Cilantro Burgers with Sriracha Mayo

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This recipe is derived from the Cilantro Burgers with Sriracha Mayo recipe from the Cooking Light website as part of my 2017 A Year of Cooking Light Challenge.

Servings: 4
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Approximate Cost per Serving: $2.25 / burger

Chef’s Note: How have I not posted this recipe before?  I honestly thought I had.  I even searched through my archives trying to find it, but alas.  It slipped through the cracks in the electrons in my laziness to post things.  So here it is, the recipe that started it all.  This was one of the first recipes I cooked from Cooking Light; it has become a staple in our household (we have even made it for guests).  It’s a little pricey because I went with happy turkey meat (free range, hippie goodness) instead of generic depressed cow meat, but it is well worth it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean, ground turkey breast
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil mayo
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha (aka cock sauce)
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns

Kitchenware:

  • George Foreman grill
  • Small cutting board
  • Kitchen knife
  • Medium bowl
  • Meat thermometer
  • Small bowl

Steps:

  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. While the grill heats, chop 3 Tbsp of cilantro.  In the medium bowl, combine the ground turkey, cilantro, salt, and pepper (don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty on this one).  Divide into four equal patties about 1/2-inch thick.
  3. Once the grill has heated, add patties to the grill.  Cook approximately eight minutes or until cooked through (make sure you always check with a meat thermometer).
  4. While the patties cook, combine the mayo and the cock sauce in the small bowl.  Stir with a fork until well blended.  Apply the sauce liberally (the more the better in our household) to both halves of each bun.  Add a sprig of cilantro to each bottom bun.
  5. Top each bun with a patty when done.
  6. Enjoy!

Cream of Leek Soup

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This recipe is derived from the Cream of Leek Soup recipe from the All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook as part of my 2017 A Year of Cooking Light Challenge.

Servings: 2
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Approximate Cost per Serving: $3.00 / plate

Chef’s Note: When I started adding salt at the end, I worried it was to make up for a bland flavor.  Somewhat surprisingly, this soup does not suffer that problem.  While simple in its ingredients and preparation, this simple soup carried a flavor of its own and was a delightful treat for dinner.  Even a full soup bowl carries less than 300 calories, and leeks are supposed to help you develop a healthier microbiome.

Ingredients:

  • 1 leek (about 1 lb)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large (2 tsp) chicken bouillon (substitute vegetable bouillon for vegetarian)
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Kitchenware:

  • Stove
  • Large saucepan
  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knife
  • Garlic press
  • Blender
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden stirring spoon

Steps:

  1. Slice the leek (cut the bottom off before rinsing to help remove the grit before you slice).  Combine with the water, rosemary, chicken bouillon, and garlic in the saucepan.  Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the blender.  Remove the cap in the blender top and cover with folded paper towels or a kitchen wash cloth to prevent splatter but allow the heat to escape (I forgot this step and ended up with green hot water spewing out the sides).  Blend until smooth.
  3. Add flour to the saucepan.  Gradually stir in the milk with a whisk until well blended with the flour.  Add the blender contents and the nutmeg.  Return heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from the burner.  Stir in the butter and salt until the butter has completely melted.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Roasted Red Pepper Spread Sandwiches

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This recipe is derived from the Roasted Red Pepper Spread Sandwiches recipe from the All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook as part of my 2017 A Year of Cooking Light Challenge.

Servings: 4
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Approximate Cost per Serving: $1.50 / plate

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 seedless English cucumber
  • 1 (7-oz) bottle roasted red bell peppers
  • 1 (8-oz) block/container of light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 8 slices sandwich bread
  • 8 lettuce leaves

Kitchenware:

  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knife
  • Paper towels
  • Measuring cup
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Rubber/silicon spatula (recommended)
  • Garlic press

Steps:

  1. Line a plate with several layers of paper towels.  Finely chop the cucumber and set on the paper towels.  Drain the roasted red bell peppers, then chop.  Add them to the paper towels with the cucumber and let sit 5 minutes.
  2. While they sit, mince the red onion.  Press the garlic over the medium bowl and add the onion.  Also combine the cream cheese and salt.  Stir with a fork until well blended.
  3. Add the bell peppers and cucumbers to the bowl, carefully transferring them so as not to break the wet paper towels (a rubber or silicon spatula works well).  Combine until well blended.
  4. Put the spread on the bottom slice of bread.  Top each with two lettuce leaves and the top bread slice.
  5. Enjoy!

 

White Mac and Cheese

IMAG0540This recipe is derived from the Two-Cheese Mac and Cheese recipe from the Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2014 cookbook as part of my 2017 A Year of Cooking Light Challenge

Servings: 6
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Approximate Cost per Serving: $0.75 / plate

Chef’s Note: The hubby and I agree, this is one of the best recipes so far this year and definitely a repeater.  While not the healthiest recipe in my challenge, it’s still better than a lot of dinners out there and super cheap to boot, especially when you plan ahead and buy the pasta and cheese on sale (I always get ours BOGO).

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Salt
  • 10 oz small shells pasta
  • 2 Tbps canola oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 large (2 tsp) chicken bouillon cube (can sub vegetarian bouillon)
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Kitchenware:

  • Stove
  • Medium pot
  • Strainer
  • Garlic press
  • Dutch oven (or large pot)
  • Wooden stirring spoon
  • Whisk
  • Oven
  • 1.5 – 2 qt casserole dish
  • Cooking spray

Steps:

  1. Fill the medium pot halfway with water.  Add salt and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside when done.
  2. Preheat oven under broiler setting to high.
  3. Heat the Dutch oven over medium heat.  While heating, peel the garlic.  When heated, add the canola oil and swirl to coat.  Press the garlic over the pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add 1 cup of water and half (1 tsp) of the bouillon cube.  Stir to combine and dissolve the bouillon.  Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute.  While waiting for the mixture to boil, combine the remaining 1 1/4 cups of water with the remaining bouillon, milk and flour.  Stir with a whisk until well blended.  Add this mixture to the Dutch oven.  Return to a boil and cook 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.
  5. Remove the Dutch oven from the burner.  Add the cream cheese, salt, and pepper and stir until smooth.  Add the pasta to the Dutch oven and mix to coat.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Coat the casserole dish with cooking spray.  Pour the mac and cheese into the casserole dish and spread it evenly.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.  Broil 3 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.  Remove and let stand 5 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Ginger Basmati Rice

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This recipe is derived from the Ginger Basmati recipe from the Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2016 cookbook as part of my 2017 A Year of Cooking Light Challenge.

Servings: 4
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Approximate Cost per Serving: $1.00 / plate

Ingredients:

  • fresh ginger (about 3-inches long)
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Kitchenware:

  • medium saucepan
  • stove
  • cutting board
  • kitchen knife

Steps:

  1. Peel the fresh ginger (I use a spoon to kind of peel the skin off.  It tends to work a lot better than a peeler).  Cut into four long pieces.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the chicken bouillon, 1 1/4 cups of water, the coconut milk, and the ginger.  Stir to mix the bouillon in.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the rice.  Stir it in and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and let cook 20 minutes (uncovered) until rice is well cooked.
  4. While the rice cooks, chop the cilantro.  When rice is done, fluff the rice before stirring in the cilantro.
  5. Enjoy!

Fancy Tofu Ramen

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This recipe is derived from the Soba with Sesame and Tofu recipe from the Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2001 cookbook as part of my 2017 A Year of Cooking Light Challenge.

Servings: 4
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Approximate Cost per Serving: $2.00 / plate

Ingredients:

  • 3 (3 oz) ramen noddle packages
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 package (12 – 14 oz) firm tofu
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 cup (sliced) green onions
  • 1.5 Tbsp sesame seeds

Kitchenware:

  • stove
  • large saucepan
  • Asian strainer or colander
  • cutting board
  • kitchen knife
  • measuring spoons
  • peeler
  • small saucepan
  • small mixing bowl
  • large mixing bowl

Steps:

  1. Cook the ramen noodles per package directions, omitting the flavoring packet, in the large saucepan.  Once cooked, remove from the saucepan with the strainer or drain in the colander.  Add to the large mixing bowl.
  2. In the small mixing bowl combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, ground ginger, sugar, and sesame oil.  Mix until combined well.
  3. Drain the tofu and cube it.  Add to the small mixing bowl, tossing to coat evenly in the sauce.  Set aside.
  4. Peel and thinly slice the cucumber.  Thinly slice the green onions.  Add both to the large mixing bowl.
  5. In the small saucepan, heat the sesame seeds over medium heat until toasted (approximately 2 minutes).  Add to the large mixing bowl.  Toss the noodle mixture to combine well (this may take a while as the ramen noodles can tend to stick together).
  6. Divide the noodles into four bowls.  Top with the tofu and sauce.
  7. Enjoy!

Green Bean Pasta

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This recipe is derived from the Fusilli with Green Beans and Oregano recipe from the Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2001 cookbook as part of my 2017 A Year of Cooking Light Challenge.

Servings: 4
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Approximate Cost per Serving: $1.00 / plate

Chef’s Note: I ran out of rotini pasta, so combined bow tie pasta to make do.  Rotini works better though.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz dry/uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1/2 pound green beans
  • 1/2 cup (chopped) flat-leaf/Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Kitchenware:

  • stove
  • large saucepan
  • medium saucepan
  • colander
  • cutting board
  • kitchen knife
  • measuring spoons
  • garlic press
  • large mixing bowl

Steps:

  1. Fill the large saucepan halfway with water.  Wait for it to boil, then cook the rotini pasta as directed.  Drain and add to the large bowl.
  2. While the pasta cooks, fill the medium saucepan halfway with water.  While the water brings to a boil, snap the green beans (into about 1 – 2 inch pieces).  When water is boiling, add the green beans and cook about 5 minutes until tender.  Drain, rinse in cold water, and add to the large bowl.
  3. While the pasta and green beans cook, chop the parsley and thinly slice the green onions.  Peel the garlic clove, then press it.  Add all three to the large bowl.
  4. Add the oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper to the bowl.
  5. Once all have been combined, toss well to mix.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Enjoy!