"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Sweet-and-sour chicken

Why go through the hassle of ordering and picking up Chinese food (or waiting for delivery). How many times have you tried a new spot and been disappointed? Here's a great version of sweet and sour chicken, got raved reviews and so easy to make. Enjoy!

Serves 4

Sauce

3/4 C. granulated white sugar

1/2 C. apple cider vinegar

1/4 C. Ketchup

2 Tbsp. Soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. cold water

1 Tbsp. corn starch

 

Chicken

2 large boneless chicken breasts, skin removed and cut into 1” pieces

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

3 Tbsp. corn starch

Kosher salt and black pepper

4 Tbsp. Avocado oil or vegetable oil for frying

3 Tbsp. Green Onion, sliced thinly on the bias

2 C. Cooked white rice


Place cut chicken in a large ziplock bag.  Add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste, seal and coat evenly.  Open bag, add corn starch, seal and mix well to fully coat chicken. Reserve.

In a sauce pan combine the first seven sauce ingredients.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  In a small bowl combine water and cornstarch, stir and add to sauce.  Stir as sauce thickens, cook for 3 more minutes.  Turn off heat and reserve on the side.

Place large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, add oil and get hot.  Carefully add chicken in small batches as not to crowd the pan.  Cook, turning often until pieces are golden brown.  If needing to work in batches, remove browned chicken (reserving on a plate), wait a minute for oil to come back to temperature and continue to cook remaining chicken until all is beautifully golden brown.  Remove chicken and pour excess oil out of skillet into bowl to cool, then discard oil.  Return all of the chicken to skillet over medium heat, add sauce, coat well and cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Top with green onion, serve over rice or just by itself and Enjoy!

Braised Leeks with Fennel

When was the last time you had a leek?  I love these little guys!  A member of the onion family, leeks have a very mild onion flavor and when cooked they take on this beautiful buttery, creamy essence, yum!  Just make sure you wash them very well since they grow in sandy soil and there is a lot of grit in them. We are only going to use the white part for this recipe.  Make sure you reserve the green tops for another day.  They can be used to flavor soups, stocks, what ever cooked onions are used for.  I also use the greens to line a baking sheet and place fish, chicken, or meat on top when cooking.  It adds a mild onion flavor, delicious. I think once you discover these amazing Alliums, like me, you'll be hooked.  Enjoy!

serves 4

4 medium sized leeks, white part only (should only have about 2-inches of light green at top, leek should be 6-8 inches once green part removed)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half 
4 Tbsp. butter
1 C. beef bouillon, hot
2 large Tbsp. Fennel fronds (in a pinch, fresh dill can substitute)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper 

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Trim off root end of each leek, slice lengthwise.  Wash under running water, gentle separating each layer to remove the sandy grit that hides inside.  Reserve.

Using a tablespoon of the butter, grease the bottom of a baking dish or casserole. Place leeks in dish cut side up. Sprinkle cut garlic and fennel on top of leeks.  Take the remaining butter and dot the top of the leeks.  Season with salt and pepper.  Carefully pour the hot bouillon around the leeks, only use enough so leeks are submerged halfway.  Seal in foil and place in hot oven, cook for 45-50 minutes.  

Remove from oven, carefully remove foil, serve and enjoy!


Balsamic and Honey Roasted Carrots

Balsamic vinegar and honey is one of those classic combinations, I love it with these carrots.  If I can find them, I like the multi-colored variety, it added a beautiful color to the plate.  Roasting brings out a caramel, almost nutty quality to the carrots and the sweetness of the honey mixed with the subtle bite of the vinegar is terrific.  Don't forget the lemon zest to finish the dish, it's bright punch really makes a difference and elevates the dish.  Enjoy!

serves 4

1# Carrots, washed and cut into 2" pieces
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. Lemon zest
1 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F

On baking sheet spread out carrots, toss with oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Put in hot oven and cook, turning every 15 minutes.  This will take 40-50 minutes, you are looking for the carrots to be just about fork tender.  Carefully remove from oven, drizzle vinegar and honey on carrots and place back in the oven for 5-7 minutes.  Remove and sprinkle with lemon zest.  Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper, top with chopped parsley.  Serve and Enjoy!

Salmon with Horseradish, Dill, and Capers

I made this for dinner last night, serving the fish with braised leeks, roasted carrots, and sautéed Swiss Chard.  The mixture of horseradish and caper roasted on top of the fish was excellent.  And, the punch of dill made a very nice compliment.  These are classic flavors for the salmon to drink up.  Enjoy!

makes 4 servings

Sauce-
4 Tbsp. Japanese Mayo (can substitute regular)
2 Tbsp. Fresh Dill, chopped
1 Tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh Lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste


Fish-
2# Salmon fillet, skin on
2 Tbsp. prepared Horseradish
3 Tbsp. Capers, drained and chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Parsley
3 Tbsp. Olive oil, plus extra for fish
1 Tbsp. chopped Shallots
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400°F

First make the sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and hold in refrigerator. (this can be done the night before if you wish)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, drizzle a little oil on paper.  Set fish, skin side down on oiled baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and set aside.  In a mixing bowl combine the rest of  the ingredients, mix and top the fish with mixture.  Place fish in hot oven and cook for 10 minutes.  

Now, turn broiler on and carefully move fish to top oven shelf under broiler.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes so top gets a lovely golden brown.  Remove fish, let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve with Dill sauce and Enjoy!


Monday, October 12, 2020

Weekly Menu

 Monday-

Roasted Mushrooms, Spinach, and Delicata Squash Pasta

Green Leaf Salad, Creamy Garlic Dressing

Tuesday-

Oregano and Lemon Grilled Chicken

Hummus with Vegetables

Grilled Zucchini Squash

Wednesday –

Oven Roasted Salmon with Capers

Broccoli with Red Onion

Thursday-

Vegetable Chili

Jalapeno Corn Bread with Maple Butter

Friday-

Steak and Red Wine Night

Saturday-

Balsamic and Honey Glazed Chicken

Sweet Potato Fries with Green Onion

Broccoli with Garlic and Parmesan

Sunday-

Slow Roasted Baby Back Ribs

Grilled Zucchini and Roasted Tomato Vegetable Medley

Baby Green Salad with Sweet Mustard Dressing, Crispy Jalapenos and Onions

Monday, September 14, 2020

Oven Roasted Tilapia with Shrimp and Spinach Stuffing

 serves 4 people

4 Tilapia fillets, rinsed, then dried with paper towel
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Garlic powder
½ tsp. Paprika
Salt and white pepper, to taste (black pepper works fine also)
Squeeze Fresh lemon juice
 
Stuffing:
8 oz. Shrimp, peeled and deveined, minced (shells reserved for sauce)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Celery, small diced
2 Tbsp Green Bell pepper, small dice
2 C. firmly packed fresh cleaned spinach
¼ C. white wine
½ C. Fresh breadcrumbs + extra for topping
1 Tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 Tsp. Old Bay seasoning
¼ C. Parmesan
¼ C. Colby Jack cheese
 
Sauce:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Shallot, sliced thin
¼ C. white wine
Shrimp shells from shrimp for stuffing
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 C. clam juice
½ C. butter
Salt and pepper (white pepper if you have), to taste
 
Preheat oven to 400° F.
 
In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions, celery, and green pepper.  Sweat until soft, 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute. Increase heat to high and add spinach and wine.  Cook until spinach has wilted and released its liquor.  Continue to cook until most of the liquid has cooked off but spinach is still moist.  Remove from heat and transfer to large mixing bowl.  Stir and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Add shrimp and rest of ingredients.  Mix well, reserve on the side.
 
Prepare a large sheet tray with parchment paper on the bottom.  Drizzle some of the olive oil on the paper and lay the fish (dark line of the filet side down) on oiled paper. Season top of the filets with salt and pepper, onion, garlic powder, and the paprika.  Squeeze lemon juice over fish.  Take the stuffing and top each filet with an equal amount.  Gently press stuffing down onto top of fish.  Sprinkle a little extra breadcrumb on each filet and drizzle with olive oil.  Place in hot oven for 20 minutes. Once done and golden brown, remove and let rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve with sauce.
 
 
While fish is cooking make your sauce.  In a small saucepan heat oil over medium heat.  Add shallots and shrimp shells, cook until shallots have softened, and shells have turned a ruby pink.  Increase heat to high, add wine and clam juice, reduce by half.  Lower heat to medium and add thyme sprigs and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes. Strain sauce base into new pan, discard solids and over very low heat whisk butter into strained reduction a little at a time making an emulsified sauce.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Reserve sauce on the side warm, do not boil or it will separate. Serve with fish, enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Oven Roasted Tilapia with Potato Chip Crust, Grilled Summer Vegetables

Though I'd add some crunch to a fish we already love, really enjoyed how it came out.  I then served it on a bed of grilled vegetables that I dressed with a little balsamic vinaigrette, accompanied with a great glass of chilled French Sauvignon Blanc and this just became a go to summer recipe.  Enjoy! 

Serves 4

4 Tilapia fillets
1/2 cup crushed potato chips
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 tsp. each onion powder, garlic powder, paprika
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Vegetable Medley-

1 bunch Swiss Chard, leaves only, stems removed and retained for another day
3 Zucchini squash, washed and sliced into 1" strips length-wise
2 Red Bell Pepper, washed, stem and seeds removed, cut into quarters
12 Cherry Tomatoes, washed and put onto wooden skewers 
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh Lemon Juice
1 clove Garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp. minced green onion
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°

Preheat grill, medium high heat.

Place vegetables on a large rimmed baking pan.  In a small bowl prepare vinaigrette for vegetables.  Put vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic and green onion in a small bowl.  Whisk in oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss vegetables in vinaigrette right on the baking sheet.  Reserve on the side and prep your fish.

Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, drizzle a little olive oil on the parchment and then place the fish down (rounded side facing up).  Season with spice blend, salt and pepper.  Spread each fillet with some mayonnaise, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and top with crumbled potato chips.  Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and place in hot oven.  Cook for 20 minutes until fish is done, but still moist.  While fish cooks grill your vegetables.

Take dressed vegetables to the hot grill.  Place all on the grill except the swiss chard and grill until tender, turning often, about 12-15 minutes. The tomatoes will only need about 7-8 minutes  Once zucchini and peppers are almost done, add swiss chard to grill for last 2-3 minutes, turning often.  Remove cooked vegetables and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.  Roughly chop (fork sized bites) everything except the tomatoes, reserve warm.

Once fish is done serve with the vegetables.  I like to plate with grilled vegetables as a bed, fish on top and drizzle each plate with some extra virgin olive oil and a grind of black pepper.  Enjoy!