Friday, July 27, 2012

Spaghetti al Tonno e Limone

This recipe is from my friend Ashley who lived and studied in Italy. She shared it with me a few years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite summer dishes. I love to use the fresh basil and tomatoes that I grow in my container garden. Don't let the "tuna" scare you away, it is divine!

2 T olive oil
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes (or a medium fresh tomato, seeded and diced)
1 can tuna packed in olive oil
handful toasted pine nuts
1/3 pound thin spaghetti
2 lemons
handful fresh basil

Caramelize onion in olive oil over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. This can be a time consuming process.. about 20-30 minutes. Add sliced garlic and tomatoes to brown at the end of the caramelization process. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti and leave it in the water (don't drain). Turn the heat on the onions and garlic down and add toasted pine nuts and salt to taste. Then add the tuna (don't drain olive oil- it belongs in the sauce!) to the pan to warm- it's fine if it browns a bit, just don't burn the garlic. When the pasta is cooked, add it to the pan and squeeze the juice of 1-2 lemons over the pasta. Then, add basil and stir well. The sauce should be light, but definitely there, so that the pasta is pretty wet. If the pasta seems dry, add a little bit of the pasta cooking water. Taste and salt some more if necessary. Grate fresh parmigiano-reggiano over the top. This is a great summer dish. It may take you a few times to decide what flavors are the best to emphasize. Serves two, amply. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Asian Pork Tenderloin

I found the original recipe for this Asian Pork Tenderloin on Pinterest and was directed to For the Love of Cooking. I love her site! The recipe has become one of my go-to meals for pork. I serve it over fried rice with steamed veggies. 

2/3 c low sodium soy sauce (the regular stuff is WAY too salty for this marinade)
1/4 c sesame oil
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 T fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb pork tenderloin
green onions for garnish

Combine the first six ingredients and pour over pork tenderloin in a gallon size baggie. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator, turning a couple of times. 

Heat oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking pan and/or skillet with non-stick spray. Heat skillet to medium high heat. Remove pork from marinade and discard (or transfer marinade to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil and use it as a sauce.. I skipped this step). Sear pork on all sides for a total of about 5 minutes. Place skillet in oven (or transfer seared pork to baking pan if your skillet isn't oven-safe) and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing into medallions. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serves four. Enjoy!

Fried Rice

Fried Rice can be made into a meal by itself or cooked as a side dish for grilled or roasted meat. The recipe below is just a place to start. Add your own diced chicken, shrimp, beef, scallops, etc. to make it a meal in one pan. The key to Fried Rice that isn't sticky is the rice you use. Minute Rice or boiled long grain rice can clump and gaum up. BUT Success Rice is parboiled then portioned into boil-in-bags so that the grains stay separate. Genius! 

2 bags Success Rice
2-3 T butter
1/4 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 eggs
soy sauce to taste
black pepper to taste 
sesame oil to taste
toasted sesame seeds
chopped green onions for garnish

Cook the rice according to package directions and allow to drain for a couple of hours. You want the rice to dry out a little in its plastic bag. If you're in a hurry you can always go ahead and use it but I like the results of letting it sit for a while. 

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet or sauté pan. (Add-ins would go here before the veggies) Add in onions and garlic and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Break in eggs, one at a time, and stir well to scramble them a bit, cook for about a minute. Dump all of the rice into the skillet and toss it with the veggies and eggs. Season with a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and turn the heat to medium high. Toss it every couple of minutes but also give it time to cook and make a crust in parts. You want the rice to get a little browned in areas. The crunchy parts have great flavor! When it's browned to your liking drizzle in a couple teaspoons of sesame oil and a couple of dashes of sesame seeds and toss. There's no "wrong way" to do it! Serves two as an entree or four as a side dish. Enjoy!

*Optional add-ins:
Cubed, raw chicken
Cubed, raw steak
Peeled, raw shrimp
(sauté in the butter before adding the veggies)

Diced zucchini
Diced carrots
Edamame or green peas
chopped, steamed asparagus
chopped, steamed broccoli
(sauté in the butter before adding the egg and rice)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chocolate Gravy

Don't let the word "gravy" scare you.. it's basically warm chocolate pie filling! (Drew was skeptical too). My Grannie Bonnie made this for breakfast every time I stayed the night at her house. I LOVE it with hot, buttered biscuits and a cold glass of milk. 

4 T cocoa powder
4 T flour
1 c sugar
3 c milk

Combine dry ingredients in saucepan. Stir in milk with whisk until smooth. Over medium heat, bring to simmer until thickened, stirring constantly. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve hot with butter and hot biscuits. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Swiss Cheese Chicken & Stuffing

My friend Jennifer made this for a Christmas party a few years ago and we loved it so much I had to get the recipe! It's an easy way to have Chicken and Dressing any night of the week. I usually serve it with green beans and hot rolls.

8 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
Lawry's seasoned salt and black pepper
4 slices baby swiss cheese, halved
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup
1/3 can milk
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 c warm water
1 small box Stovetop Chicken stuffing mix

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange chicken in pan and season to taste with seasoned salt and black pepper. Top each tenderloin with a 1/2 slice of cheese. Combine soup and milk in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour soup over chicken to cover tenders entirely. Combine melted butter and Stovetop in a small bowl (moisten a little more with more warm water if it seems too dry) and scoop over top of chicken. Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas

At the request of several friends: Spinach and Chicken Enchiladas! As usual, it's a combination of a few different recipes that I've used over the years. I like to add spinach to boost the veggie rating :)

10 corn tortillas 
3 T vegetable oil 
6 pieces chicken breast tenderloin 
1 T olive oil 
1/2 c onion, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped 
3 handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped 
1/4 t salt 
1/4 t ground cumin 
1/4 t chili powder 
1/4 t black pepper 
1 c shredded cheddar cheese 
1 c sour cream 
2 T butter (not margarine) 
2 T flour 
1 1/2 c chicken broth 

Fry corn tortillas in vegetable oil, about 15 seconds per side, and drain on papertowels. Pour extra oil from skillet and set aside. In a med saucepan, cover chicken pieces with water, bring to boil and cook over med heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. While chicken cooks, heat olive oil in skillet over med heat and sauté onion about 3 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno and spinach to skillet and sauté another 3 minutes. Transfer cooked veggies to mixing bowl. 

Once chicken is cooked, shred into small pieces and add to veggies in mixing bowl. (I usually lay the chicken on a cutting board one piece at a time and shred it using two forks, pulling in opposite directions). Season the chicken and veggies with salt, cumin, chili powder and pepper (I eyeball it with my spices but 1/4 t is a good place to start.. add more to your liking.. add a dash of cayenne if you like things spicy). Add in 1/2 c of shredded cheddar and 1/2 cup sour cream and mix well. Assemble echiladas by scooping 1/4 c (approx) into the center of each tortilla. Roll over and place seam side down in a greased (or sprayed with Pam) 9x13 pan. 

In a small saucepan, melt butter over med heat. Add flour and stir well, cook about 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and bring to boil. Once the broth has thickened remove from heat and stir in 1/2 c shredded cheddar and 1/2 c sour cream until smooth. **If you want to make this part easier on yourself you can always substitute a can of warm Cream of Chicken soup mixed with 1/2 c sour cream.. it eliminates the butter, flour, broth step.

Pour sauce over enchiladas (sprinkle with a little more cheese if you have it) and bake 20-25 minutes until bubbly. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Best Green Bean Casserole

I always enjoy Green Bean Casserole at holiday meals but rarely think to make it as a side dish at home.. until now! The original recipe is from Paula Deen (y'all) but my sister Angela tweaked it a little bit this Christmas and I am IN LOVE. *Warning it is NOT fat-free and is highly addictive.

2 T butter
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 c fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 cans cut green beans, drained
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken
1 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom
1 2.8 oz package french-fried onion rings
black pepper and garlic powder to taste (a couple of dashes)
1 c grated cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a small skillet and sauté onions and mushrooms until tender and golden. In a large bowl, combine the soups, seasonings, french-fried onions, and sautéed veggies. Fold in the drained green beans. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake 20 minutes, add shredded cheddar to top and bake an additional 10 minutes. Makes 8 servings. Enjoy!

*The cost to make this dish is approximately $8