Monday, September 26, 2011

Recipe: Chicken & Rice Stuffed Peppers (with creamy tomato-basil sauce)

I literally just chewed the last bite of this on-the-fly supper and I couldn't wait to share.  This is another one of those "clean the pantry" dinners that took about 2 minutes to create and 20 minutes to cook.  Perfect for a Monday night meal that's filling but not fussy.  I kid you not when I say a legit threw things in a pan and hoped for the best...that being said, eyeball all measurements!

2 whole peppers, cored and sliced at the top
1 lb. ground turkey, beef, or (in tonight's case), chicken
1 onion, chopped
garlic powder
red pepper flakes
Italian seasoning
4-5 basil leaves, chopped
1 cup rice (any kind will do...i used jasmine), cooked according to package - sort of.  see note below!
1/2 marinara sauce and 1/2 Alfredo sauce, combined (OR just use vodka sauce and the work is done for you)
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the tops off the peppers, and the bottoms too so that the pepper stands flat.  Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil and put the peppers on there, tops included. Cook empty peppers about 5 minutes just to give them a head start. 

In a pot, boil rice and cook about 3 minutes less than package suggests (the rice will continue to cook in the next step).

In a saucepan, heat EVOO and add onions.  Cook until transparent.  Add ground meat and spices and cook until brown.  Drain fat and transfer back to pan.  Add rice to meat mixture, as well as basil and sauce combo.  Mix well to coat.  NOTE: You want a pretty 'moist' (worst word ever but totally necessary here) mixture because once it goes in the oven, you don't want it to dry out.  If you need more sauce, add accordingly.

Take peppers out of the oven and spoon meat/rice mix into each.  Place tops on peppers and stick them back in the oven for 8-10 minutes.  Then, for 5 minutes, switch to the broiler (on low) to char the peppers.

Enjoy, folks!  PS- tell me how you like this! comment button below :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Dijon Mustard Sauce

I took a much-needed and well-deserved day off today and headed to the grocery store to get cookin'.  Now that it's getting colder and I'm getting lazier, I am HIGHLY relying on my biffle, the CrockPot,to get me through the fall and winter. 

This recipe is actually borrowed from  I was in the supermarket and the pork tenderloin was on sale and lookin' good, so I immediately used my AR app on my phone to plug in "pork", "slow cooker" and "main dish".  I had all of the other ingredients at home so this worked perfectly! Here's what you need:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
2 1/2 pounds whole pork tenderloins
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sour cream

 I have only recently started eating pork again after years of shunning 'the other white meat' (except for bacon...which is in its own food group...i mean really).  But i really like boneless pork tenderloin because they're fairly lean and can easily be substituted in a ton of chicken recipes when chicken gets boring.  Start with thin, boneless pork cutlets if you're easing back into pork.  It'll still take me a while to eat a pork chop.

Season pork with S&P and garlic powder.  Add EVOO to skillet and turn to medium heat.  Once hot, sear pork on each side until browned, 5-6 minutes per side.  *THE PORK WILL NOT BE COMPLETELY COOKED THROUGH - but that's OK because it will be in the Crock for 8 hours :)
Once pork is browned, remove from pan.  Add mushrooms and garlic to pan and cook until softened.  Meanwhile, add white wine to your slow cooker, adding mushrooms and onions when cooked.  Place pork on top of onion and mushroom mixture.
In a small bowl, combine mustard, cream of mushroom soup, and sour cream.  Mix well and pour on top of pork, completely covering.  Cover the Crock and heat on low 7-8 hours.  

OK, so admittedly not the prettiest meal.  But it tastes SOOOO good! The tenderloin shreds like a pulled pork and the sauce is creamy and delish served over rice.  I'd add a little salt about an hour left in the cooking cycle and maybe a splash of hot sauce to garnish...but otherwise, perfection and SO EASY! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Recipe: Fish Tacos

Last night my parents and I went to the Cheesecake Factory and dad ordered the fish tacos, which also happens to be one of my favorite dishes there.  After being inspired by their version I decided to try my own. 

Disclaimer: THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I'VE EVER MADE THESE and probably only the fourth time I've ever cooked fish in the house (grilling is usually the way to go, fish can get stinky!).  These came out really tasty and are surprisingly low in fat.  Check it!

1-1/2 lb. haddock, scrod, or any other white fish filet (tilapia would work well)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (aka EVOO)
fresh cilantro, chopped
chili powder 
juice of 1-2 limes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place filets in baking dish and coat both sides with a healthy seasoning of salt & pepper.  Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over fish.  Cover with foil and refrigerate 15-20 mins.  Once marinated, place fish on foiled baking pan that has been sprayed w/ nonstick spray.  Place in oven to cook 10-15 minutes.  The fish is ready when it flakes away from a fork.  Let cool and break apart with fork for easy distribution on tacos.

This is arguably a LOT of cilantro.  Scale it back a bit if you're not that big a fan.  If you don't like it at all, try marinating with lime juice, EVOO, and garlic/onions.

small white (or red) onion
tomatoes, chopped
fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

Mix all ingredients, refrigerate and let the juices to their thing.

GARNISHES (optional)
small flour tortillas
1 mango, cubed
1 avocado, sliced
shredded cabbage (a.k.a Dole coleslaw in a bag)
sour cream
Red Hot

 i picked a perfect avocado.

Once fish is cooked and cooled, assemble tacos with pico de gallo and any garnishes you like.  My favorites are the cabbage and mango.  You could also add corn and black beans if you have. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recipe: Turkey & Bean Chili

grThe weather outside was pretty frightful this weekend.  Hurricane Irene came in here uninvited and just owned shit.  Although she ruined my initial weekend plans, I can't say I was that upset to have the entire afternoon to myself to lounge around and let the CrockPot do most of the work.

If you haven't used or invested in a CrockPot, you are not living.  Just the best invention ever created.  I love my Crock so much that when I got engaged I squealed at the thought of adding another, new and improved Crock to my collection (thank you, gift registry...).  I make this chili quite often because it's one of those dishes you can leave on LOW for pretty much the entire day, lasts almost a week in the fridge, and is so easy to freeze in small batches for easy defrosting later.   Try my turkey version for all the flavor and less of the fat.  Even the boys will like it!

 not the prettiest meal, but damn tasty :)

the chickpeas give this chili a nice texture.

NOTE: this recipe is VERY "kitchen sink", meaning I make a different version depending on what's on hand.  Feel free to swap turkey for beef, chickpeas for red beans, etc., etc.

1 lb. ground turkey
2-3 15 oz. cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (kidney and black beans work great, too)
1 26 oz. can tomato sauce
1 8 oz can tomato paste
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can green chiles (optional)
diced red pepper
diced white onion 
mined garlic
Red Hot to taste
chili powder to taste
shredded Mexican-blend or cheddar cheese
light sour cream

Brown turkey meat with onions and garlic.  Drain fat and add to CrockPot.  Add remaining ingredients (except cheese and sour cream) and mix well.  Set Crock to LOW and cook 4-6 hours (or longer).  You can also cook this on HIGH 2-4 hours.

Garnish with cheese and/or sour cream and dig in!

BONUS! This recipe is a GREAT way to clean out your pantry.