Friday, April 30, 2010

Jalapeno Poppers and Pork Tacos

Since I am having a baby next week on Cinco de Mayo, we did our Mexican fiesta last night.
I typically always buy flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas but I decided to change it up this time and we used corn. They are so much more flavorful and went perfectly with the pork.

Smoked Gouda-Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers (from Sunny Anderson on the Food Network)

2 links Mexican chorizo, casings removed (I actually bought already cooked chorizo from Whole Foods and just chopped it up into small pieces and didn't even have to precook it).
1/2 pound smoked gouda, shredded
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 egg
1/2 cup cream cheese
3 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp hot sauce
salt and pepper
12 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and halved

Preheat oven to 375. Brown chorizo in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain and place into a mixing bowl. Add the cheese, red onion, egg, cream cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Press into jalapeno halves and assemble on a parchment lined baking sheet or nonstick baking sheet. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Pork Tacos
1- 2 lb. boneless Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
corn tortillas
cheddar cheese
sour cream
fresh salsa

Mix together sugar and salt and rub all over pork. Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours. Place in crock pot or in roasting pan in the oven at 300 for about 5-6 hours or until internal temperature is 195. Take pork out and shred with two forks.
Warm tortillas and layer with pork and your favorite toppings.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grilled Vegetables Salad

When I put together the following ingredients for dinner: grilled veggies, feta cheese and leftover quinoa , the end result was healthy, refreshing and delicious!

1 eggplant, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise in strips
1 handful of grape tomatoes
2 carrots, cut into sticks
feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
romaine lettuce
olive oil
kosher salt and pepper

Dressing: olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a few sprinkles of borsari seasoning

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and let sit for about 30 minutes. Wipe off the excess water from the eggplant. Heat a grill pan or the grill. Brush each piece of eggplant and zucchini (on both sides) with olive oil. Grill until tender and cooked through. Meanwhile, place carrots on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in 425 oven for 20 minutes or until slightly browned and cooked through.
Layer lettuce, quinoa, vegetables and feta. Drizzle with some dressing and serve.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Halibut with Artichokes and Tomatoes

I have never cooked in parchment paper before but it is now one of my favorite ways to cook fish! It was so simple and clean up was no pans...perfect for my night on "dish duty"! I served the fish over quinoa.

Halibut with Artichokes and Tomatoes (recipe from Whole Foods)
2 halibut fillets (skin-on)
olive oil
6 lemon slices
12 grape tomatoes, sliced
1 can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 tbsp chopped basil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange 1 fillet of halibut in the middle of a 12-inch x 12-inch piece of parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over fish. Top with lemon and arrange tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and basil over the top and around the sides. Season with salt and pepper. Fold up parchment, making sure the seam is at the top, to seal the ingredients inside; tuck under the ends. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat process with second piece of fish. Bake until fish is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Carefully open parchment paper to release steam before serving.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pulled Chicken Sandwich

My sister found this recipe and it is great meal for any night of the week! It looks like a lot of effort goes into making the chicken but it is very simple. I served the chicken on hamburger buns with a big side salad.

Pulled Chicken (adapted from Cooking Light)
  • 6 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 8 pieces of skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Combine first 9 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 23 minutes or until chicken is done and tender. Remove from heat; shred with 2 forks and put back in saucepan with sauce.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

I am actually very surprised that both of my kids eat this dish because of the artichokes in it but they love it! It is the perfect dish to make ahead and freeze for future use or make ahead and bake when you are ready to serve dinner. I typically do both... eat some the night I make it and freeze the rest for another dinner. (This recipe is adapted from a recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis).

  • 1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 small cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 5 cups Marinara Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of marinara sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells. Drizzle the remaining marinara sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.

To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Swiss Chard Gratin

I served the swiss chard gratin with roasted potatoes and lemon chicken. (search blog for lemon chicken recipe)

Once again I am experimenting with vegetables I have never cooked. Tonight we had swiss chard. I got this recipe from the whole foods website. It can be made a day in advance, stored in the fridge and baked right before serving. It was delicious!

2 bunches Swiss Chard leaves, chopped
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup lowfat milk
2 tbsp flour
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Place chard leaves in a saucepan with the water and cook over medium heat until leaves are just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Set chard aside. In the same saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. When butter has melted, whisk in the flour. Whisk constantly for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and reserved cooking liquid. Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce has thickened, 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then stir in half the grated cheese. Stir in the swiss chard and transfer to a butter 9x9 inch baking dish. SPrinkle with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tofu and Bok Choy Stir Fry

I am always looking for new vegetables to cook and came across a version of this recipe on I had never cooked bok choy but knew I liked it so we tried it out tonight. It was really good but would probably double the sauce next time because it was very mild.

1 1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp sherry
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1/8 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 large bok choy, thinly sliced
3 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 package of extra-firm tofu, drained, cut into small pieces
1 cup brown rice, cooked

Combine first 4 ingredients in small bowl; mix well. Heat oil in large wok or skillet over high heat. Add garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds then add bok choy and red pepper. Cook another 2 minutes. Mix in green onions and tofu and cook another 5 minutes until tofu is heated through. Pour soy mixture over vegetables and stir fry until liquid boils and thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Serve hot over brown rice.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Skirt Steak Lettuce Wraps

These wraps could be prepared with marinated chicken, pork, steak, tofu, or even seafood. They are light yet very satisfying. I love the Soy Vey marinades. They are all delicious and I used the hoisin one with this dish, but any hoisin marinade would probably work. I like to put all the dishes on the table and let each person make their own wraps.

1 head of Bibb lettuce
1 skirt steak
1 bottle of Soy Vey hoisin- garlic marinade
1 red pepper, cut into strips
snow peas
1 tsp sesame oil
sesame seeds
1 tbsp butter
1 cup brown rice, cooked
Momokufu ginger scallion sauce - recipe follows

Marinade the steak in the hoisin marinade for 6 hours or overnight. Grill steak about 4 minutes per side (or until done to your liking). In a saute pan, melt butter, add red pepper strips and snow peas. Saute about 5-10 minutes, then add sprinkling of sesame seeds and sesame oil. Continue to cook another couple minutes then set aside.

Slice steak into strips. Carefully remove lettuce leaves and wash, making sure you keep each lettuce piece whole.

Layer lettuce leaf, rice, steak, vegetable mixture and ginger-scallion sauce. Enjoy and then repeat!

Ginger Scallion Sauce- Momofuku recipe

Makes about 3 cups Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Though it's best after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it's stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge. Use as directed, or apply as needed.

2½ cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)

½ cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger

¼ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

1½ teaspoons soy sauce, preferably usukuchi (light soy sauce), found in Asian markets

¾ teaspoon sherry vinegar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with Fig Preserves

This dish is one of my all time favorites! I even don't really like figs but the sweetness of the preserves makes it taste so good I just forget I am eating figs! It is great dish to make for company or a crowd because you can make it ahead of time. You could probably even do this in a crock pot. The longer and slower you cook them the more tender they are.

1 package of pork tenderloins (typically 2 in each package)
garlic powder
seasoned salt
cayenne pepper (I don't add this when making for my kids)
1 or 2 - 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes (need enough to come up on both sides of the tenderloin, at least 3/4 of the side, but not go over the top)
mushrooms (optional)
1 small onion, chopped
1 jar of fig preserves

Coat the tenderloins with the dry seasonings (garlic powder, seasoned salt and cayenne pepper). Mix together the tomatoes, onions and mushrooms. (If you use fresh mushrooms you need to cook them thoroughly to get the water out or else your tomato sauce will be runny.) Pour into the bottom of a casserole dish. Place the coated tenderloins in the tomato mixture. Pour fig preserves over the tenderloins.

Bake, covered, at 350 for about 1 1/2 hours. When finished, slice the pork into medallions and put back into the sauce. Serve over brown rice or pasta.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Spinach

If you have never cooked spaghetti squash, try it! It is simple to prepare (once you finally get it cut in half!!) and so healthy!! My kids think it is real spaghetti and don't even realize they are eating another vegetable. I never had it until I met my husband who introduced it to me. It is so delicious and this might be my new favorite way to cook it.

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (freshly grated, if you have it)
salt and pepper
12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1 bag fresh spinach, stems discarded
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Fill a large pot halfway full of water. Cut squash in half, lengthwise and place cut side down in the water. Bring water to a boil and set timer for about 20 minutes. While the squash is cooking, put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage and cook until no longer pink. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. (If you are serving kids, wait to put the red pepper flakes on each individual adult plate, if you are not serving kids, you can add the red pepper now). Season with salt and pepper.

When the squash is done, remove each half with a pair of tongs from the water. Using a fork, comb the squash into strands and place in a bowl. Mix the parmesan cheese with the squash. Top with the sausage mixture. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Once again I am finding ways to use up leftover ham. I made these last week...

Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
Swiss cheese, slices or shredded (whatever you have on hand)
Cooked ham, slices or diced pieces
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Coat baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with kosher salt and pepper. Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on top of each breast. Roll up each breast and place in baking dish with seam side down. (can secure with a toothpick if you need to). Brush each piece of chicken with melted butter then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from oven, and place 1/2 cheese slice on top of each breast. Return to oven for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Avocado Fig Popsicles

My sister sampled this recipe at Whole Foods in Colorado and said they definitely tasted like a fudgesicle...we had to try this one out! If you are looking for a healthy frozen treat or trying to trick your kids into eating something healthy.... this might be the one!
Avocado Fig Popsicles
1 avocado
4 fresh black mission figs
4 pitted mejool dates
4 tbsp cocoa powder
Approx. 1 cup of water (enough water to smooth the consistency)

Blend all ingredients in a blender and pour into popsicle molds or popsicle maker. Freeze 1-6 hours.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Turkey London Broil

When spring arrives, it is time to break out the grill! Tonight we had marinated turkey london broil with a side of cucumber and tomato salad and couscous. The cucumbers and tomatoes were tossed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Here is the simple marinade for the turkey london broil.

1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 to 1 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated (or you can use 1 tsp ground ginger)
2 tbsp sherry (optional)

Mix all together and pour over meat. Turn occasionally. Then grill!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ham leftovers

Today I made two things with my leftover ham. First I used the ham bone and made soup.

Ham and Lentil Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups onions, diced small
1 cup celery, diced small
1 cup carrots, diced small
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1 ham bone with some meat still left on it
1 pound lentils

In a large stock pan, put the ham bone and fill with water almost to cover bone. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer until the ham is practically falling off the bone, about 3 hours.

While the ham bone is cooking, in a saute pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Then add the onion, celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Set aside. Once the ham bone has cooked for about 2 hours, then add the onion mixture. At the time you can also add the lentils and cook over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender. Remove from heat. Take the ham bone out and remove the meat. Add the ham back into the soup. Serve with crusty bread.

The second thing I made with the ham today:

Mini Frittatas with Ham and Cheese

1 tbsp minced onion flakes
2/3 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and Monetary jack cheese
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 eggs
1/4 of a red pepper, diced small

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir with a whisk. Spoon mixture into 24 miniature muffins cups that are coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 2o minutes or until set.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Dinner

Some of our Easter dishes.....

Potato-Fennel Gratin- Barefoot Contessa (made by my sister-in-law, Erin)

Deviled Eggs (made by my grandmother)

Mandarin Orange Salad

Hot Fruit Compote

Desserts- cookies, buttercream easter eggs (top), coconut cake (left) and banana cream pie (right)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Cookies

Here are my basic sugar cookies with Easter shapes and sprinkles!

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
egg wash= 1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp water

Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Then add flour and baking powder and mix until well incorporated. Put dough on a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap, roll into a disc and wrap up with wax paper. Refrigerate 2 hours or until ready to make cookies.
Preheat oven to 375. On a floured surface, roll out some or all of the dough using a rolling pin and use cookie cutters to shape cookies. Place cookies on cookie sheet, brush with egg wash, and decorate with sprinkles. Bake 375 for 7-8 minutes.
Cool on cooling rack and enjoy!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Dishes

Need some ideas for Easter??
Here are two dishes I will be serving that I served last year and are definitely worth repeating!!

1. Hot Fruit Compote- here is a great dish to serve with ham

2 cans comstock pie cherries
20 oz. can chunk pineapple
10-12 oz. pitted prunes
6-10 oz. dried apricots
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cooking or regular sherry
dried cranberries

Set oven to 350. Drain pineapple into measuring cup, add brown sugar and sherry. Add enough water to make 1 1/2 cups. Put fruit into a large casserole dish. Pour liquid over the top. Bake, covered, for 1 hour. Serve hot.

2. Potato-Fennel Gratin- Barefoot Contessa recipe (let me know if you need the recipe)

Turkey Sausage and Peppers

Tonight we grilled turkey sausage, peppers and onions on the grill. Served it over brown rice.

Pumpkin Millet Muffins

I have a bag of millet in my pantry and I haven't found a good recipe to use in it.... until now. These muffins have a lot of ingredients but most of the things you should already have so that shouldn't be a problem. Basically you fill two bowls, mix them together and then bake! I made them this morning and we tasted them warm from the oven with butter on each bite. The millet gives them a nice crunch and they were delicious!

1/2 cup millet

1 egg

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whole milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup canned pumpkin purée

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin pan; set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add millet and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and just beginning to pop, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer millet to a plate to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, sour cream, milk, butter, pumpkin, granulated sugar and brown sugar; set aside. Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cooled millet in a medium bowl, then gently fold into egg mixture until just combined. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.