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Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Magic" Chicken with Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

A couple of years ago, I made a dip to take a party, made from Greek yogurt, cilantro and lime. I unfortunately left it at home, so I needed to find some way to re-purpose it. I decided it might make a good marinade, and the "magic" chicken was born.

During summer, a simple grilled meat and salad is the perfect dinner. It is simple to throw on some beets when grilling your protein, and then incorporate in your salad. Goat cheese and beets are a pretty classic combination, but I love the golden beets even more than the red, because they are more mild. This dinner was a really great summer salad !

"Magic" Chicken with Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Salad 
 For the chicken:
3 four ounce chicken breasts
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 limes, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, mix together yogurt, cilantro, zest and lime juice. Salt and pepper chicken breasts generously.  Place chicken in the yogurt mixture, and let marinate overnight. When ready to grill, preheat grill to high, and cook chicken 4-5 minutes on each side until completely cooked through.

For the salad:
2 medium golden beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups mixed greens
9-10 garlic scapes (or green onions, if these are not available)
4 ounces goat cheese crumbled
2 tablespoons pepitos
Rub the beets in the the olive oil, and wrap in foil. Place on the grill, and cook while chicken is grilling, turning frequently. Remove from grill, let cool, peel and dice. Toss scapes in olive oil and lightly grill, then chop. Arrange salad ingredients on a platter, top with your favorite dressing ( we like a citrus vinaigrette) and serve with chicken.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pickled Ginger

Post number three in the "lovely pickled things" series. Pickled ginger is mostly seen in Asian cuisine, in a strange pink form. This version is a much more zesty version, and I like to use the brine from it in vinaigrette as well. It is so versatile ! I used a mandoline to cut the ginger thinly. We actually have enjoyed just pulling a slice from the jar to snack on every now and again.

Pickled Ginger 

1 cup peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger
1/2 cup cider vinegar 
1 cup water 
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon salt 
1 tablespoon pickling spice
Place ginger in a pint jar, cover with remaining ingredients, and give a jar a good shake. Let sit on the counter for one hour, or refrigerate. Can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pickled Onions

As a follow up the previous post, pickled onions !

We love these on so many things. And, you are starting to see these more and more on the Food Network shows, so apparently I am "trending". They are so simple to make, I keep a jar in the refrigerator all the time. Try them on tacos, burgers, pizzas...any other ideas ?

Pickled Onions 

2 large red onions, sliced 
1 cup cider vinegar 
2 cups water 
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon salt 
1 tablespoon pickling spice
Place onions in a quart jar, cover with remaining ingredients, and give a jar a good shake. Let sit on the counter for one hour, or refrigerate. Can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Homemade Pickling Spice

This might seem like a little bit of overkill, but I use this a lot at home. It's not just for dill pickles anymore. There will be a few recipes that follow where I will show you how (think pickled onions, pickled garlic, brining mix)! It is very expensive to purchase in the spice section at the regular grocery store, and if you buy these in the bulk section (in the small packages rather than the plastic containers), you can make this entire batch for the price of one 1 ounce bottle. 

 Homemade Pickling Spice 

3 tablespoons black peppercorns
3 tablespoons mustard seeds
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons allspice berries
1 1/2 tablespoon ground mace
3 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
3 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled
3 tablespoons whole cloves
1 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

Place peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small saute pan. Heat and stir until fragrant, being careful not to scorch or burn them. Seeds may pop or crack while you are toasting them. Gently crack peppercorns and seeds in mortar and pestle or with the side of a knife on cutting board.

 Toss together with other spices. Store in tightly sealed plastic or glass container.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Goat Cheese and Crab Alfredo with Blistered Grape Tomatoes

I often joke that I am the queen of leftovers, but when there are only two people in your household, you do tend to end up with several odds and ends of food. And, I love to grocery shop, so I often have odd combinations of ingredients on hand that can make for some creative meals. 

I had made goat cheese alfredo for dinner earlier in the week, but I made an enormous batch, so we had quite a bit left over. I had originally planned to make some crabmeat grilled cheese sandwiches, but I just wasn't feeling it when it came time to start dinner, and I had this large bowl of pasta to use up. Enter, the crab.... 

This was so easy to put together, so I will start with the alfredo recipe, and then add the other ingredients. My husband said his lunch leftovers the next day were the best lunch he has ever had. That's pretty high praise ! 

Goat Cheese and Crab Alfredo with Blistered Grape Tomatoes 

3 tablespoons butter 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
3 tablespoons flour 
2 cups heavy cream 
1 1/2 cups whole milk 
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled 
8 ounces crab meat, flaked (you can use the imitation kind here, it will work as well) 
1 pound fresh linguine 
8 ounces grape tomatoes 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
2 tablespoons basil, cut chiffonade 

Before you start the sauce, preheat the oven to 375. Toss the grape tomatoes in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and place on a shallow baking sheet. Roast tomatoes in oven until the skins start to split, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let rest while you prepare the rest of the dish. 

In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute garlic until soft. Add flour and stir until flour starts to turn golden. Slowly add cream and milk, and stir over low heat until sauce thickens. Start a pot of water for the pasta, salt water well.  Add goat cheese, and continue to stir until melted.  Stir in crab meat, and remove from heat. When water for pasta comes to a boil, add linguine, and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and combine with sauce. Serve in individual bowls, topped with tomatoes and basil.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Crispy Baked Pork Chops and Goat Cheese Creamed Spinach

When we find those big pork loins on sales, we usually buy a whole one, and portion it out into nice, thick pork chops. In the summer, those are amazing on the grill, but you need to find something more creative for winter preparations.

My original idea was panko and parmesan crusted pork chops, but I couldn't find the panko, it was lost in my pantry somewhere. I did have some pressed rice we purchased at an Indian market, so I thought I could put that in the food processor with parmesan and some herbs. It was nice and crispy, we really loved it.

Then, creamed spinach...I am obsesssed. There is something so comforting about the green, creamy goodness, it was the perfect accompaniment to my crispy chops. I decided to add goat cheese at the last minute,  just to make it more interesting. It was sooo good, I know you are drooling right now !

Crispy Baked Pork Chops and Goat Cheese Creamed Spinach
4 six to eight ounce pork chops, thick cut
1 cup pressed rice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, cut into small chunks
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375. In food processor,  combine presssed rice, parmesan cheese and spices. Pulse until crumbly, and place in a flat pan. Dip pork chops in melted butter, then roll in the pressed rice mixture. Place in a baking pan, and put in oven. Bake 45 minutes to one hour, until pork is cooked through.Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

For the spinach:
8 ounces fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Melt butter in a large sauce pan, add flour and stir constantly until completely combined and it starts to turn golden. Slowly add milk. Simmer over low heat until sauce begins to thicken, then stir in goat cheese. When cheese is completely melted, add spinach and seasoning. Continue to stir until spinach is completely cooked. To serve, place spinach on plate first, and top with pork chop.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Shiitake and Spinach Farrotto

My husband thought I made up the name "Farrotto" but it is an actual thing. It's a risotto like dish made with farro. It isn't easy to find in my normal grocery store, so when I see it, I snatch it up ! And I honestly haven't made anything but farrotto with it, because this is soooo good ! 

It is a bit time consuming, but not hard at all. And this dish is vegetarian, could be vegan if you leave off the cheese. Farrotto doesn't get as creamy as regular risotto, but I am OK with that, because it's still very, very tasty. 

Shiitake and Mushroom Farrotto 
 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup dry white wine 
1 1/2 cups farro
4 cups vegetable stock
3 cups fresh spinach
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup shaved aged goat cheese

Add olive oil to a large saute pan over medium heat.In a separate pan, heat vegetable stock until warm, and keep it on a simmer while you are preparing the other ingredients. Add garlic and onions, and saute until both are soft. Stir in farro, and saute until farro is slightly browned. Slowly stir in the white wine. Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Start adding the vegetable stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid is absorbed. Do not get impatient during this process, or the texture will not be as nice. After the last addition of stock, stir in the spinach and mushrooms. Continue to stir gently until vegetables are cooked. Remove from heat, and sprinkle shaved goat cheese over the top. You can also use parmesan cheese here if you don't like goat cheese, but I like the strong flavor the goat cheese brings to this dish.