Tagged: onions

Summertime and the Living’s *Insert Adjective*

Easy?

Meh. That’s too easy. Heh.

Hot?

No…that’s expected…

Rainy?

Well, yeah…but that’s not what I’m looking for…

Exciting!

What do you think? Exciting works for me. Yes.

SUPER EXCITING!!

Yes, yes, yes…I know it’s been MONTHS since I posted. *SHEESH* I’m done making excuses as to why exactly I come and go as I please.

But I will let you know what’s so gosh darn exciting….

Johnny and I FINALLY have our very own apartment! Me, Johnny and Q!! It’s magnificent. I have a little baby kitchen but it’s all mine and we have the awesomest couch on the planet! When we’re really all totally settled and such, I may post pictures. We’ll see how I’m feeling, hehe.

Anywho, what’s most important is that here I am, back online, and I come with tasty, tasty recipes. Grilled recipes, of course, because it is summertime and that’s how I roll. 🙂

A little while back, I prepared some delightful food for Johnny’s grandfather’s surprise 80th birthday party. These recipes have just sorta been chillin’ on my computer and it’s about darn time I share them with you. (I cooked for about 20 people, so I’ve scaled the recipe down to serve about 6 instead!)

Sausage & Peppers Burgers

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb hot italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 lb sweet italian sausage, casing removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 sandwich rolls
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 3 bell peppers (combine whichever colors you like)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

*Note: Peppers and Onions can easily be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use*

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Also, prepare your grill!

Toss the peppers and onions in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer on a large sheet pan. Place the sheet pan in the oven and let cook for about 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the beef, sausage and garlic in a large mixing bowl. (Sure you may want to use a spoon, but your hands really make the job MUCH easier.) Divide the mixture into 6 even patties.

Place burgers onto your hot grill and cook ALL THE WAY THROUGH. (No special orders here, because the patties contain sausage they need to be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees.) About 8 minutes per side.

Top burgers with cooked peppers and onions and a slice of provolone cheese. Pop the lid on the grill until the cheese melts. Serve burgers with THIS salad recipe!!!

This is my version of panzanella, an Italian peasant recipe, traditionally made with day old bread soaked in some water to revitalize it, squeezed out, and then tossed with tomatoes and a lite dressing for flavor. I like to grill my bread, instead! It adds such a great crunch and smoky flavor to the salad, but you could easily just pop the bread in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes instead, if you prefer. Or heck, if you’re feeling traditional, use some old leftover bread.

Panzanella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

  • 2 heaping cups of baby arugula
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 loaf crusty bread
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice the bread into a few manageable slices.

Mince 1 garlic clove and combine with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brush the garlic oil onto the bread slices and grill until lightly charred on both sides.
When cool enough to handle, slice bread into cubes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, take 1 1/2 cups basil, vinegar, garlic and oil and pulse in a food processor until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in half of the parmesan cheese. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, remaining basil leaves, tomatoes, onion and grilled bread. Toss with dressing just before serving, and enjoy with someone you love!

Here I am with my handsome brother, who I love dearly, enjoying some Sausage & Peppers Burgers and Panzanella! NOMS!!

 

This Little Pork Chop Went to Market

Today was such a lovely day.

I know Spring doesn’t technically start until Sunday, but today was a nice taste of what’s to come!

Although the weather definitely affects the way I cook, that is, using seasonal ingredients and such, I try not to limit myself to certain methods of cooking to certain times of the year. I’ve grilled in the winter, (granted –  it was in my icy cold garage – WORTH IT!) and I will pull out my slow cooker for way more than the standard stews that usually come out of it. Prime example: pork chops!

It has taken years for me to truly come to appreciate the gloriousness of the pig. Growing up, I always thought they were cute …

And how could you not?! Honestly, look at that face! ADORABLE!

But anywho, I could never really separate the animal from the food. Cows, no problem. Chickens look funny. I’ve just always loved pigs. Then, of course those of you near and dear to me recall my almost-vegetarian-but-not-quite-health-nut-I-don’t-eat-bacon-or-anything-that-comes-from-a-pig phase when I first started college.

It was one recipe that changed my mind about bacon and, as a result, the whole pig in general: Coq au Vin.

If there is one thing I am a stickler for it’s tradition, and Coq au Vin is a very traditional French peasant dish that is cooked in bacon fat and topped with crispy bacon lardons (a.k.a fancy strips). When I decided to make it for the first time, I decided to overcome my bacon prejudice. It was either go big or go home -and ladies and gentleman – I always go big. 🙂

After the success of my Coq au Vin, I proceeded to experiment even more with bacon when I made my  Chicken Corn Chowder, and my love bugs most favorite Bacon, Broccoli, and Cheddar Quiche.

And then… there were pork chops. Sometimes, I blame my parents affinity for Shake n’ Bake growing up for my original distaste towards them, but these days, my pallet for pork is ever expanding, and I decided to give them a whirl this past fall. The following recipe is one I came up with in a pinch when the only produce I had on hand was an apple and an onion.  I liked it so much, that I whipped it up again this week!

Slow Cooker Apple-Onion Pork Chops

  • 4 lean pork chops
  • 1 large apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 large onion (I prefer red, but whatever you have works!)
  • 1 (heaping) tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (+ 1 cup optional for gravy)
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided (optional for gravy)
  • 1 tablespoon flour (optional for gravy)

Begin by melting 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork chops with rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Place pork in the hot skillet and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes a side. (Note: Pork will not be cooked all the way through in the pan. You can skip this step if you’d like, but it results in a much richer flavor.) Remove from pan and set aside.

Spread half of the onions and apples on the bottom of your slow cooker. Top with browned pork chops. Add the remaining onions and apples, chicken broth, and worcestershire. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.

(Optional)When it’s just about time to eat, remove 3/4 of the liquid from the slow cooker. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until combined a a paste (or roux) has formed. Add the hot liquid and whisk vigorously until combined and any lumps are removed. Add the remaining cup of chicken broth and whisk until combined. YOU JUST MADE GRAVY! GOOD WORK! Now sit down and enjoy your pig – erm – porkchops. Perhaps with some rosemary potatoes and green beans like me. 🙂

 

 


Huevos Deliciouso

Ello’ loves! It’s been a while, I know. I have decided, however, that I am not going to apologize for it like I usually do. It’s certainly not like I’ve been cooking and hiding it from you. Life has been super crazy busy and I haven’t had any free time (a.k.a Blog Time) until very recently.

So what HAVE I been doing, then? I’m so glad you asked!

AWESOME NEWS!!

I am no longer an waitress.

I am no longer a barista.

I am a PRODUCTION ASSISTANT…*cheers*

Yes, that’s right. I got a job as a production assistant/copy editor for a lovely little publishing company just a few minutes from where I live and I couldn’t be happier!

Am I still going to school for culinary? You bet your sweet bottom I am. Class two nights a week. Work five days a week. WEEKENDS OFF! It’s absolutely insane to me to sleep in on a Sunday but I am loving every second of it.

What I love most about sleeping in, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, is waking up to BRUNCH!

Om nom nom nom nom nom!

 

^^(Cookies: Cookie Monster/ Brunch: Jen)^^

Anywho, this weekend was one of the first weekends I’ve had off with NOTHING to do in I can’t even tell you how long. I knew I had to make something delicious – something egg-ceptional if ya know what I mean.

*Opens Refrigerator*

1 egg.

WHAT?!

DOOM!

Only one egg?

But but but… how can I make something delicious with JUST ONE EGG?!?!

I’m thinkinnnnnnnnn….

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thinkinnnnnnnnn…

 

 

 

 

I’ve got it!!!

How does this sound?

One perfectly cooked sunny-side up egg on top of two perfectly toasted corn tortillas withy melty sharp cheddar cheese served with a combination of sweet red bell peppers and smokey chipotle chicken sausage??? Do you picture something like this?

I can’t lie to you guys. This was awesome. Part of me wishes I had some black beans and some cilantro to throw into the mix, but like I said, my refrigerator was pretty barren, and this was delicious either way. I hope if you decide to make it that you enjoy, too!

Sunny Side

Egg &

Chipotle Sausage Hash

(serves 1)

Begin by placing the two tortillas on a sheet pan and top with cheese. Place in 350 degree oven until cheese melts and tortillas are toasty.

Meanwhile, heat the sausage and peppers in a small skillet until brown.

For the perfect sunny side up egg – heat a small skillet over low heat for five minutes and melt butter. Crack your egg into a separate bowl and gently slide into the pan. Cover and let cook for about two minutes, until the whites are almost completely set. Remove cover and add 1 tsp of water and quickly replace the cover. Let cook two minutes more until the whites set completely.

Top tortillas with the sausage and peppers, egg, and scallions.

Mac n Cheese My Way

Who doesn’t love mac n cheese??? Really, raise your hand if you don’t…

That’s exactly what I suspected.

Everyone loves mac n cheese! How could you not?! Mac n cheese is the ULTIMATE comfort food. Think about it. It’s cheesy, creamy, carbohydrates in all of their glory. Then, of course, you pop it in the oven to form that crispy crust on top. *Sigh* Heaven. How else can you describe it?

Everyone has their own way of making it, too, and that’s half the fun! I make several different versions and I LOVE experimenting with  different combinations. But “my way.” The way that I’m most proud of and most likely to devour an entire pan of…

Chipotle.

Chicken.

Mac n Cheese.

I don’t know about you, but for me, there is nothing like a meal that encompasses four of my most favorite foods – chili peppers, chicken, pasta and cheese. Wonderful, glorious cheese. This particular mac n cheese isn’t even all that bad for you, which makes it all the more appealing if you ask me!

Typically you’ll find recipes for mac n cheese with whole milk or even half and half or heavy cream! I used nonfat milk for my bĂ©chamel and I also used whole wheat pasta. The veggies and chicken bulk out the dish with vitamins and protein, too!

The tortilla chips on top are optional and maybe not that great nutritionally, but I love how they mimic the typical crunchy crust on your standard mac n cheese. And ya only live once… so I say lay them on thick!

Chipotle Chicken Mac n Cheese

  • 1/2 box whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bell pepper, sliced into strips
    (I actually used half of a red pepper and half of an orange one – because I had them and they were pretty. Whatever color you have will suffice though, I promise!)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt &Pepper to taste
  • 3 chipotles in adobo, diced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup nonfat milk, heated
  • 1 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla chips

Cook the pasta to package directions but drain just before al dente.

To make your chipotle cheese sauce, begin by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and whisk together until it forms a paste. Let cook until all of the flour and butter are combined and become fragrant. (It’ll smell kind of nutty, this is called a roux! ) Slowly whisk in your heated milk. (I stress that it’s heated – be it on the stove top or in the microwave – because, particularly with nonfat milk, if cold milk is added to the hot roux it’ll become lumpy and pretty funky. So please, heat your milk!) Whisk vigorously until combined and a smooth sauce is formed. Remove from heat and whisk in the cheddar cheese, chipotles and adobo sauce.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic and onion. At this point t should look something like this.

Add the cooked pasta to the chicken mixture and stir to incorporate. Add the cheese sauce and frozen peas. Stir to combine.

Serve topped with tortilla chips if it strikes your fancy.

Devour. Swoon.
Repeat as often as possible.

Guilt Free Quiche

The title says it all. But just in case you are still too awe stricken to comprehend it I shall reiterate…

GUILT. FREE. QUICHE.

I’m not even kidding when I tell you that this quiche, inspired by the Tortilla -Crusted Goat Cheese and Asparagus Quiche in the June/July issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray (who I absolutely adore, thank you very much!!!!), is not just INSANELY delicious, but one slice is a mere 2 Weight Watchers Points! The average store bought/restaurant made quiche  is a whopping 10 points!

How can this be, Jen??

I’m so glad you asked!!

Typically, quiche is made by combining whole eggs, heavy cream, LOADS of (scrumptious) cheese and pouring the mixture inside a fat laden, buttery pastry crust. Sure, it’s freakin’ tasty, but if you’re watching your weight quiche can be a brunch nightmare.

You can sleep easy with this quiche recipe in your arsenal! (Heh. That was so corny that I actually “laughed out loud” Heh. I rock. Moving on…) I took your typical quiche and replaced half of the eggs with egg whites, replaced the heavy cream with creamy nonfat yogurt and I filled my quiche to the brim with caramelized onions, mushrooms and spinach. Caramelizing the onions and mushrooms requires a little time, but the flavors that develop are absolute bliss!

The tortilla crust, a la Rachel Ray, worked wonderfully! I feared the bottom might get a little soggy, but it got surprisingly crisp! This quiche is great leftover reheated in a toaster oven to keep the crust crunchy! I hope you loveeeeee itttttt!!!!

Spinach and Feta
Tortilla-Crusted Quiche

  • 4 (fajita sized) whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (approximately 2 large or 3 small eggs worth)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Overlap the tortillas in a 9-inch pie plate sprayed lightly with nonstick spray.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, add the onions and stir to coat. Let cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, When the onions begin to caramelize, add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes more or until the mushrooms are brown. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Pour mixture into the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle the top with crumbled feta.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites and yogurt together. Pour over the spinach mixture in the pie plate. Sprinkle the top with oregano and garlic.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden in color and the center is set and no longer jiggly. Let sit 10 minutes before slicing and serving!

My apologies for the poor photo! The lighting in my kitchen is awful and I desperately need a new camera! Regardless, here is the finished product!!