Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another tasty tuna melt

Yesterday I shared one of my favorite tuna melt recipes. Well, here’s another!

Another Tasty Tuna Melt

Thick sliced bread
Olive oil
White wine vinegar
Clove of garlic, mashed
Avocado, sliced
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Mix the olive oil through the garlic in a deep glass measuring cup or bowl and beat with an immersion blender to create an emulsion. Or you can just whisk it really well. Mix the dressing with the tuna and capers. Place thin slices on avocado on slices of bread, and pile on the tuna. Add cheese and wrap sandwiches in foil to heat, or grill them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A tastier tuna melt

The tuna melt, the iconic luncheon pick in diners all across the land. I love a good tuna melt, and here’s a way to make it a little more grownup and tasty. I like to either wrap them in foil and melt them in the oven or on the grill, or even better, skip the foil and do them on an indoor grill or panini press.

Tasty Tuna Melt

Thick sliced bread
Scallions, chopped
Parsley, chopped
Lemon juice
Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Mix the tuna with the scallions through lemon juice. Pile it high on slices of bread and top with cheese. Add another slice of bread and wrap in foil to heat or grill.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Beef and linguine casserole (OAMC)

Beef and linguine casserole makes a great freezer meal! You can double, triple, or whatever this recipe so that one is ready tonight and more are ready for another day :-) The basics of Once A Month Cooking (OAMC) can be found at the link, and I’ve got other great OAMC recipes here.

Beef and Linguine Casserole

8 oz cottage cheese
1 c plain yogurt
8 oz cream cheese

1-1/2 lb ground beef
Green pepper, chopped
Onion, chopped
15 oz can of tomato sauce

16 oz linguine

1/4 to 1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To make and serve immediately:
Mix the cottage cheese, yogurt, and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Brown the ground beef with the peppers, onions, and salt. At the same time, boil up the linguine to the al dente stage. Drain well and add to the cheese mixture while still hot. Place the linguine mixture into a large casserole and top with the meat mixture. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes at 350, top with parmesan cheese and serve.

To freeze and serve later:
Prepare the cheese mixture and place it in a freezer container. Do the same with the meat mixture. Do not prepare the linguine or grated cheese until time to assemble and cook. Freeze for later.

To serve, thaw the bags in the fridge overnight. Boil up the linguine, grate the cheese, and follow the instructions for assembly above. Cook for 30 minutes at 350 until hot, top with parmesan cheese and serve.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chicken with spicy marmalade sauce

Even though Mike doesn't care for marmalade too much (he says he'd rather spread the toast with shortening before using marmalade, can you believe it?), he agreed that this dish went into the "to have again" file.

If you start with chicken tenders or if you cut up your chicken breasts during once a week prep time, and already have pre-cooked rice on hand, this dish will be ready in under 20 minutes. If you have to boil up the rice, you'll still have a thirty minute meal if you use Arborio rice.

Chicken with Spicy Marmalade Sauce

Olive oil
Shallot, diced

1 lb chicken tenders
1 c chicken stock
2 T wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
2 T marmalade
1 t cornstarch
Salt and pepper

Green vegetables of your choice, chopped (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc)

Grated orange zest for garnish
Pre-cooked Arborio rice

In a heavy skillet or wok, saute the shallots. Mix the stock through the salt and pepper in the pan and add the chicken. Bring to a low boil. When the chicken is almost done, add the vegetables and cover to steam them. Serve over rice.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Black eyed peas dahl

Most of the time, we think of dahl as being made out of lentils or split peas, but other legumes can stand in too. We particularly like this mildly spicy dahl made from black eyed peas. I used the canned form to save time, but if you’ve got the time to soak and cook up the dried beans, the meal will be even more inexpensive.

Black eyed peas dahl

Ghee or mild vegetable oil
4 whole cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 small onion, chopped
1 T fresh ginger, minced
6 to 8 oz plain yogurt
2 cans (15 oz) of black eyed peas
1/2 t ground tumeric
1/4 t ground red pepper
1/2 t garam masalah (prepared or my favorite mix)
2 t coriander
Salt to taste

In a large heavy skillet with a cover, saute the cinnamon and cloves for a few minutes. Add the onions and ginger and saute until golden. Drop the heat and add the yogurt and beans. Add the spices. Heat through and remove from heat. Cover and let stand for about 5 minutes. Serve over rice if desired, as a side or main dish.

Maryland crab soup

When we went to Winterfest in Ocean City, MD, this year, I had an amazing bowl of Maryland Crab Soup. Since then, I've been working at recreating it. I think I've gotten it just about as close as it's going to get. I've got some optional ingredients listed in this recipe, because I think everyone has a different idea about what makes a perfect soup. I like mine thick and stew-like, so I added some tomato paste.

Maryland Crab Soup

28 oz can stewed tomatoes
2 c beef broth
1 c baby peas
1 c corn kernels
1 c carrots, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T Old Bay Seasoning
2 t Worcestershire sauce
12 oz Crab meat
Water or tomato paste as needed
Tabasco sauce

Put tomatoes through seasonings into a pot. Heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the crabmeat and simmer 10-15 minutes longer. Add water or tomato paste as needed. Serve hot with Tabasco on the side.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pork chops with orange and fennel stir fry

Oh. My. Gosh. These are the tastiest pork chops you've ever had, as long as you don't overcook them. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer so as not to go overboard.

Pork Chops with Orange and Fennel Stir Fry

2 large seedless oranges, supremed

3 T orange juice
2 t lemon juice
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t cornstarch

Olive oil
4 pork chops
Salt and pepper
Fennel seeds

Large fennel bulb, chopped thinly
Shallot, chopped
3 - 4 c fresh baby spinach or other dark green

Supreme the oranges and set them aside. Mix the juices through the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Season the pork chops and fry in olive oil, being careful not to overcook. Remove them from the pan and set them aside. Quickly stir fry the fennel and shallots in the pan. Add the greens and wilt them, adding the reserved sauce.

Place the vegetable mixture on the plates, top with a chop and some orange slices.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Turkey and squash stew

If you use pre-cooked turkey and frozen butternut squash, this stew will take you less than thirty minutes to put together. Even if you're starting from total scratch, it doesn't take much longer than thirty :-)

Turkey and Squash Stew

Canola oil
1 - 2 leeks, sliced
Red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c chicken or vegetable stock
1 lb turkey, preferably pre-cooked
Bag of cubed butternut squash
15 oz can of corn
2 T fresh thyme
1 t cumin seeds
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 t cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a heavy stock pot and cook the leeks and peppers until soft. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add stock, turkey, and vegetables, and simmer until turkey is done if not pre-cooked. Add herbs and seasonings and serve.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Edamame succotash

We hates lima beans in our house. They makes our head shake. We really hates 'em...they're tricksy and false!

But we like edamame. Here's a delicious succotash recipe, and I never thought I'd ever say that!

Edamame Succotash

1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 - 5 scallions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 c corn kernels
3/4 c shelled edamame
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 T lime juice
1 T olive oil
1 T fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and ground red pepper

Toss all together. Serve. That's it!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Barbecue chicken panini

Grilled sandwiches are a great way to use up leftovers! Whenever I cook chicken, I try to cook up some extra so that later in the week we can have a really tasty grilled sandwich or panini. We've always liked chicken with hot spicy coating, served with blue cheese dressing, so I decided to put together a combo sandwich that everyone in our house would like.

Barbecue Chicken Panini

Thick sliced bread or rolls
Pre-cooked chicken, shredded
Spicy barbecue sauce, as hot as your family likes it
Chopped celery
Blue cheese dressing

Coat each slice of bread with a thin layer of blue cheese dressing. Mix the shredded chicken, celery, and barbecue sauce in a bowl and pile the sandwiches high. Wrap in foil to heat in the oven or on the grill, or grill without wrapping on a griddle or panini grill.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spicy sweet and sour chicken

This is a much spicier version of sweet and sour sauce than the one I shared for Pork a short while ago. It's also a bit more work, but the layers of flavor are worth it. You can use the two sauces interchangeably. Serve on sticky rice.

Spicy Sweet and Sour Chicken

4 t cornstarch, divided
2 T soy sauce, divided
2 t fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb chicken tenders, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 c chicken broth
1 T brown sugar
3 T tomato paste
2 T rice vinegar
1 t chili powder
1 t toasted sesame oil

Canola oil
Onion, chopped
Orange bell pepper, chopped
Red bell pepper, chopped
5 - 6 scallions, chopped

1/2 fresh pineapple, chopped

Put half the cornstarch, half the soy sauce, the ginger, garlic, and chicken pieces into a small bowl to marinate. Set aside.

Combine the rest of the cornstarch and soy sauce with the chicken broth through the sesame oil in another small bowl. Set aside.

Saute the vegetables until just tender in canola oil. Remove from pan and set aside. Saute the chicken mixture until chicken is just done. Return the vegetables to the pan along with the broth mixture and the pineapple. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer while scraping the pan. Serve over sticky rice.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies

According to my chocoholics, these are the ULTIMATE chocolate cookies, full of butter instead of shortening, soft but not too soft, and very very chocolatey. I found the recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cookies, but it turns out that the recipe was created by Anne Feldman, or more specifically, by her grandmother. Although I love the book, just a warning: these are all available online, are mostly not new, and is actually an edited volume by the editors of the magazine.

I didn’t bother to roll the balls of dough in sugar, but other than that, I did follow the directions and they turned out to be the best soft chocolate cookies we’ve ever had. Thanks, Anne!

Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies

Makes 3 1/2 dozen

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/4 cups (2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 cups sugar, plus more for dipping
* 2 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, 2 cups sugar, and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients, and combine with mixer on low speed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill until dough is firm, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip top of each ball into sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Maple chicken wings

These are knock-your-socks-off good! The recipe below is for a large batch, but I have successfully divided it to make smaller batches as well. The main trick is to keep turning the wings as they cook, and have them spread out enough that the syrup thickens during the final high heat phase.

I recommend using disposable aluminum baking pans for this, not that you’re necessarily going to dispose of them, but because the syrup really becomes a sticky icky mess! It’s up to you how much you want to scrub. If you let them soak for a long time, it’s much easier :-)

Maple Chicken Wings

6 lbs chicken wings
1/3 c teriyaki sauce
1/2 c soy sauce
2T garlic, minced
1 T onion powder
1-1/2 t pepper
1 t red pepper flakes
2 c maple syrup

Place wings in the pan, mix all the other ingredients and pour over wings. Toss to coat. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, turning every 15 to 20 minutes. Increase the temperature to 425 and cook for 45 minutes more, turning as before.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Beef and cabbage stir fry with peanut sauce

A mild peanut sauce flavors this dish. You can add a couple of splashes of hot sauce if you like! Serve over Chinese egg noodles.

Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

1/4 c smooth peanut butter
1/4 c soy sauce
1/3 c orange juice
1 T rice vinegar
2 t sugar

Canola oil
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 2 carrots, sliced thin
1 lb thin cubed steak, sliced in thin strips
1/2 - 1 head Savoy cabbage, sliced thin

Roasted peanuts for garnish, if desired
Hot sauce, if desired

Chinese egg noodles

Start water boiling for the noodles. In a bowl, whisk the peanut butter through the sugar until smooth. Heat oil in a wok and cook the garlic for about a minute. Add the carrots and cook till softened. Add the beef and brown it all around. Dump the garlic, carrots, and meat into the bowl with the sauce. Add more oil to the wok and stir fry the cabbage, adding a few T of water to make steam and wilt the cabbage. Add the beef and sauce mixture to the wok and heat through. Serve over noodles.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sweet and sour pork

Sweet and sour sauce can be poured right out of a jar, but it's so easy to make that why would you? This way you can vary the spices to suit your family's taste! I've got a much spicier version of sweet and sour sauce here for Chicken, but they are interchangeable.

Sweet and Sour Pork

1 lb pork roast, cut into cubes
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into cubes
Vegetable oil

1 T sherry
1 t soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t fresh ginger, minced
2 T tomato paste
1/3 c cider or wine vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1 c chicken broth
1 T cornstarch in 2T broth
1 T sesame oil

Heat the oil in your wok and fry the pork cubes. Set them aside and wipe out the oil. Add the sauce ingredients through the broth and bring to a low boil. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, the sesame oil, and the pineapple. Heat through and return the pork cubes to reheat. Serve with sticky rice.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Red-cooked chicken

Red-cooked chicken is amazing! It's good hot or cold. I served it with stir fried fennel, to pick up on the slightly sweet flavors of the anise and fennel seed. The poultry shown in my photo is capon.

Red-Cooked Chicken

2 lbs of chicken or capon
2 c soy sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
1 T peppercorns, slightly crushed
1/2 t anise seed
1/2 t fennel seed
2 t fresh ginger, minced
1 c chicken broth

Sesame oil

Mix the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer the chicken for a few minutes. Place into a crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Remove chicken from the sauce and drain. Rub with sesame oil.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tofu stir fry

Since tofu takes on the flavor of whatever sauce you soak or cook it in, make it a tasty one! Add the vegetables of your choice and serve it over sticky rice. A perfect thirty minute meal!

Tofu Stir Fry

2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 t fresh ginger, grated
Vegetable oil
2 T soy suace
2 t hoisin sauce
2 t chili sauce
1 t sugar
1/4 c vegetable broth
1 T sherry

Stir Fry:
Cake of firm tofu
Broccoli, red and yellow peppers, water chestnuts, mushrooms

Sticky rice

Saute the garlic and ginger in oil in your wok. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and the tofu. Heat the tofu through for a few minutes. Remove from the wok and set aside. Stir fry the vegetables in the sauce, adding the tofu back just to reheat before serving. Serve over sticky rice.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Asian casserole (OAMC)

Asian casserole is a hot dish of comfort food! It has lots of familiar tastes if you grew up before the time that we’d discovered a lot of now-common ethnic cuisines. This was about as exotic as my family got, back in the day, and of course we called it “Oriental Casserole” back then ;-)

The casserole is an easy thirty minute meal, and can also be made as a Once-A-Month-Cooking dish. Make a double batch, and you can have one tonight and save another for later in your freezer!

Asian Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 c water

2 T cornstarch
1 t sugar
1/2 t ground ginger
2 T water

16 oz can of mixed Asian vegetables
10 package frozen peas

Brown the meat in a deep skillet, and add the vegetables to saute as well. Drain off the fat and add water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer.

Combine the cornstarch through water and blend well. Add to the beef mixture and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the Asian vegetables and peas. Cool, cover, and freeze, or serve immediately.

To serve after freezing, cook the unthawed casserole at 400 for an hour. Serve with those wonderful crunchy chow mein noodles that you loved as a kid!