Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mounds of Meatballs

This recipe is origanally from a cookbook for kids by Emeril, I believe. But since I call my sister-in-law Kristi each time I find I have lost this recipe, I call these Kristi's Meatballs. Because they are baked and not fried, they gain points for health and easiness. Cook the spaghetti while the meatballs bake and warm up a jar of sauce (unless you're an overachiever and feel compelled to make both the sauce and the meatballs from scratch on the same night). A bagged salad rounds out the meal.

Krisit's Meatballs

1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb mild or hot italian sausage (what you prefer)
2 eggs
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 T chopped parsley (flat-leaf/Italian, not the curly stuff)
1 T chopped onion (dry onion flakes is an easy option here)
1/2 c. good quality Parmesan (no Kraft in the green bottle that is 5 years old please)
1 clove chopped garlic
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (grating your own nutmeg yet? It's worth it!)
1/2 T salt

Mush everything together in a big bowl. Your clean hands are the best tool for the job. Form into balls about 1 - 1 1/2" in diameter and place on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 or until golden.


Chicken Pot Pie Like Never Before

Okay, so this recipe for Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pies with Cream Cheese Crust will never appear in "Cooking Light" but man is it good! The cream cheese in the crust makes is an easy dough to work with and roll out and transfer to the pie. Save yourself the trouble of roasting the chicken if you want and just buy a rotisserie chicken (from Costco, the best bird by far!).

Also - no need to put it into indivdual dishes unless you already have cute dishes like this and want too.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Heirloom Tomatoes: A Taste to Be Treasured

Stop your grocery cart! Put back those hard red tasteless tomatoes! You don't have to succumb to the evil plot of your megamart bioengineers. Get yourself down to a farmers market or natural foods store (I can get them at Trader Joe's) and check out one of Mother Nature's true gifts of summer: the heirloom tomato!! Bred for taste and not for it's ability to ship well like the ones you've been buying for years at the megamart, heirloom tomatoes come in red, orange, yellow, green and even like this one pictured here - almost purple? Serve them sliced dressed simply with salt and pepper and maybe a drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil (no vinegar though. The specimens we've had lately are more acidic than the hard bred ones we've been used to) and then let the ooing and ahhing begin.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sweet-Potato Hash with Bacon

I made this Sweet-Potato Hash with Bacon as an experiment for Thanksgiving last year. I knew it was good, real good, when I put it on the table, but my older brother was just about in tears over it. While this dish isn't going to win any awards for health because of the bacon, it will win you the love of all to whom you serve it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Caprese Salad

This a quick, delicious addition to a meal especially in summer. I love it when I can serve this with tomaotes and basil from my vegetable patch.

Caprese Salad

2 large ripe tomaotes
1 container of fresh mozarella (comes as a ball floating in liquid NOT a shrink wrapped ball)
15 or so fresh basil leaves
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
freshly ground pepper

1. Slice the tomatoes and mozerella into rounds.
2. Sprinkle the cheese with salt.
3. On a plate arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping to form a circle.
4. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
5. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

A few thoughts from an LDS cook about cooking with wine or other alcohol:

(This entry refers to the recipe posted below)

Do you eat yeast raised breads or doughnuts? Do you eat cookies or other goodies made with vanilla extract? If you do, then you should not object to dishes cooked with a bit of wine as long as it has been prepared in such a way that the alcohol is surely cooked out. Since alcohol flees at the mere thought of being heated and in this dish the sherry sauce is boiled for 3 minutes, the alcohol is LONG gone by the time it is served leaving only the delicious flavors and enhancements provided by the other components of the sherry. In fact, some flavors, particularly those in tomatoes, are only alcohol soluble – meaning that they are only unlocked by alcohol. But once unlocked they remain in the sauce even after the alcohol is cooked out. Thus, every Italian nonna (grandma) that you will ever meet will pour a glass of red wine into her spaghetti sauce as it simmers on the back burner all afternoon and feed it to her grandkids with a clean conscience….unlike the young couple we sat next to at a cafĂ© in Rome earlier this month who let their one year old baby boy have repeated tastes of beer when he asked……..not kidding. Buon Appetito!

Pork Chops Au Poivre

When I cook Pork Chops Au Poivre for dinner, my family knows that there is a temporary suspension of good manners at the dinner table and the knife and plate licking begin. You won't want to reliquish even one drop of this divine sauce to the dishwasher.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Onion Roasted Potatoes

This is an old standby recipe for us and we love it. When I pulled these out of the oven last night I got a big hug around my legs from Carina (age 5) and was told that I was the "the best!"

Onion Roasted Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs any type of potatoes
1 tsp salt (I prefer kosher salt for this)
1 envelope Lipton's dry onion soup mix
2-3T olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Slice your potatoes into 1" pieces
3. Sprinkle on salt and soup mix
4. Drizzle on olive oil and mix till all is evenly coated
5. Roast for 30 minutes in the oven - or longer, they only get better as they carmelize

When you serve them be sure to scrape up the yummy bits from the bottom of the pan.

Skirt Steak with Peppers, Raisins, and Almonds

We had this Skirt Steak with Peppers, Raisins, and Almonds for dinner tonight, and I had a hard time limiting my portions.
Notes 1) The recipe says it's Cuban-inspired, but I found the hint and cinnamon and cloves along with the raisins and almonds to be more Moroccan, but not so much so as to scare off American eaters - just 100% delicious.
2) I used my new favorite cut of meat the flat iron steak and I didn't use the full 1 3/4 lbs called for in the recipe. I think that would be too high of a meat/peppers ratio. I used about 1 lb.
3) I used golden raisins. I think they are more tender and work better in this kind of dish.
4) I served it with simple steamed broccoli and Onion Roasted Potatoes (see next entry)

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Toasted Barley Minestrone

This soup was delcious and loaded with fiber! It is a great meatless option and you do not miss the meat one bit. The recipe is from Good Housekeeping. Notes 1) Don't skip the pesto. It adds a lot of flavor and the soup would just kind of be so-so without it. 2)Don't be scared by the cabbage. After the meal, my husband was busing dishes (yes, he's a keeper 'eh?) when he spotted the leftover cabbage on the counter and said "This had cabbage in it?" 3) The recipe for the pesto calls for Romano cheese. I used good-quality Paremesan and it was delicious. If you still have a green bottle of Kraft Paremesan in your pantry please stop reading this blog, get up, go to your kitchen and throw it away. Thank you. You can buy inexpensive good-quality Parmesan at Trader Joe's. 4) The pesto recipe says to blend it up in a mini-processor. I used my regular blender. I had to poke the leaves around a few times, but we got there. Instead of stirring this in to each individual bowl, just stir it into the whole pot before serving. That way the pesto doesn't get all used up at meal time and leave the leftovers naked. Let me know what you think!

Quick Beef & Broccoli

Wow, chinese food at home in about the same amount of time as it would take to order and go and get it. This is a delicious, super-fast and easy recipe for Quick Beef and Broccoli. The recipe calls for a bag of frozen broccoli - do your taste buds a favor and just steam some fresh broccoli - the difference in taste and texture is well worth the extra three minutes. Get that going while you slice the beef. I like the new cut that available now "Flat Iron Steak" for this dish. It is as tender as a Filet Mignon at a fraction of the cost. When you toss it with the cornstarch it's not going to look like it does when you've dredged it in flour since you're only using 1 1/2 T of flour, but just go with it. You don't want to add more cornstarch. Also, when you add the soy sauce and water to the pan, be sure to scrape up on the goodies off the bottom of the pan. Not only will that add flavor, but much of it is cornstarch that will thicken your sauce.

I served this with the Brown Rice Medley featured below.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Greens with Goat Cheese and Tangerine Vinaigrette

This is a winner salad. The goodies in it make it tempting to even non-salad lovers. The recipe tells you to take the membranes off the tangerine sections and squeeze them for juice. I tried it this way and also with the membranes on and it was fine and less work. Just juice a half of a tangerine and cut up the other sections into the salad. Do use the zest - it's worth the small effort. Use a microplane grater (available about everywhere now) for best results and to be sure to leave the bitter pith behind. Blood orange also works well in this recipe and are available in the markets right now. Don't be afraid of the goat cheese. A lot of people think this is stinky cheese, but it's not - it's more mild than feta and is delicious and buttery. Trader Joes carries an excellent brand. I also like their "Herb Salad Mix" as the greens in this salad.

Brown Rice Medley from Trader Joe's

If you live in an area of the country without a Trader Joe's, well, I am truly sorry for you are missing out on a true culinary convenience. One of my lastest finds is Brown Rice Medley that includes parboiled brown rice, black barley and daikon radish seeds. It looks beautiful on the plate and tastes great! What an easy and delicious way to serve whole grains. Follow the instructions on the package using chicken broth instead of water and add 1/2 tsp of salt. When simmering, simmer it at pretty good heat or it will take longer than the 45 minutes listed on the package.

Gigi Salmon with a Brown Rice Medley and Tangerine Vinaigrette Salad

We had a divine dinner the other night. So good, that I had to make it again for my Mom for lunch the next day. I will post the main dish recipe here, look for the next two entries for the side dishes.

Gigi Salmon

1 slab salmon (wild-caught best, choose sockeye over coho if given choice)
3/4 powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar

Line a cookie sheet with AL foil and lay fish right down the center, skin side down. Sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper, ginger & garlic. Rub down with olive oil, pat on brown sugar.

Bake in 350 oven for about 15 minutes - check for doneness (no translucent looking fish at the center of the thickest part). Watch carefully - you want it done, but fish will dry out quickly if overbaked.

Serve with Tangerine Vinaigrette Salad and Brown Rice Medley


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Ever had a parsnip? I never had until I found this recipe for Roasted Carrots and Parsnips and had to try it. Would you believe me that they are delicious? No joke. This is a simple and different way to serve vegetables. Try it and let me know what you think. Your regular grocery store should have parsnips, but you may have to ask where they've hidden them away.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup

We tried this recipe for Red Lentils & Vegetable Stew from Good Housekeeping magazine a few nights ago. It was fast and easy and met approval from 4/4 family members. The true test of any recipe is how fast or slow the leftovers disappear. These leftovers were gone by lunch the next day.

I found red lentils in the bulk foods department of the regular grocery store. I recommend serving a multi-grain or whole wheat roll on the side.

Let's Get Cooking!

This blog is all about what we're eating for dinner at our house. I will blog about great products I find at the store, new recipes that I've tried, my favorite recipes and anything else dinner time related that seems worth sharing all with a focus on items particularly delicious and healthy. The fact that you're checking out this blog probably means you don't need to hear my lecture on the power of home cooking so just nod your head in agreement as I tell you that home cooking is a powerful and influential tool wielded by home cooks everywhere. Home cooking feeds both the body and spirit. It binds people together. Done right it can also contribute to better health. Let's get cooking!