Wednesday, September 29, 2010

mini turkey meatball sliders

i've been craving meatball sliders ever since sis and i went to the brooklyn flea market last weekend. for anyone who has never been, it's a lot like eastern market in capital hill. it's a fun event that showcases vintage pieces, homemade crafts, and my favorite - local grub. sis and i were about to leave when we spotted the meatball sub station. i thought to myself - why hadn't we seen this before we devoured the fish tacos, organic mozzarella/tomato panini, fresh watermelon lemongrass popsicles, dill pickles, and taken over the homemade dip station! cursing myself for being too full/eating like a pig, i decided i would make them once i got home.

i tweaked a recipe from ellie kreiger, using turkey meat and incorporating vegetables in the mix. i was a little skeptical at first because it calls for grated carrots. i was worried they would add too much sweetness and throw everything off, but you could barely taste them. these little meatballs turned out moist, delicious and perfectly satisfying!

1 tablespoon evoo
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, liquid included
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil

cooking spray
1 pound ground turkey meat
1 slice fresh whole-wheat bread, crusts removed, pulsed into crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 package mini whole wheat dinner rolls
provolone cheese

in a large saucepan heat the evoo over medium heat. saute the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. add tomato paste, tomatoes, spices and salt. (since i don't like big chunks of tomatoes in my marinara, i used a masher to break them up - totally up to you though.) bring all the ingredients to a low boil, reduce heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until liquid has evaporated slightly. season with salt and pepper, to taste. while sauce is cooking, make meatballs.

preheat the broiler. spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. combine the turkey with all other ingredients in a large work bowl. form into 2 1/2 -inch balls and place on a baking sheet. broil for 10 minutes, or until browned and almost entirely cooked through.

add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and cook additional 10 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened and meatballs have absorbed some of the sauce.

cut dinner rolls in half and place on another baking sheet. add one meatball to each one and top with small slice of provolone cheese. broil for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. serve immediately with a simple side salad and you have yourself a "that's-a spicy meat ball-a" - sorry had to do it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

green with envy - pesto chicken | roasted asparagus | sauteed spinach

when i was planning this meal, i didn't realize everything was green. it doesn't make for the best presentation, but all i can say is that it still tasted good. this dinner doesn't involve any sort of effort. it's the perfect weeknight meal for a monday when you're still recovering from the weekend and don't feel like doing much besides laying on the couch to watch gossip girl/dancing with the stars.

for the main course i bought pre-marinated pesto chicken from trader joe's. you literally take it out of the package, place is on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes on 425 degress. it's that simple and the end product is always perfectly seasoned and juicy! i'm usually not into the whole pre-packaged thing, but trader joe's definitely got it right with these guys.

for the sides, i whipped up my favorite garlic spinach with tomatoes and roasted garlic asparagus.

i know this is nothing fancy, but it's still a great, healthy meal to keep in your recipe box! 

Monday, September 27, 2010

a glamourous meal made by the ultimate glamour girl

it only seems fitting that raelynn surprised us roomies with a meal that she found while reading glamour. rae is an absolute girly girl who still gets kicks out of curling her eyelashes every morning.

the magazine featured an entire meal made by one of my favorites, ina garten. it was simple, fresh and light. with lots of vibrant herbs and a zing of lemon juice, this is the perfect entertaining menu for any type of cook. click on the links below to get the recipes.

roasted salmon with green herbs
french string bean salad
couscous with roasted pine nuts

Friday, September 17, 2010

chicken and vegetable enchiladas

i found this recipe for healthier enchiladas at a blog called hungry mom on the run. she's a mom of three little ones, an avid runner and somehow finds time to whip up healthy meals. anddddd i'm not sure she knows i read her blog - so hi karen!

back to the recipe, i only changed a few things from karen's version. they turned out pretty delicious and we didn't feel that bad eating them since it was packed with so many veggies. here's how to do it:

8 flour tortillas
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1.5 zucchinis, chopped into small pieces
2 ears of corn, kernels taken from cob
1 can tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz enchilada sauce (i used trader joe's brand)
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin

preheat oven to 350 degrees. heat evoo in large skillet over medium heat. saute zucchini and corn for about 5 to 7 minutes, until zucchini is a little bit soft. in a large bowl mix together chicken, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, black beans, 6oz enchilada sauce, 1.5 cups cheddar cheese, spices and s&p. working one at a time, place a a generous scoop of the chicken/vegetable mixture in center of tortilla, roll it up like a burrito and place in a 13x9 casserole dish. repeat with the rest of the tortillas, placing them in a uniform line. drizzle rest of enchilada sauce on top of casserole and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. cover the dish with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes. remove tinfoil and cook for an additional 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly. serve with reduced fat sour cream and low-fat guacamole

Thursday, September 16, 2010

betty draper's wild rice and chicken casserole

the entire time i was making this casserole last night, i couldn't help but think i was channeling my inner betty draper - minus the cheating husband. this is one of those classic recipes your grandma most likely made back in the day while wearing high heels and a glamorous dress (and probably in a kitchen just like this). it's the perfect comfort meal when you've had a long day and work/school/gym and just want something delicious.

i found the recipe over at picky palate. she used a pre-made wild rice from trader joes. if you can't find it, you can use any other brand or even all white rice if needed. here's my take on it:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed
2 cups steamed white rice
16 oz prepared wild rice
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

 for the cheese sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, extra to top casserole

preheat oven to 350 degrees. heat evoo into a medium dutch oven over medium heat. saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes. stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. stir in chicken, both rices, s&p and garlic salt. reduce heat to low.

to prepare cheese sauce melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. whisk in flour and s&p then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously. whisk until thick and nearly boiling then stir in cheese (with wooden spoon) until melted. pour cheese sauce into rice mixture then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

baked coconut shrimp with orange marmalade dipping sauce

click on image to zoom in.
i had a real craving for the fried version of these little guys. i decided to re-create the same taste without all the fat by baking them instead of frying. everyone said it tasted just like the real thing and wasn't afraid to go back for seconds. i served it with a sweet dipping sauce to compliment the sweetness of the coconut. this could also be a great appetizer for a party served on skewers! here's how to do it (recipe will serve about 4).

1 pound medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
3/4 shredded coconut
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons orange marmalade (could also use mango or pineapple, but we couldn't find any)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
4 tablespoons orange juice

set up a "dredging station" of three separate bowls. one for the flour, one for the panko/coconut mixed together and one for the eggs/water beaten together. first dip the shrimp in the flour, then egg mixture then coconut/panko. place on raised baking sheet (to do this, place a cooling rack on top of cookie sheet. this will ensure that all sides of the shrimp will get crispy. if you don't do this, the bottom will get soggy and mushy because it didn't have the hot air from oven circulating all around it.) bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until shrimp have turned to a golden brown color. to make dipping sauce, whisk together marmalade, dijon mustard and orange juice. it's that simple. enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

seared salmon with jalapeño asian sauce

i saw this recipe in my cooking light magazine and was immediately intrigued. not only was it extremely simple, but the presentation looked gorgeous. the recipe calls for mirin sauce. i had no idea what this was, but according to wikipedia it is "an essential condiment used in japanese cuisine, consisting of 40% to 50% sugar. it is a kind of rice wine similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content." i was afraid to not use it, so i traveled to 3 grocery stores looking for this mysterious ingredient. (i finally found it at whole foods.) i think traveling the extra miles to find it was definitely worth it. somehow all the flavors magically developed into a sweet, tangy and spicy sauce - do not leave off the jalapenos even if you are afraid of heat. it is needed to balance out all the other flavors.

1/4 cup less-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
1 large jalapeño pepper, cut crosswise into thin slices

combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, mix well. heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add salmon, skin side down, cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. arrange 1 fillet on each of 4 plates. top fillets evenly with jalapeño slices. spoon about 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture over each serving; let stand 10 minutes before serving. i served this with my favorite garlic rice recipe and steamed broccoli florets.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

dumps like a truck, chicken thighs like what.

the other morning, suzanne ran up the stairs all excited to tell the roommates she was going to cook one of her families' favorite recipes: chicken and dumplings. here she is in her own words:

ever since i had the ability to request my birthday meal each year, i always chose this delicious plate of all white heaven. when i told charlotte (the beautiful woman that brought me into this world) that i was making my favorite meal for the gals, she insisted that we throw in "something green". to please char, meagan whipped up some garlic snap beans and i made a low-fat waldorf salad for the sides.

this recipe is super easy and a definite stand by when it comes to comfort food. the pressure was on though since this was the first time i was recreating one of my mom's famous and fabulous recipes. i don't know if it tasted like what my mama makes, but everyone got seconds (and some of us thirds).

i don't have any real measurements for this, but just go with your gut on what you think is best.

1 4lb whole chicken
dried thyme
garlic powder
1 bay leaf
2 cups bisquick
2/3 cup milk
3 cups diced potatoes

in a large pot over medium heat, cover chicken about 2/3 the way with water. add spices and s&p. every 20 minutes, flip chicken over in pot until the meat is literally falling off the bone. this process should take a little over an hour. remove chicken and keep water/broth in the pot. shred chicken from bone and set aside. in a separate bowl, mix together bisquick with milk. this will be a pretty thick mixture. add potatoes and scoop ice-cream sized dumplings (from bisquick mixture) into pot. cover/cook dumplings and potatoes for about 20 minutes. be sure to stir the pot pretty frequently to break up the dumplings, or else it will become one big lump. add chicken back to pot, season with s&p if needed and serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

in her words: sparkman's sundried tomato pesto panini

i asked sparkman to send me the recipe to her paninis she made the other night. her response was too cute to edit down, so here she is in her own words.

ciabatta bread
sundried tomato pesto
grilled chicken (evoo with s&p)
sundried tomatoes
monetary jack cheese
mozzarella cheese
more love.

grill the chicken. spread the sundried tomato pesto on bread. layer the cheeses, grilled chicken and sundried tomatoes. put the sang on the outdoor grill - we used the heavy grill pan to place on top - make some good grill marks and bon appétit!

my input:
these little suckers were scrumptious. it was a nice light meal (we each only ate half of a sandwich) and served it with mixed greens. you will probably need to grill the sandwiches about 4 minutes per side. she used a cast iron skillet to act like a panini press on the grill, like i did in an earlier recipe. if you don't have time to cook the chicken before hand, a store-bought rotisserie could be used instead. enjoy!