Monday, February 28, 2011

Salmon with Sweet & Spicy Rub

Another recipe from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for Healthy Living. We enjoyed it and Garlic-Roasted Cauliflower and steamed green beans tossed with a bit of salt and butter.

1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar. I like the bolder flavor.)
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
dash teaspoon salt
dash teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin and any pin bones removed
1 tablespoon olive oil

Coat your grill or a grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat.
While the grill is heating, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Brush each salmon fillet with half of the olive oil, then rub each fillet with about half of the spice mixture.

Grill the salmon, flesh side down, until charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the salmon and cook another 5 to 6 minutes for medium doneness. For well done fish, cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a platter and serve immediately.

Garlic-Roasted Cauliflower

I believe this is this is the first cauliflower I've had that wasn't raw and on a platter with Ranch dip, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. It made for a nice change of pace for a side dish.

1 head of cauliflower
2 cloves of garlic
olive oil
Parmesan cheese
fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the garlic cloves into quarters and put them in a medium mixing bowl. Add olive oil.

Manhandle the head of cauliflower so that you break it into bits, then cut them into smaller pieces. Add the cauliflower to the garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and add more olive oil, enough to coat.

Spread onto a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes or until tender.

Squeeze a bit, just a bit, of fresh lemon juice onto the cauliflower and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ellie Krieger's Oven-Fried Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Macaroni & Cheese

Another hit from the cookbook, The Foods You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life.

(I halved the recipe so it would serve four.)

about 10 sleeve whole-grain salted crackers, pulsed in a food processor until fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/4 cups corn cereal flakes, pulsed in a food processor to fine crumbs (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg white
1/2 cup lowfat, plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
Olive oil cooking spray
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil.

Combine the crackers and corn cereal crumbs, sesame seeds, cayenne, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl. Reserve.

In a large bowl, combine egg whites, yogurt, Dijon mustard, and salt. Add the chicken pieces and coat thoroughly with the yogurt mixture.

One at a time, dip the chicken pieces in the cracker mixture, packing crumbs onto chicken. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife.

This was really tasty but the next time I make it, well, I'm going to drizzle each piece of chicken with just a little bit of melted butter. It won't take much but it will make a big difference.

The pasta was Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. The broccoli was the beloved Parmesan Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts from Ina Garten. LOVE.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ellie Krieger's Energy Bars

From The Foods You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life

1 cups oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raw whole almonds
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup powdered dry milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Greese a 9×9 baking dish.

Place all of the ingredients except for the syrup and eggs in a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped. Add the syrup and both eggs and continue to pulse until they are mixed in. Transfer the mixture into your baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Let cool for about 20 minutes.

I sliced these up, wrapped them in twos, and put them in the freezer. I'm thinking an energy bar with some Greek yogurt would make a great mid-morning snack.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Again with the creamy roasted red pepper pasta

A day after that I heated up the pasta and stirred in some romaine.

I made a panini with semolina bread, sharp cheddar, and honey roasted turkey. It was right tasty. And it used up all the leftover pasta.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Redux

There's nothing I love more than taking leftovers and making something good from them: frugal and tasty!

I warmed up leftover Fettucinne with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper-Feta Sauce, added some grilled asparagus and part of a grilled chicken breast leftover from the weekend and had a scrumptious lunch.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ginger and Sesame Dressing

The Thai-Asian salad dressing of my dreams!

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Process until smooth.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Peppercorn Pork with Wine Sauce

Another Ellie Krieger recipe from her cookbook, The Food You Crave.

One 1¼ pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat and silverskin
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely ground or crushed
2 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup dry red or dry white wine
salt to taste

Slice the tenderloin open lengthwise, being careful not to cut through to the other side. You want to split the meat into one large, flat piece. Spread the mustard over both sides of the meat and rub in the pepper, pressing gently so it adheres well. Cut the meat accross into 4 even portions.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Put the tenderloin in the hot pan and cook, turning once, until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 150 degrees Fahrenheit, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Add the broth and wine to the pan and cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom. Continue to cook until the sauce has reduced to about ½ cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour the sauce over the meat, season with salt, and serve.

Fettuccine with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

Ellie Krieger is my new hero. I love this dish. It was easy and creamy and good. Not like healthy-good but truly, really, "Oh,-wow-this-is-good," good.

•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
•2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
•1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
•1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
•1 cup crumbled feta cheese or a 6-ounce block
•1 pound whole-wheat fettuccine
•Freshly ground black pepper
•2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers and saute until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor with stock and all but 2 tablespoons of the feta. Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with sauce, adding pasta water by the tablespoon, if needed. Sauce should cling nicely to pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among pasta bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining feta cheese.

Serves six.

Recipe by Ellie Krieger, from her wonderful cookbook, The Food You Crave.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Brownies with Dried Cherries and Pecans

A day or so before baking, soak 3/4 cup dried Bing cherries, roughly chopped, in 1/3 cup coffee liqueur, such as Khalua

6 (1-ounce) squares of semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the chocolate squares and the butter in large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar; mix well. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, pecans, and cherries until well blended.

Spread into greased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. Or into a dozen or miniature heart-shaped pans.

Bake 22 to 25 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack.

You can melt a handful of candy disks in a zip-top bag in the microwave, snip off one corner with a pair of scissors, and drizzle over the brownies.

These make neat teachers' gifts: put a brownie heart, drizzled or no, in a clear plastic bag, tie with ribbon, and attach a little card. This won't happen at our house until sometime Sunday, otherwise I'd post a picture.

Espresso Chocolate Shortbread

Recipe by Dorie Greenspan
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (plain, or a toffee variety), finely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid.

2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.

3. Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

4. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.

6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.

7. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

Makes 32 cookies

Monday, February 7, 2011

Miniature Muffalettas

These were a hit at the Mardi Gras party! They are tasty and easy to put together ahead of time. About 10 minutes before the guests were due to arrive, I slid them in the oven. They were just right - the cheese good and melty, the bread nice and toasty - when everyone got there.

30 Dinner rolls
4 ounces Genoa salami
4 ounces ham
4 ounces Provolone cheese
1 (8-ounce jar) olive salad
Sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten
a slug of milk

Split dinner rolls in half. You can use frozen roll dough that you thaw and bake if you are so inclined. I love ya’ll and all but that’s not what I did. Wal-Mart dinner rolls to the rescue!

Put 1 deli-thin slice ham, a piece of salami, about half a slice of Provolone, and one teaspoon of olive salad on each roll.

Cover sandwiches and refrigerate. Place something kind of heavy on them, like a cast iron skillet or a couple of books, to smash them down. Chill for several hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush sandwich rolls with beaten egg and milk. Generously sprinkle sesame seeds over the tops.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperatures. If there are any leftovers, they reheat wonderfully the next day for a snack.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

We've posted a gumbo recipe before but we've made a few changes here and there to get to this one. We really like this version. Gumbo seems such a cold-weather dish so we're always excited when the weather turns cool: it's gumbo weather!

1 pound of chicken thighs (Thighs are really flavorful but you can also use chicken breasts, a whole hen, or turkey.)
2 pounds andouille or smoked sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces (We've used smoked turkey sausage, venison sausage, in addition or instead of andouille, combinations of all three - it all works.)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 white onions, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
3 tablespoons of minced garlic
2-3 quarts chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown over medium high heat. Brown the sausage, pour off fat, and reserve meats.

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the roux is almost the color you prefer – anything from peanut butter to chocolate milk to coffee will do. This gives the arms a good workout (you’re welcome!). Make a figure eight pattern while you stir to help prevent lumps and uneven cooking.

Add the vegetables and stir quickly. This cooks the vegetables and also stops the roux from cooking further. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes.

Add the stock, seasonings, chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil and cook for about one hour, skimming fat off the top as needed.

Add the chopped green onions and parsley. At this point, if possible, let the gumbo cool and refrigerate overnight or freeze. It seems to taste better if it has time to sit for a bit.

Serve over rice.

Recipe can be doubled or tripled. Make your friends happy by giving quart containers of frozen gumbo for Christmas gifts.

Ultimate Garlic Bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place a bulb of garlic in aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Pull the foil up around the garlic bulb, sealing it in. Roast for about one hour. Remove from oven and let cool.

(Smells so good!)

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over low heat. Add one or two garlic cloves, cut in quarters. Let heat, nice and low, while you're getting everything else ready.

Combine 2-3 tablespoons softened butter with 1/4 cup of mayonnaise. Combine and then add the roasted garlic. (To get the garlic out, just squeeze it from the cloves.) Mix that up real good and stir in 1 cup shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar. If you want to, right along in here you can drizzle in some of that garlic-infused melted butter.

Use cheese-butter mixture to fill the bread loaf. Using a pastry brush, brush the bread with that melted garlic butter. Wrap in the loaf in aluminum foil and freeze, refrigerate, or go ahead and bake.

To cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 12 minutes.

Makes enough filling for one to two one-pound loaves, depending on how generous you are with the filling.

Goes great with soup!

Surprise Balls

We had a little lagniappe (a little something extra) for each guest to take home. To make a surprise ball, gather together crepe paper, little toys, and candy.

Start with the biggest gift, in our case a bottle of bubbles, and wrap crepe paper around several times. Begin adding the toys and candy here and there as you wrap.

When the balls are unwrapped, all sorts of little happies fall out. Big fun!

We sealed ours with stickers I made.

The ones we made aren't quite as shapely and pretty as the ones NotMartha did but still - they were fun.