Friday, May 29, 2009

Lentil Soup

I bet you are thinking, "Soup, are you kidding me?" I know that it is way too hot outside to be making soup and it makes me sweat just thinking about eating soup in the summer. But, after being sick this week and having not gone to the store in a long time, this was about all I had left in my pantry to make. This used to be my end of the week standby -- you know, the dish that you make because you are out of food and you really need to go to the store but you would rather do anything else other than that. Well, after many of those weeks this dish got really old. I mean, Jeff was literally rolling his eyes when I told him we were having this again. But, after taking about a 9 month break from making this so much I made it last night. I have to tell you, I was really glad I made it. Even though it is 90° outside it was still really good. Just add a salad and some crusty bread and it is a delicious, quick, healthy meal.Italic

Lentil Soup
(Jen's Recipe)

2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. of lentils
sea salt and feshly ground pepper
1-2 T champagne vinegar (optional)
freshly grated parmesan and olive oil to garnish

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the lentils to the pot and add enough water to cover the beans by about a 1/2 inch. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. The soup will be ready when the beans are tender, in about 30 minutes. When the soup is finished cooking, add the vinegar. The vinegar is optional, but it does add a nice flavor to have the soup. As the soup is cooking, you may need to add water as the liquid cooks off and the soup looks like it is getting too dry. To serve, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grilled Steak Salad with Roasted Garlic Viniagrette

Jeff said that this was a great way to get his vegetables in, and I agree! How could a salad be anything but delicious when it has grilled steak on it? Of course, Max wouldn't dream of touching something like this, he thinks he doesn't like veshtables. (Don't tell him that carrots, broccoli, and peas fall under the veshtable category.) He did, however, love the meat. I'm telling you, the kid has never had any kind of protein touch his lips that he didn't like. But, that's another story.

For the salad, I used spinach, sliced button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas. I kept thinking that maybe the it was missing something, like it might have been better with blue cheese. But really, I think everything is better with cheese in it or on it.

For the steak marinade I used a recipe from It was so good! I could have eaten the whole flank steak all by myself. Hmm, I guess I've never had protein touch my lips that I didn't like. At least the little one comes by it honestly!

For the dressing I used a recipe from I think my favorite cooking show on Food Network is Boy Meets Grill with Bobby Flay. I always want to try everything he makes on that show. The other day he made a roasted garlic viniagrette and honestly, I made this salad so I could make that dressing!

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sloppy Joes

I think the best part of having a kid is that I get to make all kinds of delicious of "kid food." The other day I had a craving for sloppy joes and I thought that Max would love them. Well, it took some serious negotiations to get him to even try them. But, once he tried them he did love them. I got the recipe from and the only change I made was to use ground turkey instead of ground beef.

Just a tip: I love, but a friend told me about a recipe search site called This site searches and and for recipes based on ingredients that you have on-hand. Like, if you have chicken and garlic and mozzarella cheese it would pull up all the recipes on those sites that have at least those ingredients. It is great!

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trout with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce and Almond Rice Pilaf

I try to serve some kind of fish once a week, and I am really lucky because Max loves fish. In fact, I have not come across any kind of protein that the kid doesn't like. Maybe tofu, he's never tried that. Anyway, this fish was great because it is quick and super easy. I think that Jeff really liked it because he got a break from grilling. But don't worry Jeff, you will be at the grill again soon enough!

Baked Trout with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce

3 Trout fillets (or tilapia)
salt and freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
3 T unsalted butter
juice of 1 lemon
lemon zest from 1/2 of lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 T capers

Preheat oven to 375°. Place trout fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 15 minutes. (If you are using tilapia, the cooking time may be a bit longer.) When the fish is done the flesh will be opaque and will flake easily with a fork. The internal temperature should be 140°. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

For the sauce:
Place the butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and capers in a small saucepan. Melt the butter and keep warm until the fish is done.

When the fish is done lift it off of the skin with a spatula to plate it. Drizzle the fish with the butter sauce.

I served the fish sauteed spinach and almond r ice pilaf. The pilaf was so easy and much tastier than white rice. The only change I made to the pilaf was to use olive oil instead of butter and I think it turned out great!

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bruschetta Chicken

Nothing says summer to me more than fresh tomatoes and basil. But, unfortunately, we are not quite there yet. The tomatoes in my garden are still green, but I did get to use fresh basil. We grilled once again last night and this time we made Bruschetta Chicken. It is a really great summer dish that I think will be even better when I can use fresh tomatoes from my garden. Jeff and I were talking last night and we thought that this would also be good with cheddar cheese and pico de gallo on top for a Mexican version. I served the chicken with roasted fingerling potatoes and sauteed spinach.

Bruschetta Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground sea salt and pepper
Fresh mozzarella, sliced

Tomato topping
2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. diced onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 c. fresh basil
2 T extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground sea salt and pepper

Season the chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper to prepare it for the grill. For the tomato topping: add tomotoes, onion, garlic, and basil to a small mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Grill the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°. Place the sliced mozzarella on top of the chicken and finish cooking on the grill until the cheese is melted. Before serving, top with the tomato mixture.
*note: If the chicken is thick, it would be best if it is either butterflied or pounded.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
1.5 lbs. fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, add potatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Toss potatoes with olive oil. Spread the potatoes out on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 400° for 30 min., turning half way through.

Bon Appetit!

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon

I think maybe this blog should be renamed 'What Jeff's Grilling' because, as I look back at previous posts, most of my recipes are grilled. So, I am very sorry if anyone who reads this does not have a grill! It is just so easy to have Jeff throw something on the grill instead of spending my evening in the kitchen cooking something in the oven. Well, here is yet another grilled entry!

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon

1 (1-1.5 lb) salmon fillet
steak seasoning blend (I used Weber Chicago steak seasoning)
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
extra virgin olive oil

About 2 hours before grilling soak the cedar plank so it doesn't burn. Just before grilling, place the salmon on the cedar plank skin side down to season. (I don't have exact measurements on the seasoning, but it usually requires a decent amount if the piece of salmon is thick.) Cover the top of the salmon with olive oil and then squeeze the lemon on it. Then, cover with the steak seasoning and the dill. After it is seasoned, it is ready to throw on the grill. The salmon will be on the grill for about 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the size of the fillet.) Really, you just want to watch the internal temperature of the fish. When the temperature reaches 150-155° it is done.

I served the salmon with grilled asparagus and rice pilaf.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Indonesian Ginger Chicken

This turned out to be another delicious Barefoot Contessa recipe. With only 5 ingredients it was a really easy marinade and it was packed with flavor. The recipe called for 2 whole chickens to be quartered and then marinated. I used 2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts and 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The recipe also called for the chicken to marinate overnight and I really think that it needed that time to soak up the flavors. I forgot to marinate the meat the night before I cooked it, so it only got to sit for about 9 hours. Also, instead of baking the chicken, we grilled it (surprise, surprise!) That was good and I think I will grill the chicken again, but next time I think I will reduce the marinade and make a sauce.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spinach, Artichoke, and Sundried Tomato Quiche

I love quiche, but sometimes it is a little bit too rich and I can only imagine the calories! I tried to make this a healthy quiche and I think in the end it turned out a little bit too healthy tasting. I put the whole 10 oz. of frozen spinach in it and it was too much. It was good, but I think next time I will make it with less spinach and more cheese. Because, really, healthy quiche might just be an oxymoron. The recipe below will reflect the changes.

Spinach, Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Quiche

1 9" frozen pie shell
10 oz. frozen spinach
1 c. cheddar/jack cheese
1/4- 1/2c. fresh grated parmesan
2 oz. package of sundried tomatoes
1 can of artichoke hearts
salt and pepper
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350°. Pierce holes in the pie shell with a fork and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until lightly brown.
Meanwhile, thaw the spinach and remove the excess moisture. Put half of the spinach in a large mixing bowl and add the cheeses, sundried tomatoes, and the chopped artichokes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In another bowl add the eggs and milk. Add the eggs and milk to the large mixing bowl with the spinach. Stir to mix the egg mixture into the spinach. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and pour the egg and spinach mixture into the prepared pie shell. Bake at 350° for an hour.

Bon Appetit!

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

These may not be what you think of when you think of quesadillas, but they were certainly just as delicious. I made them for dinner the other night when I needed something quick. I served them with a spinach salad. I think they would also work out well for lunch or even as an appetizer. I made these kind of quickly the other night so I don't have exact measurements for the seasoning in the mushrooms, but I will give my best guesses!

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

1 package of sliced button or cremini mushrooms
1 T unsalted butter
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 t beef bouillion
1/2 t dried thyme
2 T red wine
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 flour tortillas
goat cheese
shredded mozzarella

In a nonstick skillet heat the butter and olive oil. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Season with bouillion, thyme, and red wine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
While the mushrooms are simmering, spread goat cheese on each of the tortillas. Next, put a layer of mushrooms on two of the tortillas. Put about 3 T of mozzarella on top of the goat cheese and top with one of the remaining tortillas. Cook quesadillas over medium low heat in a skillet. I served them with pico de gallo (because I think I am addicted to the stuff and would eat it on anything!) but they would be great all by themselves.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Chunky Guacamole

This is probably one of my most favorite grilled meals. Central Market has really delicious meats that are marinated and ready to throw on the grill, and I think the southwest marinated pork tenderloin is one of their best. I love that Jeff is so willing to grill as much as he is, otherwise I think I would only cook twice a week!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chunky Guacamole

1 pork tenderloin
1 avocado
1 large tomato
1 small red onion
1/2 jalapeno
3 T fresh cilantro
2-3 limes, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Place the pork tenderloin on a heated grill and cook to perfection. (sorry I don't have more to say about this, but it is not my area of expertise!)
For the guacamole, chop up the tomato and red onion into large pieces. Next, dice the jalapeno (with seeds for heat) and add to tomatoes and onion. Add cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Let this sit for a few hours to let the lime juice marinate the veggies. Just before you eat, add the avocado. Serve the guacamole on top of the grilled pork. I served my pork tenderloin with sauteed spinach and pinto beans that I had left over from the night before.

Bon Appetit!