Ancho Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Avocado Cream

Taco night! This recipe is a keeper, which is why it’s here. This makes a terrific taco! I liked the ancho chili powder so much, I’m looking for ways to use it more. I added tomatoes, as you can see, which aren’t in the recipe. I used Mi Abuelita Bonita (the best corn tortillas around) Green Chile corn tortillas, which added even more flavor. I would imagine a vegetarian version of this would be terrific, using black beans and season them with the ancho chili powder and cumin. We had this with a nice rose – excellent dinner.


4 servings (serving size: 2 tacos)

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
3/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Cooking spray
1/8 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1/4 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, diced
2 cups packaged angel hair slaw
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Heat a large skillet over high heat.
Sprinkle chicken evenly with chile powder, garlic salt, and cumin.
Coat pan with cooking spray.
Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove chicken from pan.

Combine rind, 1 tablespoon juice, sour cream, milk and avocado in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon juice, slaw, onions, cilantro, oil, and salt, tossing to coat.

Heat tortillas according to directions. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas. Top each tortilla with about 1 tablespoon avocado mixture and 1/4 cup slaw mixture.

Nutritional Information:
Calories 319
Fat 11.6g
Satfat 2.3g
Monofat 5.5g
Polyfat 2.4g
Protein 30g
Carbohydrate 25.3g
Fiber 5.1g
Cholesterol 72mg
Iron 1.3mg
Sodium 385mg
Calcium 80mg



Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian

The produce box this week had a lot of Black Globe eggplant and Dunja zucchini, among other things. Apart from zucchini fritters and bread, eggplant Parmesan, I wasn’t sure how to optimize these ingredients. Cooking Light to the rescue with this recipe. I’ve never heard of a Tian, which is actually a French earthen ware dish of Provence used for cooking and serving. My version isn’t officially a Tian since I used a glass casserole as the vessel. If you’re lucky enough to have all three of the main ingredients fresh off the vine, oh how the flavors explode. This was terrific – I loved the flavor and crunch of the bread crumbs. Substitute veggie broth for the chicken broth for a vegetarian dish. (Cucumbers and white onions were also in our box, thus the cucumber salad – also delicious.)



1 pound Japanese eggplant, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound zucchini, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Cooking spray
1 pound large beefsteak tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 ounces French bread baguette
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Arrange eggplant and zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  3. Lightly coat vegetables with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.
  5. Arrange half of eggplant in a single layer in an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  6. Top with half of zucchini and half of tomato.
  7. Drizzle 2 1/4 teaspoons oil evenly over vegetables.
  8. Sprinkle vegetables evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
  9. Place bread in a food processor; process until coarse crumbs measure 2 cups.
  10. Add cheese and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) to processor; process until combined.
  11. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups breadcrumb mixture evenly over tomato.
  12. Repeat layers with remaining eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, oil, salt, pepper, and breadcrumb mixture.
  13. Pour broth over top.
  14. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender and topping is browned.

Nutritional Information:
Calories 191
Fat 8.1 g
Satfat 3 g
Monofat 3.7 g
Polyfat 1 g
Protein 10 g
Carbohydrate 22.3 g
Fiber 4 g
Cholesterol 12 mg
Iron 1.6 mg
Sodium 459 mg
Calcium 178 mg

Cooking Light, June 2010

Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

This week, our produce box included a Charentais melon so I decided to make this salad. I actually combined two recipes, one that I read and this one. The one I read used burrata cheese so I cut back on the Parmigiano-Reggiano and used it as an accent and added burrata to the salad. I don’t think you can go wrong either way. This was divine. I paired it with a Pinot Grigo, which was the perfect accent along with some pugliese bread. Summer time cooking doesn’t get better than this – although, it’s not officially cooking, is it?

melon salad


3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed honeydew melon (about 1/2 medium melon)
3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed cantaloupe (about 1 medium melon)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Cracked black pepper (optional)
Mint sprigs (optional)


  1. Combine first 5 ingredients, tossing gently.
  2. Arrange melon mixture on a serving platter.
  3. Arrange prosciutto evenly over melon mixture; sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Garnish with cracked black pepper and fresh mint sprigs, if desired.

Nutritional Information:
Calories 87
Caloriesfromfat 30 %
Fat 2.9 g
Satfat 1.5 g
Monofat 0.5 g
Polyfat 0.1 g
Protein 5.3 g
Carbohydrate 11.1 g
Fiber 0.6 g
Cholesterol 11 mg
Iron 0.4 mg
Sodium 271 mg
Calcium 94 mg

July 2007 Cooking Light

Spinach Salad with Bacon, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese

I’m on a salad kick and this recipe from Cooking Light sounded easy and flavorful. I added red onions, sauteed in a touch of the bacon grease because I thought it would be good with the maple – and it was. I also picked up a good blue cheese and elevated the salad a bit. The other change I made was blueberries instead of cranberries. They’re in season right now and so sweet. This was full of flavor and delicious. Easy to make and very satisfying. We had this with a Pinot Noir.

bluecheese salad with bacon


5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts
1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach
2 slices cooked crumbled center-cut bacon
2 tablespoons blue cheese


  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Combine cranberries, walnuts, spinach, and bacon in a bowl.
  3. Add oil mixture; toss. Top with blue cheese.

Nutritional Information:
Calories 141
Fat 10 g
Satfat 2.1 g
Sodium 219 mg

Cooking Light, May 2015

Zucchini, Walnut, and Feta Cakes with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

I loved this dinner! I’ve made zucchini “cakes” in the past that didn’t hold together very well. This recipe, using ground quinoa instead of flour (pretty clever for extra protein) and ground walnuts, wasn’t runny and made perfect cakes. Key to this is getting as much liquid as you can out of the zucchini. The sauce was great too and can be used for other things. (I used Fage Greek yogurt.)

I let the zucchini sit for nearly 30 minutes instead of 10 and then used paper towels to get out the remaining water.

zucchini cakes

Yield: 4 –  2 cakes per serving + 1/4 cup yogurt sauce


1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 2/3 cup)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (6-ounce) container plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups mixed salad greens (about 2 ounces)


  1. Place quinoa in a mini food processor; process 1 minute or until finely ground. Add chopped walnuts to processor; process until smooth.
  2. Place zucchini in a colander, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Let stand 10 minutes, tossing occasion­ally.
  3. Press zucchini between paper towels until barely moist.
  4. Combine zucchini, green onions, dill, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cheese, and eggs in a large bowl; stir to combine.
  5. Sprinkle quinoa mixture over zucchini mixture; stir well to combine.
  6. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat.
  8. Add 4 (1/3-cup) zucchini batter mounds to pan; flatten into 3-inch cakes.
  9. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.
  10. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and batter to yield 8 cakes total.
  11. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, yogurt, cucumber, and garlic in a small bowl.
  12. Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. Top each serving with 2 cakes and about 1/4 cup cucumber mixture.
  13. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:
Calories 336
Fat 19.2 g
Satfat 4.7 g
Monofat 6.9 g
Polyfat 5.5 g
Protein 18 g
Carbohydrate 27 g
Fiber 5 g
Cholesterol 101 mg
Iron 3 mg
Sodium 589 mg
Calcium 175 mg

Recipe from Cooking Light, May 2014

Feta and Green Onion Couscous Cakes over Tomato-Olive Salad

This is an incredible recipe, one that had to make the blog. Easy and delicious – I can’t wait to make it again. The tomato olive salad really complimented the cakes. I got this recipe from Cooking Light, June 2009.

feta couscous cakes2



1/3 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons egg substitute
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
Cooking spray

2/3 cup chopped seeded tomato
2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups gourmet salad greens


To prepare cakes:

  1. Place couscous in a medium bowl
  2. Stir in 1/2 cup boiling water.
  3. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Fluff with a fork and cool slightly.
  5. Add cheese and the next 3 ingredients (through pepper).
  6. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.
  7. Spoon about 1/3 cup couscous mixture into 4 mounds in pan.
  8. Lightly press with a spatula to flatten to 1/2 inch.
  9. Cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned.
  10. Coat tops of cakes with cooking spray.
  11. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 2 minutes or until heated.

To prepare salad:

  1. Combine tomato and next 5 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon pepper).
  2. Arrange 1 1/2 cups greens on each of 2 plates.
  3. Top each serving with 1/2 cup tomato mixture.
  4. Arrange 2 cakes over tomato mixture.


Nutritional Information:
Calories 289
Fat 14 g
Satfat 3.6 g
Monofat 8.1 g
Polyfat 1.8 g
Protein 10.7 g
Carbohydrate 30.6 g
Fiber 4.4 g
Cholesterol 13 mg
Iron 2.7 mg
Sodium 478 mg
Calcium 154 mg

Cuban Black Bean Soup

This recipe is from Cooking Light, January/February 2008. It’s Super Bowl Sunday and we went for a really long walk and are now back getting ready to watch the half time show (we recorded). 🙂


I’m not a fan of green bell peppers so I used red, yellow and orange ones instead. In hindsight, I should have cut out the sugar given this switch. It didn’t need sugar at all. I also added more salt than the recipe called for – I kept tasting until it was right so I don’t know how much.

We researched a wine pairing for this and landed on a 2009 Malbec from Imagery Winery. A red with little to no tannins. Yummy pairing and meal.

2 bay leaves
1 pound dried black beans
12 1/2 cups water, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper (about 3 medium)
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped shallots (about 2 small)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups diced peeled avocado
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups thinly sliced red onion
1 1/2 cups chopped 33%-less-sodium smoked, fully cooked ham
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup light sour cream
10 teaspoon unsalted pumpkinseed kernels, toasted
1/3 cup finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper (about 2 medium)
Lime wedges (optional)

Place bay leaves and beans in a Dutch oven. Add 12 cups water to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add bell pepper, chopped onion, and shallots to pan; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently.
Stir in cumin, dried oregano, and fresh oregano; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.
Place vegetable mixture in a blender; add remaining 1/2 cup water. Puree until smooth.
Add vegetable mixture, sugar, and salt to beans; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Discard bay leaves.
Combine avocado and juice; toss gently.
Ladle 3/4 cup bean mixture into each of 10 bowls; top each serving with about 3 tablespoons avocado mixture, about 3 tablespoons red onion, 2 tablespoons ham, about 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, about 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 teaspoon pumpkinseed kernels, and about 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño pepper. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Serves 10 (see No. 10 above for serving size)

Nutritional Information:
Calories 344
Caloriesfromfat 31 %
Fat 12 g
Satfat 3.4 g
Monofat 5.7 g
Polyfat 2.3 g
Protein 18.6 g
Carbohydrate 43.9 g
Fiber 14.7 g
Cholesterol 14 mg
Iron 6.1 mg
Sodium 637 mg
Calcium 110 mg