I'm all about Cooking Light recipes all the time. Hopefully you will find something that peaks your interest and inspires you to use Cooking Light everyday!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chicken Carne Asada Tacos with Pickled Onion

Ever since I saw this in the April issue of Cooking Light, I wanted to make it.  Something about those pickled onions drew me to this recipe.  

I love tacos. They're just so simple and easy to make; just a few ingredients can really take them to the next level.  If you've never had cotija cheese, I think it is most compared to parmegiano reggiano.  I'm not sure I entirely agree with this comparison because I think it reminds me of another salty cheese, I just can't put my finger on it.  Wegman's and Whole foods carry cotija.  Don't even bother with Giant, their cheese selection is terrible (yes I've been to MULTIPLE Giants).  I think if you didn't want to spend money on the cheese, you could probably sub it out for something else. However, I think it imparts a delicious salty bite to these tacos so I wouldn't skip it.  

Other than using flour tortillas instead of corn (we are not fans of the corn tortillas), I'm not really sure what other modifications were made.  My fiance actually made the recipe for me on Tuesdays which are my marathon gym days.  I know we don't have any cumin seeds and I know we used chicken breast meat instead of thigh meat.

I hope you enjoy!  My next recipe will also feature tacos but with more of our delicious seafood friends!

Recipe by Adeena Sussman, Cooking Light, April 2010

Prep Time: 30 minutes
4 servings (serving size: 2 tacos)


  • 1/2  cup  fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 1/3  cup  fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  cumin seeds
  • 1  medium red onion, thinly vertically sliced
  • 1 1/2  pounds  skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into thin strips
  • 1  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8  (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1  cup  diced peeled avocado (about 1 avocado)
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) crumbled Cotija cheese
  • Lime wedges (optional)


1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Place onion in a small saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; drain and plunge onion in ice water. Drain onion; add to juice mixture. Chill until ready to serve.
2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Sprinkle chicken with oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned and done, stirring occasionally.
3. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide chicken evenly among tortillas. Drain onion; divide evenly among tortillas. Top each tortilla with 2 tablespoons avocado and 1 tablespoon cheese; fold over. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 413
Fat: 17.1g (sat 5.2g,mono 7.1g,poly 2.7g)
Protein: 33.4g
Carbohydrate: 33.6g
Fiber: 4.9g
Cholesterol: 123mg
Iron: 3.2mg
Sodium: 825mg
Calcium: 237mg

avocado-buttermilk soup with crab salad

Can you think of the most unexpected meal you thought you would hate but ended up loving? For me it's this one right here, Avocado-buttermilk soup with Crab salad.  I was very wary about this recipe. A cold soup? Crab without the delicious accompaniments of breadcrumbs and egg?  It's green?  This recipe definitely highlights the old saying 'don't judge a book by it's cover'.  It may look appetizing to some of you and it piqued my interest but I didn't have an appreciation for this until I made it.  

So what does it taste like? If you're a guacamole fan, you are going to fall in love with this.  The soup itself tastes just like guacamole.  It doesn't call for cilantro and my other half really wanted to throw some in just so we could call it 'guacamole soup'.  The topping is delicious as well--the serving of crab for each portion is much larger than I thought it would be.  We felt full after one bowl (though it was so good that my fiance had to eat more).   The crab salad was a delicious citrus bite, which cooled off the spiciness of the dish.  And let me tell you about the chives!  Luckily, the chives in our urban garden are doing wonderfully, so we were able to use them in this dish.  The chives absolutely make this.  It's the most unexpected but perfect compliment to the flavors in this meal. Whatever you do, DO NOT SKIP THE CHIVES!

By now you've come to expect that we used the whole serrano chili, which we did, but you should probably seed it if you don't like spicy.  Other than that, we made no changes to this recipe.  I used the same buttermilk as a few posts back, it keeps fine in the freezer.  

In terms of left overs, since there is no lime juice in the soup, i'm not sure how long it would keep before the avocados brown.  We had a little leftover and ate it the next day and it was still green.  I'm not really sure this is a concern though because it is so tasty leftovers won't last that long.

As of today's post 5 people gave this an average rating of 4 out of 5 (someone gave it a two, i'm not sure what they were thinking).  

Please, if you like guacamole, I urge you to make this. I know the thought of cold green soup isn't appetizing, but you will not regret it.  Everyone will think you are a 'top chef' cheftestant if you serve this at a dinner party!

Thanks to my family for these incredible soup bowls!

Recipe by Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light, August 2010

Yield: 4 servings


  • 3/4  cup  fat-free buttermilk
  • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh tomatillos
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  ripe peeled avocados, pitted
  • 1  serrano pepper, seeded
  • 1  small garlic clove
  • 2  tablespoons  minced red bell pepper
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh chives
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  grated orange rind
  • 8  ounces  lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed


1. Place first 7 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.
2. Combine bell pepper and remaining ingredients; toss gently to combine. Spoon about 3/4 cup soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1/3 cup crabmeat mixture.
Wine note: The fresh and healthful ingredients of Avocado-Buttermilk Soup with Crab Salad scream California--or, specifically, California chardonnay. The full body and supple texture of a well-balanced wine like Bogle Chardonnay, California 2008 ($11), permit it to partner with the creamy soup and sweet shellfish, while the wine's tart apple flavors and lively finish cleanse the palate for the next delicious bite. --Jeffery Lindenmuth

Nutritional Information

Calories: 252
Fat: 16.3g (sat 2.6g,mono 9.8g,poly 2.3g)
Protein: 16.9g
Carbohydrate: 12.4g
Fiber: 5.7g
Cholesterol: 44mg
Iron: 1.5mg
Sodium: 540mg
Calcium: 107mg


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Butter Crunch Lemon-Cheese Bars

I never realized this about myself...I really like lemon desserts.  Today's is no exception.  I was looking for a recipe to take to a friend's house in Philly and I wanted to make something 1) portable and 2) that felt summer-y and 3) that used up the cottage cheese I needed for another recipe. I hate cottage cheese so it was great to be able to use it in something instead of wasting it.  It didn't hurt that 19 people also gave this an average rating of 5 out of 5 (I seem to be finding highly rated recipes lately).  

I was worried about the crust; when I baked this (in the toaster oven) the crust came out really hard and brown. I tried a piece and thought it was really dry.  But then I thought since the finished product sits overnight that some of the moisture must be soaked up by the crust. I was right!

I used nutmeg instead of mace given the reviewers' comments and I used fat-free cottage cheese which I had instead of 1% cottage cheese. Other than those two changes, we made no other changes to this recipe. I also got to use my new microplane which is freaking incredible at zesting lemon (THANK YOU CARY)!

I had a hard time getting the bars out of the pan once they chilled overnight and I left some knife marks in my pan. So next time, I may do like another reviewer recommended and put parchment paper at the bottom of the pan.  Be sure to keep 'em chilled.

Please make this--you won't regret it!

Recipe by Greg Patent, Cooking Light, January 2001

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 bar)


  • CRUST:
  • 1/3  cup  butter, softened
  • 1/4  cup  packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground mace or nutmeg
  • 1  cup  all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray

  • 1  cup  1% low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1  cup  granulated sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1  tablespoon  grated lemon rind
  • 3 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1  large egg
  • 1  large egg white


Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare crust, place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour to butter mixture, and beat at low speed until well-blended. Press crust into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
To prepare filling, place cottage cheese in a food processor; process 2 minutes or until smooth, scraping sides of bowl once. Add 1 cup granulated sugar and remaining ingredients, and process until well-blended. Pour filling over crust. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until set (the edges will get lightly browned), and cool. Cover and chill for 8 hours.

Nutritional Information

281 (29% from fat)
9g (sat 5.2g,mono 2.6g,poly 0.6g)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fresh Salmon-Cilantro Burgers

Wegman's has these great salmon club packs, which are a bunch of individually-wrapped 5 oz salmon fillets.  It makes life so much easier to thaw out the exact amount you need.  For a really quick weeknight meal and a great way to get in that serving of fish without it tasting too 'fishy', Fresh Salmon-Cilantro burgers are the ticket.  The picture is a little deceiving--I mis-measured the amount of fish we needed because we cut this in half. So these portions are about 2 oz larger than what they should be.  I haven't made the salad that they pair with these burgers but it sounds tasty.  

Do you have one of those Cuisinart mini-prep food processors? If not, and you like to cook, this is an incredible tool to have in your kitchen.  It's much smaller than the regular size food processor and it makes creating patties like the ones in this recipe soooo simple.  Definitely the type of kitchen appliance that would fit in a downtown studio apartment.

We don't make any changes to this recipe but usually half it and it works out fine (unless your math is wrong :] ).  

I have to acknowledge my guest blogger Mimi (Pepper) who co-authored this post.  She sat on the keyboard while I was typing because of the thunderstorm.  This is her good side.
 As of today's post 15 people gave this an average rating of 4 out of 5!

Enjoy, and take a walk afterward to de-stress and get some exercise!

Recipe by Jackie Mills, Cooking Light, May 2009

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 burger)


  • 1/4  cup  reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  (1-pound) salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4  cup  dry breadcrumbs
  • 2  tablespoons  cilantro leaves
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped green onions
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped seeded jalapeƱo pepper
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 4  (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns with sesame seeds, toasted
  • 12  (1/4-inch-thick) slices English cucumber
  • 4  leaf lettuce leaves


1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; cover and chill.
2. Place salmon in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Add breadcrumbs and next 6 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon black pepper); pulse 4 times or until well blended. Divide salmon mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 3/4-inch-thick patty.
3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 2 minutes. Carefully turn patties over; cook 2 minutes or until done.
4. Spread about 1 tablespoon mayonnaise mixture over bottom half of each hamburger bun. Top each serving with 1 salmon patty, 3 cucumber slices, 1 lettuce leaf, and top half of bun.
Spinach salad: Combine 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons canola oil, 2 teaspoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon chile paste in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add half of 1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach, 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper strips, and 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion to bowl; toss to coat.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 341
Fat: 11.5g (sat 2g,mono 2.9g,poly 4.9g)
Protein: 31.6g
Carbohydrate: 30.9g
Fiber: 1.8g
Cholesterol: 66mg
Iron: 2.2mg
Sodium: 816mg
Calcium: 67mg