Saturday, April 30, 2016

Pressed Cuban

I love leftovers! Yesterday I had marinated and cooked a pork tenderloin for dinner and today we have the fixings for yummy cuban sandwiches. Here's what you need to make two sandwiches:

2 ciabatta rolls
pork tenderloin sliced very thin
2 slices swiss cheese
a few thin dill pickle slices
a few slices of thin smoked deli ham

Assemble and grill in a panini press.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Chicken Paprikash

We eat a lot of chicken. Because of this, I'm always on the look out for something different to do with it. The other day I saw this recipe featured in the New York Times and decided to give it a try. Usually paprikash recipes feature beef so this intrigued me. It was very easy and quite tasty. I also decided to serve it over "zoodles" (zucchini noodles!) since I hadn't used my handy gadget, The Spiralizer, for some time.

4 chicken thighs
4 chicken drumsticks
1 T vegetable oil
1 T butter
salt and pepper
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 T flour
3 T Hungarian Hot Paprika (or you could use sweet)
1 can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

preheat oven 400

Salt and pepper the chicken well. Heat the oil and butter in Dutch oven. On high heat, brown the chicken pieces about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Set chicken aside and turn heat to medium and throw in the chopped onion and cook for another 5 minutes-then the garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the flour and the paprika and stir well. Stir in the broth and the tomatoes. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and then stick the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes. To serve, remove the chicken from the pan and stir in the yogurt or sour cream. Put the chicken over noodles or "zoodles" and then spoon that yummy sauce over the chicken. Yum!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wine-Braised Brisket

Often when people make brisket they use a fairly large piece of meat but this was just for the two of us so my brisket was only about 1 and 1/2 pounds. The secret to a juicy brisket is letting the meat sit in the sauce a bit. Make this early in the day and then reheat before eating.

1-2 pound brisket
salt and pepper
1/4 olive oil
1/2 onion sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 cup white wine
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup grainy mustard
2 long strips of lemon zest
2 t thyme
6 carrots peeled and cut in 3-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 300. Generously season brisket with salt and pepper. Heat 2 T oil in dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear brisket until browned 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Add remaining 2 T oil and reduce heat to medium. Stir in garlic and onion and cook stirring 2 minutes, stir in wine--add broth, mustard, zest, and thyme; bring to a boil. Add meat. Cover, and transfer to oven and bake 2 hours.

Turn meat over and add carrots and cook another hour. Remove from oven-remove meat to a cutting board and let it cool. Remove carrots. Pour remaining sauce into baking dish. Slice meat against the grain and put back into the sauce. Arrange carrots around meat-cover with foil and refrigerate. Reheat covered in a 350 oven until warmed through--40 minutes or so.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kasha and Bowties

My mother-in-law did not cook a wide array of dishes but those that she did make were always very good I thought. A favorite of my husband's was her brisket with kasha and bowties. Over the years I haven't made this dish very often and when I do it's never as good as mom's was. I never really had a recipe from her so I've kind of made up my own version and the hubs likes it! The other day I decided to make it and we really did enjoy it so I thought I might as well get into the blog for posterity! ha Taj may want his Grammie's version of this traditional dish some day!!

Kasha and Bowties  (I'll blog the brisket tomorrow)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 egg
1 cup toasted buckwheat groats *to toast, cook in large dry skillet over medium high heat, stirring, until brown--about five minutes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
8 oz bowtie pasta
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 T butter

Heat oil in large deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until golden-about 15 minutes. Remove onion and set aside. While onions are cooking bring large pot of water to boil for pasta.

Beat egg in a small bowl. Add toasted groats and mix well to coat. Add groats and garlic to hot sauté pan. Increase heat and cook until brownish-about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and the onions and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed--10-20 minutes. While groats are cooking, cook pasta 10 minutes and then drain well.

Remove groats from heat and add pasta, parsley, butter, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


When you're retired every day is the weekend in some ways. After years of being on a tight schedule,  I some times need to pinch myself for a reality check. Yes, it's true: I don't have to get up at 5:30 am to be at school by 7:15! Although every day is like Saturday, Sunday is still a bit different. It's the only day we have a newspaper delivered and I still look forward to my morning cup of coffee along with the Sunday Styles page of the NYT. Often on Sundays I make us a brunch, too. Today, I looked in the fridge to figure out what might constitute a proper brunch and found the perfect combo. Here's what you'll need:

4 large portobello mushroom caps
olive oil
bag of spinach
1/2 onion
1/4 cup goat cheese
some fresh dill
4 eggs
1 T butter
salt and pepper

In large skillet, heat some olive oil and cook mushrooms on both sides. At same time in another large skillet, heat some oil and saute the onion and then add the spinach in bunches to wilt. Salt and pepper.

Whisk the four eggs well, and add them to a small saucepan (in which you've melted a T of butter). Scramble lightly--when almost done fold in the fresh dill and the goat cheese.

To assemble, divide spinach among the caps, then top with egg mixture and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Breakfast for Dinner!

The other day I was flipping through a magazine and saw the most delicious looking egg dish. Upon closer scrutiny,  I knew I had to make it SOON! Folded into the buttery eggs were scallions, bits of asparagus, creamy goat cheese and fresh dill. I'm all in! The dish was wonderful for dinner and would also be grand for a Sunday brunch with mimosas!

4 eggs
5 scallions chopped
1 cup of chopped asparagus (discard tough ends)
1 T butter
2 T non fat Greek yogurt
2 oz of crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper

In ten inch skillet, melt the butter. Add the scallions and stir around, then add the asparagus and stir a few minutes. Whisk the eggs, salt and pepper and the yogurt. Pour in egg mixture and gently scramble. Before the eggs really look completely done to your liking, stir in the dill and goat cheese-stir gently-turn off heat--as eggs will still continue to cook a bit. Serve immediately.

I paired this dish with sauteed Cajun sausage, sliced tomatoes and sourdough toast spread with jalapeno jam. Pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cucumber-Tomato Salsa

Here's a really good salsa that you could use a variety of ways. I happened to be making some sautéed Dover sole tonight and wanted a refreshing salsa to go with the delicate fish. This is easy and so tasty.

1 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1 t lime zest
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T olive oil
1/2 large English cucumber, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 green onion, thinly sliced
3 pickled jalapeno rings minced
1 T fresh mint chopped
2 T crumbled feta cheese

Combine cumin, salt, lime zest, lime juice, and olive oil in medium bowl. Add cukes, tomatoes, jalapenos, mint and feta. Stir gently and serve.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Chili-Marinated Pork with Roasted Sprouts

If you eat meat and are looking for a dish with big flavor, you've come to the right blog! This dish is asian-inspired and spicy. A few of the ingredients can easily be found in the isles of the grocery store and all keep well in the refrigerator. If you've never used fish sauce don't be put off by it. It really does add depth to dishes without being fishy when served. You need to make two sauces for this dish: one for the marinade and the other for the sprouts. Both can be made ahead of time.

6 T of grapeseed oil, divided
4 T rice wine vinegar
4 T soy sauce
5 cloves of garlic, minced and divided
3 T hot chili paste
3/4 t salt, divided
2 1 pound pork tenderloins
2 T fish sauce
2 T lemon juice
1/2 t honey
1 T red chili paste
pkg of brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 T butter

Make marinade for meat:  in medium bowl, whisk together 4 T oil, vinegar, soy sauce, 4 minced garlic cloves, chili paste, and 1/2 t salt. Place pork in resealable plastic bag and pour in HALF the marinade. Save the other half to make the sauce at the end of the cooking time. Marinate at room temp for 30 minutes.

In small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 minced garlic, fish sauce, lemon, honey, chili paste, and 1 T water. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400

On a parchment lined cookie sheet toss brussels sprouts with 1 T oil and 1/4 t salt. Pop into the oven for 15 minutes, then stir and roast another 15 minutes.

In the meantime, heat 2 T oil in large oven proof skillet. Remove tenderloins from marinade and sear on each side for about 3 minutes per side. Add broth to pan and pop into oven for 10-13 minutes.

Transfer pork to cutting board, cover with foil and let rest. Add the other half of the marinade to the skillet and heat, scraping up browned bits. Add butter and stir.

Toss brussels sprouts with 2 T vinaigrette--taste and add more if you want.

To serve slice up tenderloin and drizzle with pan sauce and serve with sprouts. Big flavor!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Herb Chicken with Mushrooms

I love a skillet dish that I can make and then pop in the oven to finish. It gives time to enjoy a glass of wine before dinner and tonight we were able to sit out on the deck for the first time! Please let spring be here to stay!!

1 pkg boneless chicken thighs
1 pkg drumsticks
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 T chopped parsley
2 T dried thyme
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper
2 T Dijon mustard
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and half the the rosemary and thyme. Brown chicken (in oven proof skillet) in olive oil on each side about 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken. Throw in the mushrooms and brown for several minutes, then pour in chicken broth and whisk in the mustard. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add the chicken back in as well as the rest of the thyme, rosemary and parsley. Bake in oven 30 minutes.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Curried Cauliflower

I really like to make roast cauliflower a lot. Usually I just do a really simple treatment but sometimes it's fun to switch it up a bit. This time, I added curry powder and cumin to the usual olive oil, salt and pepper. Tossed it well then baked at 425 for 15 minutes, turned each piece over and baked another 20. Yum!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Chicken with Kale and Quinoa

This is a nice tasty, cozy dish to make when it's supposed to be spring but it's snowing outside? Welcome to Michigan!

1 pkg of boneless chicken thighs
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
Tabasco sauce
1 onion sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
thyme and cumin
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
4 cups chopped kale

In large lidded skillet, brown chicken that has been seasoned with thyme, cumin, salt and pepper in a T of olive oil a few minutes on each side. Remove to plate. Add some more olive oil and then brown the onions and mushrooms. Throw in the quinoa and garlic, stir around and then add the kale in bunches to wilt. Add the chicken thighs back in and add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil--season it all with some Tabasco for a punch of spice and then put a lid on, turn down to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Good with a nice crusty bread.