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Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

Something different tonight.  The first part of the week was a fabulous food week!  It is best to end it the same way!  I picked up some sea scallops, which are one of my favorite sea foods!  Asparagus is fresh at the market this week.  Here we go for one of the best gourmet meals at home.  Please note, I live in a rural area so this is a real treat for us!

  • 10 sea scallops, patted dry
  • 10 slice smoked bacon, cooked halfway
  • 1 c fresh asparagus spears, 1 inch chunks
  • 1 c fresh tomato, diced, seeds removed
  • 1/4 c Kalamata olives, diced
  • 1 c high fiber pasta
  • 1/4 c fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded

Wrap each scallop in a partially cooked bacon slice, secured with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring 5 c water to a boil, seasoned with salt.  Cook pasta according to directions.  Add asparagus 2 minutes before the pasta is done, Drain and reserve.

Heat a heavy skillet or grill pan to medium heat. Season the pan with extra virgin olive oil.  Sear the scallops 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through,  By drying the scallops, you should get a nice sear on them.

Drain the pasta. Add the pesto, tomato, diced olives  and drained pasta/asparagus to the pot  Toss and top with Parmesan  cheese.

I kind of live in a rural area where most dining places offer some kind of beef with an iceberg salad and corn (nothing green).  So, this is really something special  Seafood and greens!  Simple, fast and so so good!  The best part is that the pesto pasta works just as good for a cold salad lunch the next day!  

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Veggie Lasagna

Ok. So this is not the easiest, a little labor intensive.  But, oh so worth it!

Hon says “how can it be lasagna without meat?”.  I say, “Just give it a try, it’ll be good!”.  And it was!   Don’t forget the mozzarella or Provolone cheese for the top!

Just kidding! Not really, that is what the plate looked like when he was done!  Here is before we ate:

First, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Then…

  • 1/2 c chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 c chopped carrot
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 c chopped bell pepper (I used sweet red)
  • 14 oz can diced tomato, drained

Mix this stuff together, saute` in 1 TB extra virgin olive oil and set aside.

  • 1 c low fat ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c fresh basil pesto
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix together and set aside.

  • 9 lasagna  noodles, par boiled about 6-7 minutes, drained

Reserve.

  • 2 TB butter
  • 2-3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 TB flour
  • 2 c flour
  • Salt and pepper

Melt butter over medium low heat, add garlic and cook about a minute.  Whisk in the flour.  Whisk in the milk until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).  Add 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste.

Spray baking dish (9×6 is what I used).  Spread 1/4 c sauce in the bottom of the pan.  Layer as follows:

  1. Noodles
  2. Ricotta/pesto mix
  3. Shredded mozzarella (1/4-1/2 per layer)
  4. Veggie mix
  5. Repeat 1 through 4 three times

Layer the top with mozzarella or Provolone.   Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until the cheese on top is lightly browned.   I was going to add eggplant to the veggie mix but, maybe next time!  This would be perfect with some shredded cooked chicken or perhaps, some shrimp!  Yum!

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I love  curry!  This stems back to grad school from one of my study groups.  We were getting together for a year end exam cram session.  Our Indian friend offered to cook chicken curry.  That, honestly, was the first time I ever ate authentic curry!  The thing about curry is that everyone makes it differently.  I have read many, many, many curry recipes and have kind of tailored mine to what I have on hand on the day I am making it.  Tonight, we have the following, including one of my favorite vegetables – eggplant:

  • 3 to 4 chicken thighs, skinless (I leave the bone in as I think it adds flavor)
  • 1-2 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup eggplant, peeled and diced (I actually froze some from my garden so I had some on hand)
  • 1 cup sweet, frozen peas – thawed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB fresh grated ginger (tip – buy the ginger fresh and keep it in your freezer, grate what you need and return to the freezer)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, fat free
  • 2-3 TB  Curry Powder (I used Penzey’s Hot Curry Powder). However, I would suggest using what you like – some like it hot and some like it sweeter.  Curry is a very individual thing.  There is definitely something for everyone!

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of the curry powder.

Heat oil in heavy, deep pan (I used a 4 inch deep coated cast iron).

Brown seasoned chicken thighs in oil.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add onion and eggplant to pan and saute’ until onions are translucent.

Add minced garlic and grated ginger.  Simmer about a minute.

Add chicken stock & water.  Nestle the browned chicken thighs into the liquid. Add the remaining curry powder.  Simmer covered for about a half hour to an hour, turning thighs occasionally.

Remove cover.  Continue simmering for a bit longer until the chicken is tender.

Okay…  at this point, I got a call from a neighbor about his dog, Zelda (she is a wonderful dog – oh! by the way, did I mention, I love dogs!).  Fortunately, it appeared that she might just have an ear infection.  I cleaned Zelda’s ears and recommended he seek the services of our local veterinarian in the morning.

The beauty of this recipe is you can shut the burner off (cover the pot) for an hour (mind the 2 hour rule to avoid our not-so-much-friend, Mr. Sal Manilla).  So! If you took a break, reheat the pot then…

Add coconut milk and heat through.  Add thawed peas.

Stir in Greek yogurt and serve over cooked jasmine rice.  Yum!  I added an extra dollop of yogurt on top for fun!

Now I don’t know if peas really belong but I really like them in curry.  I know eggplant definitely belongs!  The rich, buttery goodness…  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  I see raisins and diced apple in curry quite often.  I like adding apples but I am not so fond of the raisins (just a personal preference). I think fresh chopped cilantro is delicious (I did not have any on hand, again!).  I think that curried dishes are very flexible and can definitely be made to an individual’s taste.

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So it is Valentine’s Day and really, I have never been much into it.  It reminds me of the Valentine’s Day Massacre.  Bloody, death, ick!   Besides, my wedding anniversary is just before February 14 so we don’t put much effort into the actual Valentine thing.  No need to duplicate  efforts in so short of time.  So tonight, something simple and easy, but, delicious!

Gotta love chicken thighs – they have so much flavor!

  • 4 bone in chicken thighs, skinless
  • your favorite chicken seasoning (I used a Greek style with oregano, lemon and garlic)
  • 1 bread crumbs with 1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese tossed in

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bread crumb mixture in a bowl. Prepare a baking pan by spraying with cooking spray.

Season the chicken thighs with your favorite seasoning.  I like to add a little fresh ground black pepper, just for kicks!

Quickly spray the chicken with a little baking spray, just to make the bread crumb mixture stick.  Dip the top sides of the chicken thighs in the bread crumbs.  Place on baking pan with top side up.  I like to sprinkle a little more bread crumbs on top. Then spray with olive oil.

Bake in pre-heated oven about 35-40  minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the crust is crispy and lightly browned.  Alternately, if you have boneless skinless chicken thighs, it only takes about 20 minutes.  Granted, the bones do add some cooking time but, I believe that the bones add flavor!

Let the chicken rest 5-10 minutes before serving.  I just served it up with a pasta and veggie salad!  Hope all the lovers out there are enjoying the eve (and their food!). We are just about to eat because we are hungry!

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First, sorry for the delay.  I would absolutely like to thank Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls for the Versatile Blogger Award.  I am extremely flattered because, as you all know, I am pretty new at this.  I am still getting the hang of food blogging, especially the photo part (not the  best yet…).  I don’t have a lot of natural light and I think that is reflected in my photos.  I really cannot wait until Spring so I can get outside and get in the sunshine!


There are literally hundreds of versions of green chile stew.  As a tribute to Ann, I am sharing my version of Green Chile Stew.   That is because, had it not been for Ann, I would probably never have tasted this exceptional type of dish – chock full roasted green chiles, garlic, onions and potatoes.  Yes, these are some of my favorite things!  I dug through my freezer until I found the last of my fresh frozen roasted green chiles.  That being the case, I am hoping for a very good chile pepper gardening year this summer.  Either Mother Nature cooperates with my garden this year, or, I will have to get to New Mexico (of course there is always mail order…)!

I understand that I am to nominate five other bloggers when I receive this honor.   I, again, remind you that I still pretty new at this and I am still discovering new blogs.  So, picking five blogs is kind of difficult for me.  Therefore, I am nominating bloggers who I have found interesting in their prose, topics, recipes or photos.  Again, Ann, thank you very much for your tips and support.  And thank you to everyone who has visited my blog.

1.  adelaidefood

2.  drizzleanddip

3. savorymomentsblog

4. digginfood

5. gardenofeatingblog

On with the stew…

  • 1 lb ground venison (or beef, pork, chicken, turkey, whatever you like)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 c potatoes, diced (about4 medium, I like to leave the skin on ~ I used red skin potatoes)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 c green chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped
  •  black pepper
  • salt
  • 5 c water (approximate)
  • 3 TB canola oil

Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Add 1 TB oil.  Crumble ground meat into oil, season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  When meat is browned, remove to a bowl and reserve.

Add remaining 2 TB oil to the same pot.  Add chopped onions and diced potatoes.  Season with 1 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring frequently until onions are translucent and the the vegetables are just starting to brown a little.  Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Add green chiles and another 1 tsp black pepper.  Stir well.  Return browned meat to the pot.  Cover the vegetables and meat with water.  Mine took 5 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Simmer until the potatoes are just starting to fall apart.

At this point, feel free to serve up the stew with fresh warmed flour tortillas.   I actually served mine with quesadillas filled with sharp cheddar cheese and fresh chopped cilantro.

 

The stew is even better the next day!  As an added bonus, the stew is a wonderful gravy for breakfast burritos ~ wheat flour tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs and cheese.  Oh so good!

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Pesto Salmon

5:30 am. Can’t sleep.  Get up hon, lets go to town.  By the time we actually got out of the house and on the road, it was about 7:00 which was a good thing because the fish market opened at 8:00 and they had fresh salmon.  Hon says, “let’s have salmon for dinner”. I like salmon.  It is fast and healthy.  There is a salmon dish that I make in the summer with puff pastry, fresh tomatoes and pesto (thank you Giada de Laurentiis!) which I absolutely love ~ so fresh and delicious!  I had a jar of pesto (I prefer to make my own, but my basil plant did not make the transfer in doors last autumn).

This is so simple, dinner is on the table in less than 20 minutes!

  • 1 lb fresh salmon filet (wild if it is in season), pin bones removed.  Leave the skin on for the cooking process.
  • pesto
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut the salmon filet into about 1 1/2 to 2 inch wide portions.  Spread 1 TB of pesto on the raw filets.

You need a skillet that is oven-safe (no plastic handles).  Heat oil in the skillet over medium heat.  Place filets skin side down in the skillet.  Cook until the salmon is cooked about 1/4 inch up from the bottom.  Place the skillet in the pre-heated oven.  Set the timer for 10 minutes.  That’s it!  So fast!

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It is my understanding that orecchiette means “little ears”, which is kind of funny when you think about it.  “What did you have for dinner last night?  Ears.”  Hm.

Anyway, in digging through the refrigerator today, I found some bell peppers, smoked sausage and green onions.  I was thinking about a shape of pasta that would hold up to the heartiness of the sausage. I found a box of orecchiette in my pantry.  This little pasta is great for sauces because the little “ears” hold on to the sauce.  I figured if I diced the sausage and veggies, it would go well.  So here we go ~ an adventure in cooking, no recipe needed! (Ok, I did write down what I used for your convenience).  Enjoy!

  • 4 oz lean smoked sausage, diced
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 c sweet bell peppers, diced (I used red, yellow and orange)
  • 1 c green onions, cut into about a 1/2 inch slice
  • 1 c small fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c blanched kale, chopped
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 4 oz orechiette pasta

Cook pasta according to instructions on the box in salted water.  Drain and reserve pasta water.

In heavy skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add red pepper and cook for a minute to release the heat from the pepper.  Sear sausage in the skillet until lightly browned.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add peppers and mushrooms to the same skillet and saute` for a few minutes. Add onions and garlic, saute` another minute or two. Remove veggies to the same bowl the sausage is reserved in.

Add white wine to the skillet along with 1/2 c reserved pasta water.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape any crunchies from the bottom of the skillet.  Let the liquid reduce by about half.  Add the kale and heat through.

Return the sausage and veggies to the skillet.  Add the pasta and toss well.  Cook just long enough to heat through.

On a side note, I really like mustard seeds in my smoked sausage.  I love when I bite into a little mustard seed, feel the pop in my mouth and the release of the yummy spiciness of the mustard!  The sausage I used did not have any mustard seeds in it.  So, I pickled some mustard seeds and tossed them in.  If you want to add these little gems of spiciness to your dish, just do the following:

  • 2 TB mustard seeds
  • 2 TB malt vinegar
  • 1/3 c chicken or beef broth

Mix all in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove the seeds and discard the liquid.  And, there you go!


This dish actually turned out really delicious.  Very colorful too.  The kale was actually an afterthought to give the dish a shot of fiber, but it worked!  There were a lot of textures with the pasta, sausage, crispy veggies and the kale has a texture all its own.  Some people think kale is just for garnish but it is chock full of fiber and vitamins and so good for you!

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