Category Archives: Stuffed Dishes

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos

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Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos - Colleen's Kitchen

Sometimes the best recipes come out of necessity. I mean, there I was, rummaging in the fridge, trying to decide what to make for dinner. I have a tomato that’s just starting to pucker, a carrot that’s beginning to dry out, a bit of onion left over from a previous meal, some parsley that’s looking a little ragged, and a couple of portobello mushrooms left over from some grilling I did last week. And let’s not forget the hot Italian chicken sausage in the freezer.

Sounds like the beginnings of a fantastic meal, right?

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos - Colleen's Kitchen

Of course you’re right. And, it’s easy too.

After a quick saute of the carrot and onion, I added some garlic and the chicken sausage until the sausage was browned and crumbled. Then I added in the tomato and let it cook until the tomato got soft and saucy. No need to add herbs because the sausage is already full of Italian seasonings.

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos - Colleen's Kitchen

I then simply removed the mixture from the heat, mixed in a little parmesan cheese, and stuffed the portobello mushrooms, mounding the meat mixture generously. Once topped with another sprinkle of parmesan cheese, I baked them in the oven for 30 minutes.

The result? Perfection. At once tender, hearty, and spicy, it’s a gourmet quality dish that’s ready in almost no time. It’s also perfectly adaptable to baby portobello mushrooms for a superb appetizer.

What are you making with your fridge finds tonight?

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 349.3
  • Fat: 15.7
  • Saturated fat: 6.0
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.7
  • Carbohydrates: 19.3
  • Sugar: 2.1
  • Sodium: 1208.2
  • Fiber: 4.5
  • Protein: 35.2
  • Cholesterol: 101.8
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Poultry
At once tender, hearty, and spicy, these Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos make a gourmet quality meal that is ready in almost no time.
Ingredients
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ lb. raw, bulk hot Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • ¼ cup minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 oz. shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and caps cleaned
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the carrot and red onion and cook for 5 minutes on medium.
  4. Stir in the garlic and chicken sausage and continue to cook until the sausage is browned and crumbled, stirring frequently.
  5. Add in the tomato and continue to cook until the tomato is soft and a sauce begins to form in the pan.
  6. Remove from heat and mix in the parsley and 1.5 oz. of the parmesan cheese.
  7. Place the mushroom caps on a baking sheet so that the tops are down and the stem side of the mushrooms are facing up.
  8. Stuff the mushroom caps with the sausage mixture, mounding it high above the mushroom caps.
  9. Top the mushrooms with the remaining parmesan cheese.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

Chipotle Quinoa Stuffed Yams

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Chipotle Quinoa Stuffed Yams Recipe - Colleen's Kitchen

It seems like forever since I’ve posted on my blog. Not being able to really get into my kitchen, and advised by my attorney to limit any discussion of my accident and recovery, I’ve been at a loss for writing material.

Until now.

I moved back into my house 2 weeks ago, after outfitting it with wider paths for my crutches and scooter, a shower chair, and toilet safety rails, and moving my bedroom things downstairs into the spare bedroom since I still am unable to navigate stairs. My cooking, however, has primarily consisted of reheating frozen food in the microwave or assembling the basic sandwich. Not my idea of culinary fun, but it’s a start.

Chipotle Quinoa Stuffed Yams Recipe - Colleen's Kitchen

This past week, though, I started accessing my kitchen muscle memory with some extremely effortless dishes, like these Chipotle Quinoa Stuffed Yams. I mean, I simply bake the yams whole, let them cool for a bit, scoop the meat out and mix it with some additional goodness, then spoon it back into the skin and bake it a little more. Easy peasy.

The bonus? It’s also scrumptious, filling, and perfect for Meatless Monday. As I’ve said many times, going vegetarian 1-2 times a week has been a cornerstone of my success in both losing and maintaining my weight.

What’s better than an easy, delicious and good-for-you meal?

Chipotle Quinoa Stuffed Yams
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 stuffed yams
  • Serving size: 1 yam
  • Calories: 364.1
  • Fat: 8.1
  • Saturated fat: 4.0
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.0
  • Carbohydrates: 62.0
  • Sugar: 2.4
  • Sodium: 309.5
  • Fiber: 8.5
  • Protein: 12.4
  • Cholesterol: 15.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These effortless, vegetarian Chipotle Quinoa Stuffed Yams are full of scrumptiously sweet and spicy flavors that will leave you feeling satisfied and guilt-free!
Ingredients
  • 2 yams (5.3 oz. each), baked and cooled to the touch
  • ⅓ cup raw tricolor quinoa, cooked according to package directions and cooled
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 oz. part skim queso fresco, shredded (divided)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Cut the top of the skin of each baked yam lengthwise to create a boat-shaped opening.
  3. Scoop the cooked yam meat out and into a medium mixing bowl. Place the yam skins, intact, into a shallow baking dish.
  4. Mix in the cooked quinoa, chipotle pepper, tomato, cilantro, and 1.5 oz. of the queso fresco.
  5. Spoon the mixture back into the yam skins. Sprinkle the remaining queso fresco over the top of the stuffed yams.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the stuffing is warmed through.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes and dig in!
Notes
To prebake the yams, simply pierce them a few times with a fork, place them on a baking sheet, and bake them for 45-60 minutes at 375F. Test with a fork before removing from the oven; it should pierce the yam easily.

 

Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash

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Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash

I have to admit that in all my culinary adventures I haven’t experimented with delicata squash much. And now I know what I’ve been missing.

I think what I love most about this sweet little squash is the thin, tender skin that is entirely edible. It roasts up perfectly and makes a beautiful addition to anything from stews to salads to this stuffed dish.

Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash

I used leftovers from that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew I made last week as the basis for the stuffing in this dish. It lends a great smoky, spicy flavor that contrasts wonderfully with the sweet delicata squash. And did I mention that this is one of my budget dishes?

That’s right, for less than $35 I bought groceries for a work-week’s worth of meals that will actually yield enough leftovers for work lunches as well. The trick to eating healthy on a budget is meal planning. Plan your meals out for the week and look for common ingredients, or staples, that you can use throughout the week. You’ll reduce waste and increase your economies of scale.

Tune in next week to see how I turn a delicious delicata squash into nachos. You won’t want to miss this one!

 

Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: ½ squash
  • Calories: 325.5
  • Fat: 5.0
  • Saturated fat: 1.9
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2
  • Carbohydrates: 66.6
  • Sugar: 3.3
  • Sodium: 143.8
  • Fiber: 11.0
  • Protein: 16.8
  • Cholesterol: 57.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Tender delicata squash is stuffed with spicy black bean stew, rice, and more for a healthy, budget-friendly meal for two.
Ingredients
  • 1 1-lb. delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds and pulp removed
  • ½ cup cooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ⅓ cup frozen roasted corn
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 oz. shredded light Mexican cheese blend, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Combine the rice, stew, cilantro, tomato, corn, onion and ½ oz. of the cheese in a medium bowl.
  3. Stuff each half of the squash with the rice-stew mixture and place in a shallow baking dish.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  5. Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining ½ oz. of shredded cheese over the tops of each squash half.
  6. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Grilled Caprese Farro Zucchini Boats

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Grilled Caprese Farro Zucchini Boats

If you read last week’s post, you’ll know that the travel bug has been gnawing at me lately. This week, I’ve been able to send him back into hibernation (for the time being) with a visit to family in Napa, California.

My only regret in traveling this time of year is that I have to leave my vegetable garden behind. Right now my garden is practically a jungle of vines and leaves reaching in all directions. Baby vegetables of all varieties nestle in their bowers and I eagerly await the day I can pick them and incorporate them into my own cooking. The zucchini, summer squash and green beans are maturing almost faster than I can pick and eat them.

Grilled Caprese Farro Zucchini Boats

One of my favorite ways to prepare fresh summer zucchini is on the grill. Sometimes I’ll just serve grilled squash as a side to whatever I’m making, sometimes I’ll throw slices of grilled zucchini on a quick summer tartine (a grilled, open-faced sandwich — one of my favorite summer dishes). But for a hearty meal, I like to stuff the zucchini with whatever I might have on hand and serve it as the star of the show.

For this dish, I’ve taken the traditional flavors of an Italian caprese salad — tomato, mozzarella, and basil — and combined them with nutty farro for a vegetarian stuffing that is full of delicious flavor yet is also filling.

Grilled Caprese Farro Zucchini Boats

I like to slice the zucchini in half length-wise and grill them for about 2 minutes cut-side down to cook and soften the interior. This allows me to easily scoop out the interior of the zucchini. I prefer to use my melon-baller for this, it gets the job done quickly and easily.

Grilled Caprese Farro Zucchini Boats

I then stuff the zucchini with my caprese farro mixture, top it with a bit of shredded parmesan cheese, and place it on the top rack of my grill for about 5 minutes with the lid down. The cheese melts, the tomato releases its warm juices, and the resulting flavor combination is divine. It’s the perfect quick fix for meatless Monday.

Grilled Caprese Farro Zucchini Boats

But as much as I love cooking from my garden, I do enjoy traveling. And I love Napa. It’s a quaint, cute small town that bustles with the constant ebb and flow of tourists. The wine is, of course, world-renowned, but some of the best chefs in the world also head here to set up shop. Being a foodie, I enjoy sampling these restaurants for inspiration and ideas for my own creations.

I visit Napa every other month, not for vacation purposes but to give my uncle a regular break from caring for my 93-year old grandmother who has dementia. We have two regular activities when I visit: shopping for whatever necessities she has on her list and taking her in for a pedicure. My Nana tires quickly, so I keep each of these activities brief, stretch them out over two days, and couple each with lunch. Which is a great way to satisfy my desire to sample the various area restaurants.

Kitchen Door Napa

My pick for our first outing on Thursday was Chef Todd Humphries’ Kitchen Door. I had to have the banh mi sandwich with sweet potato fries that all the yelpers were raving about, and it didn’t disappoint. It was sweet, tart, crunchy and savory — absolutely delicious! In fact, on Saturday night, after a long day celebrating my cousin’s bar mitzvah in Oakland, I found myself back at Kitchen Door with a girlfriend visiting from Sacramento. Our wonderful waiter, Cory, indulged us as we chatted nonstop for 4 hours and worked our way through 2 carafes of a chilled albarino, an Asian inspired chilled vegetable and rice noodle salad, and the most amazing chanterelle pizza I’ve had.

My Nana showing off her manicure and pedicure

On Friday, after pedicures and manicures, I took Nana out just past Yountville to Chef Cindy Pawclyn’s Mustards Grill. What I love about this restaurant is that they have their own massive garden, accessible for wandering, that supplies the restaurant. The result is exceedingly fresh dishes that rotate regularly depending on what’s in season.

Mustards Grill

I splurged on this outing – or I should say Nana indulged me – and I ordered the rather overpriced seafood tostada. On this particular day, it was a tender swordfish steak on top of a crispy corn tortilla, topped with a tart jicama slaw and greens, and surrounded by mildly spicy black beans and dusted with crumbly cheese. It was absolutely delicious.

Of course, I can’t wait to get back home and continue my kitchen experiments from my own garden.

 

Grilled Caprese Farro Zucchini Boats
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: Makes 2 servings of 2 "boats" each
  • Calories: 197.8
  • Fat: 7.7
  • Saturated fat: 3.6
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4
  • Carbohydrates: 20.7
  • Sugar: 0.3
  • Sodium: 383.6
  • Fiber: 2.3
  • Protein: 12.0
  • Cholesterol: 12.2
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The classic caprese flavors of fresh tomato, mozzarella, and basil combine with nutty farro in a garden fresh, grilled baby zucchini shell for a super easy and delicious Meatless Monday summer meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 large baby zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry farro, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup (1 oz.) shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ cup loosely packed basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (1 oz.) shredded parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your grill and spray the cooking grate with nonstick spray.
  2. Brush the cut-side of the zucchini with the olive oil.
  3. Grill the zucchini cut-side down for about 2 minutes or until the interior is tender.
  4. Remove the zucchini from the grill and scoop the interior out with a knife, spoon, or (my favorite) melon-baller.
  5. Mix together the farro, mozzarella, tomato, basil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Use the stuffing to fill the hollows in the zucchini. (Don't be afraid to overfill as the mixture will cook down slightly.)
  6. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the tops of the stuffed zucchini.
  7. Place the zucchini boats on the top rack of the grill -- away from the direct flame -- and cook with the lid closed for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the stuffing is warmed through. Serve immediately.
Notes
Tip: to keep your zucchini boats from tipping on the grill, slice off a very thin section of the back (rounded) side of the zucchini halves.

For more preparation tips, check out my video demonstration of this recipe.

 

Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers

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I’ve been feeling spicy lately. Daring really. I am feeling the itch to step outside my proverbial box and try new things, embark on new adventures. This bug that has bitten me extends into the kitchen as well of course. Would you expect anything less?

Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers - Colleen's Kitchen

Quente. That’s what my friends in Brazil would call this dish. And me. Literally translated it means hot, but like the American version of the word hot the slang use of it has a spicier meaning. Quente.

Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers - Colleen's Kitchen

I love this dish because it’s easy to prepare, it’s a great filler on vegetarian nights, and it’s quente. I simply combine some white quinoa, black beans, roasted corn, roasted red peppers, cilantro, jack cheese, and a spicy jalapeno then stuff this delectable mixture inside mild, smoky poblano peppers and bake them for 30 minutes at 375F.

Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers - Colleen's Kitchen

Now for some spicy, delectable shake-ups outside of the kitchen. Bring it on!

Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 206.9
  • Fat: 5.7
  • Saturated fat: 2.5
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 31.5
  • Sugar: 3.1
  • Sodium: 268.5
  • Fiber: 3.9
  • Protein: 9.3
  • Cholesterol: 12.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
A hearty, delicious vegetarian dish of smoky poblano peppers stuffed with fluffy quinoa, veggies and spicy jalapeno.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup dry white quinoa, rinsed
  • ½ cup reduced sodium black beans, rinsed
  • ½ cup frozen roasted corn
  • ½ cup diced roasted red peppers
  • ½ cup shredded jack cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • pinch coarse sea salt
  • 4 whole, raw poblano peppers
Instructions
  1. Bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the water is gone. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the black beans, corn, red peppers, cheese, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and cooked quinoa.
  4. Take each poblano pepper and cut an elongated triangle along the length of the chile -- with the base of the triangle near the stem of the pepper -- to create an opening for your stuffing. Remove all of the seeds from the interior.
  5. Stuff the quinoa mixture into each of the peppers.
  6. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

 

Video Demonstration of Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette

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Refrigerator dishes are sometimes the best discoveries ever. What’s a refrigerator dish? These are the meals created on those nights when I don’t know what to make for dinner and I stand in front of the fridge looking at various items on the verge of spoiling. As the cold air slowly flows over me, my mind clicks through the various dinner possibilities until it reaches a satisfactory conclusion and I greedily fill my arms with my bounty and set to work. This is one such creation.

Colleen's Kitchen: Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette
 

A couple of weeks ago, early on a Monday morning, I received an email letting me know that 2 of my recipes were selected for an article on healthy burgers by Girls Gone Sporty. Yippee! The downside is that they needed photos and my external hard drive, which houses all of memory sucking photos and videos, suddenly decided not to cooperate with my computer so I couldn’t access anything on there. They wanted the photos right away so the only solution was to whip up both recipes and take some new photos. Which of course I did.

This left me with a nice chunk of leftover eggplant. Couple that with a handful of other vegetables and some leftover baguette in danger of going stale, and you have the makings of a great refrigerator dish. I should point out that the vegetables are the real star of the show and what I love is that they are so versatile. Instead of stuffing them into a baguette, sometimes I toss them with pasta or rice. I’ve even taken leftovers and scrambled them with eggs for breakfast. It also makes a great topping for flavorful bruschetta when I’m entertaining.

Colleen's Kitchen: Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette


I cut the eggplant in small pieces, about 1/2″ cubes. Then did the same with a baby zucchini, red onion and red bell pepper. I halved a bunch of cherry tomatoes and threw them into the mix for a splash of color and a burst of juicy sweetness. Then I tossed them in a simple combination of olive oil, red wine vinegar and coarse sea salt and roasted my pretty creation in the oven.

 

But I wasn’t done! I had some fresh basil to use as well, so I chopped that up and tossed that with the roasted vegetables along with some salty parmesan cheese. Then I hollowed out a baguette, stuffed it with my creation, and baked it for another 10 minutes.

Colleen's Kitchen: Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette


I think my first words on biting into this crunchy, caramelized masterpiece were “Holy shit! I need to write that down!” And that is how this recipe came into creation. Seriously.


Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 325.7
  • Fat: 10.7
  • Saturated fat: 2.3
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.0
  • Carbohydrates: 49.6
  • Sugar: 6.0
  • Sodium: 652.3
  • Fiber: 8.5
  • Protein: 12.6
  • Cholesterol: 5.1
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Fresh eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes are roasted to sweet, caramelized perfection and stuffed into a warm, crusty baguette for an easy, delicious vegetarian meal.
Ingredients
  • 1 small eggplant, trimmed and cut into ½" cubes
  • 1 baby zucchini, trimmed and cut into ½" pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 oz. fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 - 16 oz. whole wheat baguette
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a baking sheet with a little olive oil and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggplant, zucchini, pepper, tomatoes and onion. Toss with the olive oil, vinegar and salt until well combined.
  3. Spread the vegetable mixture on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through to ensure the vegetables are evenly roasted.
  4. Remove from the oven and set aside to let cool slightly.
  5. Create a "canoe" out of the baguette by cutting an opening down the length of the baguette and removing bread to create space for the stuffing. Using your fingers, pull out a total of 6 oz. of bread.
  6. Combine the roasted vegetables with the basil and parmesan then stuff into the hollowed out baguette.
  7. Bake for 10 more minutes until the bread is crusty and the cheese is melted.
  8. Cut into 4 equal sections and serve immediately.

 

Video Demonstration of Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not that difficult. While there are temptations in abundance out there, as in any situation, it really comes down to making balanced choices. It’s okay to give in to temptation, we are only human after all, but in healthy moderation.

 

One of the cornerstones of my healthy lifestyle is incorporating 1-2 vegetarian days each week. This not only saves money on the grocery bill, but it also makes for dishes that are leaner in protein and lower in fat. I created this Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash on one of my meatless days, and I have to admit I’ve fallen in love with this dish.

 

I love the combination of simple, whole ingredients that comprise the dish. The spice of the chipotle pepper is offset by the sweetness of the acorn squash. And the classic favor combination of rice, beans and corn makes for a satisfying and filling meal.

 

First, I use a chipotle-lime glaze to do an initial bake on the squash.

 

Then, I stuff each squash half with a hearty, southwestern-inspired mixture of brown rice, black beans, roasted corn, roasted red peppers, kale, cilantro, and cottage cheese.

 

Finally, I sprinkle a little bit of shredded, reduced fat cheese over the top of each squash half and bake it again. I love a deliciously satisfying meal that doesn’t leave me feeling guilty.
As you might recall, back in January I put out a call to my followers for a 2013 Get Healthy Challenge. I had 4 fantastic people take me up on the offer to meet once a week via Skype. We have been meeting regularly, with the exception of the 2 weeks I was in Ireland, and our chats consist of sharing our long term and weekly goals, bringing challenges we are having to the table, and providing tips and support to each other to overcome those challenges.
The resilience and dedication of everyone is truly inspiring. One member overcame a physical injury by researching chair workouts to keep him active. Another member practiced her principles of moderation during a vacation and was able to lose 4 lbs. while still enjoying the temptations of any good vacation. I think what I enjoy the most is the tips that we all share with each other, even I have learned a thing or two.
Are you interested in joining us? All you need is Skype on your computer, we convene every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. If you’d like to give it a try, shoot me an email at colleen@colleens-kitchen.com to get started.
Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
Recipe by Colleen Fields
Baked first in a chipotle lime glaze, then stuffed with a hearty, southwestern inspired filling and baked again, the acorn squash takes on a new life. I love this easy and delicious vegetarian dish, and I hope you do too!

Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squash, about 1 lb. each, halved lengthwise and seeds and pulp removed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chipotle pepper in 1 tbsp adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry brown rice, cooked (about 1 cup loosely packed when cooked)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup frozen roasted corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh kale
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 oz. fire roasted red peppers, diced
  • pinch coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat mexican cheese blend

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil and chipotle pepper. Use a pastry brush to brush the mixture over the cut side of the squash, using all of the glaze mixture. Bake the squash for about 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and use a fork to scrape up and soften the inside flesh of the squash. This will make it easier to eat and also create a larger space for the stuffing.
  3. Mix together the rice, cottage cheese, corn, black beans, kale, cilantro, peppers, and salt. Stuff this mixture into each squash half in equal proportions, mounding it high as it will cook down. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the stuffing, about 2 tablespoons of cheese over each squash.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 Servings

Nutrition Facts
  4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 280.7
  Total Fat 7.7 g
  Saturated Fat 2.2 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
  Cholesterol 12.5 mg
  Sodium 352.6 mg
  Potassium 887.9 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 45.7 g
  Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
  Sugars 2.5 g
  Protein 13.8 g

 

Greek Stuffed Chicken and Zucchini Ribbon Salad

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You know you’re a tomato-aholic when you:

  1. carefully comb all the nurseries looking for just the right variety of heirloom tomatoes;
  2. actually dig up your entire garden and move it with you when you are forced to move unexpectedly in the middle of the summer;
  3. spend hours every day trimming, fertilizing, staking, watering and nurturing your precious plants back to life after a traumatic move;
  4. have every available windowsill lined with green tomatoes once the fall rains hit so that come November you still have homegrown tomatoes on hand; or
  5. all of the above.
Yes, that’s me. My name is Colleen and I am a tomato-aholic.
I have always had a passionate appetite for homegrown vegetables. My mother is an avid gardener and, as a child, we always had large, plentiful vegetable gardens. This is something that I’ve continued in various sizes and stages throughout my adult life, starting with a patio garden when I was younger and could only afford apartments. It has grown from there, particularly as I have added more fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet.
I think my favorite vegetable to grow, though, is the tomato. It is amazing to me how many different sizes, colors, and flavors this one plant type can come in. I particularly love to grow a variety of small, sweet cherry tomatoes, pulpy romas, and juicy, meaty heirlooms. The heirlooms require the most patience as they take longer to mature. I always feel like a kid on Christmas morning when I find my first red brandywine ripe on the vine.
The red brandwines are my favorite. I love to eat them simply sliced and drizzled with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and ribbons of fresh basil. They are also amazing just slightly warmed atop a crispy summer tartine or in a pannini with mozzarella and avocado.
As great as these hearty giants of the garden are, I also adore my cherry tomatoes. These tiny gems make a great afternoon snack and are essential in just about any salad I make during the growing season. I also like to toss them in pasta for a burst of flavor and a pop of color in the dish. And that’s exactly why I added them  to this zucchini ribbon salad.
I love the flavor combination of the sweet cherry tomatoes with the mild zucchini, peppery arugula and basil, and citrus-y white wine vinaigrette. They also add a much needed pop of color to the otherwise very green salad. In my opinion, the appearance of the dish is just as important as the flavor as your eye has to like what it sees first, leaving your tastebuds in delicious anticipation of the pleasure to come.
Recipes of the Week
 
Greek Stuffed Chicken Breast

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil), diced
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound total)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.

Use a fork to mix together the feta, oregano, garlic and sundried tomatoes. Set aside.

Use a sharp knife to butterfly each chicken breast open. Spread open along the seam and place between two sheets of plasticwrap or in a resealable plastic bag. Use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound the chicken so it is an even 1/4″ thickness across the breast.

Put half of the cheese mixture along the long side of one of the breasts. Roll the breast up and secure the ends with toothpicks. Repeat for the other breast.

Bake covered for 15 minutes then uncover and bake for 15 minutes more or until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked through.

Remove from oven and let sit for 3 minutes then slice into round medallions. Serve immediately.

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 151.7, Total Fat 3.4g, Cholesterol 62.5mg, Sodium 243.9mg, Total Carbs 4.4g, Dietary Fiber 0.6g, Protein 24.8g
Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 medium baby zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced into thin slices, about 1/16″ thickness (I use a mandolin on the thinnest setting)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 cups fresh baby arugula
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine (I recommend a sauvignon blanc with citrus notes)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch (1/8 tsp) of coarse sea salt
  • 2 leaves society garlic, chopped (or can sub one small clove garlic minced)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

Directions
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the zucchini and let boil for 1 minute. Remove the zucchini and plunge immediately into an ice water bath. Let soak for about 5 minutes while you prep the rest of the salad.

Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet on medium heat until just lightly browned. Remove from heat.

Toss the arugula and basil in a salad bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, wine, lemon juice, sea salt, and society garlic. Drain the zucchini ribbons and add to the dressing, tossing to thoroughly coat the zucchini. Spread over the top of the arugula/basil mixture.

Top with the cherry tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 112.1, Total Fat 10.3g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 63.6mg, Total Carbs 4.3g, Dietary Fiber 1.3g, Protein 1.8g