Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Stuffed Sunday Supper

Sunday is usually reserved for pasta, but I thought I'd try something a little different:

Chicken stuffed with ham, cheese and apples
Garlic and rosemary smashed red skin potatoes
Green beans

I split open each chicken breast (butterfly-style), and layered a slice of cheese, two slices of deli ham and three apple slices. Then, folded them back up and secured them closed with toothpicks. The chicken baked for about 40 minutes at 425 degrees. Cook's choice: I poured a little beer in the baking dish to keep the chicken moist, but you could use butter, broth or wine.

While the chicken cooked, I sauteed the green beans with garlic, salt and olive oil and boiled the red skin potatoes (cut into small pieces). Here's a little trick I learned from my mom: instead of adding minced garlic in the smashing stage, add whole cloves (or large pieces) into the water and drain with the potatoes. They'll just mash right in and blend well with the other flavors.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Traditional with a twist

As I planned this week's menu, I was really in the mood for breaded pork chops. This time, I tried a different approach.

Panko-crusted Pork Chops with Squash Risotto

I replaced the usual bread crumbs with Panko crumbs (found in the Asian section of the grocery store) and seasoned with garlic powder and dried sage.  To keep the meat juicy, I fried the pieces for two minutes on each side, then baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, with a thin slice of butter on each piece of meat.

For the risotto, I added slices of zucchini and yellow squash, which I sauteed in olive oil.

It was a delicious, comforting meal and I think I may keep using this recipe. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Easy as ordering pizza

I can't believe I'm admitting this...but I don't really like to cook on Thursdays. It's kind of a night to just chill, so I usually save my quickest, easiest meal ideas for Thursdays. Tonight we had:

Pear and Blue Cheese Flatbreads

Here's what you need:
Flatbreads (usually sold near the grocery store deli)
Small sweet onion, thinly sliced
Pear, thinly sliced
Blue Cheese
Crumbled bacon
Olive oil

Drizzle the oil and honey on each flatbread. Lay onion and pear slices evenly on the flatbread. Then, sprinkle blue cheese and top with some bacon pieces.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. One round flatbread is a perfect single serving.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fruity yet savory

I love mixing fruit into dinner recipes, it often takes on a whole new flavor when it's cooked. Tonight we had:

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Cranberry Almond Cous Cous

First, I marinated the chicken for about an hour. To make the marinade I used:
Zest and juice from one lemon
Garlic powder
Black pepper
Olive oil

In a large skillet, I cooked the chicken on medium high - enough heat to cook through and not dry out the outside. The sugar from the lemon juice also helped form a sweet crust on the outside of the chicken. While the cous cous cooked, I toasted some chopped almonds.

Once the cous cous was done, I added the almonds and a handful of dried cranberries. The mix of tart flavors from the lemon and cranberry with the sweet, yet almost smoky flavor of the toasted almonds made a really tasty combination. Best part - it took only about 20 minutes to cook!

And, for the perfect ending, we had a few scoops of Jeni's Goat Cheese with Cognac Fig Sauce ice cream. For more info about this fabulous ice cream shop (select flavors sold at Heinan's), check out:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mexicali Shrimp and Rice

I saw a similar shrimp recipe online the other day and decided to try my own version. This Mexican-inspired dish makes me think of a Southern-California restaurant overlooking the beach (although I've never been so I'm really just using my imagination!).

It was super-easy to make:

1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
4 small tomatoes, cut into small wedges
1 large jalapeno pepper, chopped (ribs and seeds removed)
1/2 pound shrimp (about 20 pieces)
Juice from 2 limes
Small bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice

Saute the onions and once they're almost cooked, add the tomatoes and peppers and cook until it turns into a thick, chunky sauce. Add the shrimp and cook for 4-5 minutes until the shrimp turns slightly pink. While the shrimp cooks, spray the lime juice all over the mixture.

Serve with brown rice and garnish with cilantro.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Not just a Salad

It's Day 4 of our post-holiday detox so tonight I wanted to make something light:
Balsamic and Fig-glazed Chicken with Fruit and Spinach Salad

This was super-easy. I simmered chicken tenders in chicken broth to keep them moist, then added two tablespoons of fig preserves and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Then, I mixed everything in the pan until the preserves cooked and stuck to the chicken. For the salad, I just chopped up an apple and a pear, added some blueberries and sliced red onion and used a balsamic vinaigrette as dressing.

Incredibly easy, quick and delicious - and we didn't feel stuffed after. I could definitely get used to this.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Adding a rustic touch

Tonight I decided to pair something a little more modern with something a little more rustic:
Honey mustard pork chops with roasted root vegetables

I cut up a few carrots, one large parsnip and one turnip. Then, I added 4 whole cloves of garlic and half an onion, cut in large pieces. I seasoned with salt, ground sage and coriander and tossed with olive oil. Then, I roasted them in a ceramic dish for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.

While the veggies cooked, I spread honey mustard on two pork chops and fried them for about 6 minutes on each side until they were cooked through and the mustard created a crust around the chops.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Starting the year off right

After chowing down for the past month, my husband and I need a serious detox. So, I'll be cooking much healthier meals for a while, starting tonight. We had a light, almost summery meal of chili cilantro mahi mahi, cous cous and citrus salsa.

I seasoned the mahi mahi fillets with salt and chili powder, seared them in a large pan and put the pan in the oven to bake until the fish was a little flaky. Then, I topped it off with chopped cilantro. I cooked the cous cous in chicken broth for a little extra flavor.

The salsa includes wedges of grapefruit, limes, and an orange, with sauteed red onion slices and cilantro.

It was the perfect start to the year without sacrificing taste!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

NYE at Market

My friend had the great idea to check out the NYE party at a place in Rocky River called Market. From the same owners as Wine Bar Rocky River, Market offers what I'd call upscale bar food and a great list craft beers.

The NYE party offered a 3 course dinner, 2 glasses of champagne and a dance party with hors d'oeuvres. From the poached pear salad to the absolutely fantastic filet mignon to the perfect playlist (everything from Earth, Wind & Fire to Bel Biv Devoe), the night was a great time.

Can't wait to go back for their regular menu.

Hope you all had a great New Year's too!

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