Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Curry Meatballs

I love curry. Spicy, mild, Indian, Thai, Japanese curry...it's all good! I love spicy curry, but because I want my boys to eat what I make, I can't make my dishes too spicy. These turned out pretty good but would recommend making a sauce to go with it. Next time, I'll make a side of curry sauce or serve with Sweet Chili Sauce. Yum.

My fam LOVED this!


I ate four meatballs...Hubby and my boys ate the rest!
We enjoyed this with a side of rice, orange bell peppers and a salad. :)

Curry Turkey Meatballs

Yield: 20+ turkey meatballs

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or ground beef)
  • 1/2 med red onion (used brown onion)
  • 2-4 tsp curry powder (or Madras curry)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In large bowl, combine all ingredients (except for olive oil). Mix until mixed well.
  3. Roll into 20+ meatballs. I used Pampered Chef's Medium Scoop to make the meatballs. 
  4. Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Cook in batches till browned on all sides. Transfer to baking dish and bake for 15-20 mins or till cooked through. ENJOY!
Source: Adapted from Life's Ambrosia.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Banana Bars

My Costco bananas were really ripe and ready to become a baked good of some sort. My boys asked for banana bread but I wanted to try something different. I found a recipe for banana oat bars. It's a healthy treat and the boys especially loved this because of the sweet chocolate chips. Delicious!

Bananalicious!

Healthy? Yeah, I think so!

Sweet stuff...because everybody needs a little chocolate in their diet. :)

Banana Bars

Yield: 8x8", 16 squares

Ingredients:
  • 3 med-large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 c quick oats
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/3 c flax seeds
  • 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In large bowl, combine bananas, vanilla and apple sauce.
  3. In another bowl, mix oats, flour, flax seeds, cinnamon, salt and baking powder until combined well.
  4. Add to banana mixture and mix well. Gently fold in chocolate and cranberries.
  5. Press mixture into prepared 8x8" dish.
  6. Bake for 30 mins. Let cool 5-10 mins then cut into 12 bars.
Source: Adapted from steph chows.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Carnitas

I love Mexican food and I love carnitas. Several years ago, a friend mentioned how easy it is to make carnitas in the crock pot. When I asked her for the recipe, she looked at me with disbelief and said she didn't really have a recipe. She said to add pork, seasonings, diced green chilis and a little vinegar to a crock pot and let it cook for 6-8 hours. Yes, super simple indeed, however, I changed it up just a little bit after talking to another friend about tender, juicy carnitas. Now I have the perfect recipe! I love carnitas on its own, as a salad topper, in soup, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, etc.. Oh, the possibilities...yum yum!

Moist and delicious.

Carnitas

Yield: 8+ servings

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 lb pork tenderloin (I used pork sirloin tip roast from Costco and it was the juiciest carnitas EVER!)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • handful of cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 10-16 oz salsa (I used smokey chipole salsa)
Directions:
  1. In med-large stock pot, heat 1 tsp oil over med-high heat. Saute onion for 3-4 mins. Then add garlic and saute for another 1-2 mins. Set aside.
  2. In same stock pot, heat remaining 1 tsp oil over med-high heat. Add pork and brown all sides.
  3. Top with chopped cilantro then pour salsa over top of pork.
  4. Turn down to low heat and simmer for 4 hours or more depending on size of pork.
  5. When done, shred pork using two forks. It should pull apart very easily.
Note: If you have leftovers, freeze small portions in ziploc bags. I always have a small baggie in my freezer so I can quickly and easily add a little protein to soup or add to breakfast burritos. YUM!

Source: Adapted from Lesley and Kat.

Friday, March 26, 2010

7-Up Cake

A couple years ago, my Hubby's 90 year old Great Aunt told me she used to bake her son cakes using 7-Up in lieu of eggs due to his allergies. She claimed that a can of 7-Up and a box of cake mix would make a nice, moist cake. Because I've been experimenting with other egg replacers and I never have 7-Up in the house, I never tried it. Great Aunt also baked these cakes many years ago so I wasn't sure if the 7-Up cake would really work out. Last week, my vegan friend mentioned using Diet 7-Up to bake a cake so I was excited to try it out. It was time to give it a go!

I wanted a festive cake for our couples' game night event so it was a good time to try the 7-Up cake. I should've done a trial cake first but I decided to just go for it. If it didn't turn out, I figured I could toss it or save it for my boys. I made a whipped cream filling with sliced strawberries and topped it with dark chocolate frosting. It was DELICIOUS! My friends were AMAZED that I baked a cake with 7-Up. Honestly...I was amazed, too. :) It was easy to whip together, it's a "healthier" version of cake without oil and eggs and it tasted GREAT!

I could've baked the cake for another 2-3 mins and I definitely should've let it cool completely before removing it from the pan. I was pressed for time, and in my rush, a bit of the center crumbled.

But...I pulled it off!

I added breast cancer pink ribbon sprinkles.
This 7-up cake was a HIT!

7-Up Cake

Yield: 9" round cake (or pan of choice)

Ingredients:
  • Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow cake mix (I believe any boxed cake mix will work.)
  • 1 can 7-Up (12 oz)
  • dark chocolate frosting (or frosting of choice)
whipped cream filling:
  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbs sugar
  • 1 c strawberries, sliced
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Pour cake mix into mixing bowl, add 7-Up and mix well using hand mixer.
  3. Spray baking dish with oil and pour into prepared batter.
  4. Bake 29-33 mins (more or less depending on pan used). Check for doneness using toothpick.
  5. Make whipped cream filling, add sliced strawberries and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  6. Cool completely before removing from pan. When cooled, add whipped cream/strawberry layer, assemble top layer of cake and then add frosting. ENJOY!!!
Source: Inspired by Hubby's Great Aunt

Thursday, March 25, 2010

White Sauce Enchiladas

I'm still trying to figure out how to make the white sauce that's served on the enchiladas at Amigos in Bishop, CA. We eat there every time we head up to Mammoth. It's SOOO good! I like to try new dishes, but every now and then, I'm drawn back to their white sauce enchiladas. I want to replicate that sauce! 

Last month, I made white enchiladas with bechamel sauce. That was good but not the same white sauce from Amigos that I was craving. I came up with another version of white sauce to see if I could come close to Amigos' sauce. The sauce I made is similar but definitely not the same. I'm getting close though! This sour cream sauce was DELICIOUS!

Hubby and I hosted a couples' game night and we had so much fun with our friends. The guys played poker and the girls played other games. We had a blast! Because it was a last minute decision to make enchiladas for the group, I didn't have a chance to do a trial run to see how the sauce would turn out. Luckily, our friends LOVED this. I'm so glad it got rave reviews!

Enchiladas are rolled and ready for the oven. 

Lots of compliments on the enchiladas. :) YAY!!!

Add salsa verde and serve with a side of Mexican Salad.
MMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!
¡Muy delicioso!

White Sauce Enchiladas with Chicken

Yield: 10 enchiladas

Ingredients:
  • 10 flour tortillas (fajita size)
  • 1-2 c shredded jack cheese
  • 1- 28 oz can green enchilada sauce 
  • cooking spray
sauce:
  • 2-3 c green enchilada sauce
  • 2 c nonfat sour cream
filling:
  • 2-3 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I used a whole baked chicken)
  • 1- 15.5 oz can corn (or black beans, hominy, bell peppers...pretty much anything!)
  • 1 c green enchilada sauce (or enough to wet the chicken and corn mixture)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray 9x13" baking dish with oil.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  3. In large bowl, add filling ingredients and mix well. Pour a little green enchilada sauce to coat bottom of dish.
  4. Put ~1/3 c filling into one end of tortilla and roll it. Place in baking dish, seam-side down. Roll remaining tortillas and place in dish.
  5. Top with white sauce to cover enchiladas and bake uncovered on middle rack for 20-25 mins.
  6. Turn off oven, remove dish, top with cheese and place back in warm oven for 5-7 mins to melt cheese. 
  7. Top with guacamole, smokey chipotle salsa, black bean/corn dip or hot sauce. ENJOY!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Honey White Bread

So far, I've made two kinds of sandwich bread. The first was Honey Wheat Bread and the second was Walter's White Bread. My fam loves both. I wanted to combine the two so I gave it a shot. It was a little dense but we thought it was great. Maybe the yeast didn't do its job and make the bread rise. I've never had a problem with yeast breads but maybe that was the "problem" with the first go at this new recipe.

I made this bread a second time and it turned out better. It was super good! YUM!

Yes, one loaf is bigger but they both taste great!

I ate a slice of plain toast so I could enjoy the flavor of the bread.
It was tasty!

Honey White Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients: 
  • 2 c warm water
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1 1/2 tbs active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c nonfat dry milk granules
  • 4 c flour
  • 2 c bread flour
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, warm water for 2 mins or until warm. Make sure it's not too hot or it'll kill the yeast. It not warm enough, the yeast will not do its job. Dissolve honey in warm water and then add yeast. Set aside 10 mins or until yeast resembles creamy foam.
  2. Mix salt and milk granules into yeast. 
  3. Add 6 c flour to stand mixer bowl. Using paddle attachment, turn on low and mix the flours. Slowly add yeast/milk mixture until both come together as a ball. Remove paddle and use dough hook attachment. Knead dough about 10 mins or until smooth. You should have a ball in the bowl and it shouldn't be too sticky or wet. Use a little more flour if needed.
  4. Place in well oiled bowl, turn once to coat entire surface of dough with oil. Cover with clean, damp cotton cloth.
  5. Allow dough to rise about 1 hr or until doubled in size. Let rise in warm area free of drafts.
  6. Punch dough down. Knead for few mins and divide in half.
  7. Shape into loaves and place into two well oiled 9x5 loaf pans, seam-side down.
  8. Allow to rise for 30 mins.
  9. Bake at 350F for 25 mins. When you thump top of bread, it should sound hollow.
  10. When done, immediately remove from bread pans and cool on wire rack.
  11. Brush hot loaves with butter (optional).
  12. When completely cool, slice bread, place in ziploc bag and store in fridge. I always freeze the second loaf without slicing. When I'm ready for second loaf, I put it in the fridge and let it thaw overnight. Then I slice the next day when totally thawed. ENJOY!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Baked Salmon

I picked up a couple things for my Mom at Costco. Since she was at my house, she helped me with the kids while I put dinner together. That was nice. Real nice! She also made a Chinese-style salad dressing for me while I made the wine sauce. The boys love that sweet dressing and will eat up all their salad and veggies with that dressing on it. 

The kids were hoping the salmon I bought was going to be served as salmon sushi. They love making their own little handrolls but that's something we do at my Mom's house. I baked the salmon with slices of lemon and served it with wine sauce. The best part about making wine sauce is enjoying a glass while I make it. :)

Baked salmon with lemon slices. Yum yum.

Serve with blanched spinach and a salad. DELISH!

Baked Salmon with Wine Sauce

Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients:
  • salmon fillet (I used one from Costco)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • dill weed
sauce:
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1/3 c white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with edges with aluminum foil. Spray with oil.
  3. Place salmon on prepared sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with lemon slices.
  4. Bake for 15-20 mins. Then, I set oven to broil and broiled for about 5 mins to brown the top.
  5. While salmon is baking, prepare sauce. Melt butter over med-low heat, add garlic and cook for 2-3 mins. Add wine and cook for 6-8 mins or until sauce is reduced by half. 
  6. Place salmon on plate and pour wine sauce over top. Sprinkle with dill weed and eat immediately. ENJOY!
Source: Adapted from Life's Ambrosia

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chuck Roast Chili

Last Oct., I went to a Halloween/birthday party in our neighborhood. It was a potluck party and we ended up with four different chilis. It felt like a chili cook-off with the various chili and cornbread spread. There was a vegan, mild, medium and my favorite was the spicy, "everything-in-it" chili. That spicy chili was the BEST! It had several different meats in it, a variety of beans and lots of flavor. YUM! I will have to get that recipe...

I used chuck roast in my chili and it was melt-in-your-mouth delish. I thought the beef would be tough but it was perfect. I'm not sure why I opted for chili because it was a warm day today but I'm glad I made it. I wish I had prepped it in the morning so it had the entire day to simmer for best flavor. Even with the measly 2.5 hr cook time, I LOVED this! I thought I ate the best chili last Oct. but this is a really close runner-up. :) 

Because the chili turned out a little soupier than I like, I changed the recipe a bit the second time around and it turned out great. Updated recipe is posted below.

This was so good I had seconds!

Chuck Roast Chili

Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 lbs chuck roast, bite-size chunks
  • 2-3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced (Red, orange, green or red would taste great, too.)
  • 1- 16 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1- 15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1- 7 oz can green chiles, diced (If you want heat, add sliced jalapenos WITH the seeds.)
  • 1- 16 oz chili beans (do not drain)
  • 1- 16 oz kidney beans (drain)
  • 1- 16 oz white beans (drain)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tbs cumin powder
  • 4 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbs vinegar
topping ideas:
  • diced onion 
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • crackers
  • hot sauce
  • sliced jalapeƱos (fresh or pickled jalapeƱos from the jar are great, too)
  • cornbread
  • rice
Directions:
  1. In large Dutch oven over med-high, heat oil. Add beef and cook for 3-5 mins, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Saute for 3-5 mins.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chiles and beans. Stir well.
  4. Add spices and vinegar and stir. Cover and simmer 6+ hrs on stove top. If you prefer, you can choose to cook in oven at 250F or transfer chili to crock pot and cook on low.
  5. Stir the chili really well before dishing into bowls. Add toppings, serve with cornbread and ENJOY!
TIP: This makes A LOT of chili so when it comes to room temp, put small portions in a ziploc bag or airtight container and freeze it. That way, the next time you have a hankering for chili, the work's already done. Put the frozen chili in the fridge and it'll thaw within a day or two. If you want to eat it immediately, take it out of the ziploc, cover dish, and warm it slowly in the microwave at 50% power.  

Source: Adapted from For the Love of Cooking

Friday, March 19, 2010

Apple Pear Crisp

The boys go to bed between 7:00 and 7:30 so I feel it's better to eat early so they have time to digest their food before going to bed. Makes sense, right? Because we ate dinner super early, the boys were ready for their second dinner by 6pm. Instead of giving them another full meal, I made them dessert. We usually eat fruit for dessert, but every now and then, I like to treat them to something different. Tonight, I sweetened it up and made an apple pear crisp. They loved the change and the sweet, crunchy topping.

The boys were ready to dig in so my photo isn't the best.
I'll just have to make it again so I can take better pics.  :)

Apple Pear Crisp

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, sliced thin
  • 2 Bosc Pears, sliced
  • 2/3 c dried cranberries
  • 4 tbs flour
  • 1 c bran flakes cereal, crushed
  • 1/4 c quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1-2 tbs butter
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven at 375F.
  2. Grease 2 qt baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In med-large bowl, mix apples, pears, cranberries and 2 tbs flour. Spread into prepared dish.
  4. In small bowl, mix remaining flour, cereal, oatmeal, sugar and cinnamon. Use pastry blender to cut in butter.
  5. Spread mixture over fruit and bake 35-40 mins.
  6. Serve on its own or with ice cream or whipped cream for an added sweet treat.
Source: Adapted from South Coast Farms' recipe.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Baked Halibut

Wow! This halibut is really good. Tasty stuff for sure and the fam LOVED this. My boys really enjoy eating all the great food I've been cooking up for them. Son #1 LOVES to eat and doesn't know when to stop sometimes. I know he's growing and needs to refuel, but there are times when he eats so much that he'll end up with a stomach ache. I'm cooking in smaller portions and putting away the extras if I'm making a double batch of something. That way, we stick to "normal-sized" portions.

The sauce was delicious.

A perfect portion served with a warm beet salad.

Baked Halibut with Garlicky Sour Cream Sauce

Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients:
  • halibut fillet (mine was just under 1 lb)
  • salt and pepper to taste
sauce:
  • 3 tbs nonfat sour cream
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dill weed
  • 2 tbs parmesan cheese
  • 4 green onions, chopped (reserve a little for garnish)
Directions:
  1. Blot halibut dry with paper towels. Place in baking dish (my fillet fit in an 8x8" dish) and let halibut come to room temp while you prep sauce. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In small bowl, stir together sauce ingredients. Spread evenly over top of fish.
  3. Bake 20-30 mins until internal temp reaches 145F or until fish feels firm. Mine took 25 mins to cook through. Dish out fillet, sprinkle with remaining chopped green onions and serve immediately. ENJOY!
Source: Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Foodie Blog 'n Soup

I started my foodie blog at Hubby's suggestion and Meghan's blog at You're Gonna Bake It After All is one of the first ones I found online. She's also the first blogger I ever emailed and the first blog I ever posted a comment on. She's even posted comments on my blog and makes me feel like I'm doing something right here. Thanks, Meghan!

Even though I'm Internet savvy (I have to be since we run an online snowboard shop), I seriously had no idea about the HUGE foodie community out there. There are TONS of GREAT recipes out there. When I started my blog, my goal was to try something new at least 5 times a week and to try new recipes from my numerous cookbooks. I never got around to cookbook cooking because I found everything I wanted through foodgawker. When friends kept telling me about the movie Julie and Julia and commenting that my blogging reminded them of the movie, I had to watch it. Yeah, my goal was not unique...LOL!

I had organic celery and potatoes leftover from my CSA basket. The fastest way to eat them up was to make a soup with the veggies. I roasted the celery, boiled the potatoes and then processed them in a food processor. Easy and delicious. This was my first attempt at potato soup. It was great!

I made this soup with turkey bacon...it was GOOD!

Celery, Potato and Turkey Bacon Soup

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2.5 c chicken stock
  • 1 whole celery bunch
  • 6-8 slices turkey bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs garlic
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed and boiled 
  • 1/2 c milk (I used half and half)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • curly parsley, chopped
  • cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
Directions:
  1. Leave branches whole and roast celery at 350F for 20-30 mins. Let cool, remove "strings," dice and set aside.
  2. Cube potatoes, boil till fully cooked, drain and set aside.
  3. In stock pot over med-high heat, cook turkey bacon. Set aside and keep warm in bowl. 
  4. In same pot, cook onions, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 mins. 
  5. When done, CAREFULLY process veggies using a hand immersion blender if you have one. I used a food processor. Process celery (strain out stock) with caution to avoid a soup explosion. Trust me. I got burns on my chest and arms the first time I tried to blend soup! Blend until smooth. Return the pureed celery to the stock pot. Stir well.
  6. Puree the potatoes and add back to soup when smooth. Leave a few potato chunks for texture if you'd like. Stir well to mix potatoes into the stock for a smooth consistency.
  7. Add cooked turkey bacon and milk. Stir well and heat through. 
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dish into serving bowl and garnish with chopped parsley. Add a little shredded cheddar cheese if you'd like. ENJOY!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Balsamic Vinegar Pork

I wanted a simple meal so I marinated pork tenderloin and it turned out great. This is the perfect dinner to put together at the last minute.

My Mom's on a vinegar kick so I came up with this marinade. I don't know where she's getting her info from but she says that a daily intake of vinegar is good for your health. I'll just roll with it and add vinegar to our meals when I can. :)

Round out your meal with salad and veggies. 

Balsamic Vinegar Pork

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4 pork tenderloins
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
Directions:
  1. Marinate pork in vinegar and garlic for 2+ hrs.
  2. Grill 5 mins per side until done.
  3. Serve with salad, soup, veggies, etc.. Simple and delicious...ENJOY!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lemon Juice "Cubelets"

I asked my friend for a couple of lemons from her bountiful Meyer lemon tree and she gave me four beautiful Meyer lemons. I LOVE Meyer lemons as they're so juicy and have such a great aroma. I juiced the lemons using my awesome Pampered Chef Citrus Press and put it in a glass jar. It was really nice to have fresh juice readily available and I used quite a bit in my recipes throughout the week. 

As I was getting more lemons from my friend, she suggested freezing the lemon juice in an ice cube tray so I can use a cube as needed when cooking. I have a mini ice cube tray that's perfect for the lemon juice. The "cubelets" hold about 1 tsp of liquid so it's the perfect amount for lemon juice. I can add fresh lemon juice in my recipes anytime. The cubelets are small enough that they'll melt within a minute or less. Easy. :)

They're the size of gumdrops and oh so cute. :) 

Lemon Juice Cubelets

Squeeze lemon juice and freeze in mini cube tray. When frozen, put cubes into a ziploc to keep fresh. Use whenever a recipe calls for lemon juice or add a couple of cubelets to your glass of water. Yum, right?

Source:  Inspired by JB.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

It must've been my trip to IKEA because I had Swedish Meatballs on the brain. I don't even remember the last time I ate Swedish Meatballs so to crave them suddenly was a bit odd. As far as I know, the only place that serves them is IKEA and I was not about to do another trip up there. 

I had ground turkey so I rolled my own "meatballs" for the first time. I usually have Costco's frozen Italian Meatballs in my freezer for quick dinners, but since I'm out, I made turkey "meatballs" instead. They were tasty!

My very first "meatballs." They turned out pretty good.

We LOVE sauce!

I drizzled some sauce on the pasta, too. YUMMY!

Swedish Meatballs

Yield: 6-8 servings (or ~24 "meat" balls)

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c bread crumbs (I used panko)
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs ginger, minced (It's not a typical swedish meatball ingredient, but I had it so I added it.)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
sauce:
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/8 c flour
  • 1/2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 1/2 c heavy cream (I used half and half)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Combine panko and milk. Set aside.
  2. In large skillet, heat a little oil and saute onions, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper for 3-4 mins. Set aside when cooked through.
  3. In stand mixer bowl, combine turkey, bread crumb/milk mixture and sauteed veggies. 
  4. Form 1 oz sized balls. You'll probably make about 24.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  6. In same onion skillet, heat a little oil over med-high heat. Cook "meatballs" in batches until browned on all sides. Transfer to baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 18-20 mins or until cooked through.
  8. While "meatballs" are baking, prepare sauce. Use same skillet, melt butter, add flour and whisk together for 2-3 mins. Add remaining ingredients and continue to whisk to ensure flour does not clump up. Simmer until you get desired sauce consistency. The longer the simmer, the thicker the sauce.
  9. Add meatballs to sauce, stir gently and simmer for 3-4 mins. Serve immediately. 
Source: Adapted from food is luv

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Parsley Pesto

I got curly parsley in my CSA basket and wasn't sure what to do with it. I've gotten parsley as a garnish on my plate at plenty of restaurants but I've never really eaten it other than a bite here and there. According to an email I received from South Coast Farms, "Parsley is useful as a digestive aid. It's an anti-carcinogen and contains three times as much vitamin C as oranges and twice as much iron as spinach. It's also a natural breath freshener." Sounds good to me!

South Coast Farms sends out an email with 3-4 recipes to go with some of the basket contents. I adapted their parsley pesto so that Son #2 with treenut allergies could enjoy it, too. He LOVED this!

Different and delicious!

Parsley pesto pasta served with sauteed chicken sausage, onions and broccoli.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped (I used roasted and salted sunflower seeds due to son's allergies)
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c packed fresh Italian Parsley (I used Italian Parsley and Curly Parsley)
  • 1/4 c vegetable broth (I used chicken stock)
  • 6 cloves garlic (I used 1 tbs minced garlic)
  • 1 tbs plain unseasoned bread crumbs (I used 2 tbs panko)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt or to taste (I omitted since the sunflower seeds were salted)
  • 16 oz spaghettini or other thin pasta
Directions:
  1. In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process all ingredients except the pasta. Process until smooth.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/4 c of the water, then drain pasta in colander.
  3. Place pasta in large serving bowl, add parsley-sunflower pesto and the reserved water. Toss well to combine and serve immediately. ENJOY!
Source: Adapted from South Coast Farms' recipe

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Coconut Curry Chicken

I LOVE Thai food. I actually love ALL foods spicy, but I love, love, LOVE every dish that our local Thai restaurant, Thai Paradise in San Clemente, serves. It's a family-owned, hole-in-the-wall restaurant and everything they serve is absolutely DELICIOUS! Everything is just...well...DEEEEELISH!!!

I love curry and I love coconut so it's not a surprise that I absolutely LOVE coconut curry chicken. YUMMMMMMM!!! I used regular curry powder so I could feed my kids this dish, too. They ate it up! Next time, I'll set aside a small batch for the boys and then kick up the heat with Madras curry powder for Hubby and myself. If I had a little more time, I would've thickened the sauce and added more curry but it was really great as is. :) I'm positive the curry would've been better on Day 2 after the flavors had a chance to meld together but we didn't have any leftovers to prove it. It was that good!

This dish is fast and easy to put together. I had to prep a quick meal before the cabinet guy and contractor came over. Since I've been cooking so much, a kitchen remodel may be in our near future. I'm SO excited! I'm quadruple crossing fingers and toes hoping that we can make this happen. :)

My picture does NOT do this dish justice. 
This was good. Real good.

Coconut Curry Chicken

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4-5 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbs curry powder (use Madras Curry if you love spicy curry)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1- 15oz can light coconut milk
  • 1 c fresh *basil chiffonade
  • **rice
Directions:
  1. Prepare **rice.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in large non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and saute 3-4 mins. Add basil and stir for 1 min. Set aside in bowl and keep warm.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in same skillet over med-high heat. Add garlic, curry powder and salt and stir for 1 min. 
  4. Add chicken and stir fry for 4-5 mins.
  5. Add coconut milk, stir constantly and cook another 4-5 mins or until chicken is done. Stir in *basil chiffonade and mix well.
  6. Serve over rice. Curry is great over noodles, too. 
Notes: *Basil chiffonade is a fancy term for "wash, dry and stack your basil leaves, roll lengthwise into tight roll and use a super sharp knife to cut crosswise into pretty little strips." :)

TIP: **Tips learned from my Mom...If using short-grain "sticky" rice, wash rice well till water is no longer cloudy. Water should be clear before you cook the rice. Once water is clean and clear, let sit for 15-20+ mins before you cook. When rice is cooked, immediately "fluff" using a rice paddle/spoon. Give the rice a good stir but don't smash down. :) Optional: add rice wine vinegar to flavor rice...like sushi rice. 

Source: Adapted from You're Gonna Bake it After All

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Swiss Chard

I got another beautiful bunch of swiss chard in my CSA basket. I LOVE that stuff! Like spinach, when you saute the chard, the amount is reduced by about half so it seems like a more manageable portion to eat when cooked up. :)

There was a little marsala sauce left in my skillet from the pork marsala so I gave the chard a quick saute. It turned out GREAT! My Hubby is not a big veggie eater yet he ate 2-3 nibbles of the chard so I KNOW it was delish!

I love greens.

I love chard on its own but this portion got tossed into some bow tie pasta. Yums.


Swiss Chard with Garlic Marsala Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, washed and chopped
sauce:
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 2 tbs Marsala wine
Directions:
  1. In med-large skillet, heat sauce ingredients for 2 mins over med heat. 
  2. Add chard and saute for 1 min. Turn off heat and continue to stir chard in the sauce.
  3. Eat as is or enjoy with pasta.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pork Marsala

When I feel like we're coming down with something, I cook with extra garlic. I consider it nature's antibiotic and I believe it's kept us very healthy thus far. Whoa, I really sound like my Mom but I finally believe her after all these years. Garlic definitely has its benefits.

Illnesses for Hubby and Son #2 always start by late Oct., however, this year they've both stayed healthy. Son #2 had a sinus infection a couple weeks ago but that's it. Nothing else. Even with H1N1 (he could not get inoculated due to his severe egg allergy) and all the other ickies that go around at the schools, my boys have stayed healthy. Thank goodness!

We may reek of garlic but that's a small price to pay for good health. :) I always cook with garlic, but when I know a cold or some other illness is inevitable, I add TONS of garlic to our meals. I've been a bit congested, so rather than going to the Dr. right away, I made a meal with extra garlic. The pork tenderloin with garlic marsala sauce was just what I needed. I sauteed a little swiss chard in the same sauce and tossed it with the bow ties. YUM!

This hit the spot.

Pork Marsala

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4 pork tenderloins (1/2" slices)
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs flat Italian parsley, chopped
sauce:
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice, fresh 
  • 1 c Marsala wine
Directions:
  1. Lightly flour pork tenderloins.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat.
  3. Add pork and cook 3-4 mins per side till browned.
  4. Remove from skillet, cover and keep warm.
  5. Add garlic to skillet and cook 1-2 mins. Add wine and cook 3 mins.
  6. Add pork back to garlic wine sauce and cook 3-4 mins until pork is cooked through and the sauce is cooked down a bit.
  7. When plating the pork, pour some sauce on top and sprinkle with parsley. ENJOY!
TIP: If you're sick more often than not, add a little garlic to your meals. Changing our diet has helped us maintain good health. Even my 6 year old who has asthma and a weakened immune system has managed to stay very healthy this winter season. YAY!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wellness & Candied Carrots

What you put in your body is your fuel, and in order to "run right," you need to feed it properly. My goal is for my boys to understand how important it is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for a balanced diet. When I serve a fruit or veggie they don't particularly care for, we talk about the benefits of it, and they'll always eat 3-4 bites for me. They're very good eaters so I know I'm getting my message across. :) I believe what you feed your body helps maintain good health and helps fend off illnesses, too. Whole foods = healthy bodies. Makes sense to me!

I'm also making healthier food choices because I registered for my second AVON Walk for Breast Cancer walk. Last July, I walked 39.3 miles in San Francisco, and this Sept., I'll walk 39.3 miles in Santa Barbara. I'll raise a minimum of $1800 to participate but I hope to raise much more. Here's a link to my fundraising page. I hope you believe in my cause and will donate towards my walk. A donation does not need to be a large amount. Every bit helps and it all adds up. I thank you in advance! I'm walking for Deanna (1970-2010), my Mom (Survivor) and every woman in my life as we all deserve to be cancer-free.

I must say how happy I am that I signed up for CSA baskets again. I stopped getting baskets a few years ago because I was the only one eating the veggies. It was challenging for me to eat everything by myself so some of it would spoil and go to waste. Now that my boys are older and eating more, we're eating all the veggies and even my Hubby is taking a small nibble here and there. YAY!

This week in my bountiful basket, I received the following: navel oranges, blood oranges, apples, pears, meyer lemon, chard, red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, tatsoi, kale, broccoli, beets, onion, carrots, celery, curly parsley, potatoes, beets and an avocado. Yum, right? As soon as I got home, I washed all the veggies and prepped them before putting them away. Yes, cleaning, washing, drying, and putting all the veggies away was tedious but definitely time well spent. Prepping everything takes up less valuable fridge space and having veggies prepped makes them easily accessible and at the ready for munching. :) Now when I want a salad, all I have to do is chop up a few lettuce leaves and throw in the extras to make a nice salad. Talk about EASY! And because the carrots and celery are washed, cut and saved in tupperware-type containers, we grab 'em and munch on 'em anytime we please. I'm telling you, prepping your veggies like this WILL make sure you eat them up. Also, something my Mom shared with me a while back is to wash the lettuce leaves, dry them, stack them on a paper towel (2 squares long) then roll them up and place in a ziploc bag. The paper towel keeps the lettuce fresh and will last up to 2 wks when saved like this.

I had beautiful organic carrots leftover from my first basket and more carrots from this week so I baked them. I knew we'd eat them up faster if they were sweetened and baked. Maybe this isn't a unique side dish but it was new for us. What's not to like about a little sugar and butter? These were delicious!

These are simple and VERY tasty!

Candied Carrots

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
  • carrots (6-8 regular sized carrots)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 tbs brown sugar
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Wash, peel and cut carrots into quarters/sticks.
  2. Place carrots in foil pouch on baking sheet.
  3. Add butter and sugar, close up pouch and bake for 20-30 mins.
  4. ENJOY!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sake/Soy Chicken

Two weeks ago, I finally opened our magnum-sized bottle of sake that we received from family a few years back. I have some recipes that call for 1-3 tablespoons of sake, but with amounts like that, it'll take forever to get through my bottle. I was really happy when I found a recipe for Crispy Skin Sake Chicken with Ginger Sauce because the marinade requires one cup of sake. I'm finally going to make a dent in our bottle of good sake! Well...kind of...

When Hubby came home from work, he said the house smelled great. When he asked what I was making, I nonchalantly answered, "Crispy 'Snake Skin' Chicken." You should've seen the look on his face! I had to explain that every time I glanced at the recipe title, my crazy eyes kept reading "Crispy Snake Skin Chicken." Yum, right? Haha! I suppose I can't knock it till I try it. :)

Hubby loves skin-on, dark meat chicken so he really enjoyed this meal. I'm not a fan of chicken skin but it worked well for this dish. Crispy skin, tender chicken and a wonderful garlicky soy flavor. Great stuff!

I baked with the skin side up.
For best results, don't crowd the chicken.

Care to try Crispy "Snake Skin" Chicken? LOL! It's DELICIOUS!

Sake/Soy Chicken

Yield: 6 servings, 2 pieces each

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or legs (KEY= skin-on)
marinade:
  • 1 c sake
  • 1 c soy sauce
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
Directions:
  1. Mix sauce ingredients in ziploc/airtight container used for marinating the chicken. Add the chicken, cover and marinate 8+ hrs or overnight.
  2. SLOW cooking method (1 - 1 1/2 hrs) - Preheat oven to 350F. Place chicken (without the marinade) into roasting pan and bake for 1 hr. After initial hour, check every 15 mins until skin is golden and crispy. Since my chicken was a little crowded in the dish, I broiled it for 3-5 mins to give the chicken a final "crisp." Watch carefully to avoid burning the chicken and/or skin.
  3. FAST cooking method (45 mins - 1 hr) - Preheat oven to 500F. Place chicken (without the marinade) into roasting pan and bake for 30 mins. Reduce temp to 350 and bake for another 15-30 mins. Chicken is done when it's golden and the skin is crisp. If your chicken needs a "final crisp," broil 3-5 mins till golden brown.
Source: Adapted from Week of Menus 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Roasted Radishes and Greens

I must admit that when I saw the big bundle of beautiful red radishes in my CSA basket, I considered swapping them for something else. Because I picked up my basket on the later side, the items in the trade-in basket included several bunches of radishes. Obviously, others weren't fond of radishes, either. I like radishes, I really do, but there are only so many you can eat in a sitting. I like them whole on their own or sliced in my salads but I was nervous about getting "stuck" with eating the whole bunch by myself. I certainly don't need to eat that many radishes. My kids have tried them in the past but thought they were too spicy so I knew I couldn't count on them to help me out. What to do, what to do...

Well, while I was at the farm, I decided to keep ALL my fruits and veggies and look for recipes later. I knew that'd be a great opportunity to expand my veggie horizon and try new dishes that I normally wouldn't try on my own. These baskets are going to "force" us to eat more veggies...I LOVE IT! Bring on the veggie challenge!

After the fruits and veggies were put away, I went on my fave recipe site, foodgawker.com, to look for a radish recipe. I knew there had to be something I could do with them other than eating them raw. I wanted to serve them so my fam would eat them, too. I found a recipe! Big thanks to The Bitten Word for posting the recipe. They rocked my radish world and I got the kids to eat radishes with me. YAY! My 8 yr old liked the radishes but didn't care for the greens, however, my 6 yr old and I ate this dish up, greens and all! Delish!

Roasting the radishes mellowed out the spiciness.

Roasted Radishes and Radish Greens

Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 bunches small radishes with greens
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice (I forgot to add this)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.*
  2. Wash radishes and the greens really well and pat dry. Remove greens from stems, chop and set aside. Cut radishes in half but cut into quarters if you don't want any hint of radish spice.*
  3. In medium-sized ovenproof skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Add radishes, salt and pepper and cook about 3-4 mins until lightly browned.
  4. Transfer skillet to oven and roast radishes for 15 mins or until crisp-tender.
  5. Return skillet back to burner and add butter. Add radish greens and stir well in the butter/radish mixture. Cook about 2 mins or until radish greens are wilted.
  6. Add lemon juice, season with a little more salt if needed and serve immediately. ENJOY!
Notes: The Bitten Word roasted radishes at 500F and mentioned the radishes lost their spicy zing and ended up tasting like roasted turnips. I still wanted a hint of zip for myself so I left my bigger radishes halved but quartered the others so they would cook through for my kids. I knew they would eat non-spicy roasted radishes...and they did. :)

Source: Adapted from The Bitten Word

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pork Tenderloin

Dinner plans consisted of grilling pork tenderloin but I wasn't sure what "flavor" I wanted so I checked the contents of my fridge for ideas. I have lots of veggies from my CSA basket so I picked swiss chard for a stir fried veggie dish and figured the Hoisin Sauce would complement that well. I bought Hoisin for the first time last month when I made General Tso's Chicken and was impressed by the flavors of the sweet sauce. The Hoisin pork I grilled, like the chicken dish, did NOT disappoint. Another successful dinner...HOORAY!

Grilled to perfection.

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4 pork tenderloins 
marinade:
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbs sake
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger (use 1 tsp fresh ginger root if you have it)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
Directions:
  1. In 8x8x8" glass dish (or ziploc bag), add marinade ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add pork to marinade and turn several times to coat well.
  3. Cover, refrigerate and marinate at least 2 hours. For best flavor, marinate overnight.
  4. Grill on low heat for 20 mins, turning every 5 mins. Let stand for 5 mins before serving. Serve as is or slice at an angle into thin slices.
Notes: If baking the pork, uncover and place the cold dish in the oven. I let the refrigerated dish preheat with the oven as I'm afraid a cold dish in a hot oven will cause the dish to explode. :) Set oven to 375F and bake for 20-25 mins.

Source: Adapted from allrecipes.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Today, in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday and Read Across America Day, Son #2's class celebrated with "Green Eggs and Ham." His Teacher and Room Mom are very much aware of his food allergies and has made the effort to ensure that he's included in all the food-related festivities. YAY! They're the BEST! Room Mom called last week asking if Son would be OK if green eggs were served in the classroom. Due to his severe egg allergy, the mere smell of the eggs would make him gag and possibly vomit (I'm talking projectile puke...ewww!) so I suggested they serve the eggs outside in the courtyard. Problem solved. :) Room Mom, knowing that I'm more than happy to make "safe" baked goods for the class, asked if I could bake muffins to go with breakfast. Most definitely! I baked vegan muffins so she could enjoy one, too. She ate two muffins and is checking my blog for the recipe. Glad you liked 'em, L!

After perusing several muffin recipes, I baked my very first apple muffin last week. I had to do a test batch to make sure they'd turn out. :) I found two recipes I really liked and compiled them to come up with my own. The boys gave Batch #1 a double-thumbs up and I liked them so much I ate one and a half! Naughty, I know, but they were SOOOO good! Batch #2 was good, too, but I definitely preferred the muffins from the first batch.

We had a "Seuss-ational" Day!

Batch #1 - I loved the crisp outside and the super soft "applesaucy" inside. This was like a mini apple pie with a thin, crunchy crust and an apple pie-like filling. I loved how light and "appley" they were. 

*Batch #2 - Last night, I doubled the recipe and changed it up just a bit. These were denser, "muffiny" muffins with apple pieces baked throughout. See "Notes" for the changes I made. 

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Yield: 12-14 muffins

Ingredients:
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 c diced, peeled apples (I used 2 organic Cripps Pink apples)
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 c brown sugar (if you like sweet muffins, add 1/2 c granulated sugar, too)
  • 1/2 c apple sauce
Topping:
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Measure milk and add apple cider vinegar. Set aside and let "curdle."
  2. Peel and dice apples and set aside. Smaller pieces = faster bake time. :)
  3. Preheat oven to 400F.
  4. In stand mixer bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cornstarch and cinnamon. 
  5. In separate bowl, cream butter, sugar and apple sauce. Add to flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Slowly mix in the milk/vinegar mixture till thoroughly combined.
  7. Fold diced apples into the mixture. Do not overmix. 
  8. Prepare muffin pan and fill with 2/3 batter. 
  9. Sprinkle sugar topping over muffins (I'm always forgetting something).
  10. Bake for 20-25 mins or until toothpick inserted in center comes out "somewhat" clean. These muffins are moist and applesaucey in the center so my toothpick wasn't totally "muffin-free" but close enough.
  11. Cool 5 mins before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Notes: *Batch #2 - I made a few changes and followed the same directions from above.
  • 2 c soy milk
  • 1/2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 3 c Granny Smith Apples, chopped
  • 4 c flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tbs cinnamon (I should've used 2 tbs for a "cinnamony" muffin like Batch #1)
  • 1 stick Nucoa, melted
  • 1 c brown sugar (add 1 c granulated sugar if you want a sweet muffin)
  • 1/2 c apple sauce
Source: Adapted from Food Allergy Mama and King Arthur Flour

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stir Fried Greens

When I got home and went through the contents of my CSA basket, I couldn't identify a couple of the greens so I did a google search to see if I could figure it out. I wasn't sure if the greens pictured below were collard greens or swiss chard and it was hard to confirm via google images. When I was in the grocery store, I stopped by the produce section to check out the differences between the two. Although they look very much alike, swiss chard is a "fluffy" leaf whereas collard greens are a flat leaf. I believe I have swiss chard. :)

I really like greens so this is a great veggie for me. In fact, I'll try using this for wraps next time as the lettuce I use (green/red leaf lettuce or romaine) falls apart because my boys overstuff them. This hearty green leaf should hold up well for them. 

This is swiss chard, right?

Healthy and yummy!

Stir Fried Greens

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients: 
  • 1 bunch greens, sliced diagonally in 1-2" widths
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 c celery, sliced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger (use 1 tbs fresh minced ginger if you have it)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds, toasted
Directions:
  1. Combine soy sauce and sesame seeds in small bowl and set aside.
  2. Prep veggies and then heat non-stick skillet over high heat. Add a little sesame oil and cook garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to med-high and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Add veggies and stir 2-3 mins or until greens are wilted.
  4. Add soy sauce mixture, stir and cover. Steam for 3-4 mins. Serve immediately.
Notes: Next time, I'll leave out the soy sauce and add a sprinkle of sea salt. I'd like to enjoy the flavors of the fresh organic veggies. :)

Source: Adapted from South Coast Farms' recipe
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