Monday, January 31, 2011

Black Bean Frittata and Fingerling Potatoes with Truffle Oil

Before going in the oven:
The other night I was forced to "clean out the fridge" in hopes of coming out with a good meal for dinner. This is what I created and it was quite tasty. My kids ate it too... and didn't even realize there was swiss chard in it!

olive oil
5 eggs
1/2 orange pepper
1 garlic clove
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch swiss chard, chopped
fingerling potatoes
cheddar cheese
truffle oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350.In a medium sized oven-proof skillet, add 2 tbsp olive oil and turn to medium heat. Add garlic and orange pepper and saute for a couple minutes. Add swiss chard and cook until wilted. Add black beans. Meanwhile, beat together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add egg mixture and turn heat to medium low. Cook, undisturbed, for about 5-10 minutes or until the sides of the frittata start to get firm.

Transfer skillet to the oven. Bake for about 10-20 minutes, until the middle is no longer runny. Cut into wedges and serve.

For the potatoes: preheat oven to 400 (cook potatoes first, then put them back in the oven when you are cooking the frittata so they heat up). Cut potatoes in half and place on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil and salt. Roast in oven until tender and slightly browned, tossing at least once, about 20 minutes. For last 10 minutes of frittata cooking, add potatoes back to oven so they heat up. When you take them out, sprinkle with a dash of truffle oil and some freshly grated parmesan cheese and mix well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beef Pot Roast

On a snowy day there is nothing better than a nice hot meal! Luckily I planned ahead and bought a chuck roast to make this dinner. The vegetables are perfect for little kids because they are soft and easy to eat (I even gave them to my 8 month old daughter and she loved it!!). I got this recipe from "The Art of Simple Food" by Alice Waters.

3 lbs beef chuck roast
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour

Part 1:
2 onions (or 1 onion and 1 leek), peeled and cut into large pieces
1 carrot, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into large pieces
3 garlic cloves, halved
a couple thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine

Part 2:
5 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
1/2 lb fingerling potatoes

Season, overnight or a couple hours in advance, the beef chuck roast, with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until an hour before cooking. Heat a Dutch oven and add olive oil. Place roast in pan and brown each side for 3-4 minutes per side. Add butter and sprinkle each side with flour, then brown for another 3 minutes per side. Then add "Part 1" to the pan. Add enough water to come almost to top of the meat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover and adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook about 2 1/2 hours until meat is tender. While pot roast is simmering, cook in a separate sauce pan of boiling, salted water the Part 2 veggies.
When the pot roast is cooked, take it out of the liquid and strain the cooking liquid, pressing down with the back of a spoon to extract all the juices from the veggies left in the strainer. Discard the veggies. Allow the liquid to settle and skim the fat off. Return the liquid to the pot, slice the roast and add it to the pot, then also add the Part 2 cooked veggies. Bring to a simmer and serve hot.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sweet Potato and Spinach Risotto

I bought arborio rice (which is the type of rice you use when making a risotto) a while ago and totally forgot about it. I saw a recipe on another food blog for a risotto that looked really good so here is my version below. Most people think making risotto is very hard and time consuming, however, if I can do it with three kids running around my feet (and I was actually feeding the baby dinner in between running back and forth to the stove to stir it) then anyone can! Mine turned out great and I didn't have to stand at the stove stirring for a half an hour (you just can't forget about it!) The sweet potatoes make it a little sweet and it is a very filling main course or serve a small portion as a side dish. (I almost didn't have room for ice cream after eating it.... imagine that!!)

A couple risotto tips:
1) make sure you use arborio rice (can find in rice section of any supermarket)
2) make sure you heat the liquid (chicken or vegetable broth) before adding to risotto or it will take longer and will stop the rice from cooking if it is cold - I just put the broth in a sauce pan on another burner over low and added as I needed it to the risotto
3) again, you don't have to stand at the stove for 30 minutes but don't forget about it either!!

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
6 cups chicken broth
5 tbsp unsalted butter
3 small shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated if you have it)
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach , roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Place diced sweet potatoes on baking sheet and toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until slightly browned. Set aside.

To make the risotto, heat chicken broth in a sauce pan and simmer on low. In another sauce pan, melt butter and saute shallots and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir until rice is coated with butter. Add white wine and cook for about 4 minutes. Add one cup of the broth and stir with a wooden spoon until the broth is absorbed. Continue to add broth, one cup at a time. Keep stirring and when mixture dries out, add more broth. It should take about 30 minutes for the rice to be fully cooked and to use up all the broth.

Remove risotto from heat and stir in parmesan cheese, spinach and sweet potatoes. Combine well. Season with a dash of salt and pepper and serve warm.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bean and Sausage Stew...and Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

I don't know where you are but it is freezing here in PA! We needed something that would keep us warm (since my house is known to be cold on a regular day!!) so I came up with this hearty stew. If you like things spicy, use only hot turkey sausage, or if you want to feed this to your kids, use mild turkey sausage and add hot sauce to your final dish for that extra kick!

And, this dessert came from Martha Stewart (here is the link: ) it is amazing and so easy... no cookie pans to wash... can't beat that!!

1 lb turkey sausage (mild or hot)
olive oil or safflower oil
1/2 package of Trader Joe's 17 Bean and Barley Soup Mix- soak overnight or follow instructions on bag to quick soak (takes about 1 hour)
1 large or 2 small onions, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1- 28oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 fresh thyme sprig or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350. In a heavy, medium-sized sauce pan, add 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. When onions are translucent but not brown, add beans, tomatoes, thyme, salt, pepper and 1 cup water. Simmer for 1-2 hours until beans are tender. If seems too dry, add some more water.

Meanwhile, put sausage in baking dish with a little water (about 1/2 cup) and put in oven for approx. 30 minutes. (It doesn't have to be fully cooked. You want it to be cooked enough for you to cut it into slices without it falling apart). Take out of oven and cut into slices. Then take a large sauce pan and add 2 tbsp oil. Heat pan over medium high heat and add sliced sausage. Brown sausage then add to beans. Continue to cook over low heat until ready to serve. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and/or hot sauce.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Swiss Chard & Black Bean Quesadillas

Swiss Chard mixture:
Assembled in panini grill:
ready to come out of panini grill:
Ready to plate:
Final dinner served with roasted butternut squash and parsnips:
I bought some swiss chard at the grocery store earlier this week and still had it sitting in my fridge this afternoon. My plan for dinner was quesadillas but I needed to incorporate the swiss chard into my dinner and somehow it turned out really good. My kids ate plain cheese quesadillas with all the veggies (tomatoes, avocado, roasted squash) as a side dish while my husband and I ate our quesadillas with the swiss chard mixture in it. Using the panini grill, quesadillas take two minutes and you don't have to worry about trying to flip them and the toppings falling out! (And the burnt cheese that oozes out the sides is our favorite part!)

1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped (stems included)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
cheddar cheese

In a large saute pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil or safflower oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes or until they begin to brown. Add garlic, saute another 3 minutes. Add swiss chard and black beans and mix. Cover and let cook until swiss chard is tender and wilted, taking the top off occasionally to stir mixture. (Can make this ahead of time because it will heat back up when cooking in panini).
Preheat panini grill. Put one tortilla in grill and top with a couple spoonfuls of swiss chard mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and then another tortilla on top. Lower panini grill and cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is crisp (a couple minutes).

Remove from panini grill and cut into wedges. Serve with favorite toppings.

toppings: sour cream, avocado, salsa

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chili and Cornbread

Every year we have a family chili contest the day after Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law's house. Each family makes chili and we have neighbors come over and judge the contest. Winner gets their name on a plaque and bragging rights for the year. I have won twice, however, sadly, not this past year. I am making a comeback .. so watch out all you Hardy families... because I am on a mission to make some winning chili in 2011! Tonight we tested out a new recipe that I found on another blog. It was really good... I think it has some potential. It was a little spicy for my taste but that can be easily adjusted with less jalapenos.

As for the cornbread, I didn't have a box of Jiffy in my pantry so I had to make it from scratch. It was really good and didn't even need extra butter on top! (And I usually always put butter on it!)


3-1/2 pounds sirloin or blade steak or chuck-eye roast, fat trimmed, cut into 3/4" pieces ( I used sirloin)
2 (15-oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 garlic cloves
2 medium onions, each cut into 8 pieces
2-3 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1/2" pieces
3 tablespoons canola oil or safflower oil
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons molasses
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (12-oz) bottle beer ( I used Bud Light)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In food processor, mince garlic; add onions and jalapenos and pulse until chopped. (Or, chop garlic, onions and jalapenos by hand.)

On stove top, heat 1 tablespoon oil in oven-safe Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add onion/garlic/jalapeno mixture and saute until soft. Add chili powder, cornmeal, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and cocoa powder and stir; cook 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth, molasses, tomatoes, beans, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Pat meat dry and add half to skillet. Cook until browned on all sides. Add cooked meat to Dutch oven. Pour half of beer into skillet, stir and scrape to remove browned bits. Pour beer mixture into Dutch oven. Repeat with remaining oil, meat, and beer.

Combine everything in Dutch oven and heat through. Cover and move to oven. Bake until meat and beans are tender, approx. 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Stir, taste, and add more salt, if needed. Serve with cornbread and garnishes.

  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Combine the eggs and milk. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees F for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares; serve warm

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wheat Berry & Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

This dish fulfills all the nutritional requirements that you would want in a meal (fiber, protein, vegetable, flavor) however, it would also be a great side dish to some kind of meat or roasted chicken. We ate this dish tonight as a main course, although my husband did eat some soup from last night along with it. I saved room for my nightly ice cream bowl :-) We both agreed it would be great with some fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley) or hot sauce.

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup wheat berries, cooked ( To cook wheat berries- 1 1/4 cup water and berries in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer, covered for 15 minutes)
3 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 beets, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400. Place the carrots and parsnips on one side of rimmed baking sheet and beets on the other side. Toss veggies with 2 tbsp of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Bake about 20 minutes or until tender and slightly browned. Set aside.

Cook quinoa-Place 1 cup chicken broth and juice from 1 lemon in sauce pan, bring to boil add quinoa, simmer, covered and cook for about 10-12 minutes until quinoa is tender.

Mix quinoa and wheat berries then toss with roasted veggies. Add fresh herbs and more lemon juice.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Parmesan Pork Chops

I got this recipe from Giada on the Food Network... it is so easy and very delicious! My husband is not a big fan of pork chops but he loves these!

2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
6 boneless center cut pork chops
kosher salt and pepper
safflower oil or olive oil

Place eggs in one bowl. Place bread crumbs in another bowl. Place cheese in a third bowl. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Coat with cheese, patting to adhere. Dip into the eggs, then coat with bread crumbs.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add pork chops, cover, and cook about 6 minutes each side, until golden brown and cooked through.

I served with steamed broccoli and roasted sweet potato wedges.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baked Flounder with vegetables served over lentils

My family and I are spending the first weekend of the new year in sunny Florida. Yesterday morning I actually got to watch something other than children's shows since my children were preoccupied with figuring out how they were going to go swimming at 8 am (thank goodness for my husband!!) And, I was watching Emeril on Good Morning America who had prepared a nice flounder dish that I thought sounded good. I looked up the recipe and went to the fish market to get some fresh fish.

Here is my version of Emeril's fish:

2 flounder filets (about 1.25 lbs)
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp honey
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 freshly ground pepper
5 oz baby spinach
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1/3 cup mixed fresh parsley and cilantro
1 cup dried lentils
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 red pepper, diced

In a saucepan, combine lentils, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add red pepper to lentils and cook another 2 minutes or so. Then drain lentils and peppers. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bow, combine olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, ginger, and garlic. Whisk well to combine. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

In a separate bowl, combine the spinach, carrots and herbs and drizzle with 6 tbsp of the vinaigrette, toss well to combine. Arrange salad in a 9X13 baking dish. Season flounder with remaining salt and pepper on both sides. Lay the fish over the salad and drizzle 1 tbsp of vinaigrette over each fillet. Place in oven and bake until vegatables are wilted and fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork, about 14 minutes. Meanwhile, add another handful of minced cilantro and remaining vinaigrette to lentils, mix well.

Remove fish from oven and serve over lentils.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chicken with Bok Choy and Cabbage

Happy New Year! As we start off the first week of the new year we all try to be extra healthy.... so here is one of my first (and super easy) dinners to kick off 2011.

(And yes my kids eat most of these veggies... I think the more colorful the better... it is fun to eat purple cabbage (better than green!!))

1/2 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil or safflower oil
1 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced and roughly chopped
1 cup bok choy, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sesame oil

6 chicken thighs (boneless or bone-in... whatever you have!!)
1/2 cup Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki

In a large saute pan, add a splash of olive oil and heat to medium high heat. Add chicken thighs and pour soy vay sauce on top. Make sure there is enough sauce to cover all the chicken. Put lid on pan and let cook. Flip chicken a few times until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.

In another saute pan, add olive oil or safflower oil and heat to medium heat. Add onions, garlic and red pepper. Cook about 3 minutes. Add cabbage and bok choy. Cook until bok choy leaves have wilted, another couple minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp sesame oil.

Serve chicken over bed of sautéed vegetables. Spoon teriyaki sauce from chicken pan over chicken and veggies before serving.