Monday, September 28, 2009

Greek Nachos

This fabulous idea was seen on Tastespotting and it combined my love of finger foods, easy prep meals and the wonderful Greek flavors that burst in your mouth. It turned out great, and Ben wanted to make it again the next night. Success!

4-5 pitas, cut into triangles and lightly toasted (pita chips would also work)
1 lb ground lamb (I used beef... it was fine)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp mint
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp lemon pepper
4-5 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, diced
8 oz Feta (about 225 grams)
1 jar olives
Pepperoncinis, diced
Tzatziki Sauce (Greek yogurt sauce)
parsley to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 (176 C). Put the pita chips on a large baking sheet (baking paper underneath for easy cleanup) and bake in the oven with a little oil and salt drizzled on top. You just want to make them a bit crispy so only a few minutes should do the trick.

In a large skillet combine lamb, onion, garlic and spices and cook until meat is cooked through. Drain grease and pour on top of toasted pita triangles. Add tomatoes, cucumber, feta, olives and pepperoncinis on top and bake for 10 minutes until warmed through.

Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with Tzatziki sauce or hummus on the side.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grilled Huli Huli Chicken

adapted from Elly Says Opa

I wanted to try a recipe using a glaze, and this chicken recipe was perfect. It would be ideal on a real grill in your backyard but since we are backyard-less right now the oven worked just fine. This Hawaiian luau chicken turned out sweet and tangy and would be perfect with some grilled pineapple and red peppers.

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup pineapple chunks
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 knob fresh ginger, grated (or 1 tsp powder)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 chicken legs (or 5-6 skinless breasts)
1 tsp oil

Preheat the broiler or grill. Combine soy sauce, pineapple, brown sugar, ketchup, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Rub the chicken with oil, and then broil skin side up about 6 inches (15 centimeters) form the element for 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and broil on the other side for an additional 8 minutes. Then brush the chicken with the glaze and cook on one side. Brush and repeat 3 times (total of 16 minutes)

You can use other cuts of chicken (or meat for that matter) and just adjust the cooking time to how thick the cut is. Keep reapplying the glaze for a nice golden outside and keep flipping every few minutes until juices run clear.

Serve with rice, red peppers, and pineapple slices.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spaghetti Carbonara

adapted from Allrecipes

Ok, this is not the healthiest dish around, but the hot creamy pasta on a cold rainy day is great for a once-in-a-while treat.

Serves 6

3/4 lb spaghetti
2 tsp olive oil
6 slices of bacon, cooked and diced (Pancetta is recommended)
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, diced (peas and mushrooms would also work well)
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet cook bacon until crispy; remove and drain on paper towels. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and use it to saute onion and garlic until translucent, then add spices. Reintroduce the bacon and add the zucchini pieces, fry together until everything is heated through and zucchini is beginning to soften.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well, toss with 2 tsp olive oil and pour the bacon mixture on top.

In a small bowl, quickly beat the eggs and Parmesan cheese and add it to the pasta, tossing with tongs or a large fork until eggs are barely set. Add salt and pepper and serve immediately with parsley as a garnish.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I like oatmeal raisin cookies because they feel healthier, while still giving you a sweet little cookie. I have tried quite a few recipes, but the classic one one the Quaker Oats box is still my favorite.

1/2 cup + 6 Tbsp butter, softened (about 200 grams)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups oats
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 (176 C). In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together. Add in eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Sift together dry ingredients and combine with wet. Add in oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a light golden brown. Cool for one minute on baking sheet; then remove to wire rack.

Bake 8-10 minutes
(approximately 100 calories per cookie)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fuzzy Navel Tea Bread

adapted from the Streaming Gourmet

This bread was inspired by the fuzzy navel smoothie - a delicate combination of bananas, peaches and oranges. It turns out sweet and fruity, it is perfect for breakfast or tea.

Makes 2 loaves

3/4 cup yogurt
8 Tbsp butter (about 100 grams)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
4 ripe peaches, mashed
1 orange, juice plus zest
5 cups flour
2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, and mix in yogurt, mashed fruit and orange zest. Whisk together dry ingredients, and add them to the wet mixture until just combined. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 60-70 minutes. (30-40 minutes for muffins) Test with a toothpick, it should come out clean when inserted.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

adapted from Dlynz and Delighful Desserts

Warning: These are not healthy. But they do combine two of the greatest desserts of all time. Proceed with caution, and be sure there are plenty of people around to share, or you will be in a lot of trouble.

I made these in a baking pan and had some leftover batter so I made cheesecake brownie bites in the muffin tin. I actually liked the bites a bit better, the sheet brownies had some trouble baking in the middle which wasn't a problem when I baked them in the muffin tin.

Brownie Batter:
1 cup (225 grams) butter
2 cups sugar (they recommend superfine sugar)
1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake Batter:
8 oz (225 g) cream cheese; softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 c sugar
* 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C) and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
Cream together butter, sugar and cocoa of the brownie mixture. Then add in eggs, vanilla and salt until well combined and shiny. Whisk in flour and baking powder until just combined and spread into the bottom of your baking pan.

Next, in a separate bowl, whisk together cheesecake ingredients until smooth. Then dollop over brownie batter. You can swirl the two mixtures a little bit if you want. Or not. Bake until the edges are slightly puffed and the center is set, about 45 minutes (25 minutes if baking in a muffin tin).

Let cool before serving. I would even put this in the fridge for several hours to help it set. If you can wait that long.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baked Chicken with Dijon and Lime

adapted from Gina's Recipes

This chicken was excellent. It came out of the oven beautifully golden and the mixture of lime and Dijon mustard was a surprise hit.

3-4 large chicken thighs
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 lime, juice and zest
3/4 tsp pepper
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 (204 C), rinse the chicken and remove the skin and fat. In a small bowl combine dijon, mayonnaise, lime juice and zest, garlic, pepper and salt to taste. Mix well. Pat chicken dry and pour sauce over it, tossing well to coat. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Spray a baking pan with pam to prevent sticking and place chicken to fit in a single layer. Bake until cooked through and juices run clear (about 40 minutes) then move the pan up to the broiler and finish the chicken until it is a golden brown.

You then use the pan juices to make a delicious tangy sauce. Pour the drippings in a saucepan and skim off the fat as best as you can. Turn up the heat to medium and add in 1 Tbsp flour and 1 cup of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for several minutes until sauce is thickened.

Serve chicken with rice and sauce.