Saturday, December 22, 2012

Harri's Dream Sandwich

Recently I made a grilled cheese (using Gruyere and Monterey Jack) with bacon. Harri LOVES cheese and bacon; whenever I make something with those ingredients, I'm guaranteed that I'll have a four-legged visitor looking for scraps and samples of the meal.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chicken Quesadillas

I like to use McCormick's spices of Garlic and Herb to marinate chicken breast (boneless; strips or breast. I mainly use strips as it's easier to dice up. If it gets flakey, don't panic, use it! It doesn't have to be perfect) with EVOO, S&P for 30 minutes or more until you are ready to cook. I cooked the chicken for about 7 minutes or so before I take it out to let it rest while I clean out the same pan to heat up the buttered-tortillas

I also used Sargento's 5 Mexican cheeses (or Cheddar/Montery Jack)

Also: either scallions, cilantro, or caramelized onions to go inside with the chicken and cheeses.

I used my grill-saute cooking pan to make those lovely grill marks.

Served with a couple of dollops or sour cream. Or Salsa.

If you are a vegetarian, just leave out the chicken.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Garlic

with toasted pine nuts
served with basil-garlic butter bread topped with parm. cheese 
note: technically tomatoes are a fruit, so therefore in the "tag/labels" just below, I put down fruit as well as vegetable as it's often mixed with other veggies

Crouton-Crusted Chicken with Red Pepper Gravy

Served with green beans, and brown rice/quinoa

Very easy: turn croutons into crumbs for the "breading station" (with eggs and flour) to coat the chicken before pan-frying it and finishing in the 350 degrees oven for about 10 minutes on a roasting rack pan.
To make the gravy: using the pan drippings while the chicken is in the oven (take out any breading that may have fallen off of the chicken), saute the red pepper and a cup of chicken stock to slightly reduce. Puree the gravy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Corn-Potato Soup with Kale

-6 Corn on the Cobs (if using canned: 3 to 4 medium cans; if using frozen: 2 bags), kennels cut off from the cobs
-3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
-1 carrot, chopped
-1 onion, chopped
-1 celery, chopped
-dry or fresh bay leaf
-a palmful of dried or fresh tarragon
-1 quart (or 6 cups) of chicken broth
-a bunch of kale, washed and chopped
-5-6 slices of bacon

In a dutch oven (or spaghetti pot) over medium-high, heat up some EVOO before adding in the bacon until it's cooked. Take out the bacon to a paper towel-covered plate to drain out the remaining fat. Save about a tablespoon of bacon fat/EVOO in the pan to use to saute the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and S&P. When the onion start to sweat, add the potatoes and cook them for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the corn and the chicken broth. Let it come to a boil before covering it and reducing the heat to medium-low to let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Crumble up the bacon while you wait for the soup to cook and get the kale ready

In a blender, puree the soup in batches. Put the puree soup in the large mixing bowl while working in batches. Once the dutch oven is empty, put it back on the stove with a little bit of EVOO and saute the kale until it wilts down. Add in the reserved bacon and the puree soup. Stir until mixed well on low heat. Add the tarragon and S&P to taste. Ready to serve.

Serve either alone or with a grilled cheese sandwich.

If you want it vegetarian, use vegetable stock and omit the bacon

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Grilled Lamb Chops with Cous-Cous & Broccoli

I marinated the lamb chops in pomergrante-cherry juice with orange peel (seasoning), dried mint, S&P, and cumin before I put them on the grill. At the end, slauthered with butter
With the cous-cous,  I used those flavor enhancers from Swanson's Broth/Stock (chicken) and cumin and lightly toasted the cous cous with butter before putting in water to cook.
With the broccoli, EVOO, butter, garlic powder and cumin (to tie together with the cous cous and lamb)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Brie Souffle with Blueberry Compote

My very first attempt at making a dessert that was completely original (to me, at least). I found a recipe of a chocolate souffle but I substitute the chocolate for Brie cheese.

Recent Dinner

Grilled (thin cut) ribeye steak topped with butter
roasted brussel sprouts
orzo pasta with green beans and red pepper

Onions! Onions! Onions!

-My grilled ribeye steak topped with onions-
-Mary McCartney's Summer Asparagus Tart-
-Alton Brown's French Onion Soup-

The Heather Webber Special

Heather Webber is a character from soap opera 'General Hospital'; she always mention Ice tea and BLTs (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato) so often that time to time I fix it myself! However, unlike my own ice teas and BLTs, Heather would more than likely poison you!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Garlicky Broccoli Pasta

1 lb of broccoli
a few slices of bread, shredded to chunky breadcrumbs
about a palmful of pine nuts
lemon zest
1 lb spaghetti
a couple of cloves of garlic (I'm a garlic lover so I used quite a lot!), minced
parm cheese

-Pre-heat oven at 425 degrees
-grease up a cookie sheet or roasting pan
-in a medium size bowl, combine broccoli, minced garlic, S&P, and EVOO until broccoli and garlic are evenly coated. Then spread the mixture onto the roasting pan into a single layer. Let it roast for 15 minutes.

-While the broccoli and garlic are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil, salt and dump the spaghetti. Drain when al-dente

-In a cuisinart, shred the bread slices into a chunk-like bread crumbs. When the 15 minutes is up for the broccoli and garlic, sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the mixture before putting it back into the oven for another 5 minutes.

-During the final 5 minutes of the broccoli/garlic roasting in the oven, heat up a small frying pan to toast a handful of pine nuts until golden brown. Set aside (so they won't burn!)

-After taking out the roasted broccoli/garlic mixture out of the oven, zest a lemon over the mixture. In the serving bowl or your spaghetti pot, combine the drained spaghetti with the lemon zest roasted broccoli/garlic and pine nuts together before serving with parm cheese.

Stuffed Pork Chops

Cheesy spinach-red pepper stuffed pork chops with green beans/pine nuts & cottage cheese.

1 box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 red pepper, diced and minced
1 small container of mascapone cheese

4 to 6 boneless pork chops
Shake n Bake breadcrumbs for pork
a handful of dried parsley
toothpicks (about 2 per pork)
3 eggs, beaten
2-3 tablespoons of flour

-Mix the stuffing ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside
-Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in the middle of the pork chop to make a pocket
-Using a spoon, scoop the spinach-red pepper mixture into the pork chop. Seal it with toothpicks.
-Set up a breading station: beaten eggs and flour in one medium bowl (mix them up to make a batter), Shake n Bake breadcrumbs mixed with dried parsley in another medium bowl, and a greased cookie-sheet pan. Follow the Shake n Bake's oven temptature time in their directions.
-Place gently (you don't want to have the stuffing ooze out!) the stuffed pork chop in with the egg batter, coating both sides before placing them in the breadcrumbs, coating before finally placing them on the cookie sheet.
-Bake the stuffed pork chops to 20-30 minutes (depending the quality; despite the Shake 'n' Bake's 15 minutes, you want the stuffing to be heated through as well, hince the additional time)
-Let rest for a few minutes before serving

Side Ideas: Cottage cheese, green beans, wild rice

Leftover Stuffing Idea: It could be used for stuffing chicken or as a pasta sauce

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes with Sour Cream-Dill Dip

Fried Green Tomatoes:
-1 green tomato, sliced
-2 cups of breadcrumbs (homemade, store-brought, panko, cornmeal)
-2 eggs
-2 small spoonfuls of flour
-a splash of milk
-vegetable oil on medium-high and ready to fry

using two small bowls
1- whisk flour, egg, and milk (with salt and pepper) to make a batter
2- breadcrumbs
Dip the sliced green tomatoes into the egg batter and then to the breadcrumbs, coat to cover the tomato.
Put them, 3 to 4 slices at the most, in the hot vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Spoon them out and put them on a pile of papertowels to drain the oil. Work the remaining tomato slices

Sour Cream-Dill Dip:
-a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream
-about 2 tablespoons of dill (eyeball)
-salt and pepper

stir to mix in a small bowl (you can do it in the bowl you'll be using to serve)

Place the dip bowl in the middle of the serving plate surrounded by the golden fried green tomatoes and serve.

Pancetta Alfredo

Think spaghetti carbonarra (but without the eggs) & fettucini alfredo

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Dinner

Grilled bacon-onion provolone cheeseburger on sourdough bread with roasted potatoes and corn
-I sauted the onion in bacon fat

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sausage & Peppers with Cheesy Polenta

Sausage & Peppers (green and red with onion and garlic) with Pecorino cheesy polenta (with chicken stock, milk, and butter)

Oatmeal Cookies

Find your classic oatmeal-raisin cookies
replace the 1 cup of raisins with...
 1 cup of chocolate chips
1 cup of dried cranberries

Linda McCartney Tribute Dinner

 On April 17, 2012, I made a vegetarian dinner in honor of Linda Eastman McCartney (I did the same last year, it's sort of becoming sort of a tradition). She always encouraged people to become a vegetarian to save the animals as she's an animal lover. I admit I'm not a vegetarian (as you can tell from this blog) but I do love my veggies and I do make a vegetarian dinner a couple of times per week.
Linda McCartney's Lentil and Cheese Loaf and Cheese Souffle with my tomato-cucumber-garlic salad

Classic Dinner Night

Chicken parmesean with spaghetti and roasted asparagus served with garlic bread

Apple-Pear Pie

Find your classic apple pie recipe...subsitute 3 of the 6 apples to pears (peeled and sliced like the apples)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Green Spaghetti with Cheesy Sausage

1 lb spinach spaghetti or any kind of spinach/green pasta
1 lb mild sausage (if you want it spicy, then get spicy; if you want it sweet, then get sweet)
a small pint of half and half
a bag of Sargento cheese (I used the 6 cheeses: Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano and Asiago)
1 onion (yellow or white)...or 1 shallot, chopped finely
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped finely or grated
Salt & Pepper
Extra-Virgin Olive or Vegetable Oil (eyeball)
a couple of tablespoons of butter (eyeball)

Boil water, salted and then toss in spinach spaghetti till al-dente

In a medium to large skillet on medium to low-heat on the stovetop, heat up oil to saute onion and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add sausage (taking them out of it's casings if came with), season with salt and pepper, cook until brown.

Once you add the spinach spaghetti to the boiling water, heat up a medium size sauce pan with some butter and half and half to a simmering boil (but not too much!) and whisk in slowly the cheese by handfuls until the sauce is thickening.

Drain the spinach spaghetti and put it back to it's pot. Pour in the sausage mixture and cheese sauce into the spaghetti pot to mix well before pouring it into the serving bowl.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Warm Brussel Sprouts 'Salad'

-1 bag/pint (about 1 lb) of brussel sprouts, sliced
-pancetta, diced (found in package form; if not at least 4 slices)
-small handful of dried cranberries
-garlic, sliced into chips
-balasmic vinegar (eyeball)

saute pancetta in EVOO till brown, take out on paper-towel covered plate. Saute sliced garlic clove in pancetta/EVOO till brown, take out on paper-towel with pancetta. Saute sliced brussel sprouts, season S&P, stirring till browning careful not to burn. Put in reserved pancetta & garlic and a small handful of dried cranberries. Stir few minutes and add about two shots of balasmic vinegar for a few more minutes and then serve. Add a little more of EVOO if looking little dry as brussel sprouts will absorb while cooking.

For Vegetarians-
just leave out the pancetta; you can also swap or use 1 onion sliced and saute after browning the garlic into chips

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Walnut Chicken with Gorgonzola-Dried Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients (I eyeball everything):
-boneless chicken cutlets
-about 2-4 cups of walnuts
-panko bread crumbs, about same amount as walnuts
-vegetable oil
-palmful/tablespoon of dried sage
-pinch of paprika
-flour for dredging & rue
-3 eggs
-about half stick of butter
-heavy cream
-gorgonzola cheese
-handful and a half of dried cranberries

Walnut-crusted Chicken:
In a frying pan, fill a good inch of vegetable oil and set on medium heat
Put the walnuts in the food processor and turn them into crumbs. Combine them with panko in a bowl and start the breading station steps-
3 bowls for 1-flour (mixed with S&P, paprika, and dried sage), 2- 3 eggs whisked, and 3- walnut-panko breading
once the oil is hot enough, start frying for about 5-10 minutes- depending the thickness of the cutlet/breast. Work in batches if needed
Heat the oven to 350° and set a cooling rack in a cookie sheet to place the cooked chicken to keep them warm while cooking other batches and cooked through. If all done, have paper towels ready to drain the oil and let them rest for a few minutes

Gorgonzola-Dried Cranberry Sauce:
In a medium sauce pan, make a rue with butter, flour, and about a cup of heavy cream. Add gorgonzola cheese and whisk till melted. If it's too thick, add more heavy cream. Add in little salt, average pint of pepper, pinches of nutmeg and dried sage, and dried cranberries.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spinach-Artichoke Manicotti

Preheat oven 400° F and grease 13x9 baking pan with butter

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

-1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
-1 package of frozen artichokes, thawed and drained
-2 cloves of crushed garlic
blend in the food processor before adding in the cheese filling bowl

-1 cup of parm cheese
-1 cup of mozz cheese
-1 cup of asiago cheese
-1 cup of fontina cheese
-1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
-1 egg
-pinch of nutmeg
-pinch of salt
-3 pinches of pepper

With either a piping bag or a ziploc bag with a corner cut small, filled in the bag with the filling and fill in the cooled manicotti. Place the filled manicotti in the baking dish till the baking dish is full.
Meanwhile make the sauce

-1/2 cup of mozz
-1/2 cup of fontina
-1/2 cup of asiago
-3 tablespoons of flour and butter
-2-3 cups of milk (eyeball)
-pinch of nutmeg, pepper, and salt
Make rue with butter, flour, seasonings, and add milk while whisking. Add the cheeses till thick and pour the sauce over the manicotti.

-1/2 cup mozz
-1/2 cup parm
-1/2 cup asiago
-1/2 cup fontina
Sprinkle the cheese over the top before putting the baking dish in the ovwn for 30-35 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes before serving

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Chili

For saute pan:
-extra virgin olive oil, about twice turns around the pan
-1 onion
-1 pound of ground beef
Heat oil over medium high heat and saute onions for a few minutes, season with S&P. Add ground beef till brown

I use my crockpot for this

For crockpot:
-1 red pepper*
-1 yellow pepper*
-1 pint of cremini mushrooms (or button)
-1 pint of cherry tomatoes
-1 can of cannellini beans, drain
-1 can of black beans, add along juice
-a couple of cloves of garlic, 2-5 (I do love garlic)
-1-2 poblano pepper*
-2 fresno chili peppers*
-1-2 cubanella pepper*
-1 jalapeno pepper*
-small can of tomato paste

I've use McCormmick's original chili spice mix before or can make your own (I measure by eyeballing by my palm of my hand)
-chili powder
-italian seasonings (herbs)
-beef bouillon cube, crushed into a powder form

combine all in the crockpot, sauted beef and onions included. Set the crockpot on medium or high for 6 to 12 hours (if you want it as tonight's, or tomorrow's dinner, make it during the day like in the morning, early afternoon)

Once you are ready to eat, I tend to use cheddar cheese for the topping

You don't like beef? Use chicken or put no meat at all to make it vegetarian- just double the veggies and beans

*- If you don't want the heat, take out the ribs and seeds out of the peppers