Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turkey Shepherd's Pie (One dish holiday leftover meal)

This is a great way to clean out the fridge after a holiday. You could also make this dish with leftover chicken or ground meat (use leftover taco meat for a fun twist.

1 large Carrot - sliced thinly
1 small Onion - diced
1/2 Bell Pepper - diced
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
Mashed Potatoes

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large ovenproof skillet*, heat the oil and add the first three ingredients.

Season with s/p and CRP, stir and cook until the onion is clear but not brown.

Add garlic and cook another minute or two.

Stir in the turkey, corn and pea.

Mix a large spoonful of gravy into the pan and smooth everything out evenly.

Spread the potatoes evenly over the vegetable and meat mixture.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Radiatori with Squash and Tomatoes

This is a quick and nutritious vegetarian entrée or side dish. Here are some tips to make it your own:

- Substitute whole wheat pasta for a gluten free meal.
- You can add grilled meat, beans, artichokes, broccoli, and/or spinach which are all high in protein and other vitamins.
- A couple spoonfuls of cream at the end will add more fat, but it will also give you a richer, thicker sauce.
- A tablespoon of cold butter added to the tomato sauce before the pasta is tossed in will also help to emulsify it.

4 Green onions - sliced (reserve 1/2 of the green parts)
1/2 Bell Pepper - finely diced
4 cloves Garlic - finely diced or pressed
1/2 - 1 T Tomato Paste
1 Yellow Squash - diced
1 Zucchini - diced
Trader Joe's 21 Season
3 Fresh Tomatoes
Vegetable Stock
Large Pot of Water
Radiatori (or another type of pasta)

Heat oil in a sauce pan and add the onion and pepper. Cook for two minutes.

Stir in the garlic and paste. Cook for another two minutes.

Add the next seven ingredients to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally till the squash is tender crisp.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rainbow Trout with Lemon and Herb

This trout was cooked on an indoor grill. An outdoor grill will work just as well. Be sure not to place the fish directly over the flames, so that the skin doesn't burn. You could also dust the fish's skin with flour and then cook it in a tablespoon or two of oil and/or butter, in a sauté pan.

This recipe is for one fish. I served it with half a lobster tail and pasta, it was the perfect amount for the two of us. If the people you're feeding have larger appetites, cook one fish per person.

1 pan-dressed Rainbow Trout
1 Green Onion (green part only) - sliced
1 stalk Oregano
2 slices of Lemon - cut in half
Cooking String (optional)
Melted Butter (optional)

Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Lay it flat, skin side down.

Season the trout with s/p.

Place half of the onions and oregano on one side of the fish.

Top the herbs with your lemon slices.

Add the rest of the onions and oregano on top of the lemon slices.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chipotle Black Bean Dip

I made this dip for a Christmas party. I served it with a store bought chips. Not supper creative, I know, but I was trying to keep it quick and simple.

1-2 T EVOO
1 small Onion - finely diced
6 Garlic Cloves - peeled
2-5 Chipotle Peppers
1 small spoonful of Adobo Sauce
1 can diced RO*TEL Tomatoes
Roasted Ground Cumin
4 cans Black Beans - drained

Heat EVOO on med-hi heat, in a pan that's large enough to hold all of the beans.

When the oil is hot, add the onions to the pan. I like to throw a little piece of onion into the pan as it's heating. When you hear the onion start to sizzle, that means the oil is hot.

If you have a garlic press, use it to press the garlic into the pan. If not, dice the garlic very finely and add it to the pan.

Remove your chipotle peppers from the can and place them on a cutting board. Use the tip of a pairing knife the cut each pepper open from the steam down to the tip. Then, use a fork or spoon to slide the seeds out. Discard the seeds and steams. Chop the peppers up and add them to the pan.

Add a small amount of the adobo sauce with the peppers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Carrot Soup

I made this soup for a Thanksgiving starter, but I think it would be a great spring/summer soup as well. Adjust the amount of garlic, ginger, and juice to your taste. If you want a sweeter soup, add more apple juice (or you can also substitute orange juice). For a spicier soup, add more garlic and ginger.

2 T Butter
2 Celery Stocks - diced
1 Onion - diced
1/2 Orange Bell Pepper
Garlic - minced, diced, or crushed
Ginger - peeled and cut into small pieces
1 bunch Fresh Thyme
1 t Turmeric
8 Carrots - peeled and sliced
1 large Potato - peeled and diced
1 can Coconut Milk
Apple Juice
4 cups Vegetable Stock

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review - Gorkha Palace

Gorkha Palace
23 4th St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Tony and I have been wanting to try the new Gorkha Palace since it opened. We stopped by once, but it was a Monday and they were closed. We made it there on a weekend day for lunch, and they were open, but not very busy. With us, there were four groups of people.

The sever greeted us and took our drink order right away. Then she walked away, but still within eye sight. Another person came to our table and took our lunch order. After 10 - 12 minutes the server came back and told us that the other person was new and never turned in our order. So, we would have to wait another ten minutes before we got anything to eat. The server was nice enough, just not prompt. One man, after receiving his check and waiting for the server to return, had to go up to the bar to pay.

We ordered Chicken Mo Mo to start. Mo Mo is a steamed dumpling. Grokha Palace makess five types of Mo Mos including Yak, Mutton and Vegetable. They are served with a tomato chutney. They were pretty tasty, warm and well seasoned. The Mo Mo comes in a six or ten piece order and cost between six and twelve dollars. This appetizer was my favorite part of our meal.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tuna Noodle Casserole

I made this for Tony, although I secretly wanted it too. It was fun making a classic without one of the usual ingredients, a can of cream of something soup.

1-2 T EVOO
1 small Onion - finely diced
1 Leek - sliced and cleaned
1/4 Red Bell Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic - diced
Hot Sauce (I used chili garlic sauce) - to taste
3 T Butter
1/4 cup Flour
3 cups Milk
White Pepper
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Zest from Lemon
1 cup of Peas - steamed for one minute
small palm full of Dried Parsley
small palm full of Capers
2 6oz cans of Tuna - drained
10oz Dry Noodles or Pasta (I used Mafalada)
Pot of Boiling Water - heavily salted
about 1 1/2 cups of Cheese - separated (I used Sharpe Cheddar and Parmesan) - shredded or shaved
about a 1/4 cup of Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks, and peppers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Potato Spinach Enchiladas

I made these enchiladas after it snowed. We didn't want to leave the house, so I used what was on hand. I like to keep a can or two of enchilada sauce in my pantry. It's great for all kinds of quick meals.

This recipe makes 6-8 enchiladas, depending on how full you stuff them.

1 Potato
1/4 Yellow Bell Pepper - diced
1/4 large Yellow Onion - diced
1-3 cloves Garlic - diced
1 Tomato - diced (peeled and seeded, optional)
Dried Oregano
Chili Powder
Fajita Seasoning
Vegetable Stock, Chicken Stock or Water
2 handfuls Spinach
Oil for frying*
Corn Tortillas
1 can Enchilada Sauce
Cheese - shredded or crumbled (I used Feta, Chipotle Gouda, and Parmesan)

Preheat oven to 375°

Clean the potato. Place it in a pot and cover it with cold water. Place a lid on the pot and bring the water up to a boil. Once the water is boiling, remove the lid. Cook the potato till it's fork tender (the fork should easily slide in and out of it).

As the potato boils, heat the EVOO in a small pan. Add the onion and pepper. Cook for two minutes. Stir garlic into the pan and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes to your pan. Stir.

Season the vegetables to taste.

Add a couple splashes of stock or water to the pan, carefully so that you don't splash yourself. Cover the sauce and cook it over med-low heat while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Butternut, Sausage and Brie Wontons - "Turkey Day Wontons"

I made these tasty little things for Drinksgiving, an annual party held the night before Thanksgiving. I took 50 of them with me and they all disappeared, so consider making extras if there will be a large group.

2 Butternut Squash
2 T Maple Syrup
1 handful Pecans
2 Potatoes - boiled and peeled
Pinch of Ground Cinnamon
6 Links Spicy Turkey Sausage (or pork)
1 Egg - whisked in a small bowl with a splash of water
Wonton Wraps
Oil for frying

Step One - Preparing the ingredients

Preheat oven to 400°F.

I like to cut the squash into manageable pieces before I peel it. To do this, I lay the squash on it's side and cut the ends off. Then cut it in half, across the equator.

Stand the squash up, half at a time, and using a peeler or a knife, remove the outside skin of the butternut.

Cut each half in half again, this time cutting down lengthwise. This will expose the seeds. Remove them with a spoon, and discard.

Next, dice the meat of the squash into about one inch pieces. Repeat this process with the other squash.

Once all of the squash is diced, toss it in a bowl with the syrup, EVOO, and s/p. Then, evenly spread the butternut out onto two half sheet pans.

Place the pans in the oven and roast, turning once or twice, till the squash is very tender, but not brown. Your fork should easily mash a piece.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Review - Brasa

Brasa - Minneapolis
600 E. Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Brasa - Saint Paul
777 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN. 55105

Tony and I have been known to eat at Brasa more than once a week. It's our "fast food". We don't just eat there a lot because it's fast, that's just a perk. We eat at Brasa because the food has never let us down. It's always made with fresh ingredients and it warms me from the inside.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tip - How to Cut an Onion

This is the quickest way that I have found to dice an onion. It also causes the least amount of tears.

I call the top of the onion the half that the stem grew up from. The bottom is where the roots grow out.

1. Peel the onion.

2. Cut the onion straight through the top and bottom. You should have half of the root on each side.

3. Place the onion in the freezer. If you're only using half of the onion for your recipe, store half in the fridge for a later use.

4. After a few minutes, take half of the onion out of the freezer.

5. Place it flat side down on a cutting board.

6. With a sharp knife, cut the top tip off of the onion.

7. Hold your knife parallel to the cutting board.

8. Slice horizontally through the onion from the top towards the roots, but not through them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Orzo and Beans in Chunky Veg Sauce with Chipotle Gouda

I used left over veg sauce that I made a day or two earlier to make this quick lunch.

1 can Red Beans - drained (use any bean you want)
3 palm fulls of Orzo (I have small hands)
1 T butter or EVOO (optional)
Chunky Vegetable Sauce (or any sauce you have on hand)
Chipotle Gouda - shredded (or any cheese that melts well)

Cook pasta in a large pot of heavily salted water till it's almost cooked.
Drain pasta.
Return it to the pot.
Add butter/oil if using.
Stir in beans.
Add sauce to taste - I don't like it too runny, so I add a little at a time just till all of the pasta and beans are nice and wet.
Heat through.
Taste (don't burn your tongue).
Season with s/p if needed.
Stir in a hand full cheese.
Spoon onto dishes and sprinkle with more cheese.

Serve with a salad or slaw and bread.

If you don't want a vegetarian meal, top the orzo with grilled steak, chicken, or shrimp. I don't think it's needed because the beans add enough protein for one meal. But, you should do what ever makes you happy.

You can also substitute cooked rice, polenta or another grain for a gluten free dish.

Bon appetit!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vegetable Stock

People keep asking me how to make stock, but they just stare blankly at me when I tell them. So, here it is. Just as easy as I said it would be.

Vegetable stocks do not need to cook as long as meat ones. It only takes about half an hour to make a nice flavorful veggie stock.

1. Put all the veggies, bay leaf and sturdy (or dried) herbs in a pot.
2. Cover with water.
3. Season with s/p. Try different peppers; black, white, or red.
4. Bring to a boil.
5. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add tender herbs and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
7. Taste. Add more s/p if needed.
8. Strain into a large bowl, pushing all of the liquid out of the veggies.
9. Throw the vegetables away.
10. Store or use your stock.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Food Pics - B

New Years Day Dinner

Tea Sandwiches

Apple and Peanut Butter Wraps

Kale and White Beans tossed in Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper (Ready to Roast)

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells served with Beans and Kale over Tomato Sauce

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