Monday, March 9, 2015

Matzo Ball Soup (Jewish Penicillin)

1 Whole Chicken
3 Medium Onions - Diced
3 Carrots - Diced
3 Sticks of Celery - Chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic - Peeled and Chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Bag Jewish Fine Egg Noodles
1/2 Bunch Parsley - Chopped
4 tbsp Fresh Dill - Chopped

For The Matzo Balls:
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons chicken fat
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Box Matzo Meal

In a large pot cover chicken with cold water to come about 2 " above the chicken. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim the froth off the top of the chicken.

Add the chopped veg, garlic cloves, and thyme sprigs, and season with a good pinch of salt. Bring everything back to the boil, then turn the heat down and leave it to simmer for 1 hour. Carry on skimming the broth, reserving 4 tablespoons of this fat for your matzo balls.

To make your matzo balls, beat the eggs in a large bowl and add your cooled chicken fat and the salt and pepper. Beat again, then slowly stir in your matzo meal until well blended. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes, then wet your hands with cold water and roll the dough using a 1" scoop.  They will double in size when cooked.

When the soup has had its hour and a half, use tongs to carefully transfer the chicken to a roasting pan. Leave to cool, uncovered, for a few minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and strain it through your biggest sieve or colander. Pull out the decent-looking bits of veg and put these back into the soup, getting rid of anything else. Put the pan back on a medium heat and bring back to the boil, then add your matzo balls. Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat down a bit and simmer for 20 minutes, until the balls are light and puffy. Halfway through the 20 minutes, add your noodles or spaghetti to the pan and cook gently for the final 10 minutes.

When your chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred the meat off the bone. Pick the leaves from your parsley and roughly chop them with the dill. Add all your shredded chicken meat to the soup, along with the chopped herbs, and warm through for 3 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.   Enjoy.

Original recipe:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ricotta Gnocchi

2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Grated
1 1/2 tbsp EVOO
2 Large Eggs
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 1/2 Cups Flour (+ 1/2 cup)

In a large bowl combine the ricotta, parmesan cheese, EVOO, eggs and pepper.  Slowly stir in the flour 1/3 at a time.  It should combine into a ball.  Add the extra flour gradually if it doesn't.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a ball.  Cut into 4 quarters.  Roll each quarter into a log about 1" thick and cut into 1" squares.

In a pot of boiling, salted water, add in the gnocchi.  When they rise to the top they are done.

At this point you can put them into your favorite sauce, but I like a bit of a bite on my gnocchi so I toss them in a pan w/ butter and brown them on both sides then add then to tomato sauce or pesto.  Enjoy.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quinoa & Kale Salad

1 Large Bunch of Kale - Stems removed and leaves shredded
2 Large Carrots - Shredded
1/4 Red Onion - Small Dice
1 Fresno Chili - Seeded & Small Dice
1 Can Garbanzo Beans - Drained & Rinsed
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries - Reconstituted in warm water & drained
1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 tbsp Salt (reserve)

1 Cup Quinoa
2 Cups Vegetable Broth

3/4 Cup Orange Juice
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Garlic Cloves - Fine Dice
1" Ginger - Grated
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
2 tbsp EVOO
1 Cup Water

In a large bowl combine kale, carrots, onion, chili, garbanzo beans, cranberries, sunflower seeds.  Stir to combine.

In a pot over high heat add the quinoa and vegetable broth.  Bring to a bowl, cover and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid is evaporated.

In a saucepan over med/high heat add the orange juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, mustard, sesame oil, 1 tbsp salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, evoo & water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until it reduces slightly and get's thicker. Stir and cool for about 10 minutes to reduce heat.

Add the quinoa to the kale salad mixture and combine.  Pour over the vinaigrette and mix to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add in the 1 tbsp of salt if necessary or adjust other seasonings as necessary.

This is a super food, healthy salad and made to feed a family or just for a week's worth of lunches.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Asian Meatballs - 2

20 oz. Ground Turkey
20 oz. Ground Pork
1 Med. Onion - Rough Chop
4 Garlic Cloves
1 tbsp Ginger - Grated
1 Cup Mushrooms - Rough Chop
1/4 Cup Parsley - Leaves & Stems
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
2 Roasted Piquillo Peppers - Small Dice (use roasted red peppers if you don't have Piquillo)
2 tbsp Quinoa
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 Egg - Beaten

For Sauce:
2 tbsp Sugar
3 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Sambal
1/2 Cup Water

In a small food processor add in the onion and garlic and puree.  Add to a large bowl.  Next blend up the mushrooms and parsley and add to the bowl.  In the bowl, add the piquillo peppers and chicken stock.  Mix to combine everything.  Add in the quinoa, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and egg.  Mix to combine.  Add in the turkey and pork and mix to combine (don't over mix).

Using a small scoop (about 1" in diameter) scoop the meatballs onto a large baking sheet (w/ sides) lined w/ parchment paper and sprayed w/ cooking spray.  When all the meatballs are on the baking sheet roll each into a ball.  Run your hands periodically under water to stop the meatballs from sticking. You should get about 80 meatballs.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Mine didn't brown so when I took them out of the oven, I let them cool for about 10 minutes then put them in a sauté pan over med/high heat to brown about 2 minutes, stirring so as not to burn.

While the meatballs are in the oven, in a sauce pot add the sugar, soy sauce, evoo, mustard, sambal and water.  If you don't have sambal, you can substitute chili paste or about 1/4 tsp of chili flakes.  Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.  Cook over med/high heat until the mixture starts to reduce and thicken.

When the meatballs are out of the oven (or the pan), let cool for about 5 minutes.  Add the meatballs to a large bowl and pour the sauce over them and stir to combine.   Garnish w/ sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

Perfect to serve as an appetizer or in a spicy asian noodle dish or soup.  Enjoy.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 Cup Butter- Room Temp
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs - Room Temp / Beaten
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Overripe Banana - Mashed
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
3 Cups Quick Oats
1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar & sugar.  In a small bowl beat together the eggs.  Slowly beat in the eggs to the sugar mixture and add in the vanilla, banana, coconut oil and cinnamon.  Beat to combine.

In a medium bowl combine the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt and quick oats. Stir to combine.

Gradually fold in the dry mixture into the wet mixture in 3 batches.  When combined add in the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Using a small 1" cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the sheets.  Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before putting into oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on your oven) or until the bottom is golden brown.

Remove to a cooling rack and Enjoy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Parmesan Herb Bread

2 Onions - Sliced
2 tbsp EVOO
3/4 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs - Beaten
1 3/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Grated
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Rosemary - Chopped
1 tsp Thyme- Chopped
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Baking Soda

Over med/low heat in a large pan, caramelize onions for about 30 minutes.  In a bowl, whisk sour cream, vegetable oil and eggs.  In a separate bowl whisk together flour, parmesan, sugar, rosemary, thyme, baking powder lemon zest, salt, pepper and baking soda.

Add in the onions and fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine.

Pour mixture into a 9x5" loaf pan that has been lined with parchment paper on the bottom and all sides (let the sides hang out a little longer to make it easier to remove) and sprayed with cooking spray.

Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.  Let cool about 1 hour then remove.  Enjoy.

Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Asparagus

1 Bunch Asparagus - Ends Trimmed
1 Garlic Clove - Minced
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 + 1 tbsp Parmentino Cheese - Grated (substitute Parmesan if necessary)
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
4 Slices Prosciutto - Thinly Sliced

In a large pot of boiling, salted water add the asparagus and cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking and lock in the vibrant, green color.

Lay the slices of prosciutto out on a cutting board.  Spread the dijon evenly and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of the parmentino cheese, garlic and black pepper.

In 4 even bunches add the asparagus to the end of the proscuitto and roll up.  Sprinkle EVOO on a baking sheet and place the asparagus on and place in a preheated 450 degree oven and bake for about 10 minutes (turning after 5 minutes).

Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with remaining parmentino cheese.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Roasted Turkey Tortilla Soup

10 Corn Tortillas - Cut in half then into 1/2" strips
3 Corn Tortillas - Finely diced
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 Large Onion - Small Diced
2 Large Garlic Cloves - Small Diced
3/4 Green Pepper - Small Diced
1 32 oz Box of Swanson Mexican Tortilla Soup Broth
2 Cups Turkey (or Chicken Broth) - Shredded
1 14.5 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 15 oz Can Black Beans - Drained and Rinsed
1 Cup Frozen Corn
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Roasted Mushroom Powder (I make my own so you can omit this)

In a 400 degree oven, on a large baking pan add the tortillas and roast for 7 minutes.

In a Med / Large Pot, over medium heat add the EVOO.  Add the onion and garlic.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Add in the pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add in the finely diced tortillas and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add in the cumin, salt, pepper, paprika and mushroom powder.  Stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes.

Deglaze with 1/2 cup of the Tortilla Soup Broth.  Cook for about a minute then add the rest of the Tortilla Soup Broth.  Add in the shredded turkey, corn, black beans.  Cook for about 5 minutes then add in the 2 cups of turkey stock.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Top with the fried tortillas and Enjoy!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Spicy Hot Garlic Green Beans

2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Hot Pepper Oil (or regular EVOO w/ a sprinkling of red pepper flakes)
1/2 Cup Turkey Stock (or chicken or veggie, I just happened to have turkey on the stove)
1 lb Green Beans - Ends trimmed
3 Large Garlic Cloves - Minced
1 Piquillo Pepper - Diced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

In a large pan over med/high heat add the butter and oil until melted and combined.  Add in the stock and green beans.  Mix to combine and stir occasionally.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add in the garlic, piquillo pepper, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Mix to combine, stir occasionally and cook for about another 5 minutes.

Serve as a side dish or even as a meal with some crusty Italian bread.  Enjoy.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Vegetable Lasagna

3 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Thyme
2 16 oz. Crimini Mushrooms - Sliced
2 tbsp Marsala Wine

2 tbsp EVOO
2 Medium Red Onions - Cut in 1/2 and Sliced about 1/4" thick
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Pepper

2 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp Butter
3 Leeks - Cut in 1/2 - rinsed in a bowl of cold water and patted dry
1/2 tsp Pepper

2 tbsp EVOO
1 Bunch Kale - Stems removed & Chopped
1 Bunch Rainbow Chard - Stems Removed & Chopped
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Garlic Pepper

2 tbsp EVOO
3 Zucchini - Sliced about 1/4" thick longwise
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper

3 10 oz. boxes of Frozen Spinach - Defrosted and squeezed
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots

2 32 oz. containers of Ricotta Cheese - room temp.
3 Eggs - beaten
3 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Bechamel Sauce:
8 tbsp Butter
1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Gallon Milk
4 Garlic Cloves - Minced
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Cups Parmesan Cheese - Grated

1 32 oz. package Mozzarella Cheese - Shredded

2 16 oz. boxes of Lasagna Noodles

2 tbsp Butter cut into tiny cubes
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese

OK, I will start off by saying this is a very labor intensive recipe. That being said, the payoff is enormous as this feeds an army.  Each part and it's ingredients are separated above.

In a large bowl combine EVOO, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, thyme.  Add in the mushroom to coat.  Spread out on a large baking sheet and place in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes to roast.  Then transfer to a bowl and pour over the Marsala Wine and stir.

In a large pan over medium heat add the EVOO.  Add in the onions and stir to coat.  Stir occasionally for about 30-40 minutes until the onions are caramelized.  When they are almost finished pour in the balsamic vinegar and stir.

In a large pan over medium heat add the EVOO & butter.  Add in the leeks and stir to coat.  Stir occasionally.  Cook for about 15 minutes until the leeks are caramelized.  At the end add in pepper.

In a large pan over medium heat add the EVOO.  Add in the Kale & Chard.  With tongs keeps mixing.  It will wilt down a lot.  Once it's wilted, about 3-4 minutes, add the salt, pepper and garlic powder and stir to combine.

Drizzle the zucchini with EVOO, then sprinkle with the salt & pepper.  In a large pan over medium heat add the EVOO. Cook the zucchini about 2 min. per side, just to get a little golden color on it, but not to make mushy.

In a large bowl add the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne.  Mix well.

In a large pan over medium heat add the butter to melt.  Add the flour and stir to combine and cook about 2 minutes.  Add in milk gradually, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.  Once combined add in the garlic, parmesan cheese and dijon.  Continue stirring until thickened.  It should coat the back of a spoon and when you run your finger down the center of the spoon, it stays separate, but you don't want a thick clump, you want it to still flow.

In a large pot of salty boiling water add the lasagna noodles and cook for about 6-7 minutes.  You want to slightly undercook them because they will bake in the oven.  Then drain and pat dry with a paper towel.

Now comes the assembling and if you're prepared it will go easily.  You could build individual layers but honestly it's really not worth it and no one will taste the difference. In a very large bowl combine the mushrooms, onions, leeks, kale/chard/spinach, carrots.  Mix to combine.

In a tall 9x12" pan (I used the aluminum throwaway kind), coat the bottom with a little Bechamel sauce (so the noodles don't stick). Add a layer of noodles slightly overlapping.  Spread a layer of the mushroom, spinach, etc. mixture.  Top w/ a 3rd of the ricotta and then the béchamel and then the mozzarella.

Add the next layer of noodles but going in the opposite direction (trim the noodles to fit).  Add the zucchini and repeat the steps of the mushroom, etc.

Dot the top layer w/ the butter and sprinkle the parmesan cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven lightly covered w/ aluminum foil (try to tent it so as to not touch the cheese) for 60 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top.

Take out of the oven and let rest about 30 minutes before you cut and serve.  This gives all the cheese, etc. time to settle so that once you cut it, it doesn't just run out all over the place.

I served mine w/ a side of meatballs and slow cooked Italian Gravy but those recipes I keep to myself :)


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Spicy Sausage & Lentil Soup 2

11 oz Hot Linguica Sausage - Diced
1/2 Large Onion - Diced
4 Carrots - Diced
1 Large Jalapeño - Seeded & Diced
3 Garlic Cloves - Smashed & Chopped
1/2 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp BBQ Sauce
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
3 1/2 Cups Lentils
1 Cup Red Wine
1 10 1/2 oz Can French Onion Soup - Hot
7 Cups Beef Stock (low sodium) - 4 cups + 3 cups separate - Hot
4 Cups Water - Hot

Over Med / Low heat in a Dutch Oven or large pot add the sausage and render the fat, stirring every few minutes to brown sausage on all sides.  It takes a while but you need to do it low and slow about 30 minutes.  Take sausage out with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat behind.  Increase heat to med / high.  Add in the onions and sautee about 5 minutes.  Add in the carrots and sautee another 5 minutes.

Add jalapeño, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt, dijon mustard, bbq sauce & tomato paste and cook about 5 minutes.  Add in the lentils and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in red wine and cook about 5 minutes to cook out the raw wine taste.  Add mushroom soup, 4 cups beef stock & water.  Simmer 35 minutes covered w/ lid slightly ajar.  Add in remaining 3 cups of beef stock and cook about 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning accordingly & Enjoy.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Puff Pastry Goat Cheese Heirloom Tomato Tart

1 Sheet Puff Pastry - Thawed 40 minutes
1/2 lb Mini Heirloom tomatoes - Cut in 1/2
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tbsp Salt
1/4 tbsp Pepper
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
5 oz Goat Cheese - Room Temp
4 oz. Mascarpone Cheese - Room Temp
4 Large Garlic Cloves - Thinly Sliced
1/4 Red Onion - Thinly Sliced
2 tbsp Capers
1 tbsp Basil - Thinly Sliced

In a bowl add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, evoo and mix to combine.  Let marinate for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry and place on a baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.  Roll the edges in about 1/2 inch to form a border.

In a bowl combine the goat cheese and mascarpone cheese.  Spread on the puff pastry.  Divide the garlic slices along the cheese mixture.  Add the red onion, tomatoes and capers, spreading out evenly.  Drizzle the puff pastry w/ the marinade.

Place the puff pastry in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the crust becomes golden and topping is just starting to brown.  Sprinkle w/ the basil, let cool about 10 minutes then slice and serve.  Can also be served room temperature.  Enjoy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roasted Stuffed Hatch Chilis

4 Hatch Chilis - Sliced in 1/2 longwise, seeds, ribs removed
1 tbsp EVOO
1/2 Onion - Diced
3 Garlic Cloves - Smashed - Diced
1 Cup Mushrooms - Small Dice
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
10 Ground Turkey
2 Cups Kale - Fine Chop
3/4 pkg Queso Fresco - Crumbled
2 tbsp Parmentone Cheese - Grated (use Parmesan as a substitute)

In a pan over med/high heat add in the evoo, onion, garlic & mushrooms.  Cook for about 10 minutes until the veggies are slightly softened and browned.  Add in the salt, pepper & paprika.  Cook for another 2 minutes.

Add in the turkey and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in the kale and cook another 3 minutes.  Remove to a bowl.  Add in the 2 kinds of cheese and mix thoroughly.

Line a baking dish wil foil and spray with non stick spray.  Preheat your oven to 425.  Stuff the mixture into the chilies and line the tray.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese has melted.  Enjoy.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Salted Caramel Sauce

3 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cup Water
2 1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
10 1/2 tbsp Unsalted Butter - Cut into small pieces
3 tbsp Pink Sea Salt  - Or Regular Sea Salt

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream.  The mixture will bubble.  Stir in the unsalted butter and salt.  Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.

* The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  Reheat before serving.
* Original Recipe w/ smaller portions:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Coconut Milk Braised Pork Loin

2 2lb. Pork Loins
1 tbsp (each) - Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Thyme
1/2 tsp (each) - Taco Seasoning, Cumin, Poultry Seasoning
1 Cup Dried Apricots - Large Chop
1 Stalk Celery - Large Chop
1/2 Onion - Large Chop
2 Garlic Cloves - Smashed
1 Can Coconut Milk
3 Cups Chicken Stock
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Generously season the 2 pork loins with the spices making sure to cover the entire thing.  In a Dutch Oven or any large pot that can go in the oven, over med/high heat, add the evoo and butter and sear the pork loins on all sides.  Remove from the pot and add the apricots, celery, onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes scraping up all the bits of the pork loin stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Add back in the pork loins and cover with the coconut milk and chicken stock.  It should almost cover the pork loins but not completely.  Place lid on pot and set in a pre-heated 350 degree oven, turning the pork loins every hour.

Remove from oven, remove lid and let rest for about 15 minutes.  Remove the pork.  Put the pot on med/high heat and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.  The liquid should basically come up to a bubble and break down any remaining bits of the apricots and veggies.  The apricots will thicken the sauce so no need for flour or corn starch.

Slice the pork loin into about 1-2" slices.  I served mine over garlic mashed potatoes but it would be good w/ buttered noodles or rice as well.  Garnish w/ parsley and enjoy.  The pork will be fall apart tender and the sauce will be slightly sweet and spicy.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Homemade Granola Bars

1/2 Cup Almonds - Chopped
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Flaxseed Meal
1/2 Cup Quinoa - Uncooked
1 Cup Oats
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter - Heated in microwave for 30-45 seconds
2 Egg Whites - Beaten
1/2 tsp Salt
6x9 Baking dish lined w/ foil and sprayed with cooking spray

In a large bowl mix the almonds, cranberries, chocolate chips, flaxseed, quinoa, and oats.  Stir in the peanut butter, egg whites and salt to combine.

Spread on the baking dish and press down to form a firm base.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Cut into about 1" cubes.  Enjoy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan

2 Large Eggplant - Peeled & Sliced about 1/2" thick
3 Eggs - Beaten
1 Cup Flour
3 Cups Sundried Tomato Basil Wheat Thins - Use a blender or food processor to turn into crumbs
3 Cups Tomato Sauce - I make my own but your favorite brand is fine
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Basil - Torn
9 Slices Mozzarella Cheese - About 1/4" thick
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Shredded
Canola Oil - or Vegetable Oil

Over a wire rack placed over a cookie sheet place the sliced eggplant.  Generously salt both sides and set aside for 1 hour.  The salt will draw out the bitterness in the eggplant and make all the difference in the world in the taste.  After an hour, rinse the eggplant under water to remove the salt and pat dry with a paper towel.

In a pan over med/high heat add about 1/4" of oil and heat to the point if you dropped a tiny bit of flour in it would sizzle.  Working quickly and in an assembly line take each slice of eggplant and dredge in the four, tapping off any excess.  Then dredge in the beaten egg and then the wheat thins and place in the pan.

Fry on each side about 1-2 minutes or until golden and browned then place on either a wire rack to drain or on paper towels to drain off any excess oil.  Repeat process until all are fried, adding oil as needed.

In an 8x8" pan place a ladle full of tomato sauce on the bottom and move around to cover bottom of pan.  Layer in a single layer of eggplant.  Cut to fit if necessary.  Ladle another tomato sauce layer, sprinkle 1/3 of the basil over the eggplant.  Repeat 2 more times to make a total of 3 layers.

Divide the ricotta cheese over the eggplant in dollops, place the slices of mozzarella cheese over that and the remaining tomato sauce.  Sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese.

Place in a preheated 350 degree oven.  I put it on a cookie sheet in case there was spillage.  Cook for 35-40 minutes when the top should be a nice bubbly brown.  Let sit about 15 minutes before serving. Should serve about 4-6 servings.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mock Banana Nutella Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt Ice Cream

3 Bananas - Diced & Frozen
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Nutella
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cinnamon

In a food processor or blender add the bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, nutella, salt and cinnamon.  Blend until a smooth consistency.  Transfer to a container and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

It's a great, healthier version of ice cream for the hot summer months.  The salt helps cut the sweetness.  Mix it up by, after blending, add in peanuts or candies.  Enjoy.

Original version of the recipe courtesy of Food Network:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Zucchini Carrot Fritters

3 Med / Large Zucchini - Shredded
2 Carrots - Shredded
1/2 Large Onion - Shredded
3 Garlic Cloves - Smashed & Finely Diced
2 Eggs - Beaten
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Coriander
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Cup Bisquick
3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Shredded
Canola Oil

Put the zucchini in a kitchen towel and squeeze until all the liquid comes out.  In a large bowl add the zucchini, carrots, onion and garlic.  Mix to combine.  Add the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne and mix to combine.  Add in the eggs, biscuit mix and parmesan cheese and mix to combine.

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat add 1 tbsp canola oil and 1 tbsp butter.  Scoop zucchini mixture into pan (about 1/4 cup) and pat down to about 2" circles.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.  I covered the pan to allow the center to cook.

Drain on a paper towel after removing from pan.  As a topping I mixed together sour cream and dill and put a dollop on each one.  Enjoy.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Peach Nectarine Blueberry Crostata


1 1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Cold Butter - Cubed
1/4 Cold Milk
1 - 2 tbsp Water (if needed)


3 Peaches - Peeled & Sliced
3 Nectarines - Sliced
1/4 Cup Blueberries (I used frozen because that's what I had)
1/4 Cup Flour + 1 tbsp
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Apricot Preserves

In a food processor add the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon and pulse a few times to combine.  Add in the butter cubes and pulse until a coarse meal consistency.  Add in the milk and pulse again until combined.  Should be like wet sand.  If needed add in 1 -2 tbsp of water if dough is too dry.

Pour dough out onto the counter and form into a ball.  Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

While dough is in the fridge start on the filling.  In a large bowl add the peaches, nectarines, blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and mix to combine.  In batches add in the 1/4 cup flour and mix between batches to coat the fruit.  You don't want to dump it all in at once and clump up.

While the dough is resting in the fridge occasionally come back to the fruit and stir.  It will start giving off juices and you want to keep mixing to keep coating the fruit.

After at least 30 minutes take the dough out and with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch consistency.  It doesn't have to be perfect and if there are holes just patch them.  It will be about 14 inches in diameter.

Spray a cooking sheet (with sides) w/ cooking spray and place the dough on the sheet.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of flour over the dough.  Using a slotted spoon place the fruit in the center of the dough and spread out, leaving about a 2" diameter to the edges.  Fold up the edges over the fruit, crimping the edges along the way, patching any holes to keep the juices in the dough while it cooks.

Place tart in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 35 minutes.  Keep an eye on it as ovens vary, may take a minute or two more or less.  You're looking for a golden crust.

When tart is out of the oven, heat up 1/4 cup of apricot preserves in the microwave until loose (about 15-30 seconds).  Brush the preserves over the tart.  Let cool for about 15 minutes and then serve.  Can also be served at room temp or topped with basil infused marscarpone cheese or vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sweet & Spicy Ketchup

10 Roma Tomatoes - Diced
1 Cup Sugar
1 Medium Onion - Diced
4 Garlic Cloves - Smashed & Diced
2 tbsp Molasses
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Pepper
1 Cup Cantaloupe - Diced
1/4 tsp Cayenne
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

In a medium size pot combine the tomatoes, sugar, onion, garlic, molasses, salt, cumin & pepper.  Over high heat bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for about 15 minutes.  Use a potato masher to break down the tomatoes, etc. and simmer for about 45 minutes (covered).

Uncover and cook 30 minutes.  Add in the cantaloupe, cayenne & vinegar and cook another 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.  Strain through a wire colander or a food mill and put back on stove to thicken on med / low heat (about 10 minutes).  Adjust seasoning if necessary.  Place in airtight container in fridge.  Enjoy.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Homemade Guacamole

4 Garlic Cloves - Smashed - Preferably roasted
2 tbsp - Red Onion - Finely Diced
1/2 Roasted Red Pepper - Finely Diced
4 Avocados - Diced
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 Lime - Juiced
3 Dashes Cayenne Pepper

In a bowl add the garlic, onion, red peppers and avocado.  With a fork smash the avocado.  Add salt, pepper, lime juice and cayenne pepper.  Mix to combine.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Asian Meatballs

16 oz. Ground Chicken
16 oz. Ground Pork
1 Cup Grilled (or Roasted) Peppers, Chopped
1 Fresno Pepper - Seeded, Chopped
1" Sliced Grilled Onion (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tbsp Grated Ginger
1 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs

3 tbsp Low Sodium Sauce
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp Water
3 tbsp Sugar
3 tbsp Trader Joes Sesame Soy Ginger Marinade
1 Green Onion - Thinly sliced on an angle
1 Fresno Chili - Seeded, Thinly sliced
1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds

In a food processor add the grilled peppers, fresno pepper, onion, salt, pepper, ginger.  Pulse into a paste.  In a large bowl add the chicken, pork, paste mixture, soy sauce, sugar, mustard, sesame oil, bread crumbs.  With a fork, mix to combine.  Take a small scoop and microwave it about 30-45 seconds or until cooked.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Using a small 1" scoop make balls about 1".  Put on a large cookie sheet (with sides) and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 13-15 minutes.

While meatballs are in the oven, in a large bowl add the soy sauce, mustard, water, sugar, marinade.  Mix to combine.  Let the meatballs sit for about 5 minutes then toss in the sauce.  Garnish with the green onion, fresno chili and sesame seeds.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stuffed Pork Roast

3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Pork Roast - About 2 1/2 - 3 lb - Butterflied
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
5 Garlic Cloves - Finely Diced
3 oz. Thinly Sliced Speck Proscuitto
1 Bunch Rapini - Blanched in Salted Water for about 5 minutes.
1 1/2 Roasted Red Peppers - I grilled mine
4 oz. Goat Cheese - Crumbled
1 tbsp Poultry Seasoning
1/2 Cup Hot Water

After you butterfly the roast, season with salt, pepper and onion powder.  Coat the roast with the dijon mustard and sprinkle the garlic over evenly.  Layer the proscuitto, rapini, pepper and goat cheese evenly along the roast.  Roll up the roast and use string to tie it closed then generously sprinkle with poultry seasoning.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a skillet ( I use cast iron) that can go in the oven, over med/high heat, heat the oil.  Brown the roast on all sides and the ends.  Add the water and transfer to the oven for 35 minutes or until the internal temp reads 145 degrees.  Let rest 10-15 minutes before carving.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

German Chocolate Cake Cookies

1 Box Devils Food Cake Mix
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Crisco
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Espresso Powder

3/4 Cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Coconut Flakes
1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl add the eggs, crisco, salt and espresso powder.  Mix to combine then add the cake mix.  Mix to combine.  It will become thick and almost like a dough.

Using a small ice cream scoop (size of a mellon baller) scoop out the batter onto the lined baking sheets.  Lightly press each ball into about a 2” diameter and about 1/4 high.  They will not spread so you can put them fairly close together.

Bake for about 7-10 minutes.  Mine took 9 minutes.  Cool completely.

In a saucepan over medium heat add the evaporated milk, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt.  Whisk together and bring to a boil.  Once it boils cook for about 4 minutes whisking constantly until thickens.  Remove from heat and add the coconut and almonds.  Stir to combine then cool completely.

The cookies should pretty much be the exact same size but if not, try to match up accordingly.  Take about 1 tbsp of the filling and spread on one side of the cookie then place the other cookie on top and press gently to even out the filling and smoosh the cookie together.  Enjoy.