Sunday, December 22, 2013

Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

-For the quinoa, follow the instructions it comes with (I used chicken broth for more flavor)
-1 lb of ground turkey
-1 zucchini, peeled and grated
-2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
-poultry seasoning
-smoked paprika
-4 green peppers, top cut off with the insides of seeds and ribs scrapped out
-salt and pepper
-a small handful of cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven 400 degrees

While the quinoa is cooking, heat up a saute pan with EVOO on medium-high heat. Add grated zucchini to cook about 3 minutes before adding the garlic, season with salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes, pushed the zucchini-garlic mixture aside to add the ground turkey and start stirring it together. Season with salt and pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, poultry seasonings. After about 10 minutes, add in the chopped cilantro and let cook until the quinoa is finished (it usually take 10-15 minutes to cooked) with the heat reduced down to low.

While the turkey mixture and quinoa are cooking, in a greased up 9x13 baking pan, set the 4 green peppers and season them with salt, pepper and drizzle of EVOO. Add the cooked quinoa to the turkey mixture and mix together. Using a big spoon or a cup, scoop the mixture into the green pepper until to the top.

Put the stuffed green peppers in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Grilled Lamb Chops

I made a marinade of fresh rosemary, dried mint (didn't have any fresh but I do think dried is good enough), garlic, EVOO, cumin, S&P and let the lamb chops marinade until it's time to grill. Serve with mint jelly

I served 90-second brown rice and canned green beans alongside.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Avocado & Banana Smoothie

I've been thinking of this kind of smoothie for quite some time now and while at the store, I decided to go for it. Unfortunately my blender broke some time ago so I used my Cuisinart instead

2 bananas chopped
1 avocado chopped
about 2 tablespoons of honey (eyeball)
about 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
about 2 pinches of nutmeg
a pinch of salt
about a cup of plain yogurt (eyeball)

blend it all together, put in glass and enjoy

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Corn & Peas Mac & Cheese

2 cans of corn, drained
1 small container of mascarpone cheese
1 small pint of ricotta cheese
1 cup or so of Parmesan cheese
1 box of Elbows macaroni
1 cup of frozen sweet peas, thawed
1 tablespoon of fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
a little bit of milk (eyeball)

Boil water, add in some salt and elbow pasta (as followed on the box instructions)

In the Cuisinart- put in corn to give it a couple of pulses like a chunky puree before adding in the mascarpone and ricotta (both cheese room tempature).
In a small saucepan- melt butter before adding some milk (eyeball it, I poured enough to cover the base of the saucepan) to simmer with steam but not boil. Add the parmesan cheese, stirring until melted. Add the corn and cheese mixture to heat through. Let it slightly boil before adding in the thawed-sweet peas and tarragon, fold them in and let them heat through for a few minutes.

Drain the pasta (save some pasta water for the cheese sauce in case too thick) and back in the pot before pouring in the corn, pea and cheese mixture to mix together before serving.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Yellow Pepper-Peas Stuffed Mushrooms

I honestly eyeballed everything, I didn't measure other than sizing up the mushrooms and guessed the measurements. It was also a throw-together using whatever I found in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. 

button mushrooms with stems removed (save them!), seasoned with EVOO and S&P. Saute filling of yellow pepper, mushroom stems, peas & garlic putting them in food processor. Join in bowl with croutons crushed as bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake in 400° oven for about 20 minutes till golden brown on top.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Red Pepper Orzo

Grilled Chicken:
4 chicken cutlets
McCormick's Grill Mater's Roasted Garlic & Herb
mix together and marinade for about 30 minutes
heat up grill and cook the chicken for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Let rest for about 5 minutes off the heat before chopping up the chicken

Red Pepper Orzo:
about 2 tablespoons of butter
1 shallot chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 cup of orzo
1 2/3 cups of chicken broth
melt the butter in a small or medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent before adding in the red pepper for another 5 minutes or so. Add orzo to let toast for a few minutes before adding in the broth. Cover, come to a boil and then lower the heat to Low (as low as you can go) to let simmer for 20-25 minutes. Use fork to fluff up the pasta before putting it in the serving bowl

In a serving bowl, mix red pepper orzo and the chopped grilled chicken together, season with salt and pepper to taste and a little drizzle of EVOO before serving.
Optional: sprinkle chopped parsley as garnish

Dolley Madison's Recipes

We are going back in time to when Dolley Madison was First Lady of the United States. She happens to be my favorite First Lady, especially after I learned that she was quite a 'foodie' in her day. It was said that she and President Thomas Jefferson introduced ice cream to their guests when they hosted (he was a widower when he arrived at the White House, President Jefferson asked Dolley help with the social events). I found some of her own recipes (at least I think they were hers, according to their sources that seem to be legit) on the internet. 

Soft Gingerbread
Mix 1 cup molasses with 2/3 cup fresh butter. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water. Sift your dry ingredients: 2 1/4 cups flour, 4 teaspoons ginger, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Next pour 3/4 cup hot water which has almost reached the boiling point into the molasses mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Beat thoroughly with mixer or beater. The dough should be soft enough to pour. Bake in a shallow, well-greased baking dish in a preheated medium (350 degrees F.) oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Delicious served warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Layer Cake
Beat the whites of 8 eggs until stiff and in peaks. Put aside. Cream 1 cup butter with 2 1/2 cups sugar. Add 1 cup milk slowly, mixing well. Add 3/4 cup cornstarch and 3 cups sifted flour to the butter-egg mixture. Mix well and add 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Fold in the egg whites carefully. Bake in 4 layer pans, well-greased. Bake in a medium (350 degrees F.) oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake springs bake when touched lightly. Cool on racks and frost with Dolley Madison's Caramel

Mix well 3 cups brown sugar, 1 cup cream, and 2 tablespoons butter. Put mixture in the top of a double boiled and cook gently for 20 minutes. Just before removing from the stove, after the caramel has thickened, add 1 teaspoon vanilla, stir constantly. Remove and cool. Fill the layers of the cake and put icing on top as well.

Source: The Food Timeline

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Fudge Chip Muffins

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Makes 8 muffins

Cooking spray
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup oat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup semisweet dairy- and gluten-free chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place 8 paper liners in muffin tin; coat with cooking spray.

2. Combine applesauce and next 4 ingredients. In a sepa-rate bowl, whisk together the next 6 ingredients. Add oat mixture to applesauce mixture; stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 20–22 minutes, rotating the pan a half-turn after 10 minutes. Muffins are done when tops are firm to the touch.

4. Cool slightly. Top with powdered sugar, if desired. (Serving size: 1 muffin)

Calories 154 (24% from fat); Fat 5g (sat 2g, mono 1g, poly 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 30g; Sugars 21g; Fiber 3g; Iron 2mg; Sodium 331mg; Calcium 86mg.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Pistachio & Mint Pesto

I was munching on pistachios one day (breaking into the shells for the nut) and an idea hit me: I can make this into a pesto! But with what and for what I had to think about it. Sure enough, I thought mint would be good and it would go great with lamb. However, a member in my household doesn't like lamb but loves seafood (yet I'm not a seafood fan myself) and so I decided on shrimp- it's one of the only 2 types of seafood I can tolerate.

My Pistachio-Mint Pesto
-about a cup of un-shelled pistachios, toasted
-about 2 cups of mint
-1 or 2 cloves of garlic
-about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of EVOO
-salt and pepper*
*go easy on the salt, especially if you have salted pistachios. Taste it to be sure if it's right for you
I marinated my lamb (and shrimp) in the pesto for a couple of hours- mainly in the refrigerator- before grilling it.
mix it in the Cuisinart or blender

I like to serve this dish along with cous-cous 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Food Quotes: Mariska Hargitay

"Chocolate is the first luxury. It has so many things wrapped up in it: deliciousness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good."

"But there does seem to be a magical component to a good plate of mac and cheese that can cure whatever my current ailment might be."

"Survivors have had to experience some of the worst that life has to offer. In contrast, we have seen so often on our Joyful Heart Foundation retreats how powerfully healing a meal can be when it is prepared with love and shared in a community. The experience of being cared for is profound, and it nourishes the soul as much as the food does the body. The act of gathering together to eat doesn't make wounds disappear, but it does create a safe space where those wounds can be tended with love."

“I’m just grateful that my body is healthy. I want to be on this planet for a long time, so I try to eat things that make me feel good and make me strong. But I also love food and I love life: Some days having that extra bowl of pasta and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup means more to me than being thin.”

"I was nursing, so I tried to focus on how everything I was eating was going into August's body. But as soon as I stopped, it was Gummi Bears by the mouthful!" 

"Eating. Especially if it's not my turn to do the dishes."

"I was on the Amalfi Coast one summer, and a friend ordered a caprese salad at a restaurant on the beach called La Conca del Sogno. I took a bite of a tomato, and suddenly I was eating Italy—the sunshine, the ocean, Rome, Tuscany, the cliffs in Sicily, and all the rest of it—in a single bite. The meal couldn't have been simpler, but it was sublime."

"I'm not good with no. You say I can't have a steak? Watch me eat this steak." 

"We share [the cooking]. My husband makes the best salads ever. And I cook Italian. We went to Italy and ate at the same place every night; their pasta with tomato sauce was crazy good. I hammered the restaurant guys down. I said, "What part 'I'm not leaving until you teach me to make this pasta' do you not understand?" 

"I try to eat well, but sometimes I run out of energy and eat anything. I want my Nacho Cheesier Doritos. Isn't that the cheesiest? Oh and dark chocolate. I love Scharffenberger."

"It's about a balance diet. And for me, it's also about a little extra dark chocolate. They call it 'the healthy chocolate'. No seriously. A girl's gotta leave the room for chocolate, right?"

"I drink a lot of water. I try to breathe, I hold my breath when I'm stressed, and I do everything in moderation. I know I'm somebody who needs Dark Chocolate in my life, as much as I try to give up sugar." 

Favorite ice cream: chocolate
Favorite junk food: 70% dark chocolate

My Ultimate Caprese Pasta

There are several recipes and variety of this dish- it's classic Italian flavors: tomatoes, basil, mozzarella with pasta. However I decided to kinda twist it up to make it my own. 

I made the classic basil pesto with some twists to the ingredients without changing the recipe: 
-about 2 cups of basil
-instead of about 2 cloves of garlic, I used two heads of garlic (it sounds A LOT, doesn't it?) and roasted it in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes in wrapped foil. That helps mellow that sharp bitter (yet yummy- I love garlic but it can be very strong and overpowering). Let cool before handling it for the pesto.
-toasted 1/3 of pine nuts
-salt & pepper
-blend everything well in a blender or Cuisinart while streaming in about 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
-stop blending to add 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese before blending again until mixed in well

As for the tomatoes
-10 (you can do 12) of plum tomatoes, ends cut off, cut in half and seeded and scoop out the pulp. In a bowl, salt and pepper the tomatoes with EVOO and mix around with your hands so coated evenly. Set in a single layer on a baking sheet (lined with aluminium foil) cut side up and roast in the 425 degree oven (after you roast the garlic) for 35 minutes. After out of the oven, cut the tomatoes in quaters before adding to the bowl for the pasta dish
*while the tomatoes are roasting, that's when I make the pesto together

Mini mozzarella balls
option to cut in half. If you can't find mini mozzarella balls, you can buy a ball and cut it to bite size pieces

Penne pasta
reserve about a cup of pasta water to help thin out the basil pesto if necessary if too thick

In a serving bowl, mix together the penne pasta, basil pesto and roasted tomatoes. Add the mini mozzarella to stir it in the last minute before serving

(explanation regarding the below tags of this post- tomato is technically a fruit, which is why fruit is listed instead of being under vegetables)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fig & Cheese Crostini

I had quite a lot of homemade fig jam left when I made Giada De Laurentiis' breakfast panini and was wondering what to do with it when it suddenly hit me: a crostini! Lately, The Cheese Course has been my favorite restaurant to go to where they sell lots of cheese (as well as salads, sandwiches, soups). I had tasted this cheese called cambozola- which is like brie and gorgonzola had a baby together- it's very tangy with a punch in a gut with a sweet buttery comforting taste. They also had baguettes available so I helped myself to one. I drizzled honey on the top. Delicious!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Turkey-Loaf with Mash Potatoes

There was ground turkey in the refrigerator and I was wondering what to do with it? Make burgers? Been there done that. I wanted to do something different and the idea of meatloaf came to mind. I did some internet research and found some ideas of what to do with it.

1 small onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
saute in little EVOO (you don't want it TOO wet) and S&P for 5-7 minutes
let cool

1 lb of ground turkey
about a cup of bread crumbs (I had Italian style on hand)
1 egg
ground dried sage

preheat oven at 425 degrees
combine everything in the bowl and on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and shape the turkey mixture into a loaf. Bake for 50-55 minutes

I made mash potatoes to go alongside with it.

My Kind Of Salad

Honestly I rarely make salads. Don't get me wrong, I do love salads but I usually go for the ones that are already made. The salad I really like to make is simply tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic and EVOO- yummy! But last night my household wanted a salad so I gave them a salad!

-Lettuce (Romaine)
- 1 Tomato
-3 Carrots
-Red Pepper
-Chick peas (drained)
-Dried cranberries (a handful or two)
-3 celery

-2 spoonfuls of dijon mustard
-2 tablespoons of honey
-a little sprinkle of garlic powder
-lemon juice from 1 lemon
-balsamic vinegar (eyeball- about a shot or two)
-EVOO (eyeballing while whisking it in)

Roasted Veggie Pasta

1 can of corn
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
2-3 carrots diced
basil, sliced

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
Arrange veggies on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil with salt, pepper, garlic powder and EVOO
roast them for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown at the edges

I made Parmesan sauce (heavy/whipping cream, butter and cheese) to mix in with the pasta and veggies

Cut basil in thin strips to mix in at the last minute/garnish

Any short pasta would do

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Soup & Sandwich Dinner

Lately I've been welcoming the idea of soup and sandwich for dinner quite often. Both recipes are from Giada De Laurentiis's cookbook, Weeknights with Giada
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Bacon
Ham, Cheese & Apple Panini

Giada's Official Website

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Memorial Day Dinner

Turkey burger topped with provolone cheese and bacon with green beans and roasted yellow dutch potatoes

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sausage & Kale Soup

1 lb of sausage, casings off (you can use whatever kind of sausage you like- I used mild)
1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 celery stalks and leaves, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 can of cannellini beans, drained
1 bay leaf
1 carton of chicken stock/broth (I used Swanson's)
about a tablespoon of butter
poultry seasonings

In a large pot (like you use for spaghetti), heat up EVOO on medium heat before adding the sausage until it starts to look brown. Add bay leaf and onion to saute about 5 minutes before adding the celery, carrots and garlic for about 5-7 minutes. Add cannellini beans, poultry seasonings and butter. Add kale and nutmeg and saute until the kale starts to wilt down before adding the chicken broth. Bring to a boil on medium high for about 10 minutes before covering for the next 10 minutes, reducing the heat to low to let simmer. Fish out the bay leaf before serving.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jayne Mansfield Cocktail

Apparently there's a cocktail paying homage to Jayne Mansfield. I admit I don't drink alcohol much- more of a social drinker and I do use alcohol when cooking (the alcohol cooks off).

4 Parts Aged Rum of Cuban Type
2 Parts Strawberry Liqueur
1 Part Simple Syrup
1 Whole Strawberry

How to mix this cocktail
Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add aged rum of cuban type, simple syrup and strawberry liqueur. Shake and strain into a chilled champagne glass. Top up with champagne. Garnish with a strawberry.

Homemade Macaroni Salad

This was my first time of making macaroni salad ever. Never really thought of it before until this week when I  was eyeing at the macaroni box that spoke to me "use me". I also had quite a lot of organic vegetables to use before they quickly go bad. The recipe is very simple.

-celery stalk (with leaves included)- chopped
-carrot- shredded by food processor
-cucumber- shredded with food processor
-mayo- about 3-4 large spoonfuls (eyeball)
-mustard- 1 spoonful (eyeball)
-balsamic vinegar- a shot (eyeball)
-dill- a few springs chopped
-red spring onion- sliced thinly with either madonlin or food processor using the slicer blade
-lemon juice- squirt (eyeball)
-macaroni- 2 cups and boiled

While cooking the macaroni in boiling water, prepare all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Allow the macaroni cool down in the strainer before adding to the mixing bowl
Cover and put in refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes before serving.

Since I like to have my onions cooked (as I love the sweet taste rather than raw), I saute them in a small saute pan with a little EVOO, S&P till soften. Let cool before adding to the other ingredients.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Food Quotes: Isabel Gillies

"I'm way into every cookbook that Jamie Oliver has written. I just want to cook everything and go from one book to another because he's so precise and the recipes turn out exactly how he says they're going to. I get Gourmet and I buy cookbooks for fun. My husband is Jewish so now I'm getting into Jewish cuisine and the culture. I think part of creating a home is where it kind of focuses for me. That's what I do a lot."

"Getting in bed with a cookbook. Settling into an evening of good TV, a glass of white wine, and take-out...A jelly donut and cup of tea". (her happiness boost)

"Oh, my goodness, Jamie Oliver, everybody...Tony Bourdain I love" (her favorite chefs)

"Jamie Oliver. I love cooking out of his books!" (her favorite chef)

"Goodness how I love to read cookbooks. First of all they usually are so beautiful and heavy. If I didn’t need them in the kitchen I would keep all of mine in the bedroom (and in fact I have about five at all times in there as many nights, I read them before sleep). My mother had lots of wonderful cookbooks. I can picture her in front of her red shelf perusing each spine for one she wanted to pull out and use. I think sometimes her fingers even fluttered in anticipation of one of her old friends tumbling into her arms to be brought into the kitchen. I am the same. I love my cookbooks like friends. I know all of them, visit them on a weekly basis and thank them when they have done something awesome for me, like help me cook for my family. Love them! I also LOVE getting them as presents!"

"Greek yogurt, almond milk, frozen blueberries, brown rice, and carrots. What you’ll really find in my fridge are a lot of leftovers because I like to cook. I also love black beans and agave syrup." (Always in her kitchen)

"Fried chicken, whether it’s wings or a big fried chicken dinner. Of course, it’s free rang! I also love pizza" (Guilty pleasure foods)

"And Jamie Oliver- I respect his food point of view. My mother, too. She is 70-something and she does yoga. She doesn’t believe in denial, fear of food is bad. You have to treat yourself, but everything in moderation." (Biggest inspiration)

"I always have cookbooks on my nightstand..."

A Southern Meal

Country fried chicken with country sauce with collard greens and chicken-broth infused rice.

This was my first time of making and trying collard greens. First I heat up some bacon and saved the bacon fat to use (along with EVOO) to saute garlic, red onion and collard greens over medium heat. I then put in about a cup of chicken broth and cover to let it braise for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed. I added the reserved crumbled up bacon. I realized that I now like collard greens. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chicken Burger with Carrots & Squash

Chicken burger topped with grilled red onion, bacon & gouda cheese with sauteed carrots & grilled patty pan squash

Pattie Boyd's Paradise Chews

1/4 pound softened butter or margerine
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the ingredients and press into the bottom of a greased 8-inch baking pan. Bake at 375' for 12-15 minutes. remove from oven and lower temperature to 275'.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix the ingredients and spread evenly over the first layer. It is not neccesary for this to be cool. return to the oven at 275' and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Source: Mary Frampton & Friends Rock & Roll Recipes 1980

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Food Quotes: Cynthia & Julian Lennon

"The first thing Julian wanted to do in life, well, before he wanted to be an artist and then a musician, was to be a chef. He'd come home and say 'Why don't you bake cakes like my friends' mothers?' I'd say, 'Oh, Julian, go out and buy a Mary Baker cake mix and do it yourself!' That started him off! By the time he was 13, he'd disappear into the kitchen whenever we had visitors and emerge with beautiful canapes. Now he thinks nothing of cooking for ten or 15 people, and he does it so calmly."
-Cynthia Lennon

"I probably have more of a passion for cooking than I do for music. I love traveling and finding great little hideout restaurants and little villages and going to the open markets. Eventually I must admit I want to do a cookbook, though people might think it a bit gimmicky - the musician turned cook. Cooking and music, they're very much the same sort of therapy. Both depend on adding the right ingredients to come up with a product that not only you, but everyone else, enjoys. A friend of mine in the South of France has a house with an enormous kitchen. When I'm staying there I tend to find myself less in the sun than cooking for about ten people every day. Music might give me a couple of hits a year, but in cooking, depending on how many meals I cook, I can get three hits a day!"
-Julian Lennon

“Noel [Charles, husband] and I love cooking. He does his cooking and I do mine. I’m the traditional English cook, with a twist now and then. Because I was married to an Italian, I’m also pretty good at Italian food. Noel, he can cook anything, so can Julian.”
-Cynthia Lennon

"Had I not been involved in taking the direction of music or now with my interest in photography I certainly would have been a chef, no question about that." 
-Julian Lennon

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bacon & Corn Manicotti

1 medium size can of corn, drained (if using frozen, thawed and drained)
4 strips of bacon (save some of the fat to grease the baking pan)
15 oz of ricotta cheese
1 clove of garlic
a few leaves of basil
1 egg

1 cup of whole milk, room tempature
1 cup of mild provolone cheese
3 tablespoons of butter, room tempature
2 tablespoons of flour
about a palm full of paprika

Manicotti noodles
about 2 cups of provolone cheese and parm. cheese

Cook your bacon (stove top or microwave) until crispy to your liking. Save some of the bacon fat. Put the bacon strips in the food processor with the corn, garlic, and basil with salt and pepper to mix into a pesto-like texture. In a medium bowl, mix in the corn/bacon mixture with the ricotta, (a handful) parm. & provolone and egg. Set aside

Boil water to cook the manicotti noodles to close to al-dente (they will continue to cook in the oven), drain and let cool enough to handle to stuff in the bacon/corn mixture.

In a small sauce pan on medium heat, melt butter and flour, mixing it until thick with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the milk. When the milk is slightly thickening, start adding the provolone cheese a small handful at a time whisking into the sauce to smooth and thick. Season with a little pinch of salt, pepper, and paprika.

Grease a baking dish with the bacon fat and pour some of the cheese sauce on the bottom. Stuff the bacon/corn mixture into the cooled manicotti, placing them in a row of the baking pan until full. Sprinkle the remaining provolone/parm. cheese mixture on top

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. If you would like the cheese topping to brown more, use the broiler for a few minutes (keep an eye on it so it wouldn't burn). Let stand for about 10 minutes before digging in.

'Winging It' Turkey Stew

1 yellow squash, chopped
1-2 spring red onion, chopped
1 can of Northern Beans, drained and rinse
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large red chili pepper, seeds and ribs removed and sliced
1 lb of ground turkey
1 tablespoon of bacon fat
1 tablespoon of EVOO
1/4 cup of chicken broth

2 cups of chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of rice

salt and pepper

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan (with lid). Add bay leaf, butter, salt and pepper, and the rice. Close with lid to let rice soak up the broth. After about 20 minutes, fluff with a fork, season to taste.

Turkey Stew:
Over medium-high heat, heat up EVOO and bacon fat. Cook the ground turkey for about 10 minutes or so. Put the ground turkey in a bowl to set aside. Heat up a little more EVOO to cook the spring red onion and red chili pepper for about 5 minutes before adding in the garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the yellow squash for about 5 minutes. Add the northern beans for a couple of minutes before adding the kale until wilted. Add in the ground turkey. Pour in the chicken broth, stirring and scrapping any bits on the bottom until the broth reduced down as a thick sauce.

To set up the dish, put the rice down and on top the turkey stew

I made this dish as I went along

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cauliflower Mac n Cheese

I used whole wheat/grain penne pasta, gruyere cheese, and sauteed the cauliflower

Friday, February 8, 2013

Roasted Fennel & Carrot Soup

1 large bag of shredded carrots
2 bulbs of fennel (save the top)
1 yellow onion chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped (include the celery leaves)
tarragon (dry or fresh)
6 cups of vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
Slice fennel bulbs as thin as possible. Mix together with the shredded carrots, eyeball a few shots of EVOO, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven 20-30 minutes

Meanwhile, in the large pot or dutch oven, heat up some EVOO in medium heat, adding a bay leaf and saute chopped onion for about 5-7 minutes when start to caramelized before adding celery and letting it cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and dry tarragon (if using fresh, you make mix it in along with the fennel fronds chopped up at the end).

After when the carrots and fennel is out of the oven, immediately add them to the onions and celery, stirring it  and letting it cook for a couple of minutes (under 5 minutes) before adding the vegetable broth. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf before blending it (I used a blender, about 3 batches at a time; I used a large bowl to put the puree soup in until all blended together before pouring the soup back into the pot/dutch oven). Put back on the heat and add in the fennel fronds (and fresh tarragon, if using). Season to taste before serving.

Squash Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs

Squash Spaghetti:
my Squash came with directions sticker on- you can either microwave or heat in oven until tender
Once it was done, I let the squash cool down while I tended to the chicken meatballs. When cool enough to handle, I use a fork to scrap the "spaghetti" out of the squash into a bowl. I seasoned with salt, pepper, parm. cheese and basil on top after spreading it on a cookie sheet and put in the oven for the remaining 5 minutes of baking the Chicken meatballs (see below).

Chicken Meatballs:
1 lb of ground chicken
1 cup of bread crumbs (I used Italian style)
1 cup of parm. cheese
3 cloves of garlic
about a small handful of basil, chopped
1 egg
about a tablespoon of EVOO
Mix all ingredients into a bowl (while the Spaghetti squash is heating up). Once the squash is done in the oven (if you choose to use; you can also microwave the squash), crank it up to 400 degrees. Roll the mixture into about 15 1-inch size balls and roast for 15-20 minutes.

When both trays are out of the oven, put the squash spaghetti into a serving bowl, stirring it and top it with the chicken meatball and sprinkle with more parm. cheese and basil. Serve.

New York Strip Steak smothered with onions

served with a little horseradish sauce
corn-carrot souffle
swiss chard-yellow squash saute 

Veal Marsala

Served with broccoli and brown rice/quinoa

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Alton & My Country Style Steak

served with brown rice and saute swiss chard and mushrooms

Alton Brown's recipe found here
I added bell peppers to saute before I added the liquid and returned the steaks to the pan before going into the oven 

Giada's Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops

served with green beans and rigatoni

Giade De Laurentiis's recipe found here