EatingWell’s Pepperoni Pizza

June 7th, 2010

EatingWell's Pepperoni Pizza

Week 3, day 2 of My Eating Well Challenge.

When people ask, “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food, what would it be?” I often think my answer would be pizza. Between the dough, the sauce, and the toppings, the variations are practically endless. I am also not prejudiced in favor of any one particular style. Although I am particularly fond of the thin-crust style I grew up with in Brooklyn, I can appreciate deep-dish, stuffed, and most variations of toppings.

This recipe has intrigued me since I first read it. According to EatingWell, adding pumpkin puree to the sauce increases fiber and beta carotene, but what about the taste? It turns out it’s quite good. One wouldn’t notice unless they were looking for an odd ingredient, they’d just think it’s a relatively sweet sauce. When I questioned my family, they guessed sweet potato. I believe adding a bit of salt to the sauce would balance the flavor.

The recipe also features a favorite secret ingredient of mine: Turkey pepperoni. I am generally disappointed by “replacement” foods, but turkey pepperoni is an exception. When cooked, its flavor is nearly identical to the pork and beef version, but has significantly less fat.

This pizza is certainly no replacement for my beloved Fascati or Grimaldi, but it’s a very good, satisfying pizza that can be prepared quickly. I’m sure little kids would love this recipe (and they can help make it, too).

EatingWell’s Pepperoni Pizza
From The EatingWell Healthy Heart Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information at

1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, (see Shopping Tip), thawed if frozen
1 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni (1/2 cup)

1. Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to the size of the baking sheet. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Whisk pumpkin puree, tomato sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl until combined.

4. Spread sauce evenly over the baked crust. Top with mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni. Bake until the crust is crispy on the edges and the cheeses have melted, about 12 minutes.

Warm Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad

June 2nd, 2010

Warm Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad

Week 3, day 1 of My Eating Well Challenge. A head cold, a long weekend, and a bout of spring cleaning slowed me down, but I did manage to prepare a few recipes from The EatingWell Healthy Heart Cookbook. Fortunately, most EatingWell recipes can be made in a very short time with very little effort.

Through my teens, the only potato salad I encountered regularly was gloppy with mayonnaise and chopped egg. Not being a fan of either ingredient, I shunned potato salad for years. So one may imagine my delight when I had my first taste of German style potato salad. Warm potatoes and bacon in a dressing of vinegar, mustard, and bacon fat. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

This is a wonderful variation with the familiar spicy and tart dressing. The greens add a nice mouthfeel and slight bitterness. We felt this salad could even be prepared without the sausage as a side dish.

Warm Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad
From The EatingWell Healthy Heart Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information at

1 pound small potatoes, cut in half
1 5-ounce bag arugula (about 4 cups, gently packed)
12 ounces precooked chicken sausage, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon whole-grain or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Place potatoes in a steamer basket and steam, covered, until just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add arugula; cover with foil to keep warm.

2. Cook sausage in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until browned and heated through, about 5 minutes. Add to the potato-arugula mixture.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in vinegar, maple syrup and mustard, scraping up any browned bits. Gradually whisk in oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until the arugula is wilted. Season with pepper.

Turkey Mini Meatloaves

May 25th, 2010

Turkey Mini Meatloaf

Week 2, day 4 of My Eating Well Challenge.

In 1990, there was a film about an advertising executive whose “truthful” campaigns are accidentally published. One of those was for Volvo: “They’re boxy, but they’re good.” This is exactly the thought I had when I tasted the meatloaf, due to its compact, rectangular shape. I have made this recipe using muffin tins, but I found the small loaf shape is more attractive for serving and makes for more evenly cut slices for sandwiches.

You will be absolutely stunned at how quickly the recipe comes together. Turkey meatloaf tends to be dry, but this recipe is particularly moist thanks to the vegetables and couscous, and just a touch spicy from the mustard and Worcestershire.  Ignoring the color, one does not miss the beef at all.  I replaced the optional barbecue sauce with Heinz chili sauce, as I prefer the tomato flavor with meatloaf. They reheat perfectly, making a satisfying lunch the next day.

Turkey Mini Meatloaves
From EatingWell’s Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information on

1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup barbecue sauce, (optional – I used Heinz chili sauce)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously spray a nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Gently mix turkey, zucchini, onion, bell pepper, couscous, egg, Worcestershire, mustard, pepper and salt in a large bowl, preferably with your hands, without overworking. Equally divide the mixture among the muffin cups. Spread barbecue sauce on top of each loaf, if using.

3. Bake until the meatloaves are cooked through or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees F, about 25 minutes. Let the loaves stand in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.

Five-Spice Chicken & Orange Salad

May 25th, 2010

Five-Spice Chicken & Orange Salad

Week 2, day 3 of My Eating Well Challenge.  I am behind on blogging, but not on cooking!

What a delicious and refreshing salad! The sweet and savory five-spice seasoning is nicely paired with oranges and a tart mustard and cider vinegar dressing. I was a little concerned the combination might taste like Christmas, but the Asian-inspired flavors are quite subtle. Crisp peppers and onions brighten the dish. I disagree with some user comments on that recommend doubling the rub recipe; I feel that would overpower the other flavors. The recipe as-is is well balanced.

Five-Spice Chicken & Orange Salad
From The EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information on

6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon five-spice powder, (see Note)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
3 oranges
12 cups mixed Asian or salad greens
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup slivered red onion
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine 1 teaspoon oil, five-spice powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture into both sides of the chicken breasts.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn them over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 165°F), 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board; let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, peel and segment two of the oranges (see Tip), collecting segments and any juice in a large bowl. (Discard membranes, pith and skin.) Add the greens, bell pepper and onion to the bowl. Zest and juice the remaining orange. Place the zest and juice in a small bowl; whisk in vinegar, mustard, the remaining 4 teaspoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad; toss to combine. Slice the chicken and serve on the salad.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce

May 22nd, 2010

Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce

Week 2, day 2 of My Eating Well Challenge.

Sauces can make a plain dinner something special, and this one is no exception. This dish is reminiscent of French bistro fare. The pungent mustard is tempered by the sour cream and stock. I was surprised that the shallot and chive did not give the sauce too much onion flavor, and in fact we would have liked a bit more. Next time I would try this with slivered green onion. Roasted fingerling potatoes were the perfect medium to sop up the luscious sauce.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce

From the EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information at

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 pound), trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped chives, (about 1 bunch)

1. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Season both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow glass baking dish and dredge the chicken in it. Discard the excess flour.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.

3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour; stir to coat. Add wine, broth and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil, stirring often.

4. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until heated through and no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Stir in sour cream and mustard until smooth; turn the chicken to coat with the sauce. Stir in chives and serve immediately.

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach and Asparagus

May 18th, 2010

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach and Asparagus

Week 2, day 1 of My Eating Well Challenge. We’re moving on to the next cookbook: The EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook: 150 Delicioius Recipes for Simple, Everyday Suppers in 45 Minutes or Less. At some point I must’ve meant to cook 100 of these recipes, because it’s got Post-Its throughout.

I made a few modifications from the original recipe for Florentine Ravioli, as I wanted to use some leftover fresh spinach as opposed to the frozen spinach the recipe calls for, and had some fresh asparagus on hand. (You’ll notice a lot of asparagus in my recipes and photos; it’s asparagus season here in the northeast.)

This makes for a good, filling supper, and is super easy to fix on a weeknight after work. However, it’s not anything to ooh-and-ah over. You’d think with four large cloves of garlic it would have had more oomph. Next time I’ll add more garlic and crushed red pepper. On the upside, it has pasta, which is wonderful comfort food.

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach and Asparagus
Adapted from the EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook
Serves 4

1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 20-ounce package cheese ravioli, or tortellini (4 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 ounces fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Set a large pot of water to boil. Cook the asparagus in the water until just tender, about 3 minutes, and remove it with a slotted spoon, reserving the water.

2. Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta per the package directions.

3. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper, and saute for 30 seconds. Add the spinach, asparagus, and water, and toss until the spinach wilts. Remove the pan from the heat.

4. Drain the pasta, and toss it into the pan with the spinach and asparagus, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Toss until well combined, portion into four bowls, top with cheese, and serve immediately.

Apple, Sauerkraut, Cheddar & Ham Quesadillas

May 17th, 2010

Apple, Sauerkraut, Cheddar & Ham Quesadillas

Week 1, Day 5 of My Eating Well Challenge. I was able to sneak in a fifth recipe this week. I had some sauerkraut left over from the vegetarian reubens the day before, and ham from the ham and cheese stuffed chicken breasts. I thought this recipe sounded intriguing. OK, maybe not intriguing; honestly I thought it downright bizarre at first. But when you stop to think about it, similar ingredients are found in a choucroute garnie, so what could be bad?

As it turns out, these are spectacular. The tortilla is crispy, the cheese is gooey, the ham is smokey, and the apple and sauerkraut are tart and sweet. I added the ham per EatingWell’s recommended variation, but it could certainly be omitted if not on hand or for a vegetarian option. We had them for lunch, but cut into quarters or eighths, these would be great as a hearty hors d’oeuvre for a small party.

Apple, Sauerkraut, Cheddar & Ham Quesadillas
From The Essential EatingWell Cookbook

1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed
1/2 cup water
2 9-to-10-inch (burrito-size) flour tortillas
1 1/3 cups grated reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1 small Granny Smith or other tart, juicy apple, peeled and very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons ham, diced small

1. Put sauerkraut and water in a medium nonreactive skillet. Gently heat just until the liquid has evaporated but not so much that the sauerkraut begins to stick to the pan. Remove from the heat.

2. Gradually heat a large cast-iron over medium heat. Put one tortilla in the pan and immediately sprinkle 1/3 cup cheese over half of it. Quickly arrange about half the apple slices over the cheese, then top with half the sauerkraut, spreading it evenly, and half the ham. Sprinkle with another 1/3 cup cheese.

3. Fold the tortilla over the filled half and press gently on it with a spatula to seal. Heat the quesadilla until the bottom is golden, about 2 minutes, then carefully flip and lightly brown the other side. Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board and cut it into halves or quarters. Prepare the second one in the same fashion.

Vegetarian Reubens with Russian Dressing

May 16th, 2010
vegetarian reuben with chips

Vegetarian Reuben

Week 1, Day 4 of My Eating Well Challenge. Weekend lunches in our home are usually sandwiches. Grilled sandwiches are even better. The classic reuben is piled high with corned beef, melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing (or Thousand Island) on rye. It’s certainly one of my favorites.

The preface to this recipe states that you “won’t even miss the corned beef.” I scoffed when I read that. I’ve made plenty of vegetarian look-a-like recipes that make similar declarations. While these recipes can be good, and some great, the meat is usually such a definitive component of the dish that one can’t help but notice its absence.

What a shock to find that I really didn’t miss the corned beef! This sandwich has all the flavors and textures of a classic reuben. Of course one can tell there is no corned beef, but the pronounced taste of the filling, dressing, and cheese left us happily satisfied.

The only issue I have is with the recipe is the name. I believe the recipe is much closer to Thousand Island than Russian dressing. Either way, it’s delicious.

Assembled Vegetarian Reubens

Vegetarian Reubens Assembled

Vegetarian Reubens with Russian Dressing

From The Essential EatingWell Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information at

This exceptional sandwich originated at Penny Cluse Cafe in Burlington, Vermont. The spinach, mushroom and onion filling is so satisfying, you won’t even miss the corned beef.

Russian Dressing

2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 teaspoons chopped capers
1 teaspoon chopped pickle, or relish


3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
5 cups baby spinach
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 slices rye bread
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese, such as Jarlsberg Lite or Alpine Lace (2 ounces)
1/2 cup sauerkraut

1. Prepare Russian dressing: Whisk mayonnaise and ketchup in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in capers and pickle (or relish).

2. To prepare sandwiches: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until it has wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate.

3. Coat the pan with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and return to medium heat. Add the bread; divide cheese equally among the slices. Divide sauerkraut between 2 slices and divide the spinach mixture between the other 2 slices; cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer sandwich halves to a cutting board. Divide the dressing between the spinach halves. Carefully place the sauerkraut halves on top. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

Vegetarian Reuben

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Kale & Rice

May 15th, 2010

Stuffed Roasted Red Pepper

Week 1, Day 3 of My Eating Well Challenge. I like to eat vegetarian a few days a week, but vegetarian main dish entrees can become boring without some inspiration. While this is not the most creative entree, it has some very nice flavor reminiscent of many Italian style dishes I’ve had, and the greens make the stuffing substantial and flavorful. I substituted mustard greens, as they were in better condition than the kale at my market. Although light on their own, the peppers make a filling dish when served with a side salad. One thing to note, keep a watch on the peppers when roasting them. I let them go a little too long and my pepper bowls nearly became pepper plates.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Kale & Rice
From The Essential Eating Well Cookbook
View the recipe and nutrition information at

You can vary the filling by substituting robust mustard greens or collards, or milder greens, such as spinach, escarole or Swiss chard.

3 medium red bell peppers
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste


8 ounces kale, (6 cups lightly packed), trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup cooked short-grain brown rice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. To prepare peppers: Preheat oven to 400°F. Halve peppers lengthwise through the stems, leaving them attached. Remove the seeds. Lightly brush the peppers outside and inside with oil; sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper. Place, cut-side down, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake until peppers are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly. Turn cut-side up.

2. To prepare filling: Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil in a large wide pan. Stir in kale, cover and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water; squeeze dry. Finely chop.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and chopped bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until onion is golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the kale. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir in rice, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons pine nuts and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the filling among the pepper halves. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons pine nuts.

4. Add 2 tablespoons water to the baking dish. Cover the peppers with foil and bake until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 minutes more. Serve hot.

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

May 12th, 2010

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

Week 1, Day 2 of My Eating Well Challenge. On my way home to cook dinner, I was wondering why I chose this recipe. It’s not as if it’s anything very remarkable. Stuffing chicken breasts is something one learns the first week of culinary school, or about once-a-week on the Food Network or PBS cooking shows. Maybe it was because it  had ham and cheese. Maybe because I wanted to see what would do to make this frequently fat-laden dish not so fat-laden. In any event, I’m glad I made it, since it tastes indulgent and makes a great presentation.

One wouldn’t think that sauteing a breaded chicken breast in just a teaspoon of oil in a nonstick pan, and then finishing it in the oven, would create such a beautiful crispy crust, but it does, and the chicken stays juicy. There’s not much cheese filling (the photo on their website, which I only saw after I had made the dish, is a little misleading), but the flavor of the ham and mustard is so intense, it tastes like just the right amount.

The only issue I had, as with the previous day’s recipe, was salt. If you wish to leave it out for dietary reasons, that’s fine. However, I’d suggest putting at least a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of salt into your breadcrumbs. For the crumbs I used three slices of whole wheat sandwich bread pulsed in the food processor with the salt. Next time I might take the opportunity to add some dried herbs, a bit of garlic powder, or paprika to the crumbs.

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
From The Essential EatingWell Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional info. at
Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup grated Swiss, Monterey Jack or part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped ham
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
1 egg white
1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a baking sheet with sides and lightly coat it with cooking spray.

2. Mix cheese, ham, mustard and pepper in a small bowl.

3. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up the breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.

4. Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in egg white, then dredge in breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)

5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.