Monday, November 8, 2010

No Can Stew

Brad made an awesome stew tonight with tons of fresh veggies. Plus, the crock pot does all the work!

- 1 lb stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
- 5 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 6 sections each
- 1 med. yellow onion, sliced or diced according to preference
- 2 med. portabella mushroom caps - cut into ~ 1'' x 1'' pieces
- 3 home grown jalapenos, seeds removed *
- 1 1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon or beef bouillon + coordinating water msrs
- 1/3 stick butter
- Season with: 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 T Hickory salt, 1 T chipotle powder, 1 T garlic powder
- 1 can stewed tomatoes (to be added later)

Roux (added near end of cooking)
1/4 stick melted butter & 1/4 cup flour

Layer all ingredients in crock pot, except mushrooms. Mix together. Layer mushrooms on top so they steam & don't get to soggy.

Cook on high 3 1/2 hrs or low for 7-8. Near end of cooking time, make roux by melting butter and then mixing in flour. Add mixture to stew, mix well. Add 1 can stewed tomatoes (to get larger pieces in stew). Cook an additional 10-15 minutes.

Spoon into bowls, top with green onion & a small amount of cheese.

* our home grown jalapenos are much more mild than what you would typically find at a restaurant. Reduce quantity if using spicier peppers. As prepared above this was not spicy, but just had a good mexican inspired flavor.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Saturday Night Dinner

Tried out a few new recipes and concoctions last night, great results!

Mexican Inspired Salad:
- 1 cup plain low fat yogurt
- 1 cup lite sour cream
- 4-6 T. Jalapenos
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime (add more if you like)
- Fresh minced garlic, 5 cloves
- S & P to taste

Chop garlic, add to food processor along with jalapenos & cilantro. Add yogurt, cream, lime juice & s/p. Can be used immediately or chilled in fridge for a few days. Also, great as a vegetable dip!

- 1 Head Romaine, torn into bite size pieces
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 Red Pepper, diced
- 1 Avocado, diced
- Bacon Bits 1/8 cup (reduced fat)
- Grated Manchego cheese, 1/4 - 1/2 cup

Toss salad with dressing. Top each serving with prepared tortilla strips. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Inspired by Le Fou Frog

Last night Brad and I had the pleasure of joining the Stein's for dinner at Le Fou Frog in the City Market. Absolutely the best meal we have eaten in Kansas City, hands down! Seriously, check it out. Not a mexican priced dinner by any means, but totally worth the Benjamin's. 5 courses, champagne, wine and port (decision on that following). A 3 1/2 hour dinner, full of excitement, delicious flavors and laughter. This was a night we will always remember!!!!!

1st course - cleansing dish: totally interesting bit of chicken liver something w/ a pickle inside. Weird.
2nd course - appetizers and bread. We shared escargot, cheese, and shrimp gruyere pastry puff
3rd course - soup/ salad: lobster bisque for me, manhattan clam chowder for Brad and a bite of our friends warm fig and goat cheese salad.
4th course - entre: Brad had rack of lamb, seasoned with fresh herbs, horseradish and mustard with a side of ratatouille. I had Branzini on a bed of crab and goat cheese risotto (amazing!). Also got to try bites of our friends dishes, braised short ribs and Sea Bass.
5th course: dessert! - Brad and I shared Creme Brulle, also having a few bites of other pastry goodness.

As if we were not full enough from wine, champagne and food... next was the after dinner drink on the house. First taste of Port Wine - very strong, indeed! Kind of reminds me of Slivovitza in a way less painful way.

Ater that amazing meal we are ready to take on making all kinds of new dishes. The at home lamb interpretation was awesome! Waiting for the crab goat cheese risotto day : )

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pesto Pasta Primavera

Amazing pasta dish, great for getting a good mix of carbs and protein

Olive Oil
16 garlic cloves chopped or pressed
1 Onion diced
1 Bell pepper chopped
Lots of spinach (used about 12 cups or 1 bag)
Sliced mushrooms
Prepared Pesto
Skim Ricotta Cheese
Ground turkey 96/4 (cook in other pan, drain, add to sauce when complete)
Season with sea salt, pepper and red pepper

Prepare pasta of your choice while sauce cooks. We use protein pasta.

Once veggies are simmered add 1/8 cup pesto per serving to sauce. Cook additional 5 min till warmed. Add ricotta and cook a few additional minutes till warm.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Turkey Burgers

Great alternative to regular hamburgers...

1 lb. 97/3 ground turkey
season with:
chipotle seasonings
flavored bread crumbs
sea salt

top grilled buns with:
grilled onions & mushrooms

Layer buns w/ onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, sliced avocado, diced canned green chilies, low fat pepper jack cheese.

This can definitely be made kid friendly by substituting the chipotle seasoning for another seasoning such as Lipton onion soup mix. Sub out pepper jack for cheddar or American cheese.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mexican/ Lime/ Coconut Chicken & Pasta

This is another crock pot chicken recipe. Very easy and can be prepared the night before. The list of ingredients are below, but I definitely think it could be modified.

1 Whole Chicken
Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil about ¼ cup
Diced Garlic Cloves – about 20
1 cup tomatillo salsa or “Salsa Verde”
¼ cup onion

½ cup lime juice
Garlic Powder ½ tsp
Sea Salt
¼ cup bbq sauce (this was a Brad add)
¼ cup Asian Sesame dressing (“ “ , thought I was going to be really made when I tasted it, but honestly it was really good!)

Brad injected the chicken right before putting in the crock pot. Cook on low about 4-5 hours.

Served with protein pasta & light sauce

1 can light coconut milk
2 T brown sugar
2 T Soy Sauce
About 1 ½ cups chicken juice moved from crock pot (ok if tomatoes, onions are moved)
¼ - ½ cup flour

Mix all ingredients except flour. Sift in flour slowly till combined. Pour sauce over pasta and chicken. We topped with more garlic (yes I know!) and a bit of Parmesan cheese.

Meal cost - $9-10, 5- 6 servings

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Healthiest Lasagna You Will Ever Make

This recipe comes with warning:
1. This is a weekend recipe.
2. I make a LARGE batch, enough for 2 or 3 lasagnas, and freeze the extra.
3. Total prep time varies by how many veggies you want to include and chop. Also, a food processor is super helpful!
4. BUT, the perks are, at least 1 or 2 additional dinners are ready and waiting in your freezer for you!

Ingredients in today's recipe
2 large sweet onions, diced
25-30 cloves garlic (like I mentioned before, I am a garlic freak. Just found you can buy pre-peeled cloves in a giant jar at Costco.)
Fresh or dried Basil
Fresh of dried Parsley
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Sugar (1/8 cup for sauce, 2 T for Ricotta)
Crushed Red Pepper
1 package fresh broccoli florettes (diced in food processor)
Spinach - hard to estimate how much I used, but I used a lot. I would say 1 grocery store size package
Portabella mushrooms, chopped
Green Onions
1 Red Bell Pepper - diced
1 Yellow Pepper - diced
1 Orange Pepper – diced
1 frozen package chopped zucchini / yellow squash (last time I bought fresh, but they were out yesterday! Defrost in microwave, drain excess water)
1 giant can of diced tomatoes (Costco find, like $2.50! YEAH! I think it was 60oz or larger)
1 small can tomato paste ( would have used 2 if I had another in the house)
1/2 Costco sized jar of Prego Heart Healthy Sauce, or 1 regular size jar
Whole Wheat lasagna noodles
Skim Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
1 pkg Shredded Cheese – part skim mozzarella or provolone
Pecornio Romano or Parmesan (1/4 cup per casserole)
Ground Turkey 93/7 or leaner

Although this recipe has a lot of ingredients, it is worth it! Every ingredient in the recipe has some sort of good nutritional value. Needless to say, you are going to be getting a days worth of veggies, or more. Plus good fat from EVOO, calcium from the cheese, antioxidants from the garlic, spinach and mushrooms, fiber from the veggies, lycopene from the tomatoes, vitamin C from the bell peppers, lean protein from the turkey, whole grains from pasta and almost every color of fruit/veggie there is! AND it tastes good!!!

• Allow 1 ½ - 2 hours for you sauce to simmer and thicken
• Sauce can be made a day ahead, just refrigerate tightly
• Casserole will bake 1 hr if made using warm sauce. & approx. 1 hr 20 min if coming from the freezer.

In a large pot over medium heat add 3-4 T EVOO, when hot add onion, garlic, basil, green onions & parsley, simmer 5 min. Add broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, squash, spinach, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Simmer about 10 min. While veggies simmer, cook turkey in separate skillet with 8 cloves garlic. Drain excess fat. You will need to drain/ remove most of the excess juice from the veggies before adding anything else, I used a turkey baster. A little remaining is ok! Drain most liquid from diced tomatoes, and add to pot. Add Prego, tomato paste and turkey. Simmer on medium to medium low heat for at least 1 hour. Stir occasionally & keep uncovered unless sauce is getting too thick. You will have liquid at the top. This is ok.

Casserole Building:
Mix Ricotta, 1 egg and 2 T sugar in medium bowl
Spray casserole dishes
DO NOT cook lasagna noodles – excess liquid in sauce will soak into noodles and cook

1. Cover bottom of casserole w/ sauce mixture
2. Top with noodles (break if necessary to fit)
3. Cover with Ricotta and a tiny bit of shredded cheese
4. Top with a thick layer of sauce and continue building with 2- 3 layers
5. Fill to top of casserole and add shredded cheese to top
6. Cover w/ foil, bake at 350 1 hour. Uncover last 10 or 15 min.
7. Top w/ a tiny bit of Pecornio Romano or Parmesan when you take out of the oven

• I ran out of cheese towards the top of my 3rd casserole and did my top layer as sauce. I’ll add cheese when I bake. I really don’t think it makes a difference! So, don’t worry about your layer order, it will be hot and good!
• Wrap extra casseroles with foil, and plastic wrap. Let cool, and freeze.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

THE Best Dinner We Ever Made in Our House

Subtitle: This is why I get out of bed at 5:30 am to go to the gym during the week.

I am 100% serious that this was the BEST meal Brad and I have ever made in our house! Surpassing all other meals, this was the meal of all meals. Pre warning, this is definitely a weekend meal, takes time and was oh so worth it. Food is meant to be enjoyed, and not always skimping on the calories. Needless to say, that was that meal. Details are:

1. Filet -Sent to us in this amazing package from Texas
2. Jumbo Shrimp
3. Lime Cilantro Linguine - from Pappardelle's Pasta. If you haven't already heard me talking about this pasta, now is the time for you to listen. GET IT. It will change your life. It puts regual boxed pasta in a corner. Full of flavor, every kind we have had has been amazing! Get on the website, google Pappardelle's Pasta, or visit them at the city market (where we originally found one of their vendors).
4. Portabella Mushrooms
5. Champagne & Wine
6. Low (er) fat Creme Brulee

1. Can't help give you a recipe for the beef... sorry
2. Brad sauteed the shrimp like we had them in Hawaii, TONS of fresh garlic and butter. Topped with chopped fresh parsley.
3. Pasta / sauce - for the sacue for this dish I used the base of one of my favorite Pappardelle's Pasta sauces, and modified. Mix together of low-medium heat: Sautee lots of fresh garlic (I used 5 cloves), and about 1/2 a shallot, add 1 can lite coconut milk, 2 T soy sauce, 2 T brown sugar, chopped fresh basil & cilantro (about 1/2 cup total). Continue simmering very low till ready to server. I turn it up more at the end to make sure it's hot enough.
4. Mushrooms - Mix in bowl add 1t sea salt, drizzle with honey, champagne vinegar. Let sit 5 min. New variation, Brad grilled these in the oven on a cookie sheet. Good consistancy, like them!
5. Duh
6. Finally got to use our souflee dishes and torch. I like the dessert, just wasn't quite like a restaurant. It also was the first time I ever made creme brulle. Replaced regual half and half with fat free half and half. It was pretty good. This recipe is kind of long, I googled it, and actually followed the recipe (minus the fat free thing).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Risotto w/ Mushrooms & Mascarpone

Ok, so the original version of this recipe came from Cooking Light, and it's in their " Recipe Hall of Fame", and let me tell you, it's clearly there for a reason! This stuff rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I adapated the recipe a bit, 1- to be less expensive, and 2- ingredients. Original recipe + modifications below.
2 cups boiling water
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms - about 1 oz
1 14 oz can beef broth
1 cup Arborio rice
3/4 shallots - yes exact! I know!!!
2 garlic gloves minced - used 4 cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine - subbed with 1/2 white half red
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese - subbed with parmesian & romano
1 T chopped fresh thyme - used dried still tasted great
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese - 1 T per serving to keep calories in check
fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Subs- Porcini's are $$$, so i used regual chopped mushrooms. Brad cooked them in a few T of red wine, and a tiny bit of salt.
2 Cups boiling water was original for porcini's, reserving 1 1/2 cups mushroom flavored water. I used 14 oz beef broth (always use granules) + 1 1/2 cups water. Later added "mushroom water" to risotto mixture. Mix broth and water together in small sauce pan, simmer constantly. Do not boil. In large skillet or saucepan heat 1 T EVOO, add rice, shallots, and garlic (doubled of course), sautee 5 min. Add wine, cook 2 min till liquid is absorbed.
Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice, cook over medium heat 5 min till liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until each portion is absorbed before adding the next. After all liquid is incorporated, add small amounts of "mushroom water" till soaked in. Add mushrooms, grated cheese, thyme, salt & pepper. Stir gently till cheese is mixed in. Add 1 T Mascarpone to each plate of rice.

Seriously, this stuff is amazing! MAKE IT!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Crock Pot Chicken with Cherries

This is an ultra fast, delicious and cheap meal. When I say ultra, I mean ultra. Total prep time is under 20 min. I found a recipe that lead me to this, I edited as always.

1 whole chicken (Costco $4)
1 pkg. crinkle cut carrots
1 12oz jar cherry preserves
1/2 cup cooking wine (I used white it called for red, but I was misinformed by my hubby that we had red.)
1/8 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar

In a small sauce pan bring preserves, wine, sugar and salt to a boil. Boil, stirring often till thickened, about 8 min. Place chicken in Crock Pot breast up, add carrots, salt and pepper bird and carrots. Make a few slits in the breast of the chick. Pour cherry mixture over chicken, use a spoon or knife to hold open slits. Cherries should fall into the slits. Juice will fill up slits and fall around chicken. Cook on low 4-5 hours.

We wanted quick and easy, so we did some instant potatoes and gravy on the side. Not everything needs to be complicated! Use chicken broth instead of water for the potatoes.

The carrots were amazing!! I looked at Brad's plate, carrots were gone before his meat & potatoes. Yeah, that good.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lemon Shrimp & Risotto

So, I guess you could call this recipe a win lose. I thought it was pretty darn good, Brad & Matt thought way too much lemon. I actually followed a recipe, well, as close as I can. So, here's what I made, and how I'll revise it. I know some of you, Tracy, especiall you, love lemon, you would LOVE this recipe. Maybe serve lemons on the side if others don't care for lemon as much.

1 1/2 lbs shrimp
6 garlic cloves - I used 8 barely could taste it
2 Lemons Zested + Juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper to taste.
Edited & tried - I will keep garlic amount, take it down to 1 lemon zest and a tiny bit of juice. I marinted about 6 hours, definitely could reduce time to 20-30 min.

1 1/2 cups Aborio Rice
3 cups chicken broth + 1 1/2 cups water
1 Large shallott, diced finely
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp salt & pepper
1 lemon zested + 3 T lemon juice
1 Cup Fontina Cheese
1/2 Cup fresh chopped basil

Serves 4

In one med. size sauce pan, simmer chicken broth and water. In large pan, add 2 T EVOO, add diced shallot, cook 3 min. Add rice, cook 2 min till covered in oil. Add wine, cook 3 min till absorbed. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time till absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time. This process takes about 25 min. Add cheese, salt & pepper. I used about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup cheese & used parmesan & pecornio romano.

Grill or stove top cook shrimp. Serve shrimp & risotto, topping with chopped basil. Served this with steamed carrots & asparagus.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's 1 degee outside - soup anyone?

Soup anyone? No soup Nazi here! Trying a new concotion tonight, Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup. It's simmering right now. I think I've had my first recipe viewer!!! Thanks Megan! YEAH! I'll let you all know how the soup turns out. More than likely going to top it with goat cheese, so I can't imagine it being bad. Needless to say, most things warm right now are delightful!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

So you want my recipes, eh?

Hello again....
So, it seems in the last month or so, I have been telling everyone all kinds of different recipes, how to cook this, that, etc. I just absolutely love cooking, and the more I do it, the more I like it. And, like anything else, apparently you get better the more you practice. Love it. I watched the Julie & Julie movie and it all made great sense, how fun to share so much over food. Food makes life so fun. Ok, I forgot to mention this, I am Italian. That should explain a lot! I love to eat, and I love to cook. But, I'm not like Paula Deen or Rachel Ray, obviously your food is going to taste good with heavy cream, butter, sugar, candied walnuts, and 3 cups of cheese! Get real!!! It's much harder to cook with healthy ingredients.
And, here we are.... recipe #1 that sparked me to create this lovely little blog.
Oh my gosh, I need to forewarn everyone: I measure about 2% of the time. For the purpose of this, I am going to guesstimate as best I can, I'm probably 95 % accurate.

Taliapa in White Wine Garlic Sauce
- 5 Taliapa filets
- 1/2 cup white cooking wine
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup super finely diced yellow onion
- EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Sea Salt / Pepper
- 2 T butter

Drizzle pan with ~ 1 -2 T EVOO, add garlic and onion, simmer 3 min. Add filets, salt, pepper and wine. Sautee 3 min or so on medium high heat, add butter, and continue cooking 3 more min or so. Flip filets and continue cooking till fish is done. Cook until fish is cooked through, wine liquid should be reduced to about half original volume. ENJOY!!!!!!

Wow, I had a glass of vino (ok 2) and I created a blog!

Wow, welcome to me and you to this place called a blog. I didn't know I could create such a thing so easily. Of course, leave it to google to make things super easy!

I am going to start of with a disclaimer that will stand for as long as I blog: 1) Sometimes I don't write in full complete sentences. 2) I like to use dashes --- a lot! 3) I like to type like I talk and think... I think it makes more sense, and is more fun that way. 4) I am not the worlds best speller, but luckily this thing has spell check. Get over it if something is spelled wrong. I'm not Dougie Hauser. 5) I like to say what I'm thinking, get over it if I offend you. I don't accept cry babies. The End. Happy entertainment!!!!