Archive for ‘Dinner’

May 29, 2012

French onion burgers

Campbell’s

Serves: 4

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed French Onion Soup
  • 4 slices cheese
  • 4 Pepperidge Farm® Sandwich Buns with Sesame Seeds, split

Shape the beef into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) burgers.
Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook until well browned on both sides. Remove the burgers from the skillet. Pour off any fat.
Stir the soup in the skillet and heat to a boil. Return the burgers to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the burgers are cooked through. Top the burgers with the cheese and cook until the cheese is melted. Serve the burgers on the buns with the soup mixture for dipping.

*Chef’s note: This is one of Rex and I’s favorite go-to meals for when we don’t feel like cooking but want to feel like we’re cooking…. Super easy, super flavorful, and you can dress up the base however you’d like.

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May 25, 2012

The best crock pot chicken tacos

Budget Savvy Diva

Serves: 4

  • 1.5 – 2 pounds of skinless chicken breast – frozen or thawed
  • 1.5 ounces of taco seasoning ( about one packet worth)
  • 1 can ( 10) ounces of Rotel
  • All your taco fixings – corn or flour tortillas, cheese, sour cream, Chipotle guacamole , lettuce, tomatoes
Set your crock pot to low and place taco seasoning, chicken, Rotel together – mix. Set aside for about 6 hours if chicken is frozen; If thawed, it will be done in about 3 -4 hours. Take two forks and pull-apart the chicken and mix into the awesome juices. If there is not enough liquid use a little chicken stock. Enjoy — Simply scoop up the chicken in that tortilla and go topping crazy.
*Chef’s note: This was just OK. Still not super moist with a bit of added chicken stock, but I think this is a good base recipe to start with and play with. I added some sauteed onions and red pepper that I had leftover from making some guac that afternoon, along with some Southwestern Chipotle Mrs. Dash (a.k.a. Senorita Dash) in place of some of the taco seasoning. Next time I might add some green chiles and some red enchilada sauce for more liquid/flavor. Mmmm.
May 25, 2012

Slow cooker brown sugar pork loin

Diana Rattray, About.com

Serves: 6-8

  • 1 boneless pork loin roast, 4 to 6 pounds
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Wash pork roast, trim excess fat, pat dry, and rub with garlic halves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then prick the roast all over with a fork or skewer.In a cup or bowl, combine 1 cup of the brown sugar, the mustard, and vinegar. Rub all over the roast.

Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours. Pour off the excess juices.

combine the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar with cinnamon; Spread the mixture over the top of the roast. Cover and continue cooking on LOW for 1 hour longer.

*Chef’s note: An interesting flavor! I liked it. However, I think I should have adjusted the cooking time because I used only a 2-pound tenderloin (though I used almost all the sauce quantity); even with a splash of chicken stock before adding the rest, it still turned out a bit dry and was too dry without any of the thick glaze it produced. If you use a smaller tenderloin like I did, check it after 4-5 hours or so.

May 17, 2012

Buttermilk-soaked baked Parmesan pork chops

How Sweet It Is

Serves: 4

  • 4 thin-sliced, boneless center cut pork chops
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry, any flour will do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese + a little more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Tenderize and trim fat from pork chops if you’d like. It’s not necessary but I do it. Add pork chops to a baking dish and pour buttermilk over top. Soak for at least 2 ours, or over night. Remove pork chops from fridge 30 minutes before you plan to make them.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a bowl, combine panko, flour, salt, pepper and parmesan. Heat an over-safe skillet on medium-high heat and add olive oil. Grab a pork chop from the buttermilk, letting any excess milk run off. Dredge through panko mixture, coating completely. Lay down in skillet and repeat with remaining chops. Brown pork chops for 3 minutes on each side only! You don’t want them to toughen up. After six minutes, turn off heat and add chicken stock to pan. Sprinkle a little parmesan on pork chops and cover skillet. Bake for 20 minutes.

*Chef’s note: These were quite yummy! A pork chop is probably my least favorite cut of meat that I eat, but these earn a thumbs up from me! I trimmed and tenderized the chops as suggested and soaked them for about 5 hours, which made them moist and easy to cut. I liked the slightly tangy hint of buttermilk flavor, and I’m always game for Parm. and panko. I used all-purpose flour I had on hand.

May 16, 2012

Sweet and sour chicken

How Sweet It Is

Serves: 3

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 325.

Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken in egg and then in cornstarch. Pan fry in oil until golden brown, but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish.

Sauce

3/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and pour over chicken. Bake chicken for 6o minutes, turning every 15 minutes. You can also make extra sauce – add all ingredients to a saucepan and simmer until thick.

*Chef’s note: This tasted just as good as restaurant sweet and sour chicken! This is my boyfriend’s favorite (a.k.a. only) dish to order at Asian restaurants, and I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out just as delicious! He especially liked that there were no peppers in this sauce. Two breasts were plenty for the two of us with brown rice. I wouldn’t change anything except maybe try to crisp the breading a bit at a higher temp for the last few minutes (our chicken was cooked through after 45 minutes because of the pre-cooking in the skillet).

May 16, 2012

Crispy honey lime tilapia

How Sweet It Is

Serves: 4

  • 4 fresh (or thawed) tilapia filets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour [I used whole wheat pastry]
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
  • additional honey + lime zest mixed for drizzling

60 minutes before cooking,season tilapia filets with salt and pepper then lay in a baking dish or into a large ziplock bag. In a bowl, combine olive oil, honey, lime juice and zest, and crushed garlic and whisk until combined. Pour over tilapia and let marinate for an hour. Add flour [+ a bit more salt, pepper, and lime zest] to a bowl and set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet (or a non-stick skillet) over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Dredge each piece of tilapia through the flour until you have a very light coating. Making sure the pan is hot, add tilapia to the oil and cook until flaky and crispy on each side – about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove tilapia from pan and let drain on a paper towel for a few minutes. Serve with an additional drizzle of lime + honey, then cover in blueberry lime salsa.

*Chef’s note: This had a lovely flavor, even through all my broken, burnt crust, so that says a lot. I am almost ashamed to post this icky photo when hers turned out so beautiful and golden and crisp. It is tricky to crisp something (high temps) with sugars involved without burning, but I think a better (and bigger) pan would have helped a lot in my case. And unfortunately, more oil. And a better fish turner. And smaller fillets. I didn’t make the blueberry lime salsa, but it sounds awesome.

May 16, 2012

Lemon-garlic spaghetti with sausage meatballs

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, 5 thinly slices and 1 grated
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 mini whole wheat pitas, torn into big pieces
  • 3 cups baby arugula, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded gruyere
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 box (13.25 oz.) whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1  1/4 cups grape tomatoes, halved

In a small saucepan, cook 1/4 cup EVOO and the sliced garlic over low heat until the garlic is fragrant and golden, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.

In a food processor, pulse the pitas to very fine crumbs and transfer to a large bowl. Finely chop 6 Tbsp. of the arugula and stir into the crumbs along with the sausage, cheese and grated garlic. Form into 12 meatballs.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook until well browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup water and a generous pinch of salt. Cover, lower the heat to medium and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot and toss with the garlic oil, lemon juice and zest, the remaining arugula and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the meatballs.

*Chef’s note: So we all know Rachael Ray is a talented woman, but has anyone ever noticed that she just nails meatballs and burgers? Dang! This spaghetti would be fantastic even alone, the meatballs would be great in a red sauce; but they are so incredible together! Best pasta dish I have made in a long time. Yum, yum, yum. As you may be able to tell, I used a mixture of leftover whole wheat and traditional spaghetti. There was still a lot of water left (which had turned a golden yellow) when the meatballs were cooked through, but they weren’t soggy and I just took them out of the liquid to serve.

May 16, 2012

Crock pot chicken Parmesan

Siggy Spice

Serves: 4

  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • favorite jarred marinara sauce, I use Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara

Spread the 1 TBSP of olive oil into the bottom of your crockpot stoneware insert.

Beat the egg with a fork in a separate bowl. Mix the bread crumbs with the seasonings and the Parmesan cheese in another separate dish. Dip the chicken into the egg, then into the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides with crumbs, cheese and seasonings.

Place the chicken breast pieces in the bottom of the crockpot. Layer 2-3 slices or 1-2 cups of mozzarella cheese on top, depending on how much cheese you like. Cover chicken and cheese with entire jar of marinara sauce.

Close lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4. I cooked mine on high for about 3 1/2 hours and the chicken was perfect! Serve with your favorite pasta.  ENJOY!

*Chef’s note: I love the idea of this recipe and had to give it a try. It doesn’t beat classic chicken Parm. for me, though. Even cooked on low, it still seemed to taste a bit burned, and though covered in sauce and falling apart, the chicken still had a dry texture that I didn’t enjoy.

May 16, 2012

Croque monsieur pockets

Food Network

Makes: 4

  • 1 cup grated gruyere cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 cup deli-sliced ham, chopped (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 11-ounce tube refrigerated French bread dough
  • 1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the gruyere, ham, mustard, nutmeg and cayenne in a bowl until combined. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands to make it compact.

Brush a baking sheet lightly with vegetable oil. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and fill the dinner pockets. Step-by-step directions.

Place the pockets seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl; brush the pockets with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

*Chef’s note: My gosh were these good. And the hardest part was finding the seam in the dough to unroll it. Definitely spring for the gruyere here; it is perfect! A fancier, much better-tasting Hot Pocket. Mmmm.

May 16, 2012

Shepherd’s pie

Food Network

Serves:6

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 rib celery, sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup canned low sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, optional
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic, half the salt, and oregano. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until mushrooms are soft and tomato paste has turned brick red, about 8 minutes more. Stir in the beef, the broth, the remaining salt, the Worcestershire, and some pepper, breaking up any large clumps of meat, cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the meat and vegetables to a 2-quart oval casserole dish and spread the mashed potatoes over the top, leaving a 1/4-inch boarder around the edge. Make a decorative pattern on the top of the potatoes, if desired. Sprinkle with cheese, if using, and dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake until potatoes brown and the juices bubble around the edge, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

MASHED POTATOES:

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled quartered
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes in a saucepan with cold water to cover by about 1-inch and add the salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. At the same time, combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan. Toss the potatoes over medium heat until dry. Add the heated milk mixture and mash the potatoes until just slightly chunky, then stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

*Chef’s note: Such a delicious, comforting meal! I left out the celery (weird.) and used 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire (and may recommend even more!). I loved the Parmesan, a nice change from the sharp cheddar I normally use. Noms!