Monday, August 14, 2017

Garlic and Herb Crusted Lamb Chops

DELICIOUS!
I really don't care for lamb but my husband loves it so I thought I would give this recipe a try.  Boy, was I surprised as we both loved these chops!  Perfectly cooked (3-4 minutes per side), pink in the center, so flavorful and no gamey taste.
 This recipe comes from Natasha's Kitchen.  I'm not going to post the recipe here because her recipe is perfect as is.  The only change I made was I strained the sauce before pouring it on the chops.  Also I'd like you to check out her blog, it's one of my favorites.  So, if you want to make this delicious recipe go to Natasha's Kitchen for this easy to follow recipe and video.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Italian stuffed Zucchini Boats


My daughter, Megan, told me the other day about this delicious recipe from pinterest, Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats.  The next day I looked it up and the recipe came from the blog Valerie's Kitchen.  I happened to have met Valerie years ago at an allrecipes.com event.  I've made many of her recipes so I wasn't surprised how good this was.  This serves 4-6 but I have no problem making this for just my husband and I as the leftovers were just as good!
Valerie's recipe serves 6 but she served it with rice.  I didn't make any sides and ended up eating two.  So GOOD!

Recipe slightly adapted from Valerie's KitchenI made a few changes but you can view Valerie's recipe here.  


I loved this sauce, it was packed with flavor!
Favorite brand of Ground Turkey
      

Ingredients:
3 medium zucchini
1 (26 ounce) jar tomato basil marinara, divided (I used Muir Glen)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic 
1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms or cremini (baby bella)
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons Italian style panko bread crumbs

Instructions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
2.  Measure out 1 cup of the marinara sauce and set aside. 
3.  Trim ends from zucchini and slice in half, lengthwise. Use the tip of a teaspoon to scoop out the flesh from the interior of the zucchini, so they resemble boats.  Chop the zucchini flesh and set aside.
4.   Place the scooped out zucchini boats into a 13" x 9" baking dish Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until just slightly fork-tender. Remove from oven, and set aside. (Don't worry about the liquid in the pan as you'll wipe that out before adding the sauce)
5.  Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper saute for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute. Then add the mushrooms and cut up zucchini.  Saute for another 5 minutes.  Add turkey, stirring to break up the ground meat as it cooks until thoroughly cooked. Drain off oil/liquid and return the skillet to the heat.
6.  Add the parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and remaining marinara sauce in the jar (remember 1 cup is set aside for later).   Continue to cook and stir well until combined. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and allow to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.
7.   Remove partially cooked zucchini boats from baking dish and pour out any water, using paper towel dry the dish. Pour the 1 cup of reserved marinara sauce into the empty baking dish and place zucchini boats on top of the sauce.
8.   Divide the filling between the zucchini boats.  Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 20 minutes, or until zucchini is fork tender. Remove dish from oven and set oven to BROIL.  Remove foil and sprinkle zucchini boats with mozzarella, Parmesan and the panko bread crumbs. Place dish in oven, watching closely, cook for just a couple of minutes until cheese has melted and bread crumbs are golden brown.  
Serves 4 - 6

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Seared Scallops with Warm Corn Salad

This is another one of Chrissy Teigen's yummy recipes from her Cookbook, Cravings.  So far, every recipe I've made of hers has been really good.  This one for seared scallops, I'm in love with.  I've made them several times because it's so quick, easy, healthy and delicious.  I've made these with fresh and frozen (thawed) scallops.  I like the convenience of having scallops in the freezer but fresh is best.  Just make sure the scallops smell sweet and good.


Warm Corn salad:

2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh corn kernels (approximately 3 ears of corn)*see note
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1-2 green onion (scallion), thinly sliced
salt and pepper


In a large heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.  When it foams, add the corn, bell pepper and green onion.  Saute, tossing lightly  about 5 minutes. Season to taste with the salt and black pepper.  While the corn sautes, sear the scallops and they'll be done at the same time.

8-10 large scallops (fresh is best but thaw if frozen) **see note
1 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
Rinse then Pat the scallops dry with paper towels.    Don't salt and pepper just yet, it makes the tops wet.   This is a pretty important step. You want the scallops to caramelize, not steam.
Heat a medium skillet (NOT nonstick) over medium-high heat.  You want it hot, but not smoking hot.  Add 1 tablespoon of the oil then add 1/2 tablespoon of the butter.  Swirl in the pan.  Sprinkle half of the patted dry scallops with salt and pepper.  Add them to the skillet seasoned side down.  DO NOT TOUCH OR MOVE THEM.  Cook for 2 minutes to form a caramelized crust.  Pat the tops with paper towel, salt and pepper and flip.  Cook another 1-2 minutes
Serve with the warm corn salad.

Serves 2

*With it being corn season, I'll buy a dozen at the farmers market, cut the corn off the cob and freeze it.  Great to use for recipes like this.

**Fresh scallops are better if you can get them but I really like having a bag of frozen scallops (from Costco or Trader Joe's) for a quick lunch or dinner.

Adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat

Easy to half the recipe and make for one.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Proscuitto Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast

I have a new favorite frying pan, cast iron.  I know, a cast iron is nothing new but it is to me.  I had one years ago but didn't like the fact that you shouldn't use soap to clean it and I could never get those bits and pieces off of the pan and it never seemed clean.  I wanted to try again so I purchased a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet from Amazon on sale for only $13.39.  I was also looking on how to clean cast iron and came across this chain link looking cleaner.  It's called the Ringer and cost $16.95.  I love it!  It cleans all the bits and pieces and the pan is clean.  I also bought the Lodge oil spray which I spray the pan to season after each cleaning.  I'm now a lover of cast iron for so many reasons.  It can withstand heat high heat which is perfect for foods that needs to be seared, and creates a beautiful browning effect.  It can be used both on the stove top and in the oven.  It's also affordable and will last a lifetime.  It really has become my go to fry pan.
Here is the recipe that inspired this purchase, Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Chrissy Teigen's Cookbook, Cravings.


  This girl can cook!!

The chicken is stuffed with goat cheese, cream cheese, garlic, thyme and bacon.  It's wrapped in prosciutto and then baked with cherry tomatoes.  What happens is the cherry tomatoes burst and the goat cheese mixture oozes out in the pan making a delicious sauce to spoon all over the chicken.  It's delicious!!


Garlic Herb Goat Cheese Ingredients:

2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 1/2 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leave, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped (I didn't use, not a fan or fresh oregano)
Kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon) and fresh ground pepper (1/8 teaspoon)

In a small food processor or  hand mixer combine the cream cheese. goat cheese, garlic and thyme. Season lightly with salt and pepper. 

The Chicken Ingredients:

2 slices bacon
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
4-6 slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons olive oil (I only used about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup cherry tomatoes (I used 2 cups)
fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. 
In a medium cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels. Pour off excess fat from the skillet, leaving enough to coat the pan. Let the skillet cool.
Place one piece of chicken between the two sheets of plastic wrap, then use a meat mallet to pound the chicken into an even 1/2 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper (lightly season as the prosciutto is already salty). Repeat with the second piece of the chicken. 
Spread each breast with half of the herb cheese. (This will seem like a lot of cheese but it will ooze out and make a sauce so use it all) Crumble the bacon over the cheese and roll up each chicken breast, starting from the shorter side. Then wrap each roll in prosciutto to cover. Brush each roll with olive oil and season lightly with pepper. 
Place the chicken in the skillet, seam side down, then scatter the tomatoes around the chicken. Throw the thyme sprigs (if using) and bake until the chicken is cooked and some edges of the prosciutto are a little crispy, about 30 - 40 minutes. 
Let the chicken cool for a few minutes, then slice each roll in half and make sure to include the tomatoes & juices on the plate. 

Serves 2 large or 4 smaller portions 

Adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat


This is how I clean my cast iron skillet...only using water I scrub any dried on food with the ringer.  Next, dry with a paper towel.  When your pan is completely dry, simply wipe it down with oil using a paper towel.  Now the pan will be ready to go for next time!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Favorite Summer Cocktails - Blackberry and Meyer Lemon Gin and Tonics and Mojito


I love growing a few herbs out on the back deck.  Mint is one of my favorites as it's a base of two of our favorite summer cocktails.

Blackberry and Meyer Lemon Gin and Tonics - I came across this cocktail recipe on the food blog, Spoon Fork Bacon .  Check it out, it's an amazing blog!  The photography of their food makes me drool!  I don't care for a basic Gin and Tonic but this cocktail is so much more, it's so refreshing!  
Serves 1
Ingredients:
3 blackberries
5 fresh mint leaves
1/2 Meyer lemons (Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons)
1 Tablespoon simple syrup (equal parts sugar/water)
1 - 1 1/2 ounces good quality gin (we like Hendrick's)
tonic water
ice
Directions:
1. Set out four high ball glasses.
2. Place 3 blackberries, 5 mint leaves, juice of ½ Meyer lemon, and 1 tablespoon simple syrup in each glass and muddle together.
3. Fill each glass with ice, followed by gin. Top off each drink with tonic water, stir and serve.

Mojito - This recipe comes from Allrecipes.com.  I love a good basic mojito but when I have fresh fruit (strawberries, pineapple, blackberries or raspberries) in the house I like to muddle a few in with the lime and mint.  It taste like summertime in a glass.
  • Ingredients:

  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons simple syrup, or to taste (simple syrup-equal parts sugar and water)

  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 fluid ounces white rum
  • 1/2 cup club soda

Directions:

Place mint leaves and lime wedges into a tall sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add the simple syrup and rum.  Fill the glass almost to the top with ice and fill with club soda and stir.



Strawberry Mojito - If adding fruit, muddle a few pieces with the lime and mint.