Friday, April 30, 2010

Tasty little spring salad

There's no real recipe for this...just make an emulsified dressing from olive oil and some red wine vinegar.  Add a pinch of sugar and some basil.  Serve it over greens and decorate your plate with some spring fruit.  Yum.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chile and garlic beef

Here's a lovely change of pace from Sesame Beef.  Much as we love the stuff, we need variety :-)

Chile and Garlic Beef

1 lb thin-sliced beef
2 T soy sauce
1 t sugar
1 t cornstarch
1 T sherry
1 T hoisin sauce
1 t rice vinegar
2 t chile and garlic paste
Vegetable oil
1 T fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
12 scallions, sliced into 2 inch pieces
Rice noodles
Pickled ginger

Place the beef in a crock pot with a little bit of water or broth.  Allow to cook on low for several hours until the fibers begin to break down.

Start water boiling for the rice noodles.  Combine the soy sauce through the salt and set aside.  In a large skillet, saute the ginger and garlic in oil until just softened.  Add the beef and scallions.  Saute quickly to soften the scallions.  Add the sauce and cook for a few minutes until thickened.  Serve over rice noodles with pickled ginger on the side.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fresh green beans and mushrooms

Oh these are good, good, good!

Fresh Green Beans and Mushrooms

1 lb green beans
Shallots, minced
12 oz mushrooms (we like baby bella), sliced thick
1/4 c sherry
Salt and pepper

Steam the green beans for 4 to 5 minutes until barely tender.  In a large skillet, saute the shallots in butter until tender.  On medium low heat, cook the mushrooms until their moisture cooks off.  Add the sherry and the beans.  Saute and toss together for a couple of minutes until heated through.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Whipped potatoes with shallot and horseradish butter

We like Yukon gold potatoes the best for making whipped or mashed potatoes.  You're welcome to use any variety you like...the important thing is to whip them with plenty of sour cream and serve them with the butter!

Whipped Potatoes

I use approximately 1 cup of sour cream per 6 potatoes.  Yeah, that's a lot.  So what?

Shallot and Horseradish Butter

Prepare as much as you will need in the following ratio
1 shallot, minced
1/4 c butter
1 T prepared horseradish

In a glass measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave with the shallots.  Cook on medium-low until the shallots are soft.  Add the horseradish and mix well.  Allow to harden up if you prefer.  Can be served hard, soft, or melted.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fruit salsa for salmon

This fruit salsa goes beautifully with any firm-fleshed fish, or it can be a nice side salad on its own. It doesn’t keep well overnight, so I recommend making and eating pretty much right away. Fortunately, there’s not much problem with that!

Fruit Salsa for Salmon

1 c fresh blueberries
1 avocado, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 kiwi, peeled, sliced, and quartered
1 T soy sauce
1 lime, grated zest and juice
2 T canola oil
2 t fresh ginger, grated
Parsley or cilantro (optional)
Cayenne pepper flakes, to taste

Mix all ingredients together, toss lightly and serve with fish.

Monday, April 19, 2010


What?  You've never heard of slumgullion?  How about mulligan stew?  Depending upon exactly where you live, they might be the same thing, or they might be different.  The stew might be slightly thinner and served in a bowl.  Then again, slumgullion can definitely be served in a bowl too.  Just depends...

Quick, easy, good use of left overs!


Left over meat
Vegetables of some sort
Tomato sauce and maybe some tomato paste too

Start the pasta cooking.  In a large skillet, heat the meat and saute the vegetables.  I think we used both left over hamburger and some sausage in the batch shown above.  Add the tomato sauce and heat through.  Add some tomato paste if needed.  When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the skillet.  Serve any way you chose.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Middle Eastern meatballs

Everyone at our church loves for there to be a couple of crock pots full of meatsa-ball-eys at every fellowship dinner.  While I have often fallen back on the traditional Italian or Swedish style treasures, last time I brought a Middle Eastern variety, and they were a hit!

These meatballs should be served with pita bread and a honey-lemon-yogurt sauce.  Here's the recipe for a large quantity.

Middle Eastern Meatballs

2 onions, coarsely grated
2/3 c matso meal or dry breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
2 t turmeric
2 t paprika
1/4 t ground red pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 eggs
1-1/2 lbs ground turkey or chicken
1-1/2 lbs ground beef or lamb
Olive oil

1 c Greek yogurt
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T honey
Pita bread, cut in halves
Lemon wedges

Combine all the ingredients through the meat in a large bowl.  Form into meatballs.  In a large skillet, brown the balls in batches on two sides.  Don't worry about cooking them through.  Place each batch into a crock pot and cook on low for a few hours until cooked thoroughly.

Mix the yogurt with the lemon and honey, and serve with the meatballs and pita bread halves.  Add more lemon juice to the meatballs if needed.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Seafood cioppino

Oh. My. Gosh. 

Our friend Dan makes the best seafood chowder in the world, but I now think that I make the best cioppino.  Someday we'll have to have a party and serve both!

Seafood Cioppino

Olive oil
2 onions, chopped fine
2 T fresh ginger, chopped fine
5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 t red pepper flakes
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
16 oz clam juice
1 c white wine
2 t oregano
Salt and pepper
3 lbs fresh seafood (we like l lb each of white fish, shrimp, and scallops)

In a large stockpot, saute the onions through the green peppers for about 5 minutes in olive oil.  Add the red pepper flakes through the salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Drop the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Do not add the fish until close to time to serve.  You can store the soup base at this point until later if you'd like. 

Chop the fish into bite-sized pieces and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the scallops and simmer for about 4 minutes.  Add the shrimp (assuming it's pre-cooked) and heat through before serving. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Broccoli and white bean soup (OAMC)

This broccoli soup is a great Once a Month Cooking recipe for those who like to make meals ahead!  You can easily double or triple this and have some tonight while putting portions away for later.  If you use vegetable broth instead of chicken, it also makes a great vegetarian meal.

The beans give the soup a great creamy texture without adding fat!  Great deal.    

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

32 oz of broth, either chicken or vegetable 
2 - 15oz cans of white beans (we like great northern)
2 heads of broccoli, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 T Garlic oil (or 2 T olive oil with minced garlic added)
1/2 t Tabasco sauce
Sour cream for garnish (optional)

Heat the broth and beans in a large stock pot.  Steam the broccoli in the microwave for about 4 minutes until soft.  With an immersion blender, puree the bean mixture.  Add the broccoli and puree again.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the sour cream and heat thoroughly.  Ladle out into bowls and garnish with sour cream.  

Saturday, April 10, 2010

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Lazy lasagna

There are many ways to shorten up the time it takes to make lasagna, but some of them leave you feeling cheated.  Not so with this penne-based lazy lasagna. 

Lazy Lasagna

1 lb box of penne
24 oz jar of pasta sauce
3 - 4 oz baby spinach
16 oz ricotta
Garlic, minced
Parmesan cheese
Bacon (optional)

Fry the bacon and crumble if you're going to use it.  Boil the penne until barely al dente.  Mix the ricotta with the garlic, and add half of it to the drained penne.  Layer the dish as follows in a 9 x 13 baking pan: 1/2 pasta sauce, penne mixed with ricotta, baby spinach, bacon, 1/2 ricotta and garlic, 1/2 sauce, parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spinach, feta, rice, and ham

This is an old family favorite that we actually got from Carolina River rice!  About a million years ago, the recipe appeared in magazines quite frequently.  I don't know if they still publish it or not, but here's my version of it.  I like to save some of the spinach and use it as a base for the cooked mixture. 

Spinach, Feta, Rice, and Ham

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 c fresh mushrooms, chopped

1 c long grain or brown rice
1 c broth
1 c water

1 T lemon juice
2 t dried oregano
6 c baby spinach (about 1/4 lb)
1 c ham, chopped
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Saute the vegetables in a large skillet (with a cover) in olive oil.  Add the rice and stir to coat with oil.  Add the water and broth and simmer covered until liquid is absorbed.  Add the lemon juice through the cheese and toss until spinach is wilted and feta is partially melted.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sesame beef

The sauce that flavors this mixture of beef and green beans is just perfect!  We haven't found any sesame sauce recipe that we like better :-)

It takes very little time to prepare this meal in a wok or large skillet, certainly no more than thirty minutes.

Sesame Beef 

3-1/4 c water
1-1/2 c rice

1 T cornstarch
2 t sesame oil
3 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 t Red pepper flakes

Beef and vegetables:
3 T sesame seeds
Canola oil
1 lb shaved or stir-fry cut beef
1 T garlic, minced
1 T ginger, grated
1/4 c water
3 c fresh green beans
1 c carrots, cut into thick matchsticks
2 - 3 scallions, sliced

Start the rice, boiling the water first, adding the rice, covering and lowering the heat to simmer.

Mix up the sauce in a small bowl, adding the cornstarch to first few liquids and whisking it smooth.  Add the rest of the liquids, stirring well.  Set aside.

In a wok, toast the sesame seeds if they aren't already.  Remove from the wok and set aside.  Stir fry the beef, garlic and ginger together for a few minutes until beef is just done.  Remove from wok and set aside with sesame seeds.  Add  the water and vegetables (except for scallions) to the wok and cover.  Steam cook for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften.  Add the sauce, beef, and sesame seeds to the wok and continue to cook until the meat is reheated and the vegetables are done.

Serve the sesame mixture over rice and top with scallions for garnish.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Fettucini with blue cheese basil sauce

Nothing beats a pasta sauce that uses fresh basil!  The dried stuff is tolerable only when fresh isn't available, and even then I'd probably say to wait until it is!

We love Fettucini with Blue Cheese Basil Sauce.  It's a recipe I've shared before, but having it once a year simply isn't enough.  It's a great vegetarian meal, although it's not low on fat so I wouldn't call it a health food.  It is really quick to make though, so it somewhat redeems itself by being a delicious thirty minute meal  :-)