30 June 2010

Potatoes: Two Ways

Two quick and easy side dishes that I like to make are Parsley Potatoes and Rosemary-Baked Wedges. Potatoes are budget-friendly and you can use whatever herbs you have in your garden to add some flavor and color. Whether you are cooking for a crowd or for just one or two people, you can easily adjust the measurements.

Parsley Potatoes
Yield: 4 Servings

8 Red New Potatoes, cleaned & quartered
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 Clove Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped

Parboil the potatoes until slightly tender with a fork. Remove from water. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add quartered new potatoes, along with salt and pepper. Once potatoes are starting to turn golden brown, add the garlic and fresh herbs. Continue cooking until garlic is fragrant (don't burn it)! Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Rosemary-Baked Wedges
Yield: 4 Servings

4-6 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cleaned & quartered
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Parboil the potatoes until slightly tender with a fork (this just speeds up the roasting process). Remove from water. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss potato wedges in olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Arrange on the baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Oven times may vary depending on the size of your wedges, so just check every so often. Serve warm.

24 June 2010

Buttermilk + Rosemary Cornish Game Hens

I really had no idea what to do with these cute little cornish game hens we picked up at the store. I had some leftover buttermilk in the fridge from making those orange mini muffins and I had some rosemary from my rosemary potatoes (to be posted soon).... needless to say, I had some major inspiration for these hens! The end result was FABULOUS! I can't wait to make this original recipe again.

Doug loved it and ate a whole cornbread-stuffed hen!

Buttermilk & Rosemary Cornish Game Hens
Yield: 2 - 4 Servings

2 Cornish Game Hens, gizzards removed & rinsed
1 C. Lowfat Buttermilk
Cornbread Stuffing Mix (like Stovetop... gasp, I know!)
1 Large Egg
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Pat the hens dry with a paper towel after they have been thoroughly rinsed. Put in a shallow bowl and pour 1 C. buttermilk on top. Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes; turning half way through. Meanwhile, prepare cornbread stuffing mixture according to the package, excluding the butter (really, there is no need for it)! Once it is prepared, add one egg to the stuffing a stir to combine. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Prepare a pan by lining it with foil. Remove hens from buttermilk and place on the pan. Generously sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavities with the cornbread stuffing; secure the legs together with string. Bake for one hour. After one hour of baking, remove from the oven and drizzle olive oil on it and sprinkle the hens with fresh rosemary. Put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes (time may vary depending on the size of each hen). Note: Extra stuffing can be placed in a smaller baking dish and put it in the oven to crisp 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a sprig of rosemary as a garnish.

22 June 2010

Orange Mini Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze

Doug's mom, dad, and brother were in town this weekend. We had so much fun with them! One morning, I whipped up some orange mini muffins because that's what a good blogger would do. To be honest, I was only semi-pleased with the results. I wanted more of the orange flavor to be present in each bite. Oh well... at least they looked cute!

Orange Mini Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze
(Adapted from Ree)
Yield: 36 mini muffins

2 Sticks Salted Butter, softened
1 C. White Sugar
2 Eggs
2 C. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 C. Lowfat Buttermilk
2 Oranges, zested and juiced
1 C. Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Cream together butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs, one at a time, and slowly add the flour. Dissolve the baking soda in the buttermilk, then add it to the batter. Add the orange zest to the batter too. Mix well. Grease and flour mini muffin pans. Fill the mini muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 12 to 17 minutes (until lightly browned). Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar and 1/2 C. freshly squeezed orange juice. Drizzle this glaze over the warm muffins.

21 June 2010

White Bean, Spinach + Turkey Soup

Doug and I walked to the Farmer's Market yesterday. Although it was somewhat drizzly, we loved walking around and looking at all the fresh produce from local farmers. We grabbed a couple bunches of spinach, an onion, and some garlic. Making soup for dinner on a rainy evening sounded more than perfect to us. We rented a movie and snuggled up to some wine and homemade soup.

White Bean, Spinach & Turkey Soup
(Adapted from Sunday Nite Dinners)
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
Salt and Pepper, freshly ground, to taste
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Medium Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped
2 (15.5 oz) Cans of White Beans, rinsed and drained
4 C. Chicken Stock (I make my own base, but you can certainly buy some)
14 oz. Fresh Spinach (2 bunches from Farmer's Market), roughly chopped
Jalapeno Green Pepper Tabasco Sauce (optional, to taste)

In a medium stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the ground turkey, season with salt and pepper, and stir with a wooden spoon for 4-5 minutes until turkey is crumbled, golden brown, and cooked through. Add minced garlic and chopped onions; saute for 4-5 minutes until onions are soft and fragrant. Add the white beans, thyme, rosemary, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in chopped spinach and simmer for 5 more minutes. (Note: It will seem like you are adding a lot of spinach to the soup, but it will all cook down - don't worry)! Taste; add more salt and pepper if needed. We thought it needed some more kick, so we added a few dashes of jalapeno green pepper tabasco sauce to our bowls of soup and served it with crusty Italian bread.

16 June 2010

Mandarin Orange Salad

I was at my parents' house for an entire week (hence the lack of posts lately). Sorry guys! You all must be starving! Get your fill of greens and make this mandarin orange salad ASAP! It is a perfect side salad to any meal or you can make this a complete meal by adding some salmon, tofu, or chicken on top.

Mandarin Orange Salad
(Doug's Mom's Recipe)
Yield: 4-6 Servings

For the Dressing:
1/2 tsp. Salt
Dash of Pepper
2 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar
1/4 C. Salad Oil
Dash of Red Pepper Sauce
1 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley, roughly chopped

For the Salad:
1/4 C. Sliced Almonds
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. Sugar
1/3 Head Lettuce
1/3 Head of Romaine
1 C. Celery, chopped
2 Green Onions (white & green parts), thinly sliced
1 Can (11 oz.) Mandarin Orange Segments, drained

Shake the dressing ingredients in a tightly covered jar; refrigerate. Cook almonds and 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. sugar over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and almonds are coated. Cool and break apart. Store at room temperature. [Note: You can also buy glazed almonds at the store].

Tear lettuce and romaine into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups). Place greens in a plastic bag, add celery and onion. Fasten bag securely and refrigerate until later use. Five minutes before serving, pour dressing into bag; add mandarin orange segments, drained. Fasten bag securely and shake until greens and oranges are well coated. Add almonds and shake.

09 June 2010

Raspberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Doug and I went to our friend's cabin for Memorial Day weekend and I wanted to bring something homemade. Raspberries were on sale at the grocery store, so I bought a lot of those! LOVE fresh berries! For inspiration, we have fresh berries + something homemade... Raspberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars of course! I'm going to keep this in my permanent recipe card box (that is where all great recipes go for continuous use). These are scrumptious!

Raspberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
(From Deb at Smitten Kitchen)
Yield: 20 bars

For the Crust and Crumb:
1 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour
1 C. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1 1/4 C. Rolled Oats
3/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
3/4 C. (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes

For the Raspberry Filling:
1/4 C. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbsp. Lemon Zest
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
1 lb. Fresh Raspberries
1/4 C. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted & cooled

Make the crust and crumb. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13'' glass or light colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment go over the two shorter sides of the pan. You'll thank yourself for doing this later. Go ahead and butter the parchment paper too. Meanwhile, put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form. (If you are using a mini food processor, you will need to do this in two batches). Reserve 1 1/2 C. of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. Make sure the crust touches all sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.

Make the raspberry filling. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, and flour together. Add the fresh raspberries, lemon juice and butter. Use your hands to gently toss until the raspberries are evenly coated. Don't worry if it looks watery, you'll want to use all the liquid in the bowl!

Assemble and bake the bars. Spread the raspberry filling evenly on the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares. I like to store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to be served. They will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

08 June 2010

Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad

Taylor, from Greens & Chocolate, came over for dinner a couple months ago and made her strawberry poppy seed salad. She posted the recipe on her blog and I cannot tell you how many times I have made it since that day... A LOT! My fiance, Doug, thinks that this is my favorite salad because I make it all the time! I like turning it into a light weekday meal by adding some sliced grilled chicken on top.

Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad
(Adapted from Taylor)
Yield: 4-6 Servings

6 C. Fresh Baby Spinach, loosely packed, rinsed & dried
1 Container Strawberries, cleaned, hulled & sliced
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/4 C. Goat Cheese, crumbled (or feta works well too!)
Toffee Glazed Sliced Almonds, optional (for garnish)
Grilled Chicken, optional (to make it a meal)

For the Dressing:
2 Tbsp. White Sugar
1/3 C. White Wine Vinegar
1/3 C. Canola Oil
1 Tbsp. Poppy Seeds
5 Strawberries, sliced

Combine all dressing ingredients in a mini food processor. The dressing can be chilled in the fridge until ready to serve. Combine baby spinach, strawberries, and red onion in a large bowl. Pour dressing on salad and toss to combine. Top with sliced almonds and goat cheese (or feta). If you are making a meal, top with sliced grilled chicken and pour a little more dressing on top of the chicken.

04 June 2010

Nectarines with Gingersnaps

Sometimes the best summer desserts are ones that you can throw on the grill. Last summer, we grilled peaches! Remember that? This summer, you can amp up your grilling recipe repertoire by making a foil pack filled with cinnamon-dusted nectarines. After you take them off the grill, just put a dollop of yogurt on top and sprinkle on some gingersnap crumbs! Simple, sweet, and superb!

Nectarines with Gingersnaps
(Adapted from Food & Wine, June 2010)
Yield: 4 Servings

1 lb. Ripe Nectarines, cut into 3/4'' dice
3 Tbsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 C. Gingersnaps, crushed (I used 2 oatmeal raisin cookies)
1/2 C. Plain Yogurt (non-fat) + 1/2 Tbsp. Honey

Combine the nectarines, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; toss. Arrange two 12'' square pieces of heavy-duty foil on your counter. Spoon nectarine mixture evenly among each hobo pack. Fold the hobo pack by bringing 2 sides of the foil up over the fruit and fold to form a seam across the top. Fold the remaining 2 sides to seal the hobo packs completely. Grill the packs over moderate heat until sizzling (about 10 minutes). Open and pour fruit into four bowls. Garnish with yogurt and honey mixture and sprinkle with crushed gingersnaps or whatever cookies you have on hand. Serve immediately.

03 June 2010

Stuffed Grilled Chicken with Rosemary-Orange Dressing

I went to the store and bone-in chicken breasts were outrageously expensive. Don't the grocery store owners know that this girl is on a wedding budget??! I ended up swapping out bone-in chicken breasts for thighs in this recipe and the end result was still scrumptious. I suppose the olive-rosemary-stuffed chicken breasts would have been a little more to my liking, so I'll give that a shot next time. The grilled oranges... oooh the grilled oranges... those were so awesome! I loved squeezing them over the chicken. Yum! I have to send a shout-out to my fiance, Doug, for being the grill-master! Thank you!

Stuffed Grilled Chicken with Rosemary-Orange Dressing
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2010)
Yield: 6 Servings

Chicken and Stuffing:
1 C. Brine-Cured Green Olives, pitted
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Large Garlic Clove, peeled
1 1/2 tsp. Fresh Rosemary, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. Orange Peel, finely grated
6 Chicken Breast Halves with Skin (or 8 thighs)

Blend first 5 ingredients in a mini food processor until olives and garlic are chopped evenly. Transfer to a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Use your fingertips to gently loosen the skin of the chicken (leave one side still attached). Spread 1/6 of the stuffing under the skin; pull skin over to cover; secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the rest of the chicken and stuffing. You can do this ahead of time (up to 1 day).

Dressing and Oranges:
6 Tbsp. Orange Juice
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. Orange Peel, finely grated
1/2 C. Olive Oil
1/2 C. Brine-Cured Green Olives, pitted & chopped
2 Large Unpeeled Oranges, each cut into 6 wedges

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil and chopped olives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer 1/2 cup dressing to a small bowl; reserve the rest for serving. Drizzle 1/3 cup on the chicken to marinate (keep some extra for brushing on while grilling and the oranges - be sure not to cross-contaminate the dressing).

Coat grill rack with nonstick spray and preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Arrange the orange wedges on sheet of foil; brush oranges with dressing from second cup. Grill chicken until cooked through, drizzling with dressing from first cup and turning occasionally, 12 to 14 minutes. Grill orange wedges until heated through and slightly charred, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken and oranges to a platter. Serve with reserved dressing (optional).

02 June 2010

Juicy Grilled Tomato Crostini

I finally had time to flip through some of my foodie magazines and found a grilled appetizer that I just had to try. I adapted this recipe from Food & Wine and it is amazing! You simply must try this the next time you are grilling out! I enjoyed the flavors of the different warm tomatoes mixed in with fresh basil from my herb garden. It was love at first bite!

Juicy Grilled Tomato Crostini
(Adapted from Food & Wine, June 2010)
Yield: 4 Servings

2 Yellow Tomatoes, diced
1 Orange Tomato, diced
1 Pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1/4 C. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper, freshly ground (to taste)
Baguette, cut 3/4''-thick
1 Garlic Clove, peeled & halved
20 Small Basil Leaves

Light the grill. Meanwhile, arrange two 12'' by 24'' sheets of heavy-duty foil on your counter. Mound the tomatoes in the center of each sheet (evenly); drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fold up the foil to create tight packets. Set the packets on the grill and cover. Grill over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. The tomatoes will begin to soften and burst. When you have about 5 minutes left, place the baguette slices on the top shelf of the grill. Remove the crostini from the grill, rub with the garlic clove, and put on a platter. Using scissors, carefully cut open the foil packets and put in a medium bowl. Stir in the fresh basil and add more salt and pepper if needed; mix. Serve with the warm bruschetta mixture in a bowl or on the crostini.