Friday, May 27, 2011

Warm Potato Salad

When you need a quick and very easy meal, turn to this. By the time the potatoes are cooked, you’re read to eat dinner. Kielbasa is sliced thin and sautéed in a pan until slightly crispy and cooked through. It then gets mixed with creamy baby red new potatoes and this delicious Dijon dressing.  There are some nice flavors in this dish and they all compliment each other very well. The kielbasa is smoky, the potatoes are creamy and the dressing is tangy.

What You Need

1 1/2 lbs red new potatoes
1 lb kielbasa (1 ring)
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1 bunch scallion, chopped
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
1 tbs veg or olive oil
1 tbs red wine or apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

What To Do:

In a large pot, cover the potatoes (keep them whole unless DSCF5820you get a big one or two) with water and bring to a boil. These potatoes should be the small red ones, small enough that when you cut them in half or in quarters they become bite size. Once the water boil, add some salt and cook until fork tender, 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the Dijon, vinegar and oil. Stir in the scallions and some salt and pepper. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Slice your kielbasa into rounds, about 1/4 inch thick. Place in your heated sauté pan and cook until heated through and browned on both sides. Once the potatoes are cooked through, drain and let cool slightly. Slice the potatoes in half or into quarters depending on their size and toss with the dressing. Add in the kielbasa and the parsley and stir again. Serve.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sausage and Peppers

And onions, and beer! Sounds like a good thing to me! Sausage and peppers are a favorite where I grew up. Not many get together went by without my mom making a big batch and throwing them into the crock pot to stay hot. There are a few ways to make them though. With tomato sauce, without. With beer, without. With onions, without. Cooked on the grill or in a cast iron pan? Like I said, tons of ways to make them.  I choose beer. Of course I choose beer! Who wouldn’t use beer! The sausages are cooked in beer first to not only impart flavor but to keep them juicy too. Then, depending on the time of year, I’ll either crisp them up on the grill or a cast iron pan. Both ways are particullary good, but it’s up to use to decide which you like best.

What You Need:

4 sausage links
4 good quality rolls
2 large onions, sliced
2 large bell pepper, sliced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 (12oz) bottle of your favorite beer
salt and pepper
veg oil

What To Do:

Prick your sausages two or three times with a sharp knife. This creates a couple holes in the casings which lets the fat out and beer in while cooking. Place the sausage in a large pot and cover them with the beer. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes. Don’t worry about your sausages being cooked all the way through. Chances are, after 3o minutes they will be anyway but even if they’re not, you’re going to continue cooking them later.
While the sausage cooking, heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat and give it a drizzle of oil. Once it’s hot add in the your onions, peppers and garlic. Cook them, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and soft. Season with salt and pepper and then push them off to the side if finishing the sausage in the pan. Remove the sausages from the beer and place in the hot cast iron pan (or on a preheated grill) and cooked just a minute or two per side or until the casings are browned. Served in the rolls with a good quality mustard.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cheese Steak Pasta

I have had this idea in my head for a while, it just sort of came to me. I thought I was a real genius! I had never heard of anyone making a cheese steak pasta dish before. I did a quick search to confirm my genius and it turns out I wasn't as great as I though. How the mighty have fallen! At any rate, pasta, cheese, steak, onion and peppers? Yes please! I used pappardelle pasta for this dish. The very wide flat noodle worked perfectly so that the whole dish intertwined. If you don't have access to pappardelle, tagliatelle or even fettuccine would work just as well. This recipe makes a ton of food. I really thought I was going to have lots of leftovers and be able to enjoy it the again the next night. I was wrong, my husband and his brother gobbled it down. I thought they were going to lick the bowl clean! You are sure to love this recipe!

What You Need:

1 lb pappardelle pasta
1 lb steak (sirloin or london broil work well), very thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups milk
3tbs flour
1/3 lb shredded Gruyère
1/2 lb provolone
salt and pepper

What To Do:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, cook the steak, in batches if necessary, until browned and almost cooked. To help cut the steak very thin, place it in the freezer for 15-20 before slicing. This will firm the meat up a bit and help in the slicing. Once the meat is cooked, remove to a large bowl, leaving behind any drippings. Cook the onions, peppers and garlic in the same pan until the onions are translucent and the peppers have softened. Once done, remove the bowl with the steak. Once your water starts to boil, salt it heavily and toss in the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, whisk the 3 tbs of flour with the drippings from cooking the meat and peppers. Slowly whisk in the milk, turn the heat to high and whisk often until the milk has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper and slowly whisk in the cheeses a little bit at a time. Turn the heat to low to keep it warm until the pasta is done. Place the meat and pepper mixture into the pot with the cheese, to warm it back through. Once the pasta is cooked, toss everything together and serve.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Classics: Stuffed Mushrooms

Yes, here is another old school classic. It’s one of my dad’s favorites that I can remember a lot as a kid. Just like the deviled eggs, the stuffed mushrooms has undergone transformations over the years. In most restaurants you’ll see mushrooms stuffed with crab meat. Let’s face it, the real stuff can be quite expensive, that is why, in my family, we’ve always used breakfast sausage. I never liked mushrooms as a child. I would always eat the stuffing out of the mushroom, and then give it to my dad. These are also not very figure friendly, but they are an appetizer so you’re not eating a ton of them.

What You Need:

Large white button mushrooms (they come in large packs that are about 12-16oz and contain 6-9 mushrooms)
1/2 lb breakfast sausage (not the heat and serve links or patties but the fresh stuff you find in the meat dept.)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stick butter
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 c – 2/3 c bread crumbs
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried sage
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper
a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley for garnish

What To Do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a damp cloth or kitchen towel, white the outside of the mushrooms, removing any dirt they may have. Pull out the stems, dice them and set aside. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up as you go until fully cooked. Remove for the pan, leaving any fat behind. Place into a food processor, and pulse a few times until you have coarse crumbs instead of big chunks. Set aside. Return the sauté pan to medium heat and  melt the butter together with the oil. While it’s melting, diced the mushroom stems. Add the onions, garlic and diced stems into the sauté pan. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the onions have softened and started to become translucent. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, the oregano and the sage. Add in the sausage back into the pan, stirring everything to combine well. Stir in the parmesan cheese and 1/2 c bread crumbs. Turn the heat to low and cook for about a minute, giving the bread crumbs time to absorb the moisture. If the mixture still looks really wet, stir in a bit more bread crumbs. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Using a spoon and your hands, fill each mushroom, mounding some of it on top. Place into a shallow baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the mushrooms have slump and the filling is golden brown. Remove the mushrooms to a plate and garnish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a piece of parsley.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Classics: Deviled Eggs

Yes I know, deviled eggs are old school right? They’ve stuck around though. Not a summer, or family get together goes by, where these white and golden beauties don’t make an appearance. Everyone has their own way of making deviled eggs and nowadays, it seems anything goes. People are always taking such a simple classic and updating it with things like bacon, shrimp or other ingredients. I say, keep it simple, and keep it a classic! I have to say that my mom boils her eggs for what seems like forever, meaning I always did the same because I didn’t know better. I thought that green ring around the yolk was supposed to be there. Turns out, I was wrong! The green ring is a sign of over cooked eggs. Follow the directions in the recipe and you’ll have perfect golden yolk only eggs. Another problem is that the shells can be a pain to get off. This happens because the eggs are really fresh, so try and buy them about a week a head of time and this will help that problem.
What You Need:
6 eggs
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbs mayo
2 tbs greek yogurt (or 2 more tbs mayo)
dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
paprika for garnish
What To Do:
Place your eggs in a pan large enough so that they fit in a single layer on the bottom without much empty space. Cover the eggs with enough water to come up about an inch or two above the top of the eggs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is at a full rolling boil, set your timer for 5 minutes. When the time goes off, drain the eggs and fill the pot up with cold water. Drain the eggs again and give them a shake in the pot. Yes this will crack them and that’s what you want. Fill the pot once more with cold water and let sit for another 5 or 10 minutes. This not only stops the cooking and cools the eggs down, but by cracking them you let some water get in and this will help later in removing the shells.
Once the eggs are completely cool, remove the shells and slice each egg in half. Remove the yolks to a bowl, and the empty whites to a platter. With a fork, mash the yolks. You could probably use a ricer here too but I’ve never tried it that way. It’s a good thought for next time! Once the yolks are mashed, stir in the mustard, mayo, yogurt, a tiny dash of Worcestershire and some salt and pepper.  Stir really well to combine. You can either use a spoon to fill the whites or for a fancier look, fill a pastry bag with a large star tip and pipe the yolk mixture back into the white. Sprinkle with a bit of paprika and enjoy! Makes 12

Monday, May 16, 2011

Easy Fish Tacos

Fish tacos have been the latest food craze in America. Everyone has their own version of making them, some with crunchy and spicy toppings, and other with sweeter salsa style toppings. There really is no right or wrong way to make a fish taco. I keep mine very simple by using store bought, frozen and breaded fish. I don’t often by prepackaged and prepared foods but when it comes to fish, location is everything. I can’t get really fresh where I live, so I normally opt for the frozen variety. Using frozen fish sticks also makes things easier and quicker. One last thing, I didn’t buy those minced up and pasted together fish sticks. I bought real haddock filets that were cut into planks and breaded. It makes all the difference in the world!

What You Need:

1 box frozen fish stick/filets
8 corn tortillas
Pico De Gallo
Chunky Guacamole
Chipotle Mayo
Lime slaw or regular shredded cabbage

What To Do:

Have the topping prepared before cooking your fish. Cook your fish according to package directions. While the fish is cooking, warm the tortillas. If you have a gas stove, turn a burner on medium low heat.

Place a corn tortilla over the flame, after about 30 seconds give it a flip to the other side. I usually flip my tortilla twice. Once both sides have some marks on them and the tortilla is warmed through, transfer to a plate that is lined with a kitchen towel. Cover the tortilla with the towel to keep it warm. Continue until the rest of the tortillas are warmed through. If using an electric oven, wrap the stack of tortillas in foil and place in the oven with the fish. In about 10 minutes, they should be heated through. Transfer them to a plate as described above.
To assemble a taco, smear a little bit of the chipotle mayo on the corn tortilla, then place a piece of fish, some slaw, pico de gallo and guacamole. Fold up and enjoy!

Enjoying fish tacos with family!

Friday, May 13, 2011


I was gearing up to end the week with a fabulous and easy fish taco recipe. However, my plans have changed and I’m pushing it back to Monday. Why? Because a good friend and fellow mommy shared with incredible recipe for granola over on her blog a while back. She calls it “Your Granola” and I couldn’t agree more. She gives the basics on what to include, as well as her version. I finally was able to make it last night. I gave it a taste and knew that it was something I wanted to share with GOC readers right away. I’m giving you her recipe that I modified for myself. It’s also very, very economical. If you were to buy a bag of granola in the store, you’re looking at a good $5 for just a few ounces. She also continues by saying that she likes keeping the ingredients simple and natural. There is no reason to add artificial sweeteners here. She uses honey in her recipe because it’s natural. I used a mixture of agave and honey.  What ever you use, you’re sure to love her recipe. While your there, make sure you take a look at her other posts. She has some great craft ideas and ideas for green living among other things.

What You Need:

5 cup rolled oats, not quick cooking
1 c pumpkin seeds
1 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c cashews
1/2 c almonds
1 c raisins
1 c dried cherries
1/3 c agave
1/3 c honey
2 tsp cinnamon
What To Do:
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients but the dried fruit together. Make sure to mix it well so that everything is covered by the honey and agave. This is what makes it crunchy. Turn out onto a 1/2 sheet pan and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir after every 10 minutes. During my last 10 minutes, I separated the granola onto two sheet pans. This isn’t necessary but I wanted to make sure that my nuts and seeds got really toasty, which they did, but it was almost to far.
Once it’s cooled, stir in the dried fruit and store in airtight containers.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chunky Guacamole


Guacamole is one of those things a lot of people aren’t to sure about it. Avocado's are the main ingredient and according to my husband, you either love them or you hate them. There is no in-between in his eyes. Me? I’m found of them, but I love them when they’re made into Guacamole. The key to guac success is using a ripe avocado.  To check for ripeness, gently press the outside of it. If there is no give, it’s not ripe. If there is a bit of give, then your avocado is ready to eat. If there is a lot of give, the avocado could be bruised, or over ripe. In this case when you remove the outside of the avocado, you’ll find brown mushy spots. These might still be okay to eat, but give them a taste before you use them to make Guacamole.  There isn’t much you can go to prevent your avocado from turning brown once you cut into it. An acid such as lime or lemon juice will slow the process, so will covering with plastic wrap, pressing it down into the guacamole so that air can not reach it. However, after a day or so, you’ll still end up with it being brown on top.

What You Need:

2 ripe avocados
1/2 a red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño or serano chili, seeded and minced
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped
big pinch of salt

What To Do:

Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop the flesh out of the peel with a spoon. Place into a mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Use a fork to mash the avocado together with the rest of the ingredients, stirring also to combine. Sever with tortilla chips, tacos, carne asada, etc.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chipotle Mayo

Here's a quick bonus recipe for you guys. It's a super beautiful Tuesday outside, so consider it my gift to you because we're on day 3 that it hasn't rained here. Chipotle Mayo is my new favorite sammie dressing. It whips up in seconds, packs a punch and add huge flavor to a boring sandwich. Give it a try the next time you have some left over chipotle peppers in adobo. I made just a small batch, but you can easily multiply and have a ton to keep on hand.

What You Need:

1 chipotle in adobo
1/2 c mayo (I used hellmans because it's my fav)
1/2 c nonfat greek yogurt (optional, see note below)

What To Do:

In a mini food processor or blender, place all your ingredients and blend till smooth.

Note: The non-fat greek yogurt was used to low some of the fat in calories, as well as give it a bit of a tang. This is completely optional, but if you leave it out, double the amount of mayo so that you have 1 cup.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pico De Gallo

I need to come clean, I'm having an affair with Pico De Gallo. It's not just a one time fling, no fellow foodies, I am in love. I have been making big batches of Pico once a week and eating it on everything.p Not much hasn't been covered with pico. It's great on grilled chicken, or on top of fish. A perfect companion to tortilla chips and even better on eggs. It's low in calories, and I'm pretty sure there is no fat in it, but it is so full of flavor. It's just a handful of ingredients and very easy to make. Make sure to use ripe tomatoes. I like using vine ripened, but roma tomatoes work well too. Stick with smaller tomatoes and not the big ones as they have a lot of pulp.

What You Need:

2lbs of tomatoes
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeño, minced
zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

What To Do:

Quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds and pulp, then finely dice them or pulse them in a food processor. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes with the onion, lime zest and juice, and cilantro. Take a micro-plane and grate in the garlic. If you want it super spicy, leave the seeds in the jalapeño when you mince it, other wise remove the seeds. Stir everything together and serve.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lime Slaw

Here is that last side dish that I promised in Monday's Chipotle Chicken post. This is meant to go as the second side dish along side the Wednesday's Rice one. This side dish is meant to cool you down. Nice crunchy cabbage is mixed with some sweet corn kernels and the dressing combines lime juice with cilantro and a bit of oil to make a nice refreshing dish that is the perfect match to the spicy chicken and rice dishes.

What You Need:

1 bag slaw mix
1 cup of frozen corn kernels, thawed
zest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes
1 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 c cilantro, chopped

What To Do:

In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice, zest, garlic and cumin together, slowly drizzle in the oil while continuing to whisk. Stir in the slaw, corn and cilantro. Using a set of tongs works best to get everything combined together.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chipotle Lime Rice

On Monday I posted a great recipe for Chipotle Chicken and told you to check back to today and Friday for two great side dishes. Here is the first for you. An easy spicy rice dish. The flavors in the chicken are complimented by this rice, as they have a lot of the same ingredients. I love making meals like this where you use the same flavor components in each of the dishes. They marry well together that way.

What You Need:

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water or chicken stock
1 chipotle in adobo
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tbs onion flakes
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbs chopped cilantro

What To Do:

Combine all the ingredients except for the the lime juice and cilantro, in the pot and follow the cooking directions on your box of rice. Note: If using instant rice, use the amount of water required on the box.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chipotle Chicken

The end of this week is Cinco De Mayo, the day in which to celebrate the Mexican victory over the French in 1862. I celebrate by eating all sorts of yummy Mexican inspired dishes all week long. This week I have three recipes to share with you, all from the same meal. The first is this dish right here. A spicy marinated and then grilled chicken breast. The chipotle peppers in the dish not only give the chicken a kick but also lend a smoky flavor to them as well. Just one chipotle can pack a punch so if you don't want it super spicy, remove the seeds. You'll still get a kick, but it could mean the difference of enjoying the dish instead of not feeling your tongue!
The three dishes this week all share some common ingredients which is another reason why I'm sharing them. Make sure to check back on Wednesday and again on Friday to see the two side dishes.

What You Need:

1 chipotle in adobo
1 tsp of the adobo sauce
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs oil
juice of 1 lime
1 tbs honey or agave
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp cumin
4 chicken breasts

What To Do:

Remove the seeds from the chipotle if you choose, then minced it up fine. Combine it in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, minus the chicken breast. Pour half the sauce into a re-sealable zip top bag along with the chicken. Seal the bag and use your hands to work the sauce around the chicken so that it's well coated. Let sit for at least an hour, but no more then 4 hours.
Preheat your girll, once hot, remove the chicken from the marinade and grill over high heat for 3-5 minutes on the first side. Flip them over and baste them with some of the remaining sauce. Lower the heat and finish cooking the chicken breast another 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness. Use a meat thermometer if you're not sure. Flip and baste them one more time before taking them off the heat. Let rest for a few minutes before serving.
HostGator Promotion Code

Get Our Latest Posts Via Email - It's Free

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner