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.


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)


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.


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


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.




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


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.


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


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.


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


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!


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


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!


  • 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)

  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.

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

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!


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

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)


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.