Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Champ (Turkey & Brie Panini)

We made these paninis in honor of one that Matt ate at Champ's Deli when we were in New York two years ago (hence the name).  All we could remember (or find out) was that it had turkey, brie, and honey mustard.  It is very simple, but also very tasty!

Prep: 5 min./Cook: 5 min.
Yield: 2 sandwiches

3 slices (4 oz. total) Columbus Herb Roasted Turkey lunchmeat
12 thin slices Brie cheese (or however many it takes to cover the faces of your bread)
1 sliced tomato
2 Ciabatta buns
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 Tbs. mustard
1 Tbs. honey

Mix together honey, mustard, and mayonnaise.  Spread on both cut sides of each bun, then cover with Brie.  Add tomato and 1 1/2 slices of turkey to each sandwich.

Cook in a contact a grill or panini press set to sear for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is toasty, applying slight pressure to press the bread.

Slice and enjoy!

-  You can use whatever turkey you want, but I have to say that Columbus is my all-time favorite brand of turkey lunchmeat.  It's more expensive than other brands, and I've only seen it at Costco.  But it honestly tastes like Thanksgiving turkey, is 99% fat free, and is MUCH lower in sodium than other brands (we're talking 220 mg per 2 oz serving instead of the usual 500-700 mg).  It's worth it.
- Brie is one of those cheeses that is on the list of foods to avoid for pregnant women and small children; however, if you find a pasteurized Brie (our Costco carries a Henri Hutin Brie Couronne), then it's safe for both pregnant women and toddlers.
- Feel free to alter the amounts of mayo, honey, and mustard--to be honest, I didn't measure, so those amounts are complete guesses.  Dijon mustard also makes a very good honey mustard.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oven-Roasted Fries

From Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, page 92.

Prep: 10 min./Cook: 35 min.
Serves: 4-6.
Pictured: Oven-Roasted Fries with Cuban Seasoning.
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes, well scrubbed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbs. kosher salt
3 Tbs. seasoning mix (pages 117-119), optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven to heat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice each potato lengthwise into 8 slices.  Put the potato slices in a large bowl, add oil, salt, and seasoning mix, if using, and toss to coat the potatoes evenly.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add the potatoes in an even layer.  Bake the potatoes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 35 minutes.  Serve hot.

Cuban Seasoning
1 tsp. ground bay leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. granulate onion
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

Whisk together bay leaves, cumin, garlic, onion, oregano, and turmeric in a small bowl until combined.

- I used 10 small Yukon Gold potatoes
- My fries were delicious and cooked through, but perhaps next time I'll cook them a little longer to get them a little more like fries instead of roasted potatoes.
- A small coffee grinder is perfect for grinding dried bay leaves (as well as other spices).  I used a little less than 1 tsp. garlic powder because I didn't have granulated garlic, and I again used the coffee grinder to turn my dried minced onion into granulated onion.

Crunchy Broccoli Salad

From Healthy Cooking (April/May 2010), page 43.

Prep/Total Time: 20 min
Yield: 10 servings
8 cups fresh broccoli florets
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbs. canola oil
3 Tbs. seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onions, and cranberries.  In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, and sugar; drizzle over broccoli and toss to coat.  Chill until serving.

Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and bacon.

- The original recipe calls for an entire bunch of green onions, which seemed a bit much to me.  It also called for 1/2 cup cranberries, but I wanted more.  The nutrition facts listed below are for the original recipe.
- I didn't have seasoned rice vinegar, so I used regular.  I also decided to add about 1/8 tsp. ground ginger to the dressing and used already cooked and crumbled real bacon from a little bag that I bought at the store.  Cheating, I know.

Nutrition Facts (for original recipe):
3/4 cup = 121 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 233 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro-Lime Mayo

From the food blog Cookin' Canuck.

Prep: 30 min. + chilling / Cook: 8 min.
Yield: 4 burgers
These are absolutely delicious!  The texture of the patty is obviously not meat, but it is good and tasty.  We will definitely be eating these again.

4 slices stale or toasted whole wheat bread, cubed
2 Tbs. olive or canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. minced jalapeno pepper, membranes and seeds removed
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 cups cooked brown rice
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Cilantro-lime Mayo (recipe follows)
4 whole wheat buns, toasted if desired
Cotija cheese, crumbled
Tomato, sliced
Avocado, sliced

Pulse bread in a food processor to form breadcrumbs.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until soft.  Add garlic, jalapeno, and ground cumin.  Saute for 2 more minutes.

Scrape mixture into food processor.  Add black beans, brown rice, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Pulse until beans are chopped but not pureed.

Remove bean mixture into a large bowl.  Add cilantro and 1/2 of the breadcrumbs; stir mixture until combined.  Add more breadcrumbs if needed.

Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions and form into patties.  Place on a baking sheet or large plate lined with plastic wrap and cover with additional plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook burgers 4 minutes per side.

Spread Cilantro-lime Mayo on both interior sides of bun.  Top with black bean patty, cotija cheese, tomato, and avocado.

Cilantro-lime Mayo
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, lime juice, ground cumin, cilantro, and pepper.  Stir well.

- I probably only used about three slices-worth of bread crumbs.
- One small jalapeno will be about the right amount; however, it wasn't spicy at all to me, so I may use a large one next time.
- Next time you make brown rice, set some aside and make this recipe the same week.  It will save you a lot of time waiting for the rice to cook so you can make your burgers (brown rice takes a lot longer to cook than white rice).
- I didn't really measure my lime juice: I used half a lime for the burger and the other for the mayo.
- We ate ours on wheat kaiser rolls--yummy!
- Cotija cheese is a salty, crumbly, cows milk cheese from Mexico.  Most grocery stores have it.
- Confession: I didn't chill the patties at all because we were hungry and didn't want to wait half an hour to eat.  I don't think it made a difference, but I guess I'll know better next time I make these . . . correctly. Just know that if you're short on time, you'll be fine skipping the refrigeration!
- Use mayo with olive oil--it's all I buy anymore!

Oreo Cookies

From Lindsey Eliason.

1 box Devils Food cake mix
2 eggs
3/4 cup shortening
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup margarine
2 tsp. vanilla
2-4 cups powdered sugar

Mix together cake mix, eggs, and shortening.  Drop in tablespoonfuls on greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 min @ 350F.  Let cool.

Mix together cream cheese, margarine, vanilla, and 2 cups powdered sugar.  Add more powdered sugar until the filling reaches the desired consistency (thick but not too thick).  Sandwich between two cookies.

- I haven't made this in a while, so I don't remember how long it takes or what the yield is.
- I use a cookie scoop for, well, almost everything.  It makes a really nicely shaped cookie.  If you don't have one (and don't want to make the purchase), I suppose you could gently roll the dough into little balls so they're good, circular discs.

Nut-Crusted Orange Roughy

From Simple and Delicious (March/April 2009), page 12.

Prep/Total: 25-30 min.
Yield: 4 servings
This fish recipe is really easy and quite delicious!  The mild flavor of the fish is complemented by the walnut-sesame crust and the sweet-salty sauce.  We've rated it as one of our top four favorite fish recipes that we've tried so far.

4 fresh or frozen orange roughy fillets, thawed (5 oz. each)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans, or a mixture of the two
3 Tbs. seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbs. sesame seeds
1 Tbs. dried parsley flakes
2 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce

Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper.  Place flour and egg in separate shallow bowls.  In another shallow bowl, combine walnuts, bread crumbs, sesame seeds, and parsley.  Dip fish in flour, egg, then walnut mixture.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook fish in butter in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

In a small bowl, whisk honey and soy sauce; serve with fish.

Nutrition Facts:
1 fillet + 1 Tbs. sauce = 425 calories, 22 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 153 mg cholesterol, 633 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 32 g protein

- We only used half of the sauce, so you may consider reducing the amount you make.
- Orange roughy is low in calories and fat and has a very mild flavor.  So good!
- The recipe suggests using flounder or sole if you can't find orange roughy.

Squash and Veggie Couscous

Adapted from Simple and Delicious (June/July 2010), page 24.

Prep/Total: 25 min.
Yield: 4 servings
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked couscous
1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. Italian dressing
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning

In a small saucepan, bring broth to a boil.  Stir in couscous.  Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until broth is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the squash, carrot, red pepper, and onion in butter until tender.  Stir in seasonings.  Fluff couscous with a fork; toss with vegetable mixture.

- Use reduced-sodium chicken broth to lower the sodium in this dish even more.
- You could add 1/3 cup chicken broth and leave the dressing out.
- I opted for a red pepper instead of green because they're sweeter.
- Meatless Version: Replace chicken broth with vegetable broth and use olive or canola oil instead of butter.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Category!

The poll results are in, and we have a tie: Meatless and Pasta.

I am really excited about adding the Meatless page (so excited that I've already done it).  We've just started eating a meatless meal once a week, so you should see more being added to this category at least that often.  Because lots of recipes can easily be modified so that they are meatless, I've attempted posting my ideas in the Notes sections for several recipes already on this blog.  As you'll see on the Meatless page, I've marked those recipes so you can know which ones are genuinely meatless and which ones you'll need to play with.  As with all the recipes on this blog, I appreciate any ideas you have or changes you've made.  That is especially true in this new category, particularly with the modified recipes.

In addition to Meatless, the category that most people wanted expanded was Pasta.  I'll keep that in mind as I plan our meals in the future.  Fortunately this is a category that includes both main dishes and side dishes, so that should be pretty easy!

Just behind the tie, you voted for Bread / Breakfast.  That's a category I wanted to work on, too, so hopefully I'll have some luck and can add to it.  It will be a welcome opportunity for me to improve my bread-making skills (or lack of them).  Plus, I've got a pancake & waffle cookbook that I'm dying to get more use out of.

Thanks so much for your input and your readership.  I'll try to keep some good recipes coming your way!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Glazed Salmon

From Simple and Delicious (Jan./Feb. 2010), page 23.

Prep: 5-10 min. / Cook: 10-15 min.
Yield: 4 servings
We really liked this recipe--the sauce was wonderful and really complemented the salmon, adding to it but not overpowering it.  Delicious!  It's amazing to think that it's so easy and calls for so few ingredients, which is always a plus.

4 salmon fillets (6 oz. each)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. ground cumin

Sprinkle both sides of salmon with salt and pepper; place in greased 11x17" dish.  Combine the remaining ingredients; spoon over fillets.

Bake, uncovered, at 400F for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Nutrition Facts:
1 fillet = 349 calories, 19 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 100 mg cholesterol, 432 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 34 g protein

- There's not really a reason to measure out the salt and pepper in this case.  Just sprinkle on some salt and grind some pepper over the fish--you'll be good.
- I cooked this for exactly 15 minutes, and it was perfect!

Creamy Spinach Noodle Toss

From Simple and Delicious (Jan./Feb. 2010), page 23.

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
2 bacon strips, diced
2 tsp. finely chopped onion
2 Tbs. + 1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt-free seasoning blend (like Mrs. Dash)
1/8 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 1/4 cups milk
1 pkg. (9 oz.) fresh baby spinach
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon and onion over medium heat until bacon is crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain.

Stir the flour, seasoning blend, salt and pepper into drippings until blended; gradually add milk.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Add spinach; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

Drain noodles; transfer to a serving bowl.  Add spinach mixture and cheese; toss to combine.  Sprinkle with bacon mixture.

Nutrition Facts:
3/4 cup = 267 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 44 mg cholesterol, 491 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 15 g protein

- As you probably noticed, I didn't have egg noodles and instead used piccolini (mini wheels).  Really, use whatever pasta you have on hand.
- This is a great opportunity to use any dry minced onion you have.  Measure about 1 tsp. and let it sit in warm water for a couple minutes.  Drain and add to the recipe as written.
- I don't know why so many recipes call for "grated" Parmesan--it makes me think of the dry stuff in the plastic jar.  I use shredded.
- Sadly, this isn't quite as good as leftovers (though it's not bad).  The spinach starts to overpower the other flavors a little bit.

Cookie Pretzel Peanut Clusters

From Simple and Delicious (Aug./Sept. 2010), page 55.

Prep: 15 min. + standing
Yield: 7-8 dozen
My Cub Scouts literally devoured these and kept asking for more, so I guess they're a hit with the kids!

1 1/4 lbs. white candy coating, coarsely chopped
3 cups pretzel sticks, broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
14 Oreos, broken into chunks

Melt candy coating in a large glass bowl in the microwave; stir until smooth.  Stir in the pretzels, peanuts, and cookies.

Drop by tablespoonfuls into miniature paper liners or onto waxed paper.  Let stand until set.  Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Facts (for 8 dozen):
1 piece = 58 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), trace cholesterol, 51 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, trace fiver, 1 g protein

- I'm not sure if it was because my peanuts were old or stale or something, but I didn't really like them in this recipe.  Next time I'd consider omitting them or replacing them with something else (cashews, Chex, cheerios, almonds, etc.).  Or maybe I'd use some that I knew were "fresh."
- Fourteen Oreos?  Ha!  I used at least 20!
- The packaging for the candy coating should give you melting instructions, but usually you start at a minute, stir, and then continue microwaving in 30-second intervals.
- I'm thinking that Mint Oreos would be really good in this.  Mmmm.

Salmon Burger with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce and Pickled Ginger and Napa Slaw

From Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, page 71.

Serves 4.
This burger is possibly one of my favorites from Bobby Flay's cookbook.  It combines really great flavors for a unique and tasty Asian-style burger.

Hoisin Barbecue Sauce
2 Tbs. canola oil
2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. honey
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar

Salmon Burgers
1 1/2 lbs. fresh salmon
2 Tbs. canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired

2 Tbs. canola oil
1/4 cup sliced pickled ginger, plus more for garnish if desired
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 small head of red cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 medium head of napa cabbage, finely shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

To make the hoisin barbecue sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.  Add the hoisin, ketchup, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, and vinegar and cook until heated through and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  The sauce can be made 1 day in advance, covered, and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before using.

To form the burgers, cut the salmon into large pieces and then coarsely chop in a food processor.  Do not over-process.  (Alternatively, you can chop it by hand with a sharp knife.)  Divide the salmon into 4 equal portions.  Form each portion loosely into a 3/4"-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.  Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Meanwhile, make the slaw by heating the oil in a large saute pan over high heat.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring once, until soft, about 1 minute.  Stir in the cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until slightly wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar, sesame oil, and cilantro.  Let sit at room temperature.

To cook the burgers, heat the oil in a saute pan or griddle (nonstick or cast iron) until it begins to shimmer.  Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.  Cook the burgers until golden brown on the bottom sides, about 3 minutes.  Turn over, brush with some of the hoisin barbecue sauce, and continue cooking until medium-well, about 3 minutes longer.

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms, drizzle some hoisin barbecue sauce over them, and top with the slaw.  Garnish with pickled ginger, if desired.  Cover with burger tops and serve immediately.

- I used frozen salmon, and it still tasted great.  So use what you've got!  If you're in a hurry and all you've got are frozen salmon patties, you could probably even use them (though I doubt it would be quite as good).
- Be very, very careful not to turn your salmon into paste.  If you use a food processor, I recommend looking over the instructions for chopping meat prior to doing it so you have an idea of how long to pulse the meat.
- I don't know how Bobby manages to keep the salmon firm enough to that deep depression with his thumb; it was all I could do to keep the patties together!  We set each one on an individual square of wax paper on the plate to make moving them into the pan easier when the time came.
- When recipes use a sauce to baste cooking meat and dip or drizzle later, I always separate the sauce into two bowls (one for basting and one for serving) to avoid contamination.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Garlic-Herb Braid

From Simple and Delicious (Jan./Feb. 2010), page 58.

Prep: 20 min. + rising / Bake: 20 min.
Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices)
I do not have a talent for yeast breads, but this was seriously one of the best endeavors I ever made in that area.  Although it takes a little while (for rising), this bread is actually quite easy to make and well worth the effort.  It is delicious!

4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. sugar
2 pkg. (1/4 oz. each) quick-rise yeast
2 tsp. dried basil
1 3/4 tsp. dill weed
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
2/3 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 egg
1 Tbs. butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and seasonings.  In a small saucepan, heat the milk, water, and cubed butter to 120-130F.  Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened.  Add egg; beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; kneed until sooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into thirds.  Shape each into a 15" rope.  Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 25 minutes.

Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush with melted butter.  Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Nutrition Facts:
1 slice = 169 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 24 mg cholesterol, 257 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

- I used rapid-rise yeast, which I think is the same as quick-rise.
- Because I love basil, it is possible that I was a little heavy handed on the 2 tsp. that the recipe calls for.
- Did I crush my dried rosemary?  No, but perhaps doing so would release more flavor . . . ?
- I never buy 2% milk, but for the sake of posting the published nutrition facts, I've been specific.
- I did all the mixing in my Kitchen-Aid using the paddle attachment.  Typically I'd switch to the dough hook after a while, but I decided to actually knead the bread by hand this time where the recipe calls for it.
- The temperature of the liquids is actually important--not warm enough and your yeast won't do the job; too warm and you'll kill it.  I clipped a meat thermometer inside my pot to watch the temperature, making sure that it didn't touch the bottom of the pan.  Be careful once things reach the right temperature, though; I had to let mine cool down a little before adding it to the dry ingredients because things got hot quickly.
- I'm pretty sure I ended up using all 4 1/2 cups of flour, but don't assume that you will.  I've learned that sometimes you need it all and sometimes you don't.  Perhaps it depends on the weather.
- My ropes weren't quite long enough, I think, because I was only able to get three braids out of them.  The picture in the magazine has five, which looks so much cooler.

Santa Fe Chicken Pita Pizzas

From Healthy Cooking (April/May 2009), page 65.

Prep: 10 min. / Cook: 8-10 min.
Yield: 4 servings
4 whole wheat pita breads
1/2 cup refried black beans
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup cubed cooked chicken breast
2 Tbs. chopped green chilies
2 Tbs. sliced ripe olives
3/4 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Place pita breads on foil-lined baking sheet; spread with beans.  Top with salsa, chicken, chilies, olives, and cheese.

Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Top with sour cream and onion.

- I've used pita pockets as well as Greek-style pita bread, and they both taste great.  I prefer to use whole wheat.
- Refried black beans?  I've never seen anything labeled as such, so I just use refried beans.
- I have used canned chicken breast as well as Baked Slow Cooker Chicken in this recipe.
- Although I've typed the recipe as it is written, I don't measure any of the ingredients.
- Other good toppings: avocado, tomato, cilantro, corn, black beans.
- Although it's better on the pitas, I have used English muffins in their place.
- This could easily be made into a meatless entree.
- Meatless Version: Omit chicken.  Add black beans and peppers.

Scrumptious Vegetable Lasagna

Adapted from Healthy Cooking (Feb./March 2010), page 49.

Prep: 45 min. + resting / Bake: 40 min. + standing
Yield: 12 servings
 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4" slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1 eggplant, thinly sliced
1 sweet potato, thinly sliced
1 yam, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 jar (25 oz) marinara sauce
1 carton (15 oz) fat-free ricotta cheese
12 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese, halved
2 cups (8 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Arrange slices of eggplant on wire racks over paper towels; liberally salt both sides and allow to rest for about 1 hour.  Squeeze out excess moisture.  Chop.

Cook noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, boil sweet potato and yam slices in salted water until softened but not all the way cooked.  Drain carefully.

Heat oil in a large skillet; saute squash, zucchini, onion, and eggplant until tender.  Add mushrooms during the last minute or two.  Gently stir in sweet potato and yam.

Drain noodles.  Rinse in cold water and drain again.

Spread 1/4 cup marinara in an 11x17" baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with six noodles, 1 cup marinara sauce, 1/3 vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 8 half slices of provolone cheese, 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.  Repeat layers twice, or until you run out of ingredients.

Cover and bake at 375F for 30 minutes.  Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

- Yes, there is a difference between sweet potatoes and yams.  But I guess you could use two of one of them if you prefer.  I just couldn't decide which one I wanted, so I used one of each.
- I made this in two 8x8" baking dishes and froze one of them.  I'm assuming you could make it in an 11x17" dish.
- I'm totally guessing at measurements in the layering process, to tell you the truth.  I was in a hurry and had modified the recipe enough that I didn't bother with exact amounts at that point.  It probably wouldn't hurt to have more marinara sauce than the recipe lists, though.
- I would use more sauce next time.

Chicken Fajita Salad Wraps

From the Betty Crocker 2010 calendar.

Prep: 30 min / Cook: 0 min
Yield: 8 wraps

These were super easy and quite delicious!  Perfect for a hot summer night when you don't feel like cooking--or any other night, for that matter.

Chipotle-Lime Dressing
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 Tbs. finely chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
Juice and zest from 1 lime

3 cups chopped cold deli rotisserie chicken (from 2-2 1/2 lb chicken)
2 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1 (11 oz) can southwestern style corn
1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Flour tortillas
Salsa, if desired
Sour cream, if desired

In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients; set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together chicken, lettuce, corn, and tomato.  Add dressing and toss to coat.

To assemble each wrap, spoon 1/8 of chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; top with cheese, salsa, and sour cream.  Roll up.

- This is my modified version of the recipe; click the link under the title if you want the original.
- I used chicken from the
Baked Slow Cooker Chicken recipe instead of buying a rotisserie chicken.
- Because we didn't plan to eat all 8 servings in one sitting, we decided to mix the dressing into the filling  as we ate it.  This kept it from getting all soggy.
- We ate this in freshly cooked
Tortilla Land Uncooked Flour Tortillas, which we bought at Costco.  So delicious.  Regular tortillas will never be the same.

- Meatless Version: Replace chicken with black beans, kidney beans, or pinto peans.

Baked Slow Cooker Chicken

Adapted from, submitted by "Cotton" Couch.

Prep: 5-10 min. / Cook: 9-11 hours 
1 whole chicken (2-3 lbs)

1/2 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 cup chicken broth

1 tsp. paprika
Salt & pepper to taste

Loosely wad up aluminum foil into 3-4" pieces.  Place in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Rinse chicken, inside and out; pat dry with paper towels.  Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.  Place in slow cooker on top of aluminum foil.

Cook on high for 1 hour, then switch to low and cook for another 8-10 hours, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

- I didn't measure anything for this recipe, not even the chicken.  I just made sure it fit in my crock pot.
- Use your imagination for other "flavors" of chicken.
- This is a great recipe when you want a roasted chicken but don't want to heat up your kitchen.
- I divided up the meat into bags and froze it for later.  Excellent idea, as I've got a bunch of recipes that call for rotisserie chicken and I don't want to buy it (granted, this isn't quite rotisserie, but it worked just fine).
- A word of caution: Don't cook it overnight.  I made that mistake and ended up having the smell permeate my dreams (no joke).  By the time we woke up in the morning, both of us felt sick and neither of us wanted to eat chicken.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cherry Tarts (Sue Bendixen)

From Sue Bendixen.

Prep: 10 min. + chilling. / Cook: 12 min.
Yield: 3 dozen tarts
I got this recipe from the mother of one of my best friends.  She was wonderful enough to make a billion of these for our wedding reception.  Almond extract is an elegant addition to the chewy-crunchy shells and the light, cheesecake-like filling.

1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 small egg white
3/4 cup + 2 Tbs. flour

Blend together almond extract, butter, sugar, and egg white.  Add flour.

Chill dough at least 1 hour.  Press dough into and up sides greased small tart molds or mini muffin pans.

Bake for about 12 minutes at 350 F.  Cool 1-2 minutes in tart pan, then turn upside-down over a towel and knock the shells out.

4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
1 cup cream, whipped
1 can cherry pie filling

Blend together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla or almond extract.  Fold in whipped cream.

Fill tart shells with cream cheese filling.  Top each with 1 cherry plus a little cherry sauce.

Nutrition Facts (using regular cream cheese & heavy whipping cream):
1 tart = 136 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 31 mg cholesterol, 51 mg sodium, 11.5 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 8.5 g sugar, 1 g protein

- If you buy large eggs, don't use all of the egg white.  (Don't toss the unused egg yolk--use it to make Alton Brown's "The Chewy" chocolate chip cookies.  You can freeze it for later if you want.)
- I divide my dough into three equal portions on wax paper, pressing and shaping them into rectangles so that I can easily cut them after their chilled.
- The dough softens very quickly once it's out of the fridge (especially if your hands are warm or it's a warm day).  I tend to put my tart an in the freezer for a few minutes before pressing the dough into it.  I also tend to only make one pan of shells a day because it's next to impossible to get the dough to hold its shape when you press it into a hot tart pan.
- Tart shells may be frozen for future use.
- Try using other fruit pie fillings or fresh fruit.
- I typically double the whole recipe and have a small amount of filling left over.
- Filled tarts don't hold up well for more than a day (they get soggy), so only make as many as you think will be eaten by the end of the day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Adapted from, submitted by Tablespoon.

Makes 1 loaf.
I made a couple of slight modifications to the original recipe, and that's what I'm posting here.  A lot of other reviewers had variations that sounded good, as well, so I'll include them below the Notes section of this post.  If you want the original recipe, follow the link above.

2 lemons
5 Tbs. powdered sugar
3/4 cup + 1Tbs. white sugar
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs. melted butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 2/3 cup + 1 Tbs. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to thaw)
1 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. brown sugar

Grate the zest from both lemons.  Put 1 tsp. lemon zest in a small bowl, along with the juice from 1/2 a lemon and the powdered sugar; stir until smooth to make the glaze.  Set aside.

Add the rest of the zest and lemon juice into a medium bowl, along with 3/4 cup white sugar, melted butter, eggs, and sour cream.  Mix until blended.  Stir in the milk.

Whisk together 1 2/3 cup flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Remove 3 Tbs and set aside.  Pour milk mixture into flour mixture (large bowl) and stir until just combined.

Toss blueberries with reserved flour mixture.  Fold gently into batter.  Pour into a greased 9x5" loaf pan.

Cut butter, brown sugar, 1 Tbs. white sugar, and 1 Tbs. flour together with a fork or pastry cutter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over top of batter.

Bake for 60 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Drizzle glaze over top of bread before serving.

Nutrition Facts:
1 slice (1/12 of loaf) + a little drizzle of glaze = 167 calories, 6.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 48.5 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1.5 g protein.

- I'm guessing I used about 6 Tbs. powdered sugar, but I didn't exactly measure.  Just keep adding more until the glaze reaches the consistency you'd like.  However, the nutrition facts posted below are for the amounts I've listed.
- I wanted streusel topping, but it ended up being more of a sweet, crunchy crust.  Still good, but not my intention.  I'll work on that.
- The original recipe calls for poking holes in the bread and pouring the glaze over it straight out of the oven.  I opted not to do that because several reviewers said it made the bread soggy if not eaten right away.

Other Suggestions:
- Use buttermilk or soured milk instead of milk.
- Double the glaze.
- Add vanilla extract (probably 1 or 1 1/2 tsp.).
- Add 1/2 box lemon pudding mix to batter.  (I wanted to try this but didn't have any lemon pudding!)
- Add a streusel topping.  (Again, my plan for this one went awry.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes (Coach's Oats)

Adapted from the back of the package for Coach's Oats.

Yield: about 15 pancakes.
These slightly chewy, heart-healthy pancakes are a great way to eat oatmeal and offer a nice change from the traditional boxed-mix pancakes.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup Coach's Oats
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup water

In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  In another bowl combine eggs, vanilla, milk, and water.  Add liquid to dry ingredients.  Stir mixture until well blended.

Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto a hot, lightly greased griddle.  Cook both sides until golden brown.

- Coach's Oats are 100% whole grain steel-cut oats, and they are delicious.  Buy yourself a huge bag at Costco and be happy.  My son loves them so much that the sample guy at Costco gave him two helpings; we were sold and took one of the bags off of the display table.  Anyway, you could probably make these with rolled oats, too, but I haven't tried it.
- The recipe says it makes 16-18 pancakes, but my batch made 15.
- The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I've started using whole wheat instead.
- You can make these into waffles by adding more liquid--about 1/4 cup each of water and milk if you make the full batch.

Chipotle-Marmalade Chicken

From Simple and Delicious (Jan./Feb. 2010), page 42.

Serves 4.
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz. each)
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbs. cold water

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker.

In a small bowl, combine the broth, marmalade, oil, vinegar, chipotle pepper, honey, chili powder, and garlic powder; pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender.

Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.  Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan.  Bring liquid to a boil.  Combine cornstarch and water until smooth.  Gradually stir into the pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Serve with chicken.

Nutrition Facts:
1 chicken breast half with 1/3 cup sauce = 315 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 95 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 35 g protein.

- I honestly can't say how much  my chicken breast halves weighed, come on!  I cut two big Costco chicken breast halves in half and also used a whole smaller one.
- Just make sure everything fits in your slow cooker according to the directions it came with--who cares if it's exactly 4 quarts?
- This just occurred to me: You add 1 Tbs. canola oil, and then you end up skimming it off.  I bet you could just leave it out of the recipe entirely and be fine.  Next time I'll try that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Salmon Soft Tacos

Serves: 6-7.

I wanted salmon; Matt wanted burritos.  I think our little compromise came out pretty well.
1 lb. salmon fillets
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. Mexican style chile powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbs. canola oil
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Marinate salmon in lemon and lime juices for 5-10 minutes at room temperature.

Mix together dry ingredients.  Rub over both sides of salmon.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook salmon 5-6 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until cooked (fish will flake easily).

Pull salmon into chunks using a fork.

Serve in tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Topping suggestions:
Brown or Mexican-style rice
Sour cream
Black beans
Jalapeno yogurt dip (Skotidakis is a great brand)

- If you don't have special paprika or chile powder, just use what you've got!  (Though I really do love smoked paprika.)
- Don't marinate your fish too long or it will start to "cook."
- We recently discovered the Tortilla Land uncooked tortillas at Costco.  So delicious.  Try some out (I'm sure other brands are good, too!).
- This salmon is really good in quesadillas--that's how my son likes it.  I'm sure it would also be delicious in a salad.

Peanut Butter Bars

From, submitted by Nancy.
Yield: 32 bars.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup + 4 Tbs. peanut butter, divided
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Use a food processor to pulse the graham crackers until fine.  Add the melted butter, 1 cup peanut butter, and powdered sugar.  Pulse until blended and smooth.

Press the peanut butter mixture into an ungreased 9x13 baking pan.

Melt the chocolate chips and remaining peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted and smooth.  Pour over peanut butter layer and spread evenly.

Chill for 30 minutes or until set.  Remove to room temperature for at least 15 minutes before slicing into bars.

- I read a suggestion to use all natural peanut butter, but I didn't try it because I have probably a three year supply of the regular stuff and didn't see a reason to go out and buy more!
- The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups butter, which I'm sure would have made the bars even creamier.
- The finer your crumbs, the smoother your peanut butter layer will be.  You don't have to use a food processor (you can do it all in a bowl or blender), but I recommend it.
- Each bar has about 200 calories in it, so devour wisely.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grandma's Sugar Cookies

From Grandma Larsen.

Prep: 10 min. / Bake: 8-10 min.
Yield: about 100 cookies
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup cream or 1/2 and 1/2
1 tsp. lemon juice
4-6 cups flour (I used 6)
Extra sugar for dipping (probably about 1/2 cup)

Cream sugar and shortening.  Add baking powder and salt; mix well.  Add vanilla and eggs; mix well.  Add cream and lemon juice; mix well again.

Add 4 cups flour, mixing well after each cup.  Gradually mix in 2 more cups flour until the dough reaches the consistency you want.

Roll small balls of dough in your hands and place on greased (or parchment-lined) cookie sheets, six cookies per sheet.  Dip a cup into a bowl of the reserved sugar and press down on a cookie until it is pretty thin; repeat for each cookie.

Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown.  Remove cookies to cooling racks immediately to prevent breakage.

- My grandma's recipe was a little vague on some things (come on, she probably made these from memory and didn't actually need the written recipe), so I've amended it.  (For example, the original recipe calls for mixing in 3 cups of flour, then turning the dough onto a bread board to "roll or mix" with 1 more cup, then possibly adding more flour so the total comes to 6 cups.  I stuck with my Kitchen Aid (using the paddle) and gradually added flour after the first 4 cups until I thought the dough looked right.  Would you believe it was at exactly 6 cups that I thought it looked good?  Perhaps it depends on the weather.)
- Her recipe doesn't call for mixing dry and wet ingredients separately, so I didn't!  I just added them in the order they're listed.
- Her recipe notes that the cream or 1/2 and 1/2 can be sweet or sour, meaning you can use it even if it's a little old.  (Here's a great way to use the cream you forgot was in the back of your fridge.)
- I found that using a level cookie scoop's-worth (or a little less) was the perfect amount for each cookie. If you don't have a cookie scoop, use about a teaspoon (the table kind, not the measuring spoon kind); if you're picky, it's probably about 1 Tbs. of dough.
- I used a flat-bottomed, 12-oz glass tumbler for pressing my cookies.  My grandma's cookies ended up being about the same diameter as a can of sweet potatoes or pureed pumpkin; mine were about the diameter of a can of Campbell's Chunky soup.
- Before dipping the cup into the sugar, you'll want to rub your hand (after rolling up the dough balls) over the bottom so that the sugar actually sticks to something.
- These freeze really well.  My grandma would make a batch and freeze the cookies in bags so that there would always be some on the counter for us.
- One cookie has about 65 calories.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thick and Fudgey Brownies with Hershey's Mini Kisses Milk Chocolate

From Hershey's Made Simple, page 68.

Yield: 24 brownies (or 20 if you cut them like we do).
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 3/4 cups (10 oz. pkg) mini milk chocolate Hershey kisses

Heat oven to 350F (325F for glass baking dish).  Grease 9x13" baking pan.

Stir together flour, cocoa,, baking powder, and salt.  With spoon or whisk, stir together butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Add eggs; stir until well blended.  Stir in flour mixture, blending well.  Stir in chocolate pieces.  Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack; cut in 2" squares.

- I totally spaced it and cooked my brownies--in a glass dish--at 350F.  It actually ended up taking 38 minutes even then, so I cooking them at 325 would likely take even longer.  My brownies were not burned.
- Instead of milk chocolate mini Kisses, I used the same amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I definitely think my way was better.
- As I'm sure you noticed, I topped some of our brownies with sweetened whipped cream (1 cup heavy whipping cream beaten at high speed with a tablespoon or so of sugar) and berries.  Yum.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Yield: six 4-5" pancakes.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1 egg
2 Tbs. oil
1 scant cup milk

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl.

Mix together egg, oil, and milk in a small bowl; add to dry ingredients.  Stir until blended.

Cook in 1/4 cup amounts in a skillet over medium heat.

- A "scant cup" is just barely under a cup.  If you don't like your pancakes quite so thick, add more milk. I tend to use probably 1 1/4 cups.
- The recipes calls for cooking these over medium-high heat, but whenever I've tried that, I've ended up overcooking the outside while the middle is left gooey.  Not good for pancakes.  You may want to experiment with the heat you cook these over.  Also know that the first pancake will look totally different from all the rest--it won't get as dark.
- This recipe is from a food storage cookbook that I don't know the name of.

Chicken and Broccoli

From Mom Larsen.

Serves 4-6.
1 lb. chicken, cut in strips
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli (thawed) or 2 cups fresh broccoli pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs. oil
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. chopped pimiento

Saute chicken in oil until tender.

Add soup, milk, mustard, and cheese; cook over medium heat, stirring until smooth.

Add broccoli and pimiento and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes or until tender crisp.  Serve over rice or pasta.

- I probably used 1/3 cup each of cheddar and Swiss cheeses.
- Fresh broccoli will take longer than 2 minutes to cook.  You could always parboil it it ahead of time if you want.

Scrumptious California Salmon

From Healthy Cooking (June/July 2001), page 17.

Prep: 35 min. / Bake: 10 min.
Serves 4.
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. minced shallot
1 cup orange juice
3 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. ground ancho chili pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 salmon filet (1 lb.)
2 tsp. canola oil
2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro

In a small saucepan coated with cooking spray, saute garlic and shallot until tender.  Add orange juice and vinegar.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Stir in honey, chili pepper, salt, and pepper.

In a large ovenproof skillet, brown salmon in oil on both sides.  Brush with 1/4 cup sauce.  Bake, uncovered, at 400F for 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Brush with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.

- Reduce the garlic if you feel so inclined.  Honestly, I rarely use more than 2 cloves in anything.
- Garlic presses are wonderful.  But no matter how tempting it may be to use it for the shallots (they look kind of like garlic, after all), don't do it.  It doesn't work.  Trust me--I tried it.  Oh, and I didn't measure the shallot; I used all of a small section.
- A little teaching moment here (you may know this already): The difference between "3 garlic cloves, minced" and "1 tsp. minced shallot" is that you measure the garlic before you mince it, and you mince the shallot before you measure it.  The same goes for things like "3 cups pasta, cooked" vs "3 cups cooked pasta," "2 Tbs. almonds, chopped" vs "2 Tbs. chopped almonds," and "1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced" and "1/4 cup sliced fresh basil."
- I don't have an ovenproof skillet, so I browned the salmon in a frying pan and then transferred it to a baking dish.
- Before brushing the salmon, divide the sauce into two small bowls: one for pre-baking brushing and the other for after-baking brushing.  Don't use the sauce in the first bowl after the salmon is cooked.

Nutrition Facts:
3 oz. cooked salmon = 317 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 67 mg cholesterol, 217 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 23 g protein.
Amounts may vary depending on the brands you use.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Napa Valley Burger

From Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, page 52.

Serves 4.
This burger is very tart and tangy because of the citrus and the goat cheese.  It has a very fresh flavor.

Meyer Lemon-honey Mustard:
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 heaping Tbs. clover honey
1 1/2 tsp. grated Meyer lemon zest, or 1 tsp. grated orange zest and 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 1/2 Tbs. Meyer lemon juice, or 1 Tbs. fresh orange juice and 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the mustard, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck (80/20) or ground turkey (90/10)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
8 round slices fresh goat cheese, each 1/2" thick
4 sesame seed hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired
1 handful of watercress

Divide the meat into 4 equal portions.  Form each portion loosely into a 3/4" thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.  Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.

Cook the burgers (click HERE for Bobby's burger cooking times), using the canola oil and topping each one with 2 slices of cheese and a basting cover during the last minute of cooking.

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms, drizzle with some of the Meyer lemon-honey mustard, and top with watercress.  Cover with the bun tops and serve immediately.

- Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons, which is why the substitutions are a mixture of orange and lemon juice.
- We only used half the amount of goat cheese.
- I feel so repetitive: I typically buy 90/10 ground beef, so I use a pound of that for my burgers.

Miami Burger

From Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, page 51.

Serves 4.
1 lb. ground chuck (80/20) or ground turkey (90/10)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 cloves roasted garlic, mashed (see notes)
4 hamburger buns, split
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
8 thin slices Swiss cheese
4 thin slices smoked ham
2 dill pickles, sliced into 1/4" thick slices

Divide the meat into 4 equal portions.  Form each loosely into a 3/4" thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.  Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.  Cook the burgers (click HERE for Bobby's burger cooking times), using the oil.  Remove the burgers to a plate.

Combine the mayonnaise and roasted garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Spread both sides of each bun with the mayonnaise and the mustard.  Place a slice of cheese on each bun bottom, place a burger on top, and then top the burger with a slice of ham, another slice of cheese, and some pickle slices.  Cover with bun tops.

Cook the burgers on a sandwich press or wrap burgers in aluminum foil and cook in a hot skillet over high heat (put a heavy skillet on top of the burgers to press them) until golden brown and the cheese has  melted, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.  Serve immediately.

- I used 1 lb. (90/10) ground beef, so my burgers weren't as thick.
- It takes more like 2-3 minutes per side to cook the burgers if you go the foil and skillet route.
- Roasting garlic: Toss garlic with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven on a rimmed baking sheet until light golden brown, about 15 minutes at 375 F.

Carolina Burger

From Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, page 36.

Serves 4.
Mustard Barbecue Sauce:
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 heaping Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Blend the vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and oil in a blender until emulsified.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the black pepper.  The barbecue sauce can be made 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Green Onion Slaw:
1 cup coarsely chopped green onions, white and green parts
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head of purple cabbage, finely shredded (about 3 cups)
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Blend the green onions, vinegar, 1/4 cup cold water, chiles, mayonnaise, and oil in a blender until emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put the cabbage and red onion in a bowl, add the dressing, and stir until combined.  Fold in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.  The slaw can be made 2 hours in advance and refrigerated.

1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck (80/20) or ground turkey (90/10)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
4 hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired

Divide the meat into 4 equal portions.  Form each loosely into a 3/4" thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.  Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.  Cook the burgers (click HERE for Bobby's burger cooking times), using the oil, and basting the burgers with some of the barbecue sauce during the last minute of cooking.

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and top each one with more barbecue sauce and some of the slaw.  Cover with bun tops and serve immediately.

- If you don't have rice wine vinegar, you can use rice vinegar.  If you don't have that, try white wine vinegar.  If you're desperate, use whatever vinegar you've got on hand.
- While I'm sure that the "extra-virgin" adds a slight bit more of the olive flavor, I'm satisfied with regular old olive oil.
- The barbecue sauce and coleslaw yield a LOT.
- Is it really necessary to bring the barbecue sauce to room temperature before serving?  I doubt it.
- I've learned from experience that coleslaw doesn't keep very well for more than a few hours.
- As usual, I used 1 lb. of 90/10 ground beef, which makes thinner burgers that aren't quite as juicy.  Oh well.  Sometimes we sacrifice flavor for taste, right?

Bistro Burger

From Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, page 26.

We didn't think this was one of his most exciting burgers, but it was interesting enough to share.  It's also very easy to make.
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 heaping Tbs. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head of endive, thinly shredded
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck (80/20) or ground turkey (90/10)
1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
4 slices Gruyere cheese, each 1/4" thick
4 brioche or regular hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired

Whisk together the vinegar and mustard in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.  Add the endive to the bowl and toss to coat.  Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Divide the meat into 4 equal portions.  Form each loosely into a 3/4" thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.  Season both sides of each burger with salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

Cook the burgers (click HERE for Bobby's burger cooking times), using the oil and topping each one with a slice of cheese and a basting cover during the last minute of cooking.

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and top each one with some of the endive.  Cover with the bun tops and serve immediately.

- I only saw small heads of endive, so I grabbed two of the biggest ones I could find.
- As usual, I used 1 lb of 90/10 ground beef.
- If you don't have a basting cover, use whatever you can find--a metal bowl, a pot lid, whatever.

Oven-roasted Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Adapted from Tyler Florence.

Serves 12-15.
Dry Rub:
2 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. smoked paprika
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. dry mustard
1 1/2 Tbs. coarse salt
1 (5 to 7 lb.) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt

Mix the paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl.  Rub the spice blend all over the pork and marinate for as long as you have time, as little as 1 hour or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

Bake in a roasting pan for 6 hours at 350 F until the pork is falling apart and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 170 F.

Remove roast from the oven and transfer to a large platter.  Allow meat to rest for about 10 minutes.  While still warm, take 2 forks and "pull" the meat to shreds.  Put shredded pork in a bowl, pour 1/2 of the barbecue sauce over it, and mix well to coat.

To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom 1/2 of the bun, top with spicy slaw and additional barbecue sauce, if desired.  Serve with pickle spears.

Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
12 buns

Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

Spicy Slaw:
1 head green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, grated
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1 red chile, sliced
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 Tbs. whole grain mustard
2 Tbs. yellow mustard or spicy brown mustard
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
Pinch sugar
1/2 tsp. celery seed
Several dashes hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cabbage, carrot, red onion, green onions, and chile in a large bowl.  In another bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar, stirring to incorporate.  Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix.  Season the coleslaw with celery seed, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.  Chill for 2 hours in refrigerator before serving.

- I had a 4 1/5 lb. pork loin in my freezer, so that's what I used.  If one side of your meat is fattier than the other, roast with that side up.  It will help flavor the meat and keep it moister.
- I forgot to buy a red chile for the spicy slaw, so I just sprinkled in a few shakes of cayenne pepper.
- This recipe makes a LOT.  If you don't have a large group helping you eat it (or you don't want to eat it for every meal for a week), freeze two thirds of it in separate quart-sized bags for later use.

Taco Rice

Serves 4-6.
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 envelope taco seasoning + water (try using Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix)
Hot cooked rice

Suggested toppings:
Salsa or hot sauce
Nacho cheese sauce
Onions (raw or cooked with meat)
Sour cream
Black beans
Anything else you can think of!

Brown ground meat over medium-high heat.  Drain.  Add taco seasoning and water according to package directions.

Top rice with taco meat and desired toppings.  Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate Souffle

From Hershey's Made Simple, page 132.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Photo by Brittany Meng.
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided, plus some for sprinkling
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
6 egg yolks, well beaten
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Lightly butter 2 1/2 quart souffle dish; sprinkle with sugar.  For collar, cut a length of heavy-duty aluminum foil to fit around souffle dish; fold in thirds lengthwise.  Lightly butter one side of foil.  Attach, buttered side in, around outside of dish, allowing foil to extend at least 2 inches above dish.  Secure with tape or string.

Stir together cocoa, 1 cup sugar, flour, and salt in a large saucepan;  gradually stir in milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wire whisk, until mixture boils;  remove from heat.  Gradually stir small amount of chocolate mixture into beaten egg yolks; blend well.  Add egg mixture to chocolate mixture in pan, blending well.  Cook and stir for 1 minute.  Add butter and vanilla, stirring until blended.  Set aside and cool for 20 minutes.

Move oven rack to lowest position.  Heat oven to 350 F.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar in large bowl until soft peaks form; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating  until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold about one-third of beaten egg mixture into chocolate mixture.  Lightly fold chocolate mixture, half at a time, into remaining egg white mixture just until blended; do not overfold.

Gently pour mixture into prepared dish; smooth top with spatula.  Gently place dish in larger baking pan; pour hot water into larger pan to depth of 1 inch.

Bake 1 hour and 5 to 10 minutes or until puffed and set.  Remove souffle dish from water.  Carefully remove foil.  Serve immediately with sweetened whipped cream or ice cream.

- I used a round Corningware casserole dish.  Just make sure what you use is deep and holds 2 1/2 quarts.
- You'll want to make sure you have enough people to eat this within a day or two; after that, the texture changes and it's just not as good.  Really, it's best to eat it all the first day, especially fresh.

Dallas Burger

From Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, page 37.

Serves 4.

This is a spicy barbecue burger that Bobby Flay calls a compromise between his wife's love of beef brisket and his "need for speed."  I just call it yummy.
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 small white onion, grated
1 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. celery seed
3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 small head of cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 large carrot, finely shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the mayonnaise, onion, sugar, celery seed, and vinegar in a large bowl.  Add the cabbage and carrot, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving.

1 Tbs. ancho chile powder
2 tsp. sweet Spanish paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. chile de arbol powder or cayenne pepper
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck (80/20) or ground turkey (90/10)
1 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
Barbecue Sauce
4 hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired
Homemade Dill Pickles

Whisk together the ancho power, paprika, dried mustard powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, black pepper, and chile de arbol powder in a small bowl.

Divide meat into 4 equal portions.  Form each portion loosely into a 3/4" thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.  Season both sides of each burger with spice mixture.

Cook the burgers (click HERE for Bobby's burger cooking times), using the canola oil and brushing with some of the barbecue sauce after you flip them.

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and spoon more barbecue sauce on top.  Top each one with some coleslaw and a few pickles.  Cover with bun tops and serve immediately.

- The coleslaw recipe makes a LOT.
- I couldn't find sweet Spanish paprika, so I used smoked paprika.
- I'm not sure if ground coriander is sold anywhere, so I ground my own using a coffee grinder that we use for flax seed and whole spices.  If you have a spice rack, there's a good chance that one of the spices it came with was whole coriander.
- Our burgers weren't as thick as his--we used 1 lb. of 90/10 ground beef.
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