Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cheesy Vegetable Scramble with Garlic Potato Pancakes

I’m not a huge breakfast person or fan of eggs, but this morning I woke up starving and decided to make this tasty number. The hubby was happily surprised.

1 large russet potato
¼ yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp freshly minced parsley
3 eggs (1 for potatoes, 2 for scramble)
½ red bell pepper, chopped
3 large asparagus, steamed and chopped
2 green onion sprigs, chopped
Pepper Jack cheese, freshly grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, grate potato. Move shredded potato a paper towel or cheese cloth and ring out excess liquid. Return potato to bowl. Grate onion into bowl, and then add garlic. Add parsley and one beaten egg. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

In a large frying pan, heat a few drizzles of EVOO over medium high heat. Scoop several large spoonfuls of potato mixture onto frying pan; flatten a little to make small pancakes. Fry until they are crispy and browned, then flip and cook the other side.

In a small skillet, heat EVOO over medium high heat. Add bell pepper, asparagus and green onions. Sauté until peppers are tender. Add 2 beaten eggs. Mix and cook all together until eggs are no longer runny. Season with salt and pepper. Add Pepper Jack and remove pan from heat.

Enjoy with buttered toast or an English muffin.

Asparagus, Apple and Avocado Dip

1 bunch of asparagus, steamed and finely chopped
1 ½ green apples, peeled
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ ripe avocados
8 oz sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Spicy option:
¼ cup of shredded Pepper Jack cheese
4 drops of Tabasco

Salty, bacon option:
4 strips of crispy bacon, crumbled

Cheesy option:
4-6 oz of chunky Gorgonzola cheese

In a large bowl, grate apples. Sprinkle with ½ of the lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Add asparagus and mix together. In a separate bowl, mash avocado. Mix in the other half of lemon juice. Mix avocado mixture with apples and asparagus. Add sour cream and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Separate the dip into thirds. Mix in Pepper Jack and Tabasco to one batch. Mix in bacon to the second batch. Mix in Gorgonzola to the last batch. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

Serve with pita chips, crackers or sliced crusty bread.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chicken Salad with Almonds

This is a simple salad to put together. One night, we ate sandwiches by filling rolls with the chicken salad and adding crispy bacon strips. Then I used the leftovers to top a green salad, which I took to work for lunch. I didn’t even need to add salad dressing. Yum!

2 grilled chicken breasts, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
½ cup of almond slivers
2 green onion springs, chopped
½ mayo
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt
Freshly crushed black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top a green salad or fill a roll with the chicken salad. It tastes even better the next day, once the flavors have a chance to blend.

Pork Chops with Italian Greens and Baked Potato

This was a fast and tasty meal, all for under $10!

2 pork chops, bone-in
Grill seasoning for pork
2 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 bunch of escarole, kale or Swiss chard, chopped
½ onion, sliced
½ can of chick peas, drained
½ cup of chicken broth
3 garlic cloves (2 cloves sliced for potatoes, 1 clove minced for greens
Few dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Freshly parsley, minced

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash potatoes thoroughly. Cut thin, even slices 2/3 the way down the potato and all the way across. Insert garlic slices in between potato slices. If you want less garlic flavor, put the garlic in between every other or every few potato slices. Drizzle potatoes with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, until potato is tender enough to easily pierce with a fork.

In a medium sauce pan, sauté onion in a little EVOO over med-high heat until translucent. Add greens and garlic, mix until wilted. Add minced garlic, chick peas, broth and red pepper flakes. Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes, mixing occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

Season pork chops with grill seasoning. Heat a grill pan to high heat. Quickly sear pork on each side so each side has a nice brown color. Turn heat down and cook all the way through, until no longer pink in the middle.

Plate pork with greens and potato. Sprinkle dish with parsley. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Petso Raviolis with Asparagus and Tomato

Ricotta and spinach raviolis (frozen from Costco)
1 jar of pesto
½ cup of asparagus, cut into 1 in pieces
2 Roma tomatoes
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1-2 Tbsp of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1-2 Tbsp feta cheese
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Boil raviolis following directions.

In a small sauce pan, heat EVOO over med-high heat. Sauté asparagus, tomatoes and garlic for about 4 minutes until veggies are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain raviolis. Mix with pesto. Stir in sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese.

Serve raviolis by topping with asparagus, tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Carrot Bars with Orange Icing

I make this treat every Halloween season and bring some to the neighbors and friends. It's easy and so good! Don't skip on the orange zest, it makes the dessert even more delicious.

2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely shredded carrots (about 1-2 large carrots)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 -2 Tbsp orange juice
walnut halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, orange peel, baking soda, and salt. Set the flour mixture aside.

In a medium bowl combine eggs and brown sugar. Stir in pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla. Then stir in carrots and chopped walnuts. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. Spread batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Spread with Orange Icing; cut into triangles or bars. Top each piece with a walnut half.

For Orange Icing:
In a mixing bowl combine powdered sugar and enough of orange juice to make an icing that is easy to drizzle.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Halloween Bark

I made this sweet Halloween treat for the Pug Rescue bake sale today. It was really easy to make and looks very festive.

I like how it looks like miles of yummy goodness....

A Chocolate Halloween Bark recipe was in this month’s edition of Bon Appetit. I revised it by only using the candy bars I liked and omitting the nuts.

This is what I came up with:

2lb bittersweet chocolate chips
2 regular sized Butterfinger candy bars, cut into pieces
4 regular sized Heath toffee candy bars, cut into pieces
4 regular sized peanut butter cups, each cut into 8 wedges
1 lb white chocolate chips
Reese’s Pieces

Line baking sheet with foil.
Prepare a double boiler, but setting a medium sized glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl, mixing and allowing steam to melt chocolate. Carefully, without letting water drip from the bowl, pour chocolate onto foil. Spread into a thin layer on foil lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle with candy bar peices, making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate to stick.

Melt white chocolate in the double boiler, stirring until all melted. Dip spoon into chocolate; wave from side to side over bark, creating zigzag lines.

Sprinkle Reese’s Pieces over bark, making sure candy touches melted chocolate.

Chill bark until firm, 30 minutes. Break bark into different pieces. Be careful to not lose the loose pieces on the top.

Sourdough Chicken Club

Makes 3 sandwiches

1 sourdough baguette, cut in thirds
1-2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
6 slices of crispy cooked bacon
I ripe avocado, sliced
Monterey Jack cheese, freshly shredded

To assemble each sandwich, open the sandwich and spread mayo on the bottom half. Layer chicken breast and bacon. On the top half, add avocado slices. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the open sandwich and broil for 3-4 minutes to melt the cheese. Close sandwich and enjoy with chips, salad or your favorite soup!

Southwest Potato Boats

I made this appetizer for the hubby and his friend while they were watching the Yankees in the play offs. Unfortunately, the Yankees lost last night, but this dish was a great hit!

4 small red skinned potatoes
1 green onion sprig, chopped
¼ can of corn
5-6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
¼ medium avocado, chopped
4-5 sices of cooked bacon, crumbled
1-2 jalapeno, minced
A few dashes of Cholula hot sauce
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
White Cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash well and cut potatoes in half. Poke holes in potato halves with a fork. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until you can easily pierce with a fork. Scoop out insides of each potato with a spoon. Don’t break the skin because this is your little boat that you will fill.

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the cheese. Return to oven for another 10 minutes to heat the filling. Remove from oven and sprinkle filled boats with cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuna Conchiglioni Pasta

Put it all together and this is what you get!

The hubby did a good job of grating the cheese!

1 lb Conchiglioni pasta
1/2 cup EVOO, split
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-6 oz can tuna in oil, drained
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz. frozen quartered artichoke hearts, thawed
2 Tbsp capers, drained
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
Lemon zest from half a lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over med-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tuna to the skillet, break apart into chunks. Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts and capers.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the pasta, the remaining 1/4 cup EVOO, and the parsley. Toss until all the ingredients are coated, adding a little pasta water, if needed, to thin out the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Meatloaf with Meatless Shepherd's Pie

I saw this awesome Meatless Sheppard’s Pie recipe on the Food Network and thought…what would go together better with this than meatloaf?! This is a great fall meal that will make you feel happy and cozy!

meatloaf and shepards pie

Meatless Shepherd's Pie with Horseradish-Cheddar Potatoes
4 medium-large starchy Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into thick slices
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3/4 cup milk
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped chives
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups super-sharp white Cheddar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean, gills scraped, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium-large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small bundle of kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour

Preheat the broiler and put a rack in the middle of the oven. Arrange individual casseroles or a large casserole dish on a baking sheet and set near the stove.
Put the potatoes and the parsnips in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, over high heat, then salt the water and cook until the potatoes and parsnips are tender, 15 minutes or so. Drain and return the potatoes and parsnips to the hot pot. Add the horseradish, milk, chives, salt and pepper, to taste, and mash to desired consistency. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and the egg.

Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven or large skillet over high heat with extra-virgin olive oil (4 turns of the pan). Add the mushrooms, and the rosemary leaves and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the carrot and onion and season liberally with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 5 minutes more, then stir in the garlic and the kale and season with nutmeg. Cook until the kale wilts, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and the stock and bring to a boil. In a small skillet, over low heat, melt the butter, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then stir it into the sauce to thicken. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the individual dishes or large casserole. Top with the mashed potatoes, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and brown under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

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

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together well with your hands. Add more or less breadcrumbs depending on how wet or dry the beef mixture is. With wet hands, shape a ring with your hands, leaving a hole in the middle. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.

Place the meatloaf in a casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until temperature of meat reads 160 degrees.

Slice and serve meatloaf with Meatless Shepherd's Pie.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shrimp, Spinach and Asparagus Crepes with Cheese Sauce

I was a little intimidated to make the crepes, but they were super easy. This meal was fast to put together and the hubby thought it was really fancy!

2 beaten eggs
1 ½ cup of milk
1 cup of flour
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp of salt
2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley

1 lb shrimp
15 asparagus, quartered
2-3 handfuls of baby spinach
1 large garlic, minced
1 tsp of butter

1/2 packet of Alfredo sauce
1 cup of milk
1 tsp of butter
2 Tbsp freshly grated Romano Asiago cheese
2 Tbsp freshly grated Gruyere cheese
½ Tbsp of freshly chopped parsley
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For crepes:
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, flour, oil and salt. Beat until mixed well. Heat a lightly greased skillet over med-high heat. Pour a little less than half a ladle of batter into the skillet, lift from heat and tilt the skillet to spread the batter. Return to heat, brown one side and flip crepe to brown the other side. Remove crepe to a plate, grease skillet and repeat to create more crepes.

In a small sauce pan over high heat, combine sauce packet, milk and butter. Whisk together and bring to a boil. Turn heat to a simmer; add cheese, parsley and pepper. Mix well.

In a large skillet over high heat, add couple drizzles of EVOO and butter until it starts to bubble. Add shrimp and garlic; sauté for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook or the shrimp with get tough.
In a separate pan, heat EVOO over med-high heat, add spinach and garlic and sauté until wilted. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, add asparagus with a little water and cover with clear wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes and 35 seconds to steam. Uncover and drain excess water.

To assemble, take crepe and fill with shrimp and veggies, roll crepe so seam side is down and top with sauce. Sprinkle with extra parsley and asparagus pieces. Enjoy with a glass of Chardonnay.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Linguini with Beefy Vegetable Sauce

This is a fast and delicious meal to throw together. You can use up the different veggies you happen to have in the fridge and make the dish different every time. It makes great leftovers too!

½ package of whole wheat linguini (or any other pasta you like)

1 jar of Tomato Basil tomato sauce
1 lb of beef
1 small zucchini, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
about 6 Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
A few dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
4-6 jalapeno slices, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp of fresh parsley, minced (save about 1-2 tsp for cheesy garlic bread)

Cheesy Garlic Bread
Seeded, sourdough bread, sliced
1 garlic clove
Gruyere cheese, shredded (save some cheese to sprinkle over pasta)

In a large sauce pan, brown beef over medium high heat. Add veggies and sauté until they are almost tender. Add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook pasta according to directions (boil for 10-12 minutes). Drain and set aside.

Heat toaster oven to 350 degrees. Brush one side of sliced bread with a little EVOO and toast. Once toasted, rub raw garlic clove on bread (the side with the EVOO). Sprinkle with cheese and parsley and continue to bake until cheese has melted.

Top pasta with beefy vegetable sauce, then sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Serve with a side of cheesy garlic bread and a glass of red wine.

Baked Swordfish with Parmesan Risotto

My mom and Larry came to visit and they made us this delicious dinner!

4 swordfish filets
Sea Salt
Freshly cracked pepper

½ bag of baby spinach
1 large garlic clove, minced

2 cups of medium grain white rice
½ medium red onion, chopped
6 oz of white wine
4 cups of chicken broth
½ cup of freshly shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat a few EVOO drizzles over medium heat. Add rice and stir until brown. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add wine and stir. Once the liquid is absorbed, add ½ cup of broth. Stir until liquid is absorbed and keep repeating until broth is all absorbed and rice is tender. Mix in parmesan cheese at the end. Add salt and pepper to taste. Risotto should be creamy.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush both sides of fish with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, heat EVOO over high heat, until it starts to ripple. Add fish and sear both sides until brown. Move fish in frying pan to oven for 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.

In a small sauce pan, heat EVOO over medium heat. Add spinach and garlic. Sauté until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.

Plate risotto next to a small bed of spinach. Top spinach with fish. Enjoy!

Apple Raspberry Crumble with Oat Almond Topping

For the Topping:
2-3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the baking dish
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup chopped almonds

For the Filling:
3-4 apples, peel and cut into small cubes
12-15 raspberries
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp flour
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1-2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter four ramekins.

Make the topping: Mix oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Stir in the almonds. Work in the butter with your fingers until evenly moistened.

Make the filling: Toss apples with the raspberries, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

Transfer the filling to prepared ramekins. Squeeze handfuls of the crumble mixture and scatter on top of the fruit. Bake until golden and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes.

Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh raspberries.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce and Brown Rice

½ cup of dried mushroom
1 cup of chicken broth
¾ cup of fresh baby bellas, sliced
1 garlic, minced
½ onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp of flour
1 lb pork tender loin
Fresh parsley, minced
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ cups of brown rice
3 cups of brown rice

In a medium sauce pan, sauté fresh mushrooms in EVOO. Add garlic and cook until mushrooms are soft.

In a small pot, add broth and dried mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

In a large sauce pan, heat a little EVOO and sauté the onion until golden brown. Add flour and stir until onion is coated in flour. Add the dried mushrooms with broth. Stir together until sauce thickens. Add sautéed mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix together. Take half of the sauce and blend until smooth. Return smooth sauce to the saucepan.

Notes: If you like a smoother sauce with no chunks, add all of the sauce to the blender. If the sauce is too thick, add more broth.

Heat grill to 350 degrees. Drizzle pork with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill pork for about 20 minutes, turning over to brown all sides, until no longer pink in the middle. Let pork sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Cook rice in rice cooker with a little EVOO and salt.

Slice pork and plate with rice. Top with mushroom gravy. Sprinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Matzo Ball Soup

It's starting to get cold and I was craving some warm chicken and vegetable soup, especially with matzo balls!

3-4 cans of chicken broth
3 large carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
½ cup of broccoli crowns, cut into bite size
1 medium red-skinned potato, cut in small cubes
¼ cup of dried mushroom
¼ cup of fresh mushroom, baby portabella
1/3 small onion, chopped
1 cup of shredded chicken (used a rotisserie chicken from the deli)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp parsley, minced
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 box of matzo balls, follow directions on packet and make small walnut sized balls

French bread, sliced
1 garlic clove
Gruyere cheese, shredded

In a large pot, add broth, garlic and dried mushrooms, bring to a boil. Add vegetables and matzo balls. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add chicken, parsley and pepper towards the end and heat chicken through.

Brush one side of bread slices with EVOO until toasted. Once toasted, rub with garlic clove. Add Gruyere cheese and toast until melted.

Serve soup with garlic cheese bread.