Saturday, February 14, 2015

Creamy Polenta

Needed a side with our Valentine's Day steak dinner. It was last minute so I turned to the pantry. We had some yellow corn meal in the pantry. In just 20 mins we had some creamy polenta with our steak! 

Bring 2 tsp kosher salt and 4 c water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Whisk in 1 c of yellow corn meal, and cook, whisking constantly, 45 seconds. By whisking the grits into the boiling water, it'll encourage even, lump-free cooking. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. Return to a boil; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Covering the  meal while they simmer in a pot reduces the cook time by more than half. It also allows the polenta to retain their flavor and texture as they cook to a velvety consistency. Cook 20-25 mins or until tender. For a looser consistency, whisk in 2-4 tbsp water halfway through cooking. Stir in 2 1/2 - 4 tbsp butter until melted. I also added in some cheese. I had feta around, but any other would work. Adding fat is the final ingredient to add that natural creaminess. Season with salt and enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Herbed Spaghetti Squash

I've never had spaghetti squash before. It  was actually pretty good! I tossed it in a homemade pesto made of parsley. It was a great way to eat a new veggie, and was flavorful and healthy! You know it's January and most are watching their weight. So I encourage you to give this recipe a try!

Note: be careful cutting the squash. It's pretty tough cutting down the middle from the top. I found it easier to stab it in the middle of the squash and try cutting it in half that way. Also helps to call over your strong husband to help cut it ��

Herbed Spaghetti Squash

1 med spaghetti squash
1 lg garlic clove
1/4 c pecan
1/2 bunch parsley
1/4 c olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
1/4 c San Pietro-Honeywax cheese, grated (or Asiago)
1 1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
Salt and pepper for seasoning 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle the cut sides of the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking sheet. 
Cut the top off of the garlic clove. Place the clove in aluminum foil. Drizzle the cut clove with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Gather the foil together and place on the baking sheet with the squash. Bake for about 35-40 mins until tender. Let it cool enough until ready to handle. Taking a fork, scoop out the flesh of the squash into a bowl. It should resemble spaghetti strands. 
To make the pesto: In a food processor, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the bowl. Add the pecan, parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt. Process until chopped, then slowly add the 1/4 c olive oil. Mix in the cheese and lime juice. Toss the pesto with the spaghetti squash. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Potato Pinchos

I discovered pinchos reading through the Food Network Magazine. It's basically a Spanish appetizer served on a toothpick. This is a really easy and great idea from the Food Network Magazine. You can also customize it to your liking. 

The first time I made it I used Manchego cheese as the recipe indicated. 

The second time I made it, I used Chile Jack with Hatch Pepper cheese made by Great Midwest that I found at Sam's Club. It's a Monterary Jack cheese with Habanero, Hatch, and Chipotle Peppers with added smoke flavor. I loved it and so did the party guests. The cheese added more flavor and a slight kick to these easy appetizers. 

Unfortunately Food Network Magazine didn't list out ratios for this recipe. Below is approximately the ratio I used so hopefully you will give these a shot as well! 

Potato Pinchos

In a pot, add a couple of Yukon potatoes, cover with water, and salt the water with some kosher salt. Bring to a boil until fork tender. Not too tender. You do not want it where it’s too soft. You want it to be able to pick them up and eat.

When cooked, drain the boiled potatoes and let cool enough to handle. Peel the potato skin. Then slice into about ¼  inch thick rounds. Then slice each round in half (it makes it easier to eat, otherwise it’d be too big).

In a small mixing bowl, mix together about ¼ cup of mayo, 1 tablespoon chopped capers, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, salt and pepper to your liking. Spread some of the mayo sauce on each sliced potato round. Then top each with a slice of the Chile Jack with Hatch Pepper cheese, slice of dried chorizo, and a piece of sliced green olive with pimento. Skewer with toothpicks and enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Jalapeño Poppers

It's Saturday and there's lots of football on TV for Matt! One of my best friend also came over and since we love food I decided to whip up a snack! I wish I bought 10 jalapeños to make 20 jalapeño poppers! Shouldn't have listened to Matt. Now they're all gone and I just want more of this delicious, cheesy goodness!

On another note, Go Dawgs!!

Jalapeño Poppers

5 large jalapeño
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 ear corn
1 c fontina cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Cut the tops off each jalapeño and discard the tops. Cut each jalapeño in half. With a small spoon, scrape out the seeds and discard the seeds. Place the halved jalapeños on a baking sheet. 
Cut the kernels off the ear of corn. 
In a small mixing bowl, mix the corn kernels, both cheeses, season with salt and pepper. If you mix it well the corn and shredded fontina should be incorporated into the cream cheese, and will allow easy scooping. 
Scoop a spoonful into each jalapeño. Bake for about 30-45 mins until the jalapeños are tender and the cheese is golden brown. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Veal quesadilla

Another great meal made from the veal Matt's grandparents gave us! This packet of ground veal we got was taco-seasoned. So what did we do? Made quesadillas! In a large skillet over medium-high heat, I added the 16 oz package of ground taco-seasoned veal. Broke up the meat to cook evenly. Then added to the skillet a few spoon of Mexican crema. Spooned some of the cooked meat on one side of a flour tortilla, then topped with some shredded mozerella. Then folded over the tortilla and pan-seared both sides in a buttered skillet. Delicious!! If you can't find taco-seasoned ground veal, I would think adding a packet of taco seasoning to ground veal would do it. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Veal Bolognese

I miss cooking like this. This would be a great date night meal. Enjoy a great pasta dish with a glass of Merlot. The Merlot takes this pasta dish to the next level, and there's just the right amount of heat from the crushed red peppers. It was pretty good we had to try not to eat a third helping!

Veal Bolognese

6 bacon slices, sliced
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb ground veal
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c merlot
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 c heavy cream
.66 oz package basil leaves, torn
Merlot Parmesan, shredded 
16 oz angel hair pasta, cooked 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. 

Heat a large Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Cook the sliced bacon until almost crispy. Discard all but 1 tbsp of the bacon fat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for a couple mins. Add the veal and cook until it's no longer pink. Add the nutmeg, crushed red peppers, and oregano. Add 1/4 cup of the Merlot. Cook for a few mins. Then add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for about 10 mins. Salt and pepper to your liking. Then add the remaining 1/4 cup of Merlot, cream, and basil. Cook for a few more mins then serve over pasta topped with Parmesan.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Simple baked Chicken Breast with flavor

You know most of us have tried to watch what we eat at some point. So what do we usually turn to? Grilled chicken breast. One of my coworkers who eats out every lunch had gone on a diet. We saw her in the cafeteria miserably eating her grilled, skinless chicken breast. Of course she wasn't enjoying it. All they did was grilled up some frozen chicken breast. You can enjoy a healthy meal though if you added a bit more flavor to it. 

Our dinners have been pretty simple lately: lean protein and veggies. So you can imagine we've been cooking lots of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. One night I cranked the oven on 425 degrees F. In a small baking dish I drizzled a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of the baking dish and laid about 6 chicken breast in there that's been seasoned with salt and pepper. Added a splash of apple cider vinegar, splash of white wine, couple cloves of garlic, couple of sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Baked it until a meat themometer registered 165 degrees F. The chicken came out juicy and moist. And there was so much wonderful citrus flavor from the vinegar and wine. It was just a simple, healthier meal I cooked up, but then it hit me, some people wouldn't know healthy can taste good. You just need to add a bit of flavor.