chickpea cakes with tzatziki sauce

It was one of those nights where I had leftover sides but no main course. For a healthy dinner tonight I made this chickpea cake with tzatziki or cucumber sauce. I served it with the green apple-corn slaw left over from the grilled fish tacos, and some cannellini and green beans leftover from lunch. I love asparagus so I pan-roasted a bunch and served it with a dressing of tomatoes, garlic, and ripe olives. Simple and delicious!

Chickpea Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce (from America’s Test Kitchen)
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 slices high-quality sandwich bread, torn into pieces (I used 2/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs and skipped Step 1)
1 cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise, seeded and shredded
Salt
1 1/4 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
6 scallions, sliced thin
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Black pepper
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garam masala (see Cook’s Note)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
Lime wedges for serving (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Prepare to make the chickpea cakes. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350˚F. Pulse the bread in a food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Do not wash the food processor bowl afterwards. Spread the crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and dry, 10-12 minutes. Let the crumbs cool to room temperature.
  2. Make the Tzatziki Sauce. Meanwhile, toss the cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a colander and let drain for 20 minutes. Combine the drained cucumber 3/4 cup of the yogurt, 2 tablespoons of the scallions, and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro in a bowl and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Make the chickpea patties. Pulse the chickpeas in the food processor to a coarse puree with large pieces remaining, about 8 pulses. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons of the oil, garam masala, cayenne, and 1/8 teaspoon salt together. Stir in the toasted bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 cup yogurt, remaining scallions, remaining 3 tablespoons cilantro, processed chickpeas, and shallot until just combined. Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop the chickpea mixture and roll into balls. Flatten. Repeat.  This amount makes about 10-12 cakes.
  4. Cook the patties. Spray cooking spray in a 12 inch non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Carefully lay half the cakes in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, 8-10 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Repeat.
  5. Serve. Transfer the cakes to a plate and tent loosely with foil. Serve with tzatziki sauce and lime wedges.

Cook’s Note: To make garam masala:  1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Per serving (1 cake plus 1/4 cup sauce): Cal 240; Fat 12g; Sat fat 2.5g; Chol 75mg; Carb 23g; Protein 12g; Fiber  5g; Sodium 610mg

the 500-calorie dinner: hoppin’ john, summer squash soup, and watermelon yogurt ice

Tired of dieting but must eat! These recipes came from Eating Well’s dinner menus which offer a main dish, a side, and a dessert, all for 500 calories. What a bargain! Now I’m starting the sequence with dessert, a cool delicious ice, because dessert takes the longest time to make, in fact! The second recipe is a light soup. The third one is a variation on the southern dish Hoppin’ John, and it is made with lean pork chops rather than with bacon or salt pork.

Watermelon-Yogurt Ice
This is so refreshing! Especially on a warm night in the Teeny Tiny Apartment.

Ingredients
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups diced seedless watermelon, (about 3 pounds with the rind)
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice

Preparation
1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan.Cook,stirring,over high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a glass measuring cup and let cool slightly.
2. Puree watermelon in a food processor or blender,in 2 batches,pulsing until smooth.Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in the cooled sugar syrup, yogurt and lime juice until combined. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into another large bowl, whisking to release all juice. Discard pulp.
3. Pour the extracted juices into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturerʼs directions. As an alternative, pour into a shallow metal pan and freeze until solid, about 6 hours or overnight. Remove from freezer to defrost slightly, 5 minutes. Break into small chunks and process in a food processor, in batches, until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or transfer to a storage container and freeze for up to 2 hours.

For one 1/2 cup serving: 74 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 0 g Mono; 2 mg Cholesterol; 16 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Protein; 0 g Fiber; 21 mg Sodium; 155 mg Potassium

Golden Summer Squash and Corn Soup
This soup reminds me of the classic Chinese corn soup. It was rather bland so I suggest adding salt and pepper to taste. And a dash or two of hot sauce like Sriracha! Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 medium summer squash, (about 1 pound), diced
3 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme or oregano, divided
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup fresh corn kernels, (tinned is okay)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash or two of hot chili sauce, optional but recommended
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese

Preparation
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook,stirring,1 minute.Add squash and 1 teaspoon herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash starts to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft and mostly translucent, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)If you have an immersion or wand blender, then puree the soup in the pot.
3. Return the soup to the pan and stir in corn. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add hot sauce, if using. Serve garnished with the remaining 2 teaspoons herbs and feta or goat cheese.

For a scant 1 cup serving: 111 Calories; 6 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 6 mg Cholesterol; 13 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 462 mg Sodium; 497 mg Potassium

Blackeyed Peas with Pork and Greens
This one was quite tasty. I added 2 extra cloves of garlic; you can never have too much garlic. Remember not to overcook the pork or it will get tough.

Ingredients
1 pound boneless pork chops, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup instant brown rice
8 cups roughly chopped kale leaves, (about 1 small bunch), tough stems removed
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons cider vinegar, or sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, preferably hot
1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

Preparation
1. Toss pork with salt and pepper.Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.Add the pork and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
2. Add onion,tomato paste and rice to the pan and cook until the onion softens,about 4 minutes. Add kale and garlic and cook until the kale begins to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in broth, vinegar, paprika. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the rice is done, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the reserved pork and black-eyed peas and heat for 1 minute.

For one serving (1 1/3 cups): 281 Calories; 8 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 45 mg Cholesterol; 32 g Carbohydrates; 22 g Protein; 5 g Fiber; 405 mg Sodium; 740 mg Potassium

fruit smoothie

It’s soo-oo hot that we need to cool down! This smoothie is thick enough to eat with a spoon. To suck up through a straw it can be thinned with milk or juice. It is so easy to make!

s-moot-y

Serves two.

6 cubes of ice, crushed
1 cup plain or vanilla flavored lowfat yogurt or juice
1 frozen banana, chopped into chunks
1/2 cup each blueberries or strawberries
Juice or milk, as needed, to thin the mixture

In a blender, crush the ice. Add the yogurt or juice and blend well. Add the banana and process until smooth. Add berries and process until smooth. Add milk or juice and stir, pushing down the mixture.