Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grilled Potatoes and Onions

For Fathers' Day, the father of my child wanted steak and everything grilled along with it. He underestimated how much work would be involved for him, but I enjoyed the day off from cooking! We have grilled everything under the sun when it comes to vegetables. My favorites are mushrooms with a little olive oil and zucchini.

As for the zucchini, you slice it in half and then in thin planks. Then I mix fresh lemon juice and olive oil together and coat the zucchini with it. Then just before they are done, top with a little fresh parmesan. My kiddo loves it. We tried this recipe from Our Best Bites that day. It's similar to a tinfoil dinner or where I grew up a "hobo" dinner. So delicious & easy. They were even tastier than they looked -

1 potato per person (any kind of potatoes work; for the sake of sentimentality, I'm partial to Russetts, although red and Yukon Gold potatoes are so smooth and delicious)
1/2 small onion per person (the one pictured is a little large because I used some onions in the corn)
1 Tbsp. butter per person, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp. salt per person
Freshly-ground black pepper
Smoked paprika
Aluminum foil

Tear sheets (1 per person) of aluminum foil into about 16" pieces. Fold each in half into a sqaure-ish and set aside.

Preheat grill. Slice potatoes into pieces about 1/8-1/4" thick. Slice onions about 1/8" thick.

Place 1 potato in the middle of each foil square and dot with butter pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then sprinkle generously with smoked paprika. Remember, paprika is super mild, so it's hard to add too much.

Top each pile with onions. Fold edges in and secure tightly. It's important to get a good seal because the moisture will cook the potatoes and onions and you want all those yummy juices, so if it seems like there's not quite enough foil, wrap packet in another layer.

Turn heat on grill to low. Place each packet on the grill. Close lid for 15 minutes. Turn and allow to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully open each packet.

These can also be cooked in the oven at 400 for about 15-20 minutes (just check on them to see how they're doing) or in a panini press for about the same amount of time.

Charred Chili Relleno with Green Rice

I watched Rachael make these and it looked complicated what with the broiler being on and everything. There is a butcher shop called Snider's Meat Market down the street and everything there is wonderful, but they have these chili rellenos that are absolute cream cheese, fattening heaven. These are a GREAT vegetarian, low-fat version. The red onion makes the whole dish so sweet and yummy. I love it! The rice was also wonderful, but makes quite a bit. I did not want my oven on so I actually used the grill completely by myself :) and just charred the peppers. Then, when I filled the peppers and topped with cheese (which can be omitted if you want to cut even more calories because there is so much flavor), I actually put them in a 9x13 and just put the pan straight on the grill to melt the cheese. Enjoy!

Charred Chili Relleno with Green Rice

Rachael Ray

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray, 2007

Show: 30 Minute MealsEpisode: Craving Buster

  • Level: Easy

  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 6 ears corn on the cob or 3 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons corn, peanut or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, eyeball it in your palm
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 pound spinach leaves, deveined and coarsely chopped
  • 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 limes, zested, juiced
  • 1 cup shredded Chihuahua cheese, Asadero or Monterey Jack


Preheat broiler or grill pan to high.

Heat about 3 1/2 cups stock in a sauce pot with a bay leaf to boiling. Add rice, cover pot reduce heat to low and simmer 18 minutes until tender.

Place poblanos under broiler or on hot grill and char evenly all over, 15 minutes.

While peppers and rice are working, scrape the corn off the cobs or defrost frozen corn and dry by spreading out on clean kitchen towel. Heat 2 tablespoons light oil in a skillet over high heat. When the oil smokes or ripples add corn, onion, jalapenos and toss until the vegetables char at edges and onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and add in garlic, fire roasted tomatoes and season with cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another minute or 2 then turn pan off.

Place the cilantro, spinach, scallions, lime zest, half a cup of stock and a tablespoon of oil in food processor and process into coarse green paste. Stir into your rice pot in the last 3 to 4 minutes of its cooking time.

Sprinkle the lime juice over the corn mixture.

Split the charred peppers open but not in half with small sharp knife then scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Place peppers in a shallow baking dish and stuff each split pepper with lots of the corn mix, top each pepper with 1/4 cup cheese and place back under broiler to melt and char the cheese.

Serve peppers on beds of green rice. Yum-o!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicken Mole

Ah yes - a challenge has been set before me, and no better time for it with all those babies out there coming soon. I don't know about you - but everyone I know is pregnant! I had a friend ask for freezer meal ideas and this one is one of my favorites. I used to really hate mole, but decided to try this and love it now.


3.5-4-lb. frying chicken, cut into serving pieces (I usually just through in frozen cooked chicken or slightly thaw 2 chicken breasts)
5 Tbs. olive oil, divided
4 Tbs. chili powder, divided
salt & cayenne to taste
2 onions, peeled & chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups chicken stock
1-14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup chopped raisins
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet wiht aluminum foil.

Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper twoels. Combine 3 Tbs. oil, 2 garlic cloves, and 2 Tbs. chili powder in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Mix well, and rub mixture on chicken. Arrange chicken on the prepared pan, skin side down.

Bake chicken for 20 minutes, then turn with tongs, and bake skin side up for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.

While chicken baeks, make sauce. Heat remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and remaining garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Stir in remaining chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Add peanut butter, raisins, sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir well and bring to a boil. Then turn to low and simmer sauce for 15 minutes, or until lightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and cayeene. Serve sauce on top of chicken.

Note: The sauce can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Reheat over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Note: Can double recipe and freeze in heavy resealable plastic bags. (I often don't even need to double it to freeze it for my small family of 3)

Source: $3 Meals

Friday, June 11, 2010

Granola Tip

Oh world, are you out there?? I know I am the only one who posts quite frequently on this, but sometimes I wonder if I am merely talking to myself. :)

So I have been making Lisa's (my loving sister, who mainly we started this blog to share our recipes together several states apart instead of emailing) Maple Granola with white chocolate chips and cranberries and it is super addicting!! I was watching the Food Network & Sunny from Cooking For Real made granola and added 2 whipped egg whites. So I did a little research online and came to discover that you can substitute the oil or butter for egg whites to help it clump together more. My hubby loves granola for breakfast cereal. He took a big bag of this granola to work, but left it in his car accidentally. He came out to find the chocolate chips melted it together in clumps and said it was absolutely heavenly. I have yet to try it that way, but have been adding the egg whites after I stir in the maple syrup. You have to whip them quite a bit with a whisk to get the desired effect. I have tried it 3 times thus far and this last time, I whipped them for quite a while and finally got it clump really well.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Linguine and Quinoa Meatballs

Recent Costco purchases: 20 lb. bag of organic brown rice, 10 lb. bag of organic quinoa & 10 lbs. of organic whole wheat spaghetti. Must put all to use and here is one way I did.

Typically, meatballs are made with bread crumbs, but this adds quinoa instead to add more protein. I also revamped my spaghetti sauce from the Risotto Cakes recipe 2 more times! I put it in a food processor and added a little water. Then we had mini english muffin pizzas. Then instead of making this sauce, I just added a little more water and used my sauce. I am looking forward to trying this sauce, though, because I pretty much love anything with balsamic vinegar!



¼ cup olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

1 large carrot, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

1 tsp hot red pepper flakes

1 28-oz. can tomatoes, chopped, with juices

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbs balsamic vinegar

Salt & freshly ground black pepper


3 Tbs canola oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 ½ cups cooked quinoa

½ cup finely grated Parmesan

1 egg

3 Tbs. fresh parsley leaves, very finely chopped

½ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. linguine

1 large handful fresh basil leaves


To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and red pepper flakes and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to keep warm.

To make the meatballs, preheat the oven to 425. Heat the canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, partially covered, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, quinoa, Parmesan, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, and cooled onions. Stir until a smooth, homogenous mixture has formed.

Roll the meat mixture into 2-inch balls and set them on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet in neat rows. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until nicely browned but still soft to the touch.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the linguine al dente. Serve the pasta with some meatballs and the sauce and top with a sprinkling of torn basil leaves.

Source: the 10 things you need to eat and more than 100 ways to prepare them

Monday, June 7, 2010

Smokey BBQ Baked Lentils

Lentils are healthier, right? They don't taste that way with bacon on top, but it was sure delicious.


  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs molasses
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 chipotles in adobe, chopped
  • 1 Tbs adobo
  • 3 slices bacon, preferably applewood smoked

In a large pot, combine the lentils and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils soften.

Meanwhile, prepare your sauce: Heat olive oil and garlic in a medium skillet and cook until garlic softens. Add next 7 ingredients (through adobo) and whisk to combine.

Bring to a simmer and let reduce for 10-15 minutes, or until it becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Combine the lentils and sauce in a small baking dish. Arrange the bacon in a single layer over the top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until bacon has crisped up and sauce has become very thick.

Serves 4.
Approx. 160 calories, 3 grams fat, 5 grams fiber, 7 grams protein

Note: I only used one chipotle pepper and it was plenty hot for me. Also, I don't know how many of you buy those peppers in Adobo sauce, but I've always just kept the leftovers in my fridge and thrown it out when they go bad. Now I freeze them and have used them 3 times!

Source: Food Buzz

Cupcakes & Cake Bites

My son's birthday was yesterday and we had a little BBQ with a few friends. I wanted to keep it really simple, but fun for him. We made these cupcakes and they were not only beautiful, but absolutely delicious. All I needed to get with these were a few brightly-colored table top covers and some Mickey Mouse balloons and everyone foolishly thought I outdid myself. I have made a really complicated chocolate cupcake one time from scratch and these were not only easy, but someone at the party said, "These are the best cupcakes I have ever had." Wow :)

I also made these cake bites from Bakerella. The first 10 were practice because I didn't stick the lollipop stick far enough into the cake, but they came out looking really good after I figured that out. I bought some rainbow colored jelly bellies (the sour ones would look best, but I just put together different colors) and put them in a glass bowl. Then I put the pops in like a flower arrangement. I wish I had taken a picture, but my battery died! If you need a fun theme, here you go!

I won't post the recipes because they do need instruction so I'll just post the links.