Tag Archives: dinner

Sale Meat Special: Rosemary Garlic London Broil

Oh, what you can do with a good sale and some free stuff!  Times are still tough, and I constantly find myself in need of a healthy, delicious, and satisfying meal on the cheap, the real cheap.  But, I honestly have a hard time sacrificing quality for price.  I struggle with it throughout nearly every visit to the market.  So when I find something like gorgeous, lean, slabs of london broil (in reality it’s a preparation, not a cut, but we all know it as the latter), for less than three dollars per pound, I get excited, I can’t help it.  The promise of an awesome steak dinner that’s not only easy, but affordable, and quick, just lights my fire.  Not only that, a few weeks ago, my buddies over at FoodBuzz sent me an unbelievably generous package of Emeril Brand goodies, for free!  I was siked to be able to use his Steak Rub on a blogworthy dish and I was definitely not disappointed in the product.  Now to the sharing:

Ingredients

Fresh Rosemary (dried would actually work too)

Fresh Garlic

Butter, softened

London Broil Roast (any cut with this label will do)

Steak Seasoning (again, I used Emeril’s Steak Rub)

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Red Wine (as long as it’s not “cooking wine” you’re in good shape)

Process

Okay, the first thing you want to do is gather the ingredients for the Rosemary Garlic Butter.  You’ll need the garlic, rosemary, and of course, the butter (make sure you take this out in advance, or you will have to nuke it like I did, and risk getting it a little too soft, like I also did:)).

001Now, finely chop the rosemary and use a Microplane or finely mince the garlic.  Toss them both in the bowl with the softened butter.

003Now, get crazy with a fork or a rubber spatula and mash it, smash it, and mix it all around.

004If like mine, your butter got a little melted, you want to pop it in the fridge now.  It should be a spreadable consistency.  Now, for the MEAT!  Grab your roast and use a paper towel to pat off any excess moisture.

005Then, liberally (and I mean liberally, the beef needs it) season the roast with salt, pepper, and steak seasoning.  Remember to do both sides, we don’t want meat with flavor on one side, it’s just not right.

006Now it’s time to turn your broiler on.  I use mine on high, which is about 500 degrees.  Before it gets hot though, grab the pan out of it.  If yours doesn’t have a pan, find a flat baking dish that will fit in the broiler.  This next step is kind of messy, so if you’re squeamish about this kind of thing you can put gloves on, but for me, they really just get in the way.  Reserve a couple tablespoons of the butter, then put half of what remains onto the top side of your roast.

008Dig your hands in and rub the butter into the meat.  The surface should be completely covered in the butter mixture.

011Transfer the meat to your broiler pan (or baking dish), buttered side down, then butter the rest of the steak.

013Now, pop the whole pan into the heated broiler.  For a roast about this thick, it will take about seven to eight minutes on each side to cook to medium.  While the meat cooks, you can make a nice red wine reduction sauce.  Grab a small sauce pan and add about a cup of wine (if you are serving more than 2-3 people you will need more).

015Bring the wine to a boil, over high heat.  When it has reduced by half, add your reserved butter.

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Stir in the butter, lower the heat, and continue to cook until butter is melted in.  Then, remove from heat.  When the steak is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and allow to rest.  This is very, very important or your meat will be dry.  I usually give london broil about 10 minutes, but the bigger it is, the longer it needs.

022To serve, slice thinly, against the grain.

025Can you say delicious?  Especially when served up with brown rice and a tomato, mozzarella, and kalamata salad…  HMM, HMM Good.  ENJOY!

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Filed under Beef, Uncategorized

Laine’s Favorite Shrimp and Grits

How the topic of shrimp and grits came up one night while watching So You Think You Can Dance (one of the best shows on TV, by the way), I really don’t remember, but it did.  And then it kept coming up.  My friend, Laine, and I decided that they are simply awesome and I told her that I would make her some soon.  The next night I was watching a little late night Food Network, and what was on?  Bobby Flay’s Shrimp and Grits Throwdown!  Of course, now I had grits on my mind, so the next day at work, a co-worker and I were waxing poetic on their virtues for quite awhile.  Inevitably, the next Wednesday, when Laine planned to come over for the latest installment of SYTYCD, I decided to whip some up for dinner.  Only problem was, despite my efforts to let her know, she didn’t realize what I was making and decided to skip dinner and just join us for the show.  Well, she was at least a little disappointed when she realized what she had missed out on.  So, of course, I promised that I would make the dish again on our next TV night.  Well, you know how I don’t measure and don’t really write down what I use unless I’m blogging?  That really worked out for me this time around.  This week’s version was clearly far superior to the previous week’s.  The earlier batch was a little too spicy and being that I forgot to start the dish out with the bacon and had to add it separately at the end, it really lacked the porky essence that makes shrimp and grits so special.  Luckily, I had already decided that I would blog about this dish the next time I made it, so now, I (and you) will always know how to make the version that quickly became Laine’s Favorite Shrimp and Grits.  BONUS:  From start to finish this meal takes less than 20 minutes to prepare!

Ingredients

Bacon

Onion

Garlic

Shrimp

Lemon Zest and Juice

Hot Sauce

Chicken Stock

Tomato Sauce

Fresh Parsley

Italian Seasoning

Quick Grits

Milk

Water

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Butter

Cheddar Cheese (I always use extra sharp)

Process

Since this is a pretty quick process, you want to gather up all of your main ingredients before you start.

001

Heat a large skillet over medium-low.  Chop the bacon into about one inch pieces and add to the pan.  While the bacon is cooking.  Chop the onions and mince the garlic.  When the bacon is golden, drain off some of the fat, return to the heat, and add the onions and garlic.

007If your shrimp are frozen, you can defrost them now.  I do this by placing the frozen shrimp in a large bowl and covering with cool water.  They defrost pretty quickly this way.  Then you can peel them and pat dry.

004

Start grits by following package instructions for the amount you are cooking.

008While the grits cook, toss your shrimp into the skillet with the bacon.

011Season with salt and pepper.

012When the grits are thickened and cooked according to the package, add a generous splash of milk.

010

Next, you can stir in some shredded cheddar cheese and butter to taste.  Reduce the heat and allow to simmer, covered until your shrimp is finished.  Stir occasionally to prevent them from sticking.

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Your grits should be smooth, rich, and creamy at their finish.

025

When the shrimp is almost cooked through, use a microplane to grate in some lemon zest.

013Now, the final step is to prepare the sauce.

015First, add a hefty glug of chicken stock and use a spoon to scrape up any brown bits and incorporate it into the sauce.

016Next, add in about an equal amount of tomato sauce.

017Then stream in hot sauce to taste.

019Stir it all up to combine and reduce the heat to low.  Allow to simmer for another minute or so.  While it simmers finely chop up a bit of fresh parsley.  Now add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

022Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley.

023

You’re Done!  Seriously, I know there is a lot of multi-tasking involved here, but it’s totally worth it and really only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish until you can ENJOY!

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Filed under Seafood, Uncategorized

Easy Breezy Stuffed Pork Chops

Okay, so the flavors in this dish are distinctly fall, but as much as I love to buy produce seasonally, I buy apples all year round.  What can I say, I love apples.  So, when I pulled these chops out of the freezer and realized I had bacon, apples, and onion, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and let me tell you, this is truly a knockout combo no matter what time of year.   To be honest, there’s not really much more of a story to this one, it was just a regular mid-week dinner that was absolutely tasty and well-suited to illustrate a method that makes a simply prepared dish look super-impressive.  Seriously give it a try, dinner will be on the table before you know it.

Ingredients

Bacon

Apples (I used granny smith, but any firm cooking apple will do)

Onion

Fresh Rosemary (or another woodsy herb of your choosing)

Thick Cut Boneless Pork Chops

Butter

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Poultry Seasoning

Process

Heat a large skillet over medium fire.  While the pan heats cut bacon into small pieces.  Toss into the hot pan to cook.

001While the bacon cooks, finely chop onion, apple, and rosemary.

002Once the bacon is browned, drain off a little of the excess fat.

004Then toss in the onions.

005Once the onions begin to go translucent, add the apples, rosemary, and a little butter.

006Now, stir it all up and allow to cook down for a few minutes.  Then season with a little salt and pepper.

007Turn the heat to low and allow to cook a few more minutes while you prep the chops.  You can also preheat your oven to 400 degrees at this point.  Place your chops on a cutting board and grab a sharp knife.

009Now to create a pocket in the chops to stuff the filling in, press your hand flat down on the top of the chop and insert the tip of your knife into the side of the chop.  Slice into the chop to create the pocket leaving about a 1/2 inch on each side.  Do not let your knife go all the way through the chop.

011Here’s what the pocket should look like:

012Repeat the process on each of your chops then liberally season the with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.

013Now, grab the chops one by one and spoon filling into the slit until it is just about flush with the edge of the chop.   If you think you need to, you can use a toothpick to close up the opening, but this time around my filling was pretty secure.

015In the same pan that you used for the filling, heat about a teaspoon of butter over medium-high.

016Add your porkchops to the pan.  We just want to give them a golden brown crust.

017When the first side reaches desired color, flip ’em over and allow the second side to brown.

018Once both sides are nicely browned, transfer the chops to a baking dish and pop in the oven.

019They are probably only gonna need about 15 minutes in the oven, depending on the thickness of your chops.  They should look like this when they are done:

021I served them up with creamy whipped potatoes.  I happened to be low on fresh veggies this day, but any steamed green veggie would also be fabulous alongside.

024Enjoy!

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Filed under Pork

Fancy Schmancy Chicken Sammie

Okay, can you say inspiration?  I always seem to get food inspiration at the weirdest times, for instance, when I’m sick at home with the flu or even at 2a.m. when I can’t sleep a wink.  That being said, the idea for this sandwich came to me at the most obvious time possible, while grocery shopping at Costco.  I was perusing the imported cheese case, as I’m usually prone to do, when I found a very reasonably priced triple-creme French cheese by the name of le Delice de Bourgogne.  Between the cheese and a fresh loaf of rosemary olive oil bread, a plan formed and my excitement was honestly not to be contained.  All I needed was a few more ingredients, a killer sauce, and magic was around the corner.  I attended to the rest of my weekly errands with one goal in mind, and basically went on a food buying spree, grabbing anything and everything that peaked my curiosity.  I’m a total food geek and it was the most fun I’d had in a long time.  Plus, by the time I got home I knew exactly what I was making and even thought of a way to use a brand new gadget, courtesy of my brother.  This is one of those recipes that I’m going to have to insist that you try  because, yes, it’s really that good.

Ingredients

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Fresh Rosemary

Fresh Tarragon

Fresh Garlic

Maple Bacon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Butter

Flour

White Wine

Heavy Cream

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread (or any nice crusty bread)

le Delice de Bourgogne Cheese (or a nice triple-creme brie)

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Process

Yay!  Here’s the debut of my new gadget…a pilon, straight from Puerto Rico.  As I’ve mentioned before, my family is Puerto Rican and we really enjoy our heritage through food, so when my brother returned from a recent trip to the island with a handcrafted pilon, sort of a wooden mortar and pestle, I was thrilled.  My mom bought an almost identical one almost 10 years ago, and I’ve wanted my own for a long time.  Well, I’ve digressed much too far now, so first off, you should tear the leaves off of your tarragon and rosemary and remove the skin from the garlic.  Throw it all in your mortar and pestle with some salt and pepper.

001

Now have some fun and crush it up as much as you can.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle just coursely chop it all together.

004Set aside and begin prepping your chicken.  As usual, you want to clean off any excess fat and then you should split the breasts as demonstrated in my Cheesy Chicken Roll-Ups.

005

Toss them all in a dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle on the herb and garlic mixture.

006Mix everything up and set aside to marinate well you work on the other components.  Now’s a good time to cook up your bacon.  In the past year, I’ve discovered that I really like to cook bacon in the toaster oven when I have the time.  The bacon doesn’t curl up and the scent doesn’t infiltrate your home so much.  So that’s what I did hear.  Depending on the thickness of the bacon, I usally cook it on 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, if the bacon is thinner, decrease the time.

008While the bacon cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and throw in your chicken.

012Sautee on both sides until nicely browned, add a couple tablespoons of butter, and sprinkle the whole thing with some flour.

014Toss everything around to work in the flour and allow it to cook out for a few minutes to lose the raw taste.  Once a bit of a roux has formed and cooked up, add a few ounces of a tasty white wine.

015Bring to boil and let the alcohol cook out.  This is important!  If you don’t give the alcohol a few minutes to cook out, the sauce will curdle in the next step.  Once it comes to a boil and simmers for a minute you can add in the cream.

017Stir to combine and allow to simmer so the sauce is thick enough to coat the chicken with a couple tablespoons leftover for drizzling.  While the sauce thickens, cut the bread into 2-3 inch wide pieces, spread each side with a healthy amount of the cheese, and layer bacon on both sides.

019Once the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is nice and thick, place one breast portion on the bread and drizzle with a little more sauce.

020To fancy it up a bit more, serve with a bistro salad of greens, dried fruit, and nuts and some roasted potatoes.  Now, please, please, please ENJOY the creamy, bacony goodness!

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3 Comments

Filed under Chicken, Make Your Own Takeout, Uncategorized

Crispy Honey-Lime Salmon

So, I’m gonna sort of piggy back posts here.  To go along with the panzanella salad I shared in my last post, I created a new salmon dish.  I know that a lot of people are bored with salmon and that it is actually becoming quite a controversial fish, but my husband and I love it.  In fact, I’ve even converted a few seafoodphobes with my blackened version(maybe I’ll post that one someday,too :)), and I find that I can always think of something new to do with it.  Although not naturally bland, I consider salmon my chicken of the sea…poached, broiled, baked, pan-fried, packed with flavor or simply seasoned, I can always find a tasty and satisfying method of preparation.  Now, usually, we want the sides to complement the protein, but the panzanella was really the focus of this meal and I wanted something with light flavor to accompany the tart, salty, cheesy salad.  Both the husband and I agreed that this had the perfect balance of zesty punch and mellow flavors to be yummy in its own right, without outshining the salad.  Hope you give it a try…

Ingredients

Salmon Fillets

Lime Zest

Fresh Garlic

Honey

Dijon Mustard

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Panko Bread Crumbs

Canola Oil

Process

Start by heating a large skillet, over medium-high heat, with just a drizzle of oil.  Then, lay your salmon onto a few paper towels to soak up any excess moisture and season each fillet with some salt and pepper.  Next, grab a dish and zest one lime into it, add honey, mustard, and finely minced garlic.

037Stir it all up, then grab another dish and load it up with an excess of panko.  Now you can set up your breading station.  I usually do this in order of what goes on the protein first and end up at the pan.  In this case, that’s fish, honey mustard mixture, panko, and hot pan.

038Dip each salmon fillet into the honey mustard to thoroughly coat both sides.

040Then dip each fillet into the panko and lightly coat all sides.

041Tip:  Add your fillets one at a time to the hot pan as you bread them.  The breading only takes a few seconds and you don’t need to dirty up another dish.

042Get all your fish into the pan and allow the first side to reach a deep golden brown before flipping.  The second side will cook faster, so keep an eye on it.  The fish is done when it feels firm to the touch and the meat just flakes.  On fillets this size, by the time both sides are equally golden the fish will be cooked through.

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Serve up with a wedge of lime and ENJOY!

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4 Comments

Filed under Seafood, Uncategorized

Rockin’ Roasted Tomato Panzanella Salad

A couple weeks ago, my local Asian/Produce market had a gorgeous crop of vine-ripened tomatoes, at the awesome and rare price of 99 cents a pound.  Me being the lifelong tomato-lover that I am, I just could not pass up such a deal.  I loaded up about 4 pounds and set off to brainstorm on how to use them up before they went bad.  Now, I’ve wanted to try panzanella salad for a few years now, but never thought my husband would be very receptive to the wet bread thing…until now.  He has tried many, many new things in the past few years, and I’ve learned to simply not tell him what I’m making when I think he might put up a fight.  So, this time ’round, I knew I was gonna go for it.  Only problem was it was late March and quite chilly here in Jersey.  A cold tomato and bread salad just didn’t seem quite appropriate.  After a little more thought, I decided to roast the tomatoes, toast up the bread, and serve it at room temp.  The result, I must say, was the best thing I’ve made in a long time (yes, DH agrees) and I’m so glad that we photographed so that I can share it with all of you….it’s a must try!  When it gets a little warmer I plan to develop a summer panzanella so keep a look out for that in the coming months.

Ingredients

Vine-Ripened Tomatoes

Ciabatta Bread (stale is okay)

Fresh Garlic

Fresh Lime Juice (plus a couple tbsps. of zest)

Fresh Lemon Juice

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Red Onion

Fresh Parsley

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese (can also use parmesan, asiago, romano, etc.)

Process

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees, then cube your bread.

0271

Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss in the oven.

030Then cut your tomatoes into medium wedges.

033Toss in a baking dish, grate some garlic over the top, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.  Then pop ’em into the oven.

034While your bread toasts and your tomatoes roast, you can prepare the dressing.  Squeeze the juice of one lemon and one lime into a bowl, drizzle in some olive oil whisking while you do so (to emulsify or homogenize the liquid).

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Thinly slice some onion and finely chop the parsley, toss in the vinaigrette and season the whole mess with plenty of salt and pepper.  Stir it up, taste it, sniff it, and continue to season until your tastebuds are all tingly.

047When your bread is golden brown and the tomatoes are soft, bubbly, and brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple minutes.

0501Toss the tomatoes into the dressing, with most of their juices.

051Your bread should look like this:

039

Now toss that in, too.  Use your vegetable peeler to shave up a heaping pile of cheese shards then add to the salad.

053Now use your mitts or grab some salad spoons and toss up the whole thing until everything is well-combined.

054Be careful not to over mix, you don’t want it to be squishy, you just want everything to be coated in dressing.  Now, serve it up with some protein, and ENJOY!

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2 Comments

Filed under Sides, Uncategorized

Simply Sinful Shrimpy Mac ‘n’ Cheese

About a month ago, I had a terrible craving for mac ‘n’ cheese.  Recipes were floating around all over the food blog circuit and I kept seeing it on TV.  I just couldn’t seem to get away from it!  So I attempted to whip some together, after work one day, and failed…pretty miserably.  I was rushed and I think I just wanted it too badly.  What I got was a decent tasting pasta dish, but it was not mac ‘n’ cheese, it was not ooey gooey and awesome, it was a little dry and just okay.  My craving was not satisfied.  I tried again last week, and I hit a home run.  I still didn’t really plan ahead so I had to work with what I had on hand…a great mixture of three cheeses, some wine, and frozen shrimp.  This is not a traditional, homey mac ‘n’ cheese, it’s rather gourmet and definitely more for the foodie crowd, so mac ‘n’ cheese traditionalists should beware.  My hubby and I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to make another batch.

Ingredients

A few of your fave Cheeses (I used Rosey Goat, Cheddar, and Parm)

Short-Cut Pasta (like elbows, penne, etc. I used whole wheat)

Milk

Dijon Mustard

White Wine

All-Purpose Flour

Shrimp (Frozen or Fresh)

Onion

Garlic

Nutmeg

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Kosher Salt

Butter

Process

First, set a large pot of water to boil for your pasta.  Then sautee enough shrimp to suit your fancy, in a large heated skillet.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until just pink.

003While the shrimp cooks, preheat your broiler and finely chop the onion and garlic.  You can also start bringing a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.  When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente (still a little firm).

0041When the shrimp is cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.  In the same pan, melt a couple tablespoons of butter and add the onions and garlic.

005

Cook until softened and sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of flour.  Season with salt and pepper and mix well, until flour is smooth.

0081Allow the roux to cook out for a few minutes.  While it does so, shred up a heaping pile of cheese.

002At this point, your shrimp should be cool enough to handle, and you can cut them up into bite size pieces (you can also leave them whole, I just think this dish eats better with the shrimp in smaller pieces).

007When the roux has darkened just a tad in color and no longer tastes pasty, you can begin adding liquid.  I started by adding in the wine.

0111Stir rapidly until everything smooths out and allow to come to a boil.  The alcohol must be cooked out before you add the milk, or the sauce will curdle.

0122Then add milk until sauce reaches desired amount and consistency.  Remember you want enough to coat all of your pasta and a little extra.

013Season with salt and pepper, add a dijon mustard to taste, and just a touch of nutmeg, bring to a boil.

015Next stir in all but a few tablespoons of the cheese and continue stirring until melted and completely incorporated.

016At this point, you should check your pasta for doneness, strain it when it’s ready, and return it to the pot.  Then stir your shrimp into the cheese sauce.

0171Pour the sauce into the pot of pasta and gently stir until every noodle is coated (note how I’m using two different pastas, this is not technique my friends, this is lack of planning…still tastes good though).

0181Add more seasoning if necessary, transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and pop into the broiler.

0192Remove from the broiler when the top is brown and bubbly.

0201Serve it up and indulge in this cheesy delight.

0222ENJOY!

3 Comments

Filed under casseroles, Pasta, Seafood, Uncategorized