Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Korean Beef Noodles



This was a yummy dinner we enjoyed (with chopsticks, of course!), courtesy of the latest Food Network Magazine. I really liked using the cellophane noodles, a little something different from the usual. I had to adapt the ingredients slightly due to what I had on hand, but in the end this was a great Asian-style meal that I'd like to have again.

Korean Beef Noodles


Ingredients 

1 5-to-6-ounce package cellophane noodles (I only used about 3/4 package)
1/3 cup soy sauce
5 Tbsp. sesame oil (That is a LOT of sesame oil! I only had about 2 Tbsp. left in my bottle. I added a little oyster sauce and some extra soy sauce to make up for it)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
12 oz. skirt steak, sliced 1/4 inch thick against the grain (I used a thin-cut sirloin)
1 yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch wedges 
Kosher salt 
10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed (I used cremini)
1 cup shredded carrots (from about 3 carrots) 
6 cups baby spinach (about 10 ounces) 


Directions 


Soak the noodles in warm water to soften, 5 to 10 minutes, then drain and snip into pieces with kitchen shears. 


Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, 3 tablespoons sesame oil, the garlic, brown sugar and vinegar in a bowl. Put the beef in another bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce mixture. 


Heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the beef and stir-fry until just cooked through. Transfer to a bowl. 


Rinse and wipe out the skillet, return to the heat and add 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Add the mushrooms and carrots; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add the noodles and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce mixture and stir-fry 1 minute; add 1/3 cup water and cook until the noodles are just tender, 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the beef. 


Wipe out the skillet, return to the heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Add the spinach and the remaining soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add to the beef and toss.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Skillet Cajun Tilapia


This was so easy to put together and the sauce was great - my husband said he would put it on just about anything! I think it would be fantastic with chicken or even shrimp, but for sure we'll be having this again!

Note: The original recipe used flounder, but I subbed tilapia since I already had it. We enjoyed over a garlic brown rice pilaf - Worked great!

Serves 4...and only 205 calories per serving!

Adapted from Skinnytaste


Ingredients

1 tsp. olive oil
4 (6 oz) pieces tilapia fillets (or any white fish such as flounder)
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
2 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp. Cajun spice seasoning

Directions

1. In a deep skillet, cook onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat for a few minutes until soft. Add tomatoes, peppers and spices, stir and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 2-3 minutes. 

2. Lay fish fillets in the sauce, cover and cook on medium-low until fish flakes easily, approx 12-15. To serve, place fish on plate and spoon sauce on top. Serve immediately.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spanish Rice

 Not to brag in any way, but I do think I can make some pretty good rice. Just stating a fact. Its one of my favorite things to make, so I'm always trying out new recipes or perfecting my old standbys. Spanish rice is at the heart of my rice love affair, and we have some version of it quite often in our house.

But, as many times as I have made it and with as many different varieties and ingredients, I've never once been able to achieve that authentic Spanish rice, you know, the kind you find in a hole-in-the-wall taco shop or a really good (not Americanized) Mexican restaurant. That rice has always alluded me...until now!

A blog I regularly read linked to this recipe, and I had to try it the moment I saw it, especially when I saw that the creator got the recipe from a neighbor who had a Mexican food stand. I was sold - definitely had to be authentic! I was both thrown off and intrigued by the use of the green pepper - particularly the seeds - but I was willing to go with it since it was something I'd never tried in my quest. And let me tell you, those green peppers make all the difference! This rice is fantastic, and just that "taco shop" version I've been trying for for so long.


I think my problem has been I've tried to go too fancy, too unusual in my ingredients, when the perfect recipe is really just oh-so-simple. Simple ingredients, simple flavors, and here we have that rice I've been trying to make at home for years! I will probably still continue making my own versions because I love experimenting so much, but when I want authentic I'll definitely be turning to this recipe.

Oh, and the only thing I would do differently to this is add some finely chopped carrot to the mix, because I love when taco shops add that to their rice :)

Spanish Rice 
Recipe from Dish Baby

Ingredients 

1 cup white rice
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced and seeds reserved
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 bouillon cube (I use vegetable but chicken is fine, too), chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
Pinch black pepper

Directions

Heat up olive oil in a pan on medium/high. Add in rice and bell pepper seeds. Stir frequently and cook until rice starts to lightly brown; about 5 minutes.

Add in tomato sauce, and 2 cans of water. Stir. Add in salt, garlic salt, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, black pepper and chopped bullion cube. Stir. Add in bell pepper slices. Bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 40 minutes (mine only took 30 minutes). Remove bell pepper slices prior to serving.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spicy Avocado Chicken Enchiladas


I found these on Pinterest a while back, and finally got around to making them after a friend raved about how good they were. I feel like enchilada recipes are a dime a dozen, but these did not disappoint. I really like the sauce (especially how light it is!)) and the little spicy kick it has - I would eat it on its own! I wasn't sure how spicy they would turn out in the end, so just in case I made my 2 year-old a chicken quesadilla with no sauce, but I don't think these were so spicy where she couldn't have had one too.

But, even though I LOVE avocado I'm actually not a big fan of it when its cooked and warm, so when I make these again I will probably leave those out of the filling and just enjoy them as chicken enchiladas with some fresh mashed avocado or guacamole on top. Just a personal preference :)

Here is the recipe from The Novice Chef, with my changes noted.


Ingredients


for the sauce: 
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Serrano pepper, minced (remove the seeds first if you want it more mild)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup salsa verde
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

Note: After these were done I wished I had more sauce on the enchiladas. Doubling would probably be too much, so next time I'll probably try doing an extra 1/2 batch

for the enchiladas: 
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)
8 oz Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded and divided (I was forced to use cheddar after my husband secretly ate the MJ I had reserved for this recipe)
1 small yellow onion, chopped (I used much less, maybe about 1/4 cup chopped)
3 avocados, peeled and chopped
8-10 flour tortillas (I used corn, and I softened by placing them one-by-one in a pan with a little hot oil for about 30 seconds, then drained on paper towels)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute serrano pepper and garlic, for 1 minute. Stir in flour, constantly stirring, and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, whisk in the sour cream, salsa verde and cilantro. Remove from heat. 

Spray/grease a 9×13 baking dish. Add 3/4 cup sauce to the bottom of the pan. Add chicken, cheese, onion and avocado to the center of each tortilla and roll, placing seam-side down in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Top with leftover cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

* Photo and recipe from Myrecipes.com

I didn't get my own photo of these because we made them while on vacation, visiting family in Iowa, but I definitely had to add them here because they were so good! We were looking for an appetizer for a BBQ night, and these fit in perfectly and everyone enjoyed them - they definitely didn't last! These are for sure going to be on future BBQ menus.

A lot of the grilled pepper recipes I find calls for wrapping them in bacon, which always sounds delish but in the end it always seems like the bacon cooks unevenly that way. So one of the main things I liked about these was that you get great bacon flavor (in the filling) but in a much messy and more enjoyable way.

My only complaint is that some of the jalapenos weren't hot at all, but there were a couple that set my mouth on fire, and you can never tell how how spicy they are going to be...so watch out for that!

Ingredients

2 slices center-cut bacon
8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 small garlic clove, minced
14 jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
Cooking spray
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro*
2 Tbsp. chopped seeded tomato*

*We just topped with some homemade salsa we had already prepped

Directions

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, and drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon. Combine crumbled bacon, cheeses, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a bowl, stirring to combine. Divide cheese evenly and fill the pepper halves.

3. Place peppers, cheese side up, on grill rack or grill grate coated with cooking spray. Cover and grill peppers 8 minutes or until bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Place the peppers on a serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro and tomato.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fire Roasted Chile Relleno Rice


I found this recipe a while ago and I instantly knew it would be something we would like, so I'm not sure why I put off so long making it! A creamy, cheesy rice is taken up a notch with the addition of roasted chiles, and the flavor from those was fantastic. This is definitely not a healthy dish, but if I'm going to splurge once in a while I think this is something worth the calories :)

I believe the original recipe (from Tyler Florence) calls for canned green chiles, but the site where I got this substituted fresh roasted assorted chiles, and I followed along with that because I don't think the boring canned kind would make this nearly as good. You can use any variety you like...the site mentioned that it came out pretty spicy, so I stuck with milder peppers. My result had a great chile flavor but amazingly almost no "heat", so it really was perfect.

The only other changes I made were to add some additional seasoning - some garlic powder and cumin. Next time I make this I think I'll add some cooked chicken and make it a complete meal!


Fire Roasted Chile Relleno Rice
adapted from Nibble Me This


Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice (I used long grain white, but I think basmati would be great)
8 oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded (yes, a whole 8 oz block)
1 cup fire roasted chiles (I used 2 poblanos, 3 Anaheim, and 1 red chile pepper - broil until blackened all over and then remove skin and seeds and chop)
2 cups sour cream
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (Original recipe is "baked" on a grill, but I just did mine in the oven)

2. Mix rice, cheese, chiles, sour cream, condensed soup, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into a greased casserole dish (or greased ramekins) and top with the bread crumbs and paprika.

3. Bake until the top crust is browned and the cheese is bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza


Last night I jumped on a recipe bandwagon - thanks to Pinterest! - and made this "pizza" that seems to be all over that website. Even though I have no real need for a gluten-free, low-carb pizza crust in my life, its nice to have options right? I was intrigued by the concept and just how this was all going to turn out, and like the many, many people who have "pinned" this and the many people who have commented about it on the recipe blog I got it from - we loved it!

You really would never know its cauliflower, but I really don't know how to describe it. It comes out kind of like thin, soft bread...you should know its definitely NOT a crispy, crunchy crust. It gets a little crispy around the edges but the majority of it stays soft. And you'll probably be better off eating it with a fork. But we enjoyed it all the same, and you could definitely add any combination of toppings you like, the possibilities are endless, just like on any other pizza. I used pizza sauce, caramelized onions, garlic, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and sweet Italian turkey sausage.

The only reason I probably won't be making this more often was because it was kind of a pain for me since I don't have a food processor, and the little Magic Bullet wasn't up for the ricing task, which meant I had to grate the cauliflower by hand which wasn't very fun. Other than that it was definitely easy to create.

I also read that you can make this same method but with zucchini - definitely going to try that too!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
from Eat.Drink.Smile (also Your Lighter Side)...I got some good tips from both of these sites

Ingredients

1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower (directions below)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
A small handful Parmesan cheese (my addition)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)

Pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings (which will need to be precooked since you only broil for a few minutes)

Directions (my notes are in Italics)

To "Rice" the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. *If you don't have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater*. Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (some microwaves are more powerful than others, so you may need to reduce this cooking time). There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself. One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Note: You'll want to squeeze out any excess moisture from the cauliflower, even if doesn't look like it has any after cooking. I did this by putting it in a thick paper towel then pressing into a fine mesh strainer. Cheesecloth would also work.

To Make the Pizza Crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray (I used parchment paper, go this route if you have it). In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg, mozzarella and Parmesan. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt; stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9" round (make sure to get it really thin!). Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes). Enjoy!

Note: Some reviewers reported a soggy crust, it will definitely be soft but should not be soggy. I therefore followed the suggestion of flipping the crust over with about 3 minutes left in the baking time, this was easy for me to do using parchment paper since it didn't stick at all, and I was able to kind of roll up one side and flip it. I did this with the first crust I made but not the second, there wasn't a huge difference but the first was a little better.

Monday, June 4, 2012

This Week's Menu


Blackened Chicken and Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Cauliflower-crust Pizza

Taco Cornbread Casserole

BBQ Pork Quinoa Salad


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes


The combination of chicken and sun-dried tomatoes is what caught my eye with this recipe, because I usually love those two things together - especially in a pasta. I was therefore intrigued by the use of spaghetti squash as the base for this instead of a pasta, making it very low-carb and therefore super diet friendly! It was a hit with the entire family, the flavors were great and you wouldn't feel like you were missing anything even with how healthy this is.

My changes to the original included adding some onion, using more sun-dried tomatoes and cooking the chicken in the skillet as opposed to using already prepared grilled chicken. I liked doing this too because then you get that extra flavor of cooked chicken in the pan before you start cooking everything else. And, even with the extra step of cooking the chicken this was still a quick, easy meal to put together and enjoyed by everyone!

Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients

1 whole Spaghetti Squash
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chicken broth, divided
1 3.5 oz pkg. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup frozen peas
2 whole chicken breasts
1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).

2. With a sharp knife, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrape/remove seeds with a spoon. Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet covered with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Let squash cool.

3. Using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash with the tines to remove strands. Set aside.

4. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from pan and let cool slightly before slicing into thin strips.

5. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to skillet. Add garlic and onion; saute 3-4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth, sun-dried tomatoes, and broccoli and saute 5 minutes. Add peas, sliced chicken, and remaining 3/4 cup of chicken broth. Shake about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese into mixture (just enough to thicken the chicken broth). Reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet and simmer for about 3 minutes.

6. Serve on top of the squash strands with fresh shaved parmesan cheese.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Braided Spaghetti Bread


I found this recipe on the Rhodes blog, and it was calling my name even though I tend to not pay much attention to recipes put out by brands (weird, I know). But, I'm a firm believer that you absolutely cannot enjoy spaghetti without garlic bread, so I suppose that is what hooked me in with this recipe. Plus it just looked pretty!

It was really easy to put together, baked up perfectly, and was a hit with my husband and daughter (because even though this looked so good, all the carb-loading isn't diet friendly right now, so I had one little bite and then enjoyed my own personal skinny chicken parm with garlic kale). My husband said he expected it to be a heavy meal, but the dough actually baked up nice and light and fluffy, making it not feel heavy at all and was easy for both of them to enjoy - and I can verify this fact from the one bite I had! I've done something similar, with this Spaghetti Bruschetta, but I think I prefer this method...with just putting the pasta on already prepared garlic bread you get a crisp, crunchy bread versus a soft and chewy one with the uncooked dough.

I'm sure we'll be having this one again, and probably in the near future not only because it was a hit but also because the bread dough came in a pack of 5 :)

You can find the original recipe here, along with step-by-step pics of putting it together.

Ingredients

1 Loaf Rhodes Bread Dough or 12 Rhodes Dinner Rolls, thawed to room temperature
6 oz spaghetti, cooked
1 cup thick spaghetti sauce
8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 –inch cubes (or 8 oz shredded)
1 egg white
Parmesan cheese
Parsley flakes (I used Italian seasoning and garlic powder)

Directions

1. Roll thawed bread dough into a 12x16 rectangle on parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes.

2. Combine spaghetti and sauce. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place spaghetti on top of dough in a 4" strip down the center. Top with cheese.

3. Make cuts 1 ½-inches apart on long sides of dough to within ½-inch of filling. Begin braid by folding top and bottom strips toward filling. Then braid strips left over right, right over left. Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under braid. Transfer parchment paper to a large baking sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and slice to serve.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Week's Menu

Polynesian Pork Chops

Tilapia Ceviche

Baked Spaghetti Bread

Potato, Chorizo and Green Chile Burritos

Turkey Burgers

Spaghetti Squash with Grilled Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Shrimp Tacos

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Broccoli and Quinoa Casserole


Who doesn't love a good cheesy broccoli and rice casserole? Add some chicken and make it into a divan and I am one happy girl. There is just something about the combination that is oh-so-good, but not necessarily good for you. Boo. Therefore I was excited to find a recipe using quinoa instead of rice as well as some lighter ingredients, and I tweaked it a little to come up with my own version that I think is pretty great. Its a perfect side dish or can even be enjoyed on its own - and reheats great for leftovers too!

You can find the recipe I based this off of here. My main changes were to add some onion, celery and garlic, use mozzarella cheese, and give it a crunchy topping. I was going to take the easy route and use a can of cream of mushroom soup, but decided to try the homemade version listed with the recipe instead, and I think it worked great for this. I might not sub it in all the time, but for this particular recipe I'm glad I went the homemade route.

Ingredients

2 cups fresh broccoli florets, chopped
4 tsp. unsalted butter, divided
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 recipe homemade "cream of anything soup" (recipe follows) or 1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup mayo or light mayo
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked, and you cook it in a 1:2 ratio just like rice. Combine rinsed quinoa and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 15-20 minutes)
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Steam or boil broccoli until just fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet, melt 2 tsp. butter. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and stir in "cream of anything" soup.

4. In a large bowl, combine soup and veggie mixture, milk, mayo and mozzarella. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in broccoli and cooked quinoa. Pour into prepared casserole.

5. Melt remaining 2 tsp. butter in a small bowl. Stir in Panko and Parmesan. Sprinkle over the top of casserole. Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes; remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until bubbly and golden on top.


"Cream of Anything" soup
1 cup cold milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper

In a small saucepan, whisk milk and cornstarch till well blended. Stir in butter, bouillon, salt, and pepper. Heat to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer on low for one minute more to thicken. Use in recipes to replace one can of cream of anything soup.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Baked Chicken with Dijon and Lime


I was intrigued by this recipe, mostly because of the ingredients and the low calories (214 for 2 small thighs!), and was crossing my fingers that it would turn out better than my previous attempt at a mustard-sauced chicken (you can see that recipe here) , and I'm happy to report that I can definitely recommend this one! The other one I linked to is all over Pinterest and had some great reviews, but I was extremely disappointed in it. It had waaayyy too much mustard for my taste - almost inedibly so - and even my mustard-loving husband wasn't too thrilled with the end result. I still cringe just thinking about it! This one, however, had just the right hint of mustard and the lime juice worked well to complement it.

I was still a little scared after tasting all the sauce ingredients mixed together, so I added a couple tablespoons of light sour cream to the mix and was so happy with how it turned out!

Recipe posted here with my changes, but you can see the original at Skinny Taste.

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs, skin removed (keep the bone in for better results)
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. light sour cream (my addition)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 lime, squeezed, and lime zest
3/4 tsp pepper
salt
dried parsley (I used dried thyme)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Rinse the chicken and remove the skin and all fat. Pat dry; place in a large bowl and season generously with salt.

2. In a small bowl combine Dijon, mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, lime zest, garlic and pepper. Mix well. Pour over chicken, tossing well to coat.

3. Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Place chicken to fit in a single layer. Top the chicken with dried parsley. Bake until cooked through, about 30-35 minutes. Finish the chicken under the broiler until it is golden brown. Serve chicken with the pan juices drizzled over the top.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cilantro Chicken


I make this yummy chicken every so often, and every time I do I have to go find it over on Marci's blog because until now I've never bothered to put it on my own. So this last time I decided to add it here so I could access it more easily, and also because I want to share because its pretty fantastic!

The chicken bakes up nice and moist, the chips add some texture and the cilantro-infused salsa gives it great flavor. I've found you can use pretty much any salsa and it works great because of the added cilantro. Oh and don't forget the cheese cause that makes everything better!

And, I can even enjoy this when I'm counting calories...just omit the chips and top with just a little bit of cheese...still fantastic!


Ingredients

2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. honey
4 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
16 oz. thick-n-chunky salsa (I didn't use it all)
2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro (I used extra)
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese

Directions 

1. Combine lime juice, honey, and oil. Dip chicken in lime juice mixture then coat with crushed chips. Place in ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake uncovered @ 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until juices run clear.

2. Combine salsa and cilantro in a small bowl. Pour over chicken then sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 more minutes or until the cheese melts.

Monday, May 14, 2012

This Week's Menu

Baked Chicken with Dijon and Lime
Cajun Mac and Cheese
Beef and Portobello Stroganoff
Asian Tilapia with Quinoa Fried Rice
Golden Mushroom Pork Chops
Glazed Salmon
Pork Carnitas Tacos

Monday, April 30, 2012

Shepherd's Pie


Despite the fact that I'm not really a "meat and potatoes" kind of girl, I sure do love a good Shepherd's Pie. I love the saucy meat mixed with lots of veggies and creamy potatoes. Yum!

My go-to recipe is this one from Marci's blog, just like she says the fried onions really do add some fun pizazz to it. I've played around with that recipe, trying different combos and using whatever I happen to have on hand, and this is currently my favorite. The Italian sausage is a personal preference as it adds a extra flavor from plain ground beef, and I use mushrooms in place of some of the meat because I like the texture they add (and a great way to stretch the meal in a more healthy way!). This is one of the few things I get excited to enjoy as leftovers!

Ingredients


1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cups french fried onions
1 can tomato soup
1/2 c. water
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
1 package (16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
3 cups hot mashed potatoes
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Cook and crumble sausage in large skillet. When almost cooked through, add the mushrooms; cook a few minutes more until tender. Drain any excess fat and return to pan.

3. Stir in 1 cup fried onions, soup, water, seasoning, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Spoon veggies over sausage mixture, then top with mashed potatoes.

4. Bake 30 min. or until hot. Sprikle with Parmesan and remaining 1 cup onions. Bake 5 min. more or until golden.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Poached Salmon in Orzo Broth


This was a fun and delicious new way to enjoy salmon! The fish gets poached in a mild broth so it keeps its great flavor, and all the rest of the goodies are cooked in one pot making this super simple yet super fancy-looking :) After this and our fish curry, eating fish in broth with a spoon is my new favorite way to enjoy it.

I'm going to post the original recipe here pretty much as written, although I did make some changes. I doubled the mushrooms (because I love them), used almost a full pound of salmon, and also a little more broth and orzo.

Poached Salmon in Orzo Broth
from Tablespoon.com

Ingredients

1 cup hot water
6 dried shiitake mushrooms (1/2 oz package)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. uncooked orzo pasta
1 salmon fillet (1/2 lb), cut into 2 pieces
1/4 sliced roasted red bell peppers
1 cup thinly sliced spinach leaves
3 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 green onions, sliced diagonally

Directions

1. In medium bowl, pour hot water over mushrooms. Let stand about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid. Rinse with warm water; drain. Squeeze excess moisture from mushrooms. Remove and discard stems; cut caps into 1/2-inch strips.

2. Strain mushroom liquid through fine wire mesh sieve or coffee filter into 4-quart Dutch oven. Stir in broth and garlic. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo; reduce heat. Add salmon. Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with fork. Carefully remove salmon with slotted spatula; keep warm.

3. Stir mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach, basil and onions into broth mixture. Cook about 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted and orzo is tender.

4. Place a piece of salmon in each individual bowl; spoon vegetable-orzo broth over top.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sausage and Spinach Rice Bowls


The rice bowl: so simple and unassuming, yet probably the most versatile dinner option out there! I love the concept of these because there are a thousand different ways to customize based on your tastes or what you happen to have in your pantry. You can use any type of meat or seafood, change up the flavor of the rice, use seasonal veggies and have one of these every week yet never have the exact same one.

For this particular one, I worked off a basic recipe that included sausage and spinach from Cooking Light and added a few embellishments - roasted red peppers and mushrooms - just because I had them on hand. Yum!

Oh, and did I mention this took less than 15 minutes to cook? Practically perfect :)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used instant brown, but you can use any variety, flavor, etc)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
1/2 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 4-oz can sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers (jarred or fresh)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and onion; cook, stirring to crumble sausage, until sausage is cooked through and onion is tender. Stir in garlic; cook 2 minutes more. Add mushrooms and peppers, stir to combine, then add spinach. Cook until spinach is just wilted. Stir in rice, mix well to combine and continue cooking until heated through.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oysters Rockefeller


This is definitely not something typically enjoyed at our house (or any other house I know), but its a delectable treat when we can find fresh oysters. I've found there are so many different recipes for Oysters Rockefeller (probably because the original creator of the dish would never reveal his recipe), but this is the one I came up with based on our own personal tastes. The creamy spinach, crunchy topping and light broil makes for one delicious oyster - and its a great way for those who may be wary of slurping them down whole and raw (which I love also) to enjoy them as well.

Ingredients

1 dozen fresh oysters, shucked and cleaned
2 tsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry (not quite a full 10 0z. package)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of dill
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat broiler. Place cleaned oysters on large baking sheet (covered with coarse salt, if you have it. Makes so they sit flat).

2. In a small skillet, melt 1 tsp. butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in spinach, red pepper flakes and dill and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in mayonnaise.

3. Melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in a small bowl. Stir in panko and Parmesan until well-combined.

4. Top each oyster with some of the spinach and then the panko topping. Broil 3-5 minutes or until topping is browned and crispy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Foil-Baked Tilapia with Black Beans and Corn


There is something about a foil-packet dinner that seems more adventurous than the average dinner. This might be as good, but wouldn't be as fun without the foil. Plus, easy clean-up!

I really liked the flavors in this dish. You get a mellow heat from the chipotle and just a hint of sweet from the orange. It all worked so well on the mild fish - I think halibut would work great here too - and came together for a pretty-looking meal.

The only changes I made were to add in some cumin to the black bean mixture and a garnish of fresh lime juice at the end.

Foil-Baked Tilapia
adapted from Pink Parsley

4 tilapia fillets (any white fish will work)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. minced chipotle chiles in adobo
1 tsp. grated orange zest
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1/2 red onion, minced
2 scallions, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp. cumin
Fresh lime juice

Directions

1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat to 450 degrees.

2. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix together the butter, 1 teaspoon chipotle, orange zest, half the garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl until well-combined. Spread butter mixture over the fish.

3. Combine the beans, corn, onion, scallions, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, orange juice, remaining chipotle, remaining garlic, scallions, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.

4. Lay four 14-inch lengths of foil on the counter and divide the bean mixture evenly over the lower half of each piece of foil. Top with fish, and fold the foil over the fish, folding the edges to seal. (I used two large pieces of foil and put 2 pieces of fish in each) ).

5. Arrange the packets in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the fish is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully open the packets and sprinkle with remaining cilantro and fresh lime juice. Serve.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ham Jambalaya


I love jambalaya, its a fantastic one-pot meal that's easy to make and full of lots of yummy stuff. I usually make it with smoked sausage and shrimp, but this was a great way to use up leftover Easter ham.

Ingredients

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups diced ham

Directions

1. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bell peppers. Season with sale and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetable begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in garlic and saute another 2 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, broth, and spices. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice and ham. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat 20-25 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.







Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This Week's Menu

Crockpot Broccoli-Cheese Chicken

Ham Jambalaya

Poached Salmon in Orzo Broth

Chile Relleno Casserole

Sausage and Spinach Rice Bowls

Foil-baked Tilapia with black beans and corn

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Goan Style Fish Curry


I can't take credit for the creation of this dish, that honor goes to my sister. She has been visiting and we had no idea when we took her up on her offer to make dinner that this yumminess would be the result! Her significant other is from India, so she has been learning to make a lot of the Indian food that he loves. I've been telling her that whenever she makes something new and delicious she has to share the recipe!

My favorite thing about this was the sauce, and how you could pour lots of it over the rice and make it almost soupy; a spoon definitely worked better for consuming my plate. It has a mild curry flavor and a nice combo of sweet from the coconut milk and a touch of spicy...and although we kept it pretty low on the heat scale this time around so my 2 year-old could eat it, the spice level is easily adjusted by the amount of chili powder and chiles you use. We used tilapia which did kind of fall apart by the end, no big deal but I think halibut would be great too and would keep its firmness better.

Goan-Style Fish Curry

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, quartered
6 fat garlic cloves
fresh ginger root (I used about a 2 inch piece, peeled)
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 tsp. ground coriander
2-4 tsp. chili powder (depending on how spicy you like it)
3/4 tsp. turmeric salt, to taste 1 cup coconut milk (we used lite)
1 tsp. tamarind paste, or to taste (you can sub a few squirts of lime juice for this)
2-4 serrano chiles, whole but pierced
2 lbs of a firm white fish, such as tilapia or halibut
chopped cilantro

Directions 

1. Saute the onion in the oil until browned. Meanwhile, mix together the tomato, ginger, and garlic in a food processor until smooth (add a little water if needed). Add the paste to the onions. Cook on medium heat for about 7-8 minutes until the paste releases oil.

2. Add the cumin, coriander, chili powder, turmeric, and salt along with a splash of water. Cook for about 2 minutes.

3. Add the coconut milk and 2 1/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for a few minutes.

4. Add the tamarind paste, serranos, and fish. Bring back to a boil and simmer gently until the fish is cooked (about 3-6 minutes depending on the fish and the thickness of the cut). Add a splash more of coconut milk and shake pan to mix. Adjust the salt and spices if needed.

Serve over rice (basmati was perfect), and top with some chopped cilantro.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Minestrone


I found this recipe in the Parade on Sunday and it was calling my name. This was my first attempt at homemade Minestrone and I'm definitely a fan. Its a thick, hearty vegetable soup, full of all kinds of goodies...and did I mention only 280 calories per serving? This was a perfect rainy day dinner and I was happy to enjoy the leftovers for several days afterward.

The only changes I made were to double up on some of the veggies so I could have leftovers, so recipe is posted here with my updates. I think this would also be great with some spicy Italian turkey sausage.

Minestrone
adapted from Mark Bittman

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
Salt and black pepper
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried basil (or a few leaves fresh)
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1" pieces
1 bunch kale, coarsely chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional, I didn't think it added much)

Directions


1. In a large pot, heat 1⁄4 cup oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften and darken around the edges.

2. Add potatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are nicely browned. Add 6 cups water, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pot. Add tomatoes and basil, bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.

3. Add zucchini and kale, raising heat if necessary to keep mixture at a steady bubble. Cook until vegetables are very tender, another 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in beans. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Top with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Braised Leeks


If there is one thing I wish I ate more often, it is braised leeks. Um, braised leeks? Really? I bet that's not what you thought I was going to say. Well, have you ever braised leeks? If so, you'll understand what I'm talking about. And if not, you are sooo missing out on some wonderful bundles of deliciousness. And I therefore apologize for not posting about these sooner!

I first made these a few years ago, after coming across a recipe on Smitten Kitchen. The leeks were actually just a side dish to a chicken recipe that I wanted to try, so even though at that point I had never, ever had leeks before I decided to make them too because they looked great and had such a glowing review on that site that I wondered if I had been missing something all my life...and sure enough I was! That particular chicken recipe didn't make it on to my list (but if you want to check it out, here is my brief review: pretty good, but way too much work for the end product) however those leeks are something I cannot get enough of!


So if you've never braised a leek, I highly suggest you try it. I don't even know how to accurately describe them. Braising brings out a subtle sweetness and mellows the onion flavor. They are just a-mazing. They make a great side dish for just about anything, and are equally fantastic on their own. I'm sure there are other ways to enjoy leeks but I kind of don't want to know them because I just want to eat braised ones forever and ever. We had them last night with another new chicken recipe that won't be making it on to my list, so I was happy I had these leeks to override any disappointment.

Leeks holding up the disappointing chicken. Looks good, it just wasn't. Thank goodness for the leeks!

So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself some leeks!

Braised Leeks
from Smitten Kitchen (I'm posting the recipe direct from the site, with my notes here. I always switch it up a little depending on what I have on hand)

Ingredients

6 large leeks
About 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (though I always skimp and use less)
1 cup sliced shallots (I've used onion and it works just as well)
1 Tbsp. thyme leaves (use fresh ones if you can!)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I've also subbed dry sherry)
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water (I know its an option, but don't use water. Just don't.) kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions 

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Remove any bruised outer layers from the leeks. Trim off to the roots, leaving the root end intact. Trim the tops of the leeks on the diagonal, leaving 2 inches of the green part attached. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, and submerge in a large bowl of cold water to clean them. Shake the leeks well to dislodge the dirt stuck inside. Let them sit a few minutes, to allow any grit inside the layers to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat the process until the water is clean. Place the leeks, cut side down, on a towel and pat dry completely.

**(Yes, this step is a pain! It always shocks me how dirty these things are, so if I am willing to go through all the trouble of cleaning them then you know they have to be good!)

3. Turn the leeks over so their cut sides are facing up, and season with 2 teaspoons salt and a few grindings of black pepper.

4. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil, and wait 1 minute. Place the leeks in the pan, cut side down, being careful not to crowd them. (you will probably need to saute them in batches or in two pans. Add more olive oil to the pan as needed, for each batch.) Sear them 4 to 5 minutes, until they are golden brown. Season the backs of the leeks with salt and pepper, and turn them over to cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer them to a large gratin dish, lining them up, cut sides facing up.

5. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the shallots, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, until the shallots are just beginning to color. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add 1 1/2 cups stock, and bring to a boil over high heat.

6. Pour the liquid over the leeks. The stock should not quite cover them; add more stock if necessary.

7. Braise in the oven 30 minutes, until the leeks are tender when pierced.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Smoky Buffalo-Style Chicken Chili Bowls




I found this recipe in a Rachael Ray mag and it sounded like something we would enjoy, and it was! It was a light, easy meal, too spicy for my little one but you could fix that by not adding so much chipotle. Not sure where the "buffalo-style" part comes in but it was good so I'm not gonna worry about that :) Quite healthy too, which is the best part...even with a few chips and some cheese on top it still fell well within my current eating guidelines - yay!

I was a little concerned when I went to make it that it wouldn't be hearty enough for my husband, so even though I made some plain white rice for him to mix with his - and he liked it that way - I honestly don't think it needed it!

Ingredients
from Everyday with Rachael Ray

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs. ground chicken or turkey breast (I used chicken, about 1.5 lbs)
2 carrots, chopped
3 - 4 stalks celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
Salt and pepper
1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock
A couple of handfuls thin blue-corn tortilla chips, such as Xochitl brand, lightly crushed
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles (I didn’t add this)
About a palmful pickled jalapeno chile pepper rings

Directions

1. Heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook to brown, stirring to crumble. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 10 minutes or so.

2. Place the chipotles and adobo sauce in a food processor or blender and puree. Spoon 2 rounded tablespoons into a small bowl and combine with the tomato sauce to make a chipotle-infused tomato sauce.(Scoop the remaining pureed chipotle into a small, resealable plastic bag, then mark the bag and freeze--the next time you need chipotle, just cut off a piece.)

3. When the vegetables are tender, stir in the chile-tomato sauce and chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken and combine the flavors.

4. Meanwhile, switch on the broiler and position a rack in the center of the oven. Arrange 4 bowls on a baking sheet and fill with the buffalo chili. Top with an even layer of the tortilla chips, cheeses and jalapeno rings. Broil for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese and crisp the chips. (Better than a basket of wings, and better for you!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Green Chile Chowder

 
*photo from Homesick Texan

Let me tell you, Lisa of the Homesick Texan is my kind of girl. I don't think I've come across any recipe on her site that I haven't wanted to try right away. Her Tex-Mex recipes are definitely the kind of things I would eat every day if I could.

This soup caught my eye because 1) I love a good, new soup recipe and 2) I thought it might be a good place to start for a different recipe I've been anxious to work on, a green chile clam chowder. But that will be another post for another day, once I can get that one going!

This soup is fantastic. It a warm, creamy chowder with just a hint of spice from the chiles. The original recipe suggest serving this either hot with some cheese or cold with some extra lime and tortilla chips. Since a hot soup was what I was looking for, I did it hot with cheese, extra lime, and tortilla chips. Yum. :)

The only thing I would do differently next time is save a little more of the soup chunky and not puree as much, but that is a personal preference because I wished it was little more hearty once we sat down to eat. 

Green Chile Chowder 
from Homesick Texan

Ingredients

2 jalapenos
4 poblano peppers
1 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup cilantro
2 lbs. of potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup half and half
Juice from one lime
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Cook the poblanos and jalapenos under the broiler for about five minutes on each side or until thoroughly blackened. (The jalapenos will probably cook faster so remove them first) Place poblanos in a paper bag, close it and let them steam for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove stems from jalapenos and dice. After 15 minutes, take the poblanos out of the bag and rub off the skin. Remove seeds and stem and then dice the chiles.

2. In a large pot, heat on medium the butter until it’s melted. Add the onions and cook them for 10 minutes or just until they’re about to brown. Throw in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add to the pot the chiles, the potatoes, the chicken broth, the cilantro, the cumin, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

3. Scoop out 2 cups of the soup and set aside. Puree the rest of the soup until smooth and then mix the smooth with the chunky. Add the milk and half and half to the soup and cook until warm. Squeeze in the lime juice and serve either warm or chilled, with cheese, tortilla chips and extra cilantro.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This Week's Menu

Smoky Buffalo-style Chili Bowls

Tortilla Pizzas

Hamburgers

"Man-pleasing" Chicken and Braised Leeks

Minestrone

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Baked corn flake chicken with wild rice-green bean casserole

Pita Pizzas

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Asian Tilapia


I always seem to have a stock of tilapia in my freezer, and am therefore always looking for new ways to prepare it. Don't get me wrong, our usual Broiled Tilapia Parmesan is delicious and I would eat it all the time, but its nice to change it up every so often too :)

This simple Asian-style marinade was very simple but pretty yummy, and it worked great on the tilapia. Plus I love a dinner that can be ready in less than 15 minutes! I think the sauce would be fantastic on salmon too. We enjoyed this with some Quinoa Fried "Rice" for a light yet flavorful meal.

Asian Tilapia
adapted from Week of Menus

Ingredients

2-3 lbs. tilapia (about 3-4 pieces)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. sake
1 Tbsp. finely grated ginger
1 Tbsp. finely chopped scallions
1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450. Line a broiling pan or cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place tilapia on pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.  Drizzle about 1 Tbsp. sauce on top of each fish fillet; reserve remaining sauce.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until fish is opaque and cooked through. Drizzle with reserved sauce.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chimichurri


I may be the last person on the planet to jump on the chimichurri train, but hey, better late than never right?! I've always been intrigued by this green condiment - very, very green - but never really knew what it consisted of or what made it so trendy. So after I got a great deal on some skirt steak and needed something to jazz it up, an experiment with chimichurri seemed like the way to go.

The verdict? I think its fun! It tastes very bright and fresh, has a little tartness from the lime and a touch of spice from the red pepper. It went perfectly with our simple pan-fried skirt steak - definitely a more out of the ordinary and sophisticated way to go rather than pulling out the steak sauce. I think it would also be great on chicken, as a spread on grilled bread, or even a super-healthy chip dip!

It seems as though all the recipes for this are almost the same, varying slightly on the amount of herbs and such. I used 2 different recipes combined for what I made, which is the recipe I'm posting here.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
3 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Directions

1. Combine parsley, cilantro, oregano, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process until herbs are very finely chopped and sauce is well combined. Note: you may need to add a little more lime juice and/or olive oil to get it the perfect consistency.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Parm Flounder

Photo from Firebirds blog

Thanks to Becky at Firebirds Woodfired Grill (aka my aunt!) for posting this recipe on their blog. I had never had flounder before, but noticed it was so cheap at the grocery store ($1.98/lb!) that I figured it would be worth trying. Luckily I found this recipe right away to use it in, and I have to say I am a flounder fan! Its very mild-tasting, I would say similar to other white fish like sole or halibut or tilapia even. This was a great, easy intro for me and I'm now on the lookout for more flounder recipes!

Parm Flounder
from Firebirds

*Note: Their recipe includes a Tomato Basil Buerre Blanc, which I didn't do, but I bet it would be delicious on this!

Ingredients

4 - 8 oz. fillets Flounder
2 eggs
4 Tbsp. milk
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. butter

Directions

1. In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk. Combine Parmesan, Panko and garlic powder in another shallow dish.

2. Working with one fillet at a time, dip fish into egg mixture and then into Parm mixture. Coat evenly. Place on clean dish.

3. Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet. Fry fish until golden brown on one side, about 2-3 minutes, then flip and fry until other side is golden brown.



Friday, March 16, 2012

Chicken Marsala



In the words of my 2 year-old whenever she likes something: "Yum, yum, yum!" This was something out-of-the-ordinary from our usual dinner fare but I am happy to report it will be making its way onto the regular rotation. I had eaten Chicken Marsala before but never attempted my own, this recipe inspired me since it was so easy to put together.

I'm usually put off by strong wine/alcohol taste in food, and I was concerned with this one while the sauce was reducing because it had such a deep aroma, and was therefore pleasantly surprised at how mild-tasting it actually was. The sauce comes together nicely and is perfect over the thin, crispy chicken. My only change? Doubling the mushrooms, of course! I could just eat those in the sauce and be happy :)

Chicken Marsala
from Savory Sweet Life


Ingredients

2 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour or corn starch for gluten-free
up to 1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
8 ounces container of mushroom, sliced and cleaned (I used 2 containers)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup sherry or dry white wine (I used dry sherry)
Optional: 2 tablespoons heavy cream (I added a little half-and-half)
Garnish with chopped parsley or oregano

Instructions

1. Split each chicken breast through the middle to make 2 pieces. Place plastic wrap over them and pound each one flat using a meat tenderizer/mallet until they are about a quarter inch thick. Season a good amount of salt and pepper on both sides of each piece. Place some flour on a plate and and dredge each piece of chicken in it.

2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and when the oil is hot fry each piece of chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are golden brown (this may require you to do this in 2 batches). Remove chicken and place them on your serving platter covering them with foil. carefully soak up any remaining oil with paper towels and discard. 

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add butter and mushrooms. Saute mushrooms for 4-5 minutes making sure to season them with salt and pepper lightly. Add marsala wine, sherry, cream, and chicken stock allowing the liquid to reduce slightly – approx. 3 minutes. Pour mushrooms and sauce over chicken and serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Huevos Rancheros

Ah, breakfast for dinner. It just seems more fun that way, doesn't it? I love some good huevos rancheros, these ones were particularly delicious, I just wish they were more photogenic!

The best part about this dish is the ranchero salsa...I've actually made it a few more times to go with other meals because we like it so much. Its so simple, but I think its the addition of a little cooking time that gives it a little something more than a regular salsa.

Also, this recipe includes the addition of chorizo-infused refried beans as a side dish, which I was excited about being a big chorizo fan. However, I was a little disappointed in these, and really didn't think the chorizo was necessary and didn't add much flavor to the beans like I was hoping for. I just used canned beans so maybe homemade/fresh ones would have been better.

Oh, and make sure to cook your eggs just until the whites are set so you get lots of yummy yolk-y goodness to spread around :)


Huevos Rancheros
recipe adapted from From Away

Ingredients
2 cups refried beans (or one can)
4 oz. fresh Mexican chorizo
8 corn tortillas
2 cups Salsa Ranchera (recipe follows)
Vegetable oil (for frying)
8 eggs
1 cup pepper Jack cheese, grated
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Mexican crema, or regular sour cream thinned with milk (I used sour cream)

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, heat refried beans, thinned with a little water, until bubbly and hot. In a small frying pan, cook crumbled chorizo until crisp, and drain on paper towels. Add to refried beans, stir to combine, cover, and set aside. In another saucepan, warm salsa.

 2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees, and warm the plates you plan to use for serving in the oven. Cover bottom of a medium frying pan with vegetable oil bring to 340 degrees over medium heat. Working one at a time, quickly fry each tortilla, about two seconds per side. Drain tortillas on paper towels, place two tortillas on each plate, and put back in the oven to keep warm. 

3. Fry two eggs at a time in butter until cooked over-easy, with soft yolks. Keep finished eggs warm in oven as you continue cooking. 4. To assemble: On each plate, place a tablespoon of warm salsa on each tortilla. Top with fried eggs. Top eggs with another spoonful of salsa. Add refried beans to side of plate. Top eggs and beans with a few sprinkles of shredded Jack cheese, then scallions, then cotija (or Parmesan), followed by a sprinkle of cilantro, and a drizzle of the crema. Serve immediately.




Salsa Ranchera 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano chiles, toasted in a dry skillet until charred, stemmed, and chopped
A few shakes of Mexican hot sauce, such as Cholula brand (I didn’t add this because I didn’t think it needed it!)

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine oil and onions. Cook until onions begin to soften, about four minutes. Meanwhile, put tomatoes, garlic, and chiles in bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth but still slightly chunky.
 2. Pour tomato mixture into pot with onions can cook over high heat for five minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Adjust spiciness of salsa by adding hot sauce, as needed.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Deep Dish Pizza


I'm a crispy, thin crust pizza kinda girl, but my husband LOVES deep dish. Its not what I think of when I want pizza, I think because it seems more casserole or pie-like versus a delicious crispy crust traditional version. So this was my first foray into deep dish-making, and this recipe almost has me converted. I was a little concerned about how long the recipe looked, but rest assured most of it is just the dough prep...which let's be honest, I never make my own dough. I might start though because its worth it! I really, really loved how this dough came out.

We made two batches of this dough, and created the deep dish pizza seen here as well as a regular pizza. The crust worked beautifully for both - it has a light, biscuit-y kind of texture, that when baked up also became kind of crispy so I was for sure a fan. My only change to this recipe was to add in Italian sausage between the mozzarella and the sauce, which I do recommend! Oh, and definitely don't try to shortcut and use a canned sauce, this pie needs a chunky, homemade one :)



Recipe from Pennies on a Platter

For the dough:
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/8 tsp. instant yeast
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. water, at room temperature
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened


For the sauce:
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. grated onion
Pinch of dried oregano
1/4 tsp.salt
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 (14.5 oz) can petite-diced tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
2 Tbsp. chopped basil leaves
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste


For assembling and topping:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 ounces Mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)
½ lb. Italian sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/4 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 tablespoons)


To make the dough:
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer, until well blended. Attach the dough hook and mix in the water and melted butter on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes. Coat a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Once dough is risen, turn it out onto a dry work surface and roll into an 8- x 6-inch rectangle. To laminate the dough, spread the softened butter over the surface, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. With the seam side down, flatten the cylinder into a 9- x 2-inch rectangle, then fold into thirds like a business letter. Pinch the seams to form a ball, and return to the oiled bowl. Cover tightly again with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator for 40 to 50 minutes.   


Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onion, oregano and salt. Saute until the liquid has nearly evaporated and the onion is golden brown, stirring often, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar, then increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture just to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Assemble and top the pizza: Preheat oven to 425˚F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with olive oil. Move the dough to a dry work surface and roll out into a 13-inch disk about 1/4-inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and lightly press to line the bottom of the pan and 1 inch up the sides. If the dough resists stretching, wait 5 minutes before trying again. Sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella over the surface of the dough, then layer the sauce over the cheese. Top with Parmesan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

 Note: You can prep the dough ahead of time, and store in the fridge overnight or even freeze.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

This Week's Menu




Ground Turkey Tacos


Udon Noodle Soup

Baked Chile Relleno


Monday, March 5, 2012

Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Chili


This is a fantastic vegetarian meal option that I highly recommend! Cooking Light magazine has so many delicious, light options in each issue (which they post online at the My Recipes website) that I always find myself debating which ones to try, and I'm glad I went with this one this week because it did not disappoint! There really isn't much to it, but the peppers and zucchini and quinoa work really well together and give it a hearty feel. Its a perfect light yet filling meal - thanks to that quinoa superfood! - that the whole family can enjoy.

One note I have is that at the original link, some reviewers mentioned it was much too spicy, but I followed the recipe almost exactly and I didn't have that issue at all - I actually wished mine had had a little more spice to it. I think this comes down to the poblanos, because you just never know what each one's heat level will be until you use them! So, just keep that in mind when you go to make this that you may need to watch out for your spice level!



Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Chili 
adapted from Cooking Light


Ingredients 
2 red bell peppers
2 poblano chiles
4 tsp.olive oil
3 cups chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp.chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chipotles, undrained (I couldn't find these, so I used regular fire-roasted tomatoes and added 1 tsp. of adobo sauce)
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup low-sodium vegetable juice

Directions

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Cut bell peppers and chiles in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet, and flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop.

3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add zucchini, onion, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and paprika; sauté for 30 seconds. Add roasted peppers and chiles, 1/2 cup water, and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cajun Mac & Cheese

Picture of Cajun Mac and Cheese Recipe

*Photo from Food Network

I guess you could use the term "grown-up mac and cheese" to describe this, and although I don't really like using that phrase, when I make this and my 2 year-old gets a different version, I guess the "grown-up" term is a good description. Although using the wagon wheel pasta gives it a kid-like feel...hmmm...let's just call this a spiced-up mac and cheese :)

We really enjoyed this, a little twist on a plain macaroni and cheese that totally didn't feel like we were eating macaroni and cheese. You could use polish sausage or smoked sausage in place of the andouille if you don't want the extra spice, and I think it would be just as good!

Ingredients
Kosher salt
12 oz. wagon-wheel pasta (I found this in the bulk section of my store, it can be hard to find in the pasta aisle)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 oz. andouille sausage, diced
2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
1 Tbsp. Cajun spice blend
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (I used mild cheddar since we aren't sharp fans) 


Directions

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

2. Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and sausage in a large skillet over high heat and cook, stirring, until the sausage starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and bell pepper and cook until the vegetables are slightly soft, about 3 more minutes. Add the Cajun spice and flour and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 5 more minutes.

3. Add the pasta, cheese and reserved cooking water to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, tossing to coat the pasta in the sauce and melt the cheese, about 1 minute.

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