Archive for August, 2010

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Hamburger Mac

August 28, 2010

This at home “hamburger helper” has a little kick from tomatoes with chiles and some spices. It reheats well and is sure to please…just ask my cousin, who got this by request!

You will need:

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5-oz) diced tomatoes, fire-roasted with green chiles
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb pasta shapes
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 2 c milk
  • 1 c stock
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 3 c shredded cheese (I used a jack/cheddar mix), divided
  • 1/2 bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c panko crumbs

Then you…

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the meat with the onion and garlic. Drain juices. Add the canned tomatoes and allow to simmer till most of the juice is boiled off. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in the pasta and cook according to the directions minus 3 minutes. Drain.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large heavy sauce pan, melt the butter. Mix in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat until just starting to brown.
  5. Stir in the cayenne, paprika and garlic.
  6. Slowly whisk in the milk, blending well to keep the sauce smooth. Do the same with the stock. Add the mustard.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in 2 and 3/4 c of the cheese. Allow cheese to melt, whisking to keep smooth.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the hamburger with the pasta and cheese sauce.
  9. Spread in a 9×13 baking dish.
  10. Combine the bread crumbs, panko and last 1/4 c of cheese. Sprinkle on top.
  11. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
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Zucchini Faux Gratin

August 23, 2010

Just about everything tastes better with cheese. This is a “faux gratin” — there’s lots of cheesy goodness, but the milk and flour and cheese are just layered on rather than mixed into a cheese sauce before baking. I also roasted the zucchini (see my last post for one idea of roasting veggies), but you could skip that step and sprinkle in some salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you want.

You will need:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, washed and thinly sliced into rounds (roasted or raw)
  • 1/2 c shredded cheese
  • 2-3 T flour
  • 2-4 T milk
  • Salt and pepper

Then you…

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Spray a small glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Line with a layer of zucchini. Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper. Pour a little of the milk over. Sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Repeat the layering until you have used up your ingredients.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes until the zucchini is cooked through and the cheese “sauce” is bubbly!

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Oven Roasted Tomato

August 20, 2010

There’s nothing better than a beautiful, ripe tomato. One of my friends brought me a pile of them straight from her mom’s garden back in Pittsburgh. I knew I was going to eat a lot of them straight, but I also wanted to try this recipe out. Slow roasting intensifies the flavor of the tomatoes, making them burst even more with flavor. You could use these to make a tomato sauce or soup, add them into some couscous with fresh basil, or mix them into a garden salad.

You will need…

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t fresh cracked pepper
  • Fresh tomatoes — either 16 medium plum (cut in half) or about 6 medium heirloom (cut into quarters)

Then you…

  1. Preheat the oven to 225. Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss gently to mix.
  2. Spray a cooking sheet with non-stick spray.
  3. Roast the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet for about 5-7 hours.
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Potato-Crusted Salmon

August 17, 2010

Since 1979, Canyon Ranch has been an attraction for avid wellness resort seekers. While I’ve never had the luxury to visit it properly, I did chance upon the spa version at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. One of the attractions of Canyon Ranch is its creative, bright and healthy menu. Lucky for me, my mom latched on to a cookbook and saved it for a birthday of mine. This is a variation on their potato-crusted salmon that I made for my parents. I used a sweet potato instead of some extra potatoes, swapped 2 T of shallot for some Vidalia onion, added a garlic clove and a touch more Dijon than they suggested. It was delicious and light, perfect for a summer evening dinner. If you wanted to take a quick route, try to find the shredded version of Simply Potatoes in the refrigerated section of your market.

You will need…

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and coarse grated
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and coarse grated
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 4 fillets of fresh salmon (4 oz each)
  • 1/4 c Vidalia onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t butter
  • 1 T flour
  • 1/2 c 2% milk
  • 2 T white wine
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Then you…

  1. Place the shredded potatoes in a strainer and rinse with cold water until water runs clear and the starch is removed. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat an ovenproof skillet with canola oil. Heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Pack about 1/2 c of potato on top of each salmon fillet. Sear fillets, potato-side-down, in the skillet until golden brown (about 5-10 minutes).
  4. Transfer ovenproof skillet to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in butter over medium low heat until translucent, about 1 minute. Add flour and mix to form a roux. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture turns a light brown.
  6. Slowly pour in milk, whisking until mixture is smooth and comes to a boil, thickening slightly. Add the mustard, bay leaf and wine. Mix well. Reduce heat to low and simmer five minutes.
  7. Serve fillets with potatoes up and a dollop of the Dijon sauce along with a lemon wedge. Delicious and light!
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Panzanella Salad

August 14, 2010

Last week at book club, my friend made a delicious panzanella salad…reminding me of how much I like it! Panzanella is a Tuscan bread salad that is great with whatever leftover veggies you have in your fridge. This is one I made while visiting my parents over the summer.

You will need:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 c crusty bread (I used a small sourdough boule)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 3 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 5 celery hearts
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber
  • 1/2 of a bell pepper (I used an orange one)
  • A healthy handful of fresh mozzarella (I used bocconcini sized, cut in half)
  • 1 c fresh basil leaves
  • Your favorite vinaigrette

Then you…

  1. Preheat your oven to 325.
  2. Cut or rip your crusty bread into bite-sized chunks. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little bit of garlic powder.
  3. Bake roughly 10 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven.
  4. Meanwhile, chop your vegetables and add to a large serving bowl.
  5. Chop your mozzarella and add to the veggies.
  6. Rinse your basil leaves and dry them off. Pile them together and gently roll them. Run your knife through to make thin slices (or ribbons) of the basil. Add to your salad bowl.
  7. Add your toasted bread and toss with a vinaigrette. Serve!

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Coconut Macaroons

August 10, 2010

There’s something about a simple cookie that makes me happy. These combine coconut with almond extract and whipped egg whites for a crispy, smooth treat. This recipe will make about a dozen cookies.

You will need…

  • 3 egg whites, beaten stiff
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/3 c plus scant 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 t almond extract
  • 1/4 t vanilla extract
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 2/3 c flaked coconut

Then you…

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine the egg whites, salt, sugar, extracts and flour in a small bowl. Mix in the coconut.
  3. Drop the cookies onto a greased cookie sheet and baked 10-15 minutes, or until it is just turning golden on the edges.  Remove from oven and allow to cool!  And remember, you could always drizzle or dip in chocolate. Yumm!
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Toasted Edamame

August 5, 2010

I was recently in California for a wedding, where I spent a night in Santa Monica. A friend recommended a bar/restaurant near my hotel that she raved about, so I checked it out. One of the dishes was a toasted edamame that was glazed with white miso and garlic, and I couldn’t get enough of it! In fact, I almost ordered a second batch to take back to the hotel with me at the end of my meal. I’ve been muddling over the dish since I got back from my trip and came up with this approximation!

You will need…

  • 1/2 bag frozen edamame (in shells)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T garlic, minced
  • 4 T white miso paste
  • Salted water (to cook the edamame and add to “sauce”)

Then you…

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the frozen edamame and boil for about 3 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Toss the parboiled edamame in the oil and toast over medium heat for another minute or so.
  3. Add the garlic and miso paste to the skillet. Toss to coat the edamame. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking water, and allow the mixture to cook until heated through.

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