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Posts Tagged ‘Dinner’

Rachael Ray dedicated several pages in her 365: No Repeats cookbook to her beloved dog, Boo. Tonight I tried “Boo’s Smoky Chicken Patties.” With the exception of the first bowl of ingredients committing suicide (ie plunging to its shattery, glassy death when I turned away to get the can opener), this one was a success. The paprika makes it have a kick without being too spicy. I served these with carrot and celery sticks and some baked beans leftover from our camping trip this weekend. Yum!

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken breast (I used turkey)
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tbs. grill seasoning
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs. EVOO
  • 8 slices sandwich white or whole-wheat bread
  • 2-3 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach, watercress, or arugula

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Place the chicken in a bowl and add the paprika, grill seasoning, and parsley. Using a handheld grater, grate the onion into the chicken. Add the garlic and mix to combine. Make a mini patty, the size of a quarter, and cook it up, a minute on each side, to taste and check seasonings. If you want it really smoky, adjust the seasonings accordingly. Drizzle the chicken mixture with the EVOO and form 4 large, thin patties, then place them in the pan. Cook the patties for 5 minutes on each side. Toaste the bread slices and spread liberally with softened butter. Serve the patties on the buttered toast with some chopped dark greens. Makes 4 servings.

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I’m baaa-aaack!

It’s been quite a while, I’m sorry. This summer just got away from us – and we didn’t even go to the beach this year! We have been so incredibly busy lately, and one of the downsides of being busy is a) I don’t cook and b) We don’t eat as healthy. I decided I’d had it, and started flipping through the latest issue of Food Network Magazine. It’s hard when it only comes every other month, but I read in this issue that it will be coming more often, yay!

The October issue (Vol. 2, Number 4) has more than 120 recipes in it, so I’m sure it will give me lots of ideas. One feature was “50 Easy Soups.” As the weather starts to cool down, I naturally crave something warm. Last week I tried Escarole & White Bean Soup. It was super easy. I’ve never tried escarole before, but it cooks similar to spinach and has a a slightly bitter flavor. The recipe suggested adding sausage, but I tried turkey kielbasa for a healthier kick. I was cooking late, so by the time it was ready I was too exhausted (and hungry) to get the Nikon to snap a photo. You’ll have to be content with this one from my phone instead!

  • 3 garlic cloves, choppe
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 head escarole, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 package turkey kielbasa, diced

Cook garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and turkey kielbasa in olive oil. Add chicken broth, escarole, and a parmesan rind (I didn’t have one); simmer 15 minutes. Add white beans, parmesan, and salt (be careful, only use a small amount or it will be too salty). Makes 4 servings.

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I blogged a few weeks ago about making Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Pasta from Smitten Kitchen, and I finally did it tonight. I can’t believe I waited so long!

Picture 127

It literally took 12 minutes to make, and it tasted like it had taken much longer.  Deb suggests adding some lemon juice if you feel it needs a little kick – I added the juice of half a lemon and it was just right. I also didn’t have any tarragon so I used herbes de provence, and it tasted just the same.

While I had the camera out, I wanted to take a picture of the awesome trivet my dad made me for Christmas this year.

He’s an amazing woodworker! A few years ago, he made me a beautiful handmade rolling pin, too. I’ll have to post a picture of that later.

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Tonight’s meal took longer than 30 minutes, but it sure was worth it! I made Charred Tomato Soup With Stromboli (p. 194, 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray). Charring the tomatoes and onions under the broiler before pureeing them into a chunky soup gave the dish a really smoky flavor that Jared and I both loved. The recipe called for a cup of heavy cream to thicken it, but I used fat-free half-and-half instead. Although we saved some calories, it did make the soup a little more watery than I would have planned. If I make this again (and I plan to!) I will probably use a little less chicken stock to account for the difference.

The best part of the meal, in my opinion, was the stromboli. I’m not a big fan of proscuitto – not only do I find it difficult to locate at the grocery store, I find the flavor to be a bit salty for my taste. Instead, I substituted turkey pepperoni, and the result added a bit of spice that I really enjoyed. Rachael Ray suggested making the stromboli into a breadstick-like form, but I had some trouble rolling out the refrigerated pizza dough (note to self – allow dough to come to room temperature before rolling next time). Instead I cut the dough into four pieces and rolled them into crescent-like rolls. The results were fantastic! They turned out golden and just chewy enough to melt in your mouth after soaking them in the soup.

This recipe reminds me of one of my favorite new meals, Tomato Bisque – a recipe I actually got from the Contemporary Resort at Disney World when I attended training there in April. What a fantastic, creamy dish! I’ll have to post that recipe soon. Bon appetit! Here’s the recipe:

  • 6 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 small red onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbs EVOO
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 tbs flour or cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 12 slices proscuitto di parma (I used turkey pepperoni)
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used fat-free half-and-half)
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn

Preheat the broiler to high.

Arrange the plum tomato halves skin side down, with the onions on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle EVOO on the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Broil for about 4 minutes, flip and continue to broil for 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes and onions are slightly charred. Lower the oven setting to 400 degrees.

Dust your hands and the dough lightly with flour or cornmeal and unroll the dough out onto a work surface. Stretch out the dough, gently spreading its rectangle shape. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces: working across the dough cut it in half and cut each half in half again. Cover each piece of dough with 2 tbs of pesto.

Fold 3 slices of the prosciutto and 1 slice of the provolone to fit each pesto-covered piece of dough, then roll each piece on an angle from corner to corner, making a long roll that is thicker in the middle and thinner on each end. Brush the rolls with EVOO, then mix the sesame seeds, dried italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes in a small cup. Sprinkle and pat the mixture onto the stromboli, place in the oven, and bake until evenly golden, 12 to 14 minutes.

Place the tomatoes and onions in a blender or food processor, and puree until somewhat smooth.

Preheat a soup pot over medium high heat, add the 2 tbs of EVOO, add the garlic and the remaining 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes. Saute the garlic for a minute, then add the pureed veggies and the chicken stock. When the soup comes to a bubble, add the cream, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer the soup for 8 to 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, turn off the soup and stir in the basil. Adjust the salt and pepper. Serve the soup alongside the pesto and stromboli, dipping them into the soup as you eat them.

Makes 4 servings.

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Monday’s dinner was supposed to be Polenta With Chunky Chicken and Chorizo Chili from 2-4-6-8 Great Meals (p. 181). I set out all the ingredients, including an opened bottle of Yuengling Light, and began chopping peppers and onions as the ground chicken started to cook. I opened a cabinet to get a storage container and ka-BOOM! A jar of honey fell from the top shelf and knocked the beer bottle to the floor, splashing all over the tile and cabinet doors.

What surprised me the most was that I didn’t overreact – I actually laughed, drank the remainder of the beer (and opened a new one for the chili), wiped the floor, and kept going. I think back to past kitchen mishaps – dropping an entire pot of rice and beans on the floor, spilling various spice jars, etc. At the time I wanted to cry. Haven’t we all had those moments?

I was curious as to what polenta and chili would taste like, and the answer is a very interesting combination of chunky and smooth. The polenta is spooned into the bottom of the bowl and the chili (and its light sauce of beer and tomato sauce) rests on top. The recipe called for chorizo in the chili, but I’m not a fan of its spicy, gritty flavor, so I left it out. I added a little sour cream on top to cool it all down.

Polenta is one of my new favorite ingredients to use – cooking it with chicken stock instead of water enhances the flavor and makes it taste like you’ve been cooking it all day. This meal had polenta mixed with scallions, butter, and thyme, and I’ve made it also with butter, parmesan cheese, and a little half-and-half. A few of Rachael Ray’s recipes call for polenta cakes in a twist on traditional lasagna – I think that will be my next attempt.

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On Sunday night I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to make for dinner – eggs, hamburgers, or just give up and make PB&J. I decided on an Olive Frittata and Tomato Bean Stoup from the 2-4-6-8 Great Meals for Couples or Crowds cookbook by Rachael Ray (p. 56-57). I like how she’s divided the recipes into how many people each will serve, although I tend to focus mainly on the “4” section. (I’ll admit I’m the queen of leftovers for lunch the next day.) This meal was listed in the “2” section, but it ended up making enough for 4 people.

This was the first time I’ve ever made a frittata from the stove to the oven, and it turned out great! I used the small skillet from Rachael Ray’s cookware line, which is the only skillet I have that is oven-safe (up to 400 degrees). I started the frittata on the stove and finished it up in the oven, and it was much faster than making it in the oven from the start. The frittata had a nice blend of green olives, roasted red peppers, and onions, with a creamy finish from the eggs. Next time I’ll fold the eggs more evenly on the stove so it has a flatter surface on top when it goes in the oven.

The stoup was wonderful because it had a great combination of fresh and canned ingredients. The red pepper flakes added a spicy note to the stoup without overwhelming it, and the mixture of beans and vegetables made the consistency of the dish hearty enough to stand on its own. I can see a wide range of possibilities with the tomato sauce/chicken broth/garlic/red pepper flakes base – for example, the recipe called for a 15-oz. can of small white beans, which I didn’t have, but a substitution of a can of soy beans worked equally as well.

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