Friday, April 17, 2015

Zucchini Linguini in Avocado Cream Sauce with Grilled Chicken Breasts

I got a spiralizer, and I have come to adore vegetable noodles.  What's not to love, easy to make, quick to cook, tasty and satisfying, AND they are healthy!!!!  I was grilling chicken breasts to make my husbands favorite sandwich, and usually just have the chicken on a salad for myself.  I was getting tired of salad.  I wanted substance!  Zucchini noodles in avocado sauce gave me substance!


Grilled Chicken:

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup olive oil

3-4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)

Avocado Cream Sauce:

2 avocados

handful of cilantro leaves

juice of 1/2 a lime

2 T olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

` Zucchini noodles and additions:

2 small zucchini or 1 medium/large, spiralized

8 grape tomatoes, sliced

3 slices Pepper jack cheese

Combine first five ingredients and pour over chicken breasts in an dish with cover or ziplock bag and refrigerate.  Let marinate over night or for a few hours.  

Once chicken has marinated, preheat grill to medium high heat.  Place chicken breasts on grill, and cook, for 7-8 minutes on each side.  Allow to cool for five minutes, and then slice diagonally.  

While grill is preheating, peel and pit avocados and place in food processor.  Add cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.    Process until smooth and creamy sauce developed.

While chicken is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and use spiralizer or whatever veggie/noodle maker you have, make zucchini noodles, and slice tomatoes.  Place zucchini noodles and tomatoes in an oven proof dish like a pie plate, and toss together.  

Once chicken is grilled and sliced, place on baking sheet and top with pepper jack cheese. Place chicken and zucchini/tomato dishes in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.

When noodles are tender and warm, toss with avocado cream sauce and top with chicken and cheese.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

PB&J Wings

I had and awesome vacation this summer and got to enjoy my nephew Alejo's mad cooking skills. This is a variation of his recipe.  It sounded very strange to me, but once described as a Thai peanut sauce with a jelly reduction, I was intrigued.  The end result is crazy delicious.

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup Soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1  tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced, fresh ginger
 pinch of cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground mustard seed
2 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce
1 lime juiced
Cracked black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup sake

1.5 lbs chicken drummettes
2 tablespoons olive oil

chopped peanuts
chopped cilantro

Mix  peanut butter through sake.  Start by adding 1/4 cup sake and if still to thick continue to add more until a thick creamy marinade.   Pour marinade over the chicken and refrigerate for a few hours (I've done up to 24 and as few as 1).   Once chicken has marinated, preheat oven to 350, and heat some oil in a skillet on stove top to sear each side of your chicken.  Place seared chicken into a shallow pan and pour the remaining marinade over the chicken. Bake for 20 minutes, flip and bake another 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and crispy.  
Take out and sprinkle with crushed peanuts and cilantro then pour the reduction sauce over the chicken and serve.

1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
1 heaping teaspoon minced, fresh ginger
1/2 cup Jelly (I used Polaner spreadable blueberry, but you can use whatever you prefer)
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar 

Mix all ingredients in small pot and mix with whisk over medium heat until reduced to a thick, syrupy goodness. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Risky Bisqueness

2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
3 poblano peppers, roasted and diced
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 t paprika
1 t coarse black pepper
1/2 cup sherry (sherry adds a strong flavor, if you dislike the taste, substitute with beer, or more chicken broth)
1/2 cup water
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 heaping T chipotle in adobo, finely chopped in sauce
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 lb. shredded monterey jack cheese (do not used pre-shredded cheese, anti caking agents adversely affect texture of bisque)
*Grilled chicken chopped

cilantro chopped, and tortilla strips for garnish

*Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 T lemon juice, 1 t minced garlic, 1 t sea salt and 1 t paprika and pour over 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a ziploc bag.  Marinade for at least an hour to overnight.  Rinse Poblano peppers, and place on grill with chicken.  Grill at medium flame for 14-15 minutes, flipping half way through.  Bring in and allow to cool before chopping into bite size pieces.  While chicken is cooling, skin, de-seed, and chop peppers.  

In stock pot, heat butter and olive oil and add diced onion.  Saute onion for 8 minutes and add roasted, diced peppers, cooking for 2 more minutes.  Add flour, paprika and pepper and stir for 2 minutes.  Thin Roux with sherry/water mixture.  Stir until even consistency.  Add broth, evaporated skim milk and cheeses.  Whisk over low heat until smooth.  Do not boil, or it may curdle.  Add chopped, grilled chicken.  Keep stirring until heated through.  Garnish with cilantro and tortilla strips. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Deconstructed Calzone

My husband and I recently started a low carb eating plan after years of thinking no way I could give up carbs.  It's actually not that bad, and, pounds are coming off as well as me just feeling better over all.  Who knew!?!?  Anyway, still get those cravings for pasta and pizza, so I came up with this recipe for a Deconstructed Calzone.  Similar flavor profile without the carbs.

1 T olive oil (I use chipotle infused, because that's the way I roll)
1/2 sweet onion thinly sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
2 links turkey Italian sausage casings removed (I like the Johnsonville chicken/pork 50% less fat Italian sausages best)
1 medium eggplant skinned and diced into bite size chunks
1 zucchini diced into bite size chunks
1 red bell pepper diced into bite size chunks
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (drain one can only)
1 8 oz. ball fresh mozzeralla thinly sliced.

Preheat oven to 425.  In large skillet that is oven proof, heat olive oil over medium/high heat, and brown sausage breaking into crumbles with garlic and onion.  Add eggplant, zucchini and red bell pepper.  Saute until tender and slightly browned, 5-8 minutes.  Add tomatoes and stir in seasoning.  Turn off heat, and add thinly sliced mozzarella over the top of vegetable mixture.  Place in oven for 10 minutes.  Cheese should be melted, and switch to broil for 1-2 minutes more until cheese is browned and bubbly. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Smoked Cornish Game Hens

Cook time and prep time:  12 hours for marinade time and 4 hours for smoke time


2 quarts water
5 oz. sea salt
1/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp dried thyme 
1 head garlic broken into individual cloves, unpeeled

2-3 Cornish game hens
Hickory chips

Bring 1 quart water to boil in large stock pot, and add salt.  Whisk until salt is dissolved.  Add molasses, honey, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, poultry seasoning, thyme and garlic.  Stir to blend.  Cool and submerge Cornish game hens.  If not enough room, pour brine in cooler, add game hens, and add ice.   Let hens marinade overnight.  

In an electric smoker preheat to 250, and smoke hens until they reach 165, about 3-4 hours.  

Using a Brinkman smoker, start soaking hickory chips and get coals started.  Once coals are hot, place them in coal tray on bottom.   Fill water tray with brine from game hens, and place game hens on rack over brine. Toss some soaked wood chips onto hot coals, and cover hens with lid.  Smoke for 4 hours, checking every 30 minutes adding more wood chips for smoke, and more charcoal briquettes as needed to keep heat in 275 degree range.  Meat will be pink from smoke, but will move freely at joints once cooked through.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pork in Verde Tamales

Tamales are a lot of work, at least 1 day of effort, maybe two.  If  you do pork in crock pot at night while you are sleeping, it's ready to go the next day.  You can prepare verde a day in advance as well and chill.  Go ahead and get those corn husks soaking before you go to bed and then in the morning whip up your masa and it's go time.

 3-4 pound boneless pork loin
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce (optional)
juice of 2 limes
½ cup orange juice
12 ounces beer
½ not so chunky salsa or taco sauce

Mix garlic and dry spices to make a paste and rub into pork loin.   Place rubbed pork in the slow cooker.  Add lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  Place pork in broiler pan and shred with two forks.. It should fall apart easily.  Preheat broiler.  Drizzle pork with olive oil. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until you get browned edges on the pork.  Pour verde over pork and mix well.  Set aside until ready to assemble tamales.

1 lb tomatillos husked, rinsed and halved
1 head garlic
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed and seeded
1 pasilla or poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded
1 serrano pepper, stemmed and seeded 
1 anaheim pepper, stemmed and seeded

Preheat oven to 425.  In one large roasting pan, place tomatillos and head of garlic broken up but with skin in tact.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with smokey salt.  On another cooking sheet place washed peppersPlace in oven and roast until skins on peppers are blistering and tomatillos and garlic is browned, 20-25 minutes.  Squeeze garlic from it's skin into a food processor bowl.  Add roasted tomatillos.  Stem and de-seed peppers and add them to processor bowl.  I recommend using disposable gloves during the peppery portion of this recipe.  Process until a thick salsa verde is produced.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Chill  until ready to mix with pork.

3 cups masa harina
2.5 cups warm water or low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup shortening, lard, or equal parts butter and vegetable oil
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 heaping tablespoon chile powder
In a mixing bowl, whip lard or shortening until fluffy.  Move to another small bowl.  Once you've removed shortening from mixing bowl combine masa and warm water or broth in mixing bowl until combined.  Then mix it on low speed until a dough forms.
After the Masa Harina is prepared, gradually add in the  garlic salt, cumin and chili powder by sprinkling them over the dough as you mix it.  Add the shortening to the dough a little at a time while mixing.  Should be the consistency of whipped peanut butter.

Pork mixed with verde
Corn husks, soaked in water over night
Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded

Lay corn husk out on work surface.  Spread masa mixture in thin layer in middle of husk, top with pinch of shredded cheese, and 2 tablespoons pork.  Roll masa in husk over to meet other side and pull it back.

Roll corn husk over masa and filling, and fold in both ends, making a little pocket.  Until you have made all the tamales.  

Tamales should be steamed for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until the husk can be easily pulled from masa coming away clean leaving masa in tact.   I used a two layer bamboo steamer and switched top and bottom tray half way through.  Serve warm with fresh salsa and sour cream, or cool, wrap and freeze for another time.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup

9 Mini Bell Peppers (sweets) or 2 regular sweet bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 sweet onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes (do not drain)
4 oz. evaporated skim milk
4 tablespoons feta cheese

                                                                   Freshly ground course black pepper

Wash and place peppers on baking rack in toaster over at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until skins begin charring.  Cut off tops and take out seeds, pulse in food processor with canned tomatoes.

While peppers are roasting, heat olive oil in pot and saute onion, celery and garlic.  When softened and beginning to brown deglaze with vinegar and add broth.

Once peppers have been processed with canned tomatoes, add evaporated skim milk and pulse processor to combine.  Pour into pot with the onions, celery and garlic. Pepper to taste.  Stir over medium heat, until hot through.  Garnish each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, vinegar and feta cheese crumbles.

Makes 4 servings
Per Serving:134 calories17carbs 4 grams fat 9 grams protein