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Monday, January 31, 2011

Lemon-Herb Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa Salad

Lemon-Herb Turkey Meatballs
1 Lb ground turkey
1 Egg
1/2 Cup panko bread crumbs
1 TSP dried oregano
1 TSB fresh parsley
1 TBS onion, minced finely
Salt and pepper
Lemon Juice

Quinoa Salad
1/2 Cup dried fruit (I'm using a variety of raisins)
1/4 Cup sliced almonds
2 TBS parsley
1 TBS cilantro
1 TSP lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Quinoa is not only delicious, it is also an extremely healthy grain. However, I've never cooked with it before, probably because I couldn't pronounce it for the longest time (Keen-Wah). This dish is inspired by the quinoa salad from the Mediterranean restaurant near my office filled with dried fruit, nuts, cucumber and fresh herbs. The salad by itself is so filling it could be enough for a meal for me, but for my carnivore I'm serving with Mediterranean-style meatballs.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except the lemon juice. Roll into balls, and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked-through. When they come out of the oven, immediately squeeze the lemon juice over the hot meatballs and top with more fresh parsley.

In the meantime, bring the quinoa and liquid to a boil. Add the raisins, the reduce heat to low and cover. cook for 10-15 minutes, or until translucent. Let cool in a bowl, the toss with the almonds, zest, cilantro and parsley. Add a drizzle of EVOO. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with grilled flatbread.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chicken and Chorizo Rice

Chicken and Chorizo Rice
2 Celery Stalks
1 Large onion
5 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 28 OZ can whole tomatoes with juice
Chicken stock
3 Chicken breasts
3 Links fresh Spanish chorizos
2 TSP saffron threads
2 TSP dried oregano
1/4 TSP chili flakes
1 TBS Spanish paprika
2 TSP Kosher salt
1 TSP freshly ground pepper
3 TBS olive oil
1 Cup medium-grain rice
1 Cup frozen peas
1/2 Cup white wine
2 TBS flat leaf parsley

Rice! I make so many pasta dishes, I sometimes forget how great rice is. And how can I forget such a versatile and delicious grain? I'm going Spanish tonight, with this bold, one-pot dish. And when I say bold, I mean bold. You can't go wrong with paprika, saffron (expensive, but worth it), garlic, tomatoes, and chorizo (my new fav). I used pre-cooked chorizo, but if you can find fresh, I'm sure this would taste even better.

Preheat your oven to 200° degrees. Finely dice the celery and onions and crush the garlic. Drain and roughly chop the tomatoes, reserving the juice. Add chicken stock to the juice until it measures 2 cups. Cube the chicken and slice the chorizo into bite-size pieces.

Pre-heat a large pot over high heat, and add the oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, add the chorizo and cook for a few minutes (if using pre-cooked, add the chicken first). Stir and then add the chicken. Let the chicken cook for a few minutes, then turn it over to cook the other side. Add salt and pepper. Remove the meat once it's almost fully cooked. Transfer to a dish and keep warm in the oven while you finish.

With the heat still on high, cook the onions and celery until translucent. Add the crushed garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds; then add the rice and sauté quickly, followed by the saffron, paprika, oregano and chili flakes. Deglaze with the white wine, scraping any bits off the bottom. Once the liquid has evaporated, add the tomatoes, juice, salt, pepper and stir everything together. Turn the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes (no peeking!).

After 15 minutes, add the frozen peas and the warm chicken and chorizo with out stirring. Re-cover and let cook for another 10 minutes. To finish, fold everything together and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with fresh parsley.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Maple-Soy Chicken (3 Ways)

Maple-Soy Chicken
Chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1 TBS maple syrup
2 TBS soy sauce
1 Clove garlic, crushed
1 TSP crushed red pepper

What do you do with an XXL package of chicken that's way too big for one meal? Why not prepare with sweet and savory flavors to compliment a number a dishes through out the week? Do most of the work one night, then the rest of the week is a piece of cake!

Pound the chicken breasts to the desired thickness. In a large bowl, mix the syrup, soy, garlic and crushed red pepper. Add the chicken, and toss to coat. Let marinate for up to 30 minutes in the fridge, or until ready to cook. Heat grill pan, then in batches, cook 3-4 minutes per side. Set aside (refrigerate any extra chicken within 2 hours of cooking and it will keep for 3-4 days).

Dinner #1
Serve with butternut squash, roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper and veggies.

In a pannini with whole-grain bread, dijon mustard, and jarlsberg cheese.

Dinner #2
Saute snow peas, bell peppers and shitake mushrooms with garlic and onion. Add chicken with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hot sesame oil and a pinch of crushed red pepper. toss cooked soba noodles and top with crushed peanuts.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter-White Pasta

Winter-White Pasta
1 LB spaghetti or linguini
3 Chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
2 TBS butter
2 Cups cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Leeks, sliced thin
4 Cloves garlic, minced
1/4 Cup dry vermouth (or dry white wine)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Parmesan cheese

After another 3 inches of snow on Friday, it was only fitting to make a "snow-white" dish for dinner. I was ambitious and made my own spaghetti, but feel free to use whatever pasta you like.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Saute in olive oil until cooked-through. Set aside. Blanch the cauliflower for 4 minutes, or until just barely cooked. Shock in ice water, drain, then set aside. Add pasta to the same pot. Melt butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic. Cook until soft. In the meantime slice the chicken. When leeks are soft, add the vermouth, then cauliflower and chicken. Drain pasta, then toss in the saute pan. Add lemon juice and stir in Parmesan cheese. Enjoy immediately.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sweet & Smoky Pizza

Sweet & Smoky Pizza
Pizza dough, store bought or homemade
1/2 Onion, sliced thin
Chicken sausage, coarsely chopped in a food processor
Crushed red pepper flakes
Smoked mozzarella
Pizza Sauce

I always make sure I have a stash of pizza dough in my freezer, as well as a jar of pizza or marinara sauce. You can take almost any leftover ingredients you have, add some cheese, and you have an instant pizza night. I caramelized the onions in some olive oil for sweetness, add the sausage and saute for just a minute (if using pre-cooked), then stir in a pinch or two of crushed red pepper. To finish it all-off, top with smoked mozzarella and bake until bubbly.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ciambotta Variations

I made an Italian vegetable stew earlier in the week, and there's still tons left. To switch it up for a meal later in the week, I decided to add some sautéed slices of chicken sausage. I also toasted up some whole-grain crostini with a drizzle of olive oil and grated parmiggiano-reggiano.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ooh La La

It's cold and a snowstorm is on it's way, so tonight's dinner is inspired by a cozy French Bistro. Warm ham and cheese crepes and a simple salad dressed in a
vinaigrette, I can't think of anything that's more comforting.

Monday, January 10, 2011


1/3 Cup olive oil
2 Medium onions, chopped
2 Celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 Carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 LBS eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 Cup water
1 28 OZ can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, juice reserved and tomatoes chopped
2 Red bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 Rind from a block of parmigiano-reggiano
3/4 LBS green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/4 LBS zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3/4 LBS boiling potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 14 OZ can cannellini beans

This healthy and hearty Italian vegetable stew from Gourmet is the perfect dish to get me through the work week. It only takes about and hour to put together (most of that is simmering time), and it will last in the fridge for a week. I'm also adding beans, since I have an extra can lying around, and a parmesan rind for extra flavor. You can also substitute or add any vegetables you like (parsnips or cauliflower would be good).

Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add eggplant and water and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice, bell peppers and rind, then reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. In the mean time cook the green beans, zucchini and potatoes in boiling water until fork tender. Add to the pot and cook for 15 minutes more. Drain and rinse the beans and add, cooking for 5 more minutes. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with parmigiano-reggiano, and crostini.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pad See Ew

Pad See Ew
1 Package dried wide rice noodles
14 OZ chicken breast, sliced into strips
2/3 Cup soy sauce
1/2 Cup water
2 TBS packed light brown sugar
1 LB broccoli, stems removed and cut into bite size pieces
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
6 Garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 Large eggs

Since I am on my way to mastering Pad Thai, it's time to try making my other favorite Thai (noodle) dish. When I was in college, there was a Thai restaurant that was a block from my dorm, which I frequented religiously (it was sadly closed recently). It was grimy, greasy and cheap, but it was so good! I couldn't get enough of their chicken pad see ew with that sticky-sweet, dark sauce and wide noodles. This makes more than enough for 4 servings, so feel free to cut this recipe in half.

Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with hot tap water. Soak for about 30 minutes. In the mean time, combine soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Set aside. Bring remaining 1/4 cup water in a large pan to a simmer. Add broccoli, cover, and cook until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Place in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then drain and set aside.

When ready to put the dish together, drain the noodles. Heat oil in a pan or wok over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken for about 8 minutes, or until no longer pink. Reduce heat to medium, cook garlic for about 15 seconds. Add reserved noodles and broccoli and cook, tossing gently, until noodles are soft and warmed through. Push noodle mixture to one side of the pan, add eggs, and scramble until eggs begin to set, about 30 seconds. Let eggs cook until firm. Add the soy sauce mixture and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Making Sauces Part I

White Cheese Sauce
2 TBS unsalted butter
2 TBS flour
1 Cup milk, plus more as needed
1/4 Cup Jarlsberg cheese
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and white pepper

I've started taking online cooking classes for fun, since I still consider myself an amateur in the kitchen and still have so much to learn. I have always been mystified by sauces, so my recent lessons have been focusing on the 5 basic "mother sauces." I think I have my tomato sauce down, so on to roux-based sauces like bechamel which can be used for lasagnas or pot pies. This fondue-like sauce goes great with ham and spinach crepes (or just for dipping with a warm loaf of French bread).

For the roux, melt butter over low heat. Slowly whisk in flour, and stir until smooth. Add the milk slowly, making sure to whisk constantly. Let reduce slightly, then stir in the cheese a bit at a time. Add more milk if the sauce becomes too thick. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. You can also season with a bit of nutmeg or paprika. Keep warm until serving.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Fresh Pasta

Tomato Sauce
1/2 Cup onions, diced
2 Large cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/8 Cup EVOO, plus more to finish the sauce
4 TBS tomato paste
2 28 OZ cans of San Marzano tomatoes, seeded
Fresh basil

Turkey Meatballs
1 LB ground turkey
1 Egg
1/2 Cup panko breadcrumbs
1 TBS chopped onions
1/4 TSP salt
1/8 TSP black pepper
1 TBS pesto

Fresh homemade pasta

It only seemed fitting to make fresh tomato sauce and homemade meatballs to go with my pasta. It's a lot of work for such a simple meal, but the end result is totally worth it (especially if you make your own pasta). I wanted to keep the sauce very traditional, but I lightened up the meatballs by using ground turkey and baking in the oven.

Heat oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Let cook until translucent, but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Stir in the tomato paste and let cook until it darkens slightly. Add the tomatoes and a pinch more of salt. Let simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. To finish the sauce, add a drizzle of EVOO and torn fresh basil leaves.

While the sauce is cooking, make the meatballs. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. combine the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, salt, pepper and pesto in a large bowl. Roll about a tablespoon on the mixture into balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.

Once the sauce was finished, I set some aside for another day. Then I refrigerated half the cooked meatballs. I added the other half of the meatballs to the remaining sauce, to let them heat up. Cook you pasta, then toss in the pot with the sauce and meatballs. Serve with Parmesan cheese for the perfect Sunday dinner.

Fun New Kitchen Gadgets

Fresh Pasta
2 1/2 Cups all-purpose unbleached lour
4 Eggs, beaten

Food Processor
Pasta Roller

For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive my very own pasta roller as a gift! I couldn't wait to try it, since it has always kind of been a dream of mine to make my own pasta. I'm learning to do both the old school way (on a counter making a well with the flour to add the eggs), and the new school way (in a food processor). I figured for my first time around I tried the food processor, since it's easy to fix the dough if it gets too wet or is too dry.

Add the flour to the processor. Turn it on, then add half the eggs. Mix until it looks like Parmesan cheese. The turn on the processor and add a tablespoon of the remaining egg at the time (you may need more or less), until it's the consistency of cous cous and the dough forms easily in your hands without crumbling. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until a smooth ball forms that springs back when you pinch it. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the dough to rest.

Once rested, flatten out the dough a bit (divide in 2 if necessary). Then run through the widest setting of the pasta roller, folding in half after each pass. Repeat until you hear a loud "pop." Then run through on each subsequent setting until the sheet of pasta is down to your desired thinness (there is no need to fold the dough here). If the dough gets too long, cut in half. Run the sheets through the cutter attachment. Separate the pasta with your hands then toss with a little flour. Cook in gently boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes. It's really not that hard once you get the feel for it, and it's so much fun! I cannot wait to try with different shapes and flavor combinations!

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About Me

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The Hungry Yuppies, Annie and Rich, are a young couple from CT who are self-proclaimed foodies. Annie is the chef, and Rich is her willing taste tester. Juggling a full time job in the city wasn't going to get in the way of Annie's love for cooking. It's about eating well whether you have just 30 minutes on a Monday night, or all day on a rainy Sunday.