Friday, January 27, 2012

Mediterranean Halibut Sandwiches

The Halibut was not in season so my fish guy suggested using Brazillian Sea Bass. I really liked these.  Now that we are eating lunch home every day, I'm trying to come up with a different soup or sandwich every week to make our meals interesting.  This was a really good choice. Giada De Laurentiis - FoodNetwork

Printable Version:

Ingredients for Fish:
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 (12 oz center-cut halibut fillets, skinned (for the two of us- .56 oz piece of fish was plenty)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Ingredients for Bread:
1 loaf ciabatta bread, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise (I bought a loaf of ciabatta bread that was already sliced. Didn't have to use that much bread)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
Ingredients for Filling:
 1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (she used the ones in olive oil, but I did not)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon capers, drained
zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups argula (I didn't have that so mine was just the fish spread)

Method for the fish:
Season the halibut on both sides with salt and pepper. Place on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the fish is cooked through and the flesh flakes easily with a fork, 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Mine took closer to 20 minutes to cook because the bass was really thick.
Method for the bread:
Preheat grill pan or a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove some of the dough from the top half of the bread. Brush the cut sides of the bread with olive oil. Grill the bread until golden, 1-2 minutes, and rub the cooked surface with the cut side of the garlic. If you use the ciabatta bread that is pre-cut. Just use a little olive oil on both sides of the bread and grill 1 min. on each side.
For the Filling:
In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, capers, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. 

Using a fork, flake the cooked fish and add to the filling. Mix until incorporated. Place the filling on the bottom half of the bread. Top with argula. Add the top half of the bread and cut into 4 equal-sized sandwiches. If you use the pre-cut bread, just use two of the slices per sandwich.  I had some spinach leaves that I really planned to use, but when I started putting the sandwiches together, I totally forgot.  It was delicious as Bodie Max would say.

Vegetable Quesadillas

This is a nice lunch option. I'm not sure how much Jud liked them w/o meat, but I thought they were great.You could certainly substitute any vegetables that you had on hand and needed to use.  I threw in some spinach in the last 30 seconds because I had it and wanted to put as many vegetables as possible.  I also used swiss cheese slices instead of the Jack cheese because I had it.  This picture was taken before I put the top on and flipped it to melt the cheese.

Printable Version:

2 cups yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup green and red bell pepper slices
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 cups reduced-fat colby Jack cheese shreds
4 whole wheat tortillas
Salsa, for garnish
1. Saute' squash, mushrooms, onion and peppers with seasonings in a large skillet, sprayed throughly with cooking spray, until vegetables are crisp-tender; remove from skillet.
2. Place 1/2 cup cheese on 1/2 of each tortilla; top evenly with vegetable mixture and another 1/4 cup cheese. Fold tortilla over filling. Repeat with each tortilla. I used 2 whole tortillas and then cut them in quaerters when it was done.
3. Wipe skillet clean, re-spray with cooking spray, cook quesadillas over medium heat 3-5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Serve immediately with your favorite salsa.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Huevos Rancheros

Jud really likes huevos rancheros at our favorite breakfast taco place that we go to on Saturdays.  I decided to try this recipe that was in a cookbook I got for Christmas.  I really liked it, but I will probably tweek it a little as I will mention in the recipe. I cut the recipe in 1/2

Printable Version:

1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (16oz) can diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion
1 (10oz) can Rotel tomatoes (Since I was cutting the recipe in 1/2, I didn't use the Rotel Tomatoes. I just added some jalapenos to the diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
6 eggs
1/2 cup low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 corn tortillas, warmed

1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Since the tomatoes have onion and green pepper in the can, I probably won't add this step next time. Little too much onion for my taste.
2. Add next 6 ingredients and cook over low heat for 5 minutes and pour sauce into a 9" X 13" baking dish. Make 6 indentations in the sauce and gently break an egg into each.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until eggs set. (It actually took closer to 20-25 minutes) Sprinkle with cheese and cook an additional 1 minute. Place each egg on a corn tortila, cover with sauce and serve immediately.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sausage and Kale Mock Lasagna Casserole

I read an article last week mentioning how kale was one of the super foods and that we should eat it more often. When I saw this recipe on Kalyn's blog I knew I wanted to try it.  I was worried that Jud would not like it because it uses kale instead of noodles and I thought he wouldn't like it.  It was a huge hit and he said it was a definite do-over. That is always good to hear.  This recipe made enough for us to have it 2 times. We will have it another day. I love those meals where you cook once, and eat on it twice.  Yea!

Printable Version:

2 medium-sized bunches of kale
1 teaspoon salt (for water to cook kale)
2 teaspoon olive oil (I didn't use any to cook the sausage)
1 pkg (19.5oz) hot turkey Italian Sausage  (I used mild)
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon ground fennel
2 Tablespoon + 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup + 1 cup grated reduced-fat mozzarella cheese (I used 12oz sliced mozzarella in water)
There were 20 slices in the package
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9" X 12" lasagna-type glass or cockery casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray.

Add the salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Trim stems from the kale, then cut the kale into ribbons about 1/2" wide. When the water starts to boil add the kale, lower heat so the water is gently boiling, and cook kale 5-6 minutes. Drain kale into a colander in the sink and let it continue to drain while you prepare other ingredients (She uses a spinner to gently spin the water from the cooked kale and then let it continue to drain.)(After it was cool enough to work with, I squeezed the water out of the kale)

While the kale is cooking, heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan, squeeze sausage out of the casings, and saute until the sausage is cooked through and nicely browned, breaking it apart with the turner as it cooks. When the sausage is done, add the pasta sauce, dried basil, and ground fennel. Stir to combine and let the sauce simmer 20-25 minutes, or until it's thickened and the liquid is reduced.

In the casserole dish, layer 1/2 the drained kale, sprinkle 2 T Parmesan, 1/2 the sauce,and 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of kale, Parmesan, sauce,and mozzarella. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and cheese is starting to brown.

Let the mock lasagna sit for about 5 minutes before you cut it. Serve hot.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tilapia with sundried tomato pesto

These two dishes came from Gluten-Free Mommy's blog which I found on The recipe for the green beans will follow, but just so you know, we like our green beans much more done than crispy so next time I will cook them much longer instead of just blanching them for 2-3 minutes.  The sundried tomato pesto was really good. I will definately make that again when my basil has reached its ending days.

Printable Version:

Ingredients for the Sundried Tomato Pesto
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1/2 jalapena
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup sliced almonds
salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth or until desired consistency.
In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter.  Season the talapia on both sides and cook for 2-3 minutes per side.  When done plate and put the pesto on top or along the side to eat with the fish.
Ingredients for the Green beans:
green beans
1/2 pound mushrooms
2 Tablespoons shallots
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lime
salt to taste
Blanch green beans 2-3 minutes in boiling water.  In a separate pan, heat olive oil and cook shallots 30 seconds. Add garlic and cook 15 seconds. Add mushrooms. Saute 2-3 minutes, stirring the green beans. Grate lime zest over the top and serve.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Barbecue Meatballs

This recipe has a great barbecue sace that you make from scratch, but if you are wanting to save some time, you may want to buy your favorite barbecue sauce to use.  But I really like using this sauce.  It would go well on pork or chicken as well.

Printable Version:

Ingredients for sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 cup ketchup
12 cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Ingredients for Meatballs:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large egg
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
1 package sloppy joe seasoning

Combine first 8 ingredients and simmer slowly for 45 minutes.  Combine remaining ingredients for the meatballs and mix well. Make into small meat balls. Fry in a small amount of oil until brown. Drain well and pour sauce over meat balls. Cook for 1 hour in a 300 degree oven.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Aunt Sherry's Raisin Bread

My Aunt gave me this recipe.  She used to give it to my mother and grandmother for special occasions, like bithdays.  It is a great recipe and it makes 3 loaves.  It is great toasted for breakfast or for a mid-morning coffee break.  I put one in the freezer, gave one away, and kept one for our breakfast. 

Printable Version:

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 box raisins (I don't use that many because I don't like that many raisins in the bread. I used about 1/3 of a box.)
2 packages yeast dissolved in 1 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
7-8 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon\
1 tablespoon butter
Dust raisins with flour to keep them separated in the bread.  Heat milk and add butter, sugar and salt.  Cool to lukewarm and add yeast that has been dissolved in 1 cup warm water, and eggs.  Add 5 cups of flour and raisins. Add rest of flour. Let rise 2 hours. Knead on floured surface. Makes 3 loaves. Let rise. Bake 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Brush with butter.
I like this to be a cinnamon/raisin bread. So after the first rise, I flatten out the bread and add the cinnamon and brown sugar with chunks of the butter spread out over the 3 loaves of bread.  Roll the bread into a loaf and let rise for 2 hours.  Then bake.  I glaze mine with powdered sugar and milk instead of butter.  It is good either way.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Pesto with Pasta

This doesn't look as good in the picture as it is.  The fresh green beans are delightful also.  I'll tell you my method for the green beans after the pasta.  I had some chicken left-over from a baked chicken and some pesto in the freezer.  When you don't feel like cooking, but don't want to go out, it is amazing how creative you can become. If you are making this for company, you might want to sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the top to make it look more appetizing.

Pasta of your choice
1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken
homemade or store-bought pesto
Save a little pasta water to thin out the dish in the end.
Cook the pasta according to dirrections on the package.  When the pasta is al dente pour out the water saving a little to add to the dish in the end.  Put the pasta back in the pot and add the chicken and pesto. Stir and cook on low until heated through.

Green Beans
I have a little jar of bacon greese that I keep on the counter. I add about 1 tablespoon of the bacon greese and then add about 1 tablespoon of onion. Stir on medium-low until the onions have wilted. Add about 1  1/2 cups of water and the green beans.  Cook until desired doneness.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Poached egg with bacon and swiss cheese bagel

This was a great breakfast. I will definately make this again.

Printable Version:

1 bagle per person
cream cheese for spreading on bagel
1 slice of bacon per 1/2 of bagel
swiss cheese 1/2 slice per 1/2 bagel
Cut the bagel in 1/2 and toast each side in a toaster. Remove from toaster and spread each 1/2 with cream cheese. Poach an egg using whatever method you choose.  I usually use my egg poacher, but today, I decided to do it in a large skillet. I got the water to boil and added about 1 teaspoon of vinegar. The chefs tell me that keeps the egg together. When it is the desired doneness, remove the egg and put on top of the cream cheese.  Add a slice of bacon that has been cut in 1/2 (you will have 2 slices per 1/2 bagel). Top with 1/2 slice of swiss cheese. Put in the broiler and broil until cheese melts. About 1 minute.

Green enchiladas

I had some filling left-over from the pumpkin enchiladas the other night. The filling was great, it was just the topping that needed help. I bought a can of Hatch green enchilada sauce, poured 1/3 of it in the bottom of the baking dish, and topped the fried and stuffed corn tortillas with the remaining can of sauce. Much, much better.

1/2 rotisserie chicken
6 scallions, sliced thin
1 can black beans
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
8 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cup grated sharp white cheddar (I used yellow cheddar)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine 1st 3 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2.  Pour 1 cup of green enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 8" square baking dish.
3. You can fry tortillas in a little oil so they are soft and pliable. Mound chicken mixture on 1/2 of each tortilla. Roll tortilla tight and place in baking dish seem side down.
4. Pour remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chicken and Corn Chowder

This is the soup of the week and Jud made it. As I have mentioned before, we give each soup of the week a grade, and this one got a 9.  We don't remake a soup unless it gets at least an 8. Since we have lunch every day at home, this is a great option. Make a batch of cornbread, and lunch is served. We doubled this recipe.
From The Big Book of Soups and Stews by Maryana Vollstedt

Printable Version:
3 slices thick bacon, diced
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced (I slice the leeks and then put them in a bowl of water.  I separate the rings as I swish them in the bowl of water. The leeks are dirty and this way the dirt goes to the bottom and then I just pull them out and put them in the pot to cook. 
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock or broth
2 large russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and chopped
2 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (about 1 pound), cut into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 can (15oz) creamed corn
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a plate, leaving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Add onion, leeks, and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add chicken, reserved bacon, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered, until chicken turns white and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes longer. Add creamed corn and simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended, 5-10 minutes longer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken Cutlet Rolled with olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Prosciutto

This recipe is designed to be made with pork chops, but I decided to make them with Chicken Breasts tonight. I had some of the stuffing in the freezer that was left-over from making it with pork chops several months ago. I think I may like the chicken better, although the pork was pretty good too.

Printable Version:

2 chicken breasts
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil + 2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup chopped green olives
1 cup dry toasted bread crumbs
8 leaves fresh sage, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
This recipe makes much more stuffing than you need for two people, but it freezes well.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown the onion and garlic until soft. Add sun-dried tomatoes, olives, bread crumbs, sage.  Allow to cool and then add the Parmesan cheese.
2.  Make a slit in each chicken breast to form a pocket. Stuff the chicken with the stuffing mixture. You may need to sew the slit together with toothpicks that have been soaking in water to prevent from burning the toothpicks.
 Melt the olive oil and butter in a non-stick oven-safe skillet and brown the chicken on both sides for about 2 minutes.  Put the chicken in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove chicken breasts.  If you like make some gravy with the drippings to go over the chicken and rice.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Meaty Minestrone Soup and Parsley Supper Ring

This is our soup and bread for the week.  I will print the bread recipe after the minestrone soup recipe. Really good soup.  O.K. bread. I like my regular homemade bread recipe better, but this is a nice change. It is sort of like a monkey bread in that you cook it in a ring.
Soup from The Big Book of Soups and Stews by Maryana Vollstedt. The bread - Cookbook called The No-Knead Way - Ann Pillsbury's Amazing Discovery

1 cup dried Great Northern or navy beans, presoaked. May substitute canned beans that have been   washed and drained.  If you use canned beans add them at the end.
1 can (16oz) plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice
6 cups beef stock or broth
1 pound beef stew meat
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1X1 inch wedge Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups cut-up green beans
1 small zucchini, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and then sliced
1/2 cup small uncooked macaroni
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, combine drained beans,(unless you are using canned beans--add them last) tomatoes, stock, beef, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, cabbage, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil. Immerse the Parmesan cheese wedge in the soup. Reduce heat to medium-low heat and simmer, covered, until beans and meat are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Add green beans, zucchini, and macaroni. I cooked the macaroni separate and added it to the bottom of the bowl and then ladled the soup in to the bowl. I knew I would have soup left-over and didn't want my macaroni to get mushy. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender-crisp and macaroni is al dente, about 20 minutes longer.

Remove bay leaf and discard. Ladle into large bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Note: You can use 1 can (15oz) white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained, instead of the presoaked beans. Add them when you add the macaroni.
For a thicker soup, at the end of the cooking time, puree 1 cup of the begetables in a food processor or blender. Return to soup, mix well,
and reheat. I did not do this.

Parsley Supper Ring
Soften 1 package yeast, compressed or dry granular, in 1 cup lukewarm water.
Add 3 tablespoons melted shortening
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt.
Blend in 1 egg
Add 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour. Mix until well blended and soft.
Turn into a greased, 9" ring mold. Let rise in a warm place until light, about 45 minutes.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cut into thick slices, spread generously with garlic butter and sprinkle with parsley.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ziplock egg omelet I had my family here for Christmas, I made these. You can put up to 6 baggies in a large pot of boiling water.  It is amazing to see how it works, and people can put in their omelet whatever they choose. Be sure to use freezer bags.
Printable Version:

cooked bacon
cooked ham
cooked pancetta
green onions
green peppers
salt and pepper to taste
The amazing thing about this method is that you just put everything in little bowls and let people put in their freezer baggie whatever they like.  Then you put the baggie in the boiling water for 13 minutes and it comes out perfect every time.  It is great fun for a party of brunch.  You can serve my overnight cinnamon rolls and a fruit salad and you are good to go.  You can let everyone time their own baggie.  I wrote everyone's name on the baggie with a permanent marker.  It worked great for my family of 12. I had two big pots of boiling water and just let everyone make their own.

Hint: Make sure to use freezer bags.