Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2nd Anniversary Dinner: Pork Chops, Zucchini and Goat Cheese, Mashed Potatoes

4-6 Thin, boneless pork chops

Mashed Potatoes
2-3 medium red, skinned potatoes, skin on and chopped in large pieces
¼ cup of heavy cream
½ tsp of butter
2 sprigs of green onions, chopped
Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

2 small zucchinis, chopped
2 tsp chives, chopped
¼ cup of pine nuts, roasted
Herbed goat cheese chunks

Season potatoes with S&P. Steam potatoes for 15-20 minutes until fork tender. Mash potatoes with cream, butter, salt and pepper. Stir in green onions.

Season pork chops with lemon pepper and salt. Over medium high, brown one side of the pork chops for a couple minutes. Flip pork, turn down heat and cover for 5-10 minutes until pork is no longer pink in the middle.

In a medium frying pan, sauté zucchini in EVOO for about 5 minutes or so until fork tender. Season with S&P to taste. Remove zucchini from frying pan to a plate. Toss with chives. Add pine nuts to frying pan over med-high heat, stir until toasted. Toss with zucchini and chives. Add chunks of goat cheese.

Serve pork chops with mashed potatoes and zucchini side.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

We had this delicious and refreshing appetizer to start off Ben's Birthday dinner at my parent's house. The tomatoes and herbs were from their garden.

large, ripe tomatoes, sliced (about 1 1/2 tomato per person)
fresh basil, roll leaves and slice into strips
Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
Chives, minced
Red onion, sliced
Goat cheese chunks
Freshly crushed sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Balsamic vinegar

Place tomatoes on plate in a circle, over lapping the next slice. Top with red onion, cheese, herbs, S&P. Drizzle with vinegar and EVOO.

Yummy Camping Dinner: Sausage on a Stick, Czech Style

It's a family affair! Cooking sausage on a stick is a great family activity to do around the fire.

Cook the sausage until the ends curl up and get nice and crispy.

Serves 5 people

2 packages of beef kielbasa sausages, cut each package into 3 pieces
Crusty French bread loaf, sliced
French mustard

Make a nice, big camp fire. Everyone should find a stick for themselves that’s at least 4 feet long. Sharpen one end of the stick, which will poke through the sausage. Cut an ‘X’ in the end of each sausage, and score along the top and the bottom of the sausage. Poke the stick through the middle of the sausage. Cook sausages over the fire until the ends curl up and get crispy.

Serve with bread and mustard. Enjoy with a pivo (Czech for beer!).

Yummy Camping Dinner: Chicken Fajitas

Since there is limited "refrigerated" space when camping, I try to plan meals out so I can buy one ingredient and use it for several other meals in the trip. For example with this meal, I used the tortillas to make breakfast burritos one mornring, salsa for a chips & salsa snack, cheese & onions for the chili bowl and garlic for everything else!

2 chicken breasts, sliced
Fajitas seasoning, I found a packet in the Hispanic aisle with the $.99 seasonings, which worked perfect
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ yellow onion, sliced
¾ green bell pepper, sliced
Shredded cheddar cheese
Flour tortillas
Sour cream

In a frying pan over med-high heat, sauté chicken and garlic in a little EVOO. Sprinkle chicken with fajitas seasoning. Move chicken to a plate once it’s cooked and no longer pink in the middle. Sauté veggies in EVOO for a few minutes, until fork tender, then remove from heat. Heat tortillas by placing them on the grill over the fire or by flipping them over in the frying pan.

Add chicken and veggies to tortillas, top with cheese, salsa and sour cream. Enjoy!

Yummy Camping Dinner: Chili Bowls

We enjoyed this traditional, camping meal the first night since it took the least amount of time. You can save the soft middle of the bread to dip in the chili or I used it to feed the geese on the lake in the morning.

2 cans of chili
2 small sourdough bread bowls
A bag of shredded cheddar cheese
½ yellow onion, finely chopped

Heat chili over the stove top. Cut tops off of the bread bowls and scrape out the middles to create a bowl. Be careful not to poke holes in the sides so the chili won’t spill out. Pour chili in bread bowls and top with cheese and onion. I also like to add a dollop of sour cream, if you have it.

Yummy Camping Dinner: Salmon Foil Packet

I've heard this type of meal referred to as a "hobo packet" but we like to fancy it up by adding salmon! This dinner is so good that we usually have it twice in one week when camping. Basically, you add all your ingredients in a foil packet, throw in the fire to cook for 45 minutes and enjoy. The perfect camping meal!

Layer the ingredients you like:

Cooking the foil packets in the fire:

Open packet carefully so ashes from the fire doesn't get into your food:

Slide dinner out of foil packet and carefully onto a plate:

Ingredients (split veggies into two halves for two packets)
2 salmon filets
1 large red potato, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced about half as twice as the potato (not too thick or it won’t cook enough)
1 sliced mushroom (for my packet only, not for Ben’s since he hates mushrooms)
½ green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 small tomato, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly crushed pepper

Start fire with wood or charcoal. Wait until fire dies down a bit before adding foil packets to heat.

Lay a piece of aluminum foil on the table. Drizzle EVOO on the foil. This will prevent the food from sticking (hopefully). Start layer with potato slices, then salmon, minced garlic, S&P, the rest of the veggies and another layer of potato slices. Try to put the heartier ingredients, like the potatoes and carrots, on the outside of the packet since these will take longest to cook. Drizzle more EVOO over the top of the other layer of potatoes, to prevent the top from sticking to the foil.

Take two sides of the foil and crimp and roll down together, to make a tight seal. Repeat with the other two sides, or twist tightly to make a candy wrapper shape (like a Werther's). Add packets on top of hot wood or coal, covering packets with hot pieces of wood/coal. Cook for about minutes.

Carefully open packets so the ashes from the fire don’t fall into the dinner. Enjoy!

You can also make these packets with sausage, chicken or ground beef.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grilled Salmon with Bulgur and Veggie Salad

3 Salmon Filets
Grill seasoning
½ cup of Bulgur
1 cup of chicken broth
1 small zucchini, diced
1/3 red bell pepper, diced
2 rings of a red onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
Herbed goat cheese, in chunks
Lemon Pepper seasoning, a few dashes
Sea salt, a couple dashes
2 tsp of EVOO
Juice of 1/4 a lemon

Season salmon and grill skin side down for about 8 minutes. Flip filets over and grill for another 4 minutes or so until no longer pink in the middle. Should flake easily but don’t overcook.

Boil broth, add bulgur, cover and turn off heat. Stir occasionally and let sit for about 15 minutes. In a small sauce pan over med-high heat, heat EVOO and sauté zucchini, pepper, onion, garlic, lemon pepper and salt.

Let bulgur and veggies cool. Mix together. Add lemon juice and goat cheese.

Serve salmon with bulgar and veggie salad.

NOTE: Bulgur is a grain similar to cous cous or quinoa.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Carne Asada Tacos

1 – 1 ½ lb of pre-marinated Carne Asada (you can buy this at the grocery store in the meat section or a specialty meat shop)
1 medium tomato, chopped
¼ small red onion, minced
2 Tbsp of cilantro, minced
2 tsp of fresh lime juice
¼ jalapeno, finely minced (or a few dashes of Tabasco, if you forgot to buy a jalapeno at the store like I did!)
Sea salt
½ avocado, sliced
White cheddar cheese, shredded
6 small yellow corn tortillas
1 can of black beans

Heat grill over med-high heat. Grill steak on each side for 2-3 minutes. The steak should still be pink in the middle. Slice steak against the grain so it’s easy to chew.

Mix tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno/Tabasco and salt together.

Heat beans in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Stir a few dashes of Cholula into the beans. Grill tortillas on each side for about 1-2 minutes, to warm them up and to give them nice grill marks.

Assemble tacos by filling tortilla with steak, Pico, avocado and cheese. Serve with beans. Top beans with cheese and left over cilantro.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mediterranean Flat Bread Pizza

3 flat breads, jalapeño and cilantro flavor
½ red bell pepper, sliced
2-3 rings of red onion, sliced
5-10 Kalamata olives, sliced
1 ½-2 sweet turkey sausage, removed from casting
1 large garlic clove, minced
Herbed goat cheese
Feta cheese, lemon and oregano flavor

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a frying pan over medium high heat, sauté sausage until cooked all the way through, until no longer pink.

Brush flat bread with EVOO. Top flat bread with peppers, onions, olives and sausage. Sprinkle with garlic and feta cheese. Break off chunks of goat cheese and place on top. Bake pizzas for about 8 minutes, until veggies are cooked and flat bread is crusty. Don’t bake too long or the bread will turn into a cracker!

Note: I would have added sliced tomatoes and quartered, marinated artichokes, but I forgot to add them!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crab Rolls and Veggie Salad

2 sourdough rolls
2 slices of sharp Cheddar cheese

crabs salad
2-6.5 oz cans of white lump crab, drained
2 Tbsp of mayo
1 small garlic glove, pressed or grated
1 rib of celery, minced
2 radishes, minced
1-2 Tbsp parsley, minced
Juice of ¼ lemon
½ tsp of sea salt
½ tsp lemon pepper
¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper

veggie salad
1/2 of a large carrot, diced
¼ red bell pepper, diced
1 slice of jicama, diced
1 small Roma tomato, diced
1 bunch of green onions, sliced
1/3 cucumber, diced
Crumbled feta cheese
Sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper
Balsamic vinegar

Split rolls in half and toast. Add cheese on one side of roll and melt. For crab salad, mix all ingredients together. Add to other half of roll and close.

For veggie salad, mix all veggies together. Season with S&P to taste. Drizzle with EVOO and vinegar to taste. Top with feta cheese.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chicken Picatta

Used and revised Giada De Laurentiis' recipe on www.foodnetwork.com.

1 lb of chicken tenders
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour, for dredging
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
5 Tbsp EVOO
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup capers
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 bag of wide egg noodles
freshly grated Parmesan

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously.

Cook pasta according to directions, boil for about 8 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.

Helpful lemon hints: Press and roll lemon between palm and counter top to loosen up juices. Squeeze lemon juice by holding lemon cut side up, so when you squeeze the lemon, the seeds stay on the lemon instead of your dish.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Grilled Salmon with Vegetable Rice

For my Birthday, my grandparents sent me a box of dried mushrooms from the Czech Republic that they picked from the forest themselves. I couldn't wait to cook them with rice since it gives the rice such an amazing flavor!

3 servings

3 salmon filets
Salmon spice rub from William Sonoma
1 cup of long grained Basmati rice
2 cups of beef broth
½ cup of dried mushrooms
15-20 asparagus stalks, cut in 1” pieces
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 green onion stalks, diced
Salt and Pepper

In a rice cooker, combine rice, broth, mushrooms, S&P and 1 tsp of EVOO. Cook until almost done and mix in green onions for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.

In a small frying pan over med-high heat, heat 1-2 tsp of EVOO. Sauté asparagus and zucchini for 3-4 minutes. Season with S&P to taste. Add garlic and sauté for another minute or so. When veggies are fork tender, mix into rice and mushrooms.

Grill each filet for about 10 minutes until fish is no longer pink in the middle. It should flake easily when pierced with a fork. We’ve found the easiest grilling method is to grill with the skin side down over high heat, then flip over and turn the heat down. The skin will peel off easily.

Serve salmon with vegetable rice. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shrimp and 3-Cheese Quesadillas

Shrimp and 3-Cheese Quesadillas

Servings: 4 quesadillas

8 flour tortillas
15-20 shrimp, defrosted,peeled and chopped in bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, sliced
½ yellow onion, sliced
Crushed red pepper flakes, a couple dashes
½ cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
½ cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese
Olive oil spray

Over medium-high heat, sauté peppers and onions until fork tender. Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes. Add shrimp for a few minutes, just until they turn pink. Do not overcook or they will become tough.

Over med-high heat, spray frying pan, add tortilla, add cheese, add shrimp/pepper/onion mixture and add more cheese. Cover with another tortilla. Cook for a couple minutes. Flip and cook for another few minutes.

Cut each quesadilla in quarters. Serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

Breakfast Biscuit Sandwiches with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes

3 servings

Pillsbury biscuits (5 pack)
1 large red skinned potato, sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 rosemary sprig, minced
S&P to taste
4-5 eggs
4-5 slices of American cheese
4-5 slices of ham
Nectarine, sliced in wedges

Bake biscuits accordingly to directions (350 degrees for about 15 minutes).

Blanch potatoes, by placing potato slices in rapidly boiling salted water for a few minutes. Heat EVOO in a frying pan over med-high heat and add potato slices to sauté. Add garlic, rosemary and S&P to taste. Sauté until both sides of potato slices are crispy and brown, about 10 minutes.

Fried each egg in a little EVOO, flip after a few minutes, so the egg is soft in the middle and the outside is fried and brown. Heat up slices of ham by lightly frying each slice in a little EVOO in a frying pan.

Make sandwiches by splitting each biscuit, add egg, topped with ham and cheese. Serve with potatoes and nectarine.

Rigatoni with Meat and Vegetable Sauce

1 box of tri colored rigatoni
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 lb of ground beef (80/20)
½ green bell pepper, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 small can of sliced olives
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes, a couple dashes
Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded

Boil pasta for 8-10 minutes.

Over medium high heat, cook beef until half way done, drain fat, then add garlic, bell pepper, zucchini, olives and red pepper flakes. Cook until veggies are almost fork tender. Add spaghetti sauce, turn to low and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.

Served rigatoni with meat and vegetable sauce. Top with parmesan cheese.

Tip: This is a great way to “hide” veggies in a tasty pasty dish. Sometimes I even add carrots and mushrooms.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jambalaya (my version)

1 cup of long grained Basmati rice
½ cup of water
1-14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil

2 raw spicy Italian sausage links
1 raw chicken breast, chopped
10 large raw shrimp, defrosted and peeled
½ red bell pepper, chopped
¼ red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

In a rice cooker, add rice, water, ½ can of the diced tomatoes and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook until ready.

In a medium sized pan over medium high heat, cook sausages until half way done. Add chicken, peppers, onion, garlic, the other half of the diced tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes. Cover, turn to low heat and cook until chicken is almost done (no longer pink in the middle), about 5-10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink.

Serve jambalaya over rice.

NOTE: I usually use green bell peppers and yellow onions, but I was out, and add parsley (but I was too lazy to go out to the garden and get some).

Pizza Baguettes with Salad

Pizza Baguettes:
1 sourdough baguette
Spaghetti sauce
Slice ham
Tomato, sliced
Jarlsberg cheese, shredded

Mixed greens
Red bell pepper, sliced
Cucumber, sliced
Green onions, sliced
Blue cheese crumbles
Your favorite dressing

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut baguette in thirds, and then in half. Spread each side with spaghetti sauce. Layer ham, tomato slices and top with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Make salad by layering salad and veggies, topping with blue cheese and dressing.

Serve pizza baguettes with a side of salad.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Salmon with Olive and Red Pepper Tapenade with Mashed Potatoes

Salmon with Olive and Red Pepper Tapenade with Mashed Potatoes

2 salmon filets
lemon pepper seasoning
¼ red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp of capers
5 katamala olives
1 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley
2 medium red skinned potatoes, chopped into even sized pieces
¼-1/2 cup of heavy cream
¼ stick of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp of chives, minced

In a small sauce pan, sauté peppers until soft. In a food processor, add peppers, capers, olives and parsley. Blend until mixed well.

Boil or steam potatoes until fork tender. Drain and mash with cream and butter. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix in chives.

In a medium frying pan, add EVOO and heat to high. Sprinkle lemon pepper on both sides of salmon. Add salmon and cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Turn filets over, turn to low, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes until no longer pink in the middle. Don’t overcook otherwise fish will be dry.

Plate mashed potatoes with fish. Top fish with tapenade.