Sunday, December 30, 2012

Honey Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon

It seems appropriate to end 2012 by posting the first meal we had to start the year. This is an indication of how many photos and recipes I've tried that have yet to make the blog. Add keeping up with blogging to my 2013 resolutions list.

Pork is one of the foods that you can eat on New Year's Day to bring you luck for the coming year. We figured a little extra luck never hurts, so we chose a pork roast wrapped in bacon. This was simple to put together and delicious to enjoy with some prosecco. The arugula salad base added a nice peppery citrus flavor as well. I found this Giada recipe on The Way to his Heart.

I wish you a fabulous celebration to end 2012 and welcome 2013!

For the pork, you will need:
*1/4 cup Dijon mustard
*2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
*2 tablespoons honey
*2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1 center-cut, boneless, pork loin roast, about 3 1/2 pounds
*12 slices bacon, about 1 pound
**kitchen twine

For the arugula salad base, you will need:
*3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
*Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
*about 5 cups baby arugula

1. Align an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven; preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, add the Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, honey, garlic, and rosemary; mix together until smooth.

3. Arrange the pork in a 9 by 13-inch baking pan and spread the mustard mixture evenly over the roast. Once coated, start on 1 side and lay a piece of bacon, lengthwise, on top of the pork. Lay another slice of bacon on the pork making sure to slightly overlap the first piece. Continue with the remaining bacon until the pork roast is fully covered in bacon. Secure the bacon in place using kitchen twine. Roast for 1 hour.

4. After an hour, loosely cover the pan with foil and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 160 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the roast to rest under the foil for 20 minutes. (You could prep the salad now-see step 5) Carefully transfer the roast to a cutting board. Remove the kitchen twine and slice the pork into 1/2-inch thick slices.

5. While the pork is resting, you can start the salad. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and oil until smooth; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Put the arugula on a large platter, or individual serving plates, and drizzle with the dressing. Arrange the pork slices on top and serve.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms

Here's another appetizer that I test drove at our weekly football potluck get together. I love mushrooms and Dave can't stand them. The taste of these was good enough for him to overlook the texture and enjoy the flavor. This is a quick stuffed mushroom recipe. I look forward to trying these again soon.I found this recipe on Lauren's Latest.

You will need:

*20-24 baby bella mushrooms
6 oz. softened cream cheese

*1/4 cup grated parmigianno regianno cheese

*1 teaspoon taco seasoning

*1 green onion, sliced-white and green parts 

*1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided

*salt & pepper, to taste

*1 cup red enchilada sauce

*any desired toppings: sour cream, salsa, cilantro, etc. (We enjoyed them as is)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish.

2. Remove stems from mushrooms and wipe caps with damp cloth. Place clean caps into greased baking dish.

3. In a bowl, stir cream cheese until soft and smooth. Add parmigianno regianno cheese, taco seasoning, green onion, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, salt and pepper to the cream cheese. Mix well. Spoon filling into mushroom caps. Pour enchilada sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Bake 20 minutes until browned and bubbly. Serve hot.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cranberry, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Dip

I am currently finalizing my Thanksgiving menu. I have approximately 50 different recipes I'd like to make. Most of them are appetizers and desserts. The problem with this is that I only have about 8 people coming to dinner so I must cut back. This recipe is a simple appetizer that I have made the past couple of Thanksgivings. I've also brought it to football games and holiday parties. There are rarely any leftovers! I think this recipe pairs best with buttery Ritz crackers. If you're also currently hoarding seasonal recipes, I highly recommend you add this to the list. I first discovered this recipe on Beantown Baker.

You will need:
*8oz. cream cheese, softened
*4 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
*1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, room temperature
     (I often forget the room temp step on the cheddar and it still works)
*2 teaspoons vegetable oil
*1 medium sweet onion, diced
*1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
*1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
*1/4 cup water
*1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
*1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional-I've made with and without)

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese together until smooth; add the cheddar cheese and mix until well incorporated. Use a flat spatula to spread into the bottom of a baking dish. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced onions and saute until softened. Add teaspoon of sugar and mix well. Continue cooking to caramelize the onions. Lower the heat slightly and stir every few minutes. This process should take about 10 minutes. Once the onions are caramelized remove them from the skillet and set aside.

3. Add the cranberries, sugar, and water into the warm skillet. Stir to dissolve sugar. Turn heat up to medium and cook until cranberries pop open and are softened. (about 5 minutes) Once mixture thickens, add the balsamic vinegar and return the onions to the skillet. Stir well, then cool.

4. Just prior to serving dip, spoon the cranberry mixture on top of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with pecans if desired.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta

Happy Halloween!

I am not sure why, but I feel like I must eat pumpkin in my dinner on Halloween. It just feels right to enjoy a savory fall appropriate meal in between trick-or-treaters. Of course dessert is often an assortment of candy with a heavy hand on the Reeses cups! 
Here's a great seasonal dinner to enjoy any time this fall. I tend to make and post mostly weeknight recipes and this one is no exception. I found this recipe on Prevention RD and I just changed a few ingredients based on what we had in the house.

The night we enjoyed this recipe the ground started shaking. Really. That was the first earthquake either of us ever felt. I often have memories connected to foods and I think when I remake this dish I'll always think of that minor earthquake and our shock when the couch started moving.

You will need:
*8 oz dry whole wheat pasta

*1/2 lb Italian chicken sausage links, coin sliced (we used a bit more to finish a package)

*1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced

*1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
*1 cup canned pumpkin

*1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt

*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

*1/4 teaspoon pepper

*1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

*1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes

1. Boil water and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain & set aside.

2. White pasta is cooking, lightly oil a large skillet and cook the sausage, onions, and mushrooms over medium heat until the sausage is fully cooked. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

3. Stir in the broth, pumpkin, sage, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.

4. Serve pasta topped with about 1/4 of the sauce. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon grated parmesan and a pinch of parsley flakes. Serve immediately.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spicy Bean Burritos

I hope that everyone is Sandy's path today is staying safe. I was given my first "Hurricane Day" off from school. The winds are really picking up here, and I am crossing fingers that we keep our power tonight. Best of luck to all of you in this storm.

This is another simple, meatless Monday meal. Mondays are meeting nights for me at school so I usually get a later start on dinner. These burritos don't look like much but we really enjoyed them. I cook with black beans a lot and the addition of pinto beans in this recipe was a nice change of pace. I used the version of this recipe that I found on Annie's Eats.

You will need:
*2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil

*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1 teaspoon chili powder

*1 teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce

*1 teaspoon ground cumin
*1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

*dash cayenne pepper
1/3 cup broth or water
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

*4-6 tablespoons salsa
6 flour tortillas, warmed

Optional Toppings: shredded cheese
, diced tomatoes
, shredded romaine lettuce
, chopped scallions, and sour cream or Greek yogurt

1. Make the bean filling: heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir in the garlic, chili powder, chipotle, cumin, salt, and cayenne; cook just until fragrant (30-60 seconds).  Add the beans and the water or broth to the pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the salsa and mash the mixture with a fork.

2. Spoon about a third of a cup of the bean mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Top each tortilla as desired.  Roll the tortilla up burrito style and serve immediately.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Athenian Orzo

I am always amazed by the pace that picks up in September. I love the return to school and getting to know my new class. This month we ate many repeat meals in an effort to keep cooking during the busy start to school. I forgot we made this recipe at the start of summer until I was looking through recipes to revisit. This is another simple, tasty, and fairly healthy dinner. I found this recipe on Gourmet: Day to Day

You will need:
*1 1/2 teaspoons EVOO
*1 small onion, chopped

*4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine

*2 large tomatoes, chopped (or canned diced will work if fresh aren't an option)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided

*1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

*Freshly ground pepper, to taste

*Pinch of crushed red pepper

*1 pound medium shrimp,  peeled and deveined
1 cup orzo
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.

2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened (about 3 minutes). Add wine and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for 5 minutes. Drop in shrimp and cook, until barely pink, about 3 minutes.

3. Cook orzo in the boiling water until tender but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Toss with the tomato-shrimp sauce. Sprinkle with feta and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley.
 Bake, uncovered, until the feta is bubbly, about 10 minutes.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

I cannot remember the last time we ordered a delivery pizza for dinner. Working at an Italian restaurant that makes great pizza, I do eat my fair share of it at work. But when it comes to having pizza at home, we prefer to make it ourselves. I have yet to try making my own pizza dough. That is something I really hope to try soon. Any simple recipe suggestions?

This asparagus pizza recipe was found on Pennies on a Platter. I love anything with Boursin cheese and this pizza is no exception.

You will need:
*pizza dough
*olive oil
*garlic salt
*8 ounces asparagus spears, woody stems removed
*1 cup shredded mozzarella
*3 ounces Boursin garlic herb, or other garlic herb cheese
*ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Shave the asparagus spears into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler, reserving the tips as well and set aside.

2. Stretch the dough and place on pizza stone. Lightly spritz the dough with olive oil, making sure the outer crust is coated. Sprinkle with garlic salt.

3. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the pizza dough in an even layer.  Pile the shaved asparagus on top of the mozzarella. Dot the surface of the pizza with the garlic herb spread, then season with pepper.

4. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the mozzarella cheese is melted and the crust is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes before slicing.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Black Bean Tacos

I love taco night. Dave and I have made tacos together since the early dating days. And trust me, that was longer ago than I care to admit. I thought I'd found the best vegetarian taco out there when I made Roasted Chickpea Tacos for the first time last year. Those are still my favorite go-to taco recipe, and I have enjoyed them numerous times for lunch and dinner. Dave would always eat them without groaning, but he was never as impressed as I was/am. This black bean version was one we both loved. I found this recipe posted on Endless Simmer through Pinterest. These tacos are so simple, yet flavorful. We topped ours with some avocado and Greek yogurt. I highly recommend you try this recipe sometime soon. This would be a perfect weeknight dinner for the start of the school year.

You will need:
*2 cups canned or cooked black beans
*1/2 cup. red onion, minced

*1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

*4-6 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated

*2 tablespoons olive oil
, plus additional oil for cooking

*pinch of salt and pepper
*8 corn tortillas

*optional toppings: avocado, hot sauce, 
, sour cream or Greek yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 250 and place a foil-lined baking sheet on the center rack.

2. In a medium bowl, combine black beans with red onion, cilantro, and spices. Add a pinch of salt and lightly stir all ingredients together. No worries if you mash the beans a bit.

3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, add one corn tortilla at a time and let sit for a few seconds to heat. Then add about 1/4 cup of the bean filling to one half of the tortilla. Top with a sprinkle of grated cheese. Use a spatula to carefully fold the tortilla over so it forms a shell. Press the spatula down lightly on the tortilla so it holds its shape. Cook for about 3 minutes. Flip the taco to cook the other side. Use a spatula to help you flip the taco toward to fold to keep the filling in place.

4. You can add more tortillas as the tacos cook.  Depending on your skillet, you should be able to cook about 3 at a time. Once a taco is finished, place it on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.

5. Enjoy with whichever toppings you'd like.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

Prevention RD is a fabulous blog and one of my favorite recipe sources. Nicole always posts the nutritional info and a result for each recipe. As soon as she posted this dish it went on my weekly menu. Believe or not, we had not had a pasta dish in a long time. I'm sure pasta will make more of an appearance when the weather gets colder again. The overabundance of zucchini right now is a perfect reason for you to make this quick dinner soon. If anyone has a lot of produce from their successful garden, feel free to send it my way! Maybe next year I'll attempt growing food. Right now we're still focusing on grass.

You will need:
*10 ounces dry whole wheat pasta- I used rotini
*15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes

*5 ounces goat cheese

*12 ounce jar roasted red pepper, drained
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

*2 small-medium sized zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch half moons
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Boil water in a pot and salt lightly; add pasta and cook according to the box directions (Usually around 9-11 minutes) Drain and set aside.

2. While your pasta is cooking, combine tomatoes, goat cheese, and peppers in a food processor and pulse until smooth. (You could use a blender if you do not own a food processor)

3. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the zucchini along with some salt and pepper and saute about 3 minutes until the zucchini begins to soften. Add the goat cheese sauce mixture and simmer for about 7 minutes or until heated through.

4. Combine the pasta and sauce. Serve immediately.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Biscoff Frozen Yogurt

As soon as I saw this ice cream recipe posted on Katie's Cucina I wanted it. Immediately. (I'm not always the most patient person in the world) I am also someone that really shouldn't eat ice cream. I love it, but it does not love me. I can have cheese, skim milk, and yogurt, but cream makes my stomach hurt. Usually every year as soon as the weather is warm, I drag Dave out for ice cream. I immediately regret not getting frozen yogurt and spend the whole night whining about the pain I am in. Luckily, once or twice a season is all it takes to remind me that avoiding ice cream is worth it.

I also needed a recent reason to use the jar of Biscoff spread aside from just dipping a spoon in it daily. These wants and needs led to making this Greek frozen yogurt adaptation of Katie's recipe. I've successfully used the Purple Cow recipe amounts to make a number of yogurt bases. This is one of my absolute favorites. The Greek yogurt tang is still slightly there but is well balanced by how sweet the Biscoff tastes. I don't think this is going to last long in our freezer!

You will need:
*1 cup Biscoff Spread + 2 tablespoons
*3 cups plain Greek yogurt (2%) nonfat does not work for frozen would for popsicles though!
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*3/4 cup sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar and yogurt until smooth. Add one cup of Biscoff spread and continue to mix until creamy. Stir in the vanilla. Cover the mixture and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

2. Stir the chilled yogurt mixture and then pour/spoon it into your ice cream maker. Churn for about 20-30 minutes depending on your ice cream maker. (I did 20 minutes in my Kitchen Aid attachment)

3. Stir in the additional 2 tablespoons of Biscoff. Place in an airtight freezable container. Freeze for a couple hours before serving; Freeze up to one week.

Note: Frozen yogurt often freezes more solid than ice cream. Allow it to sit at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes before serving. If you scoop earlier, the frozen yogurt chips off more like ice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Garlic Lemon Chicken Kabobs

We've been in our house for two years now, but I still get giddy every time I use our grill. Growing up, summer dinners were almost always grilled. I think a few years of third floor apartment living made me realize just how fortunate it is to have outdoor space to cook. Poor Dave will sometimes try and man the grill, but I often politely push him out of the way and take charge. In my opinion, almost any vegetable tastes better when it is chopped and grilled on a stick. I always prefer to do my vegetable and meat kabobs separately so that I can cook them properly. This simple chicken marinade provides a great flavor. You can marinate the meat in the morning and then grill it quickly after work. Or, if you are like me, you will probably forget to do that and give it only about 1-2 hours of time to marinate. Don't worry if that happens to you, it will still be tasty! This great grilling recipe was discovered on Annie's Eats. I altered it to include a bit less oil and to be made on a gas grill.

You will need:

*1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
*zest of 1 lemon
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1 tablespoon fresh parsley (I used 1 teaspoon dried)
*1 teaspoon kosher salt
*1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces (about 3/4 inch-1 inch)
*skewers (if wooden, soak in water for 20 minutes or more before grilling)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.  Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and toss to coat with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

2. Lightly oil the grill grates. Preheat the grill burners to the medium settings. 

3. While the grill is heating, place the chicken pieces onto skewers, discarding the extra marinade.  Place the kabobs on the grill, cover, and cook until the chicken is cooked throughout. This will probably take about about 10-12 minutes. Rotate the skewers at least once during cooking.  Serve immediately.

These skewers can be served as a salad topping, a main dish with vegetables, or over a rice dish. In the photo above, I made a simple dinner of chicken and veggies. I used green and red peppers, mushrooms, and vidalia onions on my vegetable skewer.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Strawberry Caprese Salad

I clearly forgot to take a picture of this salad before we began eating it on Father's Day. This is a light recipe that works well as an appetizer or side. I served it without the balsamic topping, but I imagine it will be even better next time when I remember to put it on! With this season's fresh strawberries and tomatoes, this is a must try recipe for an upcoming barbeque. It was easy to double this recipe, and I made an extra small batch for lunch one day with some leftovers. This is a recipe from Pink Parsley.

You will need:
*1 cup halved grape tomatoes
*1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*pinch of sugar
*1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon honey
*squeeze of fresh lemon juice
*1 cup hulled and quartered strawberries
*1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella
*4-5 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

1. Gently mix the tomatoes with the salt and sugar in a colander; let the tomato mixture sit and drain for 10-15 minutes to remove excess water.

2. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan.  Cook until it is thick and syrupy, about 5-10 minutes, when only a few tablespoons remain.  Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl to cool.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt. Add the tomatoes, strawberries, mozzarella, and basil to the bowl and mix.  '

4. Before serving, drizzle with some of the balsamic vinegar. (A little goes a long way!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Addictive Fruit Dip

This is like frosting in a bowl. I was caught a few times just using fruit as a spoon to get this deliciousness into my mouth. I like to think that this is healthy because of the use of yogurt. This dip was popular at our Father's Day cookout and the 4th of July party. I think I have another go to summer appetizer! This truly pairs well with almost anything. I found this recipe at Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life.

You will need:
*1 (8oz.) package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
*3/4 cup packed brown sugar
*1/4 tsp vanilla extract
*6 oz non-fat Greek yogurt
*1 cup cold skim milk
*1 package sugar-Free instant vanilla pudding mix
*items for dipping: watermelon, cantaloupe, graham crackers, strawberries

1. Use a mixer to beat the cream cheese smooth, then add the brown sugar. Add the milk, yogurt, and pudding mix; mix until well combined. Stir in vanilla.

2. Chill at least two hours before serving.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Greek Yogurt Chicken

As soon as Stephanie Cooks posted this recipe, I added it to my weekly menu. Loving Greek yogurt in just about anything, I knew it would be a dinner we'd enjoy. I was surprised by how much we loved it. We haven't had too much chicken lately because I tend to get sick of it. I can remember coming home from college each semester and asking my parents for anything but chicken. College was more years ago than I care to admit, but I still have a love/hate relationship with chicken dishes. That said, this meal now has me wanting chicken again! This is a simple weeknight dinner that I recommend you try as soon as possible.We paired it with some roasted zucchini topped with panko and parmesan.

You will need:
*2 thin chicken breasts (I butterflied large ones and made 4 chicken pieces)
*1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt-I prefer Chobani
*1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*1/2 tsp garlic powder
*3/4 tsp seasoned salt, we use Lawry's
*1/4 tsp pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, cheese, and seasonings. Stir together well.

3. Spray or oil a baking dish. Place the raw chicken in the dish and top with the yogurt mixture. You can use the back of a spoon to help spread the sauce even over the chicken pieces.

4. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. We chose not to broil this, but you can broil it under close watch to have it become a bit brown and crispy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chana Masala

Dave loves Indian food. While I can't take the heat like he can, I do enjoy many of the spices that easily combine into wonderful dinners. We usually go out to eat our Indian fix or we rely on Trader Joe's frozen entrees. There aren't many frozen dinners I enjoy, but I highly recommend the Trader Joe's Indian cuisine collection. They are the perfect option for a busy night. With that said, I am trying to get better about cooking some Indian inspired dishes. I found this recipe on Bakin and Eggs and knew it would be a great combination. I love chickpeas and finding more meatless meal options, and Dave would get his Indian spices. We both really liked the way this turned out. Although my wimpy tongue did need a tall glass of water near by!

 You will need:
*1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

*2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

*1 tablespoon ground coriander

*2 teaspoons ground cumin

*1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric

*2 teaspoons paprika

*1 teaspoon garam masala

*1 15oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain!)
2/3 cup water

*2 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

*1/2 teaspoon salt

*1/2 lemon, juiced
*cooked rice and naan for serving, optional

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and ginger, cook for another 2-3 minutes. 

2. Switch the burner to medium-low heat. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala to the onion mixture. Cook for about 1-2 minutes; then add the tomatoes. Next, add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

3. Serve over rice and/or naan if desired.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cucumber Bites

School's out for the summer! That means I'll have a bit more time and energy to put back in to this little neglected blog.

These simple cucumber bites were a perfect appetizer for my friend's baby shower. I've also made them for a Christening and simple backyard barbeque. With the cream and cheese topping, these are not something that will do well out in the sun for long. Luckily, they usually don't last too long anyway. I found this recipe on Annie's Eats.

You will need:
1 (5.2 oz) package garlic herb Boursin cheese
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
*1 cucumber, partially peeled

1. Make the filling by placing the Boursin in a small bowl and adding in 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream. Combine with a fork until smooth.  If needed, stir in an additional tablespoon of cream until the mixture is a good piping consistency.  Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Set aside until the cucumber is ready.

2. Slice the cucumber into ½-inch thick slices.  Gently spoon out most of the seeds from the center of each slice, leaving a small portion to keep the filling in place.  Arrange the slices on a serving platter and pipe a drop of the filling onto each cucumber slice.  Serve chilled.
*These cucumber bites can be made up to 6 hours in advance and refrigerated until serving.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Margarita Cupcakes

I have a confession. I do not like margaritas. Never have, and I am pretty sure I never will. That said, I've saved multiple recipes for margarita cupcakes waiting for a chance to make them because they always look cute and are raved about. The perfect occasion to make these came when my friend's 30th birthday celebration fell on cinco de mayo this year. I used a shortcut cupcake recipe with cake mix, and I think it came out perfect. I found this on Homemade by Holman. The egg whites kept this nice and fluffy. I used the Skinny Girl margarita mix in these instead of a separate margarita mix and tequila. The only reason I did this is because I had it on hand. And as I already said, I don't care for margaritas, so what else was I going to do with that bottle? If any one would like the rest of it, come on over!

For the cupcakes, you will need:
*1 box white cake mix
*8 ounces Skinny Girl Margarita
*1/2 ounce orange juice
*3 large egg whites
*2 tablespoons vegetable oil
*zest of 1 lime

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffin tins.

2. In a large measuring cup, mix together margarita and orange juice.

3. Pour cake mix into a mixing bowl. Add egg whites, oil, lime zest and margarita/OJ. Briefly beat on low speed until dry ingredients are incorporated and then beat on medium high speed for about 2 minutes.

4. Fill batter into muffin wells until about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes in the pan and then cool completely on wire racks. Once completely cooled, frost with the recipe below.

For the frosting, you will need:
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

*1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
4 cups powdered sugar

*1 tsp lime zest

*3-4 drops green food coloring

1. Beat cream cheese and butter on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

2. Stir in the lime juice and zest. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated. If needed, add more lime juice and/or powdered sugar until you reach your desired frosting consistency. Add food coloring a drop at a time and beat on medium high speed until desired color is reached.

3. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. I topped these with green sprinkles I had on hand. You could also add paper straws and limes like I did on these mojito cupcakes. Refrigerate cupcakes in an airtight container if not serving immediately and bring to room temperature a couple hours prior to serving.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Crockpot Cheddar Chicken Tacos

I'm finding that our favorite crockpot recipes often include beer. BBQ Beer Shredded Chicken is a regular in our menu rotation and a favorite of many friends as well. As soon as I saw this recipe on How Sweet it is I knew we'd love it. The first time I made this for a potluck dinner and forgot to add the cheese. It was tasty, but much better when we finally tried it again and added the cheddar. Crockpot meals are perfect as the warmer weather starts. You can have a home cooked meal without heating the house by turning on the stove.

You will need:
*4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*3/4 cup beer
*1 tablespoon chili powder
*1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
*1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/4 teaspoon onion powder
*pinch of cayenne pepper
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon pepper
*3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*taco shells or corn tortillas
*toppings of your choice, suggestions: Greek yogurt, avocado, salsa, sliced red onion, black beans, mixed greens, additional cheese, etc.

1. In a bowl, make the taco seasoning by stirring together chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. In a measuring cup, combine the 3/4 cup beer with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning and whisk together.

2. Place chicken in the crockpot and top with seasoned beer. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

3. Shred chicken. Taste and season with leftover taco seasoning if desired. Right before serving, turn off the crockpot and mix the cheddar cheese into the shredded chicken. Immediately transfer the cheesy chicken to a large bowl so the cheese does not make a mess of your crockpot!

4. Serve the tacos with any topping you'd like. We used corn tortillas, red onion slices, mixed greens, and Greek yogurt. The leftover chicken also made great taco salads for lunches.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I always thought of spanakopita as fabulous appetizer triangles. I never thought of making a larger portion for dinner until I found this recipe on Stephanie Cooks. This is another one of those recipes that I held on to for far too long before finally making it. It comes together easily and seems like it takes much more effort. If you like spinach and feta, you'll definitely enjoy this dinner!

You will need:
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1/2 small yellow onion, chopped small
*2 green onions, yellow and white parts, chopped
*10 oz package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained, or fresh**
      **I always saute and squeeze out excess moisture using a spatula in a colander
*2 eggs, lightly beaten
*2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
*2 tablespoons bread crumbs
*1 teaspoon kosher salt, additional for topping
*1/2 teaspoon pepper
*1 cup crumbled feta cheese
*12 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted
*4 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the green onions and cook another 2 minutes. Set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, eggs, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Add the onion mixture, stirring until well combined.Gently fold in the feta.

4. Place one sheet of phyllo on a flat work surface such as a large cutting board or right on a clean counter. Brush lightly with butter. Place an additional sheet of phyllo and then top that with butter. Repeat this process until 4 sheets are layered. Slice the phyllo in half lengthwise using a pizza cutter.

5. Spoon about 1/3 cup spinach mixture onto the top of one phyllo rectangle. Fold the dough on the diagonal as if folding a flag-folding the dough over the filling then folding over itself. Repeat until a triangle is formed. (I double checked on YouTube as Stephanie suggested in her recipe post, there are definitely videos available for forming spanakopita if you need to see this visually.) Place seal side down on a baking sheet. Repeat until all triangles are formed.

6. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spinoccoli Pizza

We've been on a very successful pizza kick around here. I didn't realize that I hadn't blogged about this pizza until we decided to make it tonight and I couldn't find the recipe on here. This is another winner from Annie's Eats. I rarely use heavy cream sauces on pizzas, but I rationalized that the vegetables rounded out the calorie content for this one. The combination is amazing and filling. It also reminds me of the cream sauce available on a "Great White" pizza at a local pizza shop. The leftover slices still tasted great when reheated the next day. We tend to not preheat our pizza stone. I know, I know not the best practice, but it always seems to work just fine for us. Because of this I tend to use a bit lower temp when making pizzas and cook them longer. I find this helps the crust get crisp and brown without burning. I currently use store bought wheat pizza dough but one of these days I'll try making own.

For the sauce, you will need:
*1 tablespoon butter

*1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
*6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
**Note- this will make extra sauce. You can use it for crust dipping if you'd like.**

For the pizza, you will need:
*pizza dough
*Olive oil
*1/2 cup baby spinach leaves torn and packed
*1 cup small broccoli florets

*2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

*2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

*grated Parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 450.

2. Make the white sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and whisk constantly until bubbling and lightly golden, about 1 minute. Next, whisk in the heavy cream and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from the heat; whisk in the grated Parmesan until completely melted and smooth.

2. Prepare the pizza dough onto your pizza stone. I always do this by mixing a bit of cornmeal into the dough to help prevent tearing as I stretch and shape it with my hands. Lightly spray or brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil.

3. Spread a thin layer of the white sauce over the crust leaving the crust border uncovered. Sprinkle the torn spinach leaves over the white sauce. Next, evenly distribute the broccoli florets. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and finish with additional grated Parmesan.

4. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Shrimp, Black Bean, and Pineapple Foil Packets

It's spring in New England. Last week I was grilling these foil packets in beautiful, warm weather, and this week I needed to wear my down jacket again as the morning temperatures were below freezing. Mother Nature just wanted to remind us that we weren't anywhere close to summer yet!

This recipe from Cara's Cravings was perfect. I can already predict that this will be repeated for lunches and dinners throughout summer. It comes together easily and is quite flavorful. If you're tempted to try this before your grill is ready, you could also heat the packets in the oven.

You will need:
*8oz raw, medium-sized shrimp (peeled, deveined)
*1 cup canned black beans
*3/4 cup pineapple, diced
*1/3 cup red onion, diced
*2 tablespoons jalapeno, minced
*1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
*2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
*1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
*3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
*1/4 teaspoon chili powder
*pinch of salt
*freshly ground black pepper
*2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (omitted, but I'd use if I had it on hand)
*1/2 avocado, diced
*rice or other grain for serving

1. Preheat grill at medium. It should reach about 350-400 degrees.

2. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

3. In another larger bowl, combine the black beans, pineapple, red onion, jalapeno, and ginger. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice, coriander, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin.

4. Spray 2 large pieces of aluminum foil with olive oil. Spoon half of the black bean mixture into the center of each and top with half of the shrimp. Squeeze the remaining lime juice over the shrimp. Seal the foil by bringing the edges together and folding down to make the packets. Make sure it is sealed well on all sides.

5. Place the foil packets on the grill and cook, covered, for 10-12 minutes.

6. Remove the packets from the grill. Carefully open the foil packets and stir the contents. Top with the diced avocado and serve over rice.

If you'd like to see the nutritional information for this recipe, please visit the original recipe via the link above.

Friday, March 23, 2012

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Pineapple

The weather here has been absolutely incredible. I went to the beach on Thursday. In March. This is by far the best staycation I've ever had! This pizza is also one of the best we've ever made at home. We've enjoyed this numerous times and I finally have a picture to share with you. We brought this to friends for dinner the other night. They seemed to enjoy it just as much as we do. There is also something about pineapple that makes me feel like I'm in the tropics. The ranch adds a wonderful creaminess to the BBQ sauce but not an overwhelming flavor change. This recipe is from Sing for your Supper.

You will need:
*pizza dough or a prepared crust (like Boboli)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

*1/2 cup BBQ sauce, plus more for the crust
1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
fresh pineapple, cut into pieces
*cilantro, chopped for topping (optional)
-I tend to eyeball ingredients when making pizzas. This often results in more cheese, but that's how we like things around here!

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a bowl, combine the shredded chicken with the BBQ sauce. Set aside.

3. Spread a think layer of BBQ sauce on to the pizza dough. Top the BBQ sauce with the ranch dressing and swirl with the back of a spoon to combine. Spread the shredded chicken on top of the sauce. Next, sprinkle the cheeses and pineapple over the pizza.

4. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. If using cilantro, add to pizza right before serving. (I love cilantro, but we only buy it when it's being used in a few recipes during the week)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guinness Donuts

It's almost St. Patrick's Day. That means corned beef, Baileys and Guinness treats are taking over the blog world. Here's a breakfast idea for the weekend to keep that theme going. These donuts came out a bit dry, so I might try adding some yogurt the next time I make them. I do really like the combination of cocoa and Guinness. If you're looking for a dessert to bring to a St. Patty's celebration, I highly recommend Guinness and Baileys cupcakes. This donut recipe was found on Bakers Royale.

You will need:
*2 1/2 cups flour
*1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
*2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*3/4 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*2 eggs (1 egg white and 2 yolks)
*1 teaspoon vanilla
*3/4 cup sugar
*3 tablespoons butter
*3 ounces of dark chocolate
*1/3 cup milk
*1/2 cup Guinness or other dark stout beer

1. Lightly grease donut pan and preheat oven to 375.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine egg, egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar. Beat until well mixed and fluffy in texture. Add in milk and beer, beat to combine. Slowly add the dry mix until incorporated into the batter.

4. Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl of over simmering water or on a double broiler. Fold in in to the batter.

5. Fill the donut wells about 1/4 full with the batter. I find it works well to use a frosting bag for this. Bake for about 4-6 minutes.

If you'd like to add a glaze, check out the original recipe. I decided to keep these simple. These donuts are best eaten the day they are made.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grapefruit Marinated Steak Fajitas

We are experiencing some amazing spring weather this week. It is excellent timing because I'm on spring break! I cannot wait to get our grill cleaned and ready for use again.

The night I made these enchiladas, I was craving summer grilled food. We rarely cook red meat at home anymore, so this dinner was a great weeknight change of pace. The original recipe, from Confections of a Foodie Bride, is setup to be prepared entirely on the grill. It was still a chilly, dark night when I made these, so we opted to cook them on the stove top. I also cut the oil in half. We were very happy with the results of this recipe!

You will need:
*1/4 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
*1/4 cup fresh lime juice
*pinch of salt
*black pepper
*1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1-2 tablespoons more for cooking
*1 lb beef (My local butcher sells small stir fry strips. Look for flank or skirt steak.)
*1 large yellow onion, sliced
*2 large bell peppers, sliced into strips (I used one red and one green)
*8 corn tortillas

For toppings, we Chose:
*1 avocado, sliced
*Greek yogurt
*shredded cheese

1. In a large Ziplock bag, combine the grapefruit and lime juices, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the beef, seal the bag, and squeeze the marinade together and onto the meat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Once the marinated meat is ready, saute peppers and onions over medium heat in a small skillet.

3. In a separate skillet, cook the steak over medium high heat. Flip the steak pieces after about 5 minutes.

4. Serve your fajitas as desired.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

How Sweet It Is rarely posts something that I do not want to eat immediately. These enchiladas are further proof that Jessica only shares amazing recipes. I ended up prepping the shredded chicken the night before I made these so they were an extremely quick weeknight dinner. As you may notice in the picture, I made 7 enchiladas. I probably could have stretched the filling better to make 8 or stuffed it into 6 large enchiladas. Both Dave and I enjoyed some enchiladas for lunch the next few days too. This is certainly a dinner we'll make again and again.

You will need:
*8 large whole wheat tortillas
*3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
*28 ounces red enchilada sauce
*1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
*1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
*4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
*5 green onions, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prep a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

2. Combine enchilada sauce with the buffalo wing sauce. Whisk together.
(If you're worried about heat, start with only 1/4 cup of the wing sauce and taste)

3. In another bowl, combine shredded chicken, 2 green onions, and 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese. Pour in about a 1/2 cup of enchilada/buffalo sauce mixture and mix thoroughly.

4. Pour a thin layer of enchilada/buffalo sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture. Roll each enchilada and set it in the baking dish, seam side down.

5. Top the enchiladas with more of the sauce and remaining monterey jack cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

6. Add crumbled gorgonzola on top of the enchiladas as soon as they come out of the oven. Garnish with the remaining scallions.
Any leftover sauce can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, and use if reheating enchiladas.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Turkey Veggie Burgers

These burgers are delicious! The zucchini and carrot help keep the turkey from drying out as they cook. I don't know if it was the ketchup and pickle topping or what, but both Dave and I thought these reminded us of McDonald's burgers. It's been years since I had one of those! These burgers come together in a snap which make them a quick and healthy weeknight dinner. If you're looking for a new burger, I highly recommend these. This is a Real Simple recipe that I found on Beantown Baker.

You will need:
*1 1/2 lb ground turkey
*1-2 medium zucchini
*1-2 medium carrot
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*splash Worcestershire sauce
*3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*1 large egg
*1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
*1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Grate zucchini and carrots.

2. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, carrots, garlic, seasonings, egg, panko, and turkey. Form mixture into 6 patties.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the patties until no longer pink, about 4-5 minutes per side.

4. Enjoy on a bun with some of your favorite toppings. We topped ours with a slice of a cheese, ketchup, and Wickles relish.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Red Velvet Donuts

Are you still looking for a special treat to make your Valentine?
How about red velvet donuts?
I think these are the perfect Valentine to give to yourself this year!
All you need are donut pans to bake these in.
Happy Valentine's Day!

I found the donut recipe on Taste and Tell. These donuts were a bit dry so next time I will probably shorten the cooking time to see if that helps. For the glaze I relied on Alton. Since I did not have any whole milk, I substituted skim and halved the recipe. It tasted great but definitely thinned the glaze for coating.

For the donuts, you will need:
*2 1/4 cups flour
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*3/4 cup sugar
*1 egg
*2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
*2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
*1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar)
*1 tablespoon red food coloring

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease your donut pan.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

3. In another large bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg. Stir in the melted butter and melted chocolate. Once combined, add in the vanilla extract, buttermilk, and red food coloring.

4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet red mixture. Mix just until combined. The dough should be stiff.

5. Fill the donut pan with the batter until each cavity is about 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes. (I would stick closer to 12 to start)

6. Remove donut pans from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the donuts and place on a cooling rack.

For the glaze, you will need:
*1/8 cup milk
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla exract
*1 cup powdered sugar

1. Combine milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until warm. Stir the powdered sugar gradually into the pan. Whisk slowly, until well combined. Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water (I found success keeping it over a warm burner) Dip doughnuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a rack placed over a half sheet pan to set for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mushroom Pancetta Quiche

Quiche is so simple to make. I love it as a brunch or dinner option. It keeps in the fridge for a few days, so it is perfect for a prepared lunch too. Quiche is extremely versatile making it a wonderful way to use up leftover produce at the end of the week. I used the same recipe I've based quiches on for the past few years. This flavor combination was certainly blog worthy. It even forced my mushroom hating husband to enjoy a few slices!

You will need:
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1/2 cup diced onion
*4oz. chopped pancetta
*4oz. mushrooms (you could certainly add more for a fuller filling)
*1 teaspoon minced garlic
*3/4 cup milk
*3 large eggs
*1/2 cup cheddar cheese
*salt and pepper to taste
*frozen pie crust

1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet; add the garlic, onion, mushrooms, and pancetta. Sautee until onions and mushrooms are cooked. Flavor with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk the milk and cheddar cheese into the eggs.

4. Spoon the veggies into the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the egg mixture over top.

5. Bake for approximately 45 minutes.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chicken Paprika

I love Greek yogurt. There is always plain Chobani in our fridge. I think poor Dave misses sour cream, but Greek yogurt has completely taken over in all recipes we make. I was a little worried about making the switch in this sour cream based dish, but it was a success! This recipe is from Eat, Live, Run and is featured over dumplings. I decided to serve our chicken over egg noodles. This is another dish that comes together easily which makes it perfect for a busy weeknight.

You will need:
*1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1 yellow onion, diced
*1 cup chicken broth
*1 tablespoon paprika
*1 teaspoon sea salt
*1/2 teaspoon pepper
*1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
*3/4 cup Greek yogurt
*1 tablespoon flour

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender. Add the garlic, chicken, paprika, salt and pepper and saute until the chicken has browned. (about 8 minutes)

2. Add the broth to the pan with the chicken and increase heat to high. Bring mixture to a simmer and continue cooking for another five minutes or so until the chicken is done. Remove chicken and set aside.

3. Reduce heat to low; add the yogurt and flour to the simmering broth (I added another splash of chicken broth too). Whisk well until there are no clumps and the mixture is very thick. Add chicken back into the pan and stir well.

4. Serve over egg noodles or checkout the original recipe for steps to a quick dumpling base.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken and Goat Cheese Strudel

I love getting recipes and ideas from Clean Eating Magazine. I signed up for a subscription through an online deal site not sure what to expect. There are so many cooking magazines that come to our mailbox and Clean Eating is often the one I read first because it's easy to flip through. This recipe is from the Nov/Dec 2011 issue, and it was a perfect dish during the busier holiday months. We've had this for lunch and dinner. I've even sliced it into smaller portions to serve as an appetizer too. We'll be enjoying this again one night this week.

You will need:
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1 pound ground chicken
*2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
*5 ounces baby spinach
*4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
*4 sheets phyllo dough (whole wheat is recommended, but I couldn't find any)
*sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Cook chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat; season with garlic and Italian seasoning. Once the chicken is cooked through, place into a mixing bowl.

2. Reuse the skillet to sautee the spinach. (This should only take a couple of minutes) Strain the spinach to remove all moisture by squeezing out the liquid with a spatula in a fine mesh strainer. (If you do not have a fine mesh strainer, you could also push the spinach to the sides of a colander to help remove the moisture) Add the spinach to the seasoned chicken and stir in the goat cheese. Add salt and pepper for flavor.

3. On a flat surface, mist one phyllo sheet with cooking spray or olive oil. Top with another phyllo sheet and spray again. Repeat with all sheets misting before each addition. Mist only the edges of the top sheet. Spoon the chicken and spinach mixture onto the bottom third of the phyllo stack. Be sure to leave about a 2 inch border at the bottom. Roll the phyllo dough over the top of the filling and keep rolling tucking in the edges as you go. Mist the top of the strudel. Using a knife, make small slits in the top about 1 inch apart. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes, until the cheese bubbles a bit from the top. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

I've made this recipe for friends and family and everyone has enjoyed it. It easily doubles to 8 servings. The one thing about this meal is that it doesn't make for great leftovers and is best eaten the day it is prepared. It wasn't terrible to reheat, but not nearly as good as when fresh because of the way it is baked into the squash. I found this recipe on Prevention RD.

You will need:
*2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded)

*2 tablespoons butter, melted
*1 clove of garlic, minced
*1/2 tsp ground sage, divided
*3/4 lb Italian sausage links, casings removed (I use ground sausage from my local grocer)
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
*1 celery rib, finely chopped
*4 oz mushrooms, chopped
*1 apple, cored and chopped
*1 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine the melted butter, garlic, and 1/4 tsp sage. Brush the inside and outside of each squash with the butter mix. Place the squash on a cookie sheet, open side up, and roast until fork tender (about an hour).

3. Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Once browned, remove sausage from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate, set aside. Add the onions, celery, and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Next, add the apples and cook for another 2 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet then remove from heat.

4. Season with 1/4 tsp sage, salt, and pepper. Stir in the panko and Parmesan, add the egg, and stir to combine.

5. Divide the stuffing evenly among the four squash halves. Return to the heated oven and bake for another 20 minutes.