Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
new bumblebee commercial - Google Video
The commercial is silly, but it just cracks me up.
- 1 whole cantaloupe (and let me tell you that melon was juicy, I already cut it up)
- 2 Haas avocados (they were only 79 cents a piece; at the grocery store they are at least $1.29)
- 2 (16 ounce packages) of strawberries (fresh from Plant City and only $1.79 per package)
- 1 head of broccoli
- 2 white onions
- 4 Gala apples
- 2 lemons
- 1 bag of baby carrots
- 3 portobello mushroom caps
- 3/4 of a pound of Boar's Head Turkey
- 1 jar of roasted red peppers
Pretty good deal, huh? If you buy a lot of fresh produce like I do, you'll save a ton of money each week going to local spots.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Cutting the meatballs in half did make it easier to eat, but they were still extremely messy. I think I made it through three bites using my hands before I broke out the knife and fork. Messy is always tasty.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs (I used Italian-style because that is what I had)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsps milk
1/2 cup grated romano cheese (I used parmesan because that is what I had)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 pound ground turkey
5 cups marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, cheese and salt and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine. Shape the mixture into bite-size balls. Place on a cookie sheet that has been lightly greased with cooking spray. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
For my spaghetti and meatballs, I removed the meatballs from the oven and added to a pot of marinara sauce that was warming on the stove. I served it over multi-grain spaghetti. I used only half the box for two people. The leftover meatballs I will serve on whole-wheat subs tomorrow night.
Ingredients for the Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 (32 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (Now, I only can ever find 28 ounce cans, which works out fine.)
2 dried bay leaves
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Simmer uncovered over low heat for about 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
*Note: I chopped the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in the food processor. If I had to finely chop all that onion by hand, I would probably go blind. I am very sensitive. Anyway, just break the veggies down into smaller chunks first, and don't overstuff your processor.
**Note: The above recipe makes 8 cups, I usually double it. You can make this sauce a day ahead. Let it cool, cover it and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using. If you are freezing, it should be good for up to 3 months.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1 cup and half flat-leaf parsley, lightly packed
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
a couple of palmfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese
olive oil, eyeball it
Start by adding the pine nuts to a skillet and toast over medium heat. Shake around every once in awhile until the pine nuts are golden brown. Add to a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor EXCEPT the oil. Let 'er rip until the ingredients are finely chopped and mixed well. With the processor on, slowly stream in the olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. It shouldn't be too thick, but the oil should be nicely infused. I would say about 1/4 cup.
I served the pesto over pork chops, but pestos are great as pizza sauces, on pasta, chicken, fish, shellfish and even red meat. Pretty much anything.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
4 chicken cutlets, 4 ounces a piece, pounded to flatten out evenly
1 (10-ounce) box frozen spinach, thawed
Sundried tomatoes, sliced
1 (14-0unce) can of chicken broth
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper olive oil
Lay the chicken cutlets out on a flat surface. Cover with plastic wrap. Using a meat tenderizer or a heavy pan, pound out the cutlets so their flattened out evenly. (By the way, a great way to release the day's tension.) Remove the plastic wrap. Season with salt and pepper.
Take the thawed spinach and squeeze out the excess water. Spread out evenly on the chicken cutlets. Leave a litle room around the edges. Next, layer a few sun dried tomatoes and then sprinkle a little parmesan cheese. Starting with the short, tapered end of the cutlet, roll up tightly. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat until all the cutlets are rolled up.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 Tbsps of olive oil. Cook the chicken until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Once the chicken is brown, add the broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Cover the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked trough.
Remove the chicken from the pan and divide among four plates. Increase the heat of the pan to high, bringing the liquid to a boil and allowing to reduce; about 5 minutes. Drizzle the sauce over the cutlets. Serves 4.
I served this with red potatoes I had cut into 1-inch cubes and sauteed until brown, crispy and soft in the center. Season with rosemary and salt and pepper.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
There are few things more romantic than chocolate-covered strawberries.
Fresh strawberries, about 4-5 per person
Good-quality dark chocolate morsels, about 2-3 ounces
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
I used a double broiler to melt my chocolate. However, you could use a microwave, just be careful not to burn the chocolate. For a double broiler, take a small stock pot and add a little water. On the stove top, bring the water to barely a simmer. Place a glass bowl over the pot, making sure the water doesn't touch the bowl. The hot steam will melt the chocolate. Add the chocolate and allow to melt slowly; gently stir the chocolate occasionally.
Once the chocolate melts, remove from the heat. Dip the strawberries one at a time. Place on the parchment-covered baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
This recipe is courtesy of Ellie Krieger's cookbook, The Food You Crave. Although, I've been making a similar sauce for years that I serve over pasta. See the picture below of the entire meal. Note to self: my red plates aren't very photogenic - does not do the food justice.
12 ounces of fresh halibut, skin removed
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup no salt added canned diced tomatoes, with juice
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp capers
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
In a nonstick skillet, heat the 2 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the halibut with some pepper. Place in the skillet. My halibut was about an inch think, so I cooked it for 4 minutes per side. The center should appear opaque. (Generally cook for 2 and 1/2 minutes per side per 1/2 inch thickness.)Remove the fish to a plate and loosely cover with foil.
Return the skillet to the heat, lower to medium, add a little more olive oil to the pan. Add the onion, cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and allow to reduce by half, about 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the capers and olives. Stir in the spinach leaves, tossing until wilted. Pour the sauce over the fish. Serve with the bread and roasted garlic. Serves 2 lovebirds.
*Note: Using no salt-added tomatoes allows you to control the salt level. Besides, the capers and olives provide enough saltiness.
Caption: Top, the boccaccini and tomato salad; bottom-right, the halibut; bottom-left, the roasted garlic and whole-wheat rolls.
The menu consisted of halibut with capers, tomatoes and olives - a recipe from my new Elie Krieger cookbook. I also made a caprese salad using fresh boccaccini mozzarella, grape tomatoes and fresh basil marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I served it with roasted garlic that I roasted myself and whole wheat rolls. Altogether this was still a healthy meal. I think the fattiest component was the mozzarella. I completed the meal with fresh strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. Also good for you. Dark chocolate has antioxidants!!
1 whole head of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
Roasting the garlic this way mellows out the flavor and softens it, allowing you to spread it on bread as if it were butter. Delish! I had this years ago at an Italian restaurant, but this was the first time I tried to replicate it.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Using a knife, cut off the top third of the garlic head. Do not peel the garlic. Place it in a small, oven-proof dish, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil; and cover the dish with foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove the foil and bake for another 30-40 minutes. You should now be able to use a butter knife to scoop out the garlic cloves and spread on bread, or anything else you can think of.
Marinated mozzarella and tomatoes
salt and pepper
Boccaccini mozzarella are little balls of fresh mozzarella. I picked up a little container from the Fresh Market. It was located on the olive bar, but I have seen these at the regular grocery story as well. You could as get a regular ball of fresh mozzarella and cut into 1-inch cubes. This dish wasn't an exact science. I just threw everything together. In a shallow dish, place the mozzarella and grape tomatoes. My tomatoes were a good size, so I sliced them in half. Season with a little Kosher salt and pepper. Take a couple leaves of fresh basil and slice; add to the dish.
In a small bowl, pour in some balsamic vinegar, maybe a 1/4 of a cup. Whisk in the olive oil, maybe a 1/4 of a cup. But really, I just eyeballed it. You can't screw it up. Whisk until the oil and vinegar combine. Pour the marinade over the mozzarella and tomatoes. Mix well. Place in the fridge for at least 3o minutes, or up to a couple of hours.
Friday, February 13, 2009
We don't usually do anything, but this year I am going to make a special dinner. I think I am going to hit up The Fresh Market for some goodies. My plan right now is to make Seabass with capers, tomatoes and olives. And for dessert, strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. It's perfect because it is the peak of Florida's strawberry season. Plus, it will satisfy my sweet tooth and it's romantic.
If you don't have a Valentine this year, grab a group of other single ladies and hit the town or have a dinner party at your house.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
- Pasta - a variety of shapes and sizes: orzo, spaghetti, penne, ditalini
- Rice - brown, white, wild, and arborio for risotto
- Barley and lentils (Don't have these two now, but I plan to start cooking with them more.
- Breadcrumbs - Panko (japanese-style) and Italian seasoned
- Flour - all-purpose and whole wheat
- Vinegars - red wine, balsamic, white wine; I even have a white balsamic that is delicious
- Oils - extra-virgin olive, vegetable
- Nonstick cooking spray (a regular one and one with flour for baking)
- Beans - a variety of your favorites: I usually have garbanzo, white, kidney and/or black
- Kalamata olives
- Diced tomatoes - no salt added
- Tomato paste, sauce, crushed tomatoes
- Tahini pasta - an essential ingredient for making hummus
- Sundried tomatoes - love these!
- Peppers - roasted red and banana
- Dried fruit - apricots, raisins, craisins
- Nuts - walnuts, cashews, almonds (You can make great trail mixes with nuts and dried fruits. Throw some sunflower seeds in there, too. Trail mix makes for a great snack.)
- Whole wheat crackers
- Tuna, clams (These last forever and when used with fresh ingredients like lemon juice and parsley, they really freshen up.)
I know this sounds like a lot, but accumulate the items over time, plus a lot of these you probably already have. Remember they last forever, so it's not like they'll go bad.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
8 ounces of mushrooms, chopped (just use your favorite kind of mushroom)
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. A dried spice like oregano or thyme would be good as well. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan. Sear on both sides for 6-8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. Remove the chicken from the pan, cover with foil to keep warm.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the other Tbsp of oil to the pan. Add the mushrooms and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Sautee until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and let cook for a minute. Add the wine, and reduce by half, about a minute. Add the broth and simmer for another 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken a bit.
Slice the chicken and top with the sauce. Serves 2. I served this dish with a side of orzo and peas. Orzo is a rice shaped pasta. One of my faves. For a side dish for two people, use about a 1/4 of the box, or 4 ounces, aka 1/2 cup. Cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot, but remove from the heat. Drizzle the orzo with olive oil, and stir in a little fresh parmesan cheese.
I just used frozen peas. The Steamfresh brand cooks in about 5 minutes in the microwave. I use fresh vegetables most of the time, but I always have frozen peas and corn in the freezer.
Monday, February 9, 2009
4 (6-ounces each) Salmon fillets, skin removed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use the low sodium kind)
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp water
the juice of half a lemon
1 bag of baby spinach
1 garlic clove, minced
nutmeg (either freshly grated or a couple of pinches of ground nutmeg)
1 Tbsp olive oil
the juice of half a lemon
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, dijon mustard, water and lemon juice. Set aside. In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the salmon fillets. Add the salmon to the pan and sear on both sides for 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the salmon to a plate.
Lower the heat to medium-low, add the soy-honey mixture to the skillet. Let simmer until the sauce reduces and thickens; stir occasionally. After a few minutes the sauce should thicken to a glaze, pour over the salmon.
While the sauce is reducing, heat another skillet over medium heat. Add a Tbsp of olive oil; add the garlic. Let the garlic cook for a minute. Then add the spinach in batches. Once the spinach starts to wilt down, add more. Season with salt and pepper, the nutmeg and lemon juice. Continue to add the spinach until it has all wilted down.
I also made brown rice with this dish. It went well with salmon and the glaze. I just used instant brown rice from a box. Follow the directions according to the package.
This entire dish serves 4.
*Note: Whenever making dark greens, it is good to add a little nutmeg. It takes away a little of the bitterness away from the greens.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Bean and Pasta Soup
1 and 1/2 cups dried pasta (I used pasta ruffles, but you could use any short pasta like macaroni)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dried basil, thyme or oregano (or combination of any of those)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
3 (14 and 1/2 ounce) cans vegetable broth
salt and pepper
fresh parmesan cheese
Bring a pot of water to boil. Salt and add the pasta.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and dried spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients except pasta. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until soup is heated through and flavors blend together, about 15 minutes.
Drain the pasta and add to the soup. Serve the soup topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Serves 8.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Just a couple of announcements I wanted to share.
First, thank you all for following and reading my blog. It is very exciting for me. I hope I have provided some great recipes and tips for you all. I also hope I have made you laugh at times.
Second, I encourage interaction, so please feel free to comment whenever you feel compelled to do so.
Third, you can also email me at email@example.com. If you would like to receive an email whenever I publish a new post, send me your email address.
Lastly, starting tomorrow I am going to attempt to upload photos of the recipes I post. This way you can see what the finished product looks like. I'll have to start practicing my food styling.
Thank you to all my readers, and I encourage you to sign up as a follower. If you have a blog, I'll post it on my blogroll (which is a feature I am going to add now).
1/2 lb. (roughly half a box) uncooked dried fettuccine, spinach flavor or multi-grain would be great
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 chicken breasts
12 cherry tomatoes
1 and 1/2 cups broccoli flowerets
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 Tbsp fresh basil (I omitted this since 1. the store didn't have any, and 2. I used the basil flavored fettuccine)
1-2 cloves fresh garlic
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan. Cook the chicken breasts until no longer pink; about 6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Return the skillet to the stove and reduce heat to medium.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the fettuccine according to the package directions.
Add the butter and a little more oil to the skillet. Add the vegetables, garlic and basil; salt and pepper to taste. Cover; continue cooking , stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, but still crisp. They should be bright and vibrant in color. Now drain the pasta and add to the skillet, tossing with the vegetables. Slice the chicken and add to the skillet as well. You may want to drizzle in a bit more oil. Divide the dish between two plates and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese. Serves 2.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Grill seasoning, like McCormick's Grillmates
Old Bay seasoning
1 and 1/2 cups milk
1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/4-1/2 cup chedder cheese, shredded
fresh grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and chicken broth.
Meanwile prepare the shrimp. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Remove the tails. Season the shrimp on both sides with the grill seasoning and Old Bay, just a light, even sprinkle. Heat a nonstick grill pan or skillet over medium-medium high heat. Spray the grill with either Pam nonstick spray or drizzle a little of olive oil. Place the shrimp on the grill, and let cook for a few minutes on each side. You can tell the shrimp are done when they turn bright pink, and curl up.
Once the milk and broth come to a bubble, season with salt and pepper. Slowly add the polenta while whisking. Remove from heat and continue to whisk for a couple of minutes. Add a little fresh parmesan, just a couple of tablespoons; and add the chedder cheese.
Serve the polenta on a plate, topped with the shrimp. Serves 2.
Monday, February 2, 2009
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 a green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 an onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained and roughly cut tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice (not instant rice)
1 (15 ounce) can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can butter beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Stir in water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the rice. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until rice is tender. Stir occasionally.
Stir in beans. Cover; simmer an additional 5-10 minutes to heat through. Serves 5.
If you're aren't a vegetarian, you could certainly add meat to this for more protein, but the beans are quiet filling. Andouille sausage, chicken or shrimp would be excellent in this. If you do add meat, I suggest adding a little more tomatoes or sauce to the mixture, so it isn't too thick. Also, if you like really spicy food, feel free to add more cayenne pepper. You could also add cracked red pepper or hot sauce to increase the heat.
This is a lucky week for my non-carnivorous readers. I have two more non-meat dishes planned for this week: fresh vegetables and basil fettuccine; and pasta and bean soup. Stay tuned.