Welcome to my Food Blog!

Welcome! My name is Anne, aka ThePharmGirl. In 2010, I successfully made 100 recipes as a New Year's Resolution to expand my culinary repertoire and cooking skills beyond the frozen microwave dinner. This blog is a continuation of my culinary journey and serves as my personal virtual recipe box. Sometimes I like to have fun-- Check out my Muppet Mania Menu, The 12 Days of Christmas, and my Musical-themed recipes.

My current mission(s) for 2017:
* Use the Spiralizer at least once per week for healthy veggie-rich meals
* Continue to spin from the Wheel of Meals for recipe inspiration

Monday, December 22, 2014

Asparagus, Broccoli, and Orzo Salad


I combined a couple different recipes to make this veggie-packed pasta salad with asparagus spears, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and tri-color orzo.  I thought the balance of lemon to olive oil was not quite right for the dressing somehow, but I still liked the dish overall.

Anne's Asparagus, Broccoli, and Orzo Salad

Ingredients:
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-2" pieces
1 small head broccoli, cut into 1" florets
salt and pepper
1 heaping cup dry orzo (I used tri-color)
1/4 cup lemon juice + 1 tablespoon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Directions:
Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the asparagus and broccoli and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until veggies are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and water.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the veggies to the ice bath and let cool 2 minutes.  Remove from ice water and let dry.

Return the pot of water to a boil and add orzo.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water, then drain again, leaving just a little wet.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.  Whisking constantly, drizzle in the olive oil.  Add the remaining tablespoon lemon juice.   Drizzle over the orzo.  Stir in the asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, and chopped basil.  




Thursday, December 18, 2014

Balsamic Roasted Chicken Thighs with Acorn Squash and Brussels Sprouts


We had some chicken thighs in the freezer, so I thawed them out and made this easy recipe.  It's designed to be a make-ahead recipe, but it works just fine on the spot, too.  The chicken was super moist and the roasted veggies I added to the roasting pan were good too.   When I can home with an acorn squash, Jeremy was worried that I'd drown it in brown sugar (which is what we did to make me like it as a kid), but my grown-up palate was fine with just olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves.

Balsamic Roasted Chicken Thighs
from Don't Panic - More Dinner's in the Freezer
6 servings; 226 calories/serving

Ingredients:
6 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Mix oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Transfer to a large freezer bag and add chicken, turning to coat thoroughly.  Let marinate in the fridge or freeze for another day.  When ready to make, thaw completely in the fridge.

Place chicken, skin side up, into rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.  Roast at 350º for 40 minutes.


(As I mentioned, for the acorn squash slices and Brussels sprouts, I just brushed them with a little olive oil and sprinkled salt, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves all over the top.  Halfway through baking, I flipped them over.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pan-Seared Tilapia


Super fast and easy recipe, and it tasted great too!   We paired it with brown rice and steamed green beans for a simple healthy dinner.   This recipe is a keeper.


Pan-Seared Tilapia
from Prevention magazine
Serves 2; 277 calories/serving

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
2 tilapia fillets (thawed, ~6 oz each)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning (I used Emeril's Original Essence)
1 lemon, juiced

Directions:
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the tilapia and sprinkle with the parsley, garlic, and cajun seasoning.  Drizzle lemon juice over the top.  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side until the fish flakes easily with a fork.   Done.

Risotto con Parmigiano-Reggiano



I had some Arborio Rice in the cupboard, so I decided to make risotto to go along with the Walnut and Rosemary Oven Chicken (which I've made before) and Braised Red Cabbage (no recipe posted for the cabbage because, honestly, it sucked).   The rice was delicious, but perhaps a bit TOO cheesy--and I can't believe those words just came out of my mouth.   I didn't have parsley on hand, but I did have peas in the freezer, so I added some of those to the recipe.

Parmesan Risotto
adapted from Epicurious
Serves 4-8 (depends on whether it's a side dish or main course)

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter
1&1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1&1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
~5 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)
shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onion and saute until very tender but not brown, about 15 minutes.  Increase heat to medium and add rice, stirring for 1 minute.  Add wine and let fully absorb.  Add 1&1/2 cups broth and boil gently until broth is absorbed, stirring frequently.  Add another cup of broth, cooking and stirring until broth is absorbed.  Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes.  Add peas and stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 1 cup grated cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  To serve, sprinkle with parsley and shaved Parmesan if desired.


Balsamic-Glazed Salmon and Mashed Cheesy Cauliflower


I decided to try something new and make a cauliflower puree.  Plus it gave my blender something to do other than make smoothies.  The recipe promised it would taste as good (or better!) than mashed potatoes.  Ok, no.  It wasn't bad or anything, but I wouldn't compare it to potatoes at all.  For cauliflower, though, it was okay--just different.   Luckily, the salmon was super delicious to make up for my disappointment with the vegetables.  


Balsamic Glazed Salmon
from America's Test Kitchen: Light & Healthy 2010
Serves 4;  290 calories/serving


Ingredients:
4 (6-oz) skinless center-cut salmon fillets, ~1&1/2" thick
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

Directions:
Pat the salmon dry and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Carefully lay the salmon, skinned-side up, in the skillet and cook until well browned on the first side, about 5 minutes.  Flip the salmon and continue to cook until the sides are opaque and the thickest part registers 125º, about 3 to 5 minutes longer.  Transfer to a platter.

To make glaze, whisk together the orange juice, vinegars, honey, and pepper flakes.  Pour into the skillet over over medium heat and add the rosemary sprig.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the glaze is thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.  Discard the rosemary and season the glaze with salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon over the salmon and serve.

*****

Mashed Cheesy Cauliflower
from the internet
Serves 4-5

Ingredients:
1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets and steamed
2 tablespoons lowfat milk
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped chives


Directions:
Add ingredients to Vitamix blender in the order listed and secure lid.  Start on speed 1 and slowly increase to speed 7.  Blend until desired consistency is reached, about 1 minute.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Virginia Ham Soup


The Wheel of Meals landed on Soups/Stews

The good ol' wheel landed on Soups, so I pulled out a recipe card from my Bridal Shower Collection (yup, still working on those three years later).  This recipe was provided by my cousin Laura.  We liked it, and even the leftovers were good.  The only change I made was to use Great Northern Beans instead of Lima Beans because I couldn't find any lima beans in the grocery store, frozen or otherwise. I like white beans better anyway.

Virginia Ham Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1&1/2 cups ham, cubed into 1/2" pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup celery, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 cups chicken broth
10oz package frozen lima or baby lima beans
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 cup Jack cheese, cubed (optional)

for Croutons:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
4 slices firm white or wheat bread, cubed

Directions:
Heat butter in a large pot. Saute the onions, carrot, and celery until onion is soft and translucent.  Add broth, ham, beans, pepper, and thyme.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the croutons, place bread cubes in a bowl.  Mix together the oregano and melted butter and drizzle over bread, tossing to coat evenly.  Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375º for 6-8 minutes until golden.

Puree 1&1/2 cups of the cooked vegetable mixture in a blender and return to soup, stirring to combine.   Serve hot with croutons and cubed cheese.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Root Vegetables


This recipe is definitely a keeper.  Delicious crispy flavorful skin on the chicken and the vegetables even tasted great too.  I especially enjoyed the Brussels sprouts for some reason.  The fresh thyme added nice fragrance to the dish.

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Root Vegetables
from America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2013
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 bone-in split chicken breasts
6 ounces Brussles sprouts
6 ounces red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 shallots, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Toss Brussels sprouts, potatoes, carrots, shallots, garlic, oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl.  Place veggies in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, arranging sprouts in the middle and leaving a couple inches from the sides of the pan.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.    Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.  Place chicken, skin side up, on top of the Brussels sprouts.  Brush chicken with the herb butter and roast until chicken registers 160º, about 30-35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking.   If necessary, remove chicken and keep tented and return vegetables to oven for another 5-10 minutes. (It wasn't needed for me)


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops


The Wheel of Meals landed on Meals Under $10

It's fairly easy to make a meal under $10 when it's just two people.  I'm sure I could have come up with something for under $5 if I wanted, but I was in the mood for pork chops.  I rounded to the nearest nickle from my grocery bill:

$4.35 Center-Cut Rib Pork Chops  (2 chops)
$3.50 Bok Choy  (1 head) - This was more costly than I had expected
$2.00 Microwavable Rice  (1 package)  I was feeling lazy
all other ingredients were in my pantry/fridge
$9.85 total

Ok, the aromas coming from my kitchen while this baked were incredible.   I wasn't sure how the Chinese five-spice blend would work with the pork, but it was good.  I served it with white rice and sauteed garlic bok choy for an Asian feel.

Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops
from somewhere on the internet

Ingredients:
2 large pork chops (3/4-1" thick)
1/2 tablespoon Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:
Arrange pork chops in a glass baking dish.  Sprinkle the five spice powder over the chops then drizzle the soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic over the top.  Rub mixture into the meat.   Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Uncover and bake in a preheated 325º oven for 30-40 minutes until the meat is cooked through.

For the bok choy, I sauteed the chopped white bok choy stem pieces in a small pat of butter in a skillet over medium heat along with a couple minced gloves of garlic.  When softened after 5-10 minutes, I added the coarsely chopped green leaves and let the leaves wilt, just a minute or two.  Add salt and pepper and serve.

Oven-Baked Bone-In Chicken Breasts


Oops.  I accidentally bought bone-in split chicken breasts instead of the skinless, boneless variety I had intended.  I found this recipe online, and it was fast and easy to prepare the chicken.   The flavor was great overall, but it seemed a little salty to me so maybe I'd cut back on the celery salt next time.  I liked the crispy skin and the chicken was juicy underneath.  A good healthy alternative to fried chicken.

Oven-Baked Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:
2 or 3 bone-in skin-on split chicken breasts
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425ºF.   Trim the chicken of fat if necessary.

Combine all the spices and rub them over the chicken breasts.  Place chicken on a baking pan lined with foil and fitted with a baking rack (coat the rack with cooking spray).   Bake for 45-55 minutes (depends on the size of the breasts) until a thermometer reaches an internal temp of 165º.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pulled Pork and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas


We had a lot of leftover pulled pork and didn't feel like having pulled pork sandwiches AGAIN (even though they were good), so we decided to mix it up a little and make these yummy quesadillas.   The caramelized onions were a delicious addition to the pork.  I tried my wedges a couple ways: with a BBQ sauce drizzle (yum!) and with a homemade guacamole (double yum!).  Jeremy ate his plain and liked them that way too.

Pulled Pork and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas
Makes 4 quesadillas

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
pinch of brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
8 medium tortillas
2 cups cooked pulled pork
2 cups shredded pepperjack (or any type) cheese
BBQ sauce for dipping (optional)
guacamole for dipping (optional)

Directions:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Once melted, add the olive oil and onions, stirring occasionally, until they are deep golden brown and caramelized, about 20-30 minutes.  Add a pinch of brown sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Lay 4 tortillas flat and divide cheese evenly.  Add pulled pork and caramelized onions and place second tortillas on top.

If using a quesadilla maker (like I did), preheat and cook each one for 3-5 minutes.

For stovetop, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and let melt.  Add a single quesadilla and cook for 2-4 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.  Flip and cook for another 2-4 minutes on the other side.   Serve with a drizzle of BBQ sauce if desired.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Crockpot Sausage, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Sauce


This was really good on its first day, but everything started to get a tad mushy and wilted in subsequent days for the leftovers.  I added twice as many veggies as the recipe called for and thought it was a good amount.

Rustic Sausage, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Sauce
from Slow Cooker Revolution
Makes enough to sauce 1 pound of pasta

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian Sausage, removed from casing
2 onions, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1 celery rib, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup lentils
2 bay leaves
1 pound Swiss Chard, stemmed and leaves chopped
salt and pepper


Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Brown sausage well, breaking up large pieces, about 5 minutes; transfer sausage to the slow cooker, reserving the fat in the skillet.  

Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano to the leftover fat in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes until vegetables are softened.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

Stir broth, lentils, and bay leaves into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 8-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high until lentils are tender.

Gently stir in chard leaves and cook 20-30 more minutes.  Discard bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over pasta.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chicken and Broccoli Sauced Pasta



The Wheel of Meals landed on Slow Cooker

I made this recipe based on a photo in the cookbook.  It was good, but there are non-crockpot steps to the recipe (like cooking the pasta and the broccoli separately).   I served it in a bowl because of the super delicious broth in the slow cooker which you can't really see in the photo.   I just wanted to slurp that all up.


Chicken and Broccoli Sauce
Recipe from Slow Cooker Revolution
Makes enough to sauce 1 pound of pasta

Ingredients:
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, patted dry, and sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme  (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
1&1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
12 ounces broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces (4&1/2 cups)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
cooked pasta of your choice

Directions:
Microwave onion, 1/4 cup tomatoes, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, thyme, and red pepper flakes in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to slow cooker.

Stir broth, wine, and tapioca into the slow cooker.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred into bite-sized pieces and return to slow cooker.

Microwave broccoli with remaining tablespoon oil in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add to the sauce.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/4 cup tomatoes.   Before serving, season with salt and pepper.   Serve over pasta.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Braised Lentils


The Wheel of Meals landed on New to You

Surprisingly, I've never cooked lentils, but this little legume has been my list to try for awhile.  This dish was tasty, healthy, and very filling.  The lentils soaked up the flavor of the chard stems and braising liquid, and a little squirt of lemon brought the dish together.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Braised Lentils
Recipe from America's Test Kitchen: Best-Ever Cooking For Two
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces Swiss Chard, stems chopped and leaves cut into small pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup brown lentils, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
2  (6-8oz) skinless salmon fillets, 1&1/2" thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
lemon wedges

Directions:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chard stems and onion and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in 1&3/4 cups of broth, lentils, and lemon juice, and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl, and cover to keep warm.

Wipe skillet clean.  Pat salmon dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Place salmon in skillet and cook until browned on first side, about 5 minutes.  Gently flip fillets and continue to cook 3-5 minutes until fish registers 125º for medium-rare.  Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Wipe skillet clean again and return to medium-high heat.  Add cooked lentil mixture and remaining 1/4 cup broth and bring to a simmer.  Stir in chard leaves and remaining 1 tablespoon butter and cook, stirring constantly, until chard is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.  Serve with salmon and lemon wedges.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers


These were tasty, but I would recommend browning the sausage before stuffing them in the peppers because the meat still seemed a little pink when the peppers were done.  Other than that, they had good flavor and it was a filling meal when paired with a salad.

Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers
Recipe from Slow Cooker Revolution
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange)
1 slice white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
1/4 cup milk
12 oz Italian sausage, removed from its casing
1 small zucchini, chopped into 1/4" pieces
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Directions:
Microwave onion, garlic, oil, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Cut top 1/2 inch off each pepper.  Chop pepper tops finely, discarding stems.  Remove core and seeds from peppers.

Mash bread and milk together in a large bowl using a fork. Mix in the onion mixture, chopped pepper tops, sausage, zucchini, cheeses, cooked rice, 1 teapoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Pack filling evenly into peppers.

Pour 1/3 cup water into slow cooker.  Place stuffed peppers upright in slow cooker.  Cover and cook until peppers are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.

Using tongs and slotted spoon, transfer peppers to a serving platter.  Sprinkle with basil and additional cheese if desired.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Butternut Squash and Chard Risotto


I had a big bag of Arborio rice sitting in my cupboard, and I've been eyeing this recipe for awhile.  I was going to wait until squash season, but I bought frozen butternut squash instead which worked just fine.  I added my own twist to the original recipe by adding some red chard.  Jeremy and I both enjoyed the taste of this risotto.  It turned out really well, but the portions were huge for two people, at least as a side dish to our salmon.   We ended up having enough leftovers for another meal.

Butternut Squash and Chard Risotto
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Best-Ever Cooking for Two 
Serves 2 (or more)

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (~2 cups)
salt and pepper
~6 large leaves of red chard
2&1/2 cups water
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add squash in an even layer and cook without stirring until golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 5 minutes longer.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling water, cook chard leaves for 3 minutes.  Drain and transfer leaves to an ice bath.  Remove leaves from icy water and wring dry.  Coarsely chop leaves and set aside.

Pour the broth and water into the pot and let simmer over medium-low heat to keep hot.

In the empty skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.  Stir in the chopped onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the rice to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes.  Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed, 3-5 minutes.

Add nutmeg, 2 cups of hot broth, chard, and half of squash to the rice.  Simmer, stirring every few minutes, until liquid is absorbed and bottom of pan is almost dry, about 12 minutes.

Stir in 1/2 cup hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 3 minutes.  Repeat with additional hot broth two or three more times until rice is al dente.  Off heat, stir in Parmesan, sage, and remaining tablespoon butter, and gently fold in remaining squash.  Adjust consistency with remaining broth as needed and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Chicken and Green Chile Enchiladas


Here's the last recipe I made with Rachel for freezable meals.  We made some adjustments to the recipe to suit our needs, like using 10" flour tortillas and doubling the quantities.   Maybe next time I'd use the corn tortillas after all because the flour ones got a little soggy as they baked, but other than that, no complaints.  The flavor was great!  When using the larger tortillas, one enchilada was a large enough serving when paired with Mexican rice.

Chicken and Green Chile Enchiladas
from America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2010
Serves 2; (3 enchiladas/serving)

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1&1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup frozen corn
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles, drained
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, cumin, and chili powder, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.   Off the heat, stir in the chicken, half of the cheese, corn, 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, chiles, and cilantro.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of filling down the center of each tortilla and tightly roll.  Lay them, seam side down, into an 8-inch square baking dish.  Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled enchiladas and sprinkle the remaining half of the shredded cheese over the top.

Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese is completely melted, about 5-10 minutes longer.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops


This was another fast easy meal prepared with Rachel.  We made the bread crumb mixture and put it into a baggie until ready to thaw and cook the pork.  Jeremy and I both liked it.

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops
200 calories/serving

Ingredients:
4 (4-oz) boneless center-cut loin pork chops
6 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup (1oz) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425º and place a wire rack coated with cooking spray on a large pan lined with foil.

Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs and place in a shallow pan.  Dredge pork into the crumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Place pork on rack.  Bake at 425º for 20 minutes or until done.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ranch Burgers




These burgers were...interesting.  Jeremy compared them to meatloaf.  I liked them okay, but didn't really taste the ranch flavor.  I still had chopped tomatoes and cucumbers left over from the gyro recipe, so I put some of those on my burger.

Ranch Burgers
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3/4 cup prepared Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1&1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
tomato, sliced
lettuce
6 buns

Directions:
Prepare dressing according to packet instructions.   In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup of prepared Ranch dressing, beef, bread crumbs, onions, salt, and pepper.  Mix with hands until incorporated.  Shape the meat mixture into six patties about 1-inch thick.   Grill the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF.

Serve the burgers on buns topped with lettuce, tomatoes, or whatever you choose.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chicken Gyros and Zucchini Fritters



Here is another recipe Rachel and I decided to prepare using the shredded Rotisserie chicken.  The chicken gyros were pretty delicious, although we skipped the tahini in the sauce and just made a yogurt sauce which sort of thinned it out.  The sauce seemed spicy when I tried it by itself, but it worked when mixed with the gyro ingredients.  The zucchini fritters were okay, but some of the larger slices got a little mushy.  The smaller slices stayed nice and crispy on the outside for a "fried" texture.  I used salsa as a dip for the fritters.


Chicken Gyros
Recipe adapted from Light&Delish Magazine
~360 calories/serving

Ingredients:
shredded rotisserie chicken
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed with press
1/4 c fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
4 pitas
2 cups sliced romaine lettuce
1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 green onions, sliced

Directions:
Toss chicken with oregano and salt and pepper.

To make sauce:  In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, water, yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic.  Stir in the cilantro, cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

To serve, fill pita pockets with romaine lettuce, shredded chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions.  Top with tahini sauce.

*****

Zucchini Fritters
Recipe from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking 2009
1/3 cup zucchini with 1 tablespoon sauce= 67 calories

Ingredients:
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup fat-free ranch salad dressing
1/4 cup salsa

Directions:
In a shallow bowl, combine buttermilk and egg substitute.  In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, taco seasoning, and garlic salt.   Dip zucchini in buttermilk mixture, then coat with bread crumb mixture.  Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400º for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, flipping once.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, salsa, and ranch dressing.  Serve with zucchini (or just serve with salsa like I did).

Monday, September 1, 2014

Chinese Five-Spice Steak with Rice Noodles


My friend Rachel came over for a cooking session to make some healthy make-ahead meals.  After grocery shopping and preparing a few freezer meals, we made this for dinner.  I was super excited because I finally got the chance to break out my Chinese Five Spice that I had purchased from Penzeys awhile back.  Those chefs on Food Network shows are always using Chinese Five Spice so I wanted to see what the fuss was about.  When I opened the jar, it smelled like Christmas cookies which is never a bad thing.   I really loved the flavor of the marinade on the steak.  I'd definitely make this again, although I'd remember to buy the green onions and I'd throw in a veggie like broccoli.

Chinese Five-Spice Steak with Rice Noodles
from a Cooking Light cookbook
Makes 4 servings:  1&1/2 cups beef mixture and 1 cup noodles
374 calories/serving

Ingredients:
1 pound flank steak, trimmed and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
4 ounces uncooked wide rice sticks
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced green onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 medium tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Directions:
Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and steak in large bowl or resealable plastic bag.  Allow to marinate in fridge at least 30 minutes.

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Rinse with cold water and drain.

While noodles are cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add minced green onions and garlic; saute 30 seconds.  Add beef mixture and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in tomato wedges, green onions, and basil; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve over cooked noodles.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Raspberry Pie



Raspberries were on sale at the store for $1.50 (wow!), so I picked up a couple trays and then I decided to make a pie with them because I had a single pie crust in the fridge leftover from a previous recipe.  I wish I had gotten one more tray of raspberries because I didn't quite have enough to make 4 cups.  Luckily, I did have some blueberries, so I added some blueberries to the raspberries to make this pie.  It was quite delicious, especially with the whipped cream topping.  Yummmmm.


Raspberry Pie
Recipe from Pillsbury
8 servings

Ingredients:
1 crust from Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust box
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
4 cups fresh raspberries (or any combination of berries)
1 tablespoon butter
Cool Whip or ice cream

Directions:
Heat oven to 450ºF.  Make pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell using a 9-inch glass pie pan.  Bake 9-11 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water.  Stir in 2 cups of the berries.  Heat to boiling and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in butter.  Cool completely.

Stir remaining 2 cups berries into the cooled raspberry mixture.  Spoon into the cooled baked shell.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.   Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Baked Mac and Cheese with Kielbasa


The Wheel of Meals landed on Comfort Food

Mac and Cheese is my ultimate comfort food plus we had some kielbasa on hand, so I found this recipe online that combined both.  It was good even if it wasn't the healthiest.  We did have a spinach salad to accompany it so at least that's something.  I split the casserole into different baking dishes and made half and froze the other half for another time.

Baked Mac and Cheese with Kielbasa
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 package (12-16oz) cooked kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 oz elbow macaroni
1/3 cup butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and ground black pepper
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Directions:
Cook and stir the cut-up kielbasa in a large skillet over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes until heated through and beginning to brown.  Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside.

Fill a pan with slightly salted water and bring to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cook until the pasta is slightly underdone, about 8 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350º

Meanwhile, melt the butter in the skillet over medium-low heat and add the chopped onion, cooking and stirring until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes to make a roux.  Whisk in the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly.  Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook over low heat for 2 minutes to finish cooking the flour, stirring constantly.  Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese, a little at a time, until all the cheese has been incorporated and the sauce is hot and smooth.

Pour the macaroni into the skillet with the cheese and stir to combine.  Stir in the cooked kielbasa.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon the macaroni into a lightly sprayed large casserole baking dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top.  Bake at 350º for 20 minutes until crumbs are brown and casserole is bubbling.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stuffed Zucchini


I saw this recipe in my cookbook and thought it looked good.  It can be served as a side or as a vegetarian main dish or cut into smaller slices for appetizer bites.  It was pretty good.  I liked the crunch of the panko topping.  The zucchini squeaked as we ate it which was funny.

Stuffed Zucchini
from America's Test Kitchen Best-Ever Cooking for Two

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and seeded
salt and pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or whatever cheese you want)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions:
Brush 1 tablespoon oil over cut sides of zucchini and season with salt and pepper.  Place zucchini halves, cut side down, on baking sheet and bake at 400º for 10 minutes or until slightly softened and skins are wrinkled. Flip zucchini over and let cool on sheet.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add panko and a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring frequently until panko is golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Transfer panko to a bowl and wipe out skillet with paper towels.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium heat.  Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.   Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add beans and tomatoes and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Off the heat, stir in cheese and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Divide filling evenly between zucchini halves.  Sprinkle panko evenly over the mixture.  Bake until heated through, about 6 minutes.  Serve.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Moroccan Fish and Couscous Packets


The Wheel of Meals landed on Seafood and International

Jeremy spun and landed on Seafood and then he let Wesley spin and it landed on International.  So we had to make an International Seafood dish and this recipe fit the request.   I really, really loved the punch of the Chermoula sauce with the haddock.  Very flavorful!  The fish stayed moist and flaky in the packets.  I will definitely make this again.

Moroccan Fish and Couscous Packets
Recipe from America's Test Kitchen: Best Ever Cooking for Two

Ingredients:
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
brown sugar
3/4 cup couscous  (I used Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil-flavored couscous)
1 cup boiling water
2 (6-8oz) skinless white fish fillets, 3/4-1" thick (I used haddock)

Directions:
To make Chermoula sauce, in a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons cilantro, oil, ginger, paprika, garlic, 1&1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, and red pepper flakes.  Season with salt, pepper, and brown sugar to taste.

Place couscous in a medium bowl.  Pour boiling water over couscous and immediately cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit for about 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.

Pat fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Place two 14-inch lengths of aluminum foil on counter.  Divide couscous and mound in center of each foil piece.  Place fish on top of couscous.  Spread 1 tablespoon of Chermoula sauce over top of each fish.  Fold foil up and over fish and crimp edges to seal.

Arrange packets on rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until fish registers 140º and easily flakes, about 14-18 minutes.  Transfer fish and couscous to plate and sprinkle with remaining cilantro.  Serve with remaining Chermoula sauce and lemon wedges.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Glazed Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes



The Wheel of Meals landed on Chef's Choice.

And this chef chose to grill while the weather is so nice.  The grocery store had a sale on bone-in pork rib chops, so I found this recipe and rolled with it.  I liked both the glazed pork chops and the sweet potatoes.  Jeremy thought the tarragon-balsamic vinaigrette on the potatoes was weird, but I liked the combination and really liked the flavor the grill imparted. Our chops weren't that thick, so they didn't take very long to cook.  The recipe made way too much glaze and I ended up wasting a lot, so next time I'd cut that part in half or even quarter.

Glazed Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes
Recipe from America's Test Kitchen: Best-Ever Cooking for Two

Ingredients:

For Sweet Potatoes:
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
salt and pepper
pinch sugar
2 small sweet potatoes, unpeeled, halved lengthwise

For Pork Chops:
2 (12-14oz) bone-in rib or center cut pork chops, about 1&1/2" thick
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:

For Sweet Potatoes:
Whisk together 3 tablespoons oil, tarragon, vinegar, shallot, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and sugar together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Place potato halves on a large microwave-safe plate and poke several times with a fork.  Brush with remaining tablespoon of oiil and season with salt to taste.  Microwave until soft, about 6 minutes, flipping halfway through microwaving.

Place potatoes cut side down on grill over medium-low heat.  Cook until well browned, 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.  Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1-inch pieces.  Add potatoes to bowl with vinaigrette and toss to combine.

For Pork Chops:
In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, mustards, oil, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Measure out 1/4 cup of glaze and set aside for serving.

Pat pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper.  Place chops on grill over medium-high heat.  Cook until well browned, about 6-10 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.  Turn down heat and brush with glaze.  Continue to cook another 3-5 minutes on each side, glazing after turning.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with the reserved glaze.

Exotic Grilled Chicken


I was in the mood to grill, so I found this grilled chicken recipe.  I probably should have flipped the chicken a little sooner before it got black on one side, but it still tasted great.   The skin was crisp and the meat was nice and juicy and the marinade tasted great.

Exotic Grilled Chicken
from Taste of Home Grill It!
4-6 servings

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, cut up (3-4 pounds)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1&1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine all the marinade ingredients.  Reserve 1/4 cup for basting in a small bowl.  Add chicken to the bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Drain and discard marinade from bag.  Grill chicken, skin side down, uncovered, over medium heat for 15 minutes on each side (wings will take less; breasts will take longer).  Brush with reserved marinade and cook 5 minutes.  Turn and baste again; grill 5 minutes longer or until chicken is cooked through.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Blueberry Buckle


The Wheel of Meals landed on Local Ingredients

I bought some really yummy-looking blueberries at the local farmer's market and I also needed to a bring a dessert to my tennis league, so this recipe seemed like a perfect fit.  I found the recipe online and chose it because it used a LOT of blueberries plus it had a nice crumb streusel.   This was simply spectacular.  A++

Blueberry Buckle
Recipe adapted from www.browneyedbaker.com

Ingredients:

For Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

For the Cake:
1&1/2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
4 cups fresh blueberries

Directions:

To make Topping:  With an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt on low speed until well combined, about 45 seconds.  Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

To make Cake:  Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease a 9" round cake pan or a 10" springform pan (that's what I used) and grease the bottom and inside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside.   Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, and lemon zest at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.  Reduce mixer speed to medium and add eggs one at a time; beat for 5-10 seconds, scrape sides, and continue to beat until fully incorporated.  Reduce mixer speed to low, then gradually add flour mixture and beat until flour is almost completely mixed in, about 20 seconds.  Use a rubber spatula to finish mixing (the batter will be very thick).   Gently fold blueberries into the batter.

Transfer batter to the prepared pan.   Squeeze a handful of streusel in your hand to form a large clump; break up the clump and sprinkle evenly over batter.  Repeat with remaining streusel.

Bake 50-55 minutes until the top is a deep golden brown and a thin knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Place on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.    Run a knife around edges.  Invert cake and then turn right-side-up onto serving dish.  Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Cucumber-Dill Sauce



Ever since I tried a planked salmon at a restaurant last summer (the BEST salmon I've ever had), I've been wanting to try it at home.  They were out of planks at the store, but Jeremy found an untreated cedar board in the basement and cut and sanded a piece to use.   I soaked it in water plus a little apple cider vinegar for about 90 minutes (weighed it down with a large pot).  We put the smooth side down on the grill first (over medium heat), waited for it to smoke a little, then flipped it over and turned off the heat on that side of the grill so that the salmon would cook over indirect heat.  The salmon went skin-side down on the smooth side.  I thought it tasted really, really good.  Jeremy said he didn't notice the cedar board adding extra flavor, but I enjoyed it regardless.   The bottom of our board got a little charred so we probably should have soaked it even longer.

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Cucumber Dill Sauce
from Better Homes and Gardens Grill It! Cookbook
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 salmon fillets, 1" thick
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh snipped dill
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish (optional)

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine the cucumber, yogurt, mayo, dill, and horseradish.  Cover and chill until serving time up to 4 hours.

In a small bowl, make rub by combining brown sugar, salt, and pepper.  Pat salmon fillets dry.  Place fish skin side down in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle rub evenly over fish and rub in using your fingers.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for 8-24 hours.  (Or substitute your own rub or herb blend)

For a gas grill, preheat grill, then reduce to medium.  Adjust heat for indirect cooking.  Place a pre-soaked cedar plank on the grill rack over the burner that is turned off.  Place salmon, skin side down, on plank.  Cover and grill for ~20 minutes or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork (time will depend on thickness of fillets.  Ours took 30 minutes).    Slide a spatula between fish and skin to release fish from plank.  Serve with the Cucumber-Dill sauce.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Kale-Stuffed Chicken Roll-ups


I had half a jar of pasta sauce to use up and some kale in the fridge (instead of spinach), so I made my own little version of Kale-Chicken Parmesan, roll-up style.  It was delicious.

Anne's Kale-Stuffed Chicken Roll-ups
Serves 6

Ingredients:
6 thin-sliced chicken breasts (pounded to 1/4" thickness if needed)
~2 cups chopped kale leaves (spinach will work too)
~1/4-1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 jar Ragu Veggie-Smart pasta sauce
~1/4-1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Directions:
In one shallow container, beat an egg with a fork with some salt and pepper.   In another shallow container, combine the Panko and Parmesan.   In a square 8x8" baking pan, pour half the pasta sauce.

Divide kale and Mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken breasts.  Roll each chicken breast up tightly (no need for toothpick).   Dip chicken in the beaten egg, then the Panko mixture.  Place seam side down over the sauce in the baking pan.   Bake, covered, at 425º for 25 minutes.

Uncover pan and pour remaining pasta sauce over chicken.  Top with remaining Mozzarella cheese.  Continue to bake, uncovered, another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dijon-Crusted Tilapia


I had some tilapia in the freezer to use, so I went back and found this recipe I made back in 2010.  It's a good one so I'm re-posting it on this blog.  This time around, I used Panko bread crumbs for a crunchier coating.  I also made some herbed red potatoes (which I loved) and steamed broccoli to round out the meal.

Dijon-Crusted Tilapia
Makes 4 servings
(214 calories/serving)

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayo
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish
4 Tilapia fillets (4-5oz)
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I used Panko this time)
2 teaspoons butter, melted

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine the mayo, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, lemon juice, mustard, and horseradish.  Place fillets on a baking sheet coated with baking spray.  Spread the mustard mixture evenly over fish.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, and butter.  Sprinkle over fish.   Bake at 425º for 13 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

My photo from 2010:


Herbed Red Potatoes
Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound small red potatoes, halved or quartered (depends on size)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
Whisk together the oil, garlic, and herbs in a large bowl.  Add the potatoes and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Transfer the potatoes to a baking dish.  Roast at 425º, covered, for 45 minutes, then uncover to cook another 15 minutes until potatoes are tender and golden.   Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese if desired.

Fresh Cherry Galette


I saw cherries on sale at the grocery store, so I decided to buy a bag.  As I ate a few and spit out the seeds, I got annoyed with the seeds, so I decided to pit them all.  I tried a couple different methods, but using the end of a round pastry tip seemed to work the best for me.  Once I had them all pitted, I started looking through my cookbooks for a nice fresh cherry recipe.  This one called out to me.  It was delicious.  I couldn't find the larger turbinado sugar at the store, so I just used a sprinkle of regular sugar on the outer edge.

Fresh Cherry Galette
from Cooking Light Pick Fresh Cookbook
Serves 6; 227 calories/slice

Ingredients:
1/2 (14-oz) package refrigerated pie dough
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
3&1/2 cups pitted fresh cherries
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1&1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Directions:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and unroll pie dough onto parchment, rolling into a ~12" circle. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, stirring with a whisk.  Sprinkle cornstarch mixture over dough, leaving a 2-inch border.

Combine cherries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and the lemon rind and juice; toss well to coat.  Arrange cherry mixture over dough, leaving a 2-inch border.  Fold dough border over cherries, pressing gently to seal (it won't completely cover cherries).  Brush edges of dough with buttermilk and sprinkle turbinado sugar over cherries and edges of dough.  Bake at 400º for 25 minutes or until dough is browned and juices are bubbly.  Remove from oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.  Slice into 6 wedges.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuna Noodle Casserole for 2


The Wheel of Meals landed on No Shopping

Yikes, it finally happened--we landed on the dreaded 'No Shopping' space.   It was almost time for dinner and the fridge had barely anything to contribute and nothing was thawed from the freezer.  I looked around in my cupboards and found a can of tuna, some chicken broth, and a half-empty bag of egg noodles.  In the fridge, I had a half-empty bag of shredded cheese and milk.  Yes, this can work.   The casserole was really pretty good although we really couldn't taste the cheese.  We left out the peas because we didn't have any in the freezer.  I just made a broccoli side dish instead.  I liked the crunchy Panko topping.  No complaints.

Tuna Noodle Casserole for 2 
from iowagirleats.com
Serves 2

Ingredients:
3 oz egg noodles
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
salt and pepper
1&1/2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup frozen peas
5-6oz can tuna packed in water, drained
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Panko breadcrumbs
1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions:
Cook noodles in boiling salted water until slightly undercooked.  Drain and return to pot. Set aside.

In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Add shallots, season with salt and pepper, and saute until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add in flour and stir, cooking another minute.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth, breaking up any clumps of butter and flour.  Next, pour in the milk and bring mixture to a boil.  Add peas.  Reduce heat to medium and let mixture bubble until thickened, about 5-6 minutes, whisking every minute or so.

Add drained tuna to the sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  Turn off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese until completely melted.  Pour the sauce into the pot with the noodles and stir to combine.   Spray two individual ramekins with cooking spray and divide the mixture evenly between the two.

In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and melted butter.  Sprinkle over the casseroles.   Bake in a preheated 375º oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Shrimp Po'-Boys


The Wheel of Meals landed on Seafood

I saw this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine, and used it because we had some frozen shrimp in the freezer that we needed to use up.  Plus, it looked like a fun summer sandwich.   I liked it better than Jeremy but that's because he's not a coleslaw fan.

Shrimp Po'Boys
from Cooking Light July 2012
Serves 4; 400 calories/serving

Ingredients:
for Rémoulade Slaw:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced
2&1/2 cups packaged cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw

for Sandwich:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 large egg white
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 pieces French Bread baguette, split and toasted
3 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 slices tomato

Directions:
To prepare rémoulade slaw, combine first 9 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add coleslaw; toss to coat.  Cover and chill.

To prepare Po'boys, combine cornstarch and next 4 ingredients (through egg white) in a medium bowl; whisk until blended.  Add shrimp and toss well.  Marinate in fridge for 30 minutes, stirring once.

Hollow out the bread halves, leaving a 1/4" thick shell.  Place torn bread into food processor and process until fine crumbs form.  Set aside 1/2 cup breadcrumbs; reserve remaining breadcrumbs for another use.   Combine the 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, cornmeal, and black pepper in a large resealable plastic bag.  Shake to combine.

Remove shrimp from bowl; discard marinade.  Add shrimp to the breadcrumb mixture.  Seal and shake to coat.   Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.

Arrange 1/2 cup slaw on each bottom half of bread.  Top with shrimp and tomato slices.  Cover with top half.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bacon, Kale, and Cheese Rösti


I was paging through a cooking magazine, and saw this recipe and thought I'd give it a try because I knew I had a half-opened bag of frozen hash browns in the freezer we wanted to use up somehow.   The original recipe called for zucchini (which would have been wonderful), but I had kale in my fridge, so that's what I used instead.   Jeremy didn't want to try this recipe (he said "I just want my cereal"), so I had breakfast leftovers for days.  I thought it was good.  He missed out.

Bacon, Kale, and Cheese Rösti
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 egg white
1 medium zucchini, shredded (or 1 cup chopped kale leaves)
1 shallot, chopped
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheese

Directions:
In a large bowl, beat the egg and egg white.  Stir in vegetables, bacon, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Stir in the frozen hash browns.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Spread potato mixture evenly in skillet.  Cook for 8-10 minutes without stirring or until bottom is browned.  Using the edge of a spatula, cut mixture into quarters.  Carefully flip each quarter.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cook about 5-6 minutes longer or until browned on bottom.