Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oven Roasted Broccoli.....

Tired of plain old steamed broccoli?  Bring out the natural flavor by doing a quick oven roast.  Enjoy hot, cold, or at room temperature.  I love to squeeze some fresh lemon juice over just before serving.

Oven Roasted Broccoli

1 large head of fresh broccoli, cut into large pieces, large stalk removed (or peel the stalk and cut into large pieces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
3 pinches salt
2 pinches red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons water

1)  Preheat oven to 375'.  Foil line a large cookie sheet and set aside.
2)  Place cut up broccoli onto prepared pan.  Drizzle olive oil over broccoli and sprinkle seasonings over as well.  Toss well with your hands until evenly coated with oil and seasonings.  Drizzle water over broccoli and toss.
3)  Bake for 10 minutes, give a turn, and roast another 5-8 minutes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fresh Rosemary.....

 Fresh Rosemary.  So beautiful and incredibly delicious.  Very easy to grow in pots or in the ground.  You can dry it for later use.  What to do with it?  Here are a few ideas:

1)  The next time you're making a pot of bean soup, put a whole sprig in the pot and simmer.  The leaves will get very soft and fall off the stem.  The sprig will gently flavor the whole pot of soup.  Remove the stem when you're done cooking.
2)  When roasting chicken, gently make a pocket under the skin.  Gently slip a sprig under the skin and roast.  Amazing!
3)  Make your own dipping oil.  Remove the leaves from a sprig and coarsely chop.  Add to 1/2 cup of olive oil.  Add 1 clove chopped garlic and a few shakes of red pepper flakes.  Be sure to refrigerate when you are not using.  Dip away!
4)  Coarsely chop leaves of 2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 cloves fresh garlic, and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme.  Add 3 tablespoons dijon mustard and rub over seasoned pork roast or pork tenderloin before cooking.
5)  The next time you roast potatoes, add a couple of tablespoons of chopped rosemary leaves.
6)  Add 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves to your favorite biscuit recipe...savory and delicious.
7)  Try my recipe for Yogurt, Rosemary, and Garlic Marinated Chicken Breast.  Serve with simple oven roasted potatoes and a fresh salad.

I hope you get to enjoy some fresh rosemary soon!

Have a great day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Homemade Turkey Chorizo Skillet.....

I LOVE breakfast!  Especially a delicious skillet.  Try making this homemade turkey chorizo sausage.  A little goes a long way.  The sausage is so lean that you have to add a little fat to the pan to prevent it from sticking!  It is best made a couple of days ahead and left to marinade in the refrigerator.  Make the 2 lb. batch and freeze it in 4 to 8 oz. packages.  As always, label and date.

For the chroizo:

Turkey Chorizo Sausage

2 lbs. 93/7 ground turkey
5 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
6 cloves garlic, crushed
3 ½ teaspoons salt (I like kosher)
2 teaspoons cumin
1  tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 ½ tablespoons water

Blend all ingredients together well in a large bowl. Put into an air tight container or a zip bag and refrigerate for 2 days.  Use or freeze after two days. Label and date.

Turkey Chorizo Skillet

4 medium size red potatoes, or russet potatoes, cut into ½” cubes
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil + 1 teaspoon
Salt and pepper
4 ounces turkey chorizo
2 tablespoon water

4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 large eggs
1 small bunch of chives or green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

1) Heat a cast iron or a non stick skillet over medium heat. Add oil, potatoes, and onions. Cook for 7-10 minutes, turning often. Season with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper.  When nicely browned, remove from pan and place in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2) Add the chorizo to the pan with the water. Break up sausage with a spoon. Cook thoroughly. Once all water has evaporated, add the potatoes back to the pan. Cook for a couple of more minutes. Divide among four plates and top with cheese.
3) Wipe out the hot pan with a paper towel and place over heat. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan. When very hot, break your eggs into pan. Cook to your liking. Serve 2 eggs over each plate of potatoes/chorizo. Top with chives.  Serves 4.

*Tasty with hot sauce
*Add any vegetables you like when cooking the potatoes. Peppers and mushrooms are very, very good.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Savoring Time Together.....

The Great Smokey Mountains
Spring Break 2010

My Ryan is now in kindergarten.  If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times...."where has the time gone?"  I feel like I just brought my little bundle home from the hospital.  I enjoyed him in my tummy and every moment thereafter.  And what about my big boys?  Jack, who is going to be 18, and Christopher, who is 15.  They were 9 and 7 when we met.  They were little I look at them and I see young men.

Most people know how trying teens can be.  I think the world is an overwhelming, exciting, scary, and full of endless possibilities place.  They are clinging to still being a small child and being taken care of, yet wanting to spread their wings and fly.  Deep, huh?

I decided that since I work from home the beginning of the week, to have Ryan go to our beloved Community Center for the morning, have lunch, and then a bus to school.  This means that I don't see him from 9:00-3:15.  I dropped him off yesterday and was a complete mess!  Ready for this?  We're only doing it once a week!  Geeze! 

When the world of raising children seems to be a bit more than you can take, watch this:
The Gift of an Ordinary Day.

Let us appreciate the joy and the challenges our beautiful children bring to us.  I want to really try and savor the time we have together.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grilled Vegetables....

It is officially fall, but we still have plenty of time to grill.  Zucchini, yellow squash, onions, mushrooms, are in season and of course, you can still get your hands on asparagus.  Not only do they make a beautiful presentation for guests, they are simple and extremely delicious.  The onions take the longest.  I think it best to cut the onion into wedges and skewer.  They cook evenly and they won't fall through the grill so easily.  Balsamic vinegar compliments grilled vegetables nicely.   I've included a nice vinaigrette recipe that is wonderful on salad and will add a burst of flavor to your grilled vegetable bounty.  Serve with simple steamed brown rice, grilled steak, chicken, or fish.  Delicious, simple, and healthy.

Grilled Assorted Vegetables

1 lb. button mushrooms
2 large onions, cut in half, then into wedges
2-3 small zucchini, cut lenghwise into quarters
2-3 small yellow squash, cut lengthwise into quarters
1 small bunch of asparagus with the tough ends snapped off
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dijon mustard or 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion powder
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

1)  Give the mushrooms a quick rinse and drain well.  Toss into a large bowl.  Add onion wedges.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper.  Skewer mushrooms and onions on their own skewers.  Set aside.
2)  Place prepared zucchini and yellow squash on a large platter, drizzle with olive oil to coat and season with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper.  Toss to evenly coat.  Do the same with the asparagus.
3)  Grill the skewered onions and the mushrooms first.   The onions will take about 20 minutes, the mushrooms about 10.  Turn often.  Place on platter when done.
4)  Grill the zucchini and yellow squash.  Cook on each side 3-4 minutes. (cook on all 3 sides)  Grill asparagus for about 4-5 minutes, rolling on grill often.  Arrange vegetables on a serving platter. 
5)  Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together until well blended.  Drizzle a couple of tablespoons over the grilled vegetables.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Don't you just love a good appetizer?  I happen to be doing a couple of appetizer/cocktail parties this month.  You know what I'm getting at, right?  Amazing new recipes!  Yippee!  The beauty of this type of party is that you can have everything prepared ahead of time, no fancy place settings and no rigid serving schedule.   You have great freedom to serve whatever floats your boat.  I like to alternate cold and hot appetizers.  That way you have a break between, you know, to refresh your cocktail and what not!

One of the appetizers I'm most excited about is my stuffed jalapeno.  As you know, I do not fry anything.  Who wants to mess with all that oil when you're entertaining?!  Stay tuned, this is incredible! Crunchy, spicy, and sweet.   I've already posted one of my all time favorites, the Caramelized Onion and Brie Flat Bread, outstanding!  Cold appetizers can be a little challenging.  I don't really care to serve many cold dips or ordinary fare.  I love bruschetta, but with a twist.  I think it's nice to serve flavorful and interesting salads.  Something Asian always comes to mind....crisp Asian slaw with a light toasted sesame and rice vinaigrette.  How about a delicious noodle salad,  with spicy peanut dressing?  I could go on and on!

Get ready, we're havin' a party!

Have a wonderful day!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Salisbury Steak with Homemade Beef Gravy.....

Forget about TV dinners, this is fabulous!   The best part about it is the ingredient list.  We have a little fiber, equal parts ground turkey, ground beef, and meat substitute crumbles.  For extra flavor, fresh onions and garlic.  If your people have an aversion to "chunks,"  feel free to puree the onions and garlic in the food processor.  I made the recipe large so that you may have some to freeze. 

The best way to freeze is to put the steaks and gravy in the same dish, cover with plastic wrap, right on top of the meat and gravy reducing the amount of air that can get at the food.  Then, cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil.  As always, label and date.  It's easy to write on the foil with a Sharpe pen.  When you're ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  When rewarming, remove the plastic wrap and save the foil.  Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover tightly with foil.  Bake in 350' oven for 30-40 minutes.  Remove foil carefully!  Serve with mashed potatoes and a simple vegetable.

Salisbury Steak with Gravy

1 cup quick oats
1 ¼ cup water
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 eggs
1 medium onion finely minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 lb. meatless meat balls crumbled or meat substitute crumbles
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil

For the gravy

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 14 oz. can of beef or chicken stock, or Better Than Bouillon, (warm in microwave for 45 seconds)
2 tablespoons sherry
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350’. Foil line a cookie sheet with sides with non stick foil, or foil with a coating of cooking spray. Set aside.
2) Place oats and water into a large mixing bowl. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire, and eggs, mix well. Add minced onion and garlic. Add the ground beef, turkey, meatless crumbles, salt, and pepper. With meticulously clean hands, mix well. Divide into approximately 10-6 ounce balls. Shape balls into oblong patties. Heat a cast iron or non stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and brown the patties on both sides and place on prepared baking pan.
3) Bake for 30 minutes. While they are baking, prepare gravy.
4) Over medium heat, add butter and oil to the skillet you used for browning. Once butter is melted, add the flour. Stir over heat for about 1 minute. Add warmed stock and whisk well until incorporated. (warm liquid is added to prevent lumps) Stir often to prevent scorching. Bring to a low boil and continue cooking for one minute. Add sherry, salt, and pepper. Taste. Add additional seasoning, or additional stock to thin out if necessary.   Makes 10 servings.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Glazed Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Cakes.....

Can you imagine the smell in my house?  I took advantage of this cool day and made these mini poppy seed cakes.   They take only 30 minutes in the oven.  Glaze while they're still warm.  Lemon zest gives this cake a nice gentle lemon flavor.  The fresh juice from the lemon makes for a delicious and true lemon tasting glaze.  Serve for dessert, also fabulous with brunch.

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Cakes

2 cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1/3 cup poppy seeds
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350’. Coat 4 mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Mix flour through salt together in a large mixing bowl, set aside.
2) In a medium size mixing bowl, measure out milk, oil, and add eggs. Add zest  from the lemon. Juice the lemon into a small mixing bowl and set aside.
3) Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture. Mix well. Divide batter among 4 pans. Bake for 30-33 minutes.
4) Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Place on cooling rack with a layer of wax paper underneath. Add powdered sugar to the bowl with the lemon juice and mix well. Drizzle over warm cakes and allow to set up before you store. Store in cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day, the last weekend of summer.....

Well, I can't believe we're here already!  I walked out onto the deck this morning and it's official, fall has arrived.  Anyway, as much as I love fall, I am always sad to see our beautiful garden go and of course, the hummingbirds.  They are still here, buzzing around like crazy, only now, there are babies!  That's right, babies.  Believe it or not, they are much smaller than their tiny parents.  I also got close enough to see that they had speckles on their bellies.  So sweet.  It was also easy to pick out the little ones by the way they flew around the yard/flowers.  Not as agile as their parents, so funny.  You could tell they were siblings, they seemed to tease and chase each other constantly.  So it's not just human siblings who drive each other crazy, encouraging....

Time for comfort foods and schedules again. 

The thing I love most about changing seasons is that it's almost like a new beginning, four times a year.  We have so many chances to make positive changes, don't we?

Let's take the journey together.  I will share recipes from my heart if you promise to make them for you and your family, OK?

Have a wonderful weekend and be safe.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chicken Fajita Brown Rice....

Yet another way to use that brown rice you've squirreled away in your freezer!  Doesn't this look delicious?  I'm here to tell you, it is...This dinner goes together in minutes.  I like to serve it over brown rice as a nice alternative to eating wrapped in tortillas.

Chicken Fajita Rice

1 lb. chicken tenders
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into ½” wedges
1 small red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 small green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch ground chipotle or 3 pinches of chili powder (chipotle is very potent!)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
One batch of Spanish Brown Rice, recipe below

1) Season the chicken with chipotle, salt, and pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Place seasoned tenders into hot skillet. Resist moving them around right away, don’t turn until the chicken starts turning white around the edges. You will have nice browning or caramelization this way. Once chicken is fully cooked, remove from pan and place on a plate, cover with foil.
2) Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add the prepared onion and peppers. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
3) While peppers are cooking, prepare brown rice, set aside.
4) Add garlic to pepper mixture, cook one minute. Add chicken tenders and juices on plate back to pan. Pour lime juice over chicken and vegetables.
5) Time to eat! Put ½ cup of hot rice onto plate, top with 1 ounce of shredded cheese and top with peppers and chicken strips. Makes 4 servings.  Garnish with baked tortilla strips if you like.

*Add a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce if you like a little extra heat
*Instead of serving over rice, simply top with baked tortilla strips. See recipe below.
*Add thinly sliced jalapeno peppers when cooking the peppers and onions if you wish.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quick Spanish Brown Rice....

This is an excellent side dish for just about any meat dish or can be used to stuff inside a burrito.  Healthy brown rice in a snap!

Quick Spanish Brown Rice

2 cups cooked brown rice, thawed
2 tablespoons ketchup (Hunts sells a corn syrup free ketchup)
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together and mix well.   Microwave in one minute increments and stir between until piping hot.