Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week in a Day Cooking

The last 2 weeks I’ve done “week in a day” cooking.  In other words – I’ve done my cooking for the entire week in a single day.  I got the idea from Rachel Ray’s new Cooking Chanel show (Week in a Day) and it’s such a great time investment!

I love to cook, so it was actually a wonderful way to spend a weekend day.  I’ve decided to dedicate all Sunday afternoons to this effort.  A bottle of wine, a little music, and a lot of cooking.  What better way to start the week?

My “week in a day” tasks actually starts on Saturday.  I select all my recipes for the week, write up my grocery list and go grocery shopping.  When Sunday rolls around – I’m ready to go!  I pile all my food, pots, recipes, etc.. on my counters, pour my glass of wine, and get to cooking.

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Now if I could just catch up my food blogging to my food cooking / eating…!

What I’ve made (all recipes soon to come!):

Week 1: Hungarian Shepard’s Pie, Chicken Tetrazzini, Sloppy Joes, and Chicken Salad.

Week 2: Baked Ziti, Roasted Chicken, Tuna Salad, Vegetable Curry, and Garlic Sautéed Broccoli.

For anyone like me – who’s seriously busy @ work during the week and exhausted and starving when rolling in the door in the evening… – you should try this!  It was not only a fun way to spend my Sunday afternoon but it gave me something to look forward to throughout the week.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hungarian Shepard’s Pie

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This recipe was pulled from Rachel Ray’s new show “Week in a Day”, and guess what?  I actually spent my Sunday cooking for the whole week!  It was a wonderfully fun afternoon of cooking (drinking wine, listening to music, etc…) and it has given me something to look forward to during the busy stressful workweek.

FYI: I cut this recipe in half which is perfect for a 2 person household.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large red bell pepper (or can of roasted red pepper)
  • 2 pounds top sirloin or sirloin tips cut into bite-size pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 to 3 medium carrot, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • About 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • A couple sprigs fresh marjoram, leaves picked and chopped or about 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds starchy potatoes, peeled and cubed or sliced 1-inch thick
  • 2 to 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 to 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • A handful fresh dill, parsley or chives, finely chopped

Directions

Option 1: Char the bell pepper over an open burner flame or under the broiler with the oven door slightly cracked for the steam to escape until black, turning frequently. Place the charred pepper in a bowl until cool enough to handle, then peel the pepper, chop, and reserve.
Option 2: Use canned roasted red pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Meanwhile, pat the meat dry and season liberally with salt and pepper, dredge in flour. Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the meat and brown on both sides. Remove the browned meat to a plate and add the remaining olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, paprika, caraway, marjoram and cook to soften 5 to 6 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and stir 1 minute. Stir in the beef stock and Worcestershire and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and slide the meat and peppers into the pot. Cook 30 minutes, until beef is just tender.

Londyn’s addition: a good splash of red wine to deglaze the pan, then add other sauces and continue recipe.


Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and parsnips until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the hot pot and mash with salt, pepper, butter, sour cream, egg, and herb of choice.
Place the goulash into a casserole dish and top with potatoes.


Bake and brown potatoes under hot broiler on the middle rack of the oven 5 to 7 minutes until golden at edges.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Food – Breakfast Crepes

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Crepes have always been some of my favorite things.  I love both savory and sweet crepes and I have absolutely no idea why I don’t make them more than I do.  This Saturday, I decided to end my crepe fast and made some wonderfully delicious breakfast crepes.  What better way to start a January Saturday morning?

Crepe Recipe (makes 18):

  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1.5 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

The above recipe is a plain crepe recipe that can be made either sweet or savory.  However, to make my breakfast crepes a bit more special I also added:

  • vanilla extract
  • splash of orange juice
  • a few good shakes of cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar

It’s funny to me that so many people refer to crepes as difficult to make, as I find them very easy.  Combine above ingredients and whisk until very smooth.  Then heat a small skillet (6 in) and lightly grease with non-stick spray, butter, or olive oil.  Pour in batter to lightly coat the skillet and lift and tilt skillet so batter is spread evenly.  Cook about a minute and loosen w/ bendy spatula before flipping onto a plate (no need to cook both sides!).  Voila!  Perfect crepes.

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While I was making crepes, my fruit topping was also getting prepped on the stovetop.  Pick whatever combination of fruit you like, then mix them together in a pot with a little sugar, orange juice, and maple syrup.  Let fruit macerate over low heat until softened and sweet.

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For the crepe filling (optional) I just whipped up a few ingredients together top of mind:

  • cream cheese
  • powder sugar
  • splash or orange juice
  • splash of maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • cottage cheese (optional)

Mix together, and spread on crepes before folding.

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Once crepes are made, filled, and folded, top with fruit and powdered sugar.  Then relax with that cup of coffee and embrace your weekend morning (I know I did!).

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quick Cheese Bread

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  • 1 cup grated parm cheese
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly grease loaf pan (8.5x4.5”) and sprinkle w/ 1/2 cup parm.

Whisk together first 6 ingredients.  Fold in cheddar cubes.

Mix remaining ingredients and fold into flour mixture.

Spread in loaf pan and sprinkle w/ remaining parm.

Bake 45-50 mins.  Cool completely before slicing and serving.

*recipe from America’s Test Kitchen*

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rutabaga & Clean Food Cookbook

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I love this cookbook!  Okay, I love all cookbooks, but this one is great for healthy seasonal food.  It’s also very authentic to natural food flavors.

My first recipe was rutabaga puree with orange and ginger.  I almost always oven roast root vegetables and eat with some salt and pepper, so this switch was a pleasant change.

I cut the recipe in half, but the original is as follows:

  • 4-5 rutabagas
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • sea salt

You pretty much put all ingredients together on the stovetop until cook through, then blend in a food processor and enjoy! 

The flavor was great and the orange and ginger very subtle.  The texture was okay for me, but I think I would have liked it even better if it was blended half and half with mashed potatoes.  Another option would be to blend it with a little cream and butter.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Polenta

While polenta (ground cornmeal) may have been considered peasant food in the past, it serves as a hearty and much loved staple for me. 

If you’re a lover of shrimp and grits or the like, then you’ve got to be a lover of polenta.  It’s so simple and fast to make (I use instant and it’s done in less than 5 minutes!). 

Polenta also makes for an effortless dinner when you’re in a rush or simply exhausted from a long day and don’t feel like slaving over a hot stove.  Sauté some vegetables and/or brown some chicken breasts and serve them over polenta for a satisfying meal.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cookbook Creation

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This weekend (okay it actually took 2 weekends worth of work…) was filled with creating my own cookbook!

I have TONS of recipes.  Print outs, creations of my own, hand me downs… you name it!  So I decided to finally organize them all and put them into a cookbook of my own.  So I sat down with a lovely light lunch (above) and got to work.

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finito!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Quinoa & Veggie Sauté

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Quinoa isn’t a common used grain (actually a seed…), but it can be quite tasty and a good switch from the standard rice blend.

Per Buzzle.com: “Quiona is high in protein and includes all the nine essential amino acids supplements. It is the choice of grains for vegans, as it helps them take in the adequate amount of proteins, required in a healthy diet. It contains lysine, an amino acid that is very important for the growth of tissues and repair mechanism. It is an excellent source of magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorous and even manganese. It has slow releasing, high level of carbohydrates, that give the stomach a full feeling for a long time. Thus, making it good for people who are watching their weight and need to maintain adequate blood sugar levels.”

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I cooked my quinoa in chicken broth to give it a rich flavor, and simply mixed it with a sauté of vegetables including yellow & red pepper, lima beans, zucchini, greens, garlic and onion.

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I really enjoyed the color and flavor blend; it was such a healthy meal!  It was absolutely hardy enough to be a meal in itself, but would also serve as a great side dish.