Bytes of Love

Working mommy. Startup daddy. Rascal toddlers.

Category: Dinners (Page 2 of 5)

Balsamic Roasted Fennel

You might be more familiar with eating fennel in soups, but it’s actually quite amazing when braised or roasted as well. I experimented with fennel this past weekend and decided to go the nice and simple route by simply tossing the fennel with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The house smelled amazing and we devoured this fabulous side dish in less than 15 minutes!

Ingredients (for 2 – 3 people)

2 medium sized fennel bulbs
4 tablespoons of high quality balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and cut the fennel into small (less than an inch thick) slices / rings and add to a large bowl.

2. Toss the slices with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake on a large baking sheet for about 40 to 45 minutes on 400 degrees.

3. Serve warm and toss with grated Parmesan cheese, your favorite sauce, or enjoy the fennel just plain out of the oven, as a satisfying side dish.


Buffalo Tofu Wraps

Love the flavor of buffalo chicken, but want to try something healthier? Buffalo tofu wraps might just work out for you then. Many people don’t like the flavor of tofu, but what I love about it is that it’s one of those foods that easily takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with. It’s kind of like eggplant in that sense – the “bread” of veggies. And, it’s quite a bit healthier than fried chicken. Here’s how I put together buffalo tofu wraps for lunch:

Ingredients (for two people)

2 to 3 whole wheat wraps
2 cups of shredded Romaine lettuce
1 container of extra firm tofu, water drained
1 Roma tomato, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 cup (or more) of your favorite buffalo sauce (we like Frank’s red hot buffalo)
1/2 cup of blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt (2% or fat free)


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Carefully dry the tofu with paper towels and cut into bite sized cubes. Dry again after cutting, so that the tofu is as moisture free as it can be.

2. Toss the tofu with the buffalo sauce and add more sauce if desired. Bake on a baking sheet lightly covered with cooking spray on 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Turn the tofu about halfway through the baking process.

3. Chop the lettuce (unless you bought pre-shredded lettuce) and tomato. Mix the blue cheese crumbles with the Greek yogurt and set aside.

4. With about 5 minutes of baking time left, heat the wraps in a frying pan on low-medium heat.

5. Once the tofu is done, build the wraps by adding tofu first, then the lettuce and tomato, then the yogurt and blue cheese mixture. Eat right away to avoid the wrap getting soggy.

Smokey Chipotle Turkey Burgers

Anil usually makes fantastic Indian style masala burgers, but last week, it was time to toss something different on the grill. Bring on the chipotle! For those of you who have never had chipotle peppers, they are essentially smoked jalapeños. You can find them canned with Adobo sauce in the grocery store. We added the chipotle, lots of cilantro and some Vidalia onions to the burgers to make them incredibly juicy and with plenty of kick. Summer’s almost over, so give this a try soon!


Ingredients (for 4 – 6 burgers)

About 1 pound ground turkey (we buy natural, hormone and antibiotic free turkey with about 8% fat)
About 3/4 of a cup of breadcrumbs
1 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
1 cup of  shredded 2% Mexican blend cheese
3 -4 tablespoons of light sour cream
1/2 Vidalio onion, finely chopped – cut the other half into thin strips
3 – 4 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 cup Cremini (baby Bella) mushrooms, sliced
4 -6 slices of 2% Pepper Jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste



1. After chopping the onion, cilantro, chipotle peppers and mushrooms, take the turkey out of the package and mix in the onion, peppers, cilantro, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Add salt and pepper.

2. Slowly add the breadcrumbs, until the turkey mixture is firm enough to form patties.

3. Form patties and place on a foil wrapped cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

4. Grill each patty for about 15 – 20 minutes on low heat (on a gas grill). Add a slice of Pepper Jack cheese to each patty during the last 3 – 5 minutes.

5. While the patties are grilling, spray a small skillet with cooking spray and sauté the mushrooms and onion strips for about 10 minutes.

6. Top the patties with the mushrooms and onions and serve with an ice cold glass of beer. Enjoy summer while it lasts!



Indian Style Spinach & Quorn

You may have seen Quorn mentioned in the health nut food fave entry for May. Quorn is an excellent soy-free meat substitute that I recently started using to add some protein to our vegetarian dishes. For this recipe, adjust the spinach or the number of Quorn naked chik’n cutlets according to the ratio of veggies to protein that you would like to eat. I’m especially curious to hear what frequent meat eaters have to say about Quorn, so let me know what you guys think!

Ingredients (for 2 people)

1/2 red onion, finely chopped
about 5 ounces of baby spinach (more, if desired)
2 pieces of Quorn naked chik’n cutlets, cut into bite-sized pieces and thawed to room temperature
1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1.5  teaspoons of coriander powder
1.5 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon of red chili powder (more, if desired)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
a splash of water


1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and ginger-garlic paste. Saute for about 2 minutes and then add the baby spinach. Cook on medium heat until the spinach starts to wilt.

2. Add all spices, salt, and pepper, and a splash of water so that the spinach doesn’t burn. Saute for a minute and then add the bite-sized pieces of Quorn.

3. Saute for about 5-6 more minutes and serve hot with warm rotis, naan, or pita bread.



Olive Oil & Herbes de Provence Pita Pizza

I love pita pizzas! Pocket-less pita bread makes a perfect pizza crust and allows you to create personal pizza with just about any topping you like. I recently experimented with a light olive oil base to create a nice and light pizza to go along with a wonderful glass of French wine. Here’s what I came up with. This pizza can be eaten as a light dinner or cut into smaller pieces to serve as a nice and hearty snack.

(for 1 person)

1 pocket-less white or whole wheat pita
1/2 teaspoon of herbes de provence
1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 small tomato, thinly sliced and seeds removed
1 crimini mushroom, thinly sliced
a small handful of fat free or low-fat feta cheese
a sprinkle of good quality extra virgin olive oil



1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Slice the tomato and mushroom and brush the pita with olive oil. Sprinkle all herbs evenly all over the oiled pita.

3. Top the pita with the feta cheese and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes, until the crust is fairly crispy. Serve warm with a glass of your favorite vino!

Spicy Singapore Noodles

Singapore noodles are traditionally made with shrimp, eggs and chicken in it. I decided to make mine vegetarian by adding some fried tofu instead. If you decide to go the traditional route, you simply need to saute some strips of boneless, skinless chicken breast and shell-less, deveined shrimp, keeping in mind that the shrimp will cook faster than the chicken. Rice noodles are traditional in this recipe as well, but you can certainly play around with different kinds, too. Mix and match and find your favorite way to prepare this dish!

Ingredients (for 2 people)

1 pound thin rice noodles, soaked in water and drained, or prepared according to package
1 pound shrimp, 1 chicken breast, cut into strips, 1 pound of fried tofu, and/or 2 eggs, scrambled
1/2 red onion, julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into small strips
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into small strips
1/2 cup of green onion, finely chopped
1 container of bean sprouts
1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of spicy Madras curry powder (found at many Indian grocery stores)
4 tablespoons of Canola oil
chopped cilantro, to garnish the dish
salt and pepper to taste


1. Soak rice noodles for at least 2 hours and drain, or prepare according to package directions to make the noodles soft, but tender.

2. Cut all veggies and saute chicken or shrimp, or fry tofu and scramble eggs in 2 tablespoons of Canola oil in a large wok.

3. Set chicken shrimp, tofu, or egg aside and in the same wok, add another 2 tablespoons of oil and saute ginger-garlic paste and all veggies on high heat for about 5-7 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to medium-high and add chicken / shrimp / tofu / eggs, Madras curry powder and soy sauce to the wok. Saute for another minute and add noodles.

5. Mix together for another 5 minutes, finish with salt and pepper to taste, add some chopped cilantro on top, and get ready to dig in!


Tandoori Chicken Salad

If you’re looking for a light, but spicy dinner, this salad should satisfy your palate. It’s got plenty of veggies and the tandoori chicken gives this dish an Indian flare. Tandoori spice mix (or “masala”) can be found primarily at Indian grocery stores, although many regular grocers are starting to carry it as well. Our favorite brands are Shan and Rajah. For best results, marinate the chicken overnight and toss it in the oven as soon as you get home from work or are getting ready to prep dinner.

Ingredients (for 2 people)

For the chicken:
1/3 cup of low-fat, plain yogurt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3-4 tablespoons of tandoori masala powder
2 teaspoons of ginger garlic
1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
cooking spray

For the salad:
1 bag of prepared baby lettuce, arugula or other type of salad mix
1/2 English cucumber, unpeeled, washed and sliced
1 cup of grape tomatoes, washed and halved
your favorite salad dressing – optional


1. Marinate the chicken with all ingredients (except cooking spray), cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge over night.

2. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, spray an oven-safe dish with cooking spray and add both chicken breasts. Bake on 350 for 30 minutes and broil for an additional 3 minutes.

3. While the chicken is in the oven, wash the lettuce, cucumber, and grape tomatoes and cut the cucumber and tomatoes. Toss the veggies together and divide evenly on two large plates.

4. Once the chicken is done, allow it to sit and cool for about 5 minutes, then cut lengthwise into strips. Top off the salad with the chicken, adding some olive oil or your favorite dressing, if desired. Enjoy!

Don’t eat chicken? Try this recipe with grilled tofu or paneer (Indian cottage-style cheese) instead.

Weekday BBQ Turkey & Gouda Panini

My husband, Anil, came up with this fantastic recipe that’s super simple to make and is great for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Toss a salad or serve with some chips to make this into a light, but satisfying meal. Leave out the turkey and add more cheese (or different kinds of cheese) to serve this to vegetarians.

Ingredients (for 2 people)

4 slices of panini style bread, or regular whole wheat bread
4 -6 slices of Gouda cheese, more if desired
6 – 8 slices of low-fat sliced turkey breast, more if desired
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
your favorite BBQ sauce (we like Bone Suckin’ Sauce Hot Thicker Style)
cooking spray for the grill


1. Warm up your panini maker or grill, add some cooking spray to a small frying pan and fry the onion until almost translucent.

2. Add the cheese and turkey to the bread, top with half the onion and the BBQ sauce.

3. Spray the panini maker or grill with cooking spray, put the bread on and let it do its magic until the panini is golden brown. Get ready to devour!

Chicken Marsala

Warning – this dish can take a bit longer to prepare than you might like, so I tend not to make it on week days. However, since it is a bit fancier than your average chicken dish, it makes for a great date night, birthday, or other special occasion meal. I like to serve this with some light sides: creamed spinach, mashed potatoes,  garlic bread / bread sticks, and salad are some of my favorites.

Ingredients (for 2 people)

2 to 4 thin chicken breasts
a cup of crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup of prosciutto, thinly sliced
a handful of parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup of marsala wine
1/4 cup of chicken or veggie stock
1.5 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of olive oil, more if needed
flour, to coat the chicken in
salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat and pound the chicken breasts until thin. Alternatively, you can get look for thin chicken breasts, which are often available for scallopini, in the poultry / fridge section of your grocery store.

2. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge each chicken breast in the flour, then add to the skillet. Cook evenly on both sides, until chicken is fully cooked.

3. Take chicken out of the skillet, (leave the drippings) add butter and crimini mushrooms, and saute for about 5 minutes.

4. Add the prosciutto and saute for about one minute, then add chicken stock and marsala wine and continue cooking for about 6-7 minutes, or until some of the alcohol has evaporated.

5. Finally, add back the chicken breasts, cook for another 5 minutes on low heat and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Eggplant & Zucchini Lasagna

I love this pasta-less twist on lasagna. It takes a bit of time to make, so may be more appropriate for a weekend dinner, but its heartiness and warmth are sure to satisfy. The fact that it contains a healthy dose of veggies, doesn’t hurt either.

Ingredients (for 2-3 people)

1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini
1 14.05 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
olive oil
cooking spray
salt and pepper to taste


1. Slice the eggplant and zucchini lengthwise. Sprinkle salt over the eggplant (to draw out some of the water) and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

2. Finely chop the onion, parsley, and garlic and set aside.

3. Add some flour, salt, and pepper to a plate. You will coat the slices of eggplant and zucchini with the flour mixture.

4. Coat a large skillet with olive oil (one turn of the pan) and put on medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, carefully coat both sides of the eggplant and zucchini slices and fry until light brown, turning the slices over after a few minutes. You might have to do this in two or three batches. Allow the fried slices to drain on a plate covered with two paper kitchen towels.

5. Saute the onions, half the parsley, and garlic in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the diced tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Saute for about 8 minutes. Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees.

6. Spray a 9×9 oven safe pan with cooking spray and add a layer of fried eggplant and zucchini slices, alternating these in the pan. Add a layer of the diced tomato mixture, then another layer of the fried eggplant and zucchini.

7. Bake on 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Add the mozzarella and Parmesan and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve hot with your favorite bread and vino!

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