Friday, March 26, 2010

Brunch Stuffed Peppers

These peppers are so impressive! I am having an Easter Brunch, and I will be fixing these little cuties.
These are fun, and super easy to serve to your guests, or make for your family. Each person gets a beautiful pepper all filled with goodness, I just think it's a warm, thoughtful way to present your guests with breakfast. Enjoy!

4 (any color) bell peppers
1 cup frozen country style hash browns, thawed
1/2 (16-ounce) package bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 large eggs
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese blend, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup biscuit mix (Bisquick works just fine)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
note: I would add a few dashes of hot sauce into my scrambled egg mixture for some heat. Chipotle Tabasco is really good in eggs.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the top 1/2-inch of each pepper. Discard the tops and seeds. Arrange the peppers, cut side up, in an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish. (if your peppers aren't standing up, you can turn them upside down and cut the bottom, making them straight. Be careful, though, not to cut holes in the pepper, or cut the whole bottom off! You'll loose your filling!) Fill the bottom of each pepper evenly with hash browns and bacon.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, milk, baking mix, sour cream, green onion, salt, and pepper (and hot sauce if using). Whisk until combined. Evenly distribute the egg mixture into each pepper. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out dry, about 45 minutes-1 hour depending on size and thickness of peppers. Remove from the oven, garnish with cheese and serve immediately.
Serves 4
Recipe and Photo, Paula Deen

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil

I made this for dinner lastnight and it was really fresh and yummy. Very fast! It takes only 2 minutes for the pasta to cook, and about 10 for the sauce. This is perfect for those pints of fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes you can pick up at your local farmers market for a couple of bucks. Although, even using store bought, waxy, out of season regular cherry tomatoes, it was really good. I made some meatballs on the side, since I reside with wolves, but this would be a great meatless dinner. Enjoy!
This recipe serves 6.


Kosher salt
1/2 cup good olive oil, plus extra for the pot
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
4 pints small cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
18 large basil leaves, julienned
2 tablespoons chopped fresh curly parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 pound dried capellini or angel hair pasta
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Extra chopped basil and grated Parmesan, for serving


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt and a splash of oil to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan. Add the garlic to the oil and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften but don't break up.
While the tomatoes are cooking, add the capellini to the pot of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water.
Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, add the tomatoes and Parmesan and toss well. Add some of the pasta water if the pasta seems too dry. Serve large bowls of pasta with extra basil sprinkled on top and a big bowl of extra Parmesan on the side.
Recipe and Photo, Ina Garten

Kebabs? or Skewers?

Whatever you call them, they are always GOOD!

Skewers are so easy - the hardest part is actually putting them on the stick without stabbing yourself! (please tell me I am not the only one who does that?)
At a MOMS group a couple of weeks ago, we had a speaker share about healthy, easy recipes. In one of her meal suggestions, she lists out a page full of skewer meal ideas. And it made me so hungry for a shish kebab dinner!!
Start off by giving those wooden skewers a good soak. You want to make sure they soak in water for at least 15 minutes. It just helps them to not catch on fire when you put them over the BBQ flames.
Basically, you choose your meat - I chose steak (oh, yeah!) We cut the steak into chunks and then we marinated it for about 30 minutes in lime juice, chili powder, garlic, and evoo.
Then, choose your vegetables/fruit - I chose the basics -- Green & Red Bell Peppers, Mushrooms and Red Onion. Cut these into chunks (leaving mushrooms whole).

After those choices are made, start assembling the skewers. However you like - whatever you like. You can make a pattern, you can make them all meat, all veggies, etc.. We threw some shrimp alone on a few...

Then BBQ over a medium-hot grill. Flip often, to make sure all sides are getting cooked evenly.


You may also have seen the avocado we threw on the grill -- if you haven't tried this, you NEED to! Cut an avocado in half, remove the pit and then brush the insides with evoo and sprinkle with S & P. Place them face-down on the grill and let them get warm and a few char-marks.
Remove from grill -- and serve. We often serve these with a spoonful of salsa in the middle, or a dollop of sour cream. I recently tried it with some chicken salad in the middle with some cheddar on top! Delicious!! and of course, a handful of tortilla chips...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu #36

Monday: Spaghetti with Tomato Cream Sauce
Kielbasa Sausage
French Bread

Tuesday: Grilled Flat Bread

Wednesday: Out to the Rodeo!

Thursday: Asian Tuna Sandwich

Friday: Pepperoni Stromboli

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken Stuffed with Prosciutto and Fontina

I have made this dish many times and its delicious, quick and easy. I have played with the ingredients and added different herbs, or used whatever cheeseI had on hand. Whatever change I have made, it has been really good. Here is the recipe as written, by Paula Deen. The only problem that I had with it, is the original recipe states to cook the chicken on the stove top the entire time.  I found that it took much longer than stated to cook, sometimes drying out. So to remedy this, I start by cooking it on Med- High in a heavy cast iron skillet. After it's nice and seared, I turn down to Med-Low for about 10 minutes.Then,  I place the whole skillet in a 350 oven and let it finish cooking. About another 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your breasts (haha) and the thickness.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 (4-ounce) piece imported Italian fontina cheese
2 slices imported prosciutto
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sliced portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bunch baby arugula
1/2 fresh lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 350
Place each piece of chicken between 2 sheets of waxed paper and pound them thin with a mallet, the flat of a large knife, or a rolling pin. Trim the rind from the cheese and cut it into 2 thick sticks.
Wrap each stick with a slice of prosciutto and place in the center of each flattened chicken breast. Roll the chicken breast around the prosciutto and cheese to make a sausage shape and secure with toothpicks or butcher's twine. Season the rolls with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Quickly brown the chicken rolls over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and scatter the mushrooms into the pan, sprinkle with wine and rosemary. Cook, turning the chicken rolls frequently, about 10 minutes. *At this point, I would place the whole pan in the oven and bake until chicken is finished, about 10-15 minutes*
When the first bit of cheese begins to seep out, the chicken is done. Remove it from the pan to a cutting board at once. Cut each of the rolls at an angle into 6 slices. Cover to keep warm. Reheat the pan juices, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
To serve arrange the chicken and mushrooms on a bed of arugula leaves tossed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Warm the pan juices and strain them over the chicken
Recipe and Photo: Paula Deen, Food Network

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Corned Beef and Cabbage

It's St. Patricks Day!! We always celebrate St. Patricks Day with a delicious and not so low in calorie Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner. This year, I am trying this new recipe from Melissa d'Arabian.
I like this recipe for several reasons. First- I like to brine my own, and the ingredients in this recipe are simple. I also like the way it is cooked in Stout. My favorite thing about this recipe is the way the cabbage is cooked with the meat and veggies first, and then sauteed with onions and butter. YUM!!

5 pounds corned beef
5 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
10 peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
12 ounces stout (recommended: Guinness)
1 cup beef broth or stock
Water, for simmering
4 yellow onions, cut into wedges, plus 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
6 medium red potatoes, scrubbed
1 medium head green cabbage, cut into quarters, core removed
4 tablespoons butter
*note, I plan to chop some fresh thyme, parsley and rosemary to sprinkle over my red potatoes, as well as a drizzle of evoo*

Rinse the corned beef and put it into a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot. Make a bouquet garni (you can use cheesecloth, or I use coffee filters and tie with kitchen twine) with the garlic, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves and add to the pot. Stir in the stout, stock and enough water to cover the beef by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 4 hours, covered, stirring occasionally.
After 4 hours, add the onion wedges, parsnips, and carrots, and cook for a 1/2 hour. Add the potatoes and the cabbage wedges and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender, but not limp, about 20 minutes. Remove the cabbage to a plate and allow the corned beef and other vegetables to continue cooking until the meat is tender.
In a separate large saute pan, heat 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onion, and a pinch of salt and saute until tender and beginning to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the cabbage thinly, gently pressing with a paper towel to remove excess water. Add the cabbage to the onion mixture and toss to coat well with the butter. Cook over medium heat until the cabbage begins to brown.
Remove the meat to a cutting board and slice. Serve at the table with all the vegetables piled onto a serving tray and the sliced meat onto another tray with some of the broth poured over the meat.
recipe: Food Network, Melissa d'Arabian
photo: same

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tilapia Tostada's with Black Beans

I saw this recipe while watching Melissa d'Arabian's show on Food Network. I thought it looked lovely... and while i didn't have all of the correct ingredients on hand, i had the most important ones... Tilapia and Avocado!
Melissa's is here if you want to check it out.

This is mine:
1 lime, zested and juiced. The limes were so hard at the grocery store today. I had to pop one in the microwave for 15 seconds just to get it going...
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
a couple of tablespoons of EVOO
1 pound Tilapia, cut in 2 inch pieces.

I sauteed my black beans in evoo, some chopped white onion, ground cumin, salt and pepper, and about 1/2 a cup of chicken stock. I started these first, so i could let them soak in all the flavor.

Then I marinated the fish for 15 minutes. and stuck it in the broiler for 7-10 minutes, depending on how big your chunks are.

Fry up some corn tortilla's for your tostada shells, spoon on some of the beans and then the fish pieces and top with your favorite toppings. I put avocado and cilantro, tomato and red onion on mine.

**to those of my friends who DON'T like fish - try the tostada's with just the beans. My kids ate theirs this way (cause they ate the fish before i could put their tostada's together!) and it makes a pretty good meatless dish!

Menu #35

Monday: Fish Taco's
Cole Slaw

Tuesday: Chicken Skewers
Wild Rice

Wednesday: Coq Au Vin

Thursday: Chicken Fried Rice
Egg Rolls

Friday: White Chili with Chicken
Quesadilla's with Green Chile's

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chopped Salsa

Some friends of ours make this 'salsa' at most of their BBQ's. I stole it and made it my own!
I believe they said they got it from Sunset Magazine -- and I searched for it, but couldn't find the official name for it. I try to give credit where credit is due, in this case, I just can't!

So here's what you need:
1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 avocado, diced (but since avocado's turn brown, try not to cut yours up until you are ready to serve!)
1/2 red onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 jicama ( i love jicama!! if you don't know what it is, click here)
2 ears of corn, shaved -or- 1/2 bag frozen corn, thawed

Dressing Ingredients:
a handful of cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 large lime or 2 small limes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup evoo
cumin, toasted (heat a small skillet, pour a couple of teaspoonfuls of cumin and let it heat up... getting it nice and fragrant)
1 T honey
1 tsp garlic salt
-and if you like it to have a little kick, add a couple of drops of cayenne sauce)

Place all veggies on a platter, separated. Then, with a spoon, pour dressing over the top... use as little or as much as you want! (we also use the dressing for a marinade - it is especially good with chicken and shrimp.)

You can pretty much used any 'salsa' ingredient. If you like cotija cheese, I imagine it sprinkled on top is pretty good!

Serve with tortilla chips, in a salad, over steaks, chicken, etc... It's a really easy recipe and looks amazing all laid out of the platter.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

menu #33/34

Monday: Turkey Chili (didn't make it last week)
Monday: Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Thyme
Baked Lemon Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Capers
Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday: Spicy Bow Tie w/ Sausage and Broccoli
Tuesday: Steak Fajita's
Diane's Corn Salad

Wednesday: Southwestern Pulled Brisket
Corn Tortillas
Spanish Rice
Wednesday: Beer Brats on the Grill
Pasta Salad

Thursday: Orange Chicken
Brown Rice
Thursday: Tenderloin Steaks with Chive Butter
Wild Rice and Mushrooms
Greek Salad

Friday: Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter
Baked Potatoes (and more Blue Cheese Butter!!)
Sauteed Spinach
Friday: Out

Saturday: Turkey Burgers & Hot Dogs (bbq!!)

Sunday: Potato, Greens & Goat Cheese Quesadilla
Black Beans

Chicken, Potato, Greens, & Goat Cheese Quesadilla

I am revisiting this post from an earlier post... i feel like it needed a pretty picture.
also, it is a delicious recipe and so easy -- and different!!
try it and let me know what you think!

1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1 1/3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 medium)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/3 cups (packed) coarsely grated hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese (5 to 6 ounces)
1 1/3 cups jarred salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
a handful of coarsely chopped stemmed spinach/arugula (from 1 bunch), divided
4 8-inch-diameter flour tortillas
3 ounces chilled fresh goat cheese (i have used feta before) coarsely crumbled
Olive oil

Steam/boil potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes. Place in large bowl; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss to coat.

Arrange tortillas on work surface. Divide greens between bottom half of each. Top greens with sliced, chicken, potato mixture, jack cheese, then goat cheese and 2 tablespoons salsa mixture for each. Fold plain tortilla halves over filling, pressing to compact. Brush with oil.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas, oiled side down, in skillet. Brush tops with oil. Cook until quesadillas are brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 quesadillas.

Cut each quesadilla into 3 or 4 wedges. Serve with remaining salsa.

the idea came from a bon appetit march 2007 issue - i've revised it, added chicken and instead of mustard greens, i chose spinach or arugula.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Baked Lemon Pasta

Last week i made this for the family -- i got the idea from Ree Drumond's recipe (from The Pioneer Woman Cooks) but made a few substitutions and add-ins. (p.s. she takes beautiful pictures of her food -- and the method for each ingredient! check it out by clicking on the link!)

I also added another 'tag' to our list of labels... 'rotisserie-chicken-shortcut' -- I usually try to buy a rotisserie chicken on the day i grocery shop. it makes for an easy meal prep! so start looking for new dishes you can use a rotisserie chicken for dinner!

here are The Pioneer Woman's ingredients: (mine are italicized and bold)
1 pound Thin Spaghetti (i used linguine)
4 Tablespoons Salted Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Lemon, Juiced And Zested
2 cups Sour Cream (i used heavy whipping cream, my husband HATES sour cream!)
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt, Or More To Taste
Plenty Of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped (i used fresh rosemary)
Extra Lemon Juice
1 rotisserie chicken, sliced


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente.

In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.

Add sour cream (or whipping cream) and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)

When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley (or rosemary). Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

I then topped it with the sliced rotisserie chicken, you could - of course - cook a couple of chicken breasts in place of a rotisserie!

Serve with crusty French bread and a simple green salad.