Saturday, May 8, 2010

Yummm! Hungry & Healthy Cuisine with Sunny Anderson

I am a new fan of The Food Network, converted by my bff Natasha. But I'm hooked and every weekend I try to catch the latest episodes from The Neelys, Paula "Hey Y'all" Deen, and of course Sunny Anderson.

This week's episode of Sunny's show "Cooking for Real" was all about healthy cooking that you can enjoy with some gusto and not feel bad about it!! I was drooling by the time the episode concluded, so instead of reaching into the television and trying to grab her plate (I've been tempted, I admit it)... I thought I would snag the recipes and share them... Enjoy!!!

Collard Green Pesto Linguine

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson, 2010

Prep Time:10 minInactive Prep Time:--Cook Time:20 min
Level: Easy
Serves:6 servings and 3 cups pesto

1 pound bunch collards, ribs discarded, leaves roughly chopped
1 (13-ounce) box whole-wheat linguine
1/4 cup pecans
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 cloves garlic
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Blanch collards until bright green, about 1 minute. Transfer immediately to an ice bath to shock, saving the boiling water for cooking the pasta. Remove the collards from the ice water and pat dry with paper towels before transferring them to a food processor.

Add the linguine to the pot of salted boiling water and cook according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a dry skillet, over low heat, toast the pecans until fragrant. Transfer to the food processor with Parmesan, olives and garlic. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until pesto comes together. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

To serve, put enough pesto to coat the pasta into a large serving bowl. Drain the pasta and quickly add it to the bowl. The water still clinging to the pasta will loosen up the pesto. Toss to coat. Add more pesto, if needed. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and garnish with Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Zesty Chicken Meatballs

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson, 2010

Prep Time:20 minInactive Prep Time:--Cook Time:15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 servings

1 pound ground chicken
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, whisked
3 tablespoons unseasoned whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Hungarian or hot paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves, about 1 small sprig
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, about 5 sprigs
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 lemon, zested
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


In a large bowl, gently mix the chicken, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire, paprika, onion powder, oregano, thyme, brown sugar, lemon zest, 2 healthy pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a bowl. Form into mini meatballs, slightly smaller than a golf ball; it should make 28 to 30 meatballs. Warm the butter and oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Transfer the meatballs to the pan and do not disturb for 3 minutes to brown well. Turn, cooking another 3 minutes without disturbing. Keep cooking until browned and cooked on all sides, but still juicy and plump with a spring to the touch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve atop Collard Green Pesto Linguine, if desired.

Blackberry Gin Fizz Float
Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson, 2008

Prep Time:10 min
Inactive Prep Time:10 min
Cook Time:8 min
Serves: 4 servings

1 pint blackberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
8 ounces gin
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Ice, for serving
24 ounces ginger ale
1 pint blackberry sorbet or vanilla ice cream


Heat the blackberries, sugar, and water in a small pot over medium-high heat. While warming, smash with a potato masher, until a thick even consistency is reached, about 8 minutes.

Pour the blackberries through a sieve, into a bowl, pushing some flesh through with the juices, making sure to catch the seeds. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.

Fill a cocktail shaker with 2 tablespoons of blackberry puree, 2 tablespoons of the mint leaves, 2 ounces of gin, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and a handful of ice. Shake vigorously 5 to 6 times until the drink is ice cold. Strain the mixture into a tall glass. Top with 6 ounces of ginger ale and stir lightly. Repeat for the remaining 3 servings. Finish and serve with a scoop of sorbet or ice cream.

For more tantalizing treats from Sunny Anderson, check out the Cooking For Real page on . Also check out her AWESOME blog

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