Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Toasts with ...

Toasts with ...

... Banana and Toasted Walnuts
Toasted 100% whole-grain bread; cut a medium-size ripe banana (4.3 ounces) into large chunks; slightly mash half of the banana chunks and spread on the toast first, then pile the rest of the banana chunks on top; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon organic unrefined coconut palm sugar OR organic maple sugar OR drizzle with 1 teaspoon of 100% pure maple syrup; and lastly, sprinkle 1 tablespoon toasted chopped walnuts on top (0.3 ounces).
(285 calories)

 ... Mashed Avocado
Toasted 100% whole-grain bread, spread mashed one-half of a medium-size avocado (2.0 ounces), sprinkle with salt and generous amount of coarsely ground pepper.
(210 calories)

 ... Havarti Cheese and Sauteed Mushrooms
Toasted 100% whole-grain bread, layer 1 ounce slice of Havarti cheese to fit nicely on top of the toast and top with sauteed cremini mushrooms. Toast in the toaster oven until cheese melts.
(300 calories) 

... Ricotta Cheese and Pistachios
(adapted from Cooking Light)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and Capers

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and Capers

I purchase some jarred oven baked tomatoes at Costco during the holidays. I was planning to use them as part of my antipasto platter on Christmas day, but I forgot I had them. The jarred oven baked tomatoes comes in a 3-pack at Costco. They tasted pretty good and I hope they will be a regular item at Costco. Along with some kalamata olives I had remaining from Christmas, I came up with this easy, healthy and delicious pasta dish. Not only is this a great weeknight dinner, this is also a great summertime pasta dish because there is very little cooking needed. You only need to cook the pasta.

10 ounces drained (reserve the oil) Sacla Italia brand Oven Baked Tomatoes with Garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup reserved oil from the jarred Oven Baked Tomatoes OR extra-virgin olive oil (3.4 ounces)
3.0 ounces pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and drained, coarsely chopped
2.0 ounces capers, rinsed and drained, coarsely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely minced (0.8 ounces)
1.0 ounce basil leaves, chiffonade
Taste before adding salt to taste (you may not need salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound 100% whole-grain spaghetti or linguine pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2.0 ounces)

In a very large bowl, combined the tomatoes, reserved oil, kalamata olives, capers, garlic, basil, salt to taste, if using and pepper. Mix until combined and set aside. Can prepare up to this point 4 to 6 hours ahead and keep tomato-olive mixture refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap. Remove bowl from the refrigerator to sit out at room temperature 1 hour before cooking the pasta.

Cook the whole-grain pasta in salted boiling water for about 11 to 13 minutes or al dente. Drain pasta and immediately add the hot pasta to the tomato-olive mixture. Toss everything to thoroughly combine. Toss in the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese on top and pasta is ready to eat. You can also add some toasted pine nuts, if desired.

Mmmmm...SO DELICIOUS...SO HEALTHY...SO EASY TO MAKE! It is delicious eaten right away, but tastes even better the next day. I can eat it cold right out of the fridge.
Yield 4 to 6 servings

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Whole-Grain Toast with Ricotta and Pistachios

Whole-Grain Toast with Ricotta and Pistachios
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
I have to include my new breakfast obsession on my blog. I have been eating this toast every morning for the last five days. It starts out with a toasted whole-grain bread, then spread with ricotta cheese, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with roasted pistachio nuts, and season with salt and pepper. This toast is on page 96 of the January/February issue of Cooking Light magazine. Also shown on this page are four other types of toppings you can spread on your toast, but I haven't gotten pass the first one which is Ricotta-Pistachio Toast:

First, start out with 100% whole-grain bread. I'm obsessed with Dave's Killer Bread - Powerseed Bread (110 calories and 6 grams of fiber per slice). Toast the bread.

Spread 2 tablespoons of part-skim ricotta cheese (1.0 ounce) evenly on the toast.
Next, drizzle 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (0.1 ounce) over the ricotta cheese.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of roasted chopped or crushed pistachio nuts (0.3 ounce) evenly on the toast. I used Trader Joe's brand dry-roasted, salted pistachio halves and pieces. Then sprinkle with fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

The extra-virgin olive oil on the ricotta imparts a nice fruity olive flavor that works well with the pistachios. The pistachios has a dense, meaty texture that give a satisfying crunch with every delicious bite and chew! And not to mention, pistachios are antioxidant powerhouses, which is great for helping to fight against free radicals.
I calculated 246 calories for this toast while Cooking Light calculated 176 calories. I guess it depends on the type of bread you toast or the brand of ricotta cheese you use?