Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mushroom and Poblano Tostadas

Emilie sent me this simple recipe and Mark and I both really enjoyed it.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup corn kernels (cut fresh from 1 ear or frozen)
4 small flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack (4 ounces) (I used provolone)
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce (optional)
1/2 cup store-bought fresh salsa (optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, poblano, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has nearly evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the corn.
Heat broiler. Brush the tortillas with the remaining oil and place on a baking sheet. Broil until crisp, 1 minute per side. Top with the cheese and broil until melted, about 1 minute. Top with the vegetables, lettuce, and salsa.

Thai Chicken Pizza

I cannot get enough of this flavor combination. This recipe has a lot of the same ingredients as the Thai wraps and Thai salad but now in pizza form!

1 lb pizza dough
1/2 cup Chinese duck sauce or plum sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
10 ounces provolone cheese (2 cups) or monterey jack cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons grill seasoning, such as McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning (eyeball it)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 lb chicken breast, cutlets (4)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts, a couple of handfuls
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 425°F Form the pizza crust on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Top it with duck or plum sauce, spreading it around like you would pizza sauce. Sprinkle the pizza with some red pepper flakes, then top it with the cheese and bell peppers. Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 17 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil, soy sauce, and peanut butter with the hot sauce and grill seasoning. Use the microwave to loosen up the peanut butter if it is too cold to blend into sauce; 10 seconds ought to do it. Coat the chicken evenly with the mixture and let it stand for 10 minutes. Preheat a grill pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken cutlets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until firm. Slice the chicken into very thin strips.
While the chicken cooks, mix the honey and vinegar in a medium bowl. Add the cucumber and turn to coat in the dressing.
When the pizza comes out of the oven, top it with the chicken, scallions, sprouts, and cilantro. Drain the cucumbers and scatter them over the pizza. Garnish the pizza with peanuts, cut it into 8 wedges, and serve.

Pecan Encrusted Chicken with Apple Salad and PB & Maple Dressing

Another yummy salad.

7 whole Chicken Tenderloins
1 pinch Salt And Pepper, to taste
1 cup Pecans, Chopped
½ cups Plain Bread Crumbs
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoons Nutmeg
1 whole Egg, beaten
4 cups Baby Romaine
2 whole Carrots, Julienne
½ whole Red Delicious Apple
½ whole Granny Smith Apple
½ whole Cucumber, Sliced
¼ cups Raisins, Optional
½ cups Maple Syrup
4 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice

Preparation Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees, spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
Season chicken tenders with salt & pepper.
If you don’t have bread crumbs, toast 3 pieces of bread and pulse in food processor.
Combined, chopped pecans and bread cumbs together with cinnamon & nutmeg.
Dredge chicken tenders in egg mixture, then dredge in pecan mixture.
Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Salad & Dressing
Combine veggies into a large bowl.
Combine maple syrup, peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, oil and lemon juice in bowl and whisk until well combined.
Toss salad with dressing.
Serve chicken over salad. Yum-E!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ginger Steak Salad

I've been into Pioneer Woman's Salads lately. This one was awesome!

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sherry
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 whole Rib-eye, Strip, Or Sirloin Steak
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
2 cloves Garlic, Finely Diced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, Minced
½ whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Diced
2 whole Green Onions
8 ounces, weight Salad Greens (baby Lettuce, Endive, Radiccio, Etc.)

Preparation Instructions
Combine steak marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Mix and place steak into bag. Marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Combine salad dressing ingredients and slice green onion.
When steak is finished marinating, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a hot skillet. Cook steak about 1 1/2 minutes per side, or until medium rare. Remove from skillet and keep on a plate, allowing to cool slightly.
Toss salad greens in 3/4 of the salad dressing. Place steak on cutting board and slice thinly, then pour juices from the plate over the top. Mound tossed salad on a platter, then place sliced steak on top of salad. Pour remaining salad dressing over the top. Sprinkle green onions over the salad, and add cherry tomatoes if that makes your skirt fly up.

Deep Fried Chili Balls

Perfect for a party!

One 15-ounce can beef-only chili
8 ounces lean ground beef (I used 1 lb. and it made slightly bigger meatballs)
3 cups finely crushed tortilla chips
2 teaspoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
Serve with sour cream for dipping!

In a large bowl, stir together the chili, ground beef, 1 cup tortilla chips, the chili powder and salt. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the meat mixture into thirty 1-inch balls; place on the prepared pan and refrigerate.

Fill a large pot with enough oil to reach a depth of 2 inches and heat until it registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer. Place the remaining 2 cups tortilla chips in a shallow dish. Coat the chili balls with the crushed chips. Working in batches of 5 to 7, fry the chili balls until deep golden, about 2 minutes; drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Crunchy and Cold Bean Salad

This is a fun main dish salad which can totally be changed up, depending on what you have on hand. However, I must warn you that it is VERY labor intensive (preparing and cleaning the millions of dishes in creates) so don't do it without help. I think it took me an hour and a half to make this stinkin' salad. Granted, I loved it and will make it again but not unless Mark's in the kitchen boiling, chopping, sauteing, peeling, etc with me!

1 pound Fresh Green Beans
1 Zucchini
1 ear Fresh Corn or half a can of corn
½ White Or Red Onion
10 Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced In Half
1 Large Cucumber, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 can (15 Oz. Can) Garbanzo Beans
1/2 Cup Fresh Mozzarella (you can do more if you want)
2 Tablespoons Bacon Crumbles (highly Advised, But Totally Optional)
1 cup Cooked Cous Cous (totally Optional)
3 leaves Basil (Fresh REALLY makes a difference)
3 leaves Mint (I didn't use)

¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Honey
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
¼ cups Olive Oil

Preparation Instructions
PREPARE ICE BATH in sink by filling a large bowl with cold water and ice.
I steam or boil (in generously salted water) beans, zucchini and corn all together. Until just barely cooked. Overcooking is to be avoided at all costs. You want the veggies to retain a crunch without being too tough.
IMMEDIATELY drain veggies and plunge into ice bath. This is an essential step to retain the bright green colors and the crunch of the beans and zucchini.
DRAIN AND DRY, THEN CHOP all veggies to desired size. For this recipe I like to cut the longer beans into 1-2 inch pieces. Same for zucchini. Cut the corn off the cob. Put them all into a large bowl. Add garbanzos, tomatoes and anything else you need to get rid of.
SELECT AND CHOP OR CRUMBLE CHEESE. Mix in with veggies. ADD BACON if using.
MAKE DRESSING: stir vinegar, honey and dijon together with a wire whisk. Add olive oil in a slow stream while constantly and vigorously whisking. About the time your arm wants to fall off, you will have a magical thick blend of dressing heaven. (As noted above, you can add up to a cup of olive oil to 1/4 c balsamic. I add as little as I need to get the desired thick consistency in order to keep fat and calories down.) Add to veggies and chill.
IMMEDIATELY BEFORE SERVING, julienne bail and mint and sprinkle over salad, cook cous cous and I serve it separately for my kids, but if I were to make for adults, I would put it all together.

Peanut Butter Play Dough

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix ingredients in a bowl and you’re done! Store in an airtight container or plastic baggie with air sucked out of the bag. (Quick tip: Spray your 1/2 cup with oil before measuring your honey and the honey will pour much easier.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chocolate Marscarpone Brownies

I am married to an incredible man who is very easy to please. So when he sent me a link to these brownies, I had no problem making a treat for my sweetie pie. These brownies were so moist, the texture was similar to a dense flourless chocolate torte.

1 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
3 large eggs, at room-temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1Preheat oven to 325°F; have ready a buttered 8-inch square glass cake pan.
2First, prepare the brownies.
3In a small saucepan, melt the butter and bring it to just below a boil; have the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl--pour the hot butter over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds.
4Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
5Sift in the sugar and cocoa powder (I do this through a sieve, not with a sifter).
6With a wooden spoon, beat in the mascarpone, eggs (30 minutes on the counter brings them to room temperature) and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
7Gently fold the flour and salt into the batter.
8Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly--this is important since, if the batter isn't spread evenly, it won't bake evenly.
9Place into preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean (45 minutes did it for me).
10Place pan on a cooling rack and let brownies cool for 10-15 minutes, while you now make the ganache.
11Place chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl; in a small saucepan, bring the cream and the butter to just below the boiling point, over medium heat.
12Pour this hot cream-butter mixture over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds, then stir until smooth; ganache is now ready to use and can be spread over the brownies.
13Should you wish to wait a bit, make sure the ganache is warm when you spread over the brownies, as it does firm up which makes spreading hard to do.
14Don't cut into the brownies until ganache has firmed up; I find it best to put the brownies into the fridge to speed this along; once the ganache is firm the brownies do not need to be kept in the fridge, though.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bacon, Spinach, Ham, Mushroom Quiche

I love quiche! I only had one pie crust so I just halved the recipe below.

1/2 pound thick sliced bacon
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, finely diced
2 cups finely diced smoked ham
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside. Cook spinach according to package instructions. Allow to cool, then squeeze dry.
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until soft and translucent. Stir in mushrooms, and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft. Stir in ham and cooked bacon. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine spinach, sour cream, salt and pepper. Divide, and spread into pie crusts. Layer with bacon mixture. Mix together Monterey Jack, Cheddar and Parmesan, and sprinkle over pies. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over pies.
Place pies on baking sheet, and bake on middle shelf in preheated oven for 40 minutes. The top will be puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese

I saw this recipe on Rachael Ray's top downloaded recipes of 2009 episode. I think I like her Italian Mac and Cheese better, but this was also really tasty.

1 pound semolina or whole wheat penne (I used the rotini I had on hand)
2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups milk
Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a kitchen towel
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped artichokes, defrosted and wrung dry in a kitchen towel
Black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian Fontina cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top (Costco carries this cheese for a lot cheaper than a grocery store)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta, salt water and cook pasta to al dente.

While the pasta water comes to a boil, place a medium pot over medium-low heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons, and the butter. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook the veggies until very soft, about 10 minutes. Then heat the broiler and position rack in the middle of the oven.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and sprinkle the flour into the pan. Cook for about 1 minute then whisk the wine into the pan, cooking for another minute to burn off the alcohol. Whisk the milk into the pan and bring up to a bubble. Add the nutmeg, spinach, artichokes, salt and pepper to the sauce and simmer until thickened and vegetables are warmed through, 2-3 minutes more. Add 1 cup of each of the cheeses to the sauce and stir until melted.

Toss the prepared sauce with the cooked pasta and transfer to a casserole dish. Sprinkle some more Fontina and Parmigiano over the top and bake until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket and cornbread

The brisket was SO easy to make and very tender and flavorful. I'll have to make this for our Bible study sometime.

1 (3 pound) beef brisket
2 (12 ounce) bottles chili sauce
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
2 teaspoons garlic powder

Place the beef brisket into a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, mix together the chili sauce, onion soup mix, and garlic powder. Pour over the brisket. Cover, and cook on the Low setting for 8 to 10 hours. Slice the brisket against the grain, and pour the gravy over the slices.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean

Drunken Risotto with Sausage and Spinach

I really liked the flavor combination of this perfect-for-winter risotto. Mark said next time he would like to use 1 1/2 cups wine and 3 1/2 cups chicken stock. I didn't think the wine flavor was too strong. You pretty much have to be willing to stand up stirring for 18min but that is what makes risotto so nice and creamy!

3 cups dry red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound bulk Italian sweet or hot sausage (I used hot and liked the kick)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (must be arborio)
Salt and pepper
1/3 pound spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped (about 2 cups)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I left this out)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese

In a large saucepan, combine the wine and chicken stock; keep warm over a low flame.

In a large, heavy pot, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, crumbling the meat, until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper. Add the warm wine-stock mixture a couple of ladlefuls at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition and letting the liquid evaporate before adding more, cooking the risotto for 18 minutes.

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the spinach, a handful at a time, to wilt. Stir in the nutmeg. In the last minute of cooking, stir in the butter, then the cheese.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Plum Galette

The picture in the martha stewart magazine totally sold me on this recipe. I was really happy that mine turned out almost as cool as hers. :) If the plums were sweeter, I think this would have been a 5 star dessert. I will try this again in the summer when the plums will be juicier.

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice water
1/4 cup whole, skin-on almonds, toasted
5 to 6 plums, halved, pitted, and sliced inch thick (keep slices together)
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream (I didn't have heavy cream so I used an egg wash)

In a food processor, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, butter, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup remaining ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Dont overmix. Remove dough from processor and shape into a disk; wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour. Meanwhile, wipe bowl of food processor clean and add almonds, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons flour; pulse until ground to a coarse meal.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet; sprinkle almond mixture over dough. With a spatula, transfer plums to dough; press lightly to fan out, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold edge of dough over fruit. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Brush crust with cream; sprinkle galette with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until crust is golden and underside is cooked through, about 70 minutes.

Spinach- Walnut Stuffed Chicken

Angela put this recipe in my cookbook. Mark loves gorgonzola cheese!!

1/2 c finely chopped onion
1/2 c finely chopped mushroom
1/4 c finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-1/2 tsp olive oil
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 c crumbled gorgonzola cheese
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg white
1/4 c ground walnuts

Saute onion, mushroom, celery and garlic in oil until tender.
Stir in spinach and cheese, remove from heat.

Cut lengthwise slits in thickest part of chicken, fill with mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place egg white and walnuts in separate bowls, dip one side of chicken in egg white, then in walnuts.
Place in 11 X 17 baking dish coated with cooking spray and bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Creamed Cauliflower with Herbed Crumb Topping

Emilie contributed this recipe to the book and she's inspiring us to try to eat at least one vegetarian dish a week.

6 (1-ounce) slices sourdough bread
10 cup coarsely chopped cauliflower florets (about 2 heads)
4 teaspoons butter, divided
3 cups chopped leek (about 4 large)
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400°.
Place bread slices in a food processor, and process until fine crumbs measure 3 cups. Set aside.
Cook cauliflower in boiling water 15 minutes or until tender; drain.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and 3 garlic cloves; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and milk, stirring with a whisk; add to pan. Bring to a simmer; cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, cheese, and pepper. Remove from heat; stir in cauliflower. Spoon cauliflower mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Melt remaining 1 teaspoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 3 garlic cloves; cook 30 seconds or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Combine breadcrumbs, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, parsley, and thyme. Drizzle with garlic-butter mixture; toss to combine. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over cauliflower mixture. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sweet Potato Chili with Peanuts

For my 30th birthday, Mark put together a cookbook of recipes from my friends and family. This week I started making some of the recipes! The Watkins contributed this recipe. Emilie and Brett came over to eat this with us and I figured it was up the McFarlanes alley. James and Charlie were both big fans! It took 40min for my sweet potatoes to be done and next time I think I will try adding some peanut butter to the sauce.

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 peeled carrots
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2-4 cloves peeled garlic (or more, or none, as desired)
4 cups peeled sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chilies
2-6 tablespoons chili powder, to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin, or more if desired
1 tablespoon sugar
cooked brown rice

Place the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.
Add the onions, carrots and bell peppers, and saute lightly for about 8 minutes.
Add the garlic and saute until it turns golden.
Add the sweet potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, tomato paste, chiles, chili powder, cumin and sugar.
Reduce the heat immediately and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are just tender (use a fork to test it).
Halfway through the cooking process, adjust seasonings, adding additional chili powder and cumin, as desired.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over rice or serve as is.

Ollila Meatloaf

Mark's brother Dave and his family contributed this recipe. I've certainly never had craisens and shredded carrots in meatloaf but it was pretty tasty and got James to gobble up some veggies.

1 beaten egg
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. apple or orange juice
some chopped celery
some chopped or shredded carrots
a couple handfuls of craisens
1/2 t dill
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 lb. ground turkey

Mix it all together, throw it in a loaf pan and put it in for 50 min at 350 degrees. Get out the ketchup and enjoy.

A New Way to Search

If you're looking for the google search bar, Mark took it off because he thinks the blogger search bar is better (I have no opinion). You'll find the new search bar up in the top left-hand corner in the blue bar.

Cheesy Hash Brown Chili

My hashbrowns didn't get as wonderfully brown and crunchy as they did on the Rachael Ray show but it was a fun spin on chili.

2 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1-pound bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat, for 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Add the beans and the tomatoes with their juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Transfer to an 8-by-11-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and cheese. Scatter the potato mixture over the chili. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake until the potatoes are cooked through and the chili is bubbling, about 35 minutes.

Marinated Salmon with Couscous

After hearing at MOPS how great Omega-3's are, I bought a huge bag of frozen wild Alaskan salmon fillets at Costco. This is the first recipe I made with them and I'm really happy with the quality. I think buying the frozen fillets will make it easier for me to get fish into our diet more regularly. The only couscous I could find at Trader Joes was Israeli couscous but I liked it better than normal couscous.

1 bunch cilantro, thick stems removed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 to 2 red jalapeno or serrano chiles (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 salmon steaks (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 cup couscous
Coarse salt and ground pepper

In a food processor, pulse cilantro, garlic, chile, ginger, paprika, and cumin until finely chopped. Add cup oil and lemon juice and pulse to combine.
Arrange salmon in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Rub both sides with cilantro mixture. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Bake salmon, uncovered, until opaque throughout, 12 to 14 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Stir in couscous, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat. Cover and let stand until tender, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in lemon zest and 1 tablespoon oil. Serve salmon with couscous

Greek Burgers

The original recipe called for ground lamb but I figured it would be just as good with ground beef which is easier for me to find. I also omitted the cinnamon and added an extra clove of garlic.

2 jarred roasted red peppers
1/3 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 pinches ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
4 romaine lettuce leaves
4 crusty rolls, split
Thinly sliced bell peppers, red onions, tomatoes and hot fresh chiles, for garnish

Using a food processor, puree the roasted peppers, cucumber, feta, yogurt, garlic and lemon juice.

In a large bowl, combine the lamb, onion, chili powder, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Form into four 4-inch patties. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook, turning once, for 8 minutes for medium.

Place a romaine leaf and a patty on each roll bottom and top with the garnishes. Slather the sauce on the roll tops and set in place.


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