Archive | Recipe RSS feed for this section

Happy Fat Tuesday – Jambalaya Recipe

4 Mar

I found this Jambalaya recipe two or three years ago and have been making it ever since.  I figured since it was the end of Mardi Gras I should do a little something since I’m not out drinking my face off like I would have been when I was in college… and in my early twenties.

It’s a cooking light recipe.  I’ve modified it a little, but not much.  So, the recipe and steps provided by Cooking Light, the pictures provided by me…

Cooking Light Recipe

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (I only used chicken breast)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped smoked turkey sausage (about 4 ounces) (I used leftover kielbasa)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (I used a whole green pepper and half a red pepper because I like the flavor)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice (I used brown rice)
  • 2 3/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (skipped all three of these – paprika, thyme and red pepper – and subbed with a cajun seasoning that I have)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped $
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (optional)

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan, and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add sausage to pan; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove from pan.
  2. Add 1 cup onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. IMG_1116Stir in rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. IMG_1118Add broth, paprika, thyme, and red pepper; bring to a boil.
  5. IMG_1123Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken, sausage and tomatoes; cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  6. IMG_1126IMG_1128Stir in shrimp; cover and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with green onions.

IMG_1129IMG_1133

So hope you all have a good week!  I’m still trying to decide what to give up for Lent… one friend is talking about giving up Facebook… I’m not sure I have the willpower.  Any suggestions?

Advertisements

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

9 Feb

I know I’ve been neglectful of this blog this year.  Between the shoulder injury and the really gross winter we are having here in Pittsburgh, I’m not going out to eat much and I’m not really cooking.  Today though, I decided that I would cook and I wanted soup.  I mean, this is what it looks like out there right now:

IMG_1073

So comfort soup just sounded well… comforting.  If you like stuffed green peppers, you should like this soup.

Before it got bad out, Jen and I went to Coca Cafe (Here is my original review).  Jen got the same thing  as last time and I ordered a special.  I was tempted to get pumpkin pancakes, but I went with a tandori chicken chorizo and mango hash with eggs over easy instead.  It was fantastic, I loved the flavor, it had that great tandori flavor without being overbearing.  It was served with some grilled naan and a cool cucumber yogurt sauce.  I really like this tiny place, but be warned, even in 20 degree weather, there was a line outside for it at 8:45 am and they open at 9 on Sundays.IMG_1069

My Tandori Chicken Chorizo with eggs (yum)

Then we had a slightly slippery drive home as the snow started to pick up when we left.  I braved the drive from Jen’s to my house – I despise driving in snow.  I go super slow so everyone on the road hates me, but I don’t trust my car.  I’ve slid in the snow too many times in that car.  I’m seriously considering a Subaru right now.

I  decided to make this soup while I was at the store earlier in the week.  My local store sells this in their fresh soup section, but it’s not cheap and I figured I could make it for less money and probably a little healthier.

What you’ll need:

1 lb Ground Turkey Breast (or lean ground beef)

1 Small Yellow Onion (or half a large)

2 Green Peppers

1-2 cloves of garlic

1 28 oz can crushed tomato

1 28 oz can diced tomato

1.5 cups chicken broth (low sodium)

Italian Seasoning

1.5-2 cups cooked brown rice

First I cooked the ground turkey.  I thought I had some frozen turkey sausage that I had planned to add, but I did not, so I’m lacking a little of the protein I thought I’d have.  I was not going out in this snow to get it though!  Next time.

Then I added the diced green pepper, onion, garlic and a little salt and pepper with some olive oil.

IMG_1070

I let this cook until the veggies were softened, about 6-7 minutes, stirring often.

Then I added in the can of diced tomatoes, the can of crushed tomatoes, the chicken broth and the Italian seasoning.

IMG_1071

I eyeballed the the broth and seasoning, so I’m making assumptions about how much I put in.  Make sure it’s as liquidy as you like.  Ha, do you like my made up word, liquidy?  I season as I go, I actually added some Italian seasoning to the meat and veggie layer and then some more when I put in all of the liquids.  Just keep tasting it and make sure it tastes good to you.

I let this mixture simmer for about 2 hours, stirring every once in a while.  If you’ve just had shoulder surgery go do your exercises (that’s what I did).  Or clean.  Or sit on the couch and watch the Olympics (that’s what I did after the exercises).  Speaking of Olympics, I just wish I was even a fraction as athletic as these people.  But I hate cold weather, so doing any of these sports isn’t really something I’d be into.

Next time I’d probably go with lean ground beef over the turkey, it just doesn’t have the same flavor as the beef in something like this.  I’ll be eating this for lunch for the next several days.  Without the rice, this comes out as about 170 calories (assuming this makes 6 servings).  With the rice it comes in at 244.  either way, not a bad lunch at all!

Here it is all done, I mixed the rice in since I was going to be the only one eating this.  You can certainly add it in later if you like.

IMG_1074

Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe

30 Oct

I saw this recipe for butternut squash lasagna on Pinterest a while back and could not wait to make it.  I made it tonight with a few modifications, mostly because I could not find two of the things that she used.

Here is what I used

Lasagna Noodles (I used no bake, next time I’d prefer whole wheat)

Two packages of Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash (it’s already cut to bake and puree)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

15 oz ricotta cheese

A little less than 1/2 Tbsp each of cinnamon, thyme and sage (dial back the cinnamon a little next time Kari)

Salt and Pepper

1 tsp garlic

A few slices of Gouda cheese for on top
If you clicked on the link above for the recipe, you’ll see that she used sel de cuisine.  I could not find that in my grocery store, nor could I find the pureed butternut squash she used.  So I improvised.  First, I decided to make my own puree, it was rather easy, I just baked the squash with a little bit of water in the pan for about 45 minutes at 350.

IMG_0031

For the seasoning, I decided that I wanted cinnamon with it.  Last night I had pumpkin ravioli for dinner out and it had sage with it as well, which was so good.  So I decided on thyme and sage since those two go together.  I added that and the garlic and some salt and pepper (to taste).IMG_0035

I then mixed it all together.  I decided it needed a little more moisture so I added about 2 tablespoons of milk as well.  It made it this sort of dark orange color.

IMG_0036

I also mixed together the ricotta a quarter cup of the Parmesan cheese and some salt and pepper in a separate bowl.

IMG_0034

Then came the layering of the lasagna.  A little of the butternut squash puree in the bottom then two noodles followed by 1/3 of the butternut squash mixture.  Two more noodles and then the ricotta mixture.

IMG_0037

Keep layering, squash, noodles, ricotta, squash, noodles, ricotta.  Top it off with Parmesan cheese that was left over.  I covered the dish and baked it at 375 for 45 minutes.

IMG_0039

Then I added the Gouda cheese to the top and baked uncovered for another 15 minutes.

Before baking the Gouda…

IMG_0042

After the baking the Gouda… yum!

IMG_0043

I let it sit long enough to write a draft of this (about 10-15 minutes).  And Dug in!  I will admit, I was nervous about this, I wasn’t sure I’d like it.  But I did.  The Gouda was absolutely necessary, it added a lovely cheesiness to it and I think it would have been a little boring without it.  I’d totally make this again.

IMG_0047

I ate this with fish tonight.  I just need protein in my meals especially on days when I lift weights (which I did tonight).  I give a lot of credit to vegetarians, I’m not inventive enough to find different sources of protein.

So I’d say that I was happy with this creation and I will make it again, but I’d probably tweak the seasoning.  If you give it a shot let me know what you think or what changes you made!  Also, I need a better camera, these pictures suck.

Happy Birthday to me!

6 Oct

I turned 35 today.  It just sounds weird.  I don’t know why, but it does.  I’m not bothered by that, I’m happy with my life and I don’t feel old or anything, but it just sounds strange to me.

Anyway, lots of good birthday stuff!  I, like everyone else on Facebook, got lots of happy birthdays, which just makes one feel validated for absolutely no reason at all.

Last night, I went out to eat with Maura and Kirra to a place called Social in Bakery Square.  Overall, I wasn’t especially impressed with the food.  Maura and I shared these fried cauliflower patties and some buffalo chicken dip.  Those were both fine, nothing to write home about, but they were good.  I also ordered these ahi tuna nachos because they sounded interesting.

IMG_0878

I had the flash off, so you can’t really see the tuna, but it was rare and on top of a little guacamole with some red pepper sauce and wasabi sauce on top as well.  They were good, but honestly, I could barely taste the tuna because there was just too much sauce going on.   That’s my only complaint with these.  As Maura and Kirra pointed out though, the presentation was lovely, so I took a picture.

The one thing I will say about being in my mid-30’s is that I don’t like to stay out too late often because I’m a waste the next day.  So, we called it a night early and I was home a little after 10.  Which was great, because that meant I could wake up early and go to spinning at 8:15!

So I did that today then stopped at Starbucks and got myself a birthday pumpkin spice latte (skim milk, no whip of course).  And while there, I saw the cutest little girl.  She was about 2.5-3 and was with her dad.  She had an orange bow on one side of her hair and a pink headband with a large pink flower on the other side of her head.  I just said that it was obviously a 2 hair-bow kinda day.  Also, I saw a guy walking a cat in my neighborhood.  I kid you not.  My birthday was obviously complete at that point, but it was only 10 am!

I then headed over to my mom’s to make lunch/dinner.  I took a little detour to see miss Sarah at my aunt’s house on my way.  I got my birthday hug and got to feed her and see some smiles.  Again, could my birthday get any better?

My mom had been asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday for weeks and I couldn’t think of anything that I really wanted to do.  I finally decided that I simply wanted her stuffed green peppers.  It’s one of those odd meals that my mom makes much better than I do.  I don’t know why, but when I attempt to make this, it’s never as good as when my mom makes it.  So we cooked together today.

First up, we cooked up a combo of ground turkey breast, lean ground beef, diced onion, diced celery, garlic, salt, pepper and lots of italian seasoning.

IMG_0881

Then we added in about a cup of marinara and another 1.5-2 cups of tomato sauce.

IMG_0882

My mom had the last of her peppers from her garden and we used those to stuff.  My mom used to cut the tops off and stuff them standing up, but she found it was easier to cut them in half and lay them down, so we stuffed them that way and topped them with a little tomato paste.

IMG_0883

Eric’s girlfriend Jamie and her two girls came up to eat with us, bringing me a cute pumpkin lantern and a home-made card.  My mom got a small cake for us and they sang to me.  Nothing like having a 6 and 9 year old there for your birthday… as they were leaving, the youngest goes to me… wait, we didn’t watch you open presents.  I was like, oh, honey, you don’t tend to get a lot of wrapped gifts at my age.  She just was looking at me like that must be the worst thing in the world.  Little does she know just having people who love you is more than enough on your birthday.

Oh, and when I said could my birthday get any better, it could.  The bucco’s won!!!  Seriously, it’s October, I haven’t seen the Pirates play on or around my birthday since 1992.  It’s a glorious day.

Turkey Enchilada Cornbread Casserole

25 Aug

I decided to make an easy dinner tonight to take down to see Shaun, Shannon and Sarah.  I’ve decided to take Sunday night with Sarah when I can and when Shaun and Shannon aren’t busy or tired!

Look at how cute the girl was tonight, this is what she had on at church.  Look at that adorable headband, that her dad picked out I will add!  She was so well coordinated.

IMG_0779
Since I bribe her parents with dinner in exchange for getting to hold her for an hour or two, I took them dinner.

I found an incredibly healthy vegetarian dish a while back called tempeh tamale pie (or something along those lines).  This recipe used tempeh (which is a soy product,) I subbed ground turkey breast.  Also, in the original recipe she made the sauce and corn bread from scratch (and vegan), I just was not up for that so I decided to make something a little more my speed while trying to keep it a little healthy.  My effort is to make sure as much of it as possible is organic, this one is about 75% organic ingredients.  So here it is!

What you need:

Ground Turkey Breast (1 lb) (Organic)

1.5 Cups Enchilada Sauce

1 can Pinto beans (Organic)

1 box of Jiffy (or whatever) corn muffin mix

1.5 cups corn (thawed if frozen)

1 Egg (Organic)

1/4 Cups Milk (plus about a tbsp if the mix looks dry) (Organic)

1 Cup Cheddar cheese

To start, brown the ground turkey breast.

IMG_0774

While that is browning, I thawed the corn and mixed together the corn, egg, milk and corn muffin mix in a bowl.

Once the meat is done, mix together the kidney beans and enchilada sauce and place in a baking dish.

IMG_0776

Sprinkle the cheese on top… mmm, cheese 🙂

IMG_0777

Lastly, spread the corn bread mix on top of that

IMG_0778

Bake this at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until the top is browning.  I didn’t take a picture of the done deal because I wanted to get down to Shaun and Shannon’s!   This is a super easy dinner to throw together and really isn’t all that bad for you.  It will make 6 servings unless you are really, really hungry.  It has 347 calories and 9 grams of fat.

I think this was a hit with Shaun and Shannon, they said they liked it and I certainly did.  I took a small simple salad (romaine lettuce, tomato and cucumber) as a side to make sure we got our veggies.

I will absolutely trade food any night if I can spend some time with miss Sarah.  I got to feed her tonight and she was cracking me up.  First, while the poor girl was sleeping, she let rip an adult soundeding fart.  I mean, Shaun was in the other room and asked if it was Shannon or me.  I’m recording this for posterity to embarrass her later in life.  Second, after I fed her and was trying to burp her, she kept smiling as I was patting her back (and refusing to burp btw).  I mean, it was like she was mocking me as I was giving her a shiatsu massage.  I finally got a burp out of her, it just took a while.

I have a note on ground turkey since we were talking about this tonight.  I’m a HUGE fan of ground turkey breast in place of ground beef in almost everything.  My two exceptions are burgers (even though I love a good turkey burger, they just don’t have the same taste) and meatballs or meat sauce when it comes to spaghetti.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll sub ground turkey breast for myself  in meat sauce but I wouldn’t do that if I was cooking for other people.   Anyway, my point tonight was about ground turkey vs. ground turkey breast.  To me, there is nearly ZERO point in buying ground turkey unless you are really worried about your cholesterol because I’d almost always rather buy the lowest fat ground beef over the regular ground turkey, you just don’t save that much fat unless you are buying the ground turkey breast.  The lesson here is that if you are really concerned with controlling fat and think you are being super healthy buying ground turkey, you really should be looking for ground turkey breast in my humble non-dietician, self-educated opinion.

I’ll get off my soap box and get ready for sleep now.  BTW…How about those VMA’s, I haven’t watched this in a while, I’m glad I did tonight.  I love Justin Timberlake and he got a few awards and put on QUITE the show.  I just adore him… Jessica Timberlake is a lucky lady (and he’s lucky to have her)!!!!

Casablanca and Moroccan Beef with Cous Cous

28 Jul

I’ve said before that Casablanca is my absolute favorite movie.  Well, my friend Jen had never seen it (I know, gasp, the horror).  So a few weeks ago I decided I was going to force her to watch it and also make a Moroccan meal to go with the movie.  So instead of looking one up online, I turned to the family.  My cousin Mike (uncle to miss adorable below) is a trained chef, even if that isn’t what he’s doing for a living right now.  So I asked him to send me something to go with my movie watching and he sent me this Moroccan Beef with Cous Cous recipe.

First though, I went to see this little girl earlier in the day, had to get in some snuggles.  My mom is holding her here, I love this pose though, we call it Thinking Girl.  Look at those LONG legs!

IMG_0743

Here is the recipe from Mike with some pictures from me.

Moroccan Beef Cous Cous (yields 4)

  • 1 lb. beef tenderloin (or chuck) – 1 inch cubes
  • 1 spanish onion – chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 3-4 white or gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 large carrots – peeled and cubed
  • handful of fresh chopped parsley and cilantro
  • handful of red or green olives (optional)
  • handful of garbonzo beans (optional)
  • 1/2 or 1 whole preserved lemon (or grated lemon peel)
  • 3 cups of beef stock
  • Morrocan cous cous (or Israeli if you can’t find it)
  • Chicken stock

Instructions:

Pat beef dry and season on all sides with salt and pepper, ginger, turmeric, cumin, and saffron (reserve some of spices for vegetables).  Add olive oil to large pot and brown the meat on all sides (in batches if needed) on medium-high heat. Remove from pot.

IMG_0749

Reduce heat and add a little more olive oil and sweat onions, garlic, and carrots until soft. Add remainder of spices and stir.

IMG_0751

Add beef back into pot and add 3 cups of beef stock and cover. Simmer the meat and veggies for about 1 1/2 hours or until beef is fork tender.

IMG_0752 IMG_0754

Add the potatoes, beans, olives and preserved lemon (or peel), adding broth/water if necessary. Partially cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is reduced until thick (add corn starch slurry to thicken if liquid is being reduced too much).

IMG_0755

Add some chopped parsley and cilantro. Season the stew with more spices and salt and pepper if necessary.

During the last part of cooking, follow instructions on cous cous package. Once it is light and fluffy, add cous cous to bowls. Spoon stew over cous cous and garnish with more parsley and cilantro and serve.

IMG_0756

A note from Mike:  This is a staple of Moroccan cuisine and is usually cooked in a tagine. Since most people do not own a tagine (myself included), a stock pot will suffice just fine. This is tasty on cool night and while watching Casablanca!

So I cooked this up and we watched Casablanca.  I’ve seen it like 3 dozen times so my opinion doesn’t count.  Jen’s thoughts on it though had to do with the fashion (she loved it), and the drama (a little over the top for her at moments).  I hadn’t seen it in a while, but it was as good as I remembered of course.  Rick’s speech at the end alone is enough to watch this movie, it has more great statements than almost any other movie.  If you’ve still not see it, please go rent it.  It’s only about 1.5 hours long, so it won’t exactly take up a bunch of your time.  And make this dish, it’s actually really easy and it tastes really good.

Manicotti with Chicken and Spinach… and the arrival of Sarah Faith

27 Jul

Earlier this week my cousin and his wife welcomed this little bundle of joy to the world.

IMG_0731

Sarah is amazing and adorable and I could not be more excited for Shaun and Shannon.

As my friends with children tell me, these first few weeks are both wonderful and exhausting.  Sarah will be growing every day, and likely keeping mom and dad up every night.  So to ease the burden a little bit, I’m making them some food to either cook right away or freeze for later.  This is the first installment, Manicotti stuffed with chicken, spinach and ricotta.  Here is the recipe!

1 box Manicotti

16 oz ricotta

2-3 chicken breast (you want about 1.5-2 cups shredded chicken)

1 1/2 Cups Mozzarella (1/2 cup for the mixture, 1 cup for the top)

1 bag fresh spinach (or 1 box frozen)

2 cloves of garlic

1 egg

Italian seasoning

Marinara of choice

To start this, I cooked the chicken in the crock pot, for me, it’s the easiest way to get the chicken to shred and it’s no fuss.

IMG_0735

I brought a pot of water to boil and added the manicotti.  The box says to cook it for 9-10 minutes, I only cooked it for about 5 minutes.  I under-cooked it a little since the manicotti would be baking as well.

While that was going on…

I steamed the fresh spinach and drained it really well (as spinach has a ton of water)

Then I mixed the chicken, ricotta, spinach, egg, garlic and seasoning together.  You know me by now, I suck at measuring, so I assume it was about a tablespoon of seasoning.  Maybe more.

IMG_0737IMG_0738

I poured a little bit of the marinara on the bottom of the aluminum pan I will be delivering this in.

I then washed my hands really well, because using my hands is the easiest way for me to stuff manicotti.  Some people use pastry bags, or ziploc bags, but they never work well enough for me.  Each was stuffed full and placed in the pan.

IMG_0740

I covered that with the rest of the jar of marinara and then a good bunch of mozzarella. I covered it in foil after the mozzarella was added and forgot to take a picture, so this is just with the sauce.

IMG_0741

I covered this and refrigerated it.  Shaun and Shannon can either cook it when I deliver it tomorrow or freeze it if they like.  It should cook for 60 minutes at 350.  The first 45 minutes  should be covered and the last 15 uncovered.

The only thing with freezing it (and it should freeze fine), is to thaw it out in the fridge at least overnight before cooking.

So I hope that they enjoy this one and that it helps take the load off a little bit.  I think I’m going to make them chicken enchiladas later in the week.

%d bloggers like this: