Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chicken Mac & Cheese Soup

4 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Bacon Fat
8 tbsp flour
1 Quart Chicken Stock
½ Gallon Milk
4 Cloves of Garlic – Smashed
4 Cups Cheddar Cheese
½ lb Pasta
1-2 Roasted Chicken Breasts – Shredded
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp Paprika
2 tbsp Salt
* Garlic Croutons

In a large pot over med/high heat melt the butter and bacon fat.  Wisk in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add in chicken stock and milk.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

In a large pot with salted boiling water and garlic cloves, cook pasta for 6 minutes.  Drain and remove garlic cloves, smash garlic into a paste and add into the liquid mixture.

Add Cheese, cayenne, paprika and salt to liquid mixture.  Wisk until cheese is dissolved.  Add in chicken and pasta.  Stir to combine.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

* Slice a loaf of Garlic Ciabatta Bread in half and cut into about 1” cubes.  Mix with 6 tbsp EVOO, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder.  Pour out onto cookie sheet and bake in a 475 degree oven until golden brown.

** As with all soups the seasonings and ingredients are totally open to interpretation.  You could add broccoli and wine to this soup for a totally different texture and flavor.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup


Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

2 tbsp EVOO
1 ½ - 2 lbs Cubed or Shredded Beef
1 Med. Onion – diced into ¼ “ pieces
3 Carrots – Peeled and diced into ¼“ pieces
3 Ribs of Celery – diced into ¼“ pieces
4 oz Crimini Mushrooms – Sliced and diced into ¼“ pieces
6 Cloves of Garlic – smashed and ground into a paste
1 Green (or Red) Pepper – Seeded and diced into ¼“ pieces
1 Cup Green Beans – Cut into ¼” pieces
4 14.5 oz cans (or 2 cartons) of Beef Broth
1 Cup (Uncooked) Barley – Follow directions but add in 1 smashed garlic clove
* Various seasonings

Cook Barley according to the package and add in 1 smashed clove of garlic.

In a large pot or Dutch Oven over high heat add in the EVOO and then the Beef *.  May have to do in batches.  Stir occasionally until browned.  Remove beef from pot.

In same pot add onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic *.  Cook for about 8 minutes over med/high heat. Add in peppers, green beans, beef and beef broth and cook for about 5 minutes *.

Add in Barley and simmer for 5 minutes.  Adjust seasonings accordingly and then simmer another 10 minutes *.

* I make my own seasoning blend with salt, pepper, garlic, onion, thyme, rosemary.  But you can use your own seasonings to guide your own palate.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ginger Turkey Pot Stickers

1 Package Ground Turkey
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
½ Head Cabbage  - cut in ¼
1 Onion – Peeled - cut in ¼
1  Large Carrot – Peeled – cut in ¼ (or 1 cup pre shredded carrots)
1 tbsp Fresh Ground Ginger
2 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Package Round Won Ton Wrappers
2 Scallions – finely chopped
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds

In a pan over med/high heat add the EVOO and Turkey.  Break the turkey up and brown it about 5 minutes.  Drain off any oil and set turkey aside.

In a food processor add cabbage, onion, carrot and shred to combine.  In a large bowl add the cabbage mixture, the ground turkey, ginger, soy sauce, cayenne pepper and brown sugar.  Mix well.  Taste to adjust seasonings accordingly.

Take the won tons and with a pastry brush or your finger, wet the outer edges with water.  Take about a teaspoon of the ground turkey mixture and place in the center of the won ton.  Fold the won ton in ½ and press the edges to firmly seal.

In a shallow pan bring about 2” of water to a simmer.  Salt like you would pasta.  Gently add in the won tons (in batches) and simmer about 1 minute on each side.

In another pan w/ 1 tbsp EVOO, on med/high heat, add in the won tons and brown on each side (about 1 minute each side).

Garnish with chopped scallions and sesame seeds.  For an added flavor add your favorite Asian dipping sauce.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fun Alcohol Tips



Champagne is a location, not a type of alcohol.  Champagne is in France and any "sparkling wine" made in that region is called Champagne.  Prosecco is a lot less expensive and has a little more sugar and many like it better than Champagne.

Scared to open Champagne because of the flying cork and the spilling?  Tilt the bottle to 2:00 and turn the cork towards you and bam!  Open bottle and no spill.  It's all about the angle.


Like Red Wine but sometimes a little pricey?  You can buy less expensive red wine but the trick is to decant.  It's all about the oxygen.  Open the red wine a few hours before you drink it and the oxygen getting into the wine will actually make it taste better.  Having a party?  Pre-pour the glasses of red wine in the morning and serve at night and the less expensive wine will taste so much better.

Also red wine is best when it's served just under room temperature.  So refrigerate red wine and then take it out and let it sit out 20 minutes before serving.

If you like martini's with olives but are a little slow to finish the drink before it gets warm, try freezing the olives and then add to the martini.  They act as little ice cubes to keep the drink cold while not watering it down.

If someone brings you white wine that is not cold, wrap it in damp paper towels and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Viola, chilled white wine.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Roast Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Shells

1 Roast Chicken or 3 Chicken Breasts – Skin on, bone in.
  - Lemon slices under the skin and salt, pepper, onion & garlic powder, etc. on the skin.
1 Pkg Frozen Chopped Spinach – Thawed and drained
2 32 oz Ricotta Cheese – Room Temp and broken up.
2 Eggs – Room Temp – Beaten
2 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Salt
½ tbsp Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
¼ tsp Nutmeg
2 8 oz. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – divided in half
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 12 oz boxes of Jumbo Shells
¼ cup Fresh Basil – Sliced thin
2 tbsp Butter
2 jars Tomato Sauce

You can either break down a store bought rotisserie chicken, roast your own (whole 350 for about 60 minutes) or roast chicken breasts (350 for about 30-35 minutes).  Shred chicken.

In a large bowl combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, eggs, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  Add in the shredded mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and shredded chicken and taste to adjust seasoning if necessary.

In a large pot w/ boiling, salted water, add the shells.  Under cook the shells by 2-3 minutes.  My brand said to cook for 9 minutes so I cooked mine for 6-7 minutes.  You want to slightly undercook the shells because they will continue cooking in the oven and this way they will stay together and not fall apart.  Cool shells.

Fill the shells generously with the filling.  Take a buttered baking dish and coat the bottom with your tomato sauce.  I make my own but you can use 2 jars of your favorite brand.  Layer the shells in a single layer in the dish.  This recipe made 2 large baking dishes full.  Ass another layer of sauce over the shells (add as much or as less as you’d like).  Sprinkle basil over the shells.  Sprinkle over the 2nd half of the mozzarella cheese and dab bits of the butter over the shells.  Loosely cover the shells with aluminum foil, trying not to have the foil touch the cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes (take foil off for final 15 minutes to brown the top).  Let cool about 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy.

* If making this in advance, after you cover in foil, put in fridge.  The day you’re going to serve, take out about ½ hour before you put in oven.  Also can freeze well, but just take out of freezer the day before and let thaw in fridge.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cream Cookies

3 Cups Unsalted Butter – Room Temperature
3 Cups Brown Sugar – ½ light, ½ dark
2 ¼ Cups Sugar
3 Cups Peanut Butter
6 Eggs –Room Temperature - Beaten
4 ½ Cups Flour
3 Cups Quick Cooking Oats
6 tsp Baking Soda
3 tsp Salt
3 tsp Unsweetened Coco Powder
4 7oz. containers of Marshmallow Fluff

In a large bowl mix together butter, brown sugar, sugar, peanut butter.  Add in eggs in 3rds.  In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, coco powder.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet in 3rds.  Using a large spoon or spatula, stir in the oats to combine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a small cookie / ice cream scoop (or a teaspoon) drop cookie dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven.  You’re looking for a nice golden brown.

Let cookies cool completely then match up cookies in like sizes.  Scoop about 1 tbsp marshmallow fluff (or more if you like) onto the bottom of a cookie.  Then take the 2nd cookie and, rotating back and forth to spread out the marshmallow fluff, top the 1st cookie.  Lay cookies on a flat surface to set up.  They may slide a bit if on an angle.

* This makes a large batch of cookies so it’s perfect for a group party but feel free to cut the recipe in ½ for smaller batches.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pommes De Terre a la Boulangere


4 Onions (2 red, 2 yellow) – Cut in ½ and then sliced paper thin
3 ½ tbsp Butter
1 ½ tsp Bacon Fat (or EVOO)
2 Large Garlic Cloves – Peeled, smashed into a paste
3 Large Russet Potatoes – Peeled and sliced about 1/8” (I use a Mandolin)
1 tsp Salt
¾  tsp Pepper
1 tsp Fresh Thyme (or ½ tsp dried)
2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese
2 Cups Beef Broth

In large pan over med. heat, add 1 ½ tbsp butter, the bacon fat and add onions.  Sautee for about 25 minutes or until translucent and starting to caramelize.  Add in garlic and sautee for about another 5-10 minutes.

Butter a baking dish, bottom and sides with 1 tbsp butter (I used one that was about 10x7 but you can use any similar size).  Take 1/3 of the onions and add a layer to the dish.  Take potatoes and create 2 layers with each slice overlapping the previous one.  Sprinkle 1/3 salt, 1/3 pepper, 1/3 parm cheese and 1/3 thyme over potatoes.  Repeat onions, potatoes and seasoning 2 more times.  Add 2 cups beef broth.  Break 1 tbsp butter over the top of the potatoes.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and place in preheated 350 degree oven for 2 hours.  (I put my dish on a cookie sheet just in case there was any spill over.)  Take foil off and cook another ½ hour to let the top layer of potatoes brown and crisp.  Test with a knife to make sure potatoes are fully cooked.  Let rest for at least 15 minutes before you cut into it to let the beef broth soak into the potatoes.

* You could add shredded cheese in between the layers and on top for a variation.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Homemade Pretzels

1 ½ tbsp dry active yeast
1 ½ Water
1 tbsp Agave Nectar
2 ½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Cups Flour (plus about ½ cup for dusting)
1 tsp sea salt
2 large Eggs
(toppings)

Mix 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F), the yeast and agave in a bowl. Set aside 5 minutes.

In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, pulse the whole-wheat flour, 2 cups all-purpose flour and the sea salt. Add 1 egg and the yeast mixture and pulse in 10-second intervals until the dough comes together, about 3 pulses. Turn out onto a floured board. Knead 10 to 12 times, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut the dough into 4 equal portions; cover with a clean towel.

On a floured board, roll out one piece of dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle, 1/2 inch thick, with a shorter side facing you.

Cut the dough into three 12 x 3-inch strips.

Roll each strip into a rope. Transfer the rope to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Grab the ends and twist them 3x and fold over to make a pretzel shape. Space the pretzels 1 inch apart. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes; preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Beat the remaining egg in a bowl. Brush the pretzels with the egg; sprinkle with salt or other toppings. Bake until browned, 16 to 18 minutes.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Szechwan Chicken Mac & Cheese

Szechwan Sauce:
4 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 tsp Tabasco
4 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
2 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
4 tbsp Brown Sugar
½  tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 tbsp Grated Ginger

3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Cups Mustard Greens- Finely chopped
2 lbs Penne Rigate Pasta (or your favorite pasta w/ holes and ridges, but NOT elbow)
8 tbsp Butter
8 tbsp Flour
4 Cups Milk
1 tbsp Salt
4 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Take ½ of the Szechwan Sauce and marinate the chicken for at least an hour (overnight is great).  In a med / hot pan w/ a little extra virgin olive oil sear the chicken, about 3 - 4 minutes each side.  Set aside for 15 minutes.  Then slice chicken and cube into about ¼”.

In a large pot w/ salted water, boil the pasta for 5 minutes then drain.

In a pot, over med heat melt the butter then add in the flour and stir to mix about 3 minutes.  Then add in milk that you warmed and salt.  Wisk to combine and make sure there are no lumps.  Add in 2nd ½ of Szechwan sauce and cheese.  Wisk to combine and melt cheese.  Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

In a large bowl add chicken, pasta, mustard greens and sauce and mix until combined.

Butter a large baking dish and then add the mac & cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes covered with aluminum foil.  Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.  Let cool about 15 minutes and then serve.

* if you’re making ahead and putting in the fridge, take out of the fridge 30 minutes before baking.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Roasted Garlic / Oil


This is a multi-use recipe.  Take about 3 bulbs of garlic, peel them and trim off the root.  Add them in a pan with about 1-2 cups of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes.  The garlic should slowly cook through but not brown.

Use the garlic to schmear on sandwiches or other recipes but the oil you can save as a flavored garlic oil.  So delicious in so many recipes.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Refrigerator Chicken Soup

This is a quick cheat for a delicious hearty slow cooked dinner.  The title comes from cleaning out your refrigerator of leftover foods and putting them in a pot of chicken stock and turning it into a soup.

I had onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, green pepper, broccolini, corn, tiny cheese ravioli, tiny pasta shells and a chicken breast.  Sautee the veggies, add spices, add chicken stock and pasta.  Simmer 10 minutes and serve.

But really you can use whatever leftovers you have add chicken stock and turn it into a soup.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

*This is a really easy, cheat of a semi-homemade recipe.

2 Boxes Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Coffee (leftover from the morning is fine)
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs (beaten)
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
2 Tbsp Flour
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

In a large bowl mix brownie mix, water, coffee, vegetable oil, eggs, salt.  Grease a 13x9 baking dish (even if it's non stick) or line bottom and sides w/ parchment paper).  Pour in 1/2 the batter.  In a small bowl add chocolate chips and flour.  Stir to coat the chips in flour and sift.  Sprinkle chips around the 1st layer of batter.  Add the remaining 1/2 of batter.

Heat the peanut butter in a microwave for about 30 seconds.  Spoon peanut butter in vertical lines over the top of the brownie batter.  With a toothpick or skewer, vertically go in circles mixing the peanut butter and the brownie batter to form a circular design.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes.  After 40 minutes keep checking center of brownies w/ a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.  Ovens vary so it may be a few more minutes.

Let cool at least 1/2 hour before you cut and serve.  They are pretty rich and fudgy so I usually cut into about 1 inch cubes.  Also good served with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Beef & Bean Chili

4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 Med. Onions - ¼” dice
8 oz Crimini Mushrooms – chopped
1 Large Jalapeno – Seeded & Finely Diced
4 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
3 ½ lbs Ground Beef
5 Japones Dried Peppers – (or 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper)
1 tbsp Cumin
¼ cup Chili Powder
5 Cloves Garlic – Smashed & Finely Diced
½ tsp Salt
¼ Cup Dijon Mustard
½ Cup Ketchup
1 Can Black Beans – Drained & Rinsed
2 Cans Pinto Beans – Drained & Rinsed
2 Cans Chili Beans – With Juice
1 Green Pepper – Seeded – ½” Dice
1 Red Pepper – Seeded – ½” Dice
2 Jars Tomato Sauce

In a med/large pot over med/high heat add the EVOO then onions.  Cook onions until caramelized, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in mushrooms and jalapeno and cook another 10 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar and cook another 3 minutes.  Remove contents and set aside.

In same bowl add the ground beef in batches and brown then drain and remove to bowl.  Remove all but ½ cup fat.  Add in the japones (or cayenne).  Cook down about 2 minutes.  Remove japones.

Add back in the beef, onions, mushroom mixture.  Add the cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, mustard, ketchup.  Stir to coat and cook about 3 minutes.  Add in the beans and peppers and cook about 5 minutes.  Add in the tomato sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Adjust the seasonings accordingly and serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped scallions and corn bread.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Roast Chicken "Mock" Pie

3 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 Large Potato – Peeled, ¼ inch dice
½ Cup Crimini Mushrooms – diced
1 Small/Medium Onion – ½ inch dice
2 Garlic Cloves – crushed
2 Celery Stalks – ¼ inch dice
½ Cup Green Beans – ¼ inch cut
½ Cup Carrots – ¼ inch dice
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 Cup Frozen Corn
2 tbsp Parsley – finely chopped (stems and leaves)
2 Cups Roasted Chicken – chopped or shredded (make your own or store rotisserie)
4 tbsp Flour
5 Cups Chicken Stock - hot
1 Cup Water - hot
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
1 Tube Large Biscuits
¼ Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 tsp Chives – fine chop

In a pot over med/high heat add butter and EVOO until melted.  Add potato and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in onion and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes.  Reduce to medium heat and add garlic, carrots, green beans, celery and chicken and cook 5 minutes.  Add in flour, stir to coat and cook about 2-3 minutes.  Add Salt, Pepper, chicken stock and water.  Cook about 5 minutes stirring occasionally to thicken.

Once thick add in peas, carrots and parsley.  Adjust seasonings accordingly.

Open your tube of biscuits and roll them out to the size of the mug or container you’re going to serve your individual portions in.  Top with the cheddar cheese and chives.  Pat down a bit to make sure they are stuck in the biscuit dough.  Bake according to the biscuit’s instructions.

Ladle the filling into a mug or whatever you’re going to serve in, place the warm biscuit on top and enjoy.

* It’s a Chicken “Mock” Pie because you’re not making a bottom crust for the pot pie.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tortilla Crust Pizza

In the mood for pizza but don't want to wait for take out and don't want the frozen pizza option?

I always have various sizes of flour and whole wheat tortillas in my fridge.  They are prefect to mix various leftovers together and wrap them up as a burrito or make a quesadilla.  But what if you're in the mood for pizza?

It's the ultimate thin crust.  Top with whatever ingredients you like, cheese, mushrooms, peppers, chicken, whatever.  Place on a cookie sheet or pizza rack, place in a 400 degree oven for 11-15 minutes and viola, the ultimate (healthier) thin crust pizza that you're craving in minutes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Schezwan Chicken Lo Mein




Schezwan Sauce: 
2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Tabasco
2 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 tbsp Grated Ginger

Lo Mein Sauce:
4 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
½ tsp Hot Sauce
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Honey
1 tsp Grated Ginger
¼ tsp Salt
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1 tbsp Corn Starch

2 Cups Roasted (or grilled) Chicken - shredded
1 Cup Green Beans – cut about 1-2”
1 Large handful of Snow Peas – tips cut off
1 Orange Pepper – thinly sliced
¼ Cup Scallion – both green and white ends
½ Cup Shredded Carrot
¼ Cup Red Chili – small dice
2 Cups Broccoli – sliced
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms
4 Garlic Cloves – crushed
1 tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 Large Package Asian Noodles (or 1 lb Spaghetti)
1 ½ tsp Toasted Sesame Seeds

While the chicken is still warm add the Schezwan Sauce and coat the chicken thoroughly. 

While cooking mushrooms, etc., cook your noodles or spaghetti in boiling, salted water according to directions.  If you’re cooking spaghetti cook about 7 minutes.  (I prefer spaghetti because the pasta holds up better).  After 6 minutes add in the green beans, snow peas and broccoli.  Drain veggies and noodles/spaghetti and set aside.
In a large pan with high sides over med/high heat, add the EVOO and mushrooms.  Brown about 2-3 minutes on each side.  Add in crushed garlic and cook about 2-3 more minutes.  Add in chicken and remaining Schezwan sauce.  Cook another 2 minutes.

Add in orange pepper, scallion, carrots, red chili.  Stir everything together.  Add in the noodles and veggies and Lo Mein Sauce.  Coat everything thoroughly.  Adjust seasoning accordingly. 

Once plated, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over top and maybe a few more diced scallions.

** This dish can be made vegetarian but substituting tofu or shrimp for the chicken (or just don’t add a protein) and replacing the chicken stock with veggie stock.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Roasted Corn Salsa


10 Ears of Corn – Shucked – Wrapped in Aluminum Foil
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
½ tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Onion Powder

2 Med. Onions – Peeled & Quartered – Wrapped in foil
Drizzle of EVOO
Pinch of Sea Salt and Pepper

1 Whole Bulb of Garlic – Cut in ½ horizontally – Wrapped in foil
Drizzle of EVOO
Pinch of Sea Salt

24 Roma Tomatoes
2 Med. Jalapeno Peppers – Seeded & finely diced
¼ Cup Fresh Parsley (stems and leaves) – Finely diced (or Basil)
1 tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Pepper
1/8 Cup EVOO
¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
¼ tsp Cumin

This recipe can be done on the grill or in the oven.  Today I didn’t have access to my grill so I used my oven.

Wrap Corn in aluminum foil w/ EVOO, salt, pepper, garlic powder & onion powder.
Wrap Onion in foil w/ EVOO, salt, pepper.
Wrap Garlic in foil w/ EVOO, salt.
Place in a 450 degree oven for 1 hour.

Cut an X in the bottom of the tomatoes.  Place in a large pot of boiling, salted water for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Until you see the skin peeling back).  Place in a large ice bath.  Peel off the skin, take out the seeds and rinse the tomatoes to take off any missed seeds.  Then finely dice.

Place a small bowl upside down in a large bowl and with a sharp knife cut the kernels off the corn cob.  Break up the corn with your fingers.

Cut the Onion into a small dice.  Squeeze the  garlic from it's papery jackets and then mash with a fork or the back of your knife to make a paste.

In a large bowl combine the corn, tomatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, jalapenos, parsley, salt, pepper, EVOO, balsamic and cumin.  Stir to combine. 

The longer it sits the more flavorful it gets.  Keep Stirring.  Check seasonings and adjust accordingly.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chinese Chicken Salad Egg Rolls


2 Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (EVOO, salt, pepper) – small dice
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Grilled Zucchini – Sliced in ½ w/ EVOO to grill then small dice
6 Radishes – Tails/Tips removed – small dice
½ Red Pepper – cut into thin strips then small dice
5 oz. Crimini Mushrooms – small dice
1 tbsp EVOO
2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Jalapeno – finely diced
1 cup Bean Sprouts
1 cup Carrots – shredded
3 Scallions- cut on angle about ¼ inch thick – reserve 3rd scallion to the side for garnish
½ head Napa Cabbage – shredded
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
½ tsp Celery Salt
1 tsp Mustard Powder
1 Package Egg Roll Wraps
2 cups Vegetable Oil

Drizzle the chicken breasts with EVOO, salt & pepper and grill.  Set aside to cool about 10-15 minutes.  Cut the chicken into a small dice, place in bowl w/ 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar and stir to coat/marinate.

Cut zucchini in ½ and drizzle with EVOO.  Grill just a few minutes, just to develop grill marks but still crunchy.  Usually about 4-5 minutes.  Then cut into strips and dice.

In a sautee pan over med/high heat, add 1 tbsp EVOO.  When oil is hot add mushrooms.  Sautee about 7 minutes or until browned.  Add 2 tsp red wine vinegar and stir.  Turn off heat but leave on burner and let liquid cook out.

In a large bowl combine chicken, zucchini, radishes, red pepper, mushrooms, jalapeno, bean sprouts, carrots, scallions, cabbage, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, mustard powder.  Stir well to combine all the spices.  Taste a bite or 2 and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Take the egg roll wraps and blot all edges w/ water about 1 inch deep.  Place about 2 or 3 tbsp (1/4 cup) of the mixture in the lower 1/3 of the wrap.  Roll forward to cover, flip the sides in and continue to roll to the end (like a burrito).  Place on a tray seam side down.  When finished rolling egg rolls cover w/ plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about ½ hour.

In a pan w/ high sides, heat 2 cups vegetable oil over high heat but don’t let boil or burn.  Carefully drop a small piece of a diced vegetable into the oil and if it bubbles and starts to fry the oil is ready (sorry don’t know the temp).  Gently place the egg rolls in the oil, seam side down and fry on each side until golden brown.  Do not crowd the pan.  Once golden brown on each side, remove and set on a try lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

This recipe made about 21 egg rolls.  If you’d like to serve with a dipping sauce, mix 1 cup low sodium soy sauce, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard and 1 tsp grated ginger.  Garnish with reserved scallions.

* Picture shown is a variation of  this recipe.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chinese Noodle Soup (Vegetarian)


Ingredients:
12 Cups Vegetable Broth
¼ Cup Dried Porcini Mushrooms (about 5 or 6 each)
¼ Cup Dried Shitake Mushrooms (about 5 or 6 each)
1 Large Garlic Clove – Peeled, Smashed
4 Cups Boiling Water
6 Lemongrass Stalks (about 4-5 inches long, about ½ inch thick)
4 Green Onions – tops and root trimmed, cut on bias about ½ inch thick
1 Inch Ginger – Peeled and finely diced
1 Pkg 14 oz Dried Asian Noodles
¼ Cup Carrots – Shredded
½ Med. Head Napa Cabbage – Shredded
2 Cups Bean Sprouts

In a bowl add the dried mushrooms, garlic and water.  Cover and let sit about 10 minutes.  In a large pot over med/high heat, add in the vegetable stock, lemongrass, green onions and ginger.  Remove and roughly chop the mushrooms and garlic. Add in the mushrooms, garlic and liquid but be sure not to add in the grit at the bottom of the mushroom liquid.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes.

Take out lemongrass and discard.  In a pot of salted water (follow directions on package) cook noodles for about 1 minute then drain.

Add carrots, cabbage and bean sprouts into soup and simmer about 5 minutes.

If you’re making the entire soup for your family then add in noodles to soup and serve.  If portioning out then add noodles per bowl.  Maybe garnish with extra sliced green onions.

Enjoy.

** I didn’t need to add salt or pepper for seasoning but you might.  Try adding Low Sodium Soy Salt instead of salt if you feel the need.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Genovese Meatballs a la Pizzaiola

 



1.25 lb. Ground Turkey
1.25 lb. Ground Beef
8 oz. Crimini Mushrooms
1 Cup Kale – stems removed (or basil or spinach)
1 Med Onion - cut in 1/4
5 Garlic Cloves
¼ Cup Sun dried Tomatoes
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
½ tbsp Pepper
1 ½ tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 Egg – Beaten
¼ - ½ Cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs (+ 2 additional cups)
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Large Garlic Clove – Smashed
4 tbsp Butter

In a food processor add mushrooms, kale, garlic, onion, sun dried tomatoes, EVOO.  Pulse until combined (not looking for a puree but also not looking for large chunks).  In a large bowl add turkey, beef, mushroom mixture, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, pepper, salt, tomato paste and egg.  Mix together.  Add in ¼- ½ cup bread crumbs according to feel.  You don’t want the mixture too wet but you want the meatballs to form and stay together.

Scoop out mixture and roll around in the palm of your hands to form meatballs, about the size of a golf ball.  Place in fridge covered with plastic for about an hour.

In a bowl add the additional 2cups of bread crumbs.  Roll each meatball in the bread crumbs to coat.

In a large pan over med/high heat, add ½ cup vegetable oil and 1 smashed garlic clove.  Once the garlic has browned, remove it and throw it away.  Add in meatballs in batches, browning on each side.  Don’t crowd the pan, you don’t want them to steam.  When each meatball is browned on each side remove and set on a paper towel or draining rack.

When all meatballs are browned place in a dish or pan that can go in the oven.  Put in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking.  Let sit about 10 minutes for the juices to redistribute.

Serve by themselves or over pasta or add your favorite marinara for dipping.

Makes about 42 meatballs.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ground Turkey & Sauteed Vegetable Pot Stickers





1.25 lbs Ground Turkey
2 Leeks – Just the white and light green, rinsed, cut in ¼ inch circles
5 oz. Crimini Mushrooms – Finely Chopped
1 Med. Red Onion – Finely Diced
2 Scallions – Finely Diced (reserve a little of the green for garnish)
1 Cup Kale – Stems removed and finely chopped
1 Carrot – Peeled and Shredded
½ Head Napa Cabbage – Finely Shredded
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 ½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
2 Egg Whites
¼ tsp Corn Starch
½ tsp Coriander
¼ tsp Ground Ginger (or grate fresh)
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Soy Sauce (low sodium)
2 packages Won Ton Wrappers

In a large pan over med/high heat add about 3 tbsp EVOO (enough to lightly coat the bottom) add in onions and sautee about 5-7 minutes or until lightly caramelized.  Remove onions and add mushrooms.  Sautee about 5-7 minutes or until caramelized.  Add onions back in and add 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and rice wine vinegar and cook until liquid is gone (about 2-3 minutes).  Remove from pan.

Add 1 tbsp EVOO and 2 tbsp butter to pan and add in leeks, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper.  Sautee on med/low heat about 15 minutes until softened and slightly browned.  Add in kale and cabbage and sautee about 10 minutes.

Add in onions, mushrooms, ginger, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp soy sauce.  Mix well, taste for seasoning, adjust accordingly.  Remove to large bowl and let cool.

Add in ground turkey and mix well.  Cover and put in refridgerator for at least an hour but better overnight to let the flavors develop.

Take the won ton wrappers out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you use them.  Wet all sides and take about 1 tsp  of the mixture and place in the center of the won ton.  Pull diagonal sides up to each other and pinch in the middle to seal.

In a large pan add 3 tbsp EVOO over med/high heat.  Add in pot stickers, cover and let cook about 4-5 minutes.  Remove and place on a paper towel to drain off the excess oil.  Heat oven to 350 and place pot stickers on baking sheet.  Cook about 5-10 minutes, just enough to brown the top of the pot stickers.

Garnish with green scallions and serve with a dipping sauce of your choice (soy sauce and hot mustard?)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fun Tips: Zesty Chicken Parmesan

Want to make Chicken Parmesan more zesty?  Toss Sundried Tomato & Basil Wheat Thins in the food processor and blitz, instead of bread crumbs.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs w/o the Green Circle

Ever wonder how to make the perfect hard boiled egg without the green circle around the center?  Look no further:

Place eggs in a pot and cover with cold water, (enough to cover the eggs by about an inch).  Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let sit 13 minutes.

Peel eggs under cold water and viola, perfect hard boiled eggs w/o the green circle.

UPDATED FACTS:
1) Add 1/2 tsp baking soda and eggs will peel easily w/o breaking the eggs.

2) Flip your eggs over the night before you boil them and the yolk will be centered when you boil it.

3) Older eggs peel easier.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chicken Vegetable Soup

4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 Med. Onion – Finely Diced
2 Celery Stalks – Finely Diced
2 Large Carrots – Finely Diced
Green Beans – Large handful, tops and tails removed, chopped about ½ inch
4 Garlic Cloves- Minced
4 oz. Crimini Mushrooms – Finely diced
1 tbsp Salt
¾ tbsp Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Coriander
4 tbsp Flour
1 Cup White Wine
5 oz. Kale – Stems removed and chopped
4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
4 Cups Water
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – Small dice
1 Zucchini – Small Dice
1 Cup Frozen Corn
2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese

Over med/high heat, add EVOO, once hot, add in onion, celery, carrots and green beans.  Sautee about 7 minutes.  Add in mushrooms and garlic.  Cook about 5 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, coriander and flour.  Mix well and cook about 3 minutes.

Add wine and stir to deglaze the pot, about 2 minutes.  Add kale, chicken stock, water, chicken, zucchini and corn.  Simmer about 20 minutes.  Add parmesan cheese and adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve with a big chunk of crusty bread and enjoy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp Lemon Zest
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2  6 oz containers of Plain Greek Yogurt
2  6 oz containers of fresh blueberries
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F*. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin (or line with paper liners) and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Whisk the egg in a separate medium bowl about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until thick, about 30 seconds. Add the lemon zest and juice and whisk.  Add the melted butter and whisk. Add the yogurt and whisk to combine.
Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture in 3 batches mixing to combine each batch.  Add in the blueberries and fold with a rubber spatula until the berries are evenly distributed. The batter will be very thick (don’t worry). Do not over mix.

Using a large spoon or a ice cream scoop divide the batter into the muffin cups. Lightly sprinkle the muffins with the brown sugar (or you could use sugar in the raw).  Bake until the muffins are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Immediately remove muffins to a wire rack and cool for at least 5 minutes.

Bean & Bacon Soup w/ Smoked Turkey Sausage





2 lbs Dried Navy Beans

6 Slices Bacon – Crumbled
2 Med. Onions – Finely Diced
2 Large Carrots – Peeled, Finely Diced
2 Celery Stalks – Finely Diced
4 Garlic Cloves – Finely Diced
½ Green Pepper – Finely Diced
2 tbsp Bacon Fat
¾ lb Ground Beef
1 Large Link Turkey Sausage – Cut into medallions and then into ¼
4 tbsp Flour
2 Cups Beef Stock
4 Cups Chicken Stock
1 14 oz can Stewed Diced Tomatoes
½ Cup Ketchup
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Pepper

Prepare the beans according to the package, either overnight or the quick soak method.  In a large pot over low heat, crisp up the bacon and save out 2 tbsp of the bacon fat (save the rest for other recipes).  Remove bacon.  Increase heat to med/high and add in the ground beef and cook until crisp.  Remove beef and all but about 4 tbsp of the fat.  Add in the diced turkey sausage and cook until crisp.  Remove and set aside leaving about 4 tbsp of the fat.

Add in the carrots and celery and cook until softened, about 7-9 minutes.  Add in the garlic and the pepper.  Cook another 3 minutes.  Add in the flour and stir to coat.  Cook about 3 minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor.

Add in the beans, bacon, ground beef, turkey sausage, tomatoes, beef stock, chicken stock, ketchup, salt & pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for about 1 hour with a lid slightly cracked, stirring occasionally.  After about an hour do the 5 bean test:  Test 5 beans to see if they are cooked all the way through.  Once all 5 are cooked you know the rest are too.  Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with a big crusty bread.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

French Onion Soup


8 Onions – Sliced about ¼ to ½ inch thick
4 oz Crimini Mushrooms – Chopped
4 tbsp Butter
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
5 Cloves of Garlic – Chopped
1 tsp Rosemary – Finely chopped
1 tsp Thyme – Finely chopped
4 tbsp Flour
¼ Cup Marsala Wine
½ Cup Red Wine
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
6 Cups Beef Stock
Baguette
1 Garlic Clove
½ lb Smoked Gouda - Shredded
½ lb Smoked Provolone - Shredded

Melt butter and evoo in a pot over low/med heat.  Add onions and stir occasionally w/ lid slightly cracked.  Cook the onions until they are soft and have some color on them.  Usually takes about 30-40 minutes.  Add in mushrooms, rosemary and thyme.  Spoon in the flour and mix thoroughly.  Cook about 2-3 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.  Add marsala wine (if you don’t have it, just bump up the red wine), red wine, salt and pepper.  Cook until almost all of the alcohol has been evaporated.  Add beef stock and simmer about 30 minutes w/ lid slightly cracked.  Season to taste.

Slice baguette on an angle about 1 inch thick.  Drizzle w/ evoo and place in oven at about 500 degrees for about 5 minutes or until golden.  Remove and scrape the garlic clove over the bread (similar to grating it).

Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls or cups, place a baguette slice on top and then top w/ the shredded cheese.  Place back in oven and cook for another 5 or so minutes or until the cheese is all browned and bubbly.

Fougasse (Bread)

Directions

Put the flour in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4-cup/60 ml warm water. Stir 1/4-cup/60 g flour from the large bowl into the yeast to make a paste. Let sit until it starts to foam, about 10 minutes.

Make a well in the flour. Crack in the eggs, and add the salt, oil, and chopped rosemary. Pour in 1/4-cup/60 ml water and mix. Finally, add the yeast starter to combine, and gradually draw in the flour to make dough. Add the olives and knead into smooth dough. Place in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and roll into a thin rectangle, using a rolling pin. Place on a baking sheet. Cook's Note: You can scatter cornmeal underneath if you like.
Cut three slits down each side, to give the bread a leaf look. Separate the slits with your fingers to make long holes. Let the bread rise 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk together the egg and water, if using. Brush the top of the bread with the egg wash, then bake until risen and golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let cool 10 minutes at least before serving.

Recipe via:  http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/laura-calder/fougasse-recipe/index.html

Monday, February 13, 2012

Roasted Radishes

Ingredients:
3 Bunches of Radishes - Leaves & Root cut off
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 tbsp Coarse Sea Salt
1 tbsp Cracked Black Pepper
1 tbsp Garlic Powder

Mix all ingredients together and place on a baking sheet.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for 1 hour.  Radishes will have a snap to the outer layer and a creamy and peppery inside.

Fun facts:
Radishes are rich in ascorbic acid, folic acid, and potassium. They are a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium. One cup of sliced red radish bulbs provides approximately 20 calories, largely from carbohydrates.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Roast Chicken Corn Chowder


Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts – Bone in, skin on
2 lb bag of Frozen Corn
4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
1 Green Pepper – Finely diced
1 Med. Onion – Finely diced
2 Large Carrots – Peeled and finely diced
2 Celery Stalks – Finely diced
4 oz. Crimini Mushrooms – Diced
10 Slices of Bacon
2 Med. Potatoes – Peeled and finely diced
5 Dried Porchini Mushrooms
4 Cups Water
1 Roasted Red Pepper – Finely diced
2 Tbsp Mascarpone Cheese
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Drizzle chicken breasts with EVOO, ¾ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper, ½ tsp garlic powder.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.  When done, tent with foil and let cool.  Then remove skin and bones and finely shred chicken.

Combine corn, ¼ cup chicken stock, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp pepper and 1 tbsp garlic powder w/ 4 tbsp EVOO.  Mix well to coat and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring about every 15 minutes.

Line the bottom of the pot you’re going to make the chowder in w/ the bacon strips.  *You’re not actually going to use all 10 strips but you’ll need the bacon fat from all of them and snack on the rest or use them in another recipe.  Turn the stove on low, maybe a notch above the lowest setting.  The goal is to cook the bacon low and slow and extract the fat and eventually crisp up the bacon.  This may take up to an hour depending on your stove.

When the bacon is crisp, remove from pot and leave the bacon fat behind.  You should have about ¼ cup.  Turn the heat up to med/high and add in the onions, carrots, celery, crimini mushrooms.  Cook about 7 minutes or until they have some color on them.

Steep 5 (or so) dried porchini mushrooms in 4 cups of boiling water for 10 minutes.  Remove mushrooms and finely dice.  Add chicken stock, mushroom stock, porchini mushrooms, potatoes, red pepper, roasted corn and chicken to pot.  Simmer 1 hour w/ lid slightly cracked and scrape off excess fat that rises to the surface.

Take 4 cups of chowder and puree.  Add back into pot w/ 4 slices of bacon that’s been finely crumbled and 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese.  Simmer another ½ hour w/ lid cracked.  Season to taste w/ salt and pepper and Enjoy.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Broccoli-Rabe and Ricotta Frittata

Active Time:  10 Minutes
Total Time:  35 Minutes Serves 4


Though frittatas are often served cooled as a first course, they make an equally good main dish, either warm or at room temperature. Here ricotta mellows the bite of broccoli rabe.

INGREDIENTS
For the Rabe:
3/4 pound broccoli rabe, tough stems removed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
For the Frittata:
9 eggs
3/4 cup ricotta (about 1/3 pound)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS
FOR THE RABE:
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the broccoli rabe until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse the broccoli rabe with cold water and drain thoroughly. Cut the broccoli rabe into 2-inch lengths and set aside. In a medium cast-iron or ovenproof nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the blanched broccoli rabe and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

FOR THE FRITTATA:
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the ricotta and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and the pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE:
Evenly distribute the broccoli rabe in the pan and then add the egg mixture. Cook the frittata, without stirring, until the edges start to set, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and bake until firm, about 25 minutes.

VEGETABLE TIP:
Broccoli rabe is, frankly, bitter; usually appealingly so, but sometimes the bitterness can be overwhelming. Blanching the vegetable in boiling salted water for a few minutes before proceeding with the recipe tempers its strength. The trick, used here, can be applied to almost any dish.

WINE RECOMMENDATION: Prosecco, a sparkling wine from Italy's Lombardy region, makes an unexpected accompaniment to this frittata. The wine has a crisp and almost neutral taste, making it very versatile with food. Drink it from a tumbler, as the Italians do. * Recipe via:  http://www.Cooking.com