Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pesto Sauce, Light

Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 0 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Course: main meals
Servings: 4

  • 3 clove garlic clove(s)
  • 2 cup basil
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth


  1. Add all fresh herbs to blender, then add the rest of the ingredients on top.
  2. Blend on low for 5 seconds then increase to medium speed for 15 seconds. You may need to tamp the ingredients down.
  3. Blend just until combined.
Serve as dip with crackers or cut vegetables such as celery or carrots. May also be used as a sauce over pasta.

Baked Italian Tofu

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 12 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Course: Main meals, appetizers
Servings: 4

  • 1 pound firm tofu, well drained
  • 1 cup basil, fresh leaves
  • 1 cup fresh oregano, fresh leaves
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Kirkland Organic No-salt Seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Season a pizza stone or baking pan with the olive oil and set aside.
  3. Slice one pound of firm tofu in slices 1/2" x 1" x 2". (I sliced the block in 1/2" slices and then cut each again long-ways.)
  4. Place the slices on a plate over a paper towel. Put another paper towel on top and then set a second heavy plate on top. Let sit for about five to ten minutes to remove moisture. If you are trying to cut down on using paper, then use two clean dish towels.
  5. Mix water and vinegar in a small bowl. Finely mince the garlic and add it to the water and vinegar. Let sit for five to ten minutes so that flavors combine. (steps 2 and 3 are completed during the same 5 - 10 minute period of time)
  6. Finely chop the fresh herbs. Add the dried Italian seasoning and the no-salt seasoning to the fresh herbs. Take the top dinner plate off of the tofu and spread the herb mixture evenly on a dinner plate.
  7. Pour the vinegar, water, garlic mixture onto another dinner plate. Then take four pieces of tofu at a time and place in liquid mixture to coat, pushing gently to pick up garlic. Then gently press the tofu slice into the herbs and turn to coat.
  8. Place the tofu pieces as they are coated with herbs onto the baking pan you have coated with olive oil. After all the pieces have been coated and placed on the pan, put the pan in the oven and bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Remove from oven when lightly browned and serve warm with Marinara Sauce.

Sweet Dill Refrigerator Pickles

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 0 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Course: appetizer
Servings: 4


  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar


Slice the cucumber into 1/8 inch slices and then place the slices in a clean quart glass jar and pour the following mixture over them to cover: 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 tsp dried dill, a dash of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. Seal the jar with a lid and the keep over night in the refrigerator. The cucumber slices should keep for a couple of weeks, but you will probably eat them before that!

Joy's Stuffed Grape Leaves

Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 45 min
Level of Difficulty: easy to moderate
Course: main meals
Servings: 4


1/2 cup uncooked SunWest Harvest Medley rice blend (from Costco) or use long grain, brown and wild rice blend.
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 tsp olive oil

12 large grape leaves, fresh
1 cup water

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 pound 90% lean raw ground beef

1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper, fresh ground, or to taste
12 dry-roasted salted almonds, finely chopped
1/2 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
1 cup basil, fresh, chopped


  1. In a pot, combine the chicken broth, 1 tsp of the olive oil and the rice (1/2 cup). Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until tender. (While rice is cooking is a great time to go cut the grape leaves and fresh herbs).
  2. In a large skillet, place a steamer basket and one cup water. Cover and heat until boiling. Layer the fresh grape leaves in the basket and cover. Turn heat down to low and cook until leaves are fully steamed.
  3. In a medium skillet, add 1 tsp olive oil and the chopped onions. Cook the onions until they start to become translucent and tender.
  4. Crumble the ground beef over the onions and stir until browned. Sprinkle the ground beef with the allspice and cinnamon.
  5. Grind black pepper to taste over the beef and stir.
  6. Add the chopped parsley, basil and the chopped almonds to the beef. Stir until combined and the herbs are tender.
  7. As soon as rice is done, spoon it into the beef mixture and stir to combine.
  8. Take a grape leaf and lay it flat, backside up, on a cutting board or plate. Spoon three tablespoons of the beef mixture onto the center of the leaf and roll from the stem side wrapping the leaf points in over the beef into a somewhat tight roll.
  9. Place rolled and stuffed leaf seam side down on a plate. Continue rolling until all leaves are rolled.
  10. Spray the rolled leaves lightly with olive oil spray and then squeeze juice from half a lemon over the rolls.

Serve warm with rice if desired and fresh cucumbers.

Enjoy and have fun cooking with your own grape leaves and fresh herbs!

Chicken Zucchini Quesadilla

Here is a recipe that I think you will enjoy. I suggest that you cook a whole chicken breast and double the recipe. The quesadillas are easy to make with the filling already prepared. I took some to work for lunch with the filling in one small container, cheese in another and built it at work by putting the filling on one half of the tortilla, topping with the shredded cheese, and then I folded the tortilla in half over the filling. I microwaved it for 30 seconds.

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 10 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Course: main meals or appetizer
Servings: 2

  • 1/2 cup onion(s), finely chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning mix
  • 1 Tbsp green hot chili peppers, minced
  • 1/4 Tbsp salsa
  • 1/2 cooked chicken fillet, shredded
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 medium whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese


Saute onions in 2 teaspoons olive oil until just translucent. Add minced chili pepper and chopped herbs and stir to combine. Add shredded chicken and the taco seasoning and stir until chicken is mixed in and coated with seasoning.

Take a tortilla and place it on a hot griddle or pan. Spoon on the chicken mixture and then sprinkle with the shredded cheese; then top with second tortilla. Brown on each side. Cut into six pieces and serve. Each serving is 3 pieces or one half quesadilla.

Green Tomato and Zucchini Saute

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Course: main meals
Servings: 2

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion(s), diced
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 whole green tomato, sliced rounds
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced rounds
  • 1/4 cup low-fat chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary, whole leaves, pulled from stem
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, whole leaves pulled from stem
  • 1/2 cup canned tomatoes
  • Organic no-salt seasoning, to taste


Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and chili pepper and stir to coat with oil. Cook until onion is just transparent. Add the tomato and zucchini rounds. Then add 1/4 cup chicken broth. Cook until the zucchini is tender. Add the fresh herbs and stir to mix. Add the canned tomato chunks and sprinkle with organic no salt seasoning. Serve as a side dish.

You could have a smaller side and serve four. Since the veggies are low calorie, I would simply double the recipe though.

Zucchini Pancakes

Servings: 4
Serving size: 2 pancakes

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 10 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Course: main meals


  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unpacked light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil


  1. Mix unbleached flour and whole wheat flour together in a large bowl.
  2. Add the brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Stir to mix.
  3. Heat skillet or griddle to medium heat.
  4. In a medium sized bowl combine the liquid ingredients.
  5. Place one teaspoon of vegetable oil on griddle and use towel to rub over the griddle surface.
  6. Use a 1/4 cup measure to spoon batter onto the griddle.

Serving suggestion: Top with maple syrup, pumpkin butter, or apple butter.

Makes about 8 pancakes. Serving = 2 pancakes.

About Joy's Victory Garden Cookbook