Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ground Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

We don't make stuffed peppers often.  I still have this deep-rooted aversion to the dish from my childhood.  If my mother were reading this post, she wouldn't believe I was the one writing it.

But this isn't your typical ground chuck mixed with onions and tomatoes (or ketchup, in some cases).  Consider this a step up.

The mix makes more stuffing than for the peppers I had on-hand.  I think it would probably stuff about 2 more peppers.  But the stuffing itself would make excellent stuffed pitas or even mixed into a fritatta.

Ground Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

2 cups chicken broth
2 saffron threads
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin
1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 tbsp olive oil
1 14oz can artichoke hearts
2 shallots
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1 lb ground turkey
2/3 - 3/4 cup parmesan cheese

3 red bell peppers

To make the quinoa:
Combine the chicken broth and spices in a 3 qt sauce pan.  Bring the broth to a boil.  Add quinoa, stir, reduce heat and cover.  Cook 12 minutes until the broth is absorbed.  Removev heat and set aside.

To make the stuffing:
Combine artichoke hearts, shallots and kalamata olives in a food processor.  Pulse until chopped.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery.  Add artichoke heart mixture and cook 3-5 minutes.  Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in quinoa.  Let cool slightly; stir in half the parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 400F. Slice the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes.  Stuff the peppers with the turkey-quinoa mixture and place in a 13x9" pan.  Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan cheese.  Add about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the dish and cover the dish loosely with foil. Bake for 40 minutes or until the peppers are tender. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Greek-Style Buffalo Pita Burgers

I'm really in love with buffalo meat as a substitute for ground beef.  Don't get me wrong, I still love ground turkey for things like tacos and chili.  But sometimes you just want a juicy burger off the grill.

Measurements are estimates.  I just sort of measured into my hand or into the bowl.

Greek-Style Buffalo Pita Burgers

1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp water

1 lb ground buffalo

Feta Cheese
Pita bread

Combine first nine ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine.  Add ground buffalo to the bowl and mix well with spice mixture.  Form into patties.

Heat grill to medium-high heat.  Add patties and grill 8-10 minutes, turning once halfway thru.  During last minute of grilling, top with slices of feta and allow to melt slightly. Remove from grill and let rest 2-3 minutes.

Slice pita bread in half.  Into each pocket, place the burger.  Serve.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Herb-Grilled Chicken

We had some unseasonably warm weather this week, so grilling was a must.  This made a nice, light dinner.  The leftovers were great stuffed into pita bread.

Herb-Grilled Chicken

2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp dry white wine
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cucumber-Feta Salad

Whisk first 7 ingredients in a shallow dish; remove and reserve 2 tablespoons marinade for Cucumber-Feta Salad. Add chicken to dish; cover and chill 30 minutes, turning breasts halfway thru.

Prep grill. Place chicken on grill over direct medium heat.  Grill 6 minutes on each side or until internal temp is 170-175ºF. Remove chicken from grill, tent with foil and let rest 3-5 minutes.  Serve with Cucumber-Feta Salad.

Cucumber-Feta Salad

A light, summery salad.  Perfect accompaniment to many grilled dinners.  You could easily turn this into a panzanella, too.

Cucumber-Feta Salad

1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1 roma tomato, pulp removed and diced
2 tbsp reserved marinade from Herb-Grilled Chicken
red-wine vinegar
balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled feta

Combine first 9 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well to coat vegetables thoroughly.  Let sit 30 minutes.  Add crumbled feta, toss and serve.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas

It's a little early in the year for some of these veggies.  But The Spouse and I agree that this would be an excellent way to make use of our garden's harvest as the year progresses.  Some early tomatoes would go well with this.

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas

1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup chopped shallot
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup green salsa
1 tsp dried cilantro
3 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring well. Pound chicken to 1/4" thickness and cut into cubes. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over chicken. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add oil and heat until shimmery.  Add chicken to pan; sauté for 3 minutes. Add onion, corn, and zucchini to pan; sauté for 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in salsa and cilantro. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently.

Arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla; sprinkle each serving with cheese. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle each serving with remaining cilantro. Serve immediately.

Quick Shrimp Chowder

This recipe was inspired by one on MyRecipes that called for two cans of CoC.  For brevity's sake, I won't go into how to make your own "cream of" soup - though it's quite easy and a variety of recipes abound online.  Or you can look for alternative options available at the store (Amy's and Health Valley are two brands that come to mind).

I had made a cream of potato soup earlier in the week, so I used those leftovers and added some homemade chicken glace. The result was divine.  A definite repeat meal.

Quick Shrimp Chowder

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 large shallot, chopped
1 cup cream of potato soup
3 tbsp chicken glace
3 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp ground pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds medium-size fresh shrimp, peeled
1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Garnish: chopped fresh parsley
Oyster crackers (optional)

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add butter and melt until lightly browned. Add shallot and sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Add flour and stir until coated.  Stir in soup, glace, milk, pepper, cayenne and salt to taste; bring to a boil. Add shrimp and simmer, stirring often, 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Reduce heat to low and simmer until well thickened.  Stir in cheese until melted. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately with oyster crackers, if desired.

Barbecued Chicken Pizza

This was a great meal.  The Spouse is usually not a fan of cream cheese, but in this context he loved it. 

For all the talking up I do of their sause, I'm thinking Rudy's needs to give me a commission.  But, sincerely, their sause is a must for any real BBQ.  I've not found anything that's comparable to their combination of sweet and spicy.

Rudy's BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 lb boned, skinned chicken breasts
1/3 cup Rudy's BBQ Sause
Salt and pepper
2 homemade whole wheat pizza crusts, about 8" round
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 4oz can diced green chilies
1/2 cup shredded jack cheese
hot chili flakes

Prep grill.  Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Pound chicken to 1/4" thickness. Coat with about 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until done, about 8 minutes, turning once halfawy thru. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then tear into bite-size chunks. In a small bowl, mix with remaining barbecue sauce.

Place pizza crusts on a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Spread each with about 2 tablespoons cream cheese. Spoon chicken in sauce evenly over both crusts; top with red onion, green chilies, red  jack cheese, and hot chili flakes.

Bake pizzas in a 400° regular or convection oven until cheese is browned and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a board and cut into wedges.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chicken and Asparagus in White Wine Sauce

This was an exquisite dinner, worthy of company but quick and easy enough for a week night meal.

Chicken and Asparagus in White Wine Sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken breasts evenly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add olive oil. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add wine, broth, and garlic to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes. Add asparagus; cover and cook 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and juice. Serve asparagus and sauce with chicken.

Herbed Chicken Parmesan

This was unexpectedly delicious.  Something about the balsamic vinegar in the sauce did wonders.  I served this over spaghetti noodles.

Herbed Chicken Parmesan

1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp butter
1 jar tomato-basil pasta sauce
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded provolone cheese

Combine 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Pound the chicken breasts thin under a piece of wax or parchment papper; cut into tenders.  Dredge each tender in the breadcrumb mixture. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan.

Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, pasta sauce, vinegar, and pepper in medium bowl. Add sauce to pan; bring to a simmer.  Place chicken back in pan and simmer until chicken is cooked thru. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Parmesan and provolone cheese; heat until cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Risotto with Italian Sausage, Caramelized Onions, and Bitter Greens

This dinner was unbelievably delicious.  It's definitely going to make it's way into our regular meal rotation.  I can't wait to make it again!

Risotto with Italian Sausage, Caramelized Onions, and Bitter Greens

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 oz. sweet turkey Italian sausage
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
2 cups endive leaves
3 tbsp freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
1 tsp grated lemon rind
salt to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and heat thru until shimmery. Add chopped onion to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until golden.

Removing casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add chopped shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add Arborio rice; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in white wine; cook 45 seconds or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup hot broth; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Remove from heat; stir in endive and remaining ingredients.

Quick-and-Easy Turkey Burgers

The Spouse made this recipe.  I believe he used an additional spice blend that we got from a friend of ours that you can only get in the Twin Cities area.

Quick-and-Easy Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey breast
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp light teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp water
Cooking spray
1 large onion, cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices (about 2 cups)
1 tsp olive oil
4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato (optional)
4 curly leaf lettuce leaves (optional)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Combine the teriyaki sauce and water in a small bowl.

Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat until hot. Add the onion slices; cover and cook 10 minutes or until onion is golden brown, stirring frequently. Stir in 1 tbsp teriyaki mixture. Remove onion from pan, and keep warm. Add olive oil to pan. Add patties, and cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Add remaining teriyaki mixture to pan. Carefully turn patties over, and cook for 3 minutes or until golden.  Place burgers on buns and serve with various garnishes.

Pork Medallions with Olive-Caper Sauce

The Spouse made this meal, which was a great, easy weeknight dinner.

Pork Medallions with Olive-Caper Sauce

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 tbsp capers
2 tsp dried parsley

Cut pork crosswise into 8 pieces. Place each pork piece between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides of the pork with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow bowl; dredge pork in flour. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add 1 1/2 tsp olive oil and heat until shimmery, tilting the pan to coat. Add pork to the pan and cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Add wine and broth; bring to a boil. Stir in olives and capers; cook 4 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley; serve.

Chicken Sandwich with Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

These would also be spectacular grilled.  A light meal for spring/summer. We used home-made sun (well, oven) dried tomatoes in this. Delish.

Chicken Sandwich with Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato halves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove
4 burger buns
2 cups trimmed endive

Heat a pan over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound each piece to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.

While chicken cooks, combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, vinegar, and garlic in a small food processor; process until garlic is minced and tomatoes are well chopped.

In a small bowl combine the endive and tomato mixture; toss gently to coat. Place chicken on a lightly toasted bun, top with endive mixture.

Menu Planning

First, I have to apologize for the hiatus.  In addition to the computer troubles, our router died and now it seems the cable modem is on the fritz, so we've been sans interwebs at home.

The Spouse and I have been doing quite a bit of menu planning lately.  It's been a huge success thus far - we've discovered some great new dishes, trimmed the grocery bill, eliminated the "What do you want for dinner?" "I dunno. What do you want?" "I dunno." routine, etc. has this lovely feature called 1 List, 5 Meals that we've been using.  We started with Week 1 and are now currently finishing up Week 3.  Some recipes we didn't do, some are not worthy to post here.  But I have a fair backlog of recipes to post that I'm hoping to address.  Also, The Spouse has taken to cooking a meal or two a week, which has been a nice respite for me.  I'll note those recipes as well