protein, 47g carbohydrate, 4g fat, 1g sat fat, 1g mono fat, 0mg cholesterol, 5g fiber, 263mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook Unlike its waxy-skinned American cousin, the English cucumber needs no peeling, making us grateful for the time-saving step. When serving this recipe as a warm noodle salad, after rehydrating them, cook in boiling water just until soft (about 2 minutes—don’t overcook!) Drain well and place noodles in serving bowl, adding stir-fry vegetables on top, then sauce.

Roasted Garlic

This is one of those appetizers that people forget about and think that it takes forever to put together, when in fact, a little time in the toaster oven and it’s done. Because it does take an hour to bake, make extra for flavoring in other dishes. Serves 8 as an appetizer.


  • 2 heads garlic
  • ¼ cup chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cut just the top of garlic heads to expose cloves and place in small sauce pan or ramekin. Add chicken stock to depth of about ¼ inch, cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool.
  3. Serve at room temperature with crackers or thinly sliced 100% whole wheat baguette.

Per serving: 12 calories, 1 gm protein, 2 gm carbohydrate, 0 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 0 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 gm fiber, 12 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Roasted garlic can be removed from garlic head with butter knife and spread. Always make more garlic to have extra on hand. 

Roasted Cauliflower and Carrots in Mustard Sauce

This dish is an amazing combination of flavors and textures. It’s sweet, savory and crunchy. It’s versatile and goes well with chicken, pork, beef and vegetarian dishes. Both healthy and satisfying! Serves 4.


  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed into florets (about 2 cups)
  • 4 large carrots (about 1 pound), diagonally cut into 1" slices
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

For mustard sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon prepared mustard or a favorite mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt to taste, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a bowl, toss cauliflower florets and carrots with 2 teaspoons olive oil and pepper. Cover and microwave 5 minutes.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil spray. Place vegetables in a single layer on the sheet. Roast 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender and cauliflower edges are browned.
  4. For the sauce: While the vegetables are roasting, combine olive oil, mustard, horseradish, and honey in a small bowl.
  5. Remove vegetables from oven, toss with the sauce and parsley.

Per serving: 131 calories, 3 gm protein, 15 gm carbohydrate, 8 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 5 gm mono fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 gm fiber, 194 mg sodium

Mango Cucumber Salsa with Curry Chicken

The marriage of the curry’s pungent flavor with fresh, cool mango and cucumber is worth celebrating. This recipe is easy enough for a weeknight family meal and special enough to impress company. Serves 4.

Salsa (3½ cups)


  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup English cucumber, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons each of lime zest and lime juice


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
  2. Serve on top of chicken, meat or fish.

Chicken Marinade


  • 2 tablespoons (4-6 cloves) garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh herbs (mint and cilantro)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast


  1. Combine all ingredients and marinate chicken 3 hours or overnight before grilling or broiling.
  2. Preheat broiler. Discard marinade and broil chicken until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Top with salsa.

Per serving: 243 calories, 30g protein, 20g carbohydrates, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 3g mono fat, 68mg cholesterol,
4g fiber, 381mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook Aside from its interesting flavors, this recipe’s added bonus is that it can be prepared in advance (up until broiling), making mealtime more relaxed. Consider adding any variety of fresh or frozen fruits for extra color, nutrients, and fiber. For a bold change, serve this dish with black quinoa, shown here.

Spicy Stir Fry Beef and Vegetables over Brown Rice

This promises to be your new go-to dish. Kid-friendly, it beckons their help with preparation. This is also an opportunity to clean out the refrigerator—if it’s still edible, add it to the stir fry. And make a lot so you’ll have leftovers. Serves 4.


  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon each ginger and curry powders
  • 1 pound lean boneless beef, sirloin tip, eye of round, or filet, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 6 cups assorted chopped vegetables (carrots, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, red pepper, and bok choy)
  • ½ cup bean sprouts


  1. Prepare brown rice according to directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid, combine soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and curry. Add beef and toss lightly to coat. Refrigerate while chopping vegetables, at least 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium nonstick skillet, sauté beef with soy sauce marinade over medium heat until the beef is cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Add chopped vegetables and toss until heated through, about 5 minutes more.
  4. Serve over brown rice and top with bean sprouts.

Per serving: 420 calories, 34 gm protein, 52 gm carbohydrate, 9 gm fat, 3 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono fat, 68 mg cholesterol, 5 gm fiber, 775 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK To make brown rice more flavorful, substitute low sodium broth for water. And for an added kick to the stir fry, sprinkle red pepper flakes to taste.

Seared Pork Tenderloin Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Filled with antioxidants and high levels of dietary fiber, strawberries are a powerful little fruit. They provide luscious sweetness to this salad, which is a complete meal when served with lean and light pork tenderloin. Get it done quickly – either pan-seared or outdoors on the grill! Serves 4.


  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1½ cups (8 ounces) strawberries, washed and halved
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 6 cups mixed salad greens
  • ¼ cup shredded basil leaves, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine in a medium mixing bowl, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, add strawberries and set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Season pork with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, sear the pork until golden on both sides. Move pan to the oven and roast for 10 minutes or until pork is 150°F. Remove pork to a plate, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes, temperature will rise to 155°F.
  4. Heat same skillet over medium heat and add stock to deglaze the pan. Bring broth to a boil, add strawberry mixture then reduce heat to low and warm strawberries through. Season with optional ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Slice pork and lay over salad greens on a large platter. Top with sauce and sprinkle with basil.

Per serving without ¼ tsp salt: 207 calories, 25g protein, 12g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 3g mono fat, 74mg cholesterol, 295mg sodium

Per serving with ¼ tsp salt: 211 calories, 26g protein, 13g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 3g mono fat, 74mg cholesterol, 583mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK If cooking on your grill, preheat to 400°F. Brush meat lightly with olive oil and place on hot grill. Sear the outside and then drop temperature to medium low (if on charcoal, move to indirect heat area) and cook 15-20 minutes per pound until internal temperature is 145°F. Remove from heat and tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing. On the side burner, make strawberry sauce as directed in saucepan.

Savory Squash with Smoky Pork Chops

So many of us have a problem with making pork chops that come out over done. Finally, we have a recipe that gives us juicy perfection every time – along with simplicity, robust flavor, and colorful presentation. Did we mention it’s also good for you? Serves 4.



  • 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½ inch slices
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons each rosemary and sage, chopped


  • 4 pork chops (bone in about 1¾ pounds; boneless 1¼ pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon total finely chopped fresh herbs (i.e. thyme, sage, rosemary)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Mix together paprika, black pepper, spices and herbs and rub onto pork chops evenly. Set aside.
  3. Place squash and herbs in a mixing bowl, spray liberally with cooking spray and toss until squash is well coated. Spread in a single layer onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 8 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat. Add the coated chops, searing on each side until golden brown. Place pork chops on top of squash in the oven and bake another 12-15 minutes or until pork internal temperature is 150-155°F and squash is fork tender.

Per serving: 505 calories, 32g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 12g fat, 2g sat fat, 7g mono fat, 75mg cholesterol, 4g fiber, 72mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook Green beans make a great complement to this dish. Season and put them in the oven at the same time as the pork chops, so they finish together. Out of the oven, the chops will need to rest for 5 minutes to be their juicy and tender best.

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