Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tomato sandwich

Okay, so there's really nothing involved expect for slicing a tomato, spreading some Miracle Whip on some bread, adding a little salt and pepper and that's it. But is there anything better than a homegrown tomato sandwich? I think not.

One-Pot Salmon with Snap Peas and Rice

I found this recipe in my Real Simple magazine. It was tasty, quick and easy. We'll definitely be making this again.

1 cup long-grain white rice
1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed
Kosher salt and pepper
4 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar

Mix the rice and 2-1/3 cups water in a medium skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Slice the salmon on a diagonal into four 3/4-inch-thick pieces. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on top of the partially cooked rice. Cover and cook 7 minutes

Scatter the peas over the salmon and rice. Cover and cook until the rice and peas are tender and the salmon is opaque and beginning to flake, 3 to 5 minutes.

Mix the soy sauce, scallions, vinegar, ginger and sugar in a small bowl*. Spoon the sauce over the salmon, rice and peas and serve.

*We didn't have any fresh ginger so we used ground ginger instead. 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger is equal to 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger. We also didn't have scallions so we used a very small red onion; a shallot would work as well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Italian pasta skillet

We had some ground beef, some pasta and a few other things. I found a few ideas throughout the Internet, but then kind of threw this together. It's not fancy or anything, but I must say, it was fabulous! And there was plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. A word to the need a pretty big skillet for this dish. Oh and I wouldn't really recommend using the farfalle pasta. I had to cook the mixture a little longer to make sure the noodles were cooked and they came out a little mushy. I'd stick with a thinner pasta.

1 lb. ground beef (ground turkey could also be used)
28 oz spaghetti sauce (I made a simple red sauce, but you could also just buy a jar)

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups water
8 oz. farfalle pasta, uncooked (any type of pasta could be used really)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender. In the meantime, brown the ground beef in another large skillet; drain. Add the onion and pepper mixture to the ground beef. Stir in the sauce, water and salt and pepper. Mix well. Bring this to a boil and stir in your pasta. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Next sprinkle the cheeses over top, and cover. Cook another 2 minutes or until the mozzarella cheese is melted. Enjoy!!

Mmmmm...delicious melty-ness

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Turkey sausage, red beans and rice

I had some of the sweet Italian turkey sausage and needed to find a way to use it. Plus we were limited on what we had at home, but I knew we had beans and rice. So I decided to find a red beans and rice recipe. I was almost positive I had a can of diced tomatoes at home, but of course once I got home, I found out I didn't. So I used tomato sauce instead. I would make this again, but definitely use diced tomatoes next time. I used this recipe and made some variations.

1 package Jennie-O turkey sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice according to type you choose. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until almost tender. Stir in the sausage and cook thoroughly until there is no more pink. Mix in the beans, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper. Continue cooking until heated through. Serve mixture over rice.

*I used a 10-minute boil in bag brown rice, but you could use any rice you like. The recipe calls for 1 cup of uncooked long-grain white rice and 2 cups of water to cook the rice in.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Zucchini Bread

I was at my parents' house one day and my mom pretty much forced a bag of shredded zucchini on me saying she didn't have time to make the bread she had planned for it. Well all right then, looks like I'm making zucchini bread. Normally I would have taken the recipe from her, but there was no time for that! So I did a search online and kind of combined a few recipes and added a few of my own and her touches. I didn't add nuts to this bread since I'm not a big fan and Jim is sort of allergic. Sort of allergic you ask? Yes. When he eats nuts, he says they make his teeth itch. I guess it sounds like some sort of allergic reaction, but I'd really rather just not hear about his itchy Feel free to add nuts if you'd like.

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2-4 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)
rum for soaking raisins

Soak raisins in rum for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour two bread pans. I had 9x5 pans, but 8x4 would also work. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another bowl, beat the eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla and sugars together. Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture and beat well. Stir in zucchini and raisins until combined. (I used 4 cups of shredded zucchini, but anywhere from 2-4 cups will work). Divide batter into pans and place in oven. Cooking time will really depend on your oven, but I had to cook mine for about 65 minutes. I would start checking the bread with a toothpick at 45 minutes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quick Cheese Quesadilla

Well it was dinner time, we forgot to take something out of the freezer and I just couldn't wait. I needed food now! I rummaged through the fridge and was able to come up with a quick, yummy dinner. These turned out way better than I thought they would.

4-6 flour tortillas, or any wrap would work
1 can refried beans
fresh salsa
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow/red/orange bell pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
shredded cheese of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions and cook until soft and tender. While I was cooking the peppers and onions, Jim was diligently smearing refried beans and salsa on the tortillas.
Once the peppers and onions were done, they were placed on top of the refried beans/salsa mixture, topped with cheese and then the top tortilla. They were then placed in the oven and baked for about 10-15 minutes to heat through and melt the cheese. They were served with sour cream. I would have served them with more salsa, but we used it all up inside the quesadilla. Enjoy!!

Zucchini Frittata

I was getting kind of bored of scrambled eggs for breakfast, or just a bowl of cereal. It's zucchini season, so I wanted to use it somehow in the breakfast. I decided to make a frittata. I found a few recipes and just kind of combined them into something that would work for me.

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small zucchini, cubed
1 small red onion, chopped
5-6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
4-5 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice, cheddar was used here
salt and pepper to taste

In an 8-in. ovenproof skillet over medium heat, saute onion, zucchini and mushrooms in oil until tender. Pour the eggs over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until almost set, 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-12 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is melted. Use a toothpick to check when the eggs are set

Herb and cream cheese chicken roll

Jim had big plans to stuff the chicken breasts with the feta cheese we had in our fridge, but when we came home to start dinner, all he found was a green, fuzzy block of feta. Don't think we're using that! So we started sifting through all the cheeses we had on hand, and cream cheese seemed like the next best substitute. No real recipe, Jim just took some fresh basil and parsley, chopped it up and added it to the cream cheese. You can sort of tell by the picture the ratio of cheese to herbs. He flattened out the chicken breasts a little, spread the mixture on, rolled them up and secured them with toothpicks. Put a little olive oil, salt and pepper on the outside of the chicken and threw them on the grill. They were so yummy!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuna with honey-soy glaze

I found this simple glaze while thumbing through my Real Simple magazine. We had some tuna steaks and decided to add this glaze to it. There was some extra glaze left over to use as a dipping sauce too! It can be used on a multitude of things...can we say delish??

1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Cook 2 pounds of poultry, meat, seafood, or vegetables on a lightly oiled grill. When the food has 5 to 10 minutes left to cook, baste it with the glaze and turn it frequently to create a glossy crust. Resist the urge to apply a glaze early in the cooking process: The sugars in the sauce will burn before the food cooks through.

Greek red sauce

I'm not sure if this is really a Greek red sauce or not, but I love it! My dad makes it all the time to put over rice when we have shish kabobs and whatnot.

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. Italian seasoning or oregano
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until onion is soft. Add in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, allspice and cinnamon. Let simmer for about 20 minutes and serve over rice. Fresh parsley can also be added at the end for a burst of freshness.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chicken Kabobs

There's nothing I like more than some good ol' chicken kabobs on the grill in the summer. I found this chicken marinade that is SO GOOD so I decided to use that to marinate the chicken in before skewering up the meat and veggies. I cut the chicken into chunks before adding it to the marinade. We used yellow, red and orange peppers, red onion, zucchini and cremini mushrooms.

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. liquid smoke flavoring
1 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, liquid smoke, mustard, pepper, and garlic powder. Place chicken in the bowl, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and allow chicken to marinate a maximum of 4 hours in the refrigerator.

BBQ Ribs

Jim found this recipe and we just had to try it. We saw ribs on sale at Costco so we snatched them up. So what if it was 2 whole slabs of ribs and 2 people to eat them...Jim was determined to make them! We were on vacation at our cottage so we had an extra 3 hours to sit around and wait for ribs to Totally worth the wait though! Jim found this recipe online, and it's a keeper!

Dr. BBQ’s Backyard Championship Ribs

3 Slabs of St. Louis-Style Ribs or Baby Back Ribs, cut in half, membrane off and washed
1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
1 cup Big Time Barbecue rub (recipe follows)
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 cups your favorite BBQ sauce

About 30 minutes before they go in to the cooker mix the rub and the Turbinado sugar together and rub it on the ribs. Use about 2/3 on the meaty side and 1/3 on the bony side.

Much of his will depend on your equipment, but you should cook them slow with a little bit of hickory and cherry wood until they are nicely caramelized and looking great. About 325 degrees with an indirect setup would be a good target temperature. One to one and a half hours is a good time guideline for this step. Use a rib rack if you need it for space. Remove the ribs to a platter or sheet pan and brush them all on both sides with honey.

The next step is a tenderizing process. Put the ribs in an aluminum foil pan with a little apple juice in the bottom, about one inch. Stand them on end in the pan if you need to. Cover with foil and cook on low until tender. Again, 325 degrees and indirect would be a good target. If you have a hard time keeping your grill low, you’ll need to check that the apple juice doesn’t all cook off. Replenish it as needed. This step can even be done in the oven. The time for this step is one hour as a guideline; but again, this will vary depending on your equipment. Test the ribs by sticking them with a toothpick to see when they are soft and tender. (*At this point you could cool them down, wrap them separately and reheat later. This is a great way to take ribs to a tailgate party or to prepare ahead for a party at home.)

Transfer the cooked ribs to a medium hot grill. Brush with BBQ sauce and flip for a just a few minutes. Cut in to pieces and serve.

Big Time BBQ Rub

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
1/4 cup granulated brown sugar
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
1 tbsp. granulated onion
2 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. thyme leaves
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients, mix well, and store in an airtight container. Yields 1 1/2 cups

Here they are with the rub on them waiting to go on the grill

Mmmmmmm...all sauced up and ready to be eaten

Here's a few slabs without the sauce on them. They can be wrapped up and reheated later.

Let me at those ribs!!

Catalina Taco Salad

A friend of mine recently found out she has Celiac Disease which means she can't have anything with gluten in it. It was a huge diet change, but there's actually quite a bit she can still eat. Yay for still being able to eat ice cream!! Well anyway, we were all going up to our cottage so we wanted to try and do a gluten-free meal. I found a salad in this blog and figured we'd give it a try. It was really yummy! I couldn't however find a gluten-free Catalina dressing (maybe they all are, I don't know) but I decided to go with a Lime Vinaigrette from Newman's Own since I knew she mention they were usually gluten free.

4 cups spinach
1 can kidney beans drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado seeded and cubed
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 green onions sliced thinly
1 cup Frito's
1/2 cup dressing

Toss everything together in a large bowl and serve immediately. If you think there will be leftovers, add the Frito's to each individual serving instead of mixing them with the salad. Otherwise they will get soggy.

As you can see this pic is without the Frito's, but make sure you add them! It's even better with the Frito's.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Jim found this recipe a few years ago and we've been enjoying it ever since. For some reason, I'm not a fan of hot (temperature, not spice) shrimp (give me shrimp cocktail and I'm happy), but I really like this one! It has the right amount of spice without being too overpowering. It's a good summertime meal on the grill.

1 large clove of garlic
1 tbsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 - 2 pounds shrimp in the 20-30 pound range, peeled, rinsed and dried
lemon wedges

Start a charcoal or gas grill or preheat the broiler. Make the fire as hot as it will get and adjust the rack so it is as close to the heat source as possible. Mince the garlic with the salt; mix it with the cayenne and paprika, then stir in the olive oil and lemon juice to form a paste. Skewer the shrimp and then smear the paste over the shrimp. Grill or broil the shrimp 2-3 minutes per side or until opaque. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cucumber Salad

For as long as I can remember, this was always a side dish at Christmas dinner. I'm not sure if it's a Polish thing or what. Of course we don't just eat it at Christmas, but that's where I first remember seeing it. It's pretty simple and a nice summer side salad. This all depends on how many cucumbers you're using and how much sweet, sour and creamy consistency you like. I never measure anything for this, but here's something to sort of follow.

2-3 medium cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
dried or fresh dill to taste

Mix together everything in a bowl. Let sit in fridge for about 20 minutes for everything to come together. Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Simple spaghetti sauce

This is really easy to make, doesn't take forever and tastes great.

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic - we like garlic so we tend to use more
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1-1.5 tbsp. Italian seasoning or dried basil - I like to add some fresh basil and/or parsley when I have it
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pot large enough to hold the crushed tomatoes. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute. You don't want to burn the garlic. Now add the crushed tomatoes, dried herbs and salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 20 minutes and that's it...a red sauce is made. Add the fresh herbs at the end of cooking if you'd like to add them in. If we want a meat sauce, then I add meat to it.

Easy Chicken Parmesan

I hate getting stuck in a rut when it comes to making dinner. What's for dinner? Chicken again? Oh joy. It just gets so boring. Now I'm not saying this dish is the most all exciting chicken dish ever made, but we never make it and it just popped into my head one day. We had all the stuff, so it was really easy to make. I make a pretty simple red sauce, so that's what I made here as well.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
seasoned bread crumbs to coat the chicken
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
4 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
leftover red sauce, or make some fresh
1/2 lb. cooked spaghetti noodles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken breasts inside a large gallon size Ziploc bag and pound until about 1/4 inch thick. You want them to be about the same thickness. In a pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Next take the chicken breasts, dip them in the beaten egg and then coat both sides with the bread crumbs. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken breasts in the pan and cook until brown on both sides. Next place the chicken in a glass dish, I have a square one, but you could use anything really, put a little of the red sauce on top of the chicken then 2 pieces of cheese. Place in the oven until the sauce is heated through and the cheese is melted, about 10-15 minutes. Serve it over a little spaghetti if you'd like with some garlic bread on the side...delish!

Zucchini Turkey Chili

Well, it's summertime which means my parents' garden is overflowing with zucchini and I'm left to figure out what to do with the many I receive every time I stop by their house. Even though it was particularly hot this one day, I was craving chili, so I decided to throw some zucchini in the mix. I didn't really use a recipe, but below is pretty much the gist of what I did. Enjoy!

2-4 tbsp. olive oil, some for veggies and some for turkey
1 pound ground turkey
1 medium to large zucchini cut into chunks
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of bean of your choice, kidney beans were used here
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2-3 tbsp. chili powder*
2-3 tbsp. cumin*
salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco or RedHot to taste

*I really didn't measure these at all, so you might want to do these to taste

Heat ~2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan and saute the zucchini and onion until soft. In the meantime, heat another 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place the turkey in the pot and cook thoroughly. Once the zucchini and onion are soft, add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add this veggie mix to the turkey along with the beans, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. I served it with a little shredded cheese, sour cream and some tortilla chips.

Another thing to add since it's summer is some fresh corn on the cob. Just slice it off the cob and add it to the pot. It will cook in the 30 minute simmer time.