Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Portobello-Broccoli Stir-Fry

This stir-fry is chock full of nutrients, which makes up for the white rice. Mushrooms offer a lot of selenium, and red bell peppers have a ton of vitamin C, as does broccoli. I felt healthier after eating this! The sauce is a fairly standard brown stir-fry sauce, and I felt that it could've used some more hoisin sauce. I also added Sriracha for a bit of a kick.

Portobello-Broccoli Stir-Fry
source: Eat Better America


1 1/3cups uncooked regular long-grain white rice
2 2/3cups water

1/4cup water
2tablespoons soy sauce
1tablespoon hoisin sauce
2teaspoons cornstarch
1teaspoon honey

1(6-oz.) pkg. portobello mushroom caps
1medium onion, cut into thin wedges
1small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1garlic clove, minced
3cups fresh broccoli florets (about 6 oz.)
1/4cup water

1. Cook rice in 2 2/3 cups water as directed on package. Cover to keep warm.
2.Meanwhile, in small nonmetal bowl, combine all sauce ingredients; blend well. Set aside.
3.With small metal spoon, scrape underside of mushroom caps to remove dark gills and stems. Cut mushroom caps into 3/4-inch pieces.
4.Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook and stir 3 minutes.
5.Add broccoli and 1/4 cup water; cover and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add sauce; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and thickened. Serve over rice.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Salmon Pesto Pasta

I was looking for something slightly special to make for this weekend, not for any particular reason, but mainly because I get tired of eating out on the weekend and sometimes it's just nice to relax at home. I stumbled upon this pasta, verified that salmon was on special at the grocery store, and happily put it on the menu. Bridget says that this is one of her husband's favorite meals, so I was sure mine would like it as well.

The pesto and salmon make it seem so rich and special, but it's quite easy to throw together, particularly if you buy the pesto or have it already made. Timing wise, it works out perfectly also. I will certainly be making this again, perhaps for dinner guests!

Salmon Pesto Pasta


8 oz pasta

12 oz salmon

salt and pepper

1 tsp grated lemon zest

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon juice

5 oz evaporated milk

1/2 cup pesto

grated parmesan, for serving


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta; stir to separate pasta. Cook pasta until al dente; drain. Pour evaporated milk into empty pot and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to ¼ cup. Add cooked pasta to pot and stir to combine.

2. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Line a baking sheet or pan with aluminum foil. Season skinless side of salmon liberally with salt and pepper, sprinkle with zest, then rub with olive oil. Broil until salmon is no longer translucent and is firm when pressed, about 10 minutes. Remove from broiler and sprinkle with lemon juice. Use fork to flake into bite-sized pieces. Skin will stick to foil and can be discarded.

3. Add salmon to pasta mixture and stir over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Top with parmesan.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Calzones

Please believe me when I say that these taste a lot better than they look. I was having a rough night. My wonderful husband Joe is so good about not complaining when I make food that some guys wouldn't touch. He never grumbles about how he would rather have a cheeseburger and never rolls his eyes when our meals are meatless. I recently found out that he is a big fan of buffalo chicken but doesn't like wings because they're so messy, so I wanted to make him a special meal that was geared towards his tastes rather than just mine.

I was hoping that the calzones would be a little spicier, but they have good flavor from the hot pepper sauce. I combined two recipes, taking what I liked from each of them, and ended up with slightly too much filling, which Joe gladly ate from a bowl. Next time I will make my own pizza dough since I seem to have terrible luck with store-bought dough.

Buffalo Chicken Calzones with Bleu Cheese Dipping Sauce
inspired by Taste of Home and Food Network

1 lb pizza dough
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
2 tsp plus 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce, divided
3 tbsp butter
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup pizza sauce

For dip:
1/3 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
1 cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
Melt butter in a hot skillet and cook chicken thoroughly until opaque throughout and no pink remains.
In a bowl, mix together pizza sauce and 2 tsp hot pepper sauce; set aside.
When chicken is cooked through, reduce heat and add 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce, tossing to coat. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain chicken if necessary.
In another bowl, mix together bleu cheese and sour cream.
Divide dough in half and roll out into circles.
Place half of pizza sauce mixture, chicken, and mozzarella cheese into each calzone, close, and seal the edges by pinching the dough.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dough is browned. Serve with bleu cheese dip.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chicken, Red Grape, and Pesto Pizza

I found my camera! And I realized I had forgotten that I had made this chicken, red grape, and pesto pizza when I posted my recipe round-up, so it gets its own entry complete with photo. This meal is a little semi-homemade, but you could do it completely homemade if you were so inclined. That would just involve making the pesto and pizza dough from scratch ahead of time.

I tend to prefer pizzas without tomato sauce, so I loved the pesto base. The fresh mozzarella adds a lot of flavor and creaminess, and the juiciness and sweetness of the grapes is a nice unique twist.

Chicken, Red Grape, and Pesto Pizza
source: Cooking Light, September 2009

1 whole wheat pre-made crust (like Boboli)
1/3 cup refrigerated pesto
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 oz shredded skinless, boneless chicken breast, cooked
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
3 tbsp grated Romano cheese
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onions


1. Preheat oven to 425-degrees with pizza stone inside (if desired).
2. Spread pesto evenly over pizza crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Spread grapes evenly over pesto, and top with chicken. Place garlic and mozzarella over grapes and chicken. Sprinkle with Romano cheese and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with onions.

Friday, September 18, 2009

No-Camera Recipe Round-Up

My camera has gone MIA (I think it fell out of my purse either at Pickin' Party or Shakespeare in the Park last weekend), but I've still been cooking. I lost some of the pictures of entries that I was planning to do, but I'll post them here anyway.

I made this Mexican Chicken Casserole that was adopted from Cooking Light by Mrs. Sac's Purple Kitchen. It was creamy and cheesy but not quite as bad for you as the real deal. Another plus, it uses evaporated skim milk instead of a cream-of-something soup. Like Mrs. Sac, I subbed a jalapeno for the canned green chiles, and that packed some real heat!

Cate's World Kitchen provided me with this soba and spinach salad. I tried to skip some steps, overcooked the soba, and ended up with a gloppy mess. The flaw was not at all in the recipe though, and I'd like to try it again since I love tofu, soba, peanut butter, and spinach.

I had really wanted to try cooking mussels after seeing this recipe for Coconut and Basil Steamed Mussels in the June 2009 Cooking Light, and I finally did it. The broth for this was creamy but spicy, and the mussels turned out deliciously. This pairs perfectly with a crisp white wine.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Coffee-Ginger Crusted Steaks

Labor Day Weekend, the official end of summer. Contrary to how things usually roll, Joe was off of work, and I had classes and work, but we were able to celebrate the first week in our new place. Steaks were on-sale for the grilling holiday, and Publix had a delicious sounding recipe in their weekly circular. Even though I had both coffee beans and gingersnaps on hand, I never would've thought of combing the two. This had a delicious, unique flavor. I would recommend using decaffeinated coffee beans, particularly if you're sensitive to caffeine. I served this with roasted asparagus and grilled corn.

Coffee-Ginger Crusted Steaks
source: Publix

1 1/2 lbs grilling steaks (I used a NY strip steak.)
2/3 cup gingersnaps
1/3 cup whole coffee beans
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat grill. Place cookies and coffee beans in food processor; pulse until finely ground. Place mixture on plate.
  2. Season steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Coat both sides of steaks with coffee bean mixture; press with fingertips to evenly coat.
  3. Place steaks on grill; close lid. Grill 3–5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 145°F [for medium-rare]. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure desired doneness.
    Note: Steaks may be cooked in grill pan preheated on medium-high. Lightly coat pan with canola oil. Cook time will be about the same.
  4. Remove steaks from grill and let stand 3–5 minutes. Cut into 4 portions and serve.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Asian-Marinated Flank Steak

Maybe my iron is low or maybe it's the fact that I live behind an O'Charley's and can smell their hamburgers every time I leave the house, but I've been craving red meat. And besides the 24-hour marinating time, this meal came together in about 20 minutes. The nutmeg infuses the meat with a lot of warmth, and I was pleased that I could actually taste it. I also figured out the key to perfectly done meat on the grill - use the meat thermometer!

The recipe said to reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade as a sauce for the meat, but since my flank steak was larger, I went ahead and used it all as a marinade and didn't miss it during the meal. I served this with the rest of the fiery slaw and steamed sugar snap peas.

Asian-Marinated Flank Steak
source: Cooking Light March 2009

3 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1 lb) flank steak, trimmed (Mine was the smallest I found at 1.75 lbs)

1. Combine hoisin sauce through garlic cloves in small bowl. Put mixture into a large freezer bag, along with steak, and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally. After 24 hours, remove steak from bag, and discard marinade.

2. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

3. Coat grill rack with cooking spray, and place steak on it. Grill approximately 4 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer registers 145-degrees for medium-rare (or desired degree of doneness). Let steak stand, covered with aluminum foil, for 5 minutes. Cut steak at a 45-degree angle across the grain into thin slices and serve.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Crispy Skin Salmon with Fiery Asian Slaw

I'm back! My absence was due to something very exciting: purchasing and moving into our first house. I'll take pictures of the kitchen once it's a little more set up, but it's got a lot more counter and cabinet space than the house we were renting. The downside is that I'm back to using an electric range instead of gas. We also were without internet for about a week, so I actually had to draw on my cooking magazines and cookbooks for meal planning, which ended up being an unexpected boon and something I hope to do more often.

Cooking Light recently re-designed their magazine, and it looks amazing. I love the changes, and this month's issue has a bunch of recipes that I look forward to trying. This one was very fast and full of flavor. The slaw was quite spicy, and if you are sensitive to spicy foods, decrease the amount of Sriracha. I made the full amount of slaw and served it with the next night's dinner. It makes a lot though.

Crispy Skin Salmon with Fiery Asian Slaw
source: Cooking Light, September 2009
Yield 4 servings

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon bottled ground fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (16-ounce) package cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt and pepper over salmon fillets. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add salmon, skin-side down, to pan and cook 4 minutes. Turn salmon and cook an additional 3 minutes. Add orange juice to the pan, cooking until it almost evaporates and fish flakes easily with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, combine rice vinegar and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add remaining salt, cilantro, and coleslaw, tossing well to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
3. Serve salmon with slaw.