Tag Archives: low fat

How to reuse olive brine, oil from sundried tomatoes and more (and transform it into fabulous fare)

The next time you eat the last olive out of the jar and go to wash the brine down the sink, stop! You are about to pour flavor down the drain.

My kitchen motto is “think before I toss.” I can’t stand wasting food so I am constantly looking for ways to reuse ingredients and save items people normally throw away- like brine or the oil in sundried tomatoes. Those ingredients are incredibly flavorful.

Olive brine is great in marinades (just use it instead of vinegar in your recipe); mix a tablespoon into mayonnaise when making potato salad; mix brine, olive oil and Italian seasoning and use it to marinate vegetables; add a dash to a dirty martini or Bloody Mary; or make my Fat Free Olive Brine Smashed Rosemary Potatoes.

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I don’t eat potatoes very often because once you add all the flavorings like butter or cream, they are so fattening. This is a fat free recipe that uses olive brine, rosemary and chives to flavor the potatoes. I came up with it this week and considering it is fat free, I think it’s great.

As for the oil in a jar of sundried tomatoes- that’s my favorite leftover ingredient. You can mix it with balsamic vinegar for an instant salad dressing; use it to dress orzo or other pasta; use it as the oil when you make goat cheese omelets;  use it instead of olive oil when you make croutons or crostini; or make my Warm Bruschetta. This is my favorite recipe and it’s ready in less than 5 minutes. I simply slice grape or cherry tomatoes, warm some of the oil in a pan, toss the tomatoes in with basil and cook for 1 minute. Salt to taste and serve.

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You can also save the oil from artichokes and use that in marinades or salad dressings.

Pickle brine is another item you can reuse. It’s good in marinades, but I often refill the jar with other items like cucumbers or carrots and reuse the brine. I have a recipe below for Spicy Dill Carrots which is simply carrots, onions and jalapenos in dill pickle brine.

Brine from hot peppers is good in marinades, barbecue sauces, or add a touch to deviled eggs (but use sparingly).

Beer is another item I can’t stand to waste. A couple of days ago, I tried a new beer and I hated it. There was no way I could drink it, so I put it in the fridge to use in the future. The next day I made Leftover Beer BBQ Chicken.  You can also make beer bread, beer cheese dip, or use leftover beer to boil brats (add onions to the beer and finish the brats on the grill).

There are so many items we throw away every day that we can reuse. I hope this inspires you to think before you toss. Enjoy.

Fat Free Olive Brine Smashed Rosemary Potatoes

1 pound microwave in a bag red potatoes

¼ cup olive brine

¼ cup chopped chives

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes according to package directions. While the potatoes cook, chop the chives and rosemary.

When the potatoes are ready, empty the bag into a serving bowl and smash them down.

Pour the brine over potatoes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Then top with chives and rosemary. Toss and serve.

You can also substitute basil in this recipe if you don’t like rosemary.

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Warm Bruschetta

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, assorted colors

1 ½ tablespoons oil left from the sundried tomato jar

10 basil leaves

Salt to taste

Slice cherry or grape tomatoes in half. Set aside.

In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with basil and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

This dish is delicious over couscous or with French bread, but I also like it alone as a side dish.

 

Leftover Beer BBQ Chicken

6 chicken thighs, legs, or breasts

1 tablespoon barbecue rub

1 ½ teaspoons Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon jerk seasoning

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Half an onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 almost full bottle of beer

1 bottle of KC style barbecue sauce

White rice for serving

Lay chicken in a 13 by 11 inch pan. Sprinkle with all the seasoning. Slice the onion and garlic and sprinkle both over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375. Pour beer in the side of the pan being careful not to wash off the seasonings. Pour half the bottle of barbecue sauce over the chicken and then stir about a fourth of the bottle into the beer. You will use about ¾ a bottle.

Bake for 1 hour (check it after 50 minutes because cooking times vary depending on the size of the piece of meat and what you cook. Breasts cook faster than thighs).

Serve over rice and spoon the sauce over rice before serving.

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Spicy Dill Carrots

2 cups leftover juice from dill pickles

1 ¼ cups carrot slices (I buy the precut carrot chips)

2 jalapenos (or to taste), sliced in half

Half a red onion, thinly sliced.

When the jar of dill pickles is gone, simply fill it with carrots, jalapeno and onion. Refrigerate for 2 days before eating. Consume within 10 days.

If you add the jalapeno seeds, it will be significantly spicier.

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Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Figs, Grapes and Moscato Dressing: “Ode to Wine Country”

Ode to Wine Country

Serves 2

I call this “Ode to Wine Country” because it’s a beautiful salad of arugula and spinach, figs poached in Moscato, globe grapes, walnuts, chicken and a Moscato dressing with a hint of rosemary.  These are the some of the flavors found in wine country.

This salad comes together in about 10 minutes but tastes like a salad you’d get in an upscale restaurant. It is healthy and practically effortless.

My husband and I have both been losing weight recently- he’s down 20 pounds and I’ve shed 10- so we’re eating a lot of salads!,

Salad can get boring after awhile, but this one will keep us coming back for more.

Tip: If you don’t regularly drink Moscato, buy one of the airplane-size bottles for the recipe.

2/3 cup inexpensive Moscato (you’re using it to poach, so it doesn’t need to be an expensive bottle)

6 dried figs

4 cups mixed arugula and spinach mix (you can also substitute a spring mix of greens)

12 globe grapes

12 walnut halves

1 1/2 tablespoons minced red onion

2/3 cup chopped rotisserie chicken

2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

6 teaspoons Moscato liquid reserved from poaching

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

¼ teaspoon honey

Goat cheese crumbles (optional)

Place Moscato in a small pot and turn the heat on to medium. While it heats, slice figs in half and set aside.

Next, divide the greens between two plates.  Rinse the grapes off and slice in half.  Divide the grapes and walnuts evenly between the plates. Next, chop the onion and chicken and divide that between the plates.

By now, your Moscato should be bubbling. Add the figs and poach for 3 minutes. Remove figs immediately, but reserve the Moscato liquid.

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 6 tablespoons of the Moscato liquid, rosemary and honey. Pour over salad and toss thoroughly. If desired, add goat cheese.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Light Greek Chicken Salad

If you love chicken salad, but are watching your fat intake, then try my Greek version. It has less calories, less than half the fat of traditional chicken salad, and calcium and probiotics. You can shave more calories by using low fat yogurt and it still tastes good.

It’s a light and healthy version.

Dill and Kalamata olives really pump up the flavor in this dish. I use garlic salt to flavor it, too. I enjoy this salad in a wrap, but you can also serve it as a salad or with pita chips as a dip.

The key is to refrigerate it at least 2 hours before serving (more is always better).

Light Greek Chicken Salad

1 rotisserie chicken

4 green onions

1 stalk celery

1 cup chopped cucumber

1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives

1 cup plain Greek yogurt (whole or low fat)

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Garlic salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Remove all the skin from the rotisserie chicken and discard. Then pull the meat off the bones and chop the entire chicken into pieces. Place it in a large container with a lid.

Chop onions, celery, cucumber and Kalamata olives and add to chicken.

In another bowl, stir together Greek yogurt, dill week, lemon juice and a dose of garlic salt. Pour over chicken and stir to combine all ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate at least two hours before serving. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste before serving.

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Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Peanut Sauce

Looking for something easy, light and refreshing in this summer heat?

Well, try my lettuce wraps. They are SO EASY and healthy.

They are versatile, too. You can add any vegetable you’d like. I have swapped soba noodles for rice noodles; added snow peas in my wraps; and love to add shiitake mushrooms!!! A little mint is nice, too. Thinly sliced daikon is great in these.

The more veggies, the merrier. The peanut sauce comes together in minutes. It doesn’t have any ginger, but you can add some if you ‘d like.I’d suggest starting with 1/8 teaspoon and going from there because ginger is potent.

There’s hardly any cooking in this recipe, so it’s perfect for people who don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen.

I hope you enjoy these.

Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Peanut Sauce

Serves 2

2 rotisserie chicken breasts, sliced

8-10 Bibb or Butter lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Two handfuls of fresh cilantro

½ cup shredded carrots

1 ounces of rice noodles

Sesame oil or your favorite Asian dressing

1 cucumber, sliced thin

1 green onion, sliced thin

Sliced bell pepper (optional)

Peanut Butter Sauce

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup boiling water

1 tablespoon brown sugar (do not make this heaping or it will be too sweet)

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

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First: cook your rice noodles according to package directions. They cook fast, usually in about 3 minutes. When they are done, drizzle with sesame oil or your favorite Asian salad dressing like Sesame Ginger. Rice noodles are fairly flavorless and this will add some depth of flavor and prevent them from sticking together.  If you want then to cool quickly, place in a metal bowl and pop it in the fridge.

Slice all the vegetables and place on a large platter or divide them between two plates.

Remove the skin from the chicken and place on a plate.

Make your peanut sauce.

For the sauce: Stir all ingredients together until they are combined. The water must be very hot to dissolve the peanut butter.

You can also make this on a stovetop in a small pot, but then it needs to cool before serving because the peanut butter will separate and become too thin while piping hot.

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Then make your own wraps by placing desired toppings in the lettuce leaves and then either topping it with peanut sauce or dipping in peanut sauce.

Sprinkle with sliced green onion and eat.