Steak Marsala

We rarely cook steak at home, not because we don’t like it, more so because its hard to work into our budget. How can I keep up my pastime of buying delicious cheeses and still afford to buy a good steak? However, I made an exception for Steak Marsala. In fact, I jumped straight to the top and used filet mignon, (it was on sale). Let me preface by saying that almost any meat would work with this recipe. Ordinarily we use chicken, but veal, pork or even another steak like sirloin or rib eye would work great! For this blogs purpose, I will post the instructions for steak.
Many Marsala recipes I’ve found will ask you to flour and saute the meat before covering it in a buttery, bacon-laden sauce. I chose to grill the meat, mostly because I hate the amount of dishes that come from pan frying. Secondly, because I want to live to 40, I must choose my fried food battles carefully.

This recipe is so versatile you can really suit it to work with your tastes. It’s bound to be a hit in your house! (it’s meat covered in bacon how could it not be?)

Steak Marsala

4 cuts of steak (6-8 oz each)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 slices of bacon
2 cups of baby bella mushrooms, cut into slices
2 garlic cloves minced
1 shallot or 1/2 of a small onion, minced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 1/2 cups of Marsala wine
1 small lemon juiced
5 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1-2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Pat your steaks dry with a paper towel, this will help develop a good crust when grilling. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the steak, spreading evenly. Oil the grill before preheating to prevent sticking. Grill at a high heat with the lid closed to your preferred doneness. For medium rare on a 1 inch thick steak, I grilled my steak for about 7 minutes on the first side, 5-6 minutes on the other side at 400. Remove from grill once they are done and cover with foil and allow to rest.

Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Using scissors, snip bacon into pan in bite sized pieces (I find this works better than trying to cut bacon on a cutting board). Brown bacon until crispy. Remove from pan to paper towel lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pan and add your sliced mushrooms, saute until they start to release their moisture and begin to shrink. Next add your shallots and garlic, saute for 2 minutes. Add your tomato paste and stir to coat the mushrooms. Return the bacon to the pan. Next remove pan from heat and add Marsala wine, once wine has been added, return to heat and stir and allow to reduce by about half. The sauce will thicken slightly (this should take 4-5 minutes). Turn your burner off at this point and add your lemon juice, then using a whisk or spoon add one tablespoon of butter at a time, waiting for each piece to melt before adding the next. Add parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve a generous portion of sauce over steaks and enjoy! 🙂

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Posted in Beef Dishes | 3 Comments

Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna Rolls

Spinach and artichoke dip, the quintessential appetizer for every party, now has a new home. This is one of those dishes that I enjoyed so much, that as soon as dinner was over, I called some friends and asked them to come try it and see what they thought. They loved it too!
This is a perfect meal to prepare ahead of time and for that matter, any time you would serve a traditional lasagna, this would be a perfect substitute for it. I can’t tell you how much I adore the little packages of lasagna that each roll creates. Somehow it makes me feel like I am eating less, which of course I’m not. 😉

Enjoy!

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 ½ cups of chicken stock
12-15 lasagna noodles (Use the noodles you have to boil, not the oven ready kind)- I also added a few extra to account for noodles that may break
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts (in water, not oil)- diced
4 -5 cups fresh baby spinach leaves or 1 box of frozen cooked spinach
2 teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
4 teaspoons of Mrs dash
½ tsp garlic powder
½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 cup sour cream
½ bar of cream cheese cubed
5 cups of marinara sauce (or 1 Jar of your favorite sauce)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and oil for pasta water

Preheat oven to 375

Start by bringing chicken stock to a simmer, then add chicken breasts. Allow to simmer until chicken is cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Remove from stock and allow to cool enough to shred by hand. Shred into small pieces and set aside.
Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil, add about 1 tablespoon of salt to water and a few tablespoons of olive oil to the water to prevent sticking, then add lasagna noodles. Be sure to note the directions on the box, my box said al dente in 8-9 minutes, but since they will cook more once in the oven, I drained my noodles at around 5 minutes and rinsed them with cool water. Make sure to separate the noodles to prevent sticking.
Add two teaspoons of olive oil to a large pan, saute onions and garlic on medium low until translucent. Add artichokes and saute 2-3 more minutes. Next, add all of your spinach, if you are using fresh it will look like a lot but it will shrink significantly. If you are using frozen spinach, be sure to defrost it before use and using a kitchen towel or a strainer remove as much water as possible from spinach. The frozen holds a lot of water! This will make your pasta runny, so be sure to dry it out as best possible. Add salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash or any other all-purpose seasoning you may have ( italian seasoning would work fine here as well), and garlic powder. Cover and let spinach wilt, 1-2 minutes. Stir in cubes of cream cheese and sour cream. Keep stirring until the cream cheese has melted and the sauce is thick. Next, add parmesan cheese and shredded chicken. Stir to combine. Taste for salt and pepper. Take filling off of the heat and set aside for assembly.

Assembly
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and spread 2 cups of marinara sauce thinly across the bottom.
Start assembling in an area where you can reach your pan easily, lay out your first noodle flat, spread a thin coating down the entire lasagna noodle, except for the tip of either end. (so you have a piece to start the roll from)
Gently roll each noodle up, looser is better for this, the tighter you roll the pasta, the more filling will come out. Just roll it tight enough so that the filling stays in and you have folded over at least one time. Continue until all filling is gone, which should be about 12 rolls.
Assemble rolls on top of marinara in pan, 3 should fit in each row.
Top the lasagna rolls with the remaining marinara, crushed red pepper flakes and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake, covered for 30 minutes, remove cover and broil to brown cheese (1-3 minutes depending on your broiler).
Makes 12 lasagna rolls

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Posted in Chicken Dishes | 3 Comments

Caesar Salad

I know that this plate may seem unsuspecting, but this humble salad is a force to be reckoned with. Kevin and I celebrated his Father’s birthday this weekend, so I prepared a special dinner will all his favorite dishes. What happened next, truly blew my mind. I served the salad, like I would any other salad and before I knew it, their bowls were empty! With a grilled steak in the distance resting, both Kevin and his Dad asked me to make another salad. I almost fainted! Not only did they eat salad, they ate two huge portions! This dressing is definitely a keeper. I like that Chef Burrell made it an egg-less caesar salad dressing, because not everyone is comfortable eating raw eggs in any form and this solves that problem! I have adjusted the recipe for our tastes, but you can find the original recipe here

Her recipe does include directions for homemade croutons, which are delicious! Try and make them if you have the time, if not use what you have on hand. I made a pretty large meal and am only human, so I opted to use some croutons I had left in my pantry.

TIP: Don’t write this recipe off because of the anchovies or the anchovy paste, (whichever one you use). You do not taste anything resembling fish. The anchovies provide the salt necessary for the dressing and they are essential to making a great Caesar salad! I buy the tube of anchovy paste, (which you can find by pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes in your store), because I can use small portions and don’t have to worry about messes or spoiling.

Ingredients
1 cup grated Parmigiano, plus a block for shaving
2 lemons, juiced
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons anchovy paste
3/4 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
2 hearts romaine lettuce

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor add the 1 cup of cheese, the lemon juice, 2 garlic cloves, the mustard and the anchovy paste. Turn the machine on and let it run for 15 to 20 seconds. As the machine is running, drizzle in olive oil. Let the machine run for another 15 seconds after the oil has incorporated. Season, to taste, with salt.

Chop or tear the romaine lettuce into bite sized pieces. In a large bowl toss the leaves with the dressing (to taste) and croutons. Using a vegetable peeler shave Parmesan curls over the salad and serve.

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Posted in Salads | 2 Comments

Grilled Chicken with Avocado Pico de Gallo

Tonight, I had my sweet friend Kerrie over for dinner. Kerrie loves anything with lots of color, so I wanted to prepare something vibrant and delicious. The great thing about this meal was even though I had to work today, most of my prep work was done in 15 minutes before work and dinner was ready in short order when I arrived home. I prepared my pico de gallo with the exception of the lime juice and the avocado, then I cleaned and trimmed the asparagus and pulled the chicken out of the freezer and was half way done with dinner by 8 am!
I served the Grilled Chicken with these adorable purple potatoes (that I found at Publix), with a shallot and parsley sauce. Ordinarily, we don’t budget for “fancy” purple potatoes but they were on sale, right next to the gourds I bought impulsively, so I felt justified in my decision to embrace all things Fall.

Do yourself a favor and try this recipe before avocados go out of season!

Grilled Lime Chicken with Avocado Pico de Gallo

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 medium sized tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 scallions diced
2 tablespoons of cilantro minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 limes – juiced
1 pepper of your choice-I used half of a cubanelle and half of a salsa pepper
1 avocado
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt (less if you are using table salt)
fresh cracked pepper
olive oil

Start by prepping the chicken, I like to thin mine out to about a 1/4 of inch thickness, using my handy dandy mallet and parchment paper. Especially for grilled chicken, keeping it thin cooks it really fast and keeps it juicy. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt over chicken breasts along with pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Turn over and season the other side as well ( with another 1/2 teaspoon of salt). Drizzle chicken with 1/2 of a limes juice. Allow to sit while you make the Pico de gallo.

In a bowl combine diced tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt (to taste), cracked pepper, the juice of 1 1/2 limes and minced peppers.Put chicken on the grill for about 6 minutes per side – don’t touch the chicken while it is grilling, it will stick. Meanwhile, dice up your avocado and mix with the rest of the Pico de gallo. Once chicken is done, top with the Pico de gallo and enjoy!

Potatoes with Shallots and Parsley

1 1/2 lbs of any small potato (I usually get the little creamer or red potatoes)
2 shallots, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3/4 tablespoon of salt
1-2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Bring pot of water with 1/2 tablespoon of salt to a boil
Start by boiling the potatoes until you can insert a knife into the potato with no resistance (10-15 minutes). Drain and cover to keep warm. In the same pan, melt butter and add shallots. Saute 1-2 minutes until shallots begin to soften, then add olive oil. Add potatoes back to pan, toss with chopped parsley and remaining salt (add more to taste). Cover until ready to serve.

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Lemon and Ginger Noodles

With this recipe, I am coming in with a BANG. I am so excited to share this dish with you. My husband, Kevin and I love this one. There are so many great parts to it, one being, you could eat the whole portion and still feel great. The lemon and ginger are so clean and bright, the shrimp and mushrooms almost play second fiddle (note: almost). It’s also a breeze to make and was ready in 20 or 30 minutes. I originally found this recipe here. After trying the original, I tweaked the recipe to better suit our tastes. This dish has catapulted to the top of our rotation for week night dinners.

* a side note, the dressing has quite a kick to it. If you are sensitive to spice omit the cayenne pepper, the ginger provides the perfect amount of heat.
Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

Lemon Ginger Dressing:

3/4 teaspoon Asian chili powder (or cayenne)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 inch section of ginger, peeled and grated
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons olive oil

Noodles:

9 ounces linguine
8 ounces fresh mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1/2 pound of raw shrimp
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 scallions sliced thin
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

METHOD
1 Make the dressing by combining all ingredients, except for the sesame oil and olive oil in a food processor or hand blender. Run the blender for a few seconds, until all ingredients are combined. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.
2 In a pot, cook the dried noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
3 Heat a frying pan over high heat. Add the butter and when the butter starts bubbling, add the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes. Add raw, peeled shrimp and allow to cook until the shrimp have just turned pink. (Do not over cook the shrimp, they become rubbery if cooked for too long).
4 In a large bowl, toss the cooked noodles with the mushrooms, shrimp, parsley, scallions and sesame seeds and some of the dressing (to taste).

Serves 4

TIP: Always buy fresh ginger whenever possible. The flavor is really hard to beat. I store my ginger in the freezer in a freezer safe bag. When you need it, simply cut or grate off the section you need, no need to defrost! Also, a great way to peel ginger without taking half the “meat’ away is to hold the ginger straight up and down and use a spoon with the scoop facing the ginger and scrape down. The peel comes off with minimum waste!

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Posted in Seafood Dishes | 2 Comments

Here we go!

I’m a twenty something with a passion for anything food. My husband, Kevin, was a foodie long before I was and helped introduce me to amazing new adventures in food. Earlier this year, after a lot of soul-searching I realized, I just couldn’t sit behind a desk anymore. I was always thinking about food! What dishes to make for dinner, what I had made last night, dishes I had heard about and wanted to try. Enough was enough! I quit my 9 to 5 job to go to cooking school. Words can’t describe how good it feels to finally do it!

Long before cooking school, I started teaching myself about anything that had to do with food. Although, I love to eat food that may have taken 3 hours to prepare, I don’t have the time to make dishes like that! Who does? I can’t promise the recipes I post will be ready in under 30 minutes, but I can promise they will be delicious. My passion is making great tasting food at home that won’t break the bank or take all day to make. Good food is out there, waiting to be made and trust me it doesn’t have to come from a box or a bag! Gourmet food doesn’t have to be expensive or take a long time to prepare, it can be done every day. I hope to show you how!

I look forward to sharing my recipes, recommendations, tips and tricks with you!

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Posted in General Announcements | 8 Comments