Archive for the ‘Dinner ideas’ Category

Give Your Grilled Cheese Some Olympic Flair

Sunday, February 9, 2014
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If you’re watching the 2014 Winter Olympics and get a serious case of the munchies, why not cook up a quick snack with the same international flair you’re watching unfold on the screen before you?

Maria Zoitas, creator of the “Maria’s Homemade” line of prepared foods sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC, offers a few unique twists on a classic sandwich – thanks to a few worldly ingredients.

We’re talking grilled cheese sandwiches made with international cheese combos like … 

  • Kefalograviera (Greece), Kerrygold (Ireland) and Red Gouda (Holland)
  • Raclette (Switzerland), Organic Sharp Cheddar (Australia) and Asiago (Italy)
  • Limburger (Germany) and Pepper Jack (America) 

Oh yeah. 

Make them using wedges of French baguette, Italian focaccia or some other international-style bread and you’ll score bonus points – even from the Russian judge!

Oh, Deer! What To Do With All That Venison?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
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With another deer-hunting season wrapping up, many of you may find your freezers full of rich venison meat waiting to be put to good use.

Well look no further!

Today’s Charleston Daily Mail offers a variety of suggestions to inspire you, including ideas from some from the area’s finest restaurants. (You can check them out here: http://bit.ly/Juxu5z) And here’s another idea from my own experience …

My mother-in-law has served venison for big family dinners twice in the past week – and the results have been phenomenal. Born and raised in Austria, Louise Wiseman knows her way around the kitchen, and is especially skilled at baking world-class desserts and preparing flavorful, fork-tender meat.

This week’s venison was no exception.

Although she’s hesitant to reveal her precise recipe, I can tell you she braised it in a flavorful broth seasoned with mushrooms and onions until a fork pierced it as if it were soft butter. (You can make your own braising liquid, or use any combination of prepared broths/soups to create the taste you want.)

Pair this awesome venison with some roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts and a hearty red wine for one heckuva meal!

The Last Supper … For Turkey Leftovers

Monday, December 2, 2013
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We’re now entering Day 4 of turkey leftovers. Or as I like to call it …  

ENOUGH ALREADY! 

After today, I’ll be breaking down what’s left of that big bird to make a giant pot of homemade stock to freeze in smaller containers that can be pulled out to flavor soups, stews, rice and more over the coming weeks. 

But if you have any meat left, you can still get one more meal out of the thing. Today’s recipe calls for angel hair “nests” (available in some specialty food stores) but you can also just serve this over any ol’ pasta for similar results. 

 

Angel Hair Nests with Turkey and Leek

 

1–2 packages of angel hair nests

5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

1-1.5 cups cooked, skinless turkey breast

5 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, washed and thinly sliced

1 cup water

3/4 cup finely chopped green onions, divided

1/3 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Cut cooked, skinless turkey into bite-size pieces or shreds; set aside.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Reduce heat to medium, and add leeks. Cook 7 minutes or until tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Add water, 1/2 cup green onions and wine; cook, covered, 10 minutes or until leeks are soft.
  3. Transfer mixture to a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in 3 batches, gently lower pasta into boiling water. Cook 6 minutes or until al dente. Carefully remove pasta with a large slotted spoon, gently shaking to remove excess liquid. Repeat procedure with remaining pasta.
  5. Arrange cooked pasta nests on a large rimmed platter. Spoon sauce evenly over each nest. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, and top with turkey. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup green onions.

     

    Recipe courtesy www.dececcousa.com

Beef Stroganoff – Beef + Turkey = Tasty Results

Sunday, December 1, 2013
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I adore Beef Stroganoff, with its chunks of meat and fat egg noodles bathed in a creamy sauce made with sour cream, Dijon mustard, onions and parsley. 

So why not replicate the dish with a few leftovers from the Thanksgiving table? 

Today’s recipe takes advantage of some of that turkey (you can use white or dark meat), plus adds mushrooms and cranberries for a super-quick satisfying meal. 

And if the addition of cranberries doesn’t tempt your taste buds, you can easily omit them – no harm done.  

 

Turkey Stroganoff with Mushrooms & Cranberries

9 oz. wide egg noodles

2 tsp. vegetable oil

1 ½ cups/8 oz. finely chopped onion

1 ½ cups/4 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms

6 Tbsp./3 oz. dry white wine

6 Tbsp./2 oz. dried cranberries, preferably unsweetened

3 cups/12 oz. shredded cooked white and dark meat turkey

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

12 oz. reduced fat sour cream

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

 

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and sauté the onions and mushrooms until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and add the cranberries. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the turkey, Dijon mustard and sour cream. Remove from heat. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Divide the noodles between 6 bowls. Top with stroganoff mixture and sprinkle with parsley.
    Recipe courtesy www.pastafits.org

More Turkey Leftovers? More Recipe Ideas!

Saturday, November 30, 2013
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We’re still in full “Thanksgiving Leftover Mode” at our house, with the boys requesting hot open-faced turkey sandwiches for both lunch AND dinner yesterday.

Happy to oblige with that deliciousness – no arguments here.

But if you’re looking for something a bit more creative, here’s a recipe that brings turkey, pumpkin and cranberries together in an unusual pasta dish.

The combination sounds a bit odd, I know. But pumpkin pairs well with savory flavors so the garlic, scallions and fennel called for here shouldn’t scare you. Throwing cranberries into the mix admittedly throws me a bit but, hey, live a little!

 

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce, Turkey & Cranberries

 

1 lb. bowtie or any medium pasta shape, uncooked

1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil

1 1/2 cup sliced scallions, white and green parts

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. fennel seeds

1 12-oz. can evaporated skim milk

1/2 cup low-fat milk

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 15-oz. can solid pack pumpkin

3 cups chopped cooked turkey

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

6 fresh fennel sprigs (optional)

 

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add scallions, garlic and fennel seeds; sauté 3 minutes.
  2. Combine milk, flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir into saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat; boil until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in pumpkin, turkey and cranberries until well blended. Reduce heat to medium; cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Drain pasta. Place in large bowl. Add pumpkin sauce and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. (Garnished with sprigs of fresh fennel, if desired.)
    Recipe courtesy www.pastafits.org

Give Turkey Leftovers a Little Mediterranean Flair

Friday, November 29, 2013
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We enjoyed a super-traditional Thanksgiving menu at our house yesterday featuring a bounty of family-favorite recipes. A simple herb-roasted turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, sautéed Brussels sprouts, sweet potato casserole and rolls. 

And I’m sure we’ll scarf down our fair share of traditional leftovers today. 

But come tomorrow, I’m thinking we’ll be ready to throw a few new flavors into the turkey-leftover equation. 

Check out this recipe for a lively turkey casserole that uses artichokes, roasted red peppers and Kalamata olives to give your Thanksgiving bird some Mediterranean flair! 

 

Mediterranean Turkey Casserole
1 lb. penne pasta or any medium pasta shape, uncooked

1 14 1/2-oz. can low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup skim milk

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 7 1/2-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

9 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Vegetable oil cooking spray

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

 

  1. Prepare noodles according to package directions; drain. Stir the broth, milk, salt and cornstarch together in a large pot or Dutch oven until the cornstarch is dissolved. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in noodles, turkey, artichoke hearts, red peppers, olives, mozzarella cheese, wine, lemon juice and pepper.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon noodle mixture into dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
    Recipe courtesy www.pastafits.org

It’s National Taco Day … Ole!

Friday, October 4, 2013
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Americans eat more than 4.5 billion of these babies each year, although I shudder to think just how many of those come from Taco Bell.

I know, I slip sometimes myself. But those mass-produced tacos don’t hold a candle to one you make yourself with fresh ingredients spilling out all over.

So this year, skip a run to the border and make your own creative tacos at home with these recipes courtesy of Chef Aarón Sánchez and Ortega.

Enjoy a plate of spinach, caramelized onion and black bean tacos. Or maybe you fancy zesty fish tacos with cabbage and tangerine slaw? Whichever you choose, be sure to mix up a pitcher of homemade margaritas to wash them down.

Sounds nice, eh?

 

ZESTY FISH TACOS WITH CABBAGE AND TANGERINE SLAW

1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice and zest of 1 lime
3 tbsp ORTEGA® Guacamole Seasoning Mix
4 cups shredded red cabbage
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tangerines (cubed, seeds removed)
Chopped fresh cilantro
2 lbs white fish fillets or shrimp
1 package (1 oz) ORTEGA® Fish Taco Seasoning Mix
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 box ORTEGA® Taco Shells (any variety)
1 jar (16 oz.) ORTEGA® Thick & Smooth Taco Sauce (any variety)

  1. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice and zest, and guacamole seasoning mix. Add red cabbage, onion and tangerines and mix to combine. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Cut fish into 1 ½ inch chunks and toss with taco seasoning mix. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the fish until it’s opaque and the edges are slightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes, turning once.
  3. Fill taco shells with fish chunks and top with the slaw. Sprinkle on chopped cilantro and top with taco sauce.

 

SPINACH, CARAMELIZED ONION AND BLACK BEAN TACOS

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp ORTEGA® Taco Seasoning Mix (or 40% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix)
¼ cup water
1 can (15 oz.) ORTEGA® Black Beans, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (10 oz.) package fresh spinach leaves, washed
¼ tsp salt
1 can (4 oz) ORTEGA® Diced Green Chiles
8 ORTEGA® Taco Shells (any variety) or ORTEGA® Fiesta Flats™
Crumbled feta cheese
1 bottle (8 oz.) ORTEGA® Taco Sauce (any variety)

  1. In a large skillet, heat half (1½ tbsp) of the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes, until the onions are a rich brown. While the onions cook, heat the beans in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir the taco seasoning mix and water into the onions, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more to thicken. Spoon the onions into a serving bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, increase the heat to medium-high and add the remaining oil. Cook the garlic in the hot oil for 10 seconds, just until it’s fragrant, then add the spinach leaves, a handful at a time, stirring and adding more as they wilt. Sprinkle with salt and diced green chiles and continue to cook until the spinach is tender, 3 to 4 more minutes.
  4. To serve, mound beans, spinach and onion in taco shells or Fiesta Flats™ and top with crumbled feta and taco sauce.

‘Pig of the Month’ Discount for Food Guy Fans!

Thursday, March 28, 2013
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After I shared my love of the awesome Pig of the Month Club in Wednesday’s Daily Mail, the good folks there contacted me with a special offer we can all take advantage of in time for Easter …

Readers who order online at www.pigofthemonth.com can receive 15% off their purchases by using the coupon code FEEDME, plus all packages are 25% off now through the weekend with the code LOVEBACON.

And what’s the only thing better than good pork? Less-expensive good pork.

If you missed my “Ode to Swine,” you can check it out here.

Stout Mac & Cheese. Yes, Yes & Please!

Friday, March 15, 2013
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With just two more days until “The Wearin’, Eatin’ and Drinkin’ o’ the Green” (also known as St. Patrick’s Day) I’m still mining cookbooks, magazines and ye’ ol’ internet for some tasty Irish recipes.
Stout Mac & Cheese

Stout Mac & Cheese

Yesterday, I shared one for a Green Apple, Cheesy Guinness Melt.

Today, it’s Stout Mac & Cheese, a recipe that comes from – wait for it – Cooking Light?

Yep.

By using reduced-fat cheese and turkey sausage, it’s a decadent dish that won’t cause as much cosmetic damage as it could.

So get to cookin’, eatin’ and enjoyin’ this tasty o’ dish!

 

STOUT MAC & CHEESE

7 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
2 teaspoons canola oil
4 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage
3/4 cup diced onion
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup Guinness Stout beer
1/3 cup whole milk
2.5 ounces reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 ounces light processed cheese, shredded (such as Velveeta Light)
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

3. While pasta cooks, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Remove casing from sausage. Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage. Add flour, pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in beer; bring to a boil.

4. Cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add milk and cheeses, stirring until smooth. Stir in pasta. Divide mixture evenly among 4 ceramic gratin dishes coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Recipe courtesy Cooking Light

A Green Apple, Cheesy Guinness Melt? Yes Please!

Thursday, March 14, 2013
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Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, my friends at the U.S. Apple Association sent along a crazy-good sounding recipe to help mark the occasion.

Green Apple Guinness Melt

Not only are the flavors Irish inspired, but the recipe also features a little GREEN, thanks to the apples, and GUINNESS, so you can eat and toast at the same time.

Slainte!

The rich, rustic “Green Apple Guinness Melt” combines sweet and tangy Granny Smith apples, savory cheddar cheese and creamy stout beer, all buried in a butter-filled baguette.

Doesn’t that sound amazing? And if you’re still not convinced, take a look at that photo below. Count me in!

Green Apple Guinness Melt

1 baguette, cut into thirds, then each piece cut lengthwise in half (6 pieces total)
2 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 ounces dry stout, such as Guinness
14 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices

  1. Turn broiler to high and set a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Arrange the baguette pieces, cut side down, on the sheet and broil until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven, turn the pieces over, and use your fingers to scoop out enough bread to make a channel in the center of each piece. Set baguette pieces aside, still on the tray.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until bubbling and golden brown. Add flour and whisk it in until the mixture is smooth and chestnut brown. Add the beer and whisk until smooth, then reduce heat to medium and continue stirring until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to low and add cheese, mustard and Worcestershire, stirring continuously until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spoon a generous amount of cheese sauce into each baguette piece. Lay a few overlapping apple slices over the cheese, then transfer to the oven and broil until browned and bubbling, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings