Monday, December 31, 2012

Recipe #206: Sausage and Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash

I was so disappointed when I finished eating this meal because I wanted more.  DELICIOUS!!  The combination of flavors and textures was perfect, and this was fun to make, too.  From Cooking Light magazine...  Note, the original recipe called for 4 squashes, but I only used two and kept the same amount of filling.  If you want to make 4 squashes, DOUBLE the rest of the ingredients.



  • INGREDIENTS

  • small acorn or sweet dumpling squashes (about 10 ounces each)
  • (4-ounce) links sweet Italian sausage, casings removed 
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion 
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 ounce Swiss cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup) 

DIRECTIONS

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. 2. Place whole squashes in a roasting pan. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until just tender. Let stand for 15 minutes. Halve squashes. Scoop out seeds; discard.
  3. 3. Preheat broiler to high.
  4. 4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Italian sausage to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan; drain on paper towels. Wipe drippings from pan with a paper towel.
  5. 5. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add celery; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in sausage, rice, and next 5 ingredients (through Parmesan). Divide rice mixture evenly among squash halves. Sprinkle evenly with Swiss cheese. Arrange squash halves on a baking sheet; broil 4 minutes or until golden and cheese is melted.

The filling before being piled into the squashes

Friday, December 28, 2012

Recipe #205: Chicken and Leek Soup

I was a bit liberal on amounts in this recipe (mostly adding stuff, but probably not enough broth, so it was more of a stew than a soup).... the leeks seemed to vanish into the soup once they cooked, so it was more like a chicken veggie soup instead.  I thought about not posting this one because it didn't turn out quite how I wanted, but I couldn't deny that it tasted good and hearty.  Maybe next time I'll have less chicken in it and cut the leeks thicker.  Great base recipe.  I added a little bit of dill to it too.


INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 lbs frying chickens, cut up (I used a mix of boneless/skinless thighs and breast tenders)
4 cups water (One of these I replaced with chicken broth)
1 medium carrot, sliced (I used 3 smallish ones)
1 stalk celery, sliced (I used 2)
1/2 cup barley (I used 3/4c)
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (I had cubes, and used 2)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups leeks, with tops (sliced and cleaned very well) (I didn't use the tops as much)
DIRECTIONS:

Heat all ingredients except leeks to boiling in large stockpot or Dutch oven.Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Add leeks.
Bring back to a boil; reduce heat.
Cover and simmer until thickest pieces of chicken are done, about 15 minutes.
Remove chicken from broth and cool slightly; remove chicken from bones and skin.
Skim fat from both and remove bay leaf.  (I didn't find any fat to skim...)
Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces and return to broth.
Heat about 5 minutes; serve.

Recipe #204: Lamb Stew

I was beside myself with excitement over this one.  I love lamb, and stew is perfect for winter.  It was fantastic!

My changes:
1.  I halved the recipe.  Well, minus the bacon- can't have enough bacon- I used a one-pound package.
2.  I didn't have flour.  This is because of an incident where only the previous day, I had to throw away all my flour.  I didn't notice anything lacking- not a big deal.  Definitely less of a mess, too.  I have bad luck with flour.
3.  I added peas.  Stews should have peas.
4.  I cooked the bacon in the big pot, removed it, browned the meat in that same pot, removed it, and did the rest before combining everything in that same pot.  No reason to dirty more dishes.
5.  I used a 3lb lamb leg (boneless) because shoulder was not available


Don't mind my laziness- I'm on vacation, after all.  I'm just going to copy and paste from allrecipes.com.  (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Irish-Lamb-Stew/Detail.aspx)

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 pounds thickly sliced bacon, diced
6 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut
into 2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup water
4 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons white sugar
4 cups diced carrots
2 large onions, cut into bite-size pieces
3 potatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup white wine
DIRECTIONS:
1.Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
2.Put lamb, salt, pepper, and flour in large mixing bowl. Toss to coat meat evenly. Brown meat in frying pan with bacon fat.
3.Place meat into stock pot (leave 1/4 cup of fat in frying pan). Add the garlic and yellow onion and saute till onion begins to become golden. Deglaze frying pan with 1/2 cup water and add the garlic-onion mixture to the stock pot with bacon pieces, beef stock, and sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
4.Add carrots, onions, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and wine to pot. Reduce heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Recipe #203: Baked Cornish Game Hens

I refuse to buy these cute little cornish game hens if they're frozen, which is unfortunate, since I have a hard time finding ones that aren't.  Luckily, my last trip to Giant Eagle resulted in buying my first hens in a long time.  I found this easy recipe on allrecipes.com and followed it exactly.  Depending on how much you want to eat, a hen will feed 1-2 people.


INGREDIENTS:


2 Cornish game hens
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
   and chopped
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   1 tablespoon dried basil
   1 teaspoon dried oregano
   1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
   1/4 cup melted butter

DIRECTIONS:



Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

In a small bowl combine the 1/2 cup melted butter, onion, celery, bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, basil, oregano 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 9x13 inch baking dish, breast side up. Drizzle with 1/4 cup melted butter.

Cover dish and bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover and brown at 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Recipe #202: Nutella Truffles

I'm not a big sweets person, but when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make these.... since Nutella AND truffles are both exceptions to my sweets rule.  I had to adapt this recipe a little since the chocolate mixture wasn't firming up as quickly as I needed it to, as well as using more hazelnut than the recipe calls for... but I think we have a winner!  Credit to www.mybakingaddiction.com!

INGREDIENTS:

10 ounces semi chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate morsels)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur 
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped (I used almost twice this amount)
DIRECTIONS:
1. In a double boiler over barely simmering water, combine chocolate, butter, heavy cream and Nutella. Heat until chocolate is melted. Stir until you have a smooth mixture.  (If you don't have a double boiler, Google some home options.  I used a glass Pyrex bowl over a pot, with a knife allowing some of the steam to vent)

2. Remove from chocolate mixture from heat and allow it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and Frangelico. Pour mixture into a shallow dish (example: 8x8 pyrex dish) and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 2 hours. If you refrigerate longer than two hours, the mixture will be too hard to work with. If this occurs, allow the mixture to sit at room temperature until they are pliable enough to work with.  (Note, I had to put them in the freezer for a bit since they weren't firming up fast enough.)

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a small scoop (2 teaspoons) or a melon baller, scoop out chocolate mixture, roll into one inch balls, and place on prepared baking sheet. Continue with remaining chocolate mixture. Roll balls in chopped hazelnuts. Refrigerate truffles until ready to serve.  (Note- I used a scooping tool to scoop out a ball and drop it into the hazelnuts, roll that around and then put it in a little baking cup.  I then put them in the freezer to harden more)

Recipe #201: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

I have no idea why it took me this long to make stuffed cabbage, but here it is.  This is a very simple recipe, but that doesn't matter- it came out exactly how I want cabbage rolls to taste!

Simmering...

Potatoes made with cream, cheddar cheese, dried chives, and butter

INGREDIENTS:

1-1.5 cups cooked white rice (I used Uncle Ben's instant rice)
8 cabbage leaves
1lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2 (10.75oz) can condensed tomato soup (a third if you want even more sauce)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Bring a large, wide saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add cabbage leaves and cook for 2-4 minutes or until softened; drain.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, rice, onion, egg, salt and pepper, along with 2 tablespoons of tomato soup.  Mix thoroughly.

Divide the beef mixture evenly among the cabbage leaves.  Roll and secure them with toothpicks or string.  (Or piece together broken pieces of leaves to imitate a wrapping, as I had to do for some)

In a large skillet over medium heat, place the cabbage rolls and pour the remaining tomato soup over the top.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring and basting with the liquid often.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Recipe #200: Beef Wellington (Individual)

Welcome to recipe 200!  I've been searching for the perfect recipe for such an event... something different, special, and a little more involved than usual.  Wow, what rich amazing flavors!!  I found this recipe on allrecipes.com... it seems that beef wellingtons are often a larger tenderloin that is cut up, but I liked how this one used individual steaks.  I am posting the recipe exactly as allrecipes.com has it listed, with my comments in red (as I did a bit of adapting and changes).


INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
6 (6oz) beef tenderloin filets (I just used two 6oz filet mignons!)
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms (Cut them pretty small...)
3/4 cup red wine
2 cups beef consomme (less than 2 cans)
1 (3oz) jar foie gras pate (I completely skipped this- see my changes how I made up for it)
1 (17.25 oz) package frozen puff pastry, thawed (Thawing takes 30-40 minutes, keep this in mind)
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (More if you skip the foie gras- read on)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the filets with salt and pepper, then fry on each side until browned to lock in the juices.  Remove from the skillet and set aside to cool slightly.

Add the mushrooms, wine and 1c beef consomme to the skillet; cook and stir over medium heat until mushrooms are tender.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl, reserving the consomme.  Mix the pate with the mushrooms, adding a little consomme if needed to achieve a spreadable texture.  Divide the mushrooms among the filets and spread on the top.  Refrigerate about 30 minutes.  (MY CHANGES!!  Instead of adding pate, I left the mushrooms and consomme in the pan, and added flour slowly, stirring, until the sauce thickened enough to hold somewhat of a form that I could top on the filets.  I covered both filets with this topping and put them in the fridge, then added the rest of the can of consomme to the pan.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Lay the puff pastry out on a clean surface and cut out two 5-6 inch rounds for each steak.  Place a steak with its topping onto a round and bring the edges up around the sides.  Cover the top with a second piece of dough, overlapping the edges and pressing to seal into a package.  Repeat for other steak(s).  Place the Wellingtons onto a baking sheet, and brush the tops with beaten egg.  (NOTE:  The Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets I bought came as a package of two.  I finagled them to fit around the steaks with enough left over to drape some over the top.  I don't see how one box of this stuff could cover 6 6-oz steaks, so keep that in mind.)

Make for about 12 minutes, for rare, 16 minutes for medium, or 20 minutes for well done.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

While the steaks are cooking, make the sauce.  Melt 3tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until browned.  Stir in the green onions, and cook for about a minute.  Gradually stir in another cup of consomme; continue to cook and stir until the sauce thickens.  Reduce heat and stir in the wine.  Continue to simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and parsley.  Season with pepper to taste.

To serve, cut each Wellington in half and spoon some sauce onto the plate.  (I probably overdid the sauce, since I kept the same sauce amount for 1/3 of the steaks, but it's too good to not pile it on!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Recipe #199: Meatballs

A friend shared this recipe with me, and I was excited to make it!  All this cooking and experimenting, and I hadn't made yet spaghetti and meatballs.  Shame!  But here's a delicious and really simple recipe.  I used whole grain spaghetti, as well as pasta sauce made in Cleveland's own Little Italy!  This is another from allrecipes.com.


INGREDIENTS:

1lb extra lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 small onion, diced (next time, I'll cut mine much smaller)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 dash (or more!) hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I only had plain)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place the beef into a mixing bowl, and season with salt, onion, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, oregano, red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce, and Worcestershire sauce; mix well.  Add the milk, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs.  Mix until evenly blended, then form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs, and place into a baking sheet.  (I made about 15 meatballs with this)

Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 25 minutes.




Recipe #198: Herb-y Catfish

This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in a new set of little Swiss recipe cards I found for a dollar at a discount book store.  Any flaky white fish will do- just adapt the cooking times to the size of the fillet.  Adjust seasonings to taste as well.


INGREDIENTS:

2 large or 4 small white fish fillets.  I used 2 large catfish.
Salt and pepper to taste
Approx 1 shallot, chopped fine
1/2 stick butter
3 tablespoons mixed herbs (I used parsley, dill, and sage)
1/4-1/3 c dry white wine
Heavy cream, to desired thickness

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Season fillets with salt and pepper and set in a baking dish.  Saute shallots in butter for 2-3 minutes, then add mixed herbs and saute together.  Pour the mixture over the fillets and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 5 minutes, then add wine.  Bake another 5 minutes, then uncover and bake until cooked through.  (These fillets took about 20 minutes total).  Remove from oven, and pour the sauce from the baking dish into a pan and reduce to about half, then add cream to desired consistency and heat through, letting thicken slightly.  Pour over fish.

(As a side, I sauteed yellow squash, zucchini, and baby bellas in butter with parsley.  Near the end, I added little chunks of bleu cheese and let them melt.  I overcooked this a little bit since I messed up the timing, but it still tasted really good.)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Recipe #197: Crab Legs

I guess this isn't really a recipe.... it's more of a method.  I almost didn't post it, actually, because it's THAT EASY.  I absolutely love crab legs (especially snow and dungeness) but was always leery about making them myself, mostly because of the cost.  If I messed them up, it would be a sort of expensive screw up.  I don't know why I was so worried, because this was really simple, and I already want to try new ways to prepare them (mostly involving Old Bay seasoning...........)


I bought a 2lb box of frozen snow crab legs.  Today, I moved them from the freezer to the fridge in the morning.  I took them out about a half hour before I wanted to cook them, and I let them sit on the counter a little to let the rest of the ice melt more.  I rinsed them in the sink in tepid water.  I put a vegetable steamer (yeah I had to improvise) in a large pot, which had about 1-2" of water in the bottom.  I also put some ground ginger and garlic powder in the water for a little flavoring.  I got the water boiling, then added the crab legs and covered the pot.

In the meanwhile, I melted down sticks (yes, plural... sure, it was a little overkill...) in another little pot.

Everything took about 5 minutes, and I let the legs sit in the covered pot while I finished prepping everything.

I served them with a side of corn (meh, not too impressive) and some long grain and wild rice (I cheated- Uncle Ben's 90 second bags in the microwave...), but it all came together alright.  The rice and corn weren't all that interesting compared to the legs anyway.

You can't see it in the pic here, but I put aluminum foil over the platter to keep them as warm as I could.  I LOVE crab but they get cold so fast.  By the end, I was heating them up in the microwave again at about 30 seconds... not sure if that did anything to the flavor, as I was done with them at that point, and Nick was eating the rest, but it didn't seem to bother him.

This is a simple method for what to do with the frozen crab you can buy at the grocery store, but it made me long for fresh seafood in Maine, Hawaii, California, Greece, Spain......   Maybe it's best that this is as good as I can get right now, so I don't know what I'm missing!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Recipe #196: Meaty Pasta Sauce

I'm so full, I can barely stay awake enough to type this.  I just kept eating and eating... Yes, that means it was DELICIOUS!  Recipe from a friend- adapt to your tastes.

Saucy!!

Perfect!

INGREDIENTS:

1-1.5 lbs cubed stew beef (or other meats of your choice)
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
Garlic to taste (I used a handful of cloves that I chopped... I like garlic!)
1/2 can (17oz) tomato paste
1 tsp paprika
Salt, pepper, and coriander to taste
Sage OR oregano to taste
1 Knorr vegetable stock/bouillon cube
2 carrots, chopped small
Fresh chopped parsley
Pasta of choice

DIRECTIONS:

Cook onion, garlic and salt in olive oil until onion sweats.  Add beef and coriander to taste, and brown the meat.  Reduce the heat and add the tomato paste, paprika, vegetable bouillon cube, carrots, sage or oregano, and enough water to cover the beef.  Simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes, and then remove the lid and simmer until beef is tender (this took me at least another half hour, probably longer, but I stopped keeping track because the stew meat took forever to become tender.  I broke it up with my browning tool once it was soft enough to make smaller pieces).  Reduce sauce as desired (I let mine get pretty chunky).  Add fresh parsley at the end, as well as cheese and black pepper if desired.  Serve over pasta.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Recipe #195: Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Yeah, I know, I post about chicken thighs all the time... but I can't help it.  I love them!  They're super cheap and very flavorful.  Here's a really simple recipe.  I used honey that was grown in Parma, my home town!  My only issue is that I don't eat the skin, where most of the flavor was applied, but it still had good flavor regardless.  Next time, maybe I'll put it under the skin.  I served these with a side of chunked up portobellos that I sauteed in butter and herbes de Provence.


INGREDIENTS:

8 chicken thighs
4 tbsp wholegrain mustard
4 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put the chicken thighs in a single layer in a roasting pan.

Mix together the mustard and honey, season with salt and ground black pepper to taste and brush the mixture all over the chicken thighs.

Cook for 25-30 minutes, brushing the chicken with the pan juices occasionally, until cooked through.  (NOTE:  I cooked them for about 27 minutes, and then broiled them on high for a few minutes to brown the skin.)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Recipe #194: Kielbasa, Pea, and Potato Bake

I love kielbasa.  This recipe has fall written all over it, so I had to try it.  While I was mixing the ingredients, I started feeling a bit skeptical about how it could possibly have any flavor.  About an hour into baking, though, the smell wafted up the stairs where I was passing time during the long baking time, and I knew it was going to be amazing.  SO DELICIOUS!  The smokey sausage was fantastic!!  This is a keeper.


INGREDIENTS:

1.5lbs kielbasa, sliced (I bought a package that was less than a pound, and regret it.  The meat makes it!)
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups frozen peas
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups milk
1 (10oz) can cream of mushroom soup
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a large casserole dish.  Stir gently until well mixed.

Cover the dish and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 1.5 hours.  Serve hot.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Recipe #193: Coquilles St. Jacques

I was interested in this dish that I found in a cookbook thanks to the picture... And it something new to do with scallops instead of just sauteing them.  Because of the wine and mushrooms, this reminded me of a sort of scallops-version of chicken Marsala   The flavor is very rich thanks to the wine and cheese, and it was a hit with Nick, who particularly loves scallops.

I got distracted and burned the bread crumbs in the 
broiler a little, but nothing was ruined, thankfully!

The goods!

INGREDIENTS:

3 tbsp butter
1/2 c fresh breadcrumbs 
1 medium yellow onion, sliced then halved
1 lb large sea scallops (NOTE:  The store didn't have these, so I had to settle for the much-smaller bay ones)
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 c water
3/4 c half-and-half
2 oz Swiss or Jarlsberg (which is what I used) cheese, coarsely grated

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the broiler.  Grease four individual 8-10oz broiler-safe baking dishes (I used 2 larger ramekin dishes).  In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over moderate heat.  Pour the butter into a small bowl; stir in bread crumbs.  Set the buttered crumbs aside.

In the skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat.  Add onion; saute until soft, 5 minutes.  Increase the heat to moderate.  Stir in scallops and mushrooms; saute for 5 minutes.

Add flour to the scallops and mix well.  Gradually stir in wine and water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes.  Stir in half-and-half; heat the mixture until it is hot but not boiling.  Remove the skillet from the heat.

Divide the scallop mixture among the baking dishes.  Sprinkle each serving with an equal amount of cheese and top the cheese with the buttered bread crumbs.  Broil 4 inches from heat until lightly browned on top, 1-2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recipe #192: Chicken and Orzo Skillet Dinner

Here's one that I found in my latest issue of Cooking Light.  The ingredients are simple, and it was easy to make.  I was a little skeptical about this one, thought maybe it would be bland, but I was very wrong.  The hint of heat from the crushed red pepper, combined with the flavor of the feta, is fantastic!


INGREDIENTS


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces (I HIGHLY recommend using chicken thighs instead.  They're cheaper and have much more flavor.  I used them here and would definitely not use breasts instead.)
  • 8 cups water
  • 12 ounces uncooked orzo (Cook it, and then estimate the consistency you want... 12 might not be necessary)
  • 2 cups chopped tomato (about 2 medium) 
  • 2 teaspoons no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (Or more or less to desired spiciness levels)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves (I ripped off the stems first.  Add more if desired.)
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
DIRECTIONS

  1. 1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Saute 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
  2. 2. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo; cook 8 minutes or until orzo is al dente. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
  3. 3. Add reserved cooking liquid, chopped tomato, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and peppers to skillet; cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken, pasta, and 3 cups spinach leaves, stirring until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Recipe #191: Easy Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

This is one of the first meals I ever attempted to make... that didn't come out of a box or bag from the cabinet or freezer.  I made this often, but hadn't lately until tonight.  It's very easy, very filling, and hearty.


INGREDIENTS:
1/2 package uncooked linguine
1 cup fresh broccoli florets (I used more)
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 can (10 3/4 oz) Campbells Cream of Mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Prepare linguine according to package directions and add broccoli for last 4 minutes of cooking time.  Drain.  In medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat butter; add chicken and cook until browned, stirring often.  Add soup, milk, cheese, pepper and linguine mixture and cook through, stirring occasionally.  Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Recipe #190: Skillet Roasted Chicken Thighs and Brussels Sprouts

Ok, I know I post about Brussels sprouts and chicken thighs sort of frequently, but here's a recipe where they're made together!  Who doesn't love less dishes to wash!  This is an adaptation of a recipe I found- change the seasonings and hearty veggies to your preferences.  The veggies came out exactly how I love them!



INGREDIENTS:

 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/2 pound of Brussels sprouts
Garlic powder
Black pepper
Salt

1/2 pound of carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks (About 2 large carrots)
Olive oil
Other seasonings to taste (I used rosemary, thyme, and sage)

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse Brussels sprouts, chop woody ends off with a knife, cut in half, peel off and discard loose or damaged leaves. Pile Brussels sprouts in a bowl and season with a dusting of salt and garlic powder. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil to an oven-safe deep pot or skillet over high heat. Dust both sides of chicken with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper, or other seasonings. Brown chicken 4 minutes on one side and then turn to brown the other side another 4 minutes. Cover with a close-fitting lid while browning to minimize splatter. While the second side is browning, add Brussels sprouts to the skillet and arrange around the chicken thighs. Return lid to skillet. Once the second side has had 4 minutes to brown, remove the lid and move the skillet to the oven and let everything roast together for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. When done, pull from the oven and transfer to plates. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Recipe #189: Roast Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

I'm a total sucker for roasted chicken thighs.... and for sweet potatoes and yams.  This was definitely a winner.  Great fall dish.  This comes from a new magazine I'm subscribed to, Eating Well.


INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons whole-grain or Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1.5-2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

DIRECTIONS

1.  Position rack in lower third of oven; pre-heat to 450 degrees.  Place a large-rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat (I used a foil-lined, oil-sprayed cookie sheet)

2.  Combine mustard, thyme, 1tbsp oil, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper in a small bowl; spread the mixture evenly on chicken.

3.  Toss sweet potatoes and onion in a bowl with the remaining 1 tbsp oil and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the vegetables on it.  Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.

4.  Return the pan to the oven and roast, stirring the vegetables once halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, about 30-35 minutes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Recipe #188: Garlic Roasted Salmon & Brussels Sprouts

This recipe caught my attention right away, both for the ingredients, and the simplicity.  Definitely making this again- really great flavor and easy to make!  Note- I halved the amount of salmon and lessened the amount of whole garlic pieces and Brussels sprouts, but the oil mixture I kept the same.


INGREDIENTS:

14 large cloves garlic, divided
1/4c extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
6 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced (I halved them)
3/4 cup white wine, preferably Chardonnay
2 pounds salmon fillet, skinned (I skipped that), cut into 6 portions
Lemon wedges

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2.  Mince 2 garlic cloves and combine into a small bowl with oil, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Halve the remaining garlic and toss with Brussels sprouts and 3 tablespoons of the seasoned oil in a large roasting pan.  Roast, stirring once, for 15 minutes.
3.  Add wine to the remaining oil mixture.  Remove the pan from the oven.  Stir the vegetables and place salmon on top.  Drizzle with the wine mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining oregano, salt, and pepper.  Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Recipe #187: Apple and Brown Sugar Corned Beef

I couldn't wait to try this recipe once I found it, and it was delicious.  The beef was very sweet and super tender.  I probably cut it apart wrong, but I don't care- it still tasted great!

My pictures are horrible because I was in a hurry to eat it- but you get the idea.


Ingredients

  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 (3 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packets
  • 10 small red potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2-3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 onions, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cored and cut into large chunks

Directions

  1. Pour the apple juice into a large slow cooker, and mix in the brown sugar and mustard, stirring until the brown sugar has dissolved. Mix in the contents of the spice packets, and lay the briskets into the apple juice mixture. Top with red potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage chunks. Push all ingredients into the liquid.
  2. Cover and cook on High until corned beef is very tender, 4 to 5 hours; or cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours. Slice meat thinly across the grain, and serve with vegetables.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Recipe #186: Imitation Chick-fil-a

Chick-fil-a has been in the news a lot lately, and no matter what you think about it, one good thing that came of it was the emergence of recipes for imitation chicken sandwiches!  I've been meaning to try this for awhile.  I love just the plain chicken with the pickles on it, no sauce, no other toppings.  Reminds me of college!  This did not dissapoint- in fact, I ate two entire sandwiches.  DELICIOUS and I'd say about as close to the real thing as I could ask for!  The meat was super juicy.



Ingredients
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice (I just dumped some from the jar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (I used less than a tablespoon of regular sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • Optional: up to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper for a spicy sandwich
  • Oil for frying (about 1/2" in the pan- I used a pot)
  • For serving: Buns and pickle slices
Instructions
  1. Wrap the chicken loosely between plastic wrap and pound gently with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until about 1/2 inch thick all around.
  2. Cut into two pieces, as even as possible.
  3. Marinate in the pickle juice for 30 minutes to one hour (add a teaspoon of Tabasco sauce now for a spicy sandwich).
  4. Beat the egg with the milk in a bowl.
  5. Combine the flour, sugar, and spices in another bowl.
  6. Dip the chicken pieces each into the egg on both sides, then coat in flour on both sides.
  7. Heat the oil in a skillet (1/2 inch deep) to about 345-350.
  8. Fry each cutlet for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through.
  9. Blot on paper and serve on toasted buns with pickle slices.  (I didn't bother toasting the buns)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Recipe #185: Chicken A La King

This was cheap, easy, and kinda fun to make, definitely delicious, very filling, and I got to use pimentos for the first time!

By the way, this is probably the LEAST photogenic recipe I've made so far, so don't let the picture fool you.  It IS really good.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast meat
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 pimento, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons cooking sherry
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute bell pepper and mushrooms until tender, then stir in broth and flour and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add chicken, heat through and remove from heat.
  2. In a small bowl combine sour cream, egg yolks, pimento, sherry, salt and pepper and mix together. Add this mixture to chicken mixture in skillet and heat thoroughly, stirring. Serve hot.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recipe #184: Thai Tuna Kabobs

Here's another one adapted from my new cookbook Grill It!  It was so tender and came out just the right amount of cooked-ness.  Nick had seconds, too which was a good sign.  Next time I make this, though, I think I'll double the marinade, and marinate the individual pieces in it BEFORE skewering, so they sit more in the marinade and get the most flavor.  Otherwise, this was great over jasmine rice.  Healthy and citrus-y.


INGREDIENTS:

1 pound fresh or frozen (thawed) tuna steaks, cut 1 inch thick
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro or to taste
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel or lime peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice or lime juice
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 to 2 fresh Thai, serrano, or jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch slices
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
Lime wedges (optional- I just used lime in a little bottle)

DIRECTIONS:

Soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning.

For marinade, in a small bowl, combine cilantro, lemon peel, lemon juice, vinegar, chile pepper, sesame seeds, and oil; set aside.

On 7-8 skewers, alternately thread fish (against the grain so the fish stays together), zucchini, and red onion, leaving 1/4 inch between pieces.  Place kebobs on a platter or in a shallow dish and brush marinade over kebobs.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Preheat grill and reduce heat to medium.  Place kabobs on oiled/greased grill rack over heat.  Cover and grill, about 5 minutes per side, until tuna is flaky but still a little pink in the middle.

Garnish with lime wedges.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Recipe #183: Teriyaki Salmon

The last of my three new cookbooks is one of my favorite kinds-- one with minimal ingredients.  This one is 400 Recipes- Three & Four Ingredients by Jenny White and Joanna Farrow.  Nick loves salmon, so when I saw this recipe and how simple it was, I knew I had to try it.  I served it with a side of Uncle Ben's 90 second jasmine rice.


INGREDIENTS:

Salmon fillets, about 5oz each
Teriyaki marinade
2in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Sunflower oil

DIRECTIONS:

Put the salmon in a shallow, non-metallic dish and pour over the teryaki marinade.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat the sunflower oil in a small pan and add the ginger.  Fry for 3-5 minutes or until golden and crisp.  Remove and drain on paper towels.

Heat a pan until smoking hot.  Remove the salmon from the marinade and add, skin side down, to the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn over and cook for 1-2 minutes more, or until cooked through.  Remove from the pan and distribute on plates.  Top the fillets with the crispy ginger.

Pour the marinade into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Pour over the salmon and serve.

Recipe #182: Buffalo-Style Turkey Wraps

New recipe from my new cookbook, Grill It! by Better Homes and Gardens.  This wasn't spicy at all once I grilled it, so if you want spicy, add more hot sauce as a topping.  The flavor was really great though- which led to me eating TWO wraps.  Tsk tsk...

Assembly time...


INGREDIENTS:

2 turkey breast tenderloins (1-1.5 pounds)
3 tablespoons bottled hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 10-inch spinach flavor tortillas (I couldn't find spinach- these are chipotle pepper ones)
Thin carrot strips
Thinly bias-sliced celery
Shredded lettuce
Bleu cheese dressing

DIRECTIONS:

Cut each tenderloin in half horizontally to make 4 steaks.  Place turkey steaks in a resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish.  For marinade, in a small bowl (I just dumped mine in the bag) stir together hot pepper sauce, oil, paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Pour over turkey in bag; seal bag.  Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Drain turkey steaks, discarding marinade.  Wrap tortillas tightly in foil.  Place turkey on grill and tortillas on rack, and grill turkey about 10-12 minutes, or until done.

Thinly slice turkey and assemble ingredients on warm tortillas.