Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Meatball Sandwich on Garlic Sourdough

Beef meatballs (follow recipe from mini loaf from previous blog)
Sourdough baguette, cut in thirds and halved
3 slices of provolone cheese
Spaghetti sauce
1 large garlic clove

Sauté meatballs in a little EVOO until browned on all sides and no longer pink in the middle.

Drizzle EVOO on insides of bread. Toast bread in toaster oven or oven just until crusty. Rub garlic clove on toasted insides of bread. Spread insides of bread with spaghetti sauce. Add meatballs to one half and top with cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted.

Serve hot sandwich with a nice side salad.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Short Rib Stew with Egg Noodles

1 cup of cooked braised short rib, shredded (leftovers from a restaurant we went to!)
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ of 1 packet of beef stew seasoning
1 cup of water
¾ cup of red wine (Pinot Noir)
½ package of egg noodle

In a medium sauce pan, heat a few drizzles of EVOO over medium high heat. Sauté carrots, celery, onion and garlic, until carrots are almost tender. Mix in water, wine and stew seasoning, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add shredded beef and heat through.

Boil pasta, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain.

Serve beef and veggies over pasta and serve with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Veggie Pasta with Almond Pesto

½ bag of Rigatoni pasta
1 yellow squash, halved and then sliced
1 zucchini, halved and then sliced
10 asparagus spears, cut in thirds
1 tomato, chopped
3 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup unsalted, toasted Almonds
3 garlic cloves
1/2-3/4 EVOO
½ - 1 tsp Salt, to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain.

In a medium frying pan, heat the EVOO and sauté the zucchini, squash and asparagus. Season with S&P. Add tomato towards the end of the cooking.

In a food processor, add the basil leaves, almonds, garlic, EVOO and salt. Toss pasta with pesto. Top with veggies and parmesan.

Mini Meatloaf, Cheesy Baked Potatoes and Carrots

I wanted to make special dinner for when Ben got home from his business trip. That same day, I got Food Network’s e-newsletter, which featured twice baked potatoes. Then I came up with this tasty number, which the hubby enjoyed after a day of travelling.

Cheesy Baked Potatoes
3 large red skinned potatoes
½ cup of shredded gruyere cheese
¼ cup heavy cream, more or less depending on how wet or dry it is
1 Tbsp butter
2 green onion stocks, chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper

Mini Loafs
1 lb of beef (80/20)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow squash, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
¼ small onion, minced
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 egg
¼ - ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

2 large carrots, julienned
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp parsley
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake for 1 hour, or until a fork will easily pierce through the potato. Slice a thin layer off the top and scoop out the insides. Be careful to not puncture the skin of the potato since you’ll be refilling them. In a small bowl mash the potato, cream, butter, salt and pepper. Mix in cheese and green onion. Save a little cheese to top potatoes with. Refill potato cups with potato filling. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes, until cheese melts.

In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients for the mini meat loaves and mix well with your hands. Add more or less breadcrumbs depending on how wet or dry the beef mixture is. With wet hands, shape little loaves with your hands and then gently roll in breadcrumbs. This made about 8 mini loaves.

In a medium frying pan, heat a few drizzles of EVVO over medium high heat. Fry loaves, turning and browning each side. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until no longer pink in the middle.

In a small frying pan, heat EVVO over medium high heat. Sauté carrots until almost tender. Add garlic, parsley and S&P. Take off heat and cover.

Almond Pesto and Baked Brie on Sourdough

We had this awesome appetizer in at Posh Nosh in Nevada City during our vacation. I couldn’t wait to make it at home so we could enjoy it again.

Sourdough baguette
Almond basil pesto
Medium, ripe tomato, sliced
Brie cheese, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut baguette in half. Spread with pesto, add tomato slices and top with brie. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Spicy Sausage Burger with Veggie and Bean Salad

2 sweet Hawaiian hamburger buns
2 Chicken Jalapeño Sausage links, uncooked
2 slices of provolone cheese
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 can of black beans, drained
1/3 cucumber, chopped
½ avocado, chopped
½ medium red bell pepper, diced
2 green onion sprigs, chopped
3 radishes, chopped
Crumbled feta cheese
2-3 Tbsp on Balsamic dressing
Couple squirts of lime juice
Salt to taste
Mayo, for burgers

Heat grill over medium heat. Remove sausage from casing. With wet hands, shape sausage into two patties. Brush each side of sausage burgers with EVOO and grill on each side for about 4 minutes, until no longer pink in the middle. When the burgers are almost done, add cheese and melt.

Sauté spinach with a couple drizzles of EVOO. When the spinach is almost wilted, add garlic and continue to sauté until garlic is soft and turns translucent.

For the bean salad, mix beans, veggies, Balsamic dressing, lime juice and salt. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

Toast buns on grill. Assemble burger by spreading top bun with mayo, put burger on bottom bun and top with garlic spinach. Serve burgers with a side of the veggie and bean salad.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu with Spinach

2 skinless, thin boneless chicken breast filets
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 Tsp of French mustard
3 slices of Provolone cheese
4 slices of black forest ham
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Season each piece of chicken with S&P on both sides. Spread one side of each filet with mustard. Layer a few leaves of spinach over the mustard. (You can use quite a bit. It might look like a lot but it will cook down.) Place 1 slice of cheese and 2 ham slices on top of each breast. Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick. Place in baking dish, seam side down. Brush each filet with EVOO and then roll in bread crumbs.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle and juices run clear. Remove from oven, and place 1/2 cheese slice on top of each breast. Return to oven on broil for about 3 minutes, or until cheese has melted and starts to bubble.

Boil egg noodles according to directions. Drain. Toss pasta with juices from chicken at the bottom of the casserole dish.

Remove toothpicks from chicken and serve over noodles.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Grilled Chicken Pita with Greek Salad

2 chicken breasts, marinated in Italian dressing overnight
1 package of pita bread
Tzakziki sauce, premade from Trader Joe’s
1 medium yellow squash, sliced length wise, season with Lemon Pepper and Salt
Red onion, a couple sliced rings
Spicy radish sprouts
Mixed greens
Cucumber slices, for salad
1 small tomato, chopped for salad
¼ red bell pepper, chopped, for salad
5 kalamta olives, sliced
Feta cheese, lemon and oregano flavor, for salad
Balsamic vinaigrette

Over medium high heat, grill chicken until no longer pink in the middle, for about 8-10 minutes depending on thickness. Grill squash slices for a few minutes on each side, until tender. Slice chicken. Lightly brush pita with EVOO and grill on both sides for a couple minutes.

To make pita sandwiches, first spread pita with Tzakziki sauce, add a layer of squash, chicken, onion and then sprouts and fold in half. For the salad, add the rest of the veggies and feta cheese on the mixed greens. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Serve together and enjoy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grilled Salmon with Pesto Pasta and Veggies

2-4 salmon filets, depending on people or how much leftovers you want
Grill seasoning
Lemon and Pepper seasoning
½ box of Gemelli pasta
½ jar of Classico Pesto sauce
1 large yellow baby summer or Pattypan squash, cut in bite sized pieces
About 5 mini bell peppers, red and orange, sliced
½ jar of marinated, quartered artichoke hearts, drained
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Crushed black pepper
Sea salt
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Boil pasta in salted water for about 12 minutes, until soft. Drain, return to pot and toss with pesto sauce. Cover and set aside.

Season salmon and grill skin side down over high heat for about 6 minutes. Flip filet, turn down heat and cook for a couple more minutes until the fish is not longer pink in the middle and can flake easily with a fork. While the second side is grilling you can peel the skin off the other side.

In a sauce pan over medium high heat, sauté squash and bell peppers in EVOO. Season with pepper. When the veggies are almost fork tender, add artichokes, garlic and season with salt to taste.

Plate salmon with a side of pasta topped with veggies. Finish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Note: I was going to add sauced baby spinach with garlic mixed in with the pasta, but I forgot to do it! This would add another healthy veggie and nice color to the overall dish.

Orange Brownies

I made these for my boss's and my neighbor's Birthday day and they were a hit! I like how you can see the specks of orange zest in the frosting along with the orange flavor throughout.


Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

•1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•2 cups sugar
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
•4 eggs
•2 teaspoons pure orange extract
•1 teaspoon grated orange zest
•1 cup confectioners' sugar
•2 tablespoons orange juice
•1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest and beat with a handheld electric mixer until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven and pierce top of entire cake with a fork.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Pour glaze over cake. Cool cake and cut into squares.

Helpful baking hints:

I'm not a huge fan of baking mostly because I don't like to follow directions closely when cooking, which is a must in baking, but here's what I learned (the hard way):

1. Softened butter doesn't mean melted butter. It will mess up the recipe. Don't try to melt your butter in the microwave, instead take it out of the fridge in the morning and leave it out all day to soften.

2. If you make these brownies the night before, don't put them in the fridge over-night becaue it will make them rock hard. Instead, just cover them with aluminum foil and leave them out on the counter.

3. Don't try to estimate on ingredients. Measure carefully. If you've had too much wine and are too lazy to measure precisely, it's better to make your recipe the next day. :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Berry and Banana Trifle

Refreshing summer time dessert!

1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 angel food cake, cut into 1-inch slices
1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
2 pints blueberries
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 bananas, sliced

Heat 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

Brush both sides of each slice of cake with the syrup. Cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.

Beat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.

Arrange half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a 13-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with a layer of blueberries. Dollop half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with a layer of bananas. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then sprinkle with more blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Egg Noodle Casserole with Sausage and Cheese

This is a spin off of a Czech recipe and I tweaked it a little. It can also be a creative way to use up ingredients in the fridge or to sneak in some veggies for those non-vegatable eaters. You can eat this casserole hot or cold.

½ package of wide egg noodles
2 eggs
1 Tbsp of heavy cream
1 tsp French mustard
S&P to taste
2 sprigs of green onions, chopped
1 cup of pepper jack cheese, grated
½ cup of cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup of parmesan cheese, split for two uses, grated
½ zucchini, chopped (or I also use broccoli, though I only had zucchini in the fridge this time)
3 turkey sausage links, though I think beef kielbasa works the best, chopped into bite sized pieces

Serves 3 people with a couple extra helpings.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8 x 8 casserole dish.

Boil noodles according to directions, for about 8 minutes. It’s okay if they are a little harder than you normally would like because we’re going to bake it afterwards. Let the noodles cool a little (otherwise when you mix them with the eggs, the heat will scramble them).

In a sauce pan, sauté sausages until almost all the way cooked. Add zucchini towards the end of cooking, until a little soft (to save on washing another pan). Let sausage and zucchini cool a little.

In a small mixing bowl, mix eggs, cream, mustard, and S&P together.

In a medium mixing bowl, add noodles, sausage, zucchini, green onions, cheese (only half of parmesan) and egg mixture. Mix well, so everything is coated with egg mixture. This will act as a bonding agent and hold the casserole together. Top casserole with remaining parmesan cheese and bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. After, turn oven to broil and move oven rack up to cook casserole for 3-4 minutes. This gives the casserole a nice brown color and crisps some of the noodles.

Serve with your favorite side salad. This is a great meal to make for a warm summer evening.

Crab Stuffed Sole with Spinach Rice

This is an easy dinner to make for a special night. It looks nice and tastes delicious!

3 sole filets, or tilapia
¼ red bell pepper, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can of fancy white crab, drained
1 egg
½ cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp chives, minced
Herbed goat cheese chunks
Bunch of asparagus
1 cup of long grained basmati rice
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup frozen chopped spinach
1-2 sprigs of green onion, chopped
1 tsp EVOO
Lemon pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Season one side of fish with lemon pepper and salt. In a sauce pan over med-high heat, sauté peppers and garlic in a little EVOO. Once peppers are fork tender, move to a dish and let cool. When the dinner is almost done sauté asparagus in the same pan for 3-4 minutes until fork tender.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine crab, egg, bread crumbs, chives, goat cheese with cooled peppers and garlic. Lay fish seasoned side down. Top fish with crab mixture and roll. Add to casserole dish, seam side down.

In a 8 x 8 greased casserole dish, bake fish for 30 minutes, covered. Cook until fish flakes easily.

In a rice cooker, add rice, broth, EVOO and S&P. When rice is almost done, 10-15 minutes later, add spinach and green onions, mix together and continue cooking until done.

Plate rice, add asparagus and top with stuffed fish. Enjoy with a nice glass of white wine.