"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.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
1 sliced medium onion
4 thyme sprigs
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
3 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C. grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets; toss on a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 sliced medium onion, 4 thyme sprigs, 4 unpeeled garlic cloves, and 3 tablespoons olive oil; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Roast, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, toss to combine, and roast until cauliflower is tender, 10-12 minutes longer.  Serve and Enjoy!

Hanger Steak with Spicy Lemon Quinoa

This is a very tasty dish and easy to make.  I am serving this with a Parmesan roasted cauliflower side dish that is sweet and nutty, and fantastic.  The lemony flavor of this dish works great with the beef and the cauliflower side.

1# hanger or skirt steak
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 small carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4" slices
1 small fennel bulb, cut into 1/4" wedges
1/4 lemon, ends trimmed, seeded, finely chopped (with skin)
2 C. low-sodium chicken broth
1 C. Quinoa
1/2 C. green olives, pitted, halved
1/4 C. sprigs cilantro

Season steak with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook steak until medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side (or 2 minutes per side if using skirt steak). Transfer steak to a plate.

Wipe out skillet; add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic begins to brown, about 1 minute. Add carrots, fennel, and lemon; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Add broth to skillet and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa. Reduce to a simmer and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Add olives, season with salt and pepper, and fluff quinoa with a fork. Slice steak against the grain; fold into quinoa.

Divide lemon quinoa among warm plates, drizzle with oil, garnish with cilantro, serve and Enjoy!

Vinegar-Braised Pork and Onions

This is a great recipe that could just as easily substitute chicken or beef for the pork.  I like the richness of the pork counter-balancing the sharpness of the red wine and vinegar.  The balsamic brings a nice sweetness to the dish that also plays nicely with the pork.  I am serving this with a mashed sweet potato side dish that has some roasted garlic whipped into it.  This could easily be prepared in a slow cooker as well.  I would start the pancetta on high heat to start it rendering down. Then put all the remaining ingredients into the pot.  I could start it in the morning, set on low and when I got home, dinner would be ready.

2 # pearl onions
Kosher salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4" pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
5-7 # Pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 C. balsamic vinegar
3/4 C. red wine
2 C. low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 C. golden raisins
2 bay leaves

Cook onions in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain and let cool. Trim root ends; peel.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and pancetta is brown, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a large bowl.

Add onions to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.

Season pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add pork to pot and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 8-10 minutes per batch; transfer to bowl with onions.

Carefully drain fat from pot and return to medium-high heat. Add wine, and vinegar to pot and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add broth, raisins, bay leaves, and reserved pork, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until pork is fork-tender, 45-50  minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork and onions to a large platter. Skim fat from cooking liquid and discard. Remove bay leaves, and season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over pork and onions.  Serve and Enjoy!

Oven-baked Mushroom, Leek, & Fontina Omelette

Breakfast for dinner anyone!?  This baby is just as good at room temperature as it is fresh from the oven.  A one pot meal which means easy to make and easy to cleanup!  This is also a great do ahead dish that can be warmed up easily later.  I'm serving this tasty treat with a baby arugula salad with a tangy lemon dressing.

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 medium leeks, whites and pale-green parts only, chopped
8 oz. crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
12 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3/4 c. shredded Fontina cheese, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10" nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until softened and all liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, sour cream, and parsley in a large bowl; mix in 1/2 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Pour the egg mixture over the mushrooms, shaking the pan to evenly distribute mixture. Cook the omelette, without stirring, until its edges begin to set, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over eggs and transfer skillet to oven. Bake omelette  until golden brown and center is set, 25-30 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!

Warm Shrimp and Escarole Salad

This is another one of those quick meals that is terrific for during the week cooking.  For convienence, I usually pick up the raw shrimp already peeled and deviened.  Trader Joe's has a great frozen product also.  I am serving this with a brown rice pilaf.  

2 Tbsp.olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. drained capers, chopped
8 radishes, trimmed, quartered
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 head of escarole, torn into large pieces (about 10 cups)
3 Tbsp. finely grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add anchovies and cook, mashing with the back of a spoon, until anchovies dissolve and a paste forms, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and capers; cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add radishes and cook, tossing often, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp; cook, tossing occasionally, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Add half of escarole and toss until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Add remaining escarole and toss until wilted, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
Add Parmesan and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.  Serve and Enjoy!

Turkey Sausage and White Bean Stew

This is so simple to throw together and tastes fantastic.  A great dish for a cold winter's supper.

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 # fresh Turkey, Chicken or Italian Sweet Sausage links
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme
(2) 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
5 oz. baby spinach (about 10 cups)
Smoked paprika

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes. Add beans and broth and cook, crushing a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken sauce, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach by handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Slice sausage and fold into stew; add chicken stock to thin, if desired. Divide stew among bowls; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with paprika.  Serve and Enjoy.

Chicken Pot Pie with Butternut Squash

Since we made the commitment at the beginning of the year to cut wheat out of our diets, I made this without the crust last night.  I also omitted the flour in the recipe, decreased the stock & added a little bit of coconut milk.  My goal was to really only wet the mixture and adjust the consistency to feel more like a stew.  It was excellent!  I served it with some beautiful fresh green beans that I cooked to "al dente" and tossed with a little butter and toasted almonds.

1/4 c. olive oil
1 c. frozen white pearl onions, thawed
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1 small bunch kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves chopped
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 rotisserie chicken, meat torn into bite-size pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. Heat oil in an 8-inch cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic and sage to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
Add kale and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing often, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes.
Stir in broth, 1/2-cupful at a time, then add squash. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until squash is just softened and broth is thickened, 8-10 minutes. Add chicken to skillet, stir, and season with salt and pepper.
Unfold pastry and smooth any creases; place over skillet, allowing corners to hang over sides. Whisk egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Brush pastry with egg wash; cut four 1-inch slits in top to vent.
Bake pot pie until pastry is beginning to brown, 15-20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° and bake until pastry is deep golden brown and crisp, 15-20 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve and Enjoy!

Weekly Menu Jan. 26th - Feb. 1st

Chicken Pot Pie with Butternut Squash
Green Beans with Almonds

Turkey Sausage and White Bean Stew
Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Warm Shrimp and Escarole Salad
Brown Rice Pilaf

Mushroom, Leek, and Fontina Omelette
Baby Arugula Salad, Shaved Red Onion, Lemon Dressing

Grilled Baja Fish, Fresh Salsa
Rice and Beans, Chopped Salad with an Agave-Lime Vinaigrette

Vinegar Braised Pork and Onions
Sweet Potato Mash with Roasted Garlic

Hanger Steak with Spicy Lemon Quinoa
Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower

Chesapeake Bay Party Nuts

2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 cups pecan halves or whole almonds

Stir together melted butter, Old Bay Seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and hot sauce; add pecans or almonds, tossing to coat. Place nuts in an aluminum foil-lined 15- x 10-inch jellyroll pan.
Bake seasoned nuts at 300° for 30 minutes, stirring twice. Cool & Enjoy!

Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pecan-crusted Chicken with Tapenade

Makes 4 servings

4 chicken breasts, boneless, skin removed
1 large egg
1/4 C. Milk
3/4-1 C. ground pecans
6 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
3 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. fresh chopped oregano
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 C. Store bought tapenade, caponata, or pesto (Trader Joe's has some great choices)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pound each chicken breast until half there original thickness..  (I do this by placing a good sized sheet of plastic wrap on the counter, then place a breast on top and cover with another sheet.  Now using a mallet, skillet, or my hand as a fist pound the breast)

In a shallow bowl beat egg with a fork, beat in milk.  In another bowl mix together pecans, Parmesan cheese, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper.

One by one, place a chicken breast in the egg mixture, coat well.  Then place into the pecan mixture, coat both sides, pressing a little to make sure it sticks.  Place on an oiled rimmed baking pan.  Once all breasts are dredged and "breaded", place into oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is done.  Once finished, remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  Top each breast with tapenade and serve, Enjoy!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weekly Menu Jan. 12th - Jan. 18th

Zucchini "Pasta" with Baby Bella Mushrooms and Turkey
Chopped Salad with Italian Herb Vinaigrette
Broccoli with Garlic

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Olive Tapenade
Roasted Carrots, Leeks, and Corn Medley

Parmesan Breaded Pork Chops with Balsamic Vegetables
Spanish Rice

Pan Seared Shrimp on top a Baby Greens Salad with Avocado,  Tomato, and Cucumber
Creamy Lemon Dressing

Vegetable Frittata with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Potato, and Bacon

Grilled Talapia with a Citrus Cream on a bed of Spaghetti Squash
Roasted Tomatoes and Pesto
Green Beans with Red Onion Confetti

 Dinner out with Friends in Ann Arbor

Monday, January 7, 2013

Penne with Fennel and Pork Ragu

This will make 6-8 servings

2# ground pork
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 cups fennel bulb, minced
3 cups onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 C. Dry white wine
4 C. chicken broth
1 (12oz) can diced San Marzano tomatoes
Fresh ground black pepper
1# penne pasta
Finely grated Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl combine the pork and salt.  Thoroughly mix together until pork is sticky.  Cover and chill at least 2 hours. (Overnight is best)

Roll pork mixture into 16-18 meatballs.  Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat.  Working in batches (adding oil between batches) cook meatballs until all sides are brown. Transfer meatballs to a paper towel lined plate, reserve.

Reduce heat under pot to medium, scatter fennel, onions, and garlic, mix.  Return meatballs to pot and cook, stirring occasionally as needed to prevent scorching, until vegetables are translucent and juices have evaporated, about 25 minutes.

Add wine, using a wooden spoon scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of pot, bring to a simmer.  Cook until wine has reduced by three-quarters, about 15 minutes.  Add 4 cups broth and tomatoes.  Return sauce to a simmer, cover pot with lid slightly ajar and stirring occasionally, until meatballs are very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Using a potato masher or fork, carefully break meatballs into small pieces.  If sauce becomes too thick, add broth by the 1/2 capfuls until you get the desired consistency.  Season ragú to taste with salt and pepper.  Ragú can be made up to 3 days ahead of serving.  Just let cool in pot, cover and keep chilled.  Return ragú to a simmer before continuing.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.  Cook penne pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente.  Drain and transfer to the pot with the hot ragú.  Stir until well incorporated.

Transfer pasta to a warm large wide bowl.  Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with olive oil.  Serve and Enjoy!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cauliflower Crust "Pizza" with Veggies and Sausage

The "crust" of this pizza (wheat-free) is not sturdy enough to hold in your hand, but it's a very nice substitute for the real thing without the wheat.  Like any pizza this can be served as vegetarian or with meat, you can get as creative as you like.  I like to serve this with a fresh salad for a really satisfying dinner.

This will make 4-6 servings

1 head cauliflower, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
3/4 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend
12 oz. crushed tomatoes (can use store bought pizza sauce if you like)
Choice of vegetable toppings, use whatever you like; I like bell peppers, onions, fresh spinach, & chopped portobello mushrooms
1/2# cooked ground sausage (can use any type of meat you like)
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh oregano
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling water cook the cauliflower until soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.  Mash until the consistency of mashed potatoes with minimal chunks.  Add 1/4 cup of the oil, the eggs, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper and mix well.

Lightly oil a pizza pan or large rimmed baking sheet.  Pour the cauliflower mixture onto the pan and press the "dough" into a flat, pizza-like shape no more than 1/2 inch thick.  Mound it up higher at the edges.  Put into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the pizza "crust" from the oven, leaving oven on, and spread with the tomato sauce.  Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese, vegetables, and meat.  Top with basil and oregano.  Drizzle with some of the oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.  Place back not oven and bake until cheese has fully melted and starts to golden in cold, about 15 minutes.

Cut the pizza into wedges and using a spatula, transfer to warm plates.  Serve and Enjoy!

Weekly Menu Jan.5th - Jan. 11th

Strip Steak with Roasted Shallots and Garlic
Oven Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Sea Salt
Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan
Green Beans with Red Onion

Cauliflower Crust "Pizza" with Veggies and Sausage
Chopped Italian Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Mexican Chicken Soup with a Bean and Vegetable Tortilla
Romaine Salad with a Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

Seared Crab Cakes with Coconut-Lime Cream
Baby Spinach Salad, Red Onions, Walnuts, and Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

Grilled Salmon with Wasabi Glaze
Broccoli and Garlic
Steamed Rice with Ginger-Soy Vegetables

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Mushroom Alfredo
Garden Salad with Mixed Herb Vinaigrette

Dinner out with Friends