November 28, 2009

Turkey & Cranberry Quesadillas

Turkey & Cranberry QuesadillasSource:  Closet Cooking
Obviously there are going to be leftovers after Thanksgiving and a few weeks ago I ran across Kevin’s blog and instantly knew this recipe would be a keeper.  I had no idea just how much I’d love the mix of flavors.  My kids couldn’t get enough and the hubs?  Well, let’s just say he at three quesadillas + a quarter of my son’s who couldn’t finish it all!

The flavors meld perfectly.  Let me say it again.  Perfectly.  I even used the jalapeno like it called for and just chopped it up super fine and sprinkled sparingly on the kids’.  I’m not a huge cilantro fan but this worked so well with the cranberry and subtle flavor of turkey.  So stinking easy, this has easily made it into a yearly favorite!


Ingredients:

butter
16 flour tortillas
2 cups turkey, (cooked, shredded)
cranberry sauce (abouuuut 1/2 cup? I just used the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner)
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (again, about 2 cups)

Directions:

1. Melt the butter in a pan on low-medium heat.
2. Prepare 1 tortilla by layering turkey, onions, cilantro, jalapeno, cranberry sauce and cheese (be sure to leave the cheese for last so that when you flip it in the pan, the cheese melts easily)
3.  Carefully transfer prepared tortilla to buttered pan.
4. Heat the tortilla until bottom of tortilla is a golden brown (go ahead and use a spatula to peek).
5.  Butter one side of second tortilla then place over the first in the pan, butter side up.
6.  Carefully slide the spatula under and quickly flip over (this does take some practice!!  Kevin suggested that you can also put a plate on top of the quesadilla in the pan and then flip it onto the plate and slide it from the plate back into the pan to easily flip it without losing the contents.)
7.  Heat until second (now on the bottom) tortilla is browned.
8.  Remove from heat and cut using a pizza cutter.  Serve warm
This made 9 full quesadillas, or 36 quarters.

Best Cranberry Sauce to Date

I’ve made the same cranberry sauce for several years, always going to family’s homes for Thanksgiving dinner and I really liked it.  This year, having Thanksgiving at our house with just the five of us, I wanted something a little bit different so I pulled a few things from different recipes until it sounded right and came up with this.  It was amazing.  Definitely sweeter than a traditional sauce, but I’ll be honest, I like it sweet.  The orange peel added a huge element of tang to it and the sauce has, in one night of gorging become my new go to recipe for cranberry sauce!  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of this sauce – but plan to get one next time I make it.


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Directions:


1. Wash and pick over cranberries. Add all ingredients except cranberries to a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.
2.  Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

November 19, 2009

Savory Stuffed Pork Chops

This is a delightfully filling dish, especially yummy on chillier nights :) I cook for a large family, so I halved this recipe to a more manageable size.

What you need:

6 pork chops
2 cups cooked white rice
3 TBLS olive oil
1 sm onion
2/3 C. chicken broth
1/3 C. ricotta cheese
1/3 C. mozzarella, shredded
4 TBLS Parmesan cheese, grated
3 TBLS dried savory
1 TBLS dried thyme
1 TBLS dried rosemary
1 TSP ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 375*
  • Peel and chop onion. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 TBLS oil over medium heat- add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes
  • Remove skillet from heat. Stir in the rice, 1/3 cup broth, cheeses, and herbs. Mix well.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut a deep horizontal pocket into the chops. Place chops in a large baking dish. Spoon half the rice mixture into the pockets.  Spread the rest of the rice mixture over the top of the chops. Pour remainder of the broth in the dish- add more as needed to prevent the chops from drying out during baking.
  • Bake chops for 1 hour, or until done (because I made twice as many, my cook time was 1 and 1/2 hours). Use a meat thermometer to determine of chops are cooked thoroughly. 

I served this with warm French bread and a garden salad.

November 9, 2009

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
We had company coming and I wanted something really good, really homemade, really simple and something I hadn’t made before.  I saw this recipe weeks ago but hadn’t dared my first attempt at lasagna.  You read right, until now, I’d never made lasagna before!  I figured our friends could be my guinea pigs.  I was so impressed with the way it turned out!  The colors of all the veggies were amazing and the smells coming from the oven were heavenly!
Now that my garden is shriveled up for winter, all our herbs have stopped producing.  I’ve become such an herb snob I felt I was “settling” for dried oregano in this recipe, but felt lucky that I could still find fresh basil in the store.
Don’t let the lengthy directions scare you away – it’s really all very simple, I promise!
I know I use For the Love of Cooking as a huge source of the recipes on my blog but she is such a great inspiration and the stuff I’ve tried and used here is always such a hit with my family!

Vegetable Ingredients (more below)

  • 8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 orange, red or yellow baby bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli florets, chopped (smallish)
  • 1 small handful of shredded carrots
  • 6 cloves of garlic, leave the skins on for roasting
  • 1 green zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil – I used a lot, probably about 12 leaves worth
  • Dried oregano – I couldn’t find fresh so I settled for dried, it was fine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

  1. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Layer all but the zucchini and yellow squash on the sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, season with sea salt, black pepper, basil and oregano to taste and toss to coat.
  3. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add the zucchini and yellow squash to the pan, toss and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Once the garlic cloves cool down, carefully peel the skin off and slice. Add sliced garlic back in with the rest of the veggies.

Ricotta mixture:

  • 1 16 oz. container of fat free ricotta cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoon mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 3-4 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Basil, to taste
  • Dash of nutmeg

Other ingredients:

  • Lasagna noodles (cooked according to directions – I’ve never had any luck with the no cook variety!)
  • Your favorite jar of marinara sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Basil

Directions

Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees

  1. Combine the ricotta mixture ingredients and mix thoroughly. Taste and re-season if needed.
  2. Coat a large glass baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Pour a bit of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish.
  3. Place a few lasagna noodles down to completely cover the bottom of pan. Add half of the ricotta mixture and spread evenly over the noodles. Next add half of the roasted veggie mixture. Cover the veggies with lasagna noodles then sauce. Repeat.
  4. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella, parmesan and dried basil. Bake covered for 30 minutes; remove the cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

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November 4, 2009

Mashed Yams

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Since I don’t know of anyone who could take a pile of cooked mashed yams and make them look appetizing, I chose instead to show them before they were cooked in all their orange-alicious glory!  These turned out much better than I thought, being creamy and flavorful and frankly, perfect!
Ingredients
  • 4 medium fresh yams, peeled and cubed
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions
Bring large pot of water to a full boil.  Add the potatoes and retune to a boil.  Cook until tender (about 30 mins).  Drain then add butter, sugar, cinnamon and mix with hand mixer until smooth.

November 2, 2009

Mini Tomato Basil & Feta Pizzas

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Adapted from:  For the Love of Cooking
Ingredients
  • favorite jar of pizza sauce
  • English muffins
  • 1cup-ish of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup-ish of feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 6-7 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • Sea salt
Directions
Place sliced English muffins in side up on broiler pan and broil at 350 for approximately 3 minutes (depending on your oven) until golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, garlic (careful not to leave clumps) & basil evenly across the muffins. 
Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.
Top with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and pepper.
You could also prepare a regular size crust pizza following the same directions for a crust here.