Sunday, September 18, 2011

Creamy, Greek Inspired Tomato Sauce

Camera phone again.... sorry. Maybe I will not get so lazy in the future. :)

Greek Inspired Pasta? Yes, please! 
I realized once I started cooking that I did not have enough feta cheese. Recipe calls for 12 oz and I only had 6. Boo! I did have some mascarpone cheese in the fridge and decided to use that. It worked out great and actually helped to make the sauce creamier. I was going to add chopped spinach at the end, but I forgot. Maybe next time because there will be a next time!

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves; finely chopped
4 cloves garlic; chopped
1 large red onion; chopped (I used a white onion)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used chicken stock)
2 pints cherry tomatoes;  halved if large
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound penne pasta (I used whole grain)
12 ounces Greek feta, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves; chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley; chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium to medium-high heat. Melt the butter into the oil. When the butter begins to foam, add the oregano, garlic and onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine or stock and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the tomatoes have burst and the sauce is thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the pasta.

Stir the sauce, then add the feta and cook until melted, about 1 minute. Add the pasta and the reserved cooking liquid and toss to combine, 1 to 2 minutes. Top with the mint and parsley, and serve.

Source: Food Network

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pasta with Goat Cheese and Basil Oil

Quick and easy summer pasta. Also a great way to use up fresh basil!

12 ounces pasta
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
4 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 can Cannellini Beans; rinsed and drained
10 oz fresh spinach; rinsed and chopped

Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, in a blender, puree 2 cups of the basil leaves with the oil until smooth; pour through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids.
Toss the pasta with the basil oil, goat cheese, spinach, beans, the remaining 1 cup basil leaves, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Source: Real Simple

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chicago Steakhouse Sandwich

Please excuse my pictures lately. The camera on my phone seems to be easier at transferring to blogger than taking the time to download pictures. Sorry!

Back to business. This Chicago Steakhouse Sandwich recipe comes from the Newest Food Network Star, Jeff Mauro. I followed the Food Network Challenge and was rooting for Jeff the whole time. I love his new show and have saved almost all his recipes to try in the near future. This one was a crowd pleaser. I highly recommend this sandwich. Make it tonight! Below is the recipe from the food network - I cut the recipe in half and it was perfect for 2.

20-ounce boneless rib eye steak
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sauteed Garlicky Spinach:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Three 10-ounce bags fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing:
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh dill
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sandwich Build:
1 fresh loaf crispy French bread, cut into 8-inch segments, buttered and grilled

For the steak: Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Place the steak in the hot skillet, reduce the heat to medium and sear until well browned, about 4 minutes. Flip the steak and cook until medium/medium-rare, about 6 more minutes. Set aside, loosely covered with foil, and let rest before slicing.

For the sauteed garlicky spinach: Heat the oil and sliced garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is golden brown and crispy. Remove the garlic and set aside on a paper towel to drain. Add the crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and stir to combine with the oil. Cover and let cook over medium-high heat until the spinach is wilted but still bright in color, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and toss with the garlic chips.

For the buttermilk blue cheese dressing: Mix the mayonnaise, buttermilk, blue cheese, dill, mustard and pepper together in a bowl and set aside. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

For the sandwich build: Slice the rested steak against the grain into 1/4-inch slices, removing any non-rendered fat. Place the steak slices on the bottom bun, top with the spinach and schmear the top bun with buttermilk blue cheese dressing.
I added Avocado slices for another layer of flavor. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

ABs World Famous Burger

A healthy take on the good ol' burger. I love spinach and any recipe that calls for it, I usually have to try it. Loved it!

1 egg
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup diced onion
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded Mexican-blend cheese
Salt and pepper
Tomato, Avocado and extra spinach leaves to serve
Whole Wheat buns; toasted

In a large bowl, whisk egg. Add everything else, mixing it--your hands are the best tool--until well blended. Form into four patties. Place burgers in a grill pan or nonstick skillet that's heated over medium-high. Cook 6 minutes per side or to desired level of doneness.
Serve with tomatoes and avocados on a whole wheat bun.

Source: The Abs Diet Cookbook

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ground Turkey with Potatoes and Peas

As fall approaches, I like to make "soul" warming dinners. This one is easy and full of flavor!

1 medium tomato
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
20 oz 93% lean ground turkey
4 medium scallions, chopped
1 cup fresh peas
1 carrot; peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
8 oz can tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cumin, or to taste
salt, to taste
1 bay leaf
Brown Rice (to serve over)

In a mini food processor or you can chop by hand finely chop tomato, garlic and cilantro.

In a large skillet, brown turkey and season with salt and cumin to taste.
When meat is browned and cooked through add scallions, chopped tomato mixture, peas, carrots, potato, tomato sauce, water, cumin, salt and bay leaf.
Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until potatoes are cooked through, about 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed. Remove bay leaf and serve over rice.

Source: Skinny Taste

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

Brownies made with Black Beans? That are actually good? Hmmm.... I just had to try these out of curiosity and boy was I amazed. Everyone loved them and they didn't even know there were black beans in there till after they went for seconds. I would make this again for sure!

1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed very well
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease an 8-x 8-inch baking pan; set aside.

Process the black beans in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the chocolate chips and process again until smooth. Mix in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and pulse a few times just until the chips are incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides and it passes the toothpick test. Cool completely in the pan, then slice into squares.

Source: Made in Melissa's Kitchen

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts

A great summer side dish!

1 cup walnuts
4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears), raw or cooked
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Feta (2 ounces)

Heat oven to 400° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.
In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapeƱos, lime juice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with the Feta before serving.
Source: Real Simple
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