Tag Archives: Tomato free

Baked Cornish Game Hens: A Fun Dinner Option

I like serving Cornish game hens when I am looking for something festive that does not require roasting an entire chicken or turkey. They don’t take too long to prepare and are really tasty, therefore good for celebration meals as well as any dinner. Cornish game hens have a lot of nutrients and are good sources of some B vitamins, phosphorous, zinc and riboflavin, among others.

SensitiveHusband and I prepared these on New Year’s Eve, diverging from the original recipe by reducing the butter and swapping the onion with a carrot. We also used thyme instead of oregano. Serve with any of your favorite starch and vegetable – we had couscous and roasted brussels sprouts.

2 Cornish game hens
1/3 cup melted butter, divided
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
12 button mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

–Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
–In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup melted butter, celery, carrot, mushrooms, garlic, basil, thyme and parsley.
–Season hens inside and out with salt and pepper to taste, then stuff with equal amounts butter/vegetable mixture. Place stuffed birds in a 9×13 inch baking dish, breast side up. Drizzle with 1/4 cup melted butter and sprinkle with parsley.
–Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover and brown at 500 degrees F.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Food Trip Friday.


An Economical and Delicious Meal: Baked Chicken with Rice

Looking for a tasty dish to serve guests that doesn’t break the bank? Try this recipe for baked chicken thighs with rice from the October 2010 edition of Cooking Light. It is a little time consuming although the result is great and the leftovers are even better! I substituted the onion for celery (since I am sensitive to onion) and made my own chicken stock (since most store bought varieties contain yeast, sugar, onion or all of them). I also used whole grain wild rice instead of the white rice for a little extra nutrition, although this may alter the cooking time and you may want to add extra water into the pan (since brown rice uses more water to cook than its white counterpart).

As you can see in the photo, we served this meal with butternut squash cooked with a touch of maple syrup. I hope you enjoy this economical recipe, and let me know what you think!

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add 4 chicken thighs to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Repeat with remaining chicken.
3. Add carrot and celery to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add rice; sauté 1 minute. Spoon rice mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray; stir in broth, 1/4 cup water, and cream. Arrange chicken over rice mixture; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until chicken is done.

I am sharing this recipe with Everyday Sisters.

Grilled Wild Salmon Creates a Quick and Delicious Meal

Just because summer has drawn to a close and autumn is upon us does not mean that one has to hang up the grill tools. SensitiveHusband grills year-round, much to my delight. One of his masterpieces is grilled salmon, which is really easy and quick to prepare.

Start with a good fillet, season with kosher salt and pepper, and wrap the fish in aluminum foil. SensitiveHusband has developed a trick: he puts the fish skin side up on the foil, and he folds it over the skin, making sure the foil is flat against the skin. Then seal the foil around the edges of the fish.

He has a grill trick too: he puts the skin side on the grill first, flips once, and then when he opens the foil the skin is on top and peels right off!

Grilling times vary by fish type: wild-caught salmon needs less time to cook than a farm-raised fish because it is less fatty. Wild-caught takes approximately 6 minutes per side while farm-raised should be grilled for 8-9 minutes per side. Start the grill on high heat and once the salmon is on the grill, turn it down to medium heat.

If you are debating whether to purchase wild or farm-raised salmon, the wild is a healthier choice. The wild salmon does not contain pesticides, antibiotics or artificial coloring; has less fat and more protein; and is more concentrated in omega-3 fatty acids.

Fresh, wild salmon is available nearly eight months of the year, with high quality “frozen at sea” (FAS) available during the other months. According to the George Mateljan Foundation (GMF), a nonprofit that provides information about healthy foods, when buying salmon, opt for line-caught Alaskan fish first because the healthiest populations and habitats exist in Alaska. My favorites are the Alaskan Sockeye and Coho; the King Salmon is a real treat during the summer.

Another note from GMF is that fresh “Atlantic” salmon is generally farm-raised, so the name refers to the species rather than the origin.

If you are also looking for sustainable fish choices, the Marine Stewardship Council has a searchable database of products that adhere to strict sustainable fishing practices.

So fire up the grill, cook some couscous, and enjoy some wild salmon throughout the year!

Baked Cod with Olive Oil and Garlic

For a healthy and quick weeknight meal, baked cod is a great option. Its mild flavor allows you to add a variety of seasonings. My favorite is a simple recipe using olive oil and garlic.

2 cod fillets, about one pound total
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly pour a thin coating of olive oil in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish and then arrange the fillets. Drizzle with the lemon juice and oil, and sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper, and parsley. For extra flavor, sprinkle with thyme or paprika.

Bake until the flesh is flaky but still juicy, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with roasted potatoes, rice or couscous, and your favorite vegetable.

Roasted Asparagus with Browned Butter

I did not realize that there was a difference between browned and burned butter before attempting this recipe. However, browned butter without burning can be achieved! Just follow the instructions in this Cooking Light March 2011 recipe. There are only a handful of ingredients and very few steps. The only change I made was to use regular lemons rather than Meyer lemons because I could not find them at the store.

Neither sensitivehusband nor I was sure whether we would like the result because we have always felt a bit ambivalent toward this green stalk-like vegetable. We both agreed to broaden our horizons and accept the vegetable challenge since asparagus is in season this time of year. When we tasted the result, we both raved about it and made it a second time in the same week! If you liked my Brussels sprouts recipe from awhile back, you will really enjoy this asparagus. The recipe would also work well using oranges instead of lemons, and using other herbs to replace the thyme.

Speaking of liking things, please consider “liking” sensitiveeconomist on Facebook. As always, thanks for reading this blog and sharing your ideas. Have a nice day!

What’s the Beef About Grass-Fed Beef?

I have wonderful memories as a child and young adult where my dad would fire up the grill for the steaks and my mom would make baked potatoes and vegetables. If it was a warm day, we would eat our delicious dinners on the deck. Oh yum…I can almost smell the steaks right now!

My love affair with a tasty steak continues. I do not eat them nearly as often as I used to although they are still seen at happy events and occasions. I just like to celebrate with a filet, tenderloin or strip steak on my plate!

A few weeks ago, while perusing the meat counter at the natural foods store, I made a decision – to purchase some grass-fed beef.

What is grass-fed beef? According to the USDA, the cows only eat what is in the pasture. This contrasts with typical grain-fed beef, which starts at pasture for the first year and then moves to a feedlot for a diet of corn, soy, grains, supplements, hormones and antibiotics. Research from Cooking Light notes that grain-fed beef can get up to weight for slaughter up to one year faster then their grass-fed counterparts, which is a financial incentive for the farmers.

Is there a nutritional benefit to grass-fed beef? Sure. According to this Time article, 100% grass-fed meat is lower in saturated fats, slightly higher in omega-3 fatty acids and higher in vitamins A and E.

So how does the grass-fed beef taste? When I made that first purchase, I got one package to eat fresh and one package to freeze for later. The fresh beef, which is shown in the picture above, was absolutely delicious. My husband seasoned the steaks with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, and grilled them for a slightly shorter time than our usual grain-fed meat (because they were so lean). We both agreed that these steaks were much better than the usual ones. A couple of weeks later, we defrosted the frozen steaks and grilled them the same way. However, they were not quite fully defrosted, and in compensating we ended up overcooking them. Grass-fed beef is less forgiving to overcooking, so keep that in mind.

The cost is relatively high; I spent almost 50% more on the grass-fed meat. However, buying grass-fed is not just an economic decision – it can be an environmental or health decision too. Growing grass is easier on the environment than growing corn, and the decreased use of antibiotics and hormones are other reasons that people hand over more “green” for the grass-fed varieties. A less expensive per-pound alternative is to buy directly from a farm. Check out a listing of farms in you area at the website for the American Grassfed Association.

Will I buy more grass-fed beef? You bet! It is a wonderful treat.

Reprise of Garlic and Shrimp Pasta and Brussels Sprouts in a Chicken Dinner

It is amazing how last night’s dinner can become tonight’s side dish, isn’t it? My husband and I like to put a little bit of time into planning what we will eat for dinner during the week so that we can enjoy delicious meals without too much hassle. Take for example, sauteed chicken – we like cooking these chicken tenderloins during the week because they are simple and quick. We cook them in a sauté pan over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, parsley and Italian seasonings. In about 15 minutes they are ready to serve. The leftover Garlic and Shrimp Pasta and Brussels Sprouts make terrific accompaniments. For the next night’s dinner, pair the leftover chicken with a new side dish – perhaps the Couscous with Cherries and Almonds! The rotating dinner plan is one that works for us and hopefully for you too!

Vegetable Challenge: Brussels Sprouts

When I found out about my food sensitivities a few months ago, my universe of food possibilities shrank substantially. At least I thought that was the case until I decided to host my own vegetable challenge. The premise? Buy one vegetable each week that either I have never tried or did not think I liked, and prepare it as a side dish with dinner. So the first vegetable challenge for our household was Brussels sprouts. My husband and I both thought the veggie was ok, but hadn’t actually sampled them since we were kids. Could we prepare them so that we liked them?

We prepared the Brussels sprouts very simply: we washed the veggies and then cut each one in half. We poured them into a glass baking dish that had a small coating of extra virgin olive oil. Then we tossed them with a bit of kosher salt, ground pepper, parsley and extra virgin olive oil. We roasted them at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

The verdict? The first vegetable challenge was a success! So the next week we prepared them again, this time adding some chopped garlic. That was also a delicious dish! So it goes to show that Brussels sprouts really can be tasty. They are now regularly seen in our household!

MIL and FIL’s Garlic and Shrimp Pasta

Last night, my husband and I whipped up this delicious dish. What a great way to start the weekend! It’s a version of the classic agilo e olio, or garlic and oil, pasta dish. I first had this dinner at my MIL and FIL’s house around the holidays and liked it so much I asked them how to make it. It is quickly becoming a classic in our household! This is a great way to enjoy pasta if you are sensitive to tomato sauce. Instead of the shrimp and peas, you could add chicken and broccoli – or something else! If you have other variation ideas, please share them by commenting below. (And five points goes to whomever can correctly identify what MIL and FIL stands for!)

Ingredients (for two-person meal): 2/3 lb spaghetti; 4 garlic cloves, chopped; 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil; 14 large and frozen shrimp, deveined, peeled and raw; 1 cup organic peas, frozen

Fill the pasta pot with water. As the water reaches a boiling temperature, chop the garlic cloves and mix most of them into the 1/4 cup of oil. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package. As the spaghetti cooks, heat a small frying pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Sauté the remaining garlic in the pan, then add the shrimp and heat until cooked (shrimp will turn pink). When there are two minutes left for the pasta to cook, add the peas to the water. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and peas, then add back into the empty pasta pot. Stir in the garlic and oil mixture, then add the garlic and shrimp sauté. Add in the reserved pasta water until it reaches your desired liquid amount. Have a wonderful dinner!

I am also sharing this recipe with Everyday Sisters and Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.