Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chipotle Glazed Carrots and Onion

Here's a great way to spice up some carrots. I also added some white and red onion.

Preheat oven 350
2 large carrots, peeled and cut in small chunks
1/2 red onion, in wedges
1/2 white onion, in wedges
2 chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce)
1/2 lime, juiced
salt and pepper
2 t olive oil
1 t honey

In a small processor, whirl up the peppers, lime juice, salt and pepper, olive oil and honey.
Put carrots and onion in small shallow casserole dish. Pour on chipotle mixture and stir around well. Put in oven for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on how soft you like your carrots) giving it all a stir every so often. Two servings.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

White Chicken Chili

This recipe is so easy it's almost ridiculous. In a crockpot, put the following:

48 oz jar of white beans, undrained
1 rotisserie (cooked) chicken, skin removed and chicken shredded
1 cup salsa verde
8 oz of pepper jack cheese, cubed
2 T cumin
14 oz chicken broth

Mix everything around well.

Cook on low for 4 hours. Stir the mixture a couple of times during cooking if you are at home. If not, stir well before serving. Add some fresh chopped cilantro to each serving if you have it and/or like that. I didn't have any on hand.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

PB & J Upgrade

Peanut butter and jelly doesn't always sound that luscious, but if you use the right ingredients it can be. You need to use toothsome bread, a topnotch butter and some jelly with a little bite :-)

2 pieces good bread like Avalon's Motown Multi Grain
2 T Crunchy Cream-Nut Peanut Butter by Koeze Company (made in Michigan)
2 t Red Pepper Jelly

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rosemary Pork Chops

Here is an incredibly easy way to make pork chops.

Preheat oven 400
2 bone in pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
3 garlic cloves minced
handful of chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
olive oil

In small flat baking dish that will hold two chops, sprinkle some salt, pepper, half of the garlic and half of the rosemary. Lay the pork chops on top and then sprinkle salt, pepper, the rest of the garlic and rosemary on top. Pour a little olive oil on top of each chop and bake 15 minutes. Yep, that's it and they're good. If your chops are thicker, bake longer :-)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

I saw the cutest little red cabbage at the market and decided to bring it home with me. Hmmmm, now what? I found this recipe after cruising around online and of course tweaked it for what I had on hand. The fresh dill is important so if you don't have that, don't bother.

1 small adorable red cabbage, cored and sliced into slim wedges
1 large granny smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1 large white onion, sliced
2 T fresh dill, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 T sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T butter

In large stockpot,  melt butter and sauté onion and apple for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, dill, bay leaves and chicken broth--stir around for about five minutes. Add the salt and pepper, the sugar and the vinegar and simmer the mixture for 20-25 minutes. I served this with salmon and have enough left over to serve again this week....maybe with pork chops??

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mushroom and Peppers Frittata

The other night I made fajitas and had some fantastic left over peppers and onions lurking in the fridge. I also had a nice box of baby bella mushrooms. Since I always have eggs on hand, I decided that this combo would make a mighty fine frittata and it did not disappoint.

Preheat oven 425
Need medium oven proof skillet
5 eggs whisked
1 box baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 cup of sautéed peppers and onions
salt, pepper, some dried Italian seasoning, and dried red pepper
queso fresco cheese crumbles

Sauté mushrooms in butter, add spices, and then add the peppers and onion. Pour eggs over all and let that cook a few minutes until edges are looking a bit cooked. Sprinkle on the cheese and pop into the oven for 12 minutes. Let it cool a bit before cutting.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Salmon with Horseradish Cream Sauce

So, not all people care for horseradish, but we love it. As I've mentioned before on this blog, we eat a lot of salmon. Recently, I've been experimenting with different sauces to serve with it. I happen to see this and thought I'd give it a try. It calls for fresh basil and I have some growing out back. I prepared the salmon in my cast iron skillet--rubbed it with olive oil and seasoned it well and then cooked flesh side down 4 minutes, flipped for 4 more. Pretty simple and pretty good :-)

Horseradish Sauce

3/4 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
2 T fresh basil, chopped
2 T prepared white horseradish
1 t soy sauce
1 T lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Several days ago I had grilled a flank steak and we had quite a bit left over. Often, I use the meat for sandwiches the next day but I decided to make something we haven't had in a while: Fajitas!
I sliced the onion and the peppers up early in the day so they could have time to marinate in a yummy sauce. When it was time for dinner all I had to do was slice the steak, sauté the pepper mixture, crumble the cheese and warm the tortillas. Oh, and open two beers :-)

1/2 lb grilled flank steak, sliced thinly
3 peppers, red, yellow and green, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 T Worcestershire Sauce
Juice of one lime
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
some red pepper flakes
1 t sugar
flour tortillas
sour cream or Greek yogurt
crumbled queso fresco ( or shredded cheddar)
fresh cilantro
Fave hot sauce

In a dish, mix the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, lime, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, red pepper, and sugar until well combined. In large zip lock, place pepper and onion mixture, pour on sauce and marinate in fridge for several hours.

When ready to serve dinner:  Sauté the pepper mixture the way you like it--some people like the veggies really crispy and others like them more well done. Slice the steak and warm the tortillas. Let everyone build his own adding cheese, fresh cilantro and hot sauce.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rice and Corn Salad

Here's a tasty make-ahead salad that would travel well for summer picnics. You can really add whatever suits your fancy to this basic rice and corn concoction. (chopped zucchini, scallions, radishes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, shredded carrot, etc)

2 cups brown basmati rice, cooked
1/2 a bag frozen corn
1/2 red onion, chopped small
handful of fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup oil
1/2 red wine vinegar
Juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 T sugar

Mix together in small bowl and pour over the rice mixture. Refrigerate for a couple hours to let flavors to develop.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grilled Curry Chicken Salad

One of the things I love most about summer is chicken on the grill. I always make at least 6 or more breasts so that we have plenty left over for other uses. I don't think I've ever met a chicken salad that I didn't like but I especially like the taste of one made with grilled chicken. There are so many different approaches to take: sweet, savory, traditional? I decided to go with a curry flavor in this dish but if that's not your thing it can easily be left out and the dish will still be great.

2 large grilled chicken breasts cut in small chunks
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 cup green grapes, halved

2 heaping T mayo
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 t curry powder

Mix up the dressing and add to the chicken mixture. The addition of toasted pecans or walnuts would be good in this but I didn't have any on hand.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Watermelon and Feta

Here is a lovely summer salad with some unexpected flavors. I happen to really like Trader Joe's Champagne Vinaigrette so I used that to dress this dish, but any light dressing (bottled or homemade would work).

1 package of baby arugula
1/2 package of feta, in large crumbles
1 cup cut up seedless watermelon
1/2 cup of fresh mint, chopped

Combine all ingredients and toss with dressing.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pickled Chicken?

Here's a piece of kitchen advice:  If you have been tossing the pickle juice out after eating the last one-STOP! There are so many tasty things you can do with that juice. We often accompany a lunch time sandwich with a dill pickle spear, so I fairly regularly have some pickle juice around eventually.  Pickle juice can be used to brighten the flavors in all sorts of dishes like egg, tuna or potato salad. You can slice up carrots and cucumber and let them marinate in the juice. How about a little dash added to a Bloody Mary or even a Martini? My grandmother used to make hard cooked eggs and add some beet juice to her pickle juice, plop in the eggs and let them sit in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. The result: purple pickled eggs! Just recently I was reading that some cooks use the juice as a marinade for poultry and I thought I'd give it a go. The result was wonderfully tender grilled chicken that had a certain unidentifiable tang.

6 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
a couple cups of pickle juice
Sea salt and black pepper

Put chicken breasts in ziplock bag with juice and refrigerate for several hours. I "pickled" my chicken for about 4 hours.

When ready to grill, sprinkle on a bit of salt and lots of black pepper.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kitchen Business-Handy Items

Here are three handy items to have in the kitchen:  a stand for your I-Pad so you can easily access my cooking blog :-) and a mini-processor for small jobs like salad dressings and sauces and a container for your salt. I love my little salt pig.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Stuffed Potato

Who doesn't love a stuffed baked potato? We don't eat a lot of white potatoes much any more so it's a real treat when we indulge. Tonight I baked two large Idaho potatoes for about an hour and 20 minutes at 400. I had left over Picadillo (see blog entry for Hola! November 2010) which made for a tasty filling along with a bit of shredded cheddar and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Osso Bucco!

Osso Bucco is something that I typically make in the cold winter months but I wanted a crock pot dish and they had lovely beef shanks on sale at Arbor Farms. Osso Bucco is often made with veal but we don't eat veal (at home), so beef it is. I had never done an Osso Bucco in the crock pot and wow, it worked.

2 beef shanks
some flour
2 T butter
 salt and pepper
1 red onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 can diced tomatoes
2 T thyme

For gremolata:
handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
zest of a lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
Mix together

Salt and pepper the shanks, dredge in some flour and then brown in butter about 5 minutes per side in large skillet. Transfer shanks to slow cooker. To the skillet add the onion, carrot, celery--stir around. Add the broth, wine and tomatoes and the thyme. Bring to a boil and then pour over the shanks-set to cook on low for 6 hours.

When ready to serve, remove shanks and keep warm. Transfer the sauce to sauce pan and bring to a boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes to thicken.

Serve shanks over rice, ladle on the sauce and top with the gremolata.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower Frittata

Every now and then I love to totally make up a recipe and then it's so much fun when it turns out yummy. I had a bit of roasted cauliflower left over from another meal and decided to pair it with some caramelized red onion in a frittata. Adding lots of fresh basil and some queso fresco cheese worked well with the flavors too.

6 eggs, whisked
1 1/2 cups roasted cauliflower
1 small red onion
1/2 cup shredded queso fresco cheese
handful of fresh basil
salt and pepper
dried red pepper

pre heat oven 425

In medium oven proof skillet, caramelize the red onion, then stir in the cauliflower and the basil. Pour on the eggs and let that cook until the edges start to pull away--maybe 3 minutes or so? Sprinkle on the cheese and put in oven for 12 minutes. Let cool a bit before slicing--also good at room temp.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cod with Asparagus

Here's a really good healthful dinner that is super quick.

1 lb cod
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
1 lemon, juiced
2 t capers
1/4 cup water
1/2 t garlic powder
2 T butter, cubed

Preheat oven 400

Put asparagus in 11 X 7 baking dish. Add water. Arrange cod over asparagus. Add lemon juice, pepper, and garlic powder. Dot with butter and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Good served over brown and wild rice pilaf.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Peanut Butter Stew

Doesn't that sound like fun? This was a rather unlikely combo that turned out to be quite tasty. I served it over brown rice.

olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1.5 lbs. of round steak cut into small cubes (1/2 inch)
1/2 cup creamy unsweetened natural peanut butter
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 cups hot water
1 t chipotle pepper powder
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
Bag of fresh spinach

brown rice

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook 3 minutes. Add the beef and cook at least five minutes getting meat browned all sides-about 5 minutes
In small bowl, combine peanut butter and cold water, then pour over meat. Dilute the tomato paste in the 2 cups of hot water and pour in pan. Stir thoroughly. Add the chipotle powder, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Remove bay leaves and throw in the spinach-stir well. Serve over brown rice.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Guilt Free Cookie

Total disclaimer: these taste nothing like really wonderful homemade oatmeal cookies. However, if you're in the mood for a little something sweet and fairly healthful then these may work for you. The texture is more cake like. The thing I like about them is they're really quick to make and the ingredients are probably in your pantry right now.

preheat oven to 350

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups oats
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 almond milk
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla

In bowl mix ingredients well. Drop by spoonful onto parchment lined baking pan. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Makes 20-24

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Rib Vs. Rib

Decided to do ribs for the 4th of July. Was having a difficult time deciding exactly what kind of ribs I wanted to make and then a light bulb went off: Baby Backs Two Ways! Both racks went into the oven for 2 hours at 400 degrees. One rack was bathed in a chipotle honey sauce and the other rack got a spice rub. Both were put on the grill very briefly before serving. The ribs that just received the rub were served with the secret weapon: Mainely Meats BBQ Sauce. I wish I could give you their web address so you could order this sauce online but that's not possible. You'll have to go to Maine to get it. That's what we do every year :-) My hubs was the judge and declared the plain ribs with Mainely Meat Sauce the hands down winner but said it was a tough job deciding and he may have to have another helping of the chipotle ribs to be sure!

2 racks baby back ribs

Honey Chipotle Sauce
1/4 cup chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1/4 dry mustard
1.4 cup honey

Salt and pepper the ribs. Spread sauce all over and wrap ribs in heavy duty foil. Bake 2 hours at 400.

Spice rub ribs:

Just salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder all over and then wrap in foil. Bake 2 hours at 400.

Put ribs on grill very briefly (you really can even skip this step to tell the truth).

Friday, July 4, 2014

Shrimp and Corn Salad

Isn't it funny how one silly thing in your refrigerator can lead you to an interesting recipe? I don't use buttermilk a lot but needed it a few days ago. I bought a small carton but still had quite a bit left. I happened to see a version of this salad in Prevention Magazine and it sounded tasty. What sealed the deal was that the dressing needed 1 cup of buttermilk. Sold!

Their version called for grilling both the shrimp and the corn which would probably be wonderful but I didn't have the desire to do so. Call me lazy.

I have to say this was absolutely delicious.

1/2 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
3 T lime juice
1 cup low fat buttermilk
1 T chopped fresh basil
1 t honey
ground black pepper

1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper
1/2 bag Trader Joe sweet corn, thawed
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped English cucumber
1/3 cup red onion chopped
4 cups torn romaine

To make dressing: In food processor,  puree the avocado and the lime juice. Add the buttermilk, basil, honey and pepper. Process until smooth.

To make the salad: Put tomatoes, onion, corn, and cucumbers in medium bowl. Sauté the shrimp in a bit of olive oil, then add to the bowl. Mix a few tablespoons of the dressing into the mixture in the bowl.

Serve on a bed of romaine. Pass extra dressing. I had dressing left over to save and used later to fancy up some tuna salad.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Curried Zucchini Soup

This is a quick easy soup to throw together if you have some zucchini that needs to be used. The soup calls for garam masala (an Indian spice blend) which I have on hand but it's totally optional. I find that soups like this are best served in mugs to sip. I like to put my soup in a favorite cup, hand painted especially for me by a dear friend.

2 t olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 t curry powder
1/2 t garam masala (optional)
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup non-fat yogurt

In a deep saucepan, sauté the onion in the olive oil about 4 minutes, add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add zucchini, ginger, curry and garam masala. Sauté for another three minutes. Add the broth, cover and simmer 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Purée soup with hand blender. Whisk in yogurt before serving.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Another Mole

A while back I made a mole using turkey tenderloins. I decided to try anther version and use chicken breasts this time. I think I may like this one better than the other and this was super super easy to make. I served it over shredded iceberg lettuce but it would be very tasty over rice.

2 large chicken breasts cut into tenders-salt and peppered
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T chili powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 T peanut butter
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 scallions, chopped

In large skillet (with lid), heat some olive oil and sauté the chicken for about 8 minutes-turning once. Remove chicken. Add a bit more oil and sauté onion, green pepper, and garlic for about 5 minutes or so. Add chili powder and cinnamon. Add chicken back in--stir in the tomatoes with juice, peanut butter and cocoa powder and maybe a half can of extra water. Bring that to a boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir every so often. Serve over lettuce or rice and garnished with scallions (which I forgot to do!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pan Fried Meatloaf? Say What?

Ok-sometimes you get an idea and then it just grows. I had a hankering for meatloaf as well as stuffed peppers. I got to wondering about meatloaf stuffed peppers? Is there such an animal? Should there be? All essential questions for sure. A quick search on the Internet revealed that there are others out there who have thought about this combo and attempted to marry the two. I came across this Pan Fried Meatloaf and of course had to make major changes--what can I say? The result was really good and a different, fun way to present good old meatloaf.

1 1/2 pounds grass fed meatloaf mix (combo of ground beef and ground pork)
4 large peppers, green, red, and yellow
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup Progresso Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg
salt and pepper
1/2 medium onion chopped small
dried red pepper
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
some hot sauce

Remove core and seeds from peppers. Slice into 1 inch rings. You should be able to get two good size rings from each pepper. Place on non-stick baking sheet.
In a large bowl mix together the meat, 1/2 cup of the tomatoes, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and pepper, garlic, onion, the worcestershire sauce, a few dashes of hot sauce and dried red pepper. Press meatloaf mixture evenly into pepper rings.

In large skillet (with lid) heat 1 T olive oil and sauté the meatloaf rings on each side until golden brown-about 5 minutes per side. Top the rings with the remaining tomatoes, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.