"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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Roasted Corn and Bean Burritos

  • (6) 9- to 10-inch-diameter flour tortillas

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2/3 cup frozen roasted corn kernels, thawed (Trader Joe's)
  • 1 small can (4oz) chopped green chiles
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño chile 
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 
  • 8 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 cup favorite salsa
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat large skillet over med-high heat.  Add oil, let warm to shimmering, add onions. Stir until onions are golden, about 6 minutes.  Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes, add cumin and chili powder; stir 20 seconds. Add bell pepper, corn and green chiles; sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes and jalapeño; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. remove from heat.
Warm tortillas in microwave for 15-20 seconds.  Place warm tortillas on work surface. Spoon filling down center, dividing equally. Top each with 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold sides of tortillas over filling, forming packages. Turn each package, seam side down into oiled baking tray.  Repeat until all are done.  Top with salsa and remaining cheese.  Place in oven and cook 30 minutes until cheese is melted.
Serve and enjoy.

Pulled Pork and Spicy Barbecue Shredded Chicken

This meal took hold from leftovers.  I had some Pulled Pork in the freezer and some Roasted Chicken in the fridge and whoo-la, Dinner!

Pulled Pork:
Originally used posted recipe from 3/7/11- Carolina style pulled pork

Spicy Barbecue Shredded Chicken:
Use any store bought prepared Roasted Chicken, Costco has a good one.  Not a member, any local market has them ready to go.
Remove skin, discard.  In a bowl hand-shred chicken meat.  Add a good squeeze (to taste) Sriracha hot sauce (love it) and barbecue sauce (I like Baby Ray's).

Serve with cole slaw and I picked up some Sweet Potato fries from Trader Joe.  Dinner is on the table in like 20 minutes (as long as it took to cook the fries).

Meatballs #2

For tomato sauce:
6 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano)
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
For meatballs:
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 cups torn day-old Italian bread
3 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 pound)
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 pounds ground veal
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (not lean)
1 cup olive or vegetable oil

Make sauce:
Drain tomatoes, reserving juice in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands and add to juice.
Cook onions in oil in pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, 4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with salt.
Make meatballs while sauce simmers:
Cook onions in extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.
Soak bread in milk in another bowl until soft, about 5 minutes. Firmly squeeze bread to remove excess milk, discarding milk.
Stir together cooled onion mixture, bread, eggs, parmesan, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, 51/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper until combined. Add meats to bread mixture, gently mixing with your hands until just combined (do not overmix).
Form meat mixture into about 70 (1 1/2-inch) balls with dampened hands, arranging meatballs on 2 large baking sheets or in shallow baking pans.
Heat olive or vegetable oil (1 cup) in a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown meatballs in 4 or 5 batches (without crowding), turning frequently, about 5 minutes per batch. Return to baking sheets.
Add meatballs to sauce and gently simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. (If pot is not large enough, divide meatballs and sauce between 2 pots.)


1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French or country-style bread
1/3 cup whole milk
8 ounces ground beef (15% fat)
8 ounces ground pork
1 cup finely ground (not grated) Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 large garlic cloves, pressed

Combine breadcrumbs and milk in small bowl; stir until breadcrumbs are evenly moistened. Let stand 10 minutes.
Place beef and pork in large bowl and break up into small chunks. Add 1 cup ground Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Whisk eggs to blend in small bowl; whisk in garlic. Add to meat mixture.
Using hands, squeeze milk from breadcrumbs, reserving milk. Add breadcrumbs to meat mixture. Using hands, quickly and gently mix meat mixture just until all ingredients are evenly combined (do not overmix). Chill mixture at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Moisten hands with some of reserved milk from breadcrumbs, then roll meat mixture between palms into golf-ball-size balls, occasionally moistening hands with milk as needed.  Heat saute pan over medium high heat.  Add olive oil and heat to shimmering, arrange meatballs in single layer and brown all over. 
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekly Menu: Mar. 25th-Apr. 1st

Sauteed Turbot with Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Relish
Wild Rice with Peas

Pulled Pork and Spicy Barbecue Shredded Chicken
Sweet Potato Fries
Cole Slaw 

Roasted Corn and Bean Burritos
Avocado and Fresh Salsa

Meatballs and Spaghetti
Chopped Salad with Warm Onion Vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic
Hummus with Flatbread
Tabbouleh Salad 

Turkey Meatloaf
Green Beans and Pearl Onions
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Sea Salt and Thyme

"Steak and Martini Night"


1/2 cup medium or fine-grain bulgur (I substitute Quinoa)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 3 bunches)
3/4 cup diced red onion
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Stir together the bulgur and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heatproof bowl. Add boiling water to cover. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain in a sieve, pressing on the bulgur to remove any excess liquid.
Transfer the bulgur to a large bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the rest of the ingredients until everything is well mixed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve cold.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fran Caldwell's - The Best Ever Standing Rib Roast

Don't ask me why this preparation works so well, it goes against everything I learned in culinary school.  The first time I saw a Rib Roast cooked in this manner, over 20 years ago, I was with the Eiseman's joining Fran and Max Caldwell for Christmas Dinner.   I was sure it wasn't going to work.  To my surprise, it was perfection.  I've used this method ever since and it works every time.  My hat still goes off to Frannie, we think of her every time we make a standing rib!

1 standing rib roast, bone in (over 4.5 lbs.)
Season the roast anyway you like

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place roast in oven in roasting pan.  Cook 1 hour.  Turn oven off.  Keep the door closed!!  45 minutes before serving turn oven back on to 300°F.

Remove roast from oven, let stand 15 minutes.  Slice and enjoy.  A perfect rare to medium-rare every time!

Sea Bass with Cherry Tomatoes, Capers, and Thyme

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 (6-ounce) fillets black sea bass or striped bass (1/2 to 1 1/4 inches thick) with skin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 thin lemon slices (less than 3/4 inch thick; from 1 large lemon)
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 tablespoons drained bottled capers

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil.
Pat fish dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange fillets, skin sides down, in 1 layer in center of foil on baking sheet and slide 2 lemon slices under each fillet. Arrange 2 thyme sprigs on top of each fillet.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté garlic, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are softened, about 1 minute. Stir in capers.
Spoon hot tomato mixture over fish, then cover with another sheet of foil, tenting it slightly over fish, and crimp edges together tightly to seal.
Bake until fish is just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes (depending on thickness of fish); check by removing from oven and carefully lifting up a corner of top sheet of foil, pulling up sides of bottom sheet to keep liquid from running out. If fish is not cooked through, reseal foil and continue to bake, checking every 3 minutes.
Transfer fillets with lemon slices to plates using a spatula (be careful not to tear foil underneath) and spoon tomatoes and juices over top. Serve immediately, discarding thyme before eating.

Grilled Flank Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms

  • 3 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 4 large shallots
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced portabella mushrooms
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms

Pat steak dry and cut crosswise at a 45° angle into 4 equal pieces. Season steaks with salt and pepper and transfer to a large resealable heavy-duty plastic bag. Chop shallots and in a bowl stir together with vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Pour marinade into bag. Marinate steaks, covered and chilled, turning bag over at least once, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Prepare grill.
Remove steaks from bag and discard marinade. Grill steaks on a lightly oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals 7 to 9 minutes on each side for medium-rare. (Alternatively, grill steaks in 2 batches in a hot lightly oiled well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderately high heat.) Transfer steaks as cooked to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.
In saute pan, heat butter and olive oil over med-high heat.  Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt, sauté until mushrooms are golden brown.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper, reserve warm.
Cut steak at a 45° angle across grain into thin slices. Serve steak with mushrooms.

Lexington-Style Grilled Chicken

I found this gem in Southern Cooking Magazine.  It's  fantastic!

Recipe by Larry Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina, Southern Living, MARCH 2005


  • 1  cups  cider vinegar
  • 1/4  cup  firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  vegetable oil
  • 3  tablespoons  dried crushed red pepper
  • 4  teaspoons  salt
  • 2  teaspoons  pepper
  • 2  (2 1/2- to 3-pound) cut-up whole chickens*


Stir together first 6 ingredients until blended.
Place half each of vinegar mixture and chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal. Repeat procedure with remaining vinegar mixture and chicken, placing in a separate zip-top plastic freezer bag. Chill chicken at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.
Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 35 to 40 minutes or until done, turning occasionally.
*8 skinned and boned chicken breast halves and 8 skinned and boned chicken thighs may be substituted for whole chickens. Chill in marinade at least 1 to 2 hours, turning occasionally. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until done.

Catfish in Spicy Tomato Sauce

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
6 (5-ounce) catfish fillets
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Purée tomatoes with their juice in a blender. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook garlic, spices, and 3/4 teaspoon salt, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add tomato purée and sugar and briskly simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.
Pour sauce into a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Pat fish dry and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Arrange fillets in 1 layer on sauce, tucking each tail end under if necessary to fit, and bake until fish is just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Roast Turkey

I got this recipe from Alton Brown - Food Network.  It makes a super tender bird, excellent.

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skinliberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Weekly Menu: Mar. 20th-25th

"Green Goddess" Chicken
Sweet Potato Hash 
Roasted Carrots and Shallots
Green Beans
Flounder Stuffed with Crabmeat
Rice Pilaf
Steamed Broccoli 
Shepherd's Pie
Wedge Salad with Grainy Mustard Dressing
Meatball Lasagna with Marinara
Chopped Italian Herb Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
"Leftover Night" - Let's forage through the freezer
Dinner out

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sun-dried Tomato and White Bean Dip

Think of European hummus.  Supper easy to make and tastes fantastic!  This is such an excellent appetizer served on a small piece of toasted baguette.  Spread it on a sandwich for a health version of mayo.  I try to keep this in the house as much as possible; you just never know when you need a fast dish to pass when you have unexpected friends pop over.

1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 15 oz. can of great northern white beans, rinsed and drained well
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil
2 Tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 C. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Using a food processor, while running drop in garlic clove.  Scrap bowl to insure fine chopping of clove.  Add next 4 ingredients and process, scrap bowl occasionally, making sure everything is blended well.  While processor is still running slowly add oil.  You may need to add a small amount of water to adjust consistency.   Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Serve with freah cut vegetables, warm flat bread, or chips.  Can be made 3-4 days in advance, cover and chill.

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Lamb Ragu

4 8-ounce packages fresh peeled cubed butternut squash (5 to 6 cups)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces ground lamb
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with added puree (from 28-ounce can)
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
8 ounces multi-grain penne pasta (such as barilla)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/2 cup grated kasseri cheese, divided - can use fresh crumbled feta to sub.

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss squash with 11/2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Transfer squash to large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender and brown around edges, using metal spatula to turn occasionally, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb and onions; sauté until lamb browns and onions soften, 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and next 3 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, then broth and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in squash. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add lamb mixture, half of cilantro, and half of cheese; toss. Add reserved cooking liquid by 1/3 cupfuls to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and cheese.

Pork Chile Verde

I found this recipe in Bon Appetit, Feb. 2011 by Jeanne Kelley.  It's great, especially if made a couple of days ahead and you let the flavors come together.

3 cups (or more) chicken broth, divided
1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, cut into 1/2-inch wedges, divided
1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh cilantro with tender stems
Olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 4- to 4 1/2-pound pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
3/4 cup diced roasted peeled seeded mild green chiles (such as Hatch or Anaheim)
2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 pound yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes chopped
Fresh cilantro

your favorite salsa

Puree 2 cups chicken broth, 1/4 of tomatillos, green onions, cilantro with stems, and garlic in blender. Set salsa verde aside.
Brush heavy large pot with oil; heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add pork to pot; cook until browned, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot (add oil if needed). Add onion to pot; sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle cumin seeds over; cook until onion is golden and cumin is toasted, about 2 minutes. Add remaining tomatillos; cook until tender and browned in spots, stirring occasionally and reducing heat to medium if browning too quickly, about 8 minutes. Return pork and any juices to pot. Add 2 cups reserved salsa verde, 1 cup broth, chiles, and oregano. Cover; simmer over medium-low heat until pork is tender, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring to simmer before continuing.
Add potatoes to pork. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in remaining salsa verde; bring to simmer. Thin with additional broth, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide chile verde among bowls. Top with cilantro and a dollop of your favorite salsa.  Enjoy!