Ravioli Road to a Better Diet

So it’s another lonely night at home since my husband is in class. Last week he mentioned he wanted to take baby steps towards changing our diet to become pollo-vegetarians, which is classification of vegetarians who aren’t really vegetarians. I guess simply put, he would like to avoid eating red meat (beef, lamb, and maybe pork) and focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, seafood/fish and chicken.In an effort to support him and his valid reasons why, tonight’s dinner was meatless – and lazy. I just pulled out frozen homemade spinach & feta ravioli I made months ago. With just a quick tomato sauce, some splashes of red wine vinegar and seasonings, dinner was done.

Here’s the ridiculously simple tomato sauce I made to jazz up my spinach & feta ravioli:

2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1/4 chicken broth
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
2 cloves minced garlic
2 splashes of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
To taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
To garnish: chiffonade of fresh basil

In a saucepan, combine ingredients and allow to simmer until warmed through.

Summery Cinnamon Salads

It’s been a busy busy weekend so today I wanted to take it easy for dinner. With random ingredients in my fridge, I figured salad was the way to go. However for a twist, I thought a fun cinnamon dressing would pair up nicely with what I had to work with. This dinner was inspired by a great friend, Marta. She introduced me to cinnamon raspberry salad dressing when we had dinner with her a few weeks ago. With this dressing I made 2 pork carnita salads since my husband and I have different tastes.

For my salad, I tossed in chopped strawberries and added some blue cheese crumbles.
For my husband’s salad, I added fresh homemade pico de gallo and shredded cheese.
Here is my recipe for cinnamon salad dressing:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
pinch of ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Porkchops, Hold the Applesauce!

Earlier today we had a dismal grease-pit lunch so I definitely needed to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth with dinner. Tonight, I whipped up some dijon porkchops with roasted asparagus & potatoes.Dijon is a city in eastern France. Dijon is also famous for its mustard, even though nowadays around 90% of all mustard seeds used are imported, mainly from Canada. The term Dijon mustard (moutarde de Dijon) designates a method for the making of mustard, particularly strong if made in that fashion. Most Dijon mustard (brands such as Amora or Maille) is produced industrially, and doesn’t need to be produced around Dijon. However, Dijon mustard ships also feature in exotic or unusually-flavored mustard, often sold in decorative hand-painted fa├»ence (china) pots.Here is my super easy & quick recipe for dijon porkchops:

4 sirloin pork chops, cut 3/4″ thick
salt & black pepper to season
2 tablespoons olive oil
splash of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Season porkchops with salt & black pepper.
Combine remaining ingredients in shallow bowl.
Brush both sides of porkchops with mustard mixture.
Place breadcrumbs in shallow bowl.
Dredge porkchops in breadcrumbs.
Heat up cooking oil and brown chops.
Place porkchops on bake sheet.

Bake porkchops at 350 for 10-15 minutes to finish cooking.
I served this with roasted aspargus & potatoes.

Mama Mia… It’s a Pizza!

What’s easy to make, full of flavor and healthy for you? A garlic & herb chicken pizza! It was an easy dinner night in my kitchen, with the help of some pre-made pizza dough, cheese and cooked chicken!

Pizza is typically a baked pie of Italian origin consisting of a shallow bread-like crust covered with a seasoned tomato sauce, cheese and various veggies. Instead of popping in a frozen disk or even calling in a delivery order, I tried out a Cooking Light recipe for garlic chicken pizza with some slight modifications.

Here’s is the recipe for garlic & herb chicken pizza:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ball of garlic & herb pizza dough (from Trader Joes)
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup italian blend shredded cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
– Combine the first 3 ingredients.
– Place dough on a greased baking sheet & flatten out.
– Brush garlic/vinegar mixture over crust.
– Top with chicken, cheese, mushrooms & parsley.
– Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheeses melts.

*In the event I make this recipe again, I would use a plain crust. I found the herb & garlic crust slightly strong with the garlic/vinegar mixture…. OR I would omit the vinegar mixture altogether and just add minced garlic over the crust before baking.