I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July with your family and/or friends, and you got to indulge in some really good eats! I came across this recipe yesterday, and it looked so good, I just had to make it. I tweaked it just slightly to suit my taste, and it came out incredibly delicious!
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 (7-oz.) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup canned tomato puree*
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 sandwich rolls
1-2 slices Swiss cheese (or you favorite kind)
Combine water, 1 tsp. cumin, 4 sliced garlic cloves, and chicken in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Drain, and place chicken on a cutting board. Cut chicken across grain into thin slices; keep warm.
Remove 1 tbsp. adobo sauce from can; set aside. Remove 1 chipotle chile from can; remove seeds, finely chop and set aside. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use. (If you want more heat, remove 2 tbsp. adobo sauce and use 2 chiles.)
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp. minced garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Add 1 tsp. cumin; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomato puree; cook 4 minutes or until mixture thickens to a paste-like consistency, stirring constantly. Stir in reserved 1 tbsp. adobo sauce, 1 chopped chipotle chile, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Add sliced chicken to sauce; simmer for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Split rolls in half; arrange in a single layer, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 1 minute or until lightly toasted. Remove top halves of rolls from baking sheet. Divide chicken mixture evenly among bottom halves of rolls, and top chicken mixture evenly with cheese. Broil chicken-topped rolls 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven, top with roll halves and serve immediately.
* A substitution for tomato puree is to use 2 tbsp. of tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup water.
Last weekend, I stopped at my neighborhood Smart & Final for just a few things, and decided to pick up some frozen Cod. I typically prefer my fish to be fresh, but when in a pinch (or I’m being lazy), I’ll grab some frozen. I wanted something light, but flavorful so perused a bunch of recipes for both fish and different types of sauces. I like this Cod dish as it has some crunch on the top while remaining healthy since it’s seared quickly then baked. As for the yogurt sauce, I find it be a nice complement to the fish in terms of flavor points and adding some additional protein. I suggest making the sauce first (directions further down) so it’s ready when the fish is done.
2 (6-ounce) cod fillets
Panko bread crumbs
1 egg, for egg wash
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1/4 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp. butter
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme)
Preheat oven to 400° F. Place the fillets on a sheet tray or rack so the fish can release its natural juices.
Place the bread crumbs into a shallow dish.
In a separate shallow dish, add 1 beaten egg. Season both sides of the fillet with salt and pepper. Once seasoned, brush the belly side of the cod with the egg. Dip the egg side into the panko bread crumbs.
In a cast iron skillet, add grapeseed oil. Before placing fish into pan, make sure the skillet is very hot. Sear only 1 side of the fish (the side with the bread crumbs). Once the 1 side is seared, place the skillet in the oven for about 4-6 minutes until cooked. *If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use a regular skillet, then transfer to a greased baking dish, and increase the time to about 10-12 minutes.
Once the fish is cooked, flip it over and add the lemon juice, butter and sprig of thyme. Let melt and baste the fish with the juice.
Remove from pan, place onto plate and top with sauce.
Chive Basil Yogurt Sauce
1/8-1/4 tsp. garlic powder, depending on your garlic preference
A pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
The finely grated zest and juice of a 1/2 small lemon
4 tsp. of dried parsley
A small fistful (about 3 tbsp.) of fresh basil, stems removed, chopped
A thumb-thick bundle of fresh chives, chopped (or approx. 1 tbsp. dried)
1/2 cup thick natural yogurt; use full-fat Greek yogurt if calories aren’t an issue
1 tbsp. good-quality light mayonnaise, such as Hellman’s (optional)
Salt and milled black pepper
Stir mustard, garlic, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl, mix/mush well.
Add parsley, then very finely chop the basil and chives, and add them to the bowl.
Stir in the yogurt and mayonnaise (if using), and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
A couple of weeks ago, a coworker friend of mine brought me in some of his homemade lasagna and it was incredibly delicious. It took me a few meals to finish it as I like to eat pasta sparingly; however, when it was gone, it left me yearning for more, so I decided to make some and improvise with the ingredients I had on hand, which included pennette pasta. If you’re not familiar with pennette, they’re simply a shorter and thinner version of penne pasta, and have ends that are cut at an angle. I threw this together without doing a lot of measuring (and made a small serving), but am providing my best guesstimate on the amounts I used. To be honest, I was a little nervous how it would turn out, but much to my delight, it was truly scrumptious.
3/4 container (around 11 oz.) of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup 2% mozzarella, shredded
1 tsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. garlic
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cups pennette pasta
2-3 cups prepared marinara or pasta sauce
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup Mexican Style Four Cheese Blend
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta, cook for 8 minutes (they won’t be completely done but they finish cooking in the oven).
Drain and set aside.
Mix together ricotta and egg, then add mozzarella, parmesan, basil, oregano, garlic and salt.
Spray a small baking dish with Pam (I used a small 5″ x 7″).
Put a layer of marinara in the bottom of your pan, sprinkle some red pepper flakes and then 1/3 of the noodles (lay them flat), spread the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the noodles, put a layer of sauce on top of the cheese, add pepper flakes, top with 1/2 of noodles, repeat process again, and finish with remaining sauce and the Mexican 4 Cheese (there should be 3 layers).
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Happy Spring! For some reason, I was having a craving for some deviled eggs over the past week, so decided to whip some up yesterday. I know there are many different ingredients you can add to the yolk mixture… horseradish, dill, onion, hot sauce, etc., but decided to go with a more traditional recipe. For this one, I used regular yellow mustard, but feel free to use spicy brown or Dijon, but either way, I think you’ll find these little gems are really delicious.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Smoked Spanish paprika, for garnish
Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with enough water that there’s about 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, remove from heat and leave covered for 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water continuously for 2 minutes.
Crack egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a dish or serving platter.
Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, relish, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
Fill eggs whites evenly with the yolk mixture using a fork, spoon or pastry bag.
Sprinkle with paprika and serve, or store covered in refrigerator.
I decided since I was off work today, and it was a long & grueling week due to our fiscal year-end crunch, some comfort food was definitely in order. I was thrilled and honored when I was asked by Ragú® earlier this week to create my own spin on their Chili Mac recipe, so I chose to add the ooey-gooey goodness of cheese, both Colby Jack and cream cheese, in addition to some sautéed chopped onions, to turn it into a hearty, creamy casserole masterpiece. This is serious comfort food at its best! If you’re a meat eater, and enjoy mac and cheese, you will truly love this dish!
Feel free to substitute cheddar if you’d prefer, and/or to turn up the heat on this dish, you can increase the chili powder to two tablespoons or add some red pepper flakes.
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2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked & drained
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragu® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
2 1/2 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded
Salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and cook onions for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring and breaking up into small pieces.
Stir in pasta sauce, chili powder, and salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
Stir in cream cheese until blended, then add cooked pasta, and 1 cup of Colby Jack cheese, and mix until well incorporated.
Transfer mixture to a 9×13 baking dish, and cook in oven for 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Remove dish from oven, sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese, and place back in the oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese begins to melt.
One of the things I truly love about Facebook, aside from being able to stay connected to family & friends both near and far, is the food pictures and/or recipes which inspire me to get into the kitchen and try them out. Most recently, a childhood friend posted a photo of her rigatoni pie, and it was seriously so pretty, I had to try to make it for that reason alone (well, it also looked delicious). I searched online and found quite a few recipes, and went with two I wanted to modify. Since I knew this pie was going to be a bit labor-intensive, and in the interest of time, I decided to use store-bought pasta sauce instead of making my own, but by all means, if you make a mean sauce, go ahead and use that. I am thrilled to report that this pie turned out amazing and absolutely scrumptious!
1 lb. rigatoni pasta
1 jar (24 oz.) pasta sauce (I used Bertoli Italian Sausage Garlic & Romano)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente (12 minutes for my pasta). Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water and drain again. Stir in 1 tbsp of the olive oil and set aside. (This keeps the pasta from sticking.)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Gently stir 1 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese into the cooked rigatoni.
Stand the rigatoni up vertically in a greased 9″ springform pan, using the entire pound of cooked pasta.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and oregano until smooth. Set aside.
Use a pastry bag, or put a zip lock bag inside a tall glass, and fill the bag with the cheese mixture. Close the bag and snip the corner of the bag and pipe a decent amount into each noodle (don’t fill all the way).
After piping the noodles with the cheese mixture, carefully pour about 3/4 of the jar of sauce over the whole top and push down as much as possible. (I wanted to save some sauce to heat up and use later for leftovers.)
Top with the mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
Put the springform pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has fully melted.
Remove from the oven and allow it to stand in the springform pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the pie from the pan, then remove the sides.
Slice the pie and garnish with parsley, if desired.
Last month, I was invited to a pot luck party, and was trying to narrow down all of the yummylicious things I could bring that were easy to travel with, didn’t require reheating and would be a crowd pleaser. I decided on these little gems, and they were a hit… not a single one was left. Personally, I think dill adds a nice delicate flavor to the cream cheese mixture, and pairs incredibly well with salmon. The recipe I initially saw for these, called for using a loaf of sourdough bread, but I decided to use whole grain melba toast rounds which worked perfectly, and saved time from having to bake the bread. These tasty treats are incredibly easy to make and throw together in no time, and will be a huge hit with all who try them. If you want to cut down on carbs, or simply desire some variation, you can use cucumber slices instead of the rounds or crackers.
4 oz. smoked salmon
8 oz. package cream cheese
2 tbsp. Greek yogurt (or light mayo)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. dill leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
Dill sprigs for garnish
Melba toast rounds, or crackers of your choice
In a small bowl, combine all of your spread ingredients: cream cheese, greek yogurt, minced garlic, freshly chopped dill, lemon juice and salt & pepper. Mash it all together with a fork, and mix until well blended.
Spread the cream cheese mix over the top of each melba toast round or cracker.
Top with a piece of salmon and garnish with dill sprigs.
I stumbled across a couple of recipes for this dip on Super Bowl weekend, and being a lover of the infamous BLT, I just had to try it. I took things from both recipes I found, and combined them to make a scrumptious appetizer. I substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream to make this a tad healthier, and if you want to further reduce calories and fat content, you can cut the mayo in half to just a half of a cup, which will produce a bit thicker of a dip (but still yummy).
1 lb. bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled & divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup light mayonnaise
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 Roma tomatoes (or 1 large regular), seeded, chopped & divided
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
Set aside ½ cup crumbled bacon.
Mix mayonnaise, greek yogurt, and cream cheese in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Crumble bacon into mixture and stir.
Add cheddar cheese, green onions, garlic powder, and one tomato, mix well.
Spoon mixture into a shallow dish or pie pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling.
Sprinkle chopped tomatoes, remaining crumbled bacon, lettuce and green onions over hot dip.
Serve immediately with your favorite crackers or chips.
First, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. I haven’t posted a recipe since November, and apologize for my absence, but am back with a very easy and delicious appetizer just in time for the Super Bowl tomorrow (go Broncos), which I found on the back of the Ocean Spray cranberry sauce can (also on the back of the Heinz chili sauce jar). I’ve actually made these cocktail meatballs three times over the past couple of months (today being the fourth), with all of them being just slightly different in taste (and heat) because of the chili sauce I used. I’m giving you the recipe for the mild one as it is “kid friendly”, but will also provide some modification ideas to spice it up. These can be made either on top of the stove or in a crock pot, the latter being a smarter choice if you’re having or bringing to a party. In the interest of time, I’m using frozen, pre-cooked meatballs, but feel free to make your own.
1 14-oz. can Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
1 12-oz. bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
1 2-lb. bag frozen, pre-cooked, cocktail-size meatballs, homestyle (not Italian!)
1 tbsp. brown sugar (optional)
Combine sauces in a large saucepan.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth.
Add meatballs. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally.
Slow cooker preparation: Place meatballs in a slow cooker. Combine sauces and pour over meatballs. Cover and cook 4 hours on HIGH.
Modifications to spice up the meatballs: If you desire a serious kick, skip the Heinz chili sauce, and use 6 oz. (3/4 cup) each of the sweet chili sauce and chili garlic sauce pictured above . For just a little spiciness (which I made today), use 11 oz. (a little less than 1 1/2 cups) of the Heinz and 2 tbsp. of the chili garlic sauce.
I fully realize this is my third recipe for boneless beef ribs, but figure everyone can use another great and easy crock pot recipe, right? This literally takes about ten minutes to throw everything together prior to cooking. The sauce is just slightly different from my other recipes, but equally as delicious. You can use your favorite barbecue sauce, but I think homemade is always better. A lot of people like searing their ribs prior to cooking them (including me) as it gives a nice, caramelized crust, but it’s not a “must-do”. I’ve including the instructions on how to do that, but feel free to skip it if you desire.
2 lbs. Chuck boneless beef short ribs
1/2 cup ketchup
3 oz. (half can) tomato paste
6 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. molasses
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped onion (or 1 tsp. onion powder)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tbsp. olive oil (if searing the ribs)
Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat
Season ribs with salt & pepper, and sear on both sides until lightly browned.
Mix all ingredients in crock pot until brown sugar & salt are dissolved.
Add ribs & stir to coat. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4.
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