Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mango-Blueberry Salsa (with grilled tuna)

I was at an upscale grocery store in Peoria yesterday (Fresh Market--like Whole Foods but smaller), and bought some fresh tuna.  I also picked up a large mango on sale.  Came home and looked for a recipe to make today, and came up with the recipe below.  The real star of the show is the mango-blueberry salsa, which was lovely on the tuna, and I'm sure would be great on any number of other things--chicken, other fish, or even as a dip with chips.  I served this with a side dish of orzo, and it was good with that also.  I can't always find a nice piece of tuna, but the salsa ingredients are easy to come by!  

I'm not much of a food photographer, but here's a picture I thought to take before we sat down to eat:

Grilled Tuna with Mango-Blueberry Salsa
adapted from WeightWatchers Entertains (2002)
6 servings

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 cup blueberries, chopped (I used frozen blueberries--easier to chop than fresh, and I had them on hand) 
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 t. grated lime rind (1 t. for salsa, 1 for fish marinade)
4 T. fresh lime juice (1 T. for salsa, 3 T. for fish marinade)
1 t. salt (1/2 t. for salsa, 1/2 t. for fish)
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 of a small jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely chopped
6 (5 oz) tuna steaks, about 3/4" thick
1/2 t. coarsely ground pepper
scant 1/2 t. ground coriander

If using frozen blueberries, rinse with water to take off any ice and let drain, then chop.  Combine the mango, blueberries, onion, cilantro, 1 t. of lime rind, 1 T. of lime juice, 1/2 t. of salt, sugar, and jalapeno.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 3 days.

Mix together the remaining 1 t. lime rind, 3 T. lime juice, 1/2 t. salt, ground pepper, and coriander.  Sprinkle on the tuna.  Refrigerate, covered, for at least 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray.  Grill the tuna, 5" from the heat, until browned on the outside but still a little pink in the center, about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Serve with salsa.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Skillet lasagna

SKILLET LASAGNA (from Louise Gates)
4-6 servings
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Television Show 10th Anniversary Best Recipes 2001-2010  

If Louise and I aren't talking about quilting, the conversation is likely to be about food.  Turns out we both feel the same way about lasagna—love to eat it, but don't like putting it together.  Louise has the answer:  lasagna ingredients cooked all together in a skillet dish.  Amazingly, it has all the flavor of regular lasagna!  I actually like it better—not as heavy a dish.  This recipe will also go on my list for "good to bring to a potluck, or to someone's house who's having meals brought in."

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
2 t. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 t. salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 t. crushed red pepper
1 lb. ground beef or sausage (any kind, including chicken or turkey)
10 curly-edged regular lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (put aside 2 T. of this)
4-8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (I used about 6 oz)
salt and pepper to taste
8-15 oz. part-skim ricotta (I used about 12 oz)
3 T. minced fresh basil (if available)

1.  Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a 4-cup measuring cup.  Add enough water to the tomatoes to measure 4 cups.

2.  Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and 1/2 t. salt and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.

3.  Stir in the red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Add the ground meat and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

4.  Scatter the noodle pieces over the meat, but do not stir.  Pour the diced tomatoes and the can of tomato sauce over the pasta.  Cover and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally [or not—I forgot to], until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

5.  Turn off the heat under the skillet (gas stove) or take off the burner (electric).  Stir in the mozzarella cheese and all but 2 T. of the parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If serving to guests, transfer to a casserole dish with a cover. (Thanks for this tip to Louise's son Tony.)

6.  Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta cheese over the noodles.  Cover the skillet/casserole and let stand off the heat for five minutes.

7.  Sprinkle with the fresh basil and pass the extra parmesan around for a garnish.

  • I forgot to put in the 8 oz. can of tomato sauce—still was great!
  • I didn't have fresh basil, so I just left this out.  If I'd thought ahead, I would have put some dried basil in with the tomatoes, but it was also fine without.  I'll use fresh basil in the summer, when I have plants in the back yard.
  • The recipe called for 8 oz. of mozzarella and 15 oz. of ricotta, but I cut back to save some calories.  Still great. I could probably have cut back even more, hence the suggested range given above.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Baked Tortilla Chips

The other day I needed some tortilla chips for a dip, and didn't want to make a trip to the grocery store just for the one item.  I happened to have corn tortillas in the refrigerator, so I looked up recipes on the web and made up a batch.  With a couple of tweaks and another try tonight, here's what worked really well for me.  These are MUCH better than store-bought chips, and also lower in fat/calories.

corn tortillas  (I can get 8-9 tortillas on two cookie sheets)
spray olive oil
salt (or seasoned salt)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread the tortillas out on one or more baking sheets and spray lightly with olive oil.  Turn and spray the other side.  Then put the tortillas in a stack and cut into eighths.  Spread the pieces on one or more baking sheets, sprinkle lightly with salt (or seasoned salt) and put in oven.  (You could also skip the salt.)  Bake for 11-12 minutes, until crisp.  No need to flip the chips over while baking.  I did two baking sheets in the oven at once, and that worked fine.

That's it!

(Addendum 6/15/16: The Simply Recipes site gives a method for making chips in the microwave, which would be a good option for a hot day when you don't want to turn on the oven.  I haven't tried it, so can't recommend, but you can find the directions here; scroll down to the third method (after fried and baked).