Sunday, February 28, 2010

Monthly Menu-March

Woohoo! I'm so excited for March. Warmer weather is on it's way and that means spring is too. I'm looking forward to more outdoor exercising and trips to the park. We're getting more sunshine in the morning now, which I love; it just starts my day off better when the sun is smiling down, you just can't help but smile back. Well, I'm also looking forward to this month's menu. I'm going to try to continue my "Operation Defrost" from last month. Although I got through a lot of what was in my freezer (and fridge), I still have a little ways to go. This month has several of my old favorites as well as some new recipes I'm dying to try. I only had to carry over one recipe from last month, the southwest chicken cordon bleu, and it uses the raspberry-chipotle sauce I already made. I can't believe I put it off this long, it sounds too good, but I know I'll get to it soon. Here's the rundown:

Italian Wedding Soup
Butternut Squash Casserole
Chicken Pot Pie
Chili Verde with rice
Feta and Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Sliders

Grandma Noodles
Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-dried tomatoes
Pineaple Chicken fajitas
Quick Chicken Jambalaya
Southwest Chicken Cordon Bleu

Quick Creamy Tomato Soup with grilled Cheese
Orecchiette with sausage and peppers
Red beans and rice
Beef Taquitos
Ranch Chicken

Lentil Soup
Meatballs and rice
Manicotti Rolls
Pecan Encrusted Chicken with Apple Salad and Peanut Butter Maple Dressing

Other goodies
Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast
Hot Fudge Sauce

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tangerine Beef with Peppers and Onions

Oops, I don't know what happened, here's how the original post was supposed to read:

This meal was supposed to be the orange beef way back from my January monthly menu, now here it is the end of February and I"m just now getting to it. When it was time to get this meal ready, I couldn't find the recipe I had planned to use so I went to Food Network's website, which I don't do a whole lot, and on the home page was a picture and a link to Guy Fieri's Tangerine Beef. I knew immediately that it would replace my orange beef and my thoughts were only confirmed when I read all the wonderful reviews about it. I did things a little differenly than the original recipe, but I think it turned out wonderfully. I loved the strong flavor of the tangerine coming through.

For the marinade:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 pound flank steak or tri-tip, cut in thin strips on the bias

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
juice of 1 tangerine

For the stir-fry:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
zest of 1 tangerine, divided
1/2 onion, cut in wedges
1 red pepper, julienned

For the garnish:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
half of the tangerine zest

In a bowl or resealable plastic bag combine the soy sauce and cornstarch and mix well. Add beef, cover, and let marinate for 20 minutes in the.

Whisk together the sherry, hoisin, honey, soy sauce, and tangerine juice until completely combined.

In large pan or wok, heat about half the oil on high heat. Add the onion and pepper and saute until tender; about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Heat remaining oil and add the ginger, half of the zest and beef and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Return veggies to pan and add sauce mixture and cook for another 2 minutes on medium heat until sauce thickens. Serve on warm platter, garnish with remaining tangerine zest and sesame seeds.

1 serving=1/4 of recipe with 1/2 cup rice
4 servings
Calories per serving:455

NOTES:If you'd like to add some heat, just add some chili sauce or red pepper flakes into the sauce when you mix it together.

SOURCE:Adapted from Guy Fieri

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas-Updated

It's been over a year since I first posted this recipe and when I went back to look at it, I realized that I make this different now and that I needed to update it. This is a quick weeknight meal that will help you use that leftover chicken, cheese and tortillas. I have never made this the traditional, roll up your tortilla, enchilada way because it's just so easy to make it lasagna-style and tear up everything and throw it in. So this is my take on chicken enchiladas, the lazy way.

For the filling:
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 black peppercorns
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese

For the sauce:
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 egg
1/2-1 tsp salt
*1-2 (11-ounce) cans tomatillos, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained

Remaining ingredients:
8 flour tortillas

To prepare filling, place first 6 ingredients in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minute or until done. Remove chicken from cooking liquid; cool. Shred with 2 forks. You can reserve the broth for another use. (I usually poach my chicken this way for the enchiladas but I have also grilled my chicken on an outdoor grill with some McCormick chipotle pepper and that is great too and takes a little less time.)

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine chicken and cheeses; set aside.

To prepare sauce, place milk, cilantro, egg, salt, tomatillos and chiles in a food processor; process until smooth. (*In the past I have substituted canned tomatillo salsa-salsa verde-for the tomatillos. I think it's Herdez brand, about 11 ounces. Recently I have started using the tomatillo salsa I bottled over the summer since we grew our own tomatillos. You can use part or all of a pint.)

In the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan pour a little of the sauce on the bottom. Rip up 2 tortillas and spread across the bottom. Spread half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas, and about a third of the sauce. Rip up two more tortillas and spread across the chicken. Repeat with anoter layer and end with tortillas, and a little sauce. Sprinkle with extra cheese.

Cover and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Serve warm with salsa and sour cream, if desired.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spanikopita Chicken Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

I love meatballs, they are so versatile. You can change up the meat, the seasonings and even sneak in some chopped up veggies for the picky eater. I especially love Rachel Ray's take on meatballs because the girl comes up with endless possibilities. I love Greek food and when I found these meatballs, I knew I had to try them. They are so quick to pull together. You can cook up some rice while they're in the oven and chop up a quick Greek salad and this is less than a 30 minute meal!

For the meatballs
1/2 onion, finely chopped (about 1/4-1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
*1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 lb. ground chicken
2-3 tsp. grill seasoning (I used McCormick Montreal Seasoning)

For the yogurt sauce
**1 1/2 cups Greek style plain yogurt (try it, it's worth it)
1/3 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh dill (or a couple tsp. dried dill)
1/2 lemon, juiced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl combine onion and garlic. Squeeze the water out of the spinach until completely dry (put it in a kitchen towel, but one you don't care if it gets a little stained). Separate the spinach as you add it to garlic and onion. Add feta, chicken and grill seasoning to the bowl. Mix the meat with veggies and feta and form 18 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. I used a small scoop and got exactly 18 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a nonstick cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until they are golden and juices run clear.

Place yogurt, garlic, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, and a little salt in food processor and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve meatballs alongside sauce.

*I had a bag of chopped spinach in my freezer and I just grabbed about a cup in my hands and thawed it out.

**If you cannot find Greek yogurt, you can use regular yogurt and let it sit in a dish towel over a strainer for a few hours to get some liquid out. It will still be a little runny though.

1 serving=4 meatballs and 1/4 cup sauce
4-6 servings
Calories per serving:238

Serve with:
Rice pilaf-Saute some garlic and onion in olive oil then add some thyme and the rice (and pine nuts if you like) to toast it up for about a minute. Add chicken broth instead of water; bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 18 minutes. Remove from heat and squeeze some fresh lemon juice in the rice and fluff with a fork.

Chopped Greek Salad-Roughly chop some cucumbers and tomatoes and pour some Greek salad dressing or balsamic vinaigrette over it and crumble feta on top.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

This week's Muffin Tin Mom's theme was orange and we decided to go with it since I was doing dinosaurs and couldn't come up with something to go along with that. First of all, I have to start off showing you this place setting I got at Target. I got it for Shelby for Valentine's Day and she uses is just about every meal. She loves it.

For lunch we had peaches, pizza goldfish, a peach ring candy and homemade macaroni and cheese. It is so fun to serve Shelby's food creatively and she gets so excited about it too.

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Raspberry Almond Bread

(I know, enough with the raspberries already! This is my last one though, for now. I wasn't going to post this yet, but I've been seriously slacking in the kitchen and haven't hardly made a thing, thus, nothing new to tempt you with.)

My bread turned blue! It sure was tasty though. You know when the recipe says "fold in" such and such because it's delicate well, I just ignored that little instruction because I was just too lazy this time and wanted to get this bread made. Plus, I was making it in my bosch so I didn't want to have to dirty another bowl in order to "fold" in the raspberries, so I just pulsed them in with my wire whisks. They totally bled. It worked for me though because I got my bread made and we loved it! I doubled the recipe and made it in 3 8x4-inch pans. By the end of the night, we had eaten half of a loaf already.

Now, I understand that raspberries aren't a winter fruit, but as you know, I'm trying to use up the last of my raspberries in my freezer (hence the last several posts featuring raspberries). Tuck this away until peak season this summer and use fresh berries or make it for breakfast next week, with frozen berries and make sure you have a tall glass of milk on the side. Enjoy!

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 eggs
1 cup crushed fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray or grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then the yogurt. Mix in the dry ingredients. Fold in the crushed fruit and almond slivers.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool the bread in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, turn right side up and cool completely.

SOURCE:Joy The Baker

Friday, February 19, 2010

Raspberry Chocolate Scones

I think I found my new favorite breakfast food! I love these scones. I actually made them on Valentine's Day for something a little extra special. These scones are a little bit softer than traditional scones because of the yogurt in them, and they're not too sweet. The dark chocolate is the perfect accent because it gives that burst of chocolate without being too sweet either. This was a great way to use up some of my frozen raspberries.

For the scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
¾ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the egg wash
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. milk or cream

Preheat oven to 375° F and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips and raspberries. In a small measuring cup, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla extract, and egg. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times. Dough will be a little sticky so put a littl more flour under the ball of dough (as well as on your hands) then pat, or roll, the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut the dough into 8-12 triangles. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture. Sprinkle with additional sugar if desired.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

SOURCE: Adapted from Annie's Eats

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

Well, I certainly did not think I would be getting out my home canning equipment in the middle of winter. However, I had so many raspberries in my deep freezer from summer, I figured it was time to make room!

When I was searching for recipes to help me use up my raspberries I came across the combination of raspberries and chipotles and since I love both I thought they'd be great together. The sauce recipes I found were all pretty similar so I decided to stick with one from Emeril Lagasse. I mean, who can go wrong with Emeril? I didn't think I could go wrong. I found some amazing recipes to use with this sauce that I'll be making in the near future. For starters, you could use this over a pork loin or pork chops, meatballs, on a turkey sandwich with some provolone, slather it on a whole wheat quesadilla with cheese and thinly sliced granny smith apple or you could make like a southwest chicken cordon bleu with ham and pepper jack cheese rolled up inside and the raspberry sauce drizzled over the top. Yum!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup small diced onion
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
2 pints fresh raspberries, rinsed (I used frozen and they worked fine)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (or raspberry vinegar)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (brown would work too)
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and slightly caramelized, 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Add the chipotles and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute. Add the raspberries and cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the sugar and salt, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened and reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool before using.

Yield: about 1-1/2 cups

*Home canning instructions
To make it worth my effort to can the sauce, I tripled the recipe and got about 4 pints. I used some pints and some half pints. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars and process in hot water canner 10 minutes. For detailed instructions on how to home can, see the Ball website.

Source: Adapted from Emeril's Kitchens: Favorite Recipes from Emeril's Restaurants, by Emeril Lagasse (William Morrow)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

This week's Muffin Tin Monday goes along with the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, and was part of our letter "c" theme week. If you've read the book, you know the caterpillar eats through a lot of stuff, especially sweets, near the end. I kind of tailored it to what we had on hand, trying to keep it healthful, and adding just a little bit of sweets.

On the top row, I have a quarter of a cupcake (treat from grandma), lean turkey lunch meat, cheese and about half of a clementine. On the bottom row are a few skittles, pears, strawberries and raspberries. I've had a hard time getting my little gal to eat lunch meat but I wrapped it around the cheese and she at least ate half of it this time.

This was really fun to prepare and Shelby just loves eating lunch when it's so special!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Sunday, February 14, 2010

White Chicken Chili

Sunday Soup

Talk about a bowl full of goodness, this chili is wonderful! We really love the flavors that go into it; it's almost like a posole with the jalapeno and green chilies and the cilantro garnish. I loved the warmed corn tortillas with it in place of corn tortilla chips. It changes it up a little bit and it's great to sop up the last bit of the soup in the bowl.

This chili is really easy to throw together and you can even do some of it the day before, like cook the beans and chicken. I actually cooked a big batch of beans earlier in the week and just took out the 2 cups I needed for my soup today and threw them in the freezer. All I had to do was pull them out when I was ready to cook!

The recipe only serves about 4 so you may want to double it if you have more people. Heck, you may want to double it anyway because it's that good!

1 whole Fryer Chicken, Cut Up (or 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Chicken)
olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole cans green chilies, chopped
1/2 pound dried great northern beans, rinsed (2 cups beans or about 1 can of beans)
4 cups Chicken Broth
1/2 whole jalapeno, sliced
3/4 Tbsp. ground cumin
salt, to taste (you're gonna need a lot because beans are very bland on their own, but add it a little at a time until it's too your liking.)
ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. masa (corn Flour) OR cornmeal

grated monterey jack cheese (or pepper jack if you like more heat)
sour cream
chopped cilantro
freshly squeezed lime
corn tortillas, warmed (or corn tortilla chips)

Cover chicken with about 8-9 cups water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. Remove chicken to a large platter or cookie sheet to cool. Reserve broth. (If you do this step ahead, you can put the broth in the fridge then scrape off the fat that solidifies on top.) You're only going to need about half of the broth, the rest can go in the freezer.

Once meat is cooled, remove meat from bones. Set aside. (You will have enough chicken for 2-3 meals. Just portion out what you don't need for the soup and throw it in the freezer for future meals.)

In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and saute onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add chopped green chilies, then rinsed beans. Pour chicken broth into the pan. Add sliced jalapenos. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Place lid on pot and reduce heat to low.

Cook for 2 hours or until beans are done. (If you've already cooked your beans, or are using canned beans, cook about 10 minutes.) Halfway through the cooking process, add 1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken.

When beans are tender, mix masa (or cornmeal) with a little water and pour into the chili. Cook for a few more minutes to thicken. Check seasoning and adjust.

Serve chili in a bowl and add which ever garnishes you wish.

SOURCE:Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Linked to...
Recipe Swap Thursday @ Prarie Story.
Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking
Made From Scratch Tuesday @ From Mess Hall To Bistro

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Smokin' Chipotle Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice

I love the smokey flavor of chipotles! My mom gave me this recipe the other day and was so excited about it. She also brought me some of her dried chipotles she used to make the same dish so I could make it too. I made it that same night because I had some cilantro and lime in the fridge I needed to use up and hadn't had a plan for them. This was perfect and so yummy! It's a great weeknight meal because it comes together REALLY quick and has very little prep. My girls even ate it all up, so that's always a plus.

2-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1-2 dried chipotles, crushed into a powder*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 - 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, or chicken breasts cut into strips

Mix all the ingredients together for the marinade and pour them over the chicken in either a shallow baking dish or a zip-loc bag. Marinade for about 15-30 minutes.

Preheat indoor grill pan on medium heat and cook chicken strips in batches until done. (You can also use an outdoor grill.)

*You can find dried chipotles in the Hispanic section of your local grocery store and they are pretty inexpensive. However, if you cannot find them, you can also substitute chipotles in adobo sauce. Unused chipotles in adobo may be stored in the freezer for later use.

Serve with Cilantro Lime Rice

Serving Size= 2 1/2 chicken tenders and 1/2 cup rice
Calories per serving=344

SOURCE:Adapted from Marcela Valladolid, Mexican Made Easy on the Food Network

Monday, February 8, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

I stumbled across Muffin Tin Mom's Muffin Tin Monday the other day when I was looking for fun apple-related things to do with my toddler. Let me just tell you this is a GEM! I love this idea. It's a great strategy for getting toddlers excited about eating. I'm sold!

We pretty much took her whole idea this time on the apple theme and here's what we came out with.

From the top, there's the apple slice with a worm sticking out (made the hole with a sturdy straw), the lady bug made from apple slices and chocolate chips (held on by peanut butter), peanut butter sandwich, an "apple tree" (I should have gotten a better shot of this), and skittles as the apples fallen from the tree. To make the tree, I used a piece of banana, stuck the pretzels on with a thin layer of peanut butter then stuck a little broccoli floret in the top. Michelle made hers a little different; to see what she did, see here.

Shelby absolutely loved this. She was so excited to eat it. She even told me thanks for a cool fun lunch. I was a little skeptical about her eating the broccoli, but when I wasn't looking, I saw her eating it all on her own! Yeah, Muffin Tin Monday was a hit and will be a new tradition in our house.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cauliflower Soup

Sunday Soup

Mmm, what could be better than a warm bowl of soup on a Sunday evening? I'm always looking for ways to incorporate more veggies into our diet and this was perfect. We don't eat a lot of cauliflower, I always thought I only liked it raw. My husband has told me over the years that he really likes cauliflower and cauliflower soup but we have never had it. I'm so glad I tried it, I found I like cauliflower both raw and cooked, especially if there's cheese involved. This simple soup is sure to please even the picky eater.

2 Tbsp olive oil
½ whole Onion, Finely Diced
2-3 whole carrot finely diced
1 whole cauliflower head (roughly Chopped)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley (chopped)
1 quart Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cups whole milk
1-1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
Salt, To Taste

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat oil. Add the onion carrots and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Mix in the flour and let bubble for about a minute. Whisk in the milk, whisking constantly. Let mixture come to a bubble and thicken. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Add cheese and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary. At this point you can either leave it chunky "as is" or take a imersion blender to it and pulse a few times to partially blend it, still leaving some chunks. If you don't have an imersion blender, take part of the soup and put it in blender to puree a little bit then add it back into the rest of the soup.

Serve immediately.

Source:Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Friday, February 5, 2010

Apricot-Papaya Smoothie

I like to try new things, especially when they are a great deal. I bought some papaya at the end of summer last year at our local fresh market and was so excited to try it. Papaya you don't eat every day. Papaya is exotic. Have you actually ever had papaya? I tried it, and to be honest, I thought it was gross! It was musty-tasting and smelled wierd. So, instead of immediately throwing it away, I went online to find out what papaya was really supposed to taste like, to see if I had just gotten a bad one. I found out other people said the same thing! However, I also found out that when it is paired with other flavors, like citrus, or honey, the flavor becomes mellow and sweet, light and refreshing. So, I chopped it all up so it wouldn't go bad and stuck it in the freezer where I quickly forgot about it.

Well, thankfully this month I have decided to do a defrost challenge and try to use as much of what's in my freezer as I can. As I was doing inventory, I found the papaya again and decided to give it another try. Thus, the Apricot-Papaya smoothie. Enjoy.

2 cups frozen papaya, cubed
1 banana
*1/2 cup apricot nectar
1/2 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla works)
juice of 1/2 a lime
little dab of honey (if desired)

Place everything in the blender and puree.

NOTES:I like to use frozen fruit for smoothies so I don't have to add any ice. When things like mangoes, or strawberries or papaya go on sale, I stock up and freeze it so I can have it later. I also always have soy milk on hand because my husband is lactose-intolerant and he drinks it, but I would still use it anyway because I really like the flavor and creamy texture it adds to smoothies. You could substitute milk or yogurt for the soy milk.

*I used my own nectar that I bottled, but you can usually find it in the hispanic foods section at your local grocery store.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Tomato and Yogurt over Rice

"What! He no eat no meat! That's OK, I cook lamb." Name that movie.

A few weeks ago, my local grocery store had ground lamb, which they don't always have, and it was on sale, which was a plus. I grabbed a package not knowing exactly what I would make with it but knew I could find something great. I stumbled onto Elly Says Opa! a while back and love her recipes. She's Greek, and her recipes are authentic.

Anyway, on to the dish. These meatballs were so yummy! I loved the spices, they went great with the simple tomato and yogurt sauces and balanced each other out perfectly. I was a little hesitant about my 3 year old eating the meatballs, I didn't know if she would like the flavors but she ate everything on her plate and even said she liked it.

I stayed pretty true to her recipe, making only minor adjustments. She suggests pan frying the meatballs, which I did, but I'm sure you could bake them also; I'll probably try that next time.

For the Meatballs
1 lb. ground lamb
1/2 small onion, grated or finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
olive oil for pan frying

For the tomato sauce
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
heaping 3/4 tsp. oregano

For the yogurt sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

For the rice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. pine nuts

Mix all the ingredients together for the meatballs except the olive oil. Don't over mix. Heat the oil in a large fry pan, add the meatballs then reduce the heat to medium-low. Fry until cooked, turning half way.

Meanwhile, get the rice going. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add
the onion and garlic, cooking until tender. Stir in the rice and cook for a few minutes to toast up the grains and coat them with the oil. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 18 minutes. Once done, take off the heat and let sit for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork.

To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and then add the onions, cooking until tender. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce to a simmer and allow the mixture to cook as you are making the rest of the meal.

In a small fry pan, toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat. They are done when barely golden and fragrant.

Once all meatballs are cooked, remove them to a plate, covered with a paper towel, to soak up the excess oil. Drain fat from the fry pan and mostly wipe it out. Turn the heat off, and then add the garlic clove (the residual heat will be more than enough to make it fragrant). Stir in the yogurt until just warmed through and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Note: it will be runny)

To serve, put rice on plate and sprinkle with pine nuts. Add meatballs, tomato sauce then yogurt sauce.

SOURCE:Adapted from Elly Says Opa!

Lemon Chicken and Rice with Artichokes

I can't remember what drew me to this recipe, maybe it's Greek flavors; we love Greek food in our house. Whatever it was, our tummies are happy because of it. This was a winner all around. This is perfect for a weeknight meal because it is quick and easy and a one-pot deal-you gotta love that! We will definitely be eating this again.

Cooking Spray
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup rice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 (14-oz can) chicken broth
1 (14-oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken, chopped onion and pepper; saute 5 minutes. Stir in rice, lemon juice, salt and pepper and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in artichokes, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with cheese.

4, 2-cup Servings
Calories per serving:324

SOURCE:Adapted from Cooking Light

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monthly Menu-February 2010

For the month of February, I've decided to have an "Operation Defrost" in my kitchen. It's time to use up or get rid of most, if not all of what is lurking and hiding out. This shouldn't be too bad because my upstairs freezer is pretty organized and I mostly know what's in there. However, in my basement, if you could call it a basement-it's really like a large cold storage area, I have another freezer. It's a chest freezer. I would not buy a chest freezer again. First of all, I can't even reach the bottom of the inside of it, but that's only because I'm short. Secondly, You forget what's on the bottom and you have to take everything out to get to it. Anyways, I'm pretty sure it's mostly apricots and raspberries we picked either this summer or last. I've got a few things in mind for the raspberries, but having a hard time figuring out what to do with my apricots. If you have any suggestions, leave me a comment.

I've really enjoyed my Sunday Soups. It really works out for us on Sundays to have something simple with meat and veggies all in one pot. I've had my eye on some of the soups this month for a couple of weeks and can't wait to try them. I'm also really excited for all the Greek food I have planned.

Not everything is new. Recipes already posted will just have a link. Otherwise, I'll be posting as I make them.

Dinner Menu
Chicken Parm Meatball Subs
Herb-Rubbed Chicken with Orzo

Bean with Bacon Soup
Mini Strombolis with sausage, onions and peppers
Southwest Chicken Cordon Bleu with Sauteed Corn

Cauliflower Soup
Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Tomato and Yogurt
Homemade Pizza
Sliced Steak with Roasted Poblano Gravy, Chipotle-Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Green Onion Green Beans (This is a recipe I posted about a year ago, so I'll be going back to add photos and editing where needed.)

White Bean Chicken Chili
Spanikopita Meatballs with pitas and Chopped Greek Salad(Recipe is at the bottom of the post)
Tangerine Beef
Apricot Chicken

Other Goodies
Apricot-Papaya Smoothie
Raspberry Chocolate Scones
Raspberry Almond Bread
Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce
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