Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad with Olives, Mint, and Feta Serves 4 to 6
French green lentils, or lentilles du Puy, are our preferred choice for this recipe, but it works with any type of lentil except red or yellow. Brining helps keep the lentils intact, but if you don’t have time, they’ll still taste good. The salad can be served warm or at room temperature.
1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed S
alt and pepper
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
5 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
1 bay leaf
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 / 2 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 / 2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 large shallot, minced
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (1/4 cup)

1. Place lentils and 1 teaspoon salt in bowl. Cover with 4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees) and soak for 1 hour. Drain well. (Drained lentils can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before cooking.) 2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Place drained lentils, 2 cups water, broth, garlic, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon salt in medium saucepan. Cover and bake until lentils are tender but remain intact, 40 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk oil and vinegar together in large bowl. 3. Drain lentils well; remove garlic and bay leaf. Add drained lentils, olives, mint, and shallot to dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with feta, and serve

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant
butterscotch pudding mix
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl; set aside.
2. Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Greek Feta and Cucumber Salad

Stolen from http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/michael-symon/greek-feta-and-cucumber-salad.html

2 English cucumbers (also known as seedless or hothouse)
Salt
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 ounces extra-virgin olive oil

Slice cucumbers as thinly as you can. A mandolin or vegetable slicer will make quick work of it. Toss together the cucumbers and a large pinch of salt in a mesh strainer set over a bowl. Combine the feta, oregano, garlic and shallots in a separate bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk in the olive oil.

Drain off and discard any water that has released from the cucumbers. Toss together the cucumbers and the dressing. Serve.

Lowfat Chocolate Cupcakes

Not low calorie

Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vanilla yogurt
2/3 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Set oven to 350.
Combine dry ingredients (except chocolate chips), then mix in wet. Fold in chocolate chips.
Bake 15-20 minutes (closer to 15 for me).

Frosting:
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix until combined. NOTE: This came out waaaaay to runny, I ended up adding 3x the amount of sugar etc. Probably should halve the sour cream and milk. I also used low far sour cream.

Zucchini Quinoa Burgers

I came across this here: http://www.traderjoes.com/recipes/recipe.asp?rid=156
I am gonna hit TJ’s tonight and see how it goes. I may alter recipe since I want to try to grill them instead of using a skillet.

2 cups TJ’s Tri-color Quinoa, Cooked
1/2 cup TJ’s Shredded Mozzarella
1 cup TJ’s Low Fat Cottage Cheese
1 cup TJ’s Zucchini, Grated or Chopped
3 TJ’s Eggs, Beaten
3 Tbsp TJ’s White Whole Wheat Flour
2 TJ’s Green Onion Stalks, Chopped
1 cup TJ’s Panko Bread Crumbs
3 Tbsp TJ’s Olive Oil
1 tsp TJ’s Cumin
2 Cloves TJ’s Garlic, Chopped
TJ’s Salt & TJ’s Pepper

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Mixture will be sticky. If necessary add more Panko Crumbs at this point. Form into 10 patties. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or more. Add olive oil to skillet and bring to medium high heat. Add patties and cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Recipe Credit: Trader Joe’s 2012 Quintessential Quinoa Recipe Contest Winner – Deborah Stone.

Foolproof Pie Dough

From http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/11/cooks-illustrated-foolproof-pie-dough-recipe.html

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water

Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Pomegranate Molasses

Ingredients
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

For Molasses: Place the pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in a 4-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup, approximately 70 minutes. It should be the consistency of thick syrup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the saucepan for 30 minutes. Transfer to a glass jar and allow to cool completely before covering and storing in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Warm Bananas with Brown Sugar and Bay Leaf

Stolen from food network

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
Pinch salt
6 ripe bananas, peeled and cut on the bias into 1/3-inch slices (about 1 quart)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper
Store bought chocolate cake or ice cream, for serving
Directions
In large skillet over high heat, melt the butter and cook until it browns, about 3 minutes. Add the bay leaves and stand back (it may pop). Add the lemon juice, orange juice, brown sugar, brandy, and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture up to a boil. Stir and cook until the liquid has reduced by half and it has reached a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the bananas and pepper. Stir to coat the bananas evenly. Serve immediately spooned over cake or ice cream.

Cooking Notes: You can make the sauce hours ahead of time. Just add the fruit after you bring the sauce back to a simmer. The fruit should be a little cool inside. Serve it with a good, store bought chocolate cake or spoon it over your favorite ice cream.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranates and Vanilla-Pecan Butter

Stolen from food netowork

Ingredients
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
1 lime, finely zested
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
Directions
Combine the butter and vanilla bean seeds in a small bowl. Fold in the pecans and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the Brussels sprouts in a medium roasting pan and toss with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until lightly golden brown, 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, add the pomegranate molasses and stir to combine. Return to the oven and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes longer.

Transfer the sprouts to a large bowl, add the pomegranate seeds and lime and orange zests. Transfer to a platter and top with some of the Vanilla-Pecan butter.