Thursday, April 30, 2009

Broccoli and Bow Ties

I am never disappointed by any recipe of Ina Garten's that I try! I love that they all use fresh and simple ingredients. I especially loved this recipe because it was so easy. I think it took about 20 minutes from start to finish. That, of course, does not include grilling the sausage that I decided to add at the last minute (which doesn't count if I'm not in the kitchen!) The only thing I changed was using toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts. I also used Grana Padano instead of parmesan, but I honestly wouldn't be able to tell a difference between the two in a blind taste test. And, like I said before, I added sundried tomato chicken sausage from Central Market that we grilled.

Try it, you will love it!

Bon Appetit!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Banana Pecan Waffles

Jeff and I used to love to go to breakfast on the weekends. We would go mid-morning because it didn't matter if we had to wait on a table, we had nothing better to do on a Saturday morning. When we finally did get a table we would take our time drinking coffee and eating slowly. Well, those days are over. With 2 kids it is nearly impossible to go to breakfast past 9 am if you want a table without a wait. And with 2 kids, who actually wants to get out of the house by 8:45 am on a Saturday or a Sunday? So, I thought, why not bring the restaurant to us. I love making waffles because they are easy and they are delicious. I found this recipe on they were so good! I did change it up a little bit by using half unbleached all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour because I think all whole wheat flour might make them too heavy. I also added two mashed bananas and pecans, but I think anything could be added in and they would be just as good.

Banana Pecan Waffles

1 c. unbleached AP flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 t. salt
3 T. baking powder
2 c. milk
3 eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
2 mashed bananas
1/2 c. pecan pieces

Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Finally, add the bananas and pecans. This batter makes enough to feed about 4 people. If it is too much batter, I make all the waffles and freeze the rest. They are good leftover and reheated in the toaster. Make sure the extras are undercooked a bit so they don't burn in the toaster. My toddler loves these!

Bon Appetit!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grilled Shrimp Salad

I love a good salad, and I really love a salad with grilled shrimp on top! This recipe for grilled shrimp would be great with pasta or just on it's own if you used bigger shrimp. I think that lemon instead of lime juice would have been better, as well as fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. Overall, I think that it is pretty hard to mess up the seasoning on shrimp, it is pretty forgiving! And, in my opinion, everything tastes better on the grill!

Grilled Shrimp

1 lb. 36/45 shrimp
3T. melted butter
1/4t. garlic powder
1/4. onion powder
1/4t. dried dill
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
lime zest and juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl just before grilling. Place shrimp in a grill basket on a preheated grill. These shrimp take no time at all to cook, maybe 5 minutes. Make sure to move them around in the basket so they don't stick to the pan.

For the salad:

On a bed of Romaine lettuce, I put thin slices of red bell pepper, yellow cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, and Gorgonzola cheese. For the dressing, I used Paul Newman's balsamic vinaigrette.

Bon Appetit!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Sauteed Veggies

As it gets hotter outside I am always looking for recipes that don't require me to turn on the oven. A lot of times that means that we grill. The best part about grilling is that the kitchen also stays relatively untouched, so clean up is a breeze. The part about grilling that can get old is that I can easily get stuck in a rut making the same kind of grilled chicken, or taking the really easy and grilling sausage. While those things are good, Austin has a really long grilling season (just about year-round), and pretty soon the chicken and sausage on the grill is pretty boring. So, I thought I would mix it up a little bit. This is what I came up with:

Grilled Chicken Tacos

3 chicken breast halves
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. dried ancho chili powder
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dried onion flakes
lime zest
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl to make a paste. Spread the paste over the chicken and marinate at least an hour (or more if you have the time.) Grill chicken. Once the chicken has reached 165° remove from grill and let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. I put my chicken on flour tortillas from Central Market. I served the tacos with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo (also from Central Market), and shredded pepper jack cheese.

The sauteed veggies are very straightforward. I just cut up squash and zucchini and red bell pepper. I put them in a heated skillet with some olive oil and seasoned them with sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and a little bit of seasoned salt. That is always a quick, easy, and healthy side dish!

Just in case you are worried, the ancho chili powder is not hot at all and these tacos are kid approved! Max kept saying "Mmmm, these are really good!"

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

I found this recipe on Food Network's website and I knew I had to try it. I love Ellie Krieger and I have never tried a recipe of her's that I didn't like. I didn't follow the recipe exactly, I just used it as a general guide to make the recipe my own.

Turkey Meatballs
(Jen's recipe)

1 lb. ground turkey thighs
1 lb. ground turkey breast
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp. salt
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 torn fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/3 shredded parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Form into 2" balls and place under the broiler for 10 minutes. They should be golden brown and about 155°, which is slightly undercooked.

Note: I didn't use all 2 lbs. of meatballs for this one recipe. I made them all and cooked them in the broiler and then froze them to use later

I knew that if I was making meatballs I was not going to make my own sauce. I can only do so much with a toddler and an infant! I opened up 2 jars of whatever tomato sauce I had on hand and used that. Since the meatballs are undercooked when you take them out of the broiler, I let them simmer in the tomato sauce while I cooked my pasta.

So, that's it. Spaghetti that is quick, easy, and delicious!

Bon Appetit!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Roasted Chicken

I made a little bit of a bigger dinner than I usually do on a Friday night. I made Roasted chicken, roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes. The great part about that meal is that it looks like it might have taken longer to make than it actually did. The chicken takes about 10 minutes to prep and then it takes care of itself once you put it in the oven. I think the most time consuming part was the mashed potatoes which took about 5 minutes to mash once they were done boiling. So, here it is, a quick and easy Friday night meal!

Roasted Chicken
(Jen's recipe)

2 split chicken breasts
1 lemon
2 sprigs of rosemary
Extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic powder

I like to have everything in little bowls before I make my chicken so I am not running around trying to find my ingredients with chicken hands! I don't have exact measurements for the salt,pepper, and garlic powder mixture. I usually just eyeball it, but I think it is about 1:1:1. To prepare the chicken, I cut the skin from one side of the breast and open it like a book (leaving one side of skin still attached.) First, I coat the chicken in olive oil. Next, I liberally sprinkle the salt mixture over the whole breast (even the bottom). I have found that with the split breast you need more seasoning than you might think. Then I place lemon slices and rosemary sprigs on the chicken. The last thing you do is pull the skin over the lemon and rosemary. I pour the rest of the olive oil over the chicken and that crisps up the skin. More than anything that just makes for a nicer presentation. Put the chicken in a 425° oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165°.

Roasted Asparagus
(Jen's "recipe")

This is not really a recipe but a method. You can do this with any vegetable. I really like roasted cauliflower, carrots, beets, cherry tomatoes, red peppers. On a foil lined baking sheet, coat your asparagus in olive oil. Then season with salt and pepper. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. It's okay if veggies look a little bit charred on the ends.

Mashed Potatoes
(Jen's recipe)

3 organic russet potatoes
2% organic milk
sour cream
fresh ground sea salt and pepper

Boil potatoes until they are tender. Drain water and place potatoes back in the pot. Pour enough milk so that the potatoes mash easily. Once they are mashed I add salt and pepper to taste and two heaping spoonfuls of sour cream.

Bon Appetit!