March 29, 2011

Some Other Mom’s Goulash

Goulash

A nickel's worth of goulash beats a five dollar can of vitamins.  Martin H. Fischer

My dad was the one who introduced me to goulash and, only getting to visit him in the summers, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by telling him it was the worst tasting thing I think I’d ever eaten in my young life.  It had hot dogs and macaroni noodles and lots of too-runny tomatoey sauce and, if I remember right, beer.  Nasty.  Just nasty.  This, found at Annie’s Eats, is nothing like dad’s goulash.  This doesn’t really say goulash to me, more of an Italian weeknight meal, but call it what you want, it’s fast, simple and tasty! 

You can easily substitute the sausage with beef, turkey, chicken, whatever you have on hand.  I should have used the leftover beef from the Shredded Beef and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas we had the other night, but opted to use the sausage that desperately needed to be used.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. beef sausage link
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 lb. penne
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish.

1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil. 

2.  Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat & drain off the excess fat.  Stir in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, basil, oregano, and salt to taste.  Stir in the 1/3 cup of water.  Reduce the heat and simmer on low for 5 minutes. 

3.  Add pasta to the boiling pot of water and cook according to directions.

4.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, and egg.  Mix well to blend.  Stir in the green onions.

5.  Spread a very thin layer of the tomato sauce mixture over the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with half of the cooked, drained pasta.  Spread half of the sour cream mixture over the pasta, then top with half of the remaining tomato sauce mixture.   Repeat layers with the remaining pasta, sour cream mixture and tomato sauce mixture.  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella evenly over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbling.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Saltine Cracker Toffee

Saltine Cracker Toffee

Source:  The Girl Who Ate Everything

This stuff reminds me of all the things my friends always had at their houses that my mom and I never had at ours.  I was a jealous child.  Other kids had things like cheesy quesadillas, grilled cheese with Velveeta and white bread.  We had things like whole grain bread, real cheese, vegetables and fruit.  I just couldn’t comprehend why my mom tortured me so!

I get it now, and enjoy torturing my own children with such things as organic vegetables, whole grains and 100% juice, but once in a while, I like to break out the “poor folks” junk food and get a little old school!

Ingredients

  • 40 salted saltine crackers or enough to line your pan
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and

  1. Line a cookie sheet or jelly with saltine crackers in a single layer.
  2. In a small pot combine sugar and butter then bring to a boil.  Continue to boil for three minutes. It should be a deep caramel color. Immediately pour over saltines then spread to cover crackers completely.
  3. Bake 5 to 6 minutes – it’ll be bubbly.  Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let them sit a couple of minutes to melt.
  4. Spread melted chocolate with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.  Cool completely and break into pieces.

March 24, 2011

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I had a friend over and needed to whip up something sweet, in a hurry, and this recipe from Our Best Bites had been sitting in my “snacks” favorite folder for quite some time – perfect excuse to get them made!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. grated orange or lemon peel
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

Streusel Topping

  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and citrus peel in a large bowl . Make a well in the center of the mixture.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and oil.  Add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
  3. In another small bowl, combine the remaining flour and sugar then toss the blueberries in this mixture until they are well-coated. Gently fold the blueberry mixture into the batter. Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins, filling 2/3 full.

For streusel topping:

  1. Combine the topping ingredients.
  2. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Sprinkle over the batter and bake for 18 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
  4. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

March 19, 2011

Strawberry Scones

Strawberry Scones

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens April 2011

Somehow, in making these, I managed to miss the part where I was supposed to add the basil and strawberries so when I went to cut the wedges and all that was left was to bake, I wondered just when the strawberries came into play.  I hate to blame my six year old but, I do.  He was helping me make these and is just too cute for me to pay close attention the recipe. 

I gathered the cream-slathered wedges of dough, re-kneaded with the strawberries and basil and hoped they’d turn out alright.  Thankfully all was not lost as these turned out very good!  They have a biscuit like texture and aren’t too sweet but have a very summery flavor with the sweet strawberries and herby basil.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • heavy cream
  • sugar

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 400*

  1. In a large bowl stir together flour, 2 Tablespoons fugar, baking powder, and salt.  Using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the butter until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Gently toss in strawberries and basil.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together eggs and cream.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once, then gently stir just till combined.
  3. Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead the dough until several times until it’s well incorporated.  Transfer to a parchment lined cooking sheet and pat into a 3/4 inch-thick circle.  Cut into 8 equal wedges and pull slightly apart.
  4. Brush each wedge with additional cream then sprinkle with sugar. 
  5. Bake 16 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm and refrigerate any leftovers; reheat 15 seconds in the microwave.

March 18, 2011

Fish Tacos with Lime Sauce

Fish Tacos with Lime Sauce

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens April 2011

I doubled the original measurements (below) because the recipe said it serves four.  It guess it’s talking some big, hungry adults because I had a ton of fish left over.  Which is fine because that means we can have them for lunch tomorrow and not Kraft Mac ‘N Cheese.  These were fabulous!  Light and relatively healthy despite being “fried”, it was a perfect spring evening dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. tilapia fillets
  • 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 8 small flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • olive oil
  • salt

Directions

  1. Cut tilapia into bite size pieces.
  2. Juice 2 of the limes into a small bowl then add mayonnaise and chili powder.  Whisk till combined. 
  3. Pour 1/3 cup of the sauce into a medium bowl and toss fish pieces until combined.
  4. In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. 
  5. In a shallow bowl combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  6. Working with half the fish at at time, lightly toss in flour mixture and add to hot oil.  Cook 3-5 minutes, browning on all sides by flipping with large plastic spatula and careful to keep in a single layer.  Remove fish to paper towel to drain.  Move onto second batch and repeat.
  7. Wrap tortillas in a towel and microwave for 30 seconds.  Top each tortilla with fish and cabbage then drizzle with reserved lime sauce.
  8. Quarter the last lime and squeeze over each tortilla.

March 17, 2011

Grilled Artichokes

Grilled Artichokes

I made the Paleo Girls frittata a few nights ago (forgive my laziness at not posting that recipe – I’ll get to it, but my picture was BAD so I’ll snap it and post next time I prepare it) and served these grilled beauties with it.  Kids love them, The Man love them, I loved them.

The last time I made artichokes, I steamed them and they were good but then I saw this recipe for grilled ‘chokes at Paleo Girls and I couldn’t wait to try them out!  Despite the many steps to getting these ready, the steps are simple and quick to follow. 

To eat an artichoke, you just pull off a petal, grasp it between your teeth and scrape the ‘meat’ off to enjoy – the deeper you get into the artichoke, the more tender the meat will be and the easier it will come off.

1. cut the stem off, leaving about 1/2 an inch

2. cut off the top inch or so, revealing all the layers.

3.  using kitchen shears, cut the thorns off each leaf tip

4. turn upside down on cutting board and slice in half, lengthwise

5.  with a spoon, scoop out all the hairy, purpley stuff

6.  as you work, and before you move onto the next artichoke, drop each half of prepared ‘choke into a large bowl of water that’s been doused with the juice of one lemon.  This’ll keep them fresh looking and they won’t brown.

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 6 large artichokes
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra -virgin olive oil

Directions

1.  In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup lemon juice, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.  Whisk in the oil till mixed. 

2.  Brush the artichokes with the marinade.

3.  Grill immediately for about 5 minutes on each side, or they can be refrigerated for a few hours until you’re ready to grill.  Any left over marinade can be used for dipping, but I didn’t think it needed any extra zing, they were perfect! 

March 16, 2011

Mexican Cherry Tomato Salad

Mexican Cherry Tomato Salad

Source, Pink Parsley.  Simple, fast and healthy, this makes a refreshing meal that has plenty of protein without the meat.

Ingredients

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, rinsed and quartered
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 small white onion, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • black pepper
  • 1 can (about 2 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 oz. can corn
  • 2 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese

Directions

1.  Toss the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar in a medium bowl; let stand for up to 30 minutes.

2.  Transfer to a colander and toss with rubber spatula until excess liquids have been removed.  Some seeds may sneak into the liquid – that’s ok.  You could use a salad spinner for this part to remove most of the juice and seeds.  I didn’t, and had a lot of seeds in the liquid and still in the tomatoes.  No big.  You should have between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid reserved, discard any excess.

3.  Return tomatoes to the bowl and set aside. 

4.  Add the liquid to a small saucepan with the garlic, red pepper flakes, shallot, and vinegar.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced to 3 Tablespoons, 6 to 8 minutes.  Transfer mixture to a small bowl, and allow to cool about 5 minutes.  Whisk in the oil and lime juice, and season with salt and pepper.

7.  To the bowl with the tomatoes, add the black beans, corn, scallions, cilantro, and Pepper Jack.  Toss with the dressing and serve.

March 8, 2011

Greek Chicken and Sausage

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Simply?  This was just yummy.  No way around it!  During my trip to Florida for my third half marathon, my friend, gracious host that he is, prepared this dish for us one night.  When I ate it the first time, I’d had a “few” drinks so I wondered if it was really as good as I remembered, and while it seems food never quite tastes the same when you cook it for yourself, this was just as good!  I made a few changes from his instructions because I wanted it as simple and quick as possible. 

I served this with a side salad tossed with a 1/4 cup evoo, teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a clove garlic, chopped, and a healthy sprinkle of garlic salt.  Recipe also courtesy of said Floridian friend.

Ingredients

Pre-heat oven to 350*

  • 10 chicken tenders
  • 1 pound turkey sausage (link), chopped bite size
  • 8-10 fingerling potatoes, cut bite size
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • oregano
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • juice from one lemon
  • feta cheese

Directions

1.  Place chicken in oiled 13x9 inch dish and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper.  Now sprinkle with oregano.

2.  Add sausage and lemon juice.  Drizzle with olive oil.

3.  Add garlic, olives and potatoes.

4.  Cover with foil and cook for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

5.  Sprinkle with feta just before serving.

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March 2, 2011

Smoked Salmon & Linguine

Smoked Salmon Linguine

Bored, and looking for something new to make, I found this recipe on Antics of a Cycling Cook.  His recipe calls for milliliters and “rocket leaves”.  Having all but failed math, I had to Google the measurement conversions and found out rocket leaves is another way of saying arugula (which I’d never tried).  I made a few small changes, but the recipe whipped up surprisingly fast and far surpassed my expectations of taste!  The sauce was light and lemony and coated all the pasta perfectly.

I bought the individually wrapped salmon, frozen.  I tossed them, wrap and all in a sink of hot water to defrost for about 5 minutes, removed the wrapper, then generously coated each side of each fillet with McCormick Grill Mates Sweet and Smoky dry Rub (next time I’ll just coat one side – it was plenty of flavor for the mild salmon).  I put each fillet on a sheet of heavy duty foil and barbequed for about 5 minutes each side and them set them aside while the pasta and sauce came together.  If you don’t have the McCormick Rub, you could easily toss something like this together instead.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped.
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 oz. linguine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 salmon fillets, cooked
  • juice of one lemon
  • Black pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup arugula, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small pan then add onions and garlic stirring frequently to keep garlic from browning.
  2. Once water boils, add pasta and while it cooks; by this time the onions should be softened.  Add the cream, lemon juice and black pepper to the onions.
  3. Once the pasta has cooked, drain then stir in sauce and toss to coat.  At this point you can add the salmon in pieces, or you can slice it and place on top of your pasta just before serving.
  4. Toss the arugula over your prepared plate and enjoy!