Categories
Salads Sides Uncategorized

Asparagus Salad with Egg, Bacon and Dijon Shallot Dressing

This salad reminds me of a cool, drizzly Parisian day suddenly turned cheery and warm by a filling, comforting cafe lunch. The lunch that’s perfect for a day of shopping or walking all over the city exploring markets, galleries or strange little bookstores in alleyways, this asparagus salad leaves you feeling satisfied, but not weighed down. 

Often, the best meals are simple meals. This wholesome salad takes minutes to make and requires very few ingredients, but that certainly does not mean it’s short on taste. It’s one of my favorite lunchtime meals, and it is made even better by being served alongside a beautiful chunk of baguette to soak up extra dressing.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

1 bunch of asparagus

4 soft-boiled eggs

4 strips of crispy bacon, chopped

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. shallots, finely chopped

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium high heat, simmer a bit of water (½ c. or so). Add the asparagus when water is simmering, put a lid on the skillet and steam for 3 minutes. Rinse the asparagus with cold water to stop the cooking process and cut into bite-size lengths. Set aside. 

Mix together the Dijon, shallots, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper together to make the dressing.

Place the asparagus and bacon on plates. Drizzle with dressing and mix well. Place the eggs on top. Add a bit of salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Categories
Chicken/Turkey Pasta Uncategorized

Slow Cooker Sicilian Turkey Meatballs

I’m always a bit perplexed when I see people buying giant bags of frozen meatballs at the grocery store. I think too many people believe that making good meatballs is labor intensive and time consuming, so they take a meal shortcut by using frozen meatballs. The thing is, frozen meatballs never measure up to their homemade counterparts; and oftentimes, they just plain suck. 

This recipe is ridiculously simple, so there’s really no excuse to not make homemade meatballs. In order to make this meal just a little healthier, I opted for turkey in this particular recipe. But because good meatballs are all about ratios of meat/other ingredients, you could easily substitute with a different type of meat, e.g. pork, beef. I have made this many times with beef or a beef/pork combo and it turned out beautifully.

Meatballs:

⅓ c. seasoned breadcrumbs

⅓ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

1 garlic clove, minced

3 Tbsp. basil

1 egg 

1.3 lb ground turkey

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Sauce:

1 Tbsp. olive oil 

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. basil

1 Tbsp. oregano

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly with clean hands. Form meatballs in your hands and set aside on a tray.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Pour the garlic, onions, and oil into the slow cooker. Then, add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano and red pepper sauce into the slow cooker. Finally, gently place the meatballs into the sauce.

Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 4-5 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite type of pasta! 

Categories
Pork Uncategorized

Hawaiian Kalua Pork with Coconut Rice and Cabbage

I associate kalua pork with a very funny and fond memory from my childhood. Just the smell of it brings me back to a distinct fourth grade memory that still makes me and my family chuckle. When I was 10, we traveled to Hawaii for a family vacation. We stayed in a really special place with private cottages sprinkled along the oceanfront. These cottages were on the property of a large resort and there were luaus hosted each night outside of our little home away from home.

My sister and I watched the beautiful Hawaiian ladies greet guests each night at the luau and we wanted to be just like them. Our parents had already bought us some cool Hawaiian dresses at the ABC store and had these amazing flower crowns made for us, so we came up with an idea. We were positive that if we dressed up exactly like the ladies hosting the luau, that the guests would believe that we were also pretty Hawaiian girls who worked at the resort. 

So one night, we got dressed up in our Hawaiian garb and walked downstairs to the luau line. We confidently stood next to the line of people joining the luau, and welcomed them with a friendly “Aloha!” The guests played along and thanked us, and the people working at the luau didn’t mind that we were hosting. In fact, they thanked us for helping out and so kindly let us live out our fantasy. My sister and I stood there welcoming guests for what seemed like hours while my parents took pictures of us and giggled. We were sure we had everyone fooled and that they all believed we were definitely Hawaiian and that we were definitely old enough to work at the luau. 

I don’t think I realized for years that literally nobody believed we worked there, but I smile to think that every person there so kindly played along to make a couple of little girls from Wyoming happy. 

It’s memories like these that make food so much fun. Every time I eat this meal, I think of that 10-year-old girl who was so immersed in the experience of Hawaii and its cuisine. I love making this simple meal at home and while it’s not quite the same as eating it on the beach as a wide-eyed fourth grader, it’s still pretty tasty!

Ingredients: 

Kalua pork:

1 Tbsp. mesquite liquid smoke

3 lb. pork shoulder

Himalayan pink salt, to taste

Coconut rice:

2 c jasmine rice

1 can coconut milk

1 c. chicken broth

1 clove garlic, minced 

¼ inch piece of fresh ginger, minced

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp salt

Cabbage:

1 head of cabbage, chopped into bite-sized pieces

2 Tbsp. butter

Salt and pepper, to taste

Trim the pork and place into the slow cooker. Pour liquid smoke all over the top of the pork and season with sea salt. Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 10-12 hours. Shred with a fork.

Make sure you rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking. Then, combine all ingredients into a saucepan and stir. Cook on medium heat until the mixture boils. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Stir and serve.

For the cabbage, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add cabbage and cook for about 5 minutes or until cabbage is soft and slightly brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Categories
Chicken/Turkey Soups Uncategorized

Heartwarming Chicken Soup with Homemade Noodles

Seriously, is there anything more comforting on a cold night than chicken noodle soup? The cold and windy weather over the last couple of days encouraged some comfort food cooking and heartwarming eating. All weekend, the girls and I hunkered down and ate all of the wonderful winter things – cookies, warm bread, and chicken noodle soup. It was such a happy stay-at-home and cuddle under blankets type of weekend.

This chicken noodle soup was just like our weekend: comforting, warm and cozy.  With the addition of wine and Herbes de Provence, along with homemade noodles, this soup accomplishes a depth in taste that most chicken noodle soups just can’t. I wish I had made a double batch!

Ingredients: 

Shredded chicken: 

2 chicken breasts

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 c. chicken broth

Salt and pepper

Noodles:

2 c. flour

2 tsp. salt

3 egg yolks

1 whole egg

 6 Tbsp. cold water

Soup base:

2 Tbsp. butter

2 carrots, chopped

2 ribs of celery, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 c. chicken broth

½ c. red wine

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. Herbes de Provence

1 Tbsp. parsley

Make sure you start your chicken early, as it will take about 6 hours to cook. Place all ingredients for the chicken into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. When the chicken is finished cooking, shred with a fork. 

For best results, make the noodles a few hours in advance so that they can dry a little. To make the noodles, whisk egg yolks and whites together thoroughly. Then, whisk in water and salt. Next, stir in the flour with a spoon until combined and not sticky. Separate the dough into three balls. Roll each ball out thin and cut into small strips with a sharp knife. Let it dry on a baking sheet for a minimum of one hour.

To make the soup, place a large pot on medium heat and melt butter. Add carrots, celery, onions and garlic to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Add bay leaves, Herbes de Provence, parsley, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and wine to the pot and increase heat to medium high heat. Add cooked chicken and egg noodles and cook for 5 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Categories
Beef Sandwiches Uncategorized

The Amazing Philly Cheesesteak!

There are few sandwiches that cause as much rivalry and heated debate as the Philly cheesesteak. The Geno’s versus Pat’s King of Steaks debate has caused a good deal of drama over the years, as has the use of Provolone vs. Cheez Whiz vs. American cheese. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has ended up in a ditch more than once over the last 50 years because of a Philly cheesesteak disagreement.

I’m not about to get involved in a blog war over which type of cheese is the traditional choice for a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. I have been around long enough to know that nobody has clearly won this battle, so I say this: use the kind of cheese YOU like on your Philly cheesesteak. I usually opt for American, but my daughters are repulsed by American cheese and choose Provolone. If you adhere to the belief that only Cheez Whiz will do on a Philly, more power to you! 

One thing is for sure, though, in my humble opinion. You really can’t lose no matter what cheese you put on this amazing sandwich.

Ingredients:

14 oz. shaved beef, such as ribeye

4 small baguettes or hoagie rolls

1 Tbsp. olive oil

One green bell pepper, thinly sliced

One medium onion, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

¼ c. beef broth

2 tsp. garlic powder

Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Cheese – your choice!

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and cook for 5 minutes (until onions and peppers are slightly browned). Add the thinly sliced beef and cook through. Add soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, broth, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Cook on medium high heat until the liquid has cooked off. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes to brown the meat and seal the flavors in. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Spoon the meat mixture into sliced baguettes and top with cheese. Wrap the sandwich tightly with foil and put into the preheated oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Unwrap and enjoy!

Categories
Pasta Uncategorized Vegetarian

Pasta with Creamy Rainbow Pepper Sauce

This magical pasta sauce may change the way you think about those cute little snacking peppers. You might associate mini rainbow peppers with healthy snacking, but have you ever thought of them as indulgent? Me either, until I made this sauce. 

A few months ago I went a little overboard shopping for produce at Costco and ended up with piles and piles of veggies in the fridge I needed to use up quickly. It was cold outside and I wasn’t feeling the vibe of snacking on cold peppers while it was blustery and snowy, so I started thinking creatively about how I could use those little guys to make something warm and satisfying. The lightbulb went off in my brain. Roasted pepper pasta sauce made with those perfectly sweet little peppers! 

This isn’t your average roasted red pepper sauce, and I can’t imagine making it with anything other than mini peppers. Sometimes overshopping at Costco really  pays off. 

Ingredients:

20-25 mini rainbow bell peppers

1 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 c. whole milk

½ c. cream cheese

¼ c. Parmesan cheese

1 16 oz box of pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

PInch of red pepper flakes, if desired

Fresh basil, as garnish

Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Roasted mini peppers:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems and seeds and place them in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil (about 1 Tbsp. or so) over the peppers and add salt and pepper. Mix together with your hands so that all of the peppers are coated with oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet covered in foil. Roast the peppers for about 15-20 minutes or until the skins are dark and wrinkly. Let the peppers cool and then peel the skins off. They are ready to use!

Pasta and Sauce:

Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent (5 minutes). Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not burned (about 1-2 minutes). Pour in the milk and stir, being sure to mix the onions and garlic well. Add the roasted red peppers, Parmesan and cream cheese. Stir until well mixed. 

Pour the sauce into a food processor and process until the mixture has a creamy, saucy consistency. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. 

Drain the pasta and put it back into the skillet, pour the sauce in, and mix together so that the flavors meld together. Add to a large serving bowl and serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. 

Feel free to add protein, such as chicken or shrimp, to this pasta. It tastes great as a vegetarian dish, but is versatile. Enjoy immediately.

Categories
Fish/Seafood Uncategorized

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Bun Bowl with Shrimp

When you have the desire for a meal that is fresh, clean, and healthy, as well as one that is easy to make, this Vietnamese shrimp bun bowl is the perfect choice. This cold noodle salad was one of my go-to choices when eating out at Vietnamese restaurants until I realized how insanely easy it was to make at home. I have started ordering more complicated dishes at Vietnamese places now because it’s just so simple to whip up a bun bowl at home in about 15 minutes.Quite truthfully, it tastes every bit as good as the bun bowls in restaurants . . . and I can have seconds at home without paying for another meal. 

For the bowls:

8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles

1 English cucumber, sliced

4 cups mixed greens

½ c. Thai basil leaves

½ c. cilantro

½ c. mint leaves

½ c. peanuts

Sliced lime, for garnish

Sambal Oelek (chili paste), if desired

Shrimp ingredients:

16 large shrimp, deveined

1 Tbsp. cornstarch 

1 tsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 green onions, sliced

Salt and pepper

Sauce ingredients: 

½ c. water, room temperature

3 Tbsp. honey or agave

¼ c. lime juice, fresh squeezed

2 jalapenos, finely diced

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

⅓ c. fish sauce

Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until noodles are cold themselves.

In a small bowl, mix together the water, honey, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and jalapenos. Stir thoroughly to ensure the honey or agave mixes in completely. Set aside for later.

On a plate, mix together the cornstarch, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Dredge the shrimp until it is coated on all sides. Then, heat up the oil and cook the shrimp on medium high heat until cooked through. Add the green onions and garlic and cook for about one more minute.

To assemble the bowls, place a large handful of greens, along with a generous amount of basil, cilantro, and mint leaves in each bowl. Then, add about ¼ of the noodles to each bowl. Place the cucumbers on top of the rice noodles. Place 4 shrimp on top of each bowl. Then, add peanuts to the top.

Serve the bowls with the sauce and if desired, additional lime and Sambal Oelek.

Categories
Chicken/Turkey Uncategorized

Chicken Piccata

One of my favorite childhood meals was (and still is) the amazing chicken piccata my mom made for us. Science tells us that memories and emotions are closely tied to smells, and for me, this smell evokes such happy memories for me of our family gathering around the table. Even as an adult, I feel so much comfort and joy every time I smell the unique blend of browning chicken, lemons, and capers smell coming from the kitchen. 

Lucky for my daughters, I have passed on this love for chicken piccata to them. They too are comforted by the smell of this special meal coming from the kitchen, and as an added bonus, they even like to help me cook it now. I hope this meal makes you just as happy as it makes me!

Ingredients: 

1 ½ pounds chicken breasts, pounded thin

½ c. flour

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. butter

1 ½ c. chicken broth

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. cream or whole milk

¼ capers

Chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Place each chicken breasts into a freezer bag one at a time and pound so that the breasts are an even thickness of about ½ inch. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Cover each chicken in a thin layer of flour on both sides.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Place chicken breasts in a single layer in the skillet and cook until they are golden brown on both sides. This will take about 5 minutes per side. Set the cooked chicken breasts aside on a clean plate. 

Reduce heat to medium low and add about 2 Tbsp. of flour to the remaining oil in the skillet. Whisk until there are no lumps and the mixture is slightly brown. Whisk in chicken broth and lemon juice a little at a time, then add cream or milk. Simmer until the sauce is reduced a bit, for about 1-2 minutes. Stir in capers and parsley. Return chicken to the skillet and let it soak up the saucy goodness for about a minute. 

Serve immediately with pasta, mashed potatoes or rice.

Categories
Uncategorized

Quiche Lorraine

As someone who has spent a decent chunk of my adult life in France, I have tried so many fabulous versions of quiche: ones that include seafood, veggies, meats, onions . . . You name it, I have probably tried it in a quiche.. Every time I go to France, I find myself on a quest to find the best quiche EVER. While I have sincerely adored most of the quiches I have tried, my belief is that the king of all quiches is the traditional quiche Lorraine, filled with thick bacon, cheese and onions. Perfection, in my book. 

On a trip to France for my 22nd birthday, I stumbled upon a tiny cafe in the small town of Chartres, and it was there that I believe I found the Holy Grail of quiches. It was immaculate. Eggy, cheesy, bacony, oniony goodness inside of the most heavenly pastry. It was perfectly cooked . . . just enough for the eggs to be cooked through, but delicate and light.

I returned from that trip determined to recreate that once-in-a-lifetime quiche, and I believe I have finally come pretty close. I’d love to hear your feedback if you make it!

Quiche Ingredients:

1 pre-made pie crust (store bought or using recipe below)

4 strips of slab bacon, diced

5 eggs, beaten

1 c. whole milk or heavy cream

1 c. creme fraiche 

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 c. Gruyere cheese, shredded

¼ c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg (optional, but traditional and so good)

Pastry recipe/ingredients:

1 ½ c. all purpose flour

8 Tbsp.unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small squares

5 Tbsp. cold water

Pinch of sea salt

In a food processor, mix the flour and salt. Then, add the butter pieces evenly throughout the bowl of the food processor. Process, using pulses, until the butter is mixed into the flour and the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add water and pulse until the pastry forms large clumps. Take the pastry out of the food processor and roll it out on a floured surface. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Cook the bacon until it is crispy and then dice it. Using some of the remaining bacon grease in the pan (about 1Tbsp), cook the sliced onions until they are translucent.

Place the pie crust in a lightly greased pie pan. Sprinkle bacon, cheese, and onion into the bottom.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, milk and creme fraiche. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Make sure the mixture is well mixed and is smooth. Pour into the pie pan over the bacon, onions, and cheese. 

Bake until the quiche is cooked in the center and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (about 30 minutes). Check if often, as nothing ruins a quiche faster than overcooking the eggs! Let the quiche rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Categories
Fish/Seafood Uncategorized

Spicy Wasabi Salmon Bowl

These salmon bowls make me feel powerful. Seriously. They are so packed with superfoods and beautiful, healthy ingredients. Every time I eat these, I feel like a walking advertisement for nutrition. Not only that, I feel like I just enjoyed a delicious and satisfying meal that I could’ve paid a lot more for at a restaurant. These are a win, win. Try them and feel powerful. You can thank me later. 

Ingredients for the Salmon Bowl:

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 avocado, sliced

½ c. edamame

½ c. green onions, siced

½ c. microgreens, e.g. mustard, radish sprouts

1 fresh jalapeno, sliced (if desired) 

Toasted sesame seeds

1 ½  c. (uncooked) sushi rice

4 fillets of wild salmon

salt/pepper

olive oil

Dressing:

2 tsp. wasabi (I buy it in the tube)

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

2 Tbsp. mirin

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. honey or agave

Red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prep all of the veggies and cook rice according to package directions.

Brush the salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 in the oven, testing for doneness by inserting a fork and gently twisting. If the salmon is finished, it will be opaque and flaky.

Divide the rice equally between four bowls and top with cucumber, avocado, edamame, green onions, microgreens, jalapenos and toasted sesame seeds. Place salmon in the center of each bowl. Pour equal amounts of dressing over each bowl and get ready to LOVE this healthy meal!