"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.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Kettle Corn Crusted Salmon with Fennel and Dill

So, last weekend at the Farmer's Market, on a whim,  my girlfriend picked up a bag of kettle corn.  They were popping it fresh and the smell just said, "buy me!"  The popped corn with its beautiful mix of salt and sweet was delicious.  It got me thinking about other ways to incorporate it into a dish.  I thought paired with toasted fennel and fresh dill it would be great.  I decided to use it on Salmon, but it would also be dynamite on chicken, shrimp, other white fish, you name it.  It was an instant hit!  Enjoy!!

4 Salmon filets
2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 C. Kettle corn
1 Tbsp. Fennel seeds
2 Tbsp. Fresh Dill, fine chopped
Red pepper flake to taste
1/2 C. flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp. water (can use milk)
garlic powder, to taste
onion powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F

Heat a small, ungreased sauté pan over high heat. Once warm, place fennel seeds in pan.
Move or shake the pan briskly back and forth to stir and agitate the seeds so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. Or use a wooden spoon to constantly stir the seeds.
Cook the fennel seeds for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they become fragrant and slightly darker brown.
Turn off the heat and remove pan from the stove top. Place the seeds in a small bowl or scattered on a baking sheet to cool. Place seeds in a mortar and grind with the pestle until fully ground.

Add kettle corn to food processor and pulse to make crumbs.  Add ground toasted fennel, dill, and pepper flakes.  Reserve in large mixing bowl.  In a small bowl whisk egg well, mix in water or milk.  Reserve.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and reserve on the side.

Season each salmon filet with garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper.  Take a filet at a time and dredge with flour, shaking off excess.  Place into egg mixture and coat fully.  Then place into popcorn mixture and gently press to insure popcorn crumb mixture adheres to all sides of the fish.  Place coated filet on the lined baking sheet.  Repeat this step until all the filets are coated with popcorn mixture.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add oil and heat.  Very carefully place fish in the pan and cook to golden brown on both sides (this will probably need to done in batches as not to overcrowd the pan).  Remove browned fish and place back on lined baking sheet.  Once all filets are done, place baking sheet with fish into the hot oven.  Cook until done, about 8 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Weekly Menu

"Smorgasbord Night"

Baja-style Fish
Zucchini Medley
Arugula Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

Chicken and Wild Mushroom Meatloaf
Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Walnuts
Roasted Carrots with Thyme

Chicken Piccata
Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Parmesan Oven Roasted Asparagus

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs
Corn Bread
Collard Greens
Roasted Delicata Squash

Dinner out - Republic Detroit

Meatloaf with green chiles, bacon, and spicy Ketchup

Comfort food doesn't get much better than this.  I was inspired by a burger I saw on a TV cooking show and thought it would translate well to a loaf.  I guess I was right, cause since I've served this up, it's the household's favorite this fall.  I pair this with crispy sweet potatoes, but any potato would work here. Top each slice with a fresh hot, sunny side egg and you've got week night deliciousness!  Enjoy!!


1# chopped meat, beef
1/4 # ground pork
1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 whole egg
1 small can chopped green chiles
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 sweet onion, peeled and minced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 ribs celery, small dice
1 small carrot, peeled and small dice
1 small pink lady Apple, peeled and diced
1/2# bacon
2 Tbsp. Soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Spicy Ketchup-

1/2 C. Ketchup
2 Tbsp. Honey
2 Tbsp. BBQ sauce
1 Tbsp. Soy sauce
1Tbsp. Rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. Lemon juice
1 tsp. Sambal Oelek chili paste

Sunny side eggs

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a small frying pan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots.  Sweat until translucent, add garlic and apples, cook two more minutes or until apples release some of their juices.  Remove from heat, reserve and cool.

In a medium mixing bowl combine all Spicy Ketchup ingredient, mix well and reserve in the frig, covered.  

In a large mixing bowl thoroughly mix beef and pork.  Add eggs, chiles, breadcrumbs, soy sauce, Worcestershire, cool vegetable mixture and salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Check seasoning (I place a half dollar sized disc into the microwave and cook for 10 seconds, or done and taste).  Correct if need be.  Reserve off to the side.  
Take a loaf pan and line with plastic wrap.  Make sure to push wrap into the corners and tight to the sides of the pan.  Taking one strip of the bacon at a time, cover the inside of the pan going across the mold (short ways).  Each strip should resemble the letter "U" with it going down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side of the pan.  Continue across the pan, shingling each slice of bacon until the entire mold is covered.  Now, using a kitchen spoon (I use my hands) put the meat mixture into the pan onto of the bacon.  Once all the mixture has been added, gently press the meat mixture into the loaf pan.  Fold the ends of the bacon down across the meat mixture and gently press (this will be the bottom of the loaf).  At this point the loaf can be chilled for cooking another time or frozen for longer storage.

Take a piece of parchment paper and press to the top of the loaf pan, quickly turn it over onto a baking sheet. Remove plastic wrap.  The entire loaf should be covered by the bacon and ready for the oven.  Place into the hot oven and cook 1 hour.  Once done, loaf should be dark brown on the outside and an internal thermometer should read 155 F.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.  This is  a prefect time to make your sunny side up eggs.  Slice a thick piece of loaf and serve with hot egg on top, Enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Moraccon Rice Pilaf

1-1/2 C. basmati rice
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 C. finely chopped yellow onions, from one small onion
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/4 C. water
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 C. dried fruit, such as currants, raisins or finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 C. Peas
1/4 C. sliced or slivered almonds, toasted until golden

Place rice in medium bowl and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Using your hands, gently swish grains to release any excess starch. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Repeat four to five times, until water runs almost clear. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain water from rice. Place strainer over bowl and set aside.

Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring regularly, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic to sautéed onions and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Add rice to pot, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add water, salt and pepper to rice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 15-18 minutes. Off heat, remove lid, and sprinkle dried fruit and peas over rice (do not mix in). Place lid loosely over pot and let stand 10 minutes. Toss in toasted almonds, fluff rice with a fork, then serve. Enjoy!

North African Spiced Butternut Squash

5 tbsp. vegetable oil
 1 1/2 C. walnut halves
1 each cinnamon stick
2 each whole cloves
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced 
2 # butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into 1” pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 inch fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 C. golden raisins
1/2 C. vegetable stock or water
1 C. Pomegranate seeds, (optional)


Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.  Add walnuts and toast lightly (about 3-4 minutes tossing often).  Remove walnuts and reserve.  Add remaining oil, heat very hot.  Add the cinnamon, cloves, coriander and the ginger.  Cook 10 seconds, add onions and squash, cook for 15-20 minutes until the squash is golden brown. 


Add the salt, pepper, sugar, lime juice, golden raisins and vegetable stock or water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until squash is tender. Fold in the walnuts. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds (optional), serve and Enjoy!


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Weekly Menu: July 31st - August 5th

Baked Cod Piccata with Carrot-Beet Salad
Roasted Asparagus

Vegetable Sauté with Garlic Noodles
Romaine Chopped Salad with Herb Vinaigrette

Meatloaf with Caramelized Onions
Broccoli with Garlic and Red Chiles
Salad with Creamy Onion Dressing

Oven Roasted Salmon with Pesto
Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Butter Braised Roasted Chicken with Herbs
Sweet Potato and Green Onion Pancakes
Chopped Salad with Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Steak and Red Wine- Dinner out

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Moraccan Lamb Stew

This is a dynamite recipe from Bon Appétit, February 2005.  I added some red wine and found if you cook it for another 30 minutes the lamb is really fork tender.  I highly recommend making this a day or two in advance, keep chilled, and reheat it when serving.  The flavors marry, super delicious.  Couscous is traditionally what this is paired with, I like basmati rice with slivered almonds, mint and peas.  Enjoy!
 2 1/2 # trimmed boned lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
½ C. Dry Red wine
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 C. low-salt chicken broth
(1) 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 C. dried apricots
½ C. canned chopped tomatoes
2 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tsp. (packed) grated lemon peel
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

 Place lamb to a large mixing bowl and add the next 6 ingredients, toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add lamb to skillet and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally and adding 2 more tablespoons oil to skillet between batches, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to another large bowl after each batch.  Reserve.

Add onion and tomato paste to drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add broth and wine, bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.  Add garbanzo beans, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and lemon peel. Return lamb to the pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lamb is just tender, about 1- 1 ½ hours. Uncover and simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, about 20 more minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and discard them.  Taste stew and correct seasonings with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.)
Transfer lamb and sauce to bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Mini Meatball Sliders

A friend on Facebook shared this one and I thought what a great way to add a little fun to a party.  It's crazy easy and what a crowd pleaser!!  Certainly you can make all the components from scratch, but I was looking for a fast, easy, delicious party appetizer. I used ready made from Trader Joe's.  This could also be a great week day meal, just add a big salad.  This could work with sausage or stewed eggplant as well.  Pretty much anything that would work with cheese and sauce, works hear.  I know my golf buddy are going to love this one when we meet in a couple weeks for our yearly trip up north!

1 package Hawaiian Sweet dinner rolls
12 ea. small cocktail meatballs (can make your own, I used Trader Joe's)
1/2 C. Marinara Sauce (can make your own, I again used Trader Joe's- told you this can be easy)
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 C. Mozzarella cheese, shredded (or Italian cheese mix)
1/4 C.butter, melted
1 Tbsp. granulated garlic,
1 Tbsp. dried Basil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Remove dinner rolls as one piece from it's packaging.  Using a serrated knife, cut entire sheet in half horizontally separating the top from bottom.  Reserve bottom piece to the side.  Using a small round cutter punch holes in the center of each bun the size of your meat balls.  Once all 12 are cut, move aside and work on the bottom sheet. 
Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper and place (in one section) the bottom piece of rolls onto the pan.  Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese.  Now, spread the marinara sauce over evenly and top with shredded cheese.  Place the top section of the rolls onto the bottom section.  In each hole place a meatball, gently press each into place.  Combine garlic and basil to melted butter, stir.  Brush onto the sliders, top with salt and pepper.  Place into oven and cook for 12-14 minutes.  Remove once done, slice along precut edges and serve.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Pork Hash

Here's a great easy to make dinner (come on, with bacon of course it's terrific!)  If  made a day or two before it improves as the flavors really get a chance to marry.  If made a head of time I like to heat in a hot pan and develop a crust, yum!  Add a poached egg on top and you've got a world class breakfast.  Enjoy!

1# pork country ribs, cut into 1" pieces
seasoning mix- brown sugar, coffee, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, ground mustard, paprika

6 oz. Bacon, diced
2 oz. Olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stock, diced
2 sweet potatoes, diced and blanched
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 C. chicken stock (broth)
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh sage, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Combine seasoning mix in a bowl and generously rub the pork ribs with it. Place ribs in a baking pan and cover with foil.  Place in a preheated 250F oven.  Cook for 3 hours til fork tender.

Heat large frying pan over medium high flame.  Add bacon and cook to golden brown.  Remove bacon and reserve on plate lined with paper towel.  To bacon fat add oil and then add onion, carrot, and celery, mix and sweat for 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Add bell pepper, potato, and herbs.  Add stock and return cooked pork back to mixture.  Stir to make sure everything is well combined.  Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper to your liking.  Serve and enjoy!

Weekly Menu July 25th - July 29th

Sauteed Kale, Mushroom, and Carrots
Baby Greens and Beet Salad with Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Pesto Crusted Salmon
Oven Roasted Asparagus with Shaved Egg

Moroccan Lamb with Rice
Zucchini and Summer Squash Medley

Hamburger Salad
Sweet Potato Fries

"Steak and Red Wine Night"

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Weekly Menu July 10th -July 15th

Broccoli Puree
Pork and Sweet Potato Hash
Baby Kale Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Tuscan Kale and Mushroom Sauté
Roasted Carrots with Honey and Chiles

Oven Roasted Salmon with a Chimichurri Sauce
Chopped Romaine Salad with a Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

Ratatouille with Basmati Rice

Fresh Guacamole
Shredded Chicken Tacos with Salsa Fresco
Green Salad with a Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette

Belvedere Martinis
Grilled Hangar Steak with Caramelized Balsamic and Soy Onions
Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Zucchini and Summer Squash Gratin

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Weekly Menu - June 26 - July 1

Turkey and Sun-dried Tomato Meatloaf
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Summer Squash with Parmesan

Spicy Curry Chicken with Basmati Rice
Vegetable Medley Sauté

"Catcher's Catch, Can" Night

Vegetable Pasta

Garlic Mussels and White Fish in a Tomato Fume
Baby Greens Salad with a Herb Vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Beef Tenderloin with a Cabernet Demi-Glace
Braised Wild Mushrooms with Garlic and Thyme

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chimichurri Rice

I was in Trader Joe's this morning and saw this in the frozen food isle and thought, "how would I make this?" So, here it is.  I am serving this with a Fisherman's Stew, which will be packed with fresh fish, mussels, calamari, and scallops.  I think the two should go great together. Enjoy!

1 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 C. Basmati Rice
2 C. unsalted Chicken stock (broth is fine)
2 shallots, minced
1 Roma Tomato, diced 
1 tsp. tomato paste
1" piece of Ginger, peeled and grated
3 big cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp. fresh Lime juice
1 tsp. Chili Powder
pinch of Cayenne powder
1 bay leaf
Kosher Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 C. Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed

In a heavy bottomed pot heat the butter and oil over med-high heat.  Add shallots, sweat to translucent.  Add ginger and garlic, cook 1 minutes.  Add rice, mix well and cook over med-high heat stirring often, 4-5 minutes. (this brings out a beautiful toasted flavor in the rice). 
Add tomatoes and tomato paste, mix well, increase heat to high and add stock and lime juice. Add chili powder, bay leaf, and cayenne. Add salt and pepper.  Taste cooking liquid (it should taste like very flavorful soup).  Cover and cook 15-20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.  Remove from heat, keep covered and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Remove bay leaf, discard.  Add cilantro and peas, mix with a fork to incorporate.  Serve and enjoy!

Weekly Menu: June 18-June 24

Party in "The Belt" - Food Trucks, Art, and Music!

Father's Day- Dinner out, Downtown Detroit

Smoky Butternut Squash with Fennel and Onions
Baby Arugula Salad with a Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette

Seared Salmon Salad with Citrus-Herb Vinaigrette
Pickled Red Onions
Rosemary and Garlic Fingerling potatoes 

Fisherman's Stew
Chimichurri Rice

Pasta Bolognese
Chopped Romaine Salad with Roast Garlic and Parsley Dressing

Dinner out with Friends

Smoky Butternut Squash with Fennel and Onions

The other night I was through the frig and saw the fennel and bacon and threw this together.  I ate it as a main dish, but it absolutely would complement so many other main dishes. Vegetarian?  Omit the bacon and use good olive oil- you are good to go.  I think this mixture would also make an interesting crustini or bruschetta (sliced baguette, splash of olive oil and some arugula). The bacon gave a nice smoky note and the fennel, squash and sage are classic flavor combinations. Enjoy!

8oz good smoked Bacon
1 Butternut Squash, peeled and diced into 1" cubes
1 large sweet Onion, peeled and sliced
1 bulb fennel, trim top and sliced
2 tbsp.fresh sage, chopped
shaved parmesan, to taste
salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat over to 425F

On baking sheet arrange bacon, place in oven and roast to golden brown (not crispy), 20-25 minutes.  In a large mixing bowl, combine squash, fennel, and onions.  Reserve on the side. Remove bacon from oven and reserve on a plate lined with paper towel. Very carefully pour bacon drippings onto squash mixture.  Toss gently with kitchen spoon. Season with half of the sage, salt and pepper.  Pour mixture back onto the same sheet you cooked the bacon on.  Place into the oven and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove, toss with the spoon and place back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes until nice and golden brown.
While squash is browning, chop bacon into l" pieces and reserve.  Once squash is done remove from oven, add chopped bacon and second half of the sage, mix well.  Plate and top with fresh shaved parmesan cheese.  Serve and enjoy!