Friday, December 11, 2009

Black Beans and Quinoa

After coming home from Thanksgiving I felt like I needed to fast for a while. I had definitely consumed my calorie quota for about 6 weeks. But, my family didn't feel the same way. They still wanted to eat. The nerve! I figured if I couldn't fast then I would make something healthy. A year or two ago I found this recipe on Allrecipes and I thought it was so good. I think the best thing about it is that it is pretty basic so it lends itself well to lots of different modifications. This time I made it exactly according to the recipe. To serve I put it over raw, shredded cabbage with avocado and cilantro on top. I have also served it with salsa and queso fresco on top, or with pico and shredded cheese on top. The possibilities are endless.

Quinoa and Black Beans
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
  3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

So many cold-weather dishes, so little time to make them. I love chicken and dumplings, but it just doesn't seem right to make when it is warm outside. So, this is one of those recipes that I get to make during one of our 14 days of cold weather. I think I may have to start making this once a week so I get my fill before it gets hot again. I used this recipe from Food Network, but I made some changes.

Chicken and Dumplings
adapted from Rachel Ray's

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked and cubed)
1 T olive oil
2 T unsalted butter
2 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 russet potato, diced
1 onion, diced
1 dried bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
2 T flour
1 quart chicken broth
1 c. frozen peas
(dumpling recipe to follow)

Earlier in the day I like to cook my chicken at 375° for about 4o minutes. I cut it up and set it aside to use whenever I make my chicken and dumplings.

In a large pan (I used a 5 qt. saute pan so that I would have lots of room for the dumplings) melt the butter along with the olive oil over medium heat . Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, and onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the flour to the pan and cook for a couple of more minutes. Add the broth and simmer until the dumplings are ready to put in the pan.
To make the dumplings: Mix together 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of dried dill. Add in 1/2 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Drop the dumplings into the pan by the heaping tablespoonful.

Place the lid on the pan and let the dumplings steam for 10 minutes. Don't peek while they are cooking! Once the dumplings are done, add the peas. Then, voila! A bowl of hot, delicious goodness. And, in true Rachel Ray fashion, this was ready in 30 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hearty Vegetable Lasagna

I made another casserole tonight. This time, instead of being Mexican inspired, it was Italian inspired. And, no, I didn't take pictures. Taking care of a sick kid with bronchitis makes me forgetful. But, that is beside the point. I just thought I should mention that it is good and that you should make it. Enjoy!

To get this recipe go here. (I did make three minor changes to the recipe. I added 2 chopped zucchini to the tomato/vegetable sauce, I only used about 2 cups of mozzarella instead of 4, and I used about a cup pf parmesan instead of 1/2 c.)

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I don't make a ton of casseroles. I'm not really sure why because I really like them. In fact, I like everything about them. I like that the whole meal is contained in one pan, which means that clean up is a breeze. I like that they are usually pretty easy to assemble. And, best of all, something about them always tastes delicious. When I feel like a good casserole, this is usually the one that I make. Because a big, steaming pan of enchiladas always sounds good.

Enchilada Casserole

3 chicken breast halves
1 brick (for lack of a better word) cream cheese, softened
8-9 roasted green chiles, chopped
1 bottle Herdez salsa verde
3/4 lb. spinach, sauteed and chopped
corn tortillas
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
shredded Chihuahua cheese (or Mozzarella)

Boil the chicken and shred it with 2 forks. Put the chicken in a bowl with the cream cheese and green chiles and mix well until creamy. To assemble the casserole: pour a thin layer of the salsa verde into the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Next, tear a few corn tortillas to cover the bottom of the pan. Then, spread half of the creamy chicken mixture on top of the tortillas. Put half of the spinach on top of the chicken and put a bit more of the salsa verde on top of the spinach. Top that with some shredded cheese. Repeat that again making another layer. To finish the casserole, end with a layer of torn tortillas, completely covered with the salsa verde and a lot of cheese. Bake covered at 350° for 45 minutes and uncovered for the last 15 minutes. Let the casserole cool for about 10-15 minutes so it doesn't fall apart when you cut it. Enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beef Stew

I think in my previous life I must have lived in a cold climate. All year long I wait until it is "soup weather." Unfortunately, that's about 15 days out of the year in Austin. That means that we end up eating soups and stews long before it is cold enough. That's okay though, I just put the air down to 65&deg and put on a sweatshirt. There's nothing wrong with pretending, right?

A few days ago it just so happened that I had everything on hand to make beef stew and I had been craving it for a week or two. I love when the stars align for me like that. I just hate going to the store. For the beef stew recipe go here.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Crab Stuffed Dover Sole

Doesn't this sound so fancy? I think anything stuffed with crab sounds absolutely exquisite. Not only does this sound fancy, it sounds downright extravagant. But, never fear, this was as easy as 1-2-3.

I knew when I went to the store the other day that I wanted to have fish that night, I just wasn't sure what kind I wanted to make. The Dover sole was both fresh (not previously frozen) and wild caught (not farm raised), so I knew that would do just fine. Only problem was that I had never made that kind of fish before. Not to worry, the fish dude at Central Market was full of good ideas. He told me his favorite way to make Dover sole was to put some of their pre-made crab cakes in the middle of the fillet and wrap it up and bake it. Sold! That sounded delicious and totally easy. And it was. (Absolutely to die for, that is.)

Crab Stuffed Dover Sole

6 Dover sole fillets
1 pre-made crab cake (I imagine that lump crab meat would also be good)
seasoned or plain breadcrumbs
melted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place fish fillets out on a flat surface and season the top with salt and pepper. Place a small amount (between 1 and 2 T) of the crab cake in the center of the fillet. Wrap the fish around the crab and cover the roll in breadcrumbs. Place the fish seam side down on a baking sheet and repeat. Drizzle all of the fish rolls with melted butter and bake for 15-20 minutes. Next, put the fish under the broiler for a minute or two just so the fish gets a bit more browned. That's it!

I guess that is more like easy as 1-2-3-4-5...

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chicken Pesto Panini

Mmmm... These were delicious! What's not to like about pesto, fresh mozzarella, and ciabatta bread? It is a winning combination. I love to make grilled panini because they are they are so easy to throw together for a quick weeknight meal. And you can stuff them with whatever you happen to have on hand. So, not only are they a breeze to make, but you also get to clean out your fridge. It's a win-win situation, really.

I had a red pepper that needed to be used so I roasted it for the sandwiches. You can roast red peppers in the oven if you'd like, but I am lazy and opt to roast mine on top of the stove. Then I don't have to worry about dirtying a baking sheet. (I really don't care for dishes, so the fewer the better.) And, fresh roasted red peppers are much tastier than the jarred variety. Trust me. So, just place the red pepper directly over the flame. Like so:
Once the pepper is totally black and charred, remove from the flame and place it in a paper bag. Roll the up tightly so that it is sealed. Leave it alone for about an hour. Don't open the bag. The steam from pepper will make the skin just slip right off. When the pepper has cooled off, take it out of the bag and remove the skin. Set your roasted red pepper aside until you are ready to use it.

Next, get the chicken ready. You want it to be thin so you can really smoosh the sandwich and have it be relatively compact. So, pound the chicken, season it with salt and pepper on both sides, and cook it in olive oil on top of the stove. Set it aside until you are ready to make your panini.

To assemble: I recommend ciabatta bread (cut in half horizontally, of course) with pesto generously slathered on each side. Top that with fresh mozzarella, the chicken, roasted red pepper slices, and more fresh mozzarella. Close the sandwich and grill. If you have a panini press then, by all means, use that. But, if you are like me, this is your panini maker. It's not as sad as it looks, I promise. It actually works really well.

And that's it. Pretty simple, very fast, and just plain heavenly.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rosemary White Bean Soup

I made this soup last year and I loved it. I couldn't wait for it to get cooler here so I could make it again. It was just as good this time as it was before. And, it smelled so good cooking. I wish I could have bottled it up. This soup is pretty simple, with not many ingredients. And, it has a great flavor. The best thing is that, start to finish, it is ready in an hour (aside from soaking the beans overnight.) The recipe calls for 2 quarts of chicken broth and I think that is way too much. I think it would be best to only put in 1 quart while the beans cook and add more if it needs it. I ended up ladling some out because the soup was too thin. I also had to let the soup simmer longer than the recipe called for so that it would reduce some of the broth and thicken the soup. I garnished the soup with Romano cheese and crumbled bacon. It was delish! Jeff said it reminded him of Campbell's White Bean and Bacon soup. I'm not really sure what to make of that.

Rosemary White Bean Soup
from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

1 lb. dried white cannellini beans
4 cups sliced yellow onions (I just used 1 yellow onion, chopped)
1/4 c. good olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large branch fresh rosemary (6 or 7 inches)
2 quarts chicken stock (again, I think just 1 quart and then adding more if necessary)
1 bay leaf
2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, cover the beans with water by at least 1 inch and leave them in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Drain.

In a large stockpot over low to medium heat, saute the onions with the olive oil until the onions are translucent, 1o to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 3 more minutes. Add the drained beans, rosemary, chicken stock, and bay leaf.

Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are very soft. Remove the rosemary branch and the bay leaf. Pass the soup through the coarsest blade of a food mill, or place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until coarsely pureed. (I used an immersion blender.) Return the soup to the pot to reheat and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Bon Appetit!

Pumpkin Puree

I really try to stay away from anything canned like The Plague. I usually try to use unprocessed food anytime I can. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't ever use processed food. I just prefer not to if possible. So, I thought I would make fresh pumpkin puree to make some pumpkins muffins. I make my own baby food, so I figured this wouldn't be too different. Hmm... think again. Who knew that cutting, gutting and cleaning a couple of tiny pumpkins would take so long? Certainly not me. It took forever. Before I was done the 3-year-old must have said the word "mama" about 200 times and the 9-month-old was trying to pull up on my legs. They both needed a lot of attention this morning. But it sure does make for some delicious baked goods. And, bonus, babies love it too!

Pumpkin Puree

2 Sugar Pie Pumpkins

This yields about 4.5 cups of puree. Freeze anything that is not used immediately.

To make pumpkin puree, use the pumpkins that are designated as "pie pumpkins" because they are sweeter than the really big ones. I'm sure the big ones would also work, but I have not tried it. Preheat oven to 400°. Clean out the pumpkin like you would a cantaloupe — cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and slimeyness. (I actually did it like a jack-o-lantern, cutting a hole in the top and scooping from above. That may have been what took so long.) Cut the pumpkin halves into quarters and place them skin side down on a baking sheet. Roast them for 45 minutes to an hour. The skin on the bottom should be bubbly and should peel away from the pumpkin meat easily. Once the pumpkins have been peeled place them in small batches in a food processor (or other mashing device.)

Puree the pumpkin until it is smooth. Add water slowly while the motor is running if it seems dry.

And there you have it. Just like the stuff out the can. Sort of.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Italian Sausage, Green Olive and Mushroom Pizza

I have said before that I love cheese. It really could be one of the best foods on earth. I love it. And so it only makes sense that I love anything that has cheese as a main ingredient. I decided to make pizza a couple of Saturdays ago to watch the Texas game. And boy, was it good. I didn't make the dough, I guess I am just not quite that crafty. Really, I am just scared of making a bread product. For some reason I have this strange fear of yeast. Maybe some day... But for now I will continue to buy the frozen pizza dough at the store*. It's just so easy.

To the Texans out there: Central Market has great frozen dough that they make there at the store. I think it is $0.99.

Italian Sausage, Green Olive, and Mushroom Pizza

1- 1lb. ball of frozen pizza dough
marinara sauce
3/4 lb. bulk Italian sausage, browned
1/2 c. sliced green olives
1 container of sliced white button mushrooms
Italian 4 cheese blend

I let the dough defrost in the refrigerator. 30 minutes before baking I set it on the kitchen counter to warm up to room temperature. I then stretch and roll out the dough and put it on a metal pizza pan. Brush the dough with olive oil. I bake the dough for 15-20 minutes at 425° before topping it. Once the dough is baked, I put a bit of marinara sauce on it. Then I top it with sausage, green olives, mushrooms and enough cheese to cover the top. Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes or until bubbly. And there you have it. Easy peasy.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Beef Bourguignon

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is the ultimate comfort food. I know, I know... You thought that Tyler had the market cornered on the ultimate dish. Well, he must not know about this, otherwise I think this would be his ultimate beef dish. This particular recipe is even better than others because it is made in the slow cooker. You just throw everything in and let it go for about 8 hours and voila! you have an authentic (at least I think) french boeuf bourguignon. This dish kind of reminds me of a sophisticated pot roast, definitely not your grandma's pot roast. Unless your grandma is french, or Ina Garten. You can taste the red wine, but it is not as heavy as I thought it would be.

I got this recipe from Aggie's Kitchen, so if you would like it just mosey on over here and try it yourself! I made my beef bourguignon just like Aggie did. The only thing I did differently was using large-cut carrots instead of baby carrots, and I used beef broth instead of water. I also served my beef over the mashed potatoes and I highly recommend it.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

CEiMB: Chop Suey

This week's Craving Ellie In My Belly recipe was for Chicken Chop Suey. This is a recipe that if I had come across it myself it wouldn't have jumped out at me as something that I have to make. But, I made it anyway. It looked pretty good when I was making it, I must admit. Then we sat down for dinner and Jeff took a bite he said, "This is good. It tastes like it's from a restaurant. A good restaurant." He is a bit biased and is never short on compliments (which is sweet,) but I had to taste for myself. I tasted it and after adding some extra soy sauce and some Sriracha I thought it was just as good as he said it was. I love that I can make at home something as good as takeout from a Chinese restaurant!

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Salmon With Lemon-Cilantro Viniagrette

Ah that's better. This picture looks much more appetizing than the pictures I've been taking of food lately. Geez, a cooking slump and a picture slump. Let's hope that's over! I saw this salmon recipe in Real Simple this month and, based on the name, it sounded great. And the picture looked great. So, I made my list for the week to include this recipe and went to the store. When I got home and actually read the recipe, it didn't sound quite as good. So, I changed it up quite a bit. Even with the changes this meal was pretty lackluster, but the salmon was great. I think the couscous just needed a little something extra.

I really love salmon cooked on a cedar plank on the grill (probably more than any other way I have had it), but we have had to take a break from that because we used to have it all the time. After taking a hiatus from the cedar plank, I'm happy to report that it has made it's return.

Salmon With Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette
adapted from Real Simple

1 cedar plank
1 lb. piece of salmon fillet
extra virgin olive oil
zest of one lemon
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 c. whole wheat couscous, cooked according to the box
2 T lemon juice
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. cilantro
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Soak the cedar plank for at least 30 minutes before cooking with it on the grill. Once soaked, place the salmon fillet on the plank and season. Brush the salmon with olive oil. Then top with garlic, lemon zest, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Put the cedar plank on the grill and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the fish reaches 150°.

While the fish cooks, make the couscous according to the directions on the box.

While the couscous is cooking, make the lemon-cilantro vinaigrette. In a bowl, mix together the cilantro, green onions, olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the couscous is finished cooking mix in the vinaigrette. I served the salmon over the couscous with steamed broccoli on the side.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vegetable Soup with Italian Sausage

No picture again. I can't seem to make the pictures of soup look good. Anyone have any tips for making soup look appetizing? They all look like a bowl of really gross slop. And who would want to make slop for dinner? Certainly not me. This soup was good and it made a ton. I think we ate it for 4 days. I guess I could have frozen some for a later meal, but I just couldn't part with it.

Vegetable Soup with Italian Sausage

1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small to medium yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
4 carrots, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 lb. of red fingerling potatoes
2 squash, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 32-oz. boxes of chicken broth
1 26-oz. box of chopped tomatoes

In a large stock pot, brown sausage in the olive oil. Once browned, remove the sausage from the pot. Saute the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in the sausage drippings. Next, add potatoes, squash, zucchini, chicken broth and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours. Serve hot with a crusty whole grain bread.
Note: This soup is much better the next day.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chicken Posole

And the cooking funk continues. Maybe it is because every time I cook these days I end up with some sort of injury. Be it second degree burns from boiling pasta water or slicing open my finger while chopping onions, it has really turned me off. I am trying to get back to cooking though. Last weekend I made a pot of posole and it was delicious. If you don't know, posole is a Mexican soup made with pork (but I used chicken), Ancho chile, and hominy. I got the recipe from the October issue of Real Simple. The title of the article said it all for me: "A Month of Easy Dinners." Now that is my kind of dinner. The posole certainly was easy.

Chicken Posole
Adapted from Real Simple- October 2009

1 T olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
1 32-ounce container chicken broth
1 24-ounce box of chopped tomatoes, with juices
1 to 2 T ancho chile powder
2 cups of cubed cooked chicken breast
1 15-ounce can of hominy, drained and rinsed
1 lime, cut in wedges
1 avocado, sliced

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and 1/4 t. of salt, pepper, and chile powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown.

Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken and the hominy and simmer unitl heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with lime and avocado.

Bon Appetit!

p.s. no picture just yet... stay tuned.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Green Chile Sauce

I have really been in a cooking funk. Between Max starting school, planning his birthday party and going out of town I have really not been cooking too much. I found this recipe that I made a few weeks ago. I promise, this is the last green chile recipe for a while! This green chile sauce recipe is from Central Market. I think it would also be good on grilled chicken, fish, enchiladas. You know, just about anything.

Pork Tenderloin with Green Chile Sauce

1 3 lb. pork tenderloin (mine was dijon mustard and herb marinated)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
10 roasted Hatch chiles (5 hot, 5 mild)
1 c. chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

To make the pork: Heat 2 T of olive oil in a cast iron skillet and sear the outside the tenderloin. Once seared, place the pork (in the skillet) in an oven preheated to 400°. Bake for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160°.

For the green chile sauce: Heat 1/4 c. of olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute. Next add the green chiles and the chicken broth. Let this simmer for about 15 minutes. Then add this concoction to a food processor and blend until it is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I served this with couscous and sauteed spinach. Claire, this one was for you!

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Green Chile Chicken Salad

I know what you're thinking — "Enough with the green chile recipes already." Under normal circumstances (not Hatch time) you might be right. But, when they are in season, I just can't help myself. I had some leftover grilled chicken from the night before and some roasted chiles and this just seemed like a match made in Heaven.

Green Chile Chicken Salad

1 chicken breast, chopped
2 heaping spoonfuls of mayonnaise
1 lime juiced
2 roasted Hot Hatch Green Chiles, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, green chiles and cilantro. Mix in the chopped chicken and season with salt and pepper.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture to share. I do, however, have a serving suggestion. (see picture below)

picnic at zilker

This sandwich tastes much better while picnicking at the newly sodded Zilker Park with a couple of really cute kids.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Simply Grilled Chicken

When I made this chicken a couple of days ago Jeff told me that he likes it so much he would eat it once a week. Hmm. That is a terrible thing to tell me because I might just take him up on that. I think he would get really sick of it pretty quickly. It's just so easy and I don't have to really cook. Just make a marinade and some rice and a veggie. Ah, so easy. But, I guess for his sake, and mine, I will try not to make this every week.

Simply Grilled Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/8 c olive oil
1/8 c + 2T soy sauce
1/8 c rice wine vinegar
1/8 c orange juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1" piece of ginger, grated

Mix together all wet ingredients. Put the chicken breasts in a gallon-sized zipper bag and pour in the marinade. I let the chicken marinate for about 4 hours before grilling.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Green Chile Burgers

Every once in a while I really crave a burger, and Jeff's are really good. I stood behind him, pen in hand, to write down exactly what he was doing. Other than needing a little bit more green chile in it, they were really good. I've said it before and I will say it again, I am sure glad Jeff likes to grill. I really do not like to clean up the kitchen and the clean up is just so much easier when all the cooking is done outside! I guess I should stop complaining about all of our hot weather. If it were not so warm in Austin, then we would not be able to grill year round.

Green Chile Burgers

1 lb. ground beef (85%)
2 mild roasted green chiles, chopped
1 t worchestershire
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t kosher salt
1/8 t freshly ground pepper
1 t soy sauce

Mix all the ingredients into the ground beef. (It is easiest to used your hands) The patties should be 20% bigger than the bun because they shrink while as they cook. We made 3 burgers with the 1 lb. of meat. Once the patties were made, Jeff put them into the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes before putting them on the grill. (He says this helps them stay together on the grill.)

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Green Chile and Cilantro Hummus

I really love August because that is when Central Market has their Hatch Chile Festival. I really love being able to get everything Hatch. They have scones, buns, bread, pimiento cheese, salsa, and burgers all with Hatch chiles in them. And best of all, they have fresh and freshly roasted chiles. Last time I went to the store I bought a pound of roasted chiles but nothing in mind to make with them. I thought they would be great in hummus. I usually buy store-bought hummus because I can't get mine to taste quite as good, but this time it was great. I think this recipe is a keeper.

Roasted Green Chile and Cilantro Hummus

2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 c tahini (sesame seed paste)
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 c water
1 t kosher salt
1/4 c cilantro
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
4 mild roasted green chiles

Place chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, water, salt, and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor. Run the machine until the ingredients are pureed. While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil. Finally, add the green chiles and pulse until the chiles are chopped and incorporated into the hummus.

Serving suggestion:
Pita bread (cut into quarters) and topped with shredded cheddar cheese, a tomato and cucumber salad (chopped with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper), and sunflower sprouts. This was a really delicious lunch!

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Asian Grilled Shrimp Salad

I just love to watch Food Network. One of my favorite shows to watch is Grill It with Bobby Flay. It's a good show for us because we love to grill. I was all set to make some Asian grilled shrimp from an episode I watched the other night, but (if you can believe it) it was raining. No complaints here. I was beginning to think that 105° was just a new terrible norm. I am happy to report that yesterday afternoon it was a cool 80&deg. It was glorious. Okay, enough with the weather. To make a long story short, this is what my grill looked like around dinner time:

So, that meant I had to improvise. A grill pan did the trick.

This salad was so delicious! I have quite a few salad recipes on here, but this salad is by far the best. If there is one to make, this is it. It is kind of a hybrid of a Bobby Flay recipe and a Giada recipe. It is Giada's salad with Bobby's shrimp and dressing. It was heavenly.

Shrimp Marinade:
Bobby Flay
1/4 c soy sauce
2 limes, juiced
2 t honey
2" piece of ginger, finely grated
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 c canola oil

Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to mix. Marinate shrimp for 15 minutes before grilling.

Salad Dressing
Bobby Flay
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
2 T soy sauce
2 T canola oil
1 T toasted sesame oil (I used canola oil here, so 3T total)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 c. chopped, salted peanuts

Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to mix.


Mixed field greens
Napa Cabbage, thinly shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot peeled (in ribbons)

Assemble the salad. Top with the grilled shrimp and dressing.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Whole Roasted Chicken

I bought a whole chicken to roast because I love roasted chicken. However, I failed to realize that meant my oven would be on for a really long time, which meant heating up my house when it is already hot because it is hot outside. Darn. But, I bit the bullet and did it anyway. It was good, but next time I will wait until it is cooler outside. You know, maybe in January.

Whole Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken (3-4 lb.)
1 T onion powder
1 t kosher salt
1 t garlic powder
margarine or butter

Mix together the onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Season the chicken (by pulling back the skin) with the seasoning mixture, including inside the cavity. Put pats of butter or margarine under the skin. Bake in a roasting pan on a rack on 400° for 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear. Before letting the chicken rest I basted it with the juice from the bottom of the pan. Let the chicken rest for 30 minutes before cutting into it.

Bon Appetit!


Quinoa Salad

I recently made fish tacos and they were really good. They were so good in fact that I thought I would grill some Mahi Mahi and have that for my entree one night. Well, let me tell you that this time the fish was not quite as good. I'm not sure if it was that I liked it better baked or if I liked the seasoning better last time I made it. I think maybe it is a little bit of both. This time I only seasoned the fish with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Since Mahi Mahi is usually a pretty big piece of fish, I think that it would have better with more flavor. Oh well, now I know.
I made a quinoa salad to go with the fish and it was really good. I put olives, red onion, red peppers and chickpeas. But what is so great about it is that you can put anything in here. It would be great with feta cheese and roasted red peppers, or with black beans, corn and queso fresco. If you have never had quinoa I highly recommend it. It kind of reminds me of couscous, but it tastes nuttier. I made the quinoa concoction right before dinner, but it was much better the next day. If you make this be sure to make it ahead if time.

Quinoa Salad

1 cup dried quinoa
3-4 T red wine vinegar
1/8 c extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 of a red onion, diced
1/4 c green olives, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the box. Meanwhile, mix the vinegar and the olive oil in a small bowl. Place the red pepper, red onion, green olives and garbanzo beans in a large bowl. When the quinoa is finished cooking add it to the large bowl and pour the vinaigrette over it. Season with salt and pepper.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Roasted Vegetables Over Brown Rice with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Jeff was really not too excited about our vegan meal the other night when he heard about it, but it was really pretty good. Lately I feel like we have been eating too much meat. I used to be good about making at least one vegetarian meal a week, but ever since being pregnant with Luke I have become a meatatarian. So, I thought I would start getting back to the way things used to be and this meal is what I came up with. It is not too terribly inventive but adding the balsamic vinaigrette to the top does make it seem a bit more lively than just rice and veggies.

First I halved a red pepper, halved 2 small Japanese eggplants, and halved 3 smallish zucchini. Then I drizzled then with extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Then I popped them into a 400° oven for about 30 minutes while my rice was cooking away.
They looked like this when they came out. Scrumptious. (You know, just about as delicious as roasted veggies can be.)
Then I cut up the veggies and served them on top of the brown rice with balsamic vinaigrette on top. And there you have it. About as healthy as it comes and as easy as 1-2-3.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

3T balsamic vinegar
1 T red wine vinegar
1 t dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine vinegars, mustard and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add olive oil while the blender is running. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bon Appetit!

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

I got a slow cooker for my birthday (thanks Kathy, I love it!) and so I wanted to make something in it. My friend's mom told me that she likes to make a pork roast with apple juice, brown sugar and ginger. That sounded perfect- right up my alley. I made it the other night and it was great, and in true slow cooker fashion, so easy! I will be adding this to the rotation for sure.

Apple Ginger Pork Roast

2 lb. pork loin roast
1/2 c. apple juice
2 t. fresh grated ginger
3 T brown sugar
2 apples quartered

Coat the outside of the pork with salt and pepper. Brown the outside of the pork before adding it to the slow cooker. Add the quartered apples to the bottom of the slow cooker. Once the meat is browned, put it on top of the apples. In a small bowl mix together the juice, ginger and brown sugar. Pour mixture over the roast. Cook for about 4 hours on high.

After the pork is done, I put the liquid from the crockpot in a small saucepan and simmer it to reduce to a gravy.

I served this with green beans and mashed potatoes (made with butter, greek yogurt, green onions.)

Bon Appetit!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fish Tacos

So, yesterday I go to take a picture of dinner for my dear old blog, but I couldn't find the memory card for my other camera (the one that takes the more appetizing shots.) I had to use my point and shoot. Did you know that a memory card can be run through the washer and the dryer? Neither did I. I have got to get better about cleaning out pockets before I wash them. All's well that ends well, I suppose. And now, onto dinner.

Last night I made fish tacos and boy were they tasty. I used Mahi Mahi. And then I wondered why I don't make it more often when I make fish. It is so dense and meaty and delicious. It would have been really good on the grill, but it was raining last night so I baked it. It turned out pretty good that way.

You know that I love cheese, right? Well, I also love ranch dressing. I always like making things that I can put ranch on and tacos are no exception. It sounds kind of gross, but it was really good.

Fish Tacos

I took a 1 lb. piece of Mahi Mahi (with the skin taken off) and drizzled extra virgin olive oil on top. Then I put the zest of 1 lime, a sprinkle of ancho chile powder, lime juice (from the zested lime), salt and pepper on top. I baked the fish at 400° for about 20 minutes (or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140-145°.)

To serve the tacos I put a piece of the fish in a tortilla topped with shredded red cabbage and ranch dressing.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Granola Bars

My sister-in-law Emily sent me this delicious recipe for granola bars. She thought Max might like them. In fact, we all love them! I think I baked them a little bit too long, so they were a bit too chewy. Other than that they were great. Max loves them as a snack. And I love them because when I am feeling lazy they make a great breakfast.

Granola Bars
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup wheat germ (I used flax meal)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 ounce unsalted butter (I used 1 ounce of flax oil)

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

6 1/2 ounces dried fruit (I used golden raisins and craisins)

Spray your pan before you bake the bars. Preheat oven to 350. Spread oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto pan. Place in oven for 15 min to toast, stir occasionally.

In the meantime, combine honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until brown sugar dissolves completely.

Once oat mixture is done, remove from oven and reduce heat to 300. Add oat mixture to liquid mixture, add dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture into a 9X9 (9X13 halt-sheet pans works also) sprayed with cooking spray, evenly distributing. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool COMPLETELY!! (otherwise it falls apart) Cut up and enjoy! (lasts about 2 wks)

Thanks Emily!

Bon Appetit!


Cobb Salad

Warning: The picture does not actually look very appetizing, but this salad was really good!

As I have said before, it is stinking hot in Austin right now. That is why there has been an obscene amount of salad recipes these days. Not to mention that salads are so easy! Maybe once it cools off (October?) I will actually start cooking again. But, I do love a good salad, so I can't say that I am too disappointed about having lots of salads. Cobb salad is one of my favorites. It is a wonderful combination of all the best things to eat: bacon, olives, bleu cheese, ranch dressing. What's not to like?

Cobb Salad

chopped Romaine lettuce
tomatoes, diced
Kalamata olives
bleu cheese
bacon, crumbled
avocado, sliced
grilled chicken, sliced

Assemble salad and dress with ranch dressing.

Ranch Dressing

1 c. mayonnaise
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 t. dried chives
1/2 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. dried dill
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

This makes a ton of dressing. I think next time I will half it, just so you know.

See how easy a salad is!

Bon Appetit!

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Jeff's sister, Claire, came to town last weekend and we went to Central Market Sunday morning. It was like hitting a food jackpot. There were all kinds of samples, it was great! They had a sample of this salad and it was so delicious, I knew had to make it. It was light and easy to prepare- perfect for a summer weeknight. I didn't change anything about the recipe except that I used one can of tuna instead of two.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad
(Central Market recipe)

1 can beans (I used chickpeas)
1 red pepper, finely diced
1/2 c red onion, finely diced
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 t fresh oregano or rosemary, minced
2 cans tuna, water or oil packed, drained
4 T capers, drained
1/2 c lemon juice
4 T extra virgin olive oil
8 c of fresh salad greens
Freshly ground pepper and salt

Combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, herbs, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 2 T of the olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine remaining 1/4 c of lemon juice and 2T of olive oil in a large bowl with salt and pepper, whisk to combine and toss with salad greens.

Serve tuna on top of greens.

Bon Appetit!

Fusilli with Spinach and Tomatoes

I can always watch either Everyday Italian or Barefoot Contessa and come away with a delicious recipe for something that I just have to make. These two ladies both have personalities that irritate me to high heaven, but boy do they know how to make some tasty food. I think I may have over wilted my spinach, but the pasta wasn't ready and I wanted to keep the "sauce" warm. And I may or may not have been paying attention! Other than that it was very good. I will always love a good pasta dish.
I followed this recipe exactly, except that I did use whole wheat pasta. And, in case you are wondering, it is not so kid friendly. At least it wasn't so my kid friendly. He loved the pasta, but he wouldn't touch the spinach or tomatoes with a ten foot pole.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pimiento Cheese

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love cheese. And, it only seems right that I would love pimiento cheese. But, I really don't like the premade stuff they sell in the store. This is much better and only slightly more involved than opening a container of the other stuff. I did make my own roasted pepper (which is really easy), but you could certainly use the jarred kind. So, try this pimiento cheese and go throw the other grocery store stuff out. Now.

1 8oz. package of cheddar/jack cheese
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 roasted red pepper, diced
2 thinly sliced green onions (white and green parts)
3-4 T chopped fresh dill

To roast the red pepper: I put the red pepper over the burner on my gas stove. The outside of the of the pepper will become charred. Keep turning the pepper over the flame until the outside is all charred. Then put the pepper in a brown paper bag for about 15 minutes. The steam from the pepper will make the charred skin easier to get off. Peel the charred skin off of the pepper and dice.

For the pimiento cheese: Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

Nicoise Salad

So, when the heat index is 109° we eat a lot of salads. Some people might feel like salads are kind of a light dinner, but this one really is very hearty. I mean, any salad that has potatoes in it will surely keep you full.

Nicoise Salad

Mixed greens or spinach
8-10 small red potatoes
green beans
olives (nicoise is available, but I prefer kalamata)
2 hard boiled eggs
1 or 2 cans of tuna
Champagne Vinaigrette

In a small pot put the washed potatoes in cold, salted water. Once the water has started to boil put the eggs in the pot and cook for 12 minutes. Pull out the potatoes when they are tender. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes in 1-2 T of olive oil and salt and pepper. Set aside. Set the eggs aside when they are finished cooking. Put the washed green beans in the boiling water and cook for 2-3 min. When the green beans come out, place in an ice water bath to stop them from cooking any more. Set aside. (So at this point you have cooked the potatoes, green beans and eggs in the same pot and set them aside to use when you put the salad together.)
To put the salad together: Place the potatoes, olives, green beans, sliced hard boiled eggs, and tuna on a bed of lettuce. Dress with the champagne vinaigrette.

Champagne Vinagrette

Once again, I have no actual measurements for this. This recipe is my best guess.

Whisk together 1T of dijon mustard and 2-3T of champagne vinegar. Add 1-2T of fresh chopped dill. Slowly whisk in olive oil (be sure to keep the whisk moving the whole time so make sure the dressing emulsifies.) Voila!

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pollo Guisado Tacos

Seriously. Easiest meal ever. And really, it was pretty good. I am pretty much a fan of anything in a tortilla. Add guacamole to the top and I am sold. I made this with a combination of chicken breasts and chicken thighs (though any kind of chicken would work) and after about 4 hours in the crockpot the meat was very tender and falling apart. Warning: This recipe makes a lot of meat, but I think it would freeze well!

Pollo Guisado Tacos

3 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
4 chicken thighs
1 t. kosher salt
1 small can of mild diced green chiles
1 t. dried ancho chile powder
1 t. garlic powder
a few dashes of onion powder
juice of 1 lime

Put all the ingredients in the crockpot along with 1/2- 1 cup of water. Cook on high for about 4 hours or until the chicken falls apart. Shred the chicken and then let it stew in the cooking liquid on low for about an hour. At the very end of cooking I squeezed the lime juice on the chicken. It was good, but it would better to serve the tacos with a lime wedge and squeeze on the lime just before eating.

I served my tacos with guacamole and a white Mexican cheese.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Salad with Grilled Chicken and Grilled French Bread

Wow, it is really hot outside! I think the heat index today is around 109°. Crazy! What sounds even crazier to me is turning on the oven right now. I have been sticking to salads, things I can make in the crock pot (more on that later!), and things we can grill. After Mexico and the resort's really great salad bars, salads have been on my mind. This salad is really straightforward and is not really a recipe, but I thought I would share my idea because it was really good. Anything would be good on the salad, bput I put tomatoes, hearts of palm, bleu cheese, garbanzo beans, and celery on a bed of Romaine lettuce. I put grilled chicken (dressed in olive oil, salt and fresh black pepper before grilling) on top. For the dressing, I made a simple balsamic vinaigrette. I also put a loaf of french bread on the grill and it was delicious! To prepare the bread for the grill: cut the loaf in half lenghtwise and put olive oil, salt and pepper on top. Place the bread on the grill cut side down. The bread will only sit on the grill for a minute or two. Be careful not to burn it!

Balsamic Vinaigrette

In a bowl, whisk together 1 T of Dijon mustard and 3 T of balsamic vinegar. While whisking, slowly add about a 1/4 c. of extra virgin olive oil.

note: These amounts are my best guess. I usually just "eyeball" it when I make salad dressing! Just keep tasting it as you make it and add more or less of anything you think it might need. And, remember to taste your dressing on a piece of lettuce, not your finger. (That way you know what it taste like on the salad.)

Bon Appetit!