Archive for June, 2011

June 28, 2011

Citrus scallops

Good Housekeeping

Serves: 4

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 1/4 pound sea scallops, rinsed
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 bag (5 to 6 ounces) baby greens
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

From lemon, grate 1/4 teaspoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. From lime, grate 1/4 teaspoon peel and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice. Set juices aside. In small bowl, combine peels, salt, and pepper.

Place scallops on paper-towel-lined plate; pat dry. Sprinkle with citrus-peel mixture.

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil on medium 1 minute. Add scallops; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until opaque throughout, turning once. Remove from pan; cover.

To skillet, add 1 teaspoon oil and shallot; cook 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in Dijon mustard and citrus juices, scraping up browned bits; cook 1 minute. Toss sauce with greens; place on plates. Top with scallops and chopped parsley, and serve with whole wheat couscous (to make couscous, follow package directions).

Chef’s note: Nice and light and full of flavor. My scallops didn’t brown like I wanted them to, but it may have been because I used extra zest, which released more liquid. Still great!

June 26, 2011

Un-fried chicken; Lemon-artichoke risotto

Rosie Daley (chef for Oprah Winfrey); Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

For the chicken:

  • 6 chicken drumsticks and 3 whole chicken breasts, halved
  • 3 1/3 cups ice water
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 cup dried Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil and oregano

For the risotto:

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 1/4 cup drained, chopped canned artichoke hearts
  • grated peel and 2 teaspoons juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesean
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

For the chicken:

Preheat oven to 400. Coat a baking sheet with 3 sprays of vegetable oil.

Remove skin from chicken. Place chicken in large bowl with ice water. Put yogurt into medium bowl. Set aside.

Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Breading: Combine all ingredients in large tight-sealing bag; shake to mix. Remove two pieces of chicken from ice water. Roll each piece in yogurt. Put chicken into plastic bag, seal and shake, coating thoroughly. Transfer breaded chicken to oiled baking sheet. Repeat until all 12 pieces are breaded.

Spray chicken lightly with vegetable oil. Place baking sheet on bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 1 hour, turning pieces every 20 minutes for even browning.

For the risotto:

In a saucepan, bring the broth and 4 cups water to a boil, cover and keep at a simmer.

In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup of the broth mixture, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Maintaining a low simmer, continue to add the broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the artichoke hearts, lemon peel, lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese, parsley and walnuts.

*Chef’s note: Double yum. For the risotto, I left out the walnuts because my mom is allergic; I think they would have added a nice earthiness and taken away from some of the uber richness. Otherwise, very lemony, very tasty…. But risotto sure requires a lot of TLC. As for the chicken, it had great flavor but the breading feel apart a bit. I think I would make it on a rack next time so I wouldn’t have to turn the chicken throughout the baking–this is when the breading came off.

June 25, 2011

Mom’s spaghetti

Julie Stanley

Serves: 4-6

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 can Italian tomatoes, diced/stewed
  • 1 jar tomato basil sauce (Barilla or Bertolli are great)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • white mushrooms, sliced; green pepper, diced (optional)

Brown the beef, onions and veggies. Add the tomatoes and wine; cook for one minute. Add the sauce. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. Serve over your favorite pasta and top with fresh parmesean!

*Chef’s note: This semi-homemade recipe is obviously very simple, but it’s a great go-to comfort food that tastes completely homemade. Great leftovers, too. Go, mom!

June 24, 2011

Pork tenderloin medallions with marsala sauce and pasta; Roasted asparagus

Rachael Ray; Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

For the pork and pasta (Serves:4):

  • Salt
  • 1 pound pappardelle or 12 ounces fettuccine
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds each)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, as needed for coating
  • Freshly round black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Marsala
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

For the asparagus (Serves:6):

  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus (about 30 large)
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 lemons cut in wedges, for serving

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When the water is boiling, add some salt and cook the pasta to al dente, according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and reserve.

While the pasta is cooking, slice each tenderloin into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time, sandwich each one between two pieces of plastic wrap or into a sealable plastic bag. Pound them out with a skillet or mallet to about 1/8-inch thick.

When all of the meat has been pounded out, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Place about 1/2 cup flour into a large casserole dish or pie plate; season each piece of pork with salt and pepper and lightly coat each piece of pork with flour.

Working in batches, sear the pork until it is golden brown and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. As the pork finishes cooking, reserve the medallions on a plate covered with foil to keep them warm.

When the pork is finished cooking, add the butter to the skillet. After it melts, add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes.

Sprinkle the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons flour (just eyeball it) and cook for about a minute. Add the Marsala to the pan and cook until reduced by about half. Add the chicken stock to the pan and bring the sauce up to a bubble. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Stir the parsley into the finished sauce.

To serve, dip the pork cutlets into the sauce to coat and arrange on a platter. Toss the cooked pasta with the remaining sauce and serve with salad alongside.

About 25 minutes before pork is done:

Preheat oven to 400. If the stalks of the asparagus are thick, peel the bottom 1/2 of each. Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and return to the oven for another minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

*Chef’s note: SO good! The pork marsala is great leftover on toasted sandwiches, too. I over-reduced the marsala sauce just a bit because I was late on getting the asparagus in the oven. I also recommend using a large, freestanding electrical skillet if you have one. With the asparagus, I squeezed the lemon over before baking instead of after. A really simple, healthy side with a lot of flavor.

June 20, 2011

Double-chocolate cheesecake


Serves: 16

  • 18 creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) Philadelphia cram cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granualted sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Heat oven to 325. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom on 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla with mixer until well-blended. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake. Cool before removing rim. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Top with berries just before serving; sprinkle with powdered sugar.

*Chef’s note: Dang. I made this for my dad, uncle and grandfather for Father’s Day, and it certainly was a hit–and it was even better the next day. Not bad for my first cheesecake, minus the giant crack down the middle. I obviously used strawberries instead of blueberries, andyou can use whatever fruit you’d like. Be sure to let the chocolate cool slightly before adding so as not to scramble the eggs, and I might spray the pan before adding anything to it next time. And I was concerned about it being cooked all the way through and baked it a bit too long; follow the times in the recipe because it sets more as it cools. The middle couple inches still will be jiggly when it’s done.

June 19, 2011

Lemon-garlic shrimp and grits

Food Network

Serves: 4

  • 3/4 cup instant grits
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, covered. Uncover and slowly whisk in the grits, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and parsley; stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve with lemon wedges.

*Chef’s note: So gooood! I’ve made this several times and found it better to just follow the grits-to-liquid ratio on the grit packets. I also use crushed red pepper flakes instead of the cayenne and add the zest of the lemon. Very easy, every good recipe.

June 18, 2011

Mama Bear’s chunky fruit and oatmeal cookies

Mary Roeser

Makes: 2 dozen cookies

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup low-fat or skim milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups Quaker oatmeal (quick, uncooked)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup diced dried mixed fruit
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheets.

Beat butter and sugars until fluffly. Beat in milk, egg and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients, and mix well. Stir in nuts and fruit.

Place dough in heaping tablespoons on cookie sheets, three inchs apart, and flatten the mounds. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool one minue on cookie sheet and then remove to wire rack. Store tightly covered.

*Chef’s note: This is my late grandmother’s recipe. A delicious and satisfying cookie! Great for a snack or a sweet treat you won’t feel guilty eating. If you’re afraid it looks too healthy, don’t shy away– I promise it’s very tasty. Mama Bear knew what she was doing in the kitchen.

June 18, 2011

Spanish-style chicken and dumplings

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 pinches of saffron
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3/4 pound chorizo, casings remove and chopped or crumbled
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast tenders, diced
  • 3/4 pound medium to large white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 rounded tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3-1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 small box biscuit mix or mix to prepare 8 drop biscuits, prepared to package directions, such as Jiffy brand
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

In a small saucepot combine the stock and saffron and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer to allow the saffron to steep.

In a large deep skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and render and brown for 2 minutes, then add the chicken and lightly brown. Stir in the mushrooms, onion and garlic as you chop them, then add the bay leaves, salt and pepper, to taste, and thyme. Put a lid on the pot and increase the heat to high for 5 minutes to soften the vegetables. Stir in the flour, add the sherry and stir a minute more, then add the saffron broth.

While the vegetables soften, put the biscuit mix in a bowl and stir in the parsley and paprika. Add the liquids, according to the package directions, for the biscuits.

Drop eight small mounds of biscuit dough onto the surface of the chicken and sauce. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Ladle into shallow serving bowls and serve.

*Chef’s note: This dish was a bit too salty for me. I think I would cut the chorizo way back to maybe about 1/4 pound, because it overpowered the dish and was all I could taste. Maybe it had to do with the type I used, but I don’t know that I would make it again. My mom liked it, but my brother and dad seemed to agree with my feelings toward it.

June 13, 2011

Mediterranean tuna melt paninis

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 1 large clove garlic, pasted or finely grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Black pepper
  • 2 cans line-caught tuna or Italian tuna in oil (6 ounces each), drained and flaked
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers, chopped
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 8 large, thin slices peasant bread or pane bello or 4 ciabatta rolls (6-8 inches each), split
  • 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, celery tops or baby arugula leaves (2 handfuls)
  • 4 slices provolone cheese

Heat a panini press or large cast iron skillet. In a medium size bowl, combine the garlic, lemon juice, EVOO (pour and count at an even pace to three), thyme and black pepper, to taste. Let stand for a few minutes, then add the tuna, red onion and capers. Mash to combine.

Layer the Swiss cheese on four slices of bread; top with the tuna, tomatoes, greens, provolone and another slice of bread. Press on the panini press (or in the hot skillet with another skillet weighted down on top). When the sandwiches are brown and crisp and the cheese has melted, cut in half and serve.

*Chef’s note: Great lunch or dinner! Nice and light and a good way to switch it up from plain tuna or your overused proteins. I’m not a fan of Swiss cheese and just used the provolone, and it still had tons of flavor. I also used the simpler greens I had on hand, an extra clove of garlic and a loaf of thinly sliced ciabatta. If you don’t have a panini maker or sandwich press, I’d imagine you could make this like a grilled cheese–which reminds me, I buttered the bread as well.

June 8, 2011

Turkey cutlets with tipsy gravy

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey breast cutlets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup red wine (recommended: Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the turkey cutlets with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Set up separate dishes with the flour, the eggs and the bread crumbs combined with cornmeal, cheese, orange zest and rosemary. Coat the cutlets in the flour, then in the egg, and then in the bread crumb mixture.

Heat a saute pan with 1/4-inch of oil over medium to medium-high heat.

Add the cutlets, in batches, and cook until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the cutlets, when cooked, to a baking rack to keep crisp.

Melt the butter in small skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and reduce for a minute or so, then whisk in the stock and cook until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Douse cutlets with gravy and serve.

Chef’s note: This recipe also included a sausage and zucchini side, which I’m sure was delicious, but It was just fine with a side salad and simple mashed potatoes (I know my “salads” look pitful sometimes, but usually they haven’t yet been topped with dressing, nuts, seeds cheese or anything else). Really tasty, crispy, moist turkey and a yummy, easy gravy. I might even try the gravy base with a white wine some time.