"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, February 27, 2014

Ham and Broccoli Quiche with a Potato Crust

Makes enough for 8

  4 cups coarsely shredded uncooked potatoes (about 4 large)
  1/2 cup chopped onion
  1 Egg, slightly beaten
  1 cup all-purpose flour
  1/2 teaspoon salt

  1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Colby cheese, divided
  1/2 cup chopped onion
  1-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  1-1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  3 Eggs, lightly beaten
  1 cup half-and-half cream
  1/2 teaspoon salt
  Dash ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400°F

In a large bowl, combine crust ingredients; press into a well-greased 10-in. deep dish pie plate. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven; reduce heat to 350°F.  Add 1 cup cheese, onion, ham and broccoli to potato shell. Whisk the eggs, cream, salt and nutmeg; pour over broccoli. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Weekly Menu Feb. 22nd - Feb 28th

Beef, Asparagus, and Shittake Stir-fry with Brown Rice

Pan Seared Shrimp with Spiced White Beans and Wilted Greens

Meatloaf with Onion Gravy
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Mashed Potatoes

Grilled Salmon with Ginger and Garlic, Zucchini Noodle Stir-Fry
Sautéed Spinach

Mexican Posole Soup with Shredded Chicken
Warm Tortilla Chips with Fresh Salsa

Indian Spice Lentils with Vegetables and Basmati Rice

Beef surprise with Brown Rice Pasta (it's what happens when you don't properly label what's in the freezer.  Could be very interesting)
Garden Salad with a Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Stir-Fried Pork, Asparagus, and Shiitakes

Makes 4 servings

1# pork loin, cut into strips
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1# asparagus, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch segments
3½ ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
2 cups cooked short-grain brown or white rice for serving

Put 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, turning every 3 to 5 minutes, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the pork to a plate and reserve.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil to the pan. When it’s hot, add the ginger, jalapeño, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the asparagus and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return the pork to the pan, and add the soy sauce and mirin. Cook, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Serve hot, over rice and Enjoy!

How to- The Perfect Stir Fry

In theory, it's the perfect weeknight dinner; fast, it combines vegetables and protein in a single dish, it’s relatively healthy, and it requires no accompaniment other than rice. But that being said, I've seen many a cook fail miserably by being far too ambitious in their stir-frying.
Even though this dish can accommodate many different kinds of meat and produce, you shouldn't try dumping the entire contents of your refrigerator in your skillet or wok.  In fact, the best stir-fries are best when simple, combining two principal ingredients; one protein, one vegetable, and just a trio of essential aromatic seasonings and a simple, delicious sauce.

To pull off virtually any stir-fry, remember these three fundamental rules:

1.  Cook your protein and your vegetable separately, and combine them only after both are fully cooked. Protein—whether chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or tofu—should be stirred minimally so that it maintains undisturbed contact with the hot pan and acquires a nice, seared exterior.  Meanwhile, vegetables must be stirred fairly often so that they cook through quickly without any part getting mushy. Attempts at stir-frying protein and vegetables simultaneously will result in an erratic mélange of overcooked and undercooked ingredients, many of which will end up slimy and tattered.

2. Choose one vegetable per stir-fry. Not all vegetables cook at the same rate, and getting two vegetables to hit that cusp between tender and crisp at the exact same time is pretty much impossible. (You can, of course, cook multiple vegetables in batches, but once you head down that road, stir-frying no longer qualifies as quick and easy.) Furthermore, crowding your pan with vegetables will result in their releasing more liquid, which threatens to make them soggy instead of crisp. Though you should not combine more than one vegetable in a stir-fry, you may combine your vegetable with a fungus: Mushrooms cook through quickly but never really become overcooked, which makes them a great companion to any vegetable. You must combine your vegetable with three important aromatics—ginger, garlic, and chile—without which your stir-fry will taste flat.

3.  Always remember to add liquid only after everything is more or less finished cooking. A proper sauce for stir-fries combines something salty—soy sauce, usually, though fish sauce also works—with something a little bit sweet. Mirin, sweet Japanese rice wine, contributes a wonderful fermented flavor, but if you don’t have any, substitute a teaspoon of honey or sugar combined with two teaspoons of water. Soy sauce and mirin both burn if cooked for much longer than a minute, so plan to leave them on the heat just long enough to coat the other ingredients and thicken into a glaze.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Roast Chicken

This simple roast chicken recipe by legendary chef Thomas Keller is one of the best I've seen. It's an essential, delicious chicken preparation and something every cook should and can master.  Enjoy!

Makes 2 to 4 servings

One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)
Unsalted butter
Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.
Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it's a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.
Now, salt the chicken—Rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it's cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan breast side up and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. Leave it alone—don't baste it, don't add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don't want. Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine.  Remove the thighs and drum sticks.  Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be super elegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You'll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it's so good.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pork Chops with Hoisin Glaze

Servings 4

5 Green Onions
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon ginger, finely grated
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 pork chops, 1 inch thick

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Cut scallions diagonally into 2-inch pieces.  Whisk remaining ingredients except pork in a large bowl.  Add scallions and pork, turning pork to coat.  Arrange pork in 1 layer in shallow baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce with scallions over pork and roast about 25-30 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove from oven and let stand, uncovered, 5 minutes.  Serve pork on warm plates topped with pan juices and Enjoy!

Asian Slaw

Serves 12

1 bunch (6 large) scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 (16-ounce) bags coleslaw mix
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (from about a 1-inch piece)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, optional
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

In a large mixing bowl toss the coleslaw mix, the red onion and scallions together until everything is thoroughly mixed. You can make the slaw up to this point up to a day in advance as long as you keep it refrigerated. Before serving, simply bring the slaw back to room temperature, make the dressing and toss.

Stir the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl until blended, then pour over the vegetables. Serve within 1 hour of dressing or the cabbage will lose its crunch.

Potato-Turnip Gratin

Makes 12 servings

4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
6 large fresh thyme sprigs
4 large fresh sage sprigs
2 large fresh rosemary sprigs
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 Turkish bay leaf
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 pounds turnips
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 350°F.

Bring first 11 ingredients to boil in large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture is reduced to 33/4 cups, about 35 minutes. Strain cream mixture into large bowl.

Peel potatoes; cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, adding immediately to cream mixture to prevent discoloration. Peel turnips; cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Add to potato mixture; stir to coat.
Pour vegetable mixture into 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish and press to even layer. Cover dish with foil. Bake 1 hour. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake until top is golden brown, potatoes are tender, and most of cream mixture is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer.  Serve and Enjoy!

Weekly Menu Feb. 15th - Feb. 21st

Seared Salmon with Citrus Butter
Roasted Fennel, Shallots, and Carrots
Quinoa with English Peas

Oven Roasted Chicken with a Honey Mustard Glaze
Potato-Turnip Gratin
Green Beans with Red Onions

Shredded Chicken Tacos
Smashed Avocados
Spicy Black Beans

Pork Chops with Hoisin Glaze
Asian Slaw

Turkey Burgers with Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onions, and Avocado
Garden Salad with a Lime and sweet onion Vinaigrette

Spanish Omelette
Sliced Plum Tomatoes with Olive Oil and Manchego

Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
Baked Potaoes
Oven Roasted Asperagus

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekly menu Feb. 8th - Feb. 14th

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Chopped Salad with Thousand Island Dressing

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara and Meatballs
Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spiced Red Lentil and Vegetable Stew
Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Olives

Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Hash
Green Beens with Prosciutto and Crispy Shallots

Pork and White Bean Cassoulet
Broccoli with Garlic and Red Onion

Indian Spiced Chicken
Chopped Romaine Salad with an Orange-Ginger Vinaigrette

"Valentine's Day"
Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy
Sautéed Spinach with Pine Nuts
Individual Flour-less Cake with Caramel Sauce

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Weekly Menu Feb. 1st - Feb. 7th

Indian Spiced Chicken with a Creamy Tomato Broth

Sunday- "Super Bowl Party at Don's"
Crab Stuffed Deviled Eggs
Spicy Buffalo Wings
Pan Bagnat
Fresh Guacamole with Tortillas
Fresh Humus with Pita and Veggies

Pan Seared Salmon with Warm Rosemary-Olive Vinaigrette
Creamy Polenta

Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops with Potatoes and Shallots

Spicy White Beans and Wilted Greens
Warm Baguette

Italian Meatballs, Marinara and Spaghetti Squash
Chopped Salad, Parmesan Vinaigrette

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Veggies
Greek Salad

Spicy White Beans and Wilted Greens

Wow, this stew is made up of such simple ingredients that come together like a beautiful symphony.  The creaminess of the beans work so well with the earthiness of the greens; the buttery nuttiness of the cheese in the background just lets everything come together.

This serves 6

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained (optional)
4 chiles de árbol or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 Parmesan rind (optional), plus shaved Parmesan for serving
1 pound dried white beans or chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained
1 bunch kale or mustard greens, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 large bunch flat-leaf spinach, trimmed, coarsely chopped
4 cups trimmed arugula or watercress, divided
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook anchovies, if using, chiles, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft and anchovies are dissolved, about 4 minutes. Add onion, celery, and rosemary; season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, 8–10 minutes.
Add Parmesan rind, if using, beans, and 10 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed, until beans are beginning to fall apart, 3–4 hours.
Lightly crush some beans to give stew a creamy consistency. Mix in kale, spinach, and half of arugula; season with salt and pepper. Cook until greens are wilted, 5–8 minutes.
Toss remaining arugula with lemon juice and 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.

Divide stew among warm bowls; top with arugula, shaved Parmesan, and a drizzle of oil.  Enjoy!

This stew can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Fennel Crusted Pork Chops with Potatoes and Shallots

I absolutely love the way fennel and pork work together.  Marinating the chops overnight in this recipe insure terrific flavor and a very tender and moist result.

This serves 4

1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 1"-thick bone-in pork loin chops (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
2 large shallots, cut into quarters with some root attached
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toast fennel seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Let cool.
Combine fennel seeds, garlic, paprika, and 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Season pork with salt and pepper and place in a resealable plastic bag. Add spice mixture; seal bag and turn to coat. Let sit at least 30 minutes.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Cook pork chops until golden brown on 1 side, about 4 minutes; turn. Add potatoes and shallots to skillet; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat in pan drippings. Cook, tossing potatoes and shallots occasionally, until pork is golden brown on second side, about 4 minutes.
Transfer to oven and roast until potatoes are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops registers 135°F, 10–15 minutes. (If potatoes need more time, transfer chops to a plate and continue to roast potatoes until tender; transfer chops back to skillet when potatoes are done.) Remove skillet from oven and mix in parsley and vinegar. Let pork chops rest 5 minutes in skillet.
Transfer chops to a cutting board; cut meat from bones and slice against the grain. Serve on warm plates with potatoes, shallots, and any pan juices. Enjoy!

Note- Pork chops can be marinated 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Indian Spiced Chicken with Creamy Tomato Broth

This dish is so easy to put together and will whisk you away to exotic places.  It's worth getting the naan to serve with this as you will want to mop up every last drop of the luxurious sauce.

Serves 6

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 chicken legs (drumsticks with thighs; about 3 pounds)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup canned tomato purée
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick

Plain yogurt, torn fresh mint, and naan, flatbread, or cooked rice (for serving)

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until golden brown (do not turn), 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add onion, garlic, and ginger to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add tomato paste, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, and cardamom and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste is beginning to darken, about 4 minutes.
Add chicken, broth, tomato purée, and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, skimming occasionally, until chicken is almost falling off the bone and liquid is slightly thickened, 1 1/2–2 hours.
Add potatoes to pot and cook, partially covered, until potatoes are fork-tender, chicken is falling off the bone, and liquid is thick enough to coat a spoon, 30–45 minutes. Remove skin and bones from chicken, if desired, and return meat to pot; season stew with salt and pepper.
Divide stew among bowls, top with yogurt and mint, and serve with naan, flatbread, or rice.  Serve and Enjoy!

This stew can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.