Saturday, May 29, 2010

Meatless Monday - Bella Burger

This recipe was featured on Huffington Post Green!

Sometimes coming up with alternatives for meat can be tough.  Sure, you've got pasta dishes, tofu or some other soy derivative, but getting creative with those can become a grueling process after a while.

For my meatless meals, I am not always looking to "fake it" by using a meat substitute.  I came up with this sandwich because I was looking for a sandwich that I could make without "pretending" I was eating meat.  I love using seasonal produce where I can, and walking out to my back deck to pick some fresh tarragon was definitely satisfying.

Sara's Bella Burger (makes 2)
  • 2 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 ball of fresh mozarella packed in water, sliced into 1/4" slices
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 2 T light mayonaise
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high.

Clean tops of mushrooms with a wet paper towel.  Scrape the "gills" out on the underside with a spoon.  Brush both sides with olive oil, season with salt & pepper, and add to grill.  Grill both sides for about 2-3 minutes per side.

Grill insides of hamburger buns for about 30 seconds.  Return to serving platter. 

In a small bowl, mix mayo and tarragon.  Spread on hamburger bun tops. 

 On bottom of bun, add a slice of mozarella.  Top with mushroom caps, then half of the roasted red pepper and then bun top.

 Enjoy with a quinoa salad or tortilla chips!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chicken with Papaya BBQ Sauce

Chefs, home cooks, and anyone in between rejoice!  The Cooking Channel has arrived!

This sister channel to the Food Network has all that the Food Network (cluttered with reality-style programming as of late) has been missing.  Plain and simple - cooking shows.  No mundane shows on the history of cotton candy, no timed gingerbread house-building contests or tours of the fattiest restaurants in America, no babbling Southern women whose idea of cooking is to throw butter into anything.  Good, old fashioned cooking shows that inspire people to head to their kitchen and create something spectacular.

Although I think the name leaves a bit of creativity to be desired, I am thrilled to welcome this new station to my cable box.  In its beginning stages, it has a mix of great new talents, some great old talents (Julia Child), mixed with a few Food Network elite reruns (Giada, Tyler, Dave, Michael, etc).

On Everyday Exotic, chef Roger Mooking made a jazzed up chicken dish that I simply had to try.  Ryan adores papaya, so I was excited to see how he would react to this dish.  I omitted making the spiced cashews, this is a weeknight after all!   Perhaps I will try making this step when I am not quite as rushed.

Serve this dish with coconut rice and a tropical salad for a delicious, special treat! 

** Tip- this recipe makes a lot of BBQ sauce.  Save the rest for later by jarring it!  I just learned how to jar something and get that vacuum seal!  Here's how- pour the remaining hot sauce to the top of a clean glass jar, screw the lid on and put in your refrigerator.  It's that easy!  Hot air is less dense than cold air, so it occupies more volume than cold air.  When the air cools down. it will create a vacuum seal.  Make sure the dimple on the lid is concave before storing.

Chicken with Papaya BBQ Sauce

  • Seeds of 1 large papaya
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut cream, (use the creamy part skimmed from the top of the can)
    • Save the remaining coconut milk to make coconut rice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Papaya BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 sweet onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, seeded, deveined and quartered
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 5 cups large diced papaya
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 4 marinated boneless, skinless chicken breasts (as per marinade recipe above)
  • 1/4 cup Papaya BBQ Sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish, optional 

For the marinade:

In a bowl, combine the papaya seeds, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, coconut cream, cilantro, and ginger, and mix thoroughly.
Add the chicken breasts to the bowl, and toss to coat in the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

For the BBQ sauce:

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat, and add in the onion. Cook, until the onions are translucent, stirring continuously to ensure the pieces do not brown.

Sprinkle the sugar, scotch bonnet, lime zest, and lemon zest over the onions, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour in the lime juice, lemon juice, water and vinegar. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Add in the diced papaya, and adjust the seasonings with the salt, if desired.

Bring the mixture to a boil again, reduce the heat, and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, and let the mixture cool slightly. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, and puree the sauce until smooth. Transfer the BBQ sauce to a bowl, and set aside.

For the chicken:

Heat and a grill over medium-high heat and lightly grease the grate with oil.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, and lay the breasts on the hot grill. Discard the marinade.

Baste each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons Papaya BBQ Sauce, and continue grilling, turning once and basting occasionally with the remaining sauce, until the meat is cooked through.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Grilled Marinated Chicken with Italian Vegetables

As I said in my earlier post, Orange Pineapple Marinate Chicken with Mango Salsa, I have learned that one trick to grilling chicken is marinating it for a good amount of time first.  This recipe is like steeping the chicken in flavor...

Using the season's freshest produce, I whipped together a flavorful, colorful Spring time dinner.  First, I started with a tomato and mozzarella salad.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Basil Dressing
  • 1 large, ripe tomato
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup basil leafs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
In a blender, combine olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper until emulsified.  Add basil leafs and blend well.

Slice tomato and mozzarella and arrange on platter.  Drizzle with 1/2 of dressing, reserving second half for asparagus, and serve.

Grilled Marinated Chicken
  • 4 chicken breast halves
  • 1/3 cup bottled Italian dressing
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 3 T sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
Combine last 6 ingredients and marinate chicken for a minimum of 1/2 hour. 

Heat grill to medium high heat, 375 degrees, for 10 minutes.  Clean grill and add chicken.  Grill for 7 minutes, then flip.

Grill second side of chicken for about 7 minutes longer, until internal temperature reached 160 degrees.  Remove from grill, tent with foil, and rest for 10 minutes before serving.  While resting, grill asparagus.

Italian Marinated Grilled Asparagus
  • 1/2 of basil dressing from Tomato and Mozzarella salad
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
Equipment needed:
  • Grill pan
To grill pan, add asparagus and brush with a small amount of marinade.  Add to hot grill and cook for 6-8 minutes, turning and basting with more marinade frequently.  Serve alongside of chicken.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pink Shrimp with Bacon and Onions

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received two new Bertolli® sauces to try: the Four Cheese Rosa and Arrabiata.  The sauces came in an attractive package, complete with several recipes to try with each sauce. 

My my fiance/photographer/taste-tester Ryan and I were blown away by the complexity of the Four Cheese Rosa sauce.  To quote Ryan, "Why go to a restaurant when this is better than most things you would order anyway?"  To my chagrin, I realized that cooking this meal hurt my chances for being taken out to dinner.  *Sigh* Thank you, Bertolli.  Date nights at a fancy restaurant seem only like a dream now.

Pink Shrimp with Bacon & Onions
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped (it is easier to chop if the bacon is slightly frozen)
  • 1 larg onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jar Bertolli® Four Cheese Rosa Sauce
  • 8 oz fettuccini, cooked and drained (reserve 1/2 cup pasta water)
  • 1 T chopped fresh parsley
Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove and set aside, reserving bacon drippings in pan. 

Cook onion in drippings over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until golden.  Add shrimp and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. 

Stir in sauce and reserved pasta water; heat through. 

Toss with hot fettuccine and garnish with parsley.

Enjoy this delicious and easy dinner, definitely good enough for company!!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Grilled Turkey Sandwiches

Currently, my back deck is not only adorned with squirrels trying to hack into my bird feeder, but cluttered with pots of herbs, tomato and pepper plants, and lettuce planted in every last container I could find.  I recently bought a book called Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces, which tells you how to grow virtually anything via container gardening.  A sales associate at Crate & Barrel recommended this book when I was in buying filters for my compost pail.  It is a great book!  And, so far, so good - I have a mini-garden growing right outside my door.

Normally, the only thing I can come up with to do with all of my basil is pesto, pesto, and more pesto.  But last night, I was in the mood for something new...

I had a thought in mind, but the rain that has been pervading the area was going to keep me from grilling out back.  Enter the trusty grill pan! 

These were no ordinary sandwiches....

Grilled Turkey Sandwiches
  • 1 turkey breast, cut into 4 or 5 thin cutlets (about 1/4" thick)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tomato, sliced into thin slices
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves
Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.  Brush inside half of rolls with olive oil.  Grill both sides for about 30 seconds, until toasted.

Season each side of turkey cutlets with salt and pepper, then brush with olive oil.  Grill each side for about 1-2 minutes per side, until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.

Layer 1/2 of each roll with tomato slices, mozzarella, turkey, a layer of basil, then top with second half of roll.

Serve with a salad for a substantial meal.  Enjoy!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Food News

Looking for another reason to eat organically?  Read this article:

ADHD In Children: PESTICIDES May Be Missing Link


Monday, May 10, 2010

Orange-Pineapple Marinated Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa

Grilling chicken is something that I feel I have perfected over the past few years.  At first, I would overcook it (or perhaps dreadfully UNDERcook it) and it would get dried out or just not right.  Finally, I've come up with a set of rules that ensures perfectly grilled, moist & tasty chicken.

 #1  Marinate your chicken to add flavor and keep it moist.  You can use anything from fruit juice to soy sauce, but make sure you let it sit in the marinade for AT LEAST 1/2 hour.

#2  Season your chicken.  Make sure you are generous with salt & pepper BEFORE you cook your meat!

#3  If you're not using a marinade, make sure you brush your chicken on both side with canola oil before you throw it on the grill.  Canola oil is a light oil that is high in monounsaturated fat (good for you!) and low in saturated fat (the bad stuff!), so it's actually the healthiest choice for you use!  Plus, it has a high smoking point so it's perfect for the grill.

#4  Once you have your meat on the grill, don't keep flipping it around.  Cook on one side to allow grill marks to form, then flip once more to complete cooking on the other side.  If the meat sticks to the grates, it is NOT ready to be flipped!

 #5  Using a meat thermometer, cook to an internal temperature of 150-160 degrees. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil for 10 minutes.  This allows all of the juices to redistribute so they won't run all over your plate, and the chicken will continue cooking (internal temperature will actually rise).  Bringing internal temps too high will result in dry, tough chicken.

Armed with these tips, you're on your way to cooking some delicious poultry!

Orange-Pineapple Marinated Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa
  • 4 chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup orange-pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
 For salsa
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeƱo chili, minced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large plastic bag, pour juice and season with salt & pepper.  Add chicken breasts and massage.  Marinate in refrigerator for 1/2 hour to 2 hours.  Do not marinate for longer that 2 hours as the acid from the orange juice will begin to "cook" the chicken.

In the meantime, to make the salsa, combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes for juices & flavors to combine.

Heat grill to approximately 375 degrees (medium high).  Grill chicken on first side for 7-8 minutes.  Flip to other side and cook approximately 7 minutes longer, until a meat thermometer inserted to the center reads 150. 

Remove from grill and tent with foil for 10 minutes.

Serve topped with mango salsa. 


Monday, May 3, 2010

Meatless Monday - Veggie Chili

This was my first attempt at using tempeh, and I'm not going to lie - I was a bit apprehensive.  In the end, the recipe came out very good!  It even fooled my carnivorous fiance, and tricking him into eating meatless meals are one of my favorite things!

I made this recipe using a crock pot.  If you don't have crock pot, or don't feel like using one, just cook on low on the stovetop for 1-1.5 hours.  It won't be quite as flavorful, however.

You have to add extra spice to meatless meals when using a soy-based meat substitute because it absorbs the flavors of what it is cooking in.  Play around with the spice levels to suit your personal tastes.

Tempeh Chili

  • 1 package (8 oz) tempeh
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 T olive oil + 2 teaspoons
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons chili powder (depending on how hot you like it!)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bottle good dark beer
  • 1 18 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
 For Serving:
  • Rice
  • Sour Cream
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Green Onions

In a large frying pan, cook onions, carrots and green bell pepper over med-high heat, until tender and a little brown (about 10 minutes) stirring occasionally.  Transfer to bottom of crock pot. 

Add tempeh to your now-empty pan and fill with water until it is almost covered. Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce and let simmer over medium-high heat for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. When water is mostly absorbed, mash tempeh with a fork, so it's crumbly but still chunky - it will resemble ground beef.  Lower heat to medium and add 2 teaspoons olive oil, garlic and spices.  Saute for another minute, then transer to crock pot.

Stir beer into the crock pot mixture. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, beans, maple syrup, and lemon juice.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
Serve over rice and top with cheese, chopped green onion and sour cream.

Related Posts with Thumbnails