Friday, August 26, 2011

Eggplant Parm Plus

A while ago I made an eggplant Parmesan and I made the same thing last night except I added a bit of ricotta cheese and it was so good! It made the dish a lot richer so we had it again tonight with grilled flank steak and sautéed spinach and mushrooms. Here's the recipe again with the added ricotta:

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium eggplant
Parmesan cheese
3 large egg whites
Garlic powder
cooking spray
1 cup ricotta cheeese
1 jar Trader Joe's pizza sauce
1 pkg of low fat mozzarella

Peel eggplant, and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Whisk egg whites in bowl. Dip eggplant slices into egg whites and the Parmesan cheese and place on baking sheets that have been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle garlic powder on eggplant slices.

Bake for 20 minutes in 400 degree oven, then flip and bake another 10 minutes.

Layer in small casserole,: eggplant, sauce, cheese and ricotta-- ending with  mozzarella cheese.

Bake 20 minutes at 400--let sit a good ten minutes before cutting into it.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Here is a great way to make catfish: easy and tasty. I have included yet another version of a remoulade sauce which the catfish really doesn't need, but is a nice touch anyway :-)

Blackened Catfish for Two

1 lb catfish (2 nice sized fillets)
1 T paprika
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t thyme
1 t garlic powder
1/2 stick of butter, melted

Mix the spices together. Dip the fillets in the melted butter and then cover (on both sides with spices)
Heat a cast iron skillet and then cook the fillets for about 4 minutes per side--drizzle any leftover melted butter over the fillets while cooking.

Serve with remoulade sauce:

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped cornichon (tiny French dill pickles) or good dill pickle relish
1 teaspoon finely chopped capers
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard or grainy Dijon
1/4 teaspoon dried leaf tarragon
dash hot sauce, or to taste
Mix all together and refrigerate for several hours.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cabbage Lasagna? Who Knew?

OK, so there's the deal: I bought a GI-normous head of green cabbage at the Farmer's Market and a person can only make so much slaw, so I was cruising around on the web looking for cabbage recipes and lo and behold came across one for lasagna! Of course, I didn't have all the same ingredients that they had but I did indeed have CABBAGE so there you have it. Now, just because you CAN make a certain recipe, doesn't necessarily mean that you SHOULD! However, I'm here to tell you that the final product was mighty tasty, so go figure. I guess I will draw the line at some concoctions like let's say, marshmallow lasagna?? ha ha oh well..........possibly not?

Need an 81/2 X 11 baking dish
Enough cabbage leaves to make two layers--don't worry if they're not big or perfect
3/4 lb. ground beef (could use turkey or chopped mushrooms instead)
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
Italian seasoning (or just use oregano and basil) 1 big T
Red pepper flakes ( I basically put these in everything!) a kitchen staple IMHO
1 pkg. of reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tub ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese

Make sauce:
Brown ground beef and salt and pepper the meat, then add onion, green pepper, garlic, cook for five minutes then add the tomatoes, sauce, spices, red pepper flakes and cover and simmer for 1/2 hour.

Steam the cabbage in the microwave about five mutes so that it's cooked and limp.

Preheat over to 350

Assemble the lasagna:  put a little bit of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, then a layer of cabbage, then 1/2 the meat sauce, then 1/2 the mozzarella, then 1/2 the ricotta, then a cabbage layer, meat, mozzarella,  ricotta and top it all with Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and cook maybe 5 or ten more minutes--you can run under the broiler if you want to brown the top more. Let this dish sit for at least 15 minutes as it's easier to cut and actually tastes better too when not scorching hot.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shrimp Creole

This is a really good creole and you can make it less spicy by adjusting the hot sauce.

Sara's Creole Sauce

1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can water
2 T tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 T Tabasco sauce (less if you don't like spicy)
2 t chili powder
1 t sugar
1 T Worcestershire sauce

12 large frozen shrimp, thawed

Sauté green pepper, onion, celery and garlic in olive oil about five minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients (not the shrimp) and cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Add shrimp and heat until opaque.

Good served over rice, couscous, etc.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Turkey Taco Salad

Here's an easy, tasty dinner salad.

Turkey Taco Salad

1 lb ground turkey
1 packet of taco seasoning--I like Bearitos, but any is fine
Sauté the ground turkey, add seasoning and water and simmer for ten minutes.
In the mean time, put together the following ingredients:
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Chopped cherry tomatoes
Chopped red onion
Chopped jalapenos
Shredded cheddar cheese
Greek Yogurt (non-fat)
Black olives for garnish (optional)

Assemble salad in bowl:

Shredded lettuce, then taco meat, cheese, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, salsa, and yogurt.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Greek Nicoise?

I have taken "liberties" with the traditional Nicoise Salad (forgive me, Julia) and a classic Greek salad and devised my own "Gre-nique" Salad.  Combining some of the common elements of both, I created a delicious composed salad of summer.

Makes two large dinner salads

2 large fresh beets, tops removed and scrubbed. 
4 cups lettuce (I used a combo from the Farmer's Market)
1/4 English cucumber, sliced thinly
1/4 red onion sliced thinly
2 medium tomatoes cut in wedges
2 hard cooked eggs, sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese
8 marinated kalamata olives
1 small tin of Italian tuna in olive oil
Trader Joe's Champagne Vinaigrette

Roast your beets!  Put the beets on a large piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Wrap up and put in 375 oven for an hour and a half. After beets have cooled a bit their skins will just rub off easily. Slice them up and resist popping the slices into your mouth.

Compose the ingredients on top of the fresh lettuce, drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Korean Style Ribs

Recipe of the week from the The Week Magazine
Flanken, Fleisher’s-style (tweaked a little)

What is flanken? Short ribs that are cut Korean barbecue–style, meaning the butcher cuts horizontally across the rib cage to produce long, thin pieces of meat “studded with ribs.”

4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp toasted Asian sesame oil
1 tbsp Asian chile sauce, such as Thai sriracha
3 lbs flanken, cut 1-inch thick, 2 to 3 ribs across
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped scallions (white and green parts)

Put garlic to taste, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, canola oil, maple syrup, sesame oil, and chile sauce in a bowl and mix well. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade to boil down a bit as sauce. Pour the rest of the marinade into a thick, sealable bag, place flanken in bag, and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 12 hours in refrigerator. I marinated all day.

Heat grill to high and brush oil on the grill grates. Remove meat from marinade and lay it out on grill, reserving the marinade. Grill meat until done, about 6 minutes on each side. Be careful not to burn ribs; the high sugar content of the marinade causes them to char easily.

To serve, drizzle flanken with reduced marinade and sprinkle with cilantro, sesame seeds, scallions and salt. Serves 4.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Salmon with Good Sides

Using the bounty from the market today,  here is tonight's menu:

Wild Alaskan Salmon
Roasted Summer Squash and Red Onions
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Thyme

Wild Alaskan Salmon
1 lb salmon fillet
1/2 T  paprika
1/2  T ground nutmeg
1/2  T  chili powder
1/2  T  garlic powder
1/2  T kosher salt
1  T light brown sugar
1 T fresh ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil


Combine all spices. Generously rub the spice mixture on the flesh side of the salmon and drizzle with a light coat of oil. Place the salmon on the grill, flesh side first. Let cook for about 7 to 10 minutes each side. OR, cook on stove top if it's raining and you don't want to go outside which is what happened to me! Be careful and watch as mine good a little more "blackened" than I intended as my salmon was not all that thick. If your salmon is thinner, maybe turn after 3 minutes or so.

 Roasted Summer Squash with Red Onions

2 medium squash cut in half long ways and then into half moons
1/2 red onion sliced into thin wedges
olive oil, salt and pepper
minced fresh garlic (2 small cloves)
Pesto--either homemade or a couple of T from a jar--thinned with some olive oil

Put cut up squash into bowl, add garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil (a couple of T) stir around and then spread out on a large jelly roll pan.

Roast at 425 for 30 minutes. When it comes out of oven put into bowl and add the pesto and combine.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Half the tomatoes end to end, put in bowl, stir in salt and pepper,some olive oil , and fresh thyme. Turn out onto cookie sheet and roast at 425 about 20 minutes.

Saturday Morning Market

Up early and to Kerrytown.
One hour later:

3 lbs. short ribs from Sparrow Meats

1 lb wild caught Alaskan Salmon from Monahan's Seafood

Various goodies from Farmers Market (see below)

Stay tuned!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hamburglers and Roasted Broccoli

Tried something a little different tonight with the traditional grilled burger. I made the burgers like usual but I tried a cheese/black olive spread along with red onion as the topping. Really good! What prompted this was the recent popularity of people putting pimento cheese on grilled burgers so I thought hey, what about that cheese dip I just made? Bingo-quite tasty.

To go with, I made a roasted broccoli recipe from Ina Garten and here is a link for the video and recipe that shows you exactly how to do it and this recipe is a keeper! I only made enough for two--one small head of broccoli--like the amount she does in the video.


Cheese/olive Dip
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup diced black olives
6 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley leaves
1 teaspoon curry powder


In a medium mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together. Cover and chill well. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Easy Eggplant and Burnt Beans?

So, have you ever been cooking dinner and then the phone rings? You know where I'm going with this--most likely a disaster? Happily, it was a disaster averted. Here's the deal: I'm making easy eggplant and decide to switch up the side dish from boring green beans to spicy Sichuan beans. All is going well, eggplant is happily baking in oven  but oh the poor beans. My hubby and I were busy on the phone with our son and suddenly the smoke alarms are ringing and opps, I forgot that the beans were cooking with very little water and oh, the smoke was rising! As I said before, disaster averted and now I had "blackened" Sichuan beans but they were actually quite tasty.  So, my advice, this dinner is really simple IF you stay off the phone!

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium eggplant
Parmesan cheese
3 large egg whites
Garlic powder
cooking spray
1 jar Trader Joe's pizza sauce
1 pkg of low fat mozzarella

Peel eggplant, and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Whisk egg whites in bowl. Dip eggplant slices into egg whites and the Parmesan cheese and place on baking sheets that have been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle garlic powder on eggplant slices.

Bake for 20 minutes in 400 degree oven, then flip and bake another 10 minutes.

Layer in small casserole,: eggplant, sauce, cheese-- ending with cheese.

Bake 20 minutes at 400--let sit a good ten minutes before cutting into it.

Easy peasy and good.

Spicy Beans

Spicy Sichuan Style Green Beans
recipe adapted from Easy Party Food, a special-interest publication of Sunset Magazine.)

1/2 bag of Trader Joe's whole green beans
2 T soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
1 T rice vinegar
2 tsp. Truvia or sugar substitute or agave syrup
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Black pepper
1 T vegetable oil
2 T minced garlic
Cook green beans with just a little water. In a bowl, add all the other ingredients and add that sauce after the beans looked cooked to your liking. In the picture my beans are WAY overcooked and basically burned..........oh well, we enjoyed the phone call :-)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Crockpot Cuban Beef

I don't really use my crock pot much in the summer but sometimes when you know you're not going to have time close to the dinner hour for food prep, the crock pot can be quite handy. A friend also gave me some zucchini so I thought I'd use one of my favorite kitchen tools,  the julienne peeler, and make zucchini ribbons.

 Crock Pot Cuban Beef
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1 onion sliced
3 cloves garlic (minced)
fresh ground black pepper (to taste
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 lemon (juiced)
16 ounces flank steak

Sauté the flank steak in a skillet on each side to give it some color. Remove and put in crock pot. In same skillet, sauté the onions. Once they have begun to brown a bit,  add 1/4 cup of water and stir around and then pour the onions and water on the flank steak. In a medium bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and stir--pour over steak. Cook on low 8 hours. When ready to serve pull meat apart--it will be very tender and stringy. This would be good over noodles, rice, etc. It was great over the zucchini ribbons.

Zucchini Ribbons
Julienne two medium size zucchini, and sauté in olive oil until tender, toss with Parmesan.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Leftover Chicken

When I make grilled chicken I always make extra because I love having leftover cooked chicken in the fridge. It's great for pulling together a super easy dinner the next night or for chopping up and making a delicious chicken salad for lunch. Here are the ingredients for tonight's Grilled Chicken Salad:

1 large piece of grilled chicken, sliced thinly
1/4 red onion sliced
1 orange pepper sliced
2 mini cucumbers sliced
1/2 cup of feta
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
Some red leaf and arugula
Paul Newman's Caesar Dressing

Makes two dinner size salads