Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Grilled Mango Ginger Habenero Glazed Salmon

If you want a low-fat, delicious and quick, healthy meal that you don't have to spend a lot of time or fuss over, here you go!

I decided to let my trusty Fischer and Wieser sauce do the work for me tonight, as I am just exhausted from the weekend of events for work. As much as I would love the challenge to create my own, I have piles of work at home with me to get through, so whipping up this delectable sauce is just not in the cards. I wanted to share with you my little secret for jazzing up a salmon fillet or chicken breast - Mango Ginger Habenero Sauce.

Fischer and Weisser are most notorious for their Raspberry Chipotle Sauce that is served over cream cheese with crackers. You can find their products at nearly any grocery store!

Simply spread about 1-2 tablespoon's worth over each piece of salmon, or chicken, and you can either bake it for 10 minutes, or grill it. Tonight, I grill! At my Tennis Kickoff event this past Friday night, I had an item in the silent auction that I've been coveting since it arrived as a donation from Barbecues Galore. I can't have a propane or coal grill at the apartment due to the pesky fire marshals writing people $3,000 tickets, so this is my solution, The EGrill. Luckily my momma came to volunteer at my event and found it within the goodness of her heart to keep bidding on it for me.... and of course because all proceeds went to Children's Medical Center!

So, I got myself a grill - the griddle is retired indefinitely. We used the new toy for some kabobs Saturday night, a chicken breast Sunday night, now Salmon tonight. It takes up a bit of room on my counter but nothing a little appliance shuffle couldn't accommodate.

I laid some aluminum foil down on top of the grill grate so that the juices didn't drip down on top of the totally awesome infrared grilling bulbs. At the same time, I fired up my handy dandy steamer that I got in the little town of Mabank at Walmart when at the lake with Greer and Amy in August. It was so simple to perfectly steam my asparagus!

Last, just boiled some quinoa and within a total of 20 minutes, a delicious and nutritious meal was ready.

Lessons from tonight's post:
Fischer and Wiesser products are delicious, try this one.
If you want to upgrade from the Griddle but don't have room or ability for a grill, get the E-Grill!
Get a steamer, they are amazing.

Happy to be able to share these little nuggets of helpful information with you!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Beer-Cheese Soup

Monday Night Football was a showdown between Mr. Max's beloved Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, so in honor of this big event, I decided to pay tribute to his home state with a recipe for beer cheese soup.

Grocery List:
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
6 fl ounces of light beer (Miller Light of course)
1/2 can of chicken broth
3 tablespoons of corn starch
3 table spoons of water
2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups of Sharp Cheddar (original recipe called for 2 cups, but we felt there was too strong of a cheese taste, so I would cut back)
2-3 strips of bacon, chopped

Start by melting the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and Worcestershire sauce, stir well.

Add the beer and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes, this will evaporate the alcohol. Add the chicken broth and bring the soup back to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer.

Combine the cornstarch with water and whisk until smooth, then set aside.

Chop up the bacon, then with a little oil, add it to a skillet to cook.

Add the half-and-half, along with the cheddar cheese. Stir constantly until the cheese melts.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture, stirring until thick, about 2 minutes.

Last, take your skillet and add the bacon and the bacon grease to your soup! Season with salt and pepper.

Served with soft pretzels and big ol' salad with dried berries and maple walnuts.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Waldorf Salad

I decided to create my own version of Waldorf salad using apples, pears, goat cheese crumbles, brown sugar toasted walnuts, lettuce and a homemade dressing. Taking bits and pieces from my Cooking Light 30-Minute Meals book, I thought it would pair well with the Cider-Glazed Pork Chops.

Grocery List:
1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries (I used cranberries)
1/4 apple cider
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoons honey
1 apple, cored and cut into small 1/2 inch pieces
1 pear, cored and cut into small 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar

First we combine the cranberries and 1/4 cup cider in a microwave-safe bowl.

Cover and microwave until cider starts to boil, approximately 1 minute. Let stand until the cranberries are soft and liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Chop up your apple and pear into bite-size bits.

(pretty pear)

Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar and honey together in the large bowl.

Melt butter and add brown sugar in a small saucepan. Add walnuts and roast for 8 minutes on medium high heat.

Toss apples, pears, walnuts with dressing.

Lay bed of greens and spoon the Waldorf mix atop the lettuce, topping with goat cheese crumbles.

The whole meal together:

Cider-Glazed Pork Chops

In this recipe I created a simple cider glaze to coat the pork chops, providing a simple yet flavorful entree. By deeply browning the chops on just one side, then braising them in a cider/honey mixture, you keep them from becoming dry - which are typical of pork chops. Using the apple cider and honey, I paired this with a Waldorf salad.

Grocery List:
3/4 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 center cut pork chops (I do not get bone in, I got butterflied center cut fillets)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

I started with 2 butterflied pork chops and just cut them in half for 4 chops.

Season your pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.

Cook pork until well browned on first side, about 5 minutes.

Flip pork and cook until lightly browned on the second side.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cider and honey, simmer for about 8 minutes. Transfer pork to plate, continue to simmer the glaze until thick and syrup-like.

Stir in vinegar, season with salt and pepper, then spoon over with the pork.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hot Crab Dip

So. incredibly. good.

This recipe is very easy, very fast and very tasty. The measurements of the recipe (and what is shared) are better for a larger party of 8 - 10 people. I used about 1/4 of it for Mr. Max's birthday dinner and saved the rest for a dinner party, where it received rave reviews. There is no need to go buy a crab dip from anywhere else, this is the best I've tried. Completely unbiased opinion, of course...

Grocery List:
1 lb crab meat
8 oz package of light cream cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon horseradish
8 oz. of sour cream
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of old bay seasoning
Tony's Creole Seasoning

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl.

Spoon the dip mixture into an oven safe dish - I used my trusty little dip pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Take out, let it cool, and enjoy! I used wheat thins and a spiced tortilla chip that I found at Eatzi's to dip with.

Pan Seared Steak with Gorgonzola Chive Butter

I was looking for the perfect meal for Max's birthday dinner - when I woke up to an email on my phone from AllRecipes.com that read "flank steak in blue cheese chive butter", I knew with a little tweaking, this was it.

I don't know if I've mentioned it or not, but.... I don't have a grill. Hence, my love affair with my griddle pan. However, I've wanted to try to make a pan seared steak and with the affirmation from the birthday boy that "yes, let's make it that way, it will turn out really good", I saved the griddle for the zucchini and called in my trusty skillet for this one.

The original recipe used flank steak, I decided to go with his favorite, New York Strip, and my favorite, the melt-in-your-mouth, Fillet Mignon. Original recipe used more butter and blue cheese, I decreased the amount of butter and opted for Gorgonzola crumbles. I also accidentally grabbed green onions rather than chives in my hurried pursuit of groceries that Friday evening, so technically it was green onion butter, rather than chive but the taste I would imagine is very similar.

Now, I don't buy steak. I looked at the lady and just asked her to get me enough for a boy and then a good looking fillet for me. I think his ended up being around 16 oz, it was huge, mine looked around 8 oz, little much for me but it worked out for us in the end, cutting them in half and saving them for lunch.

The prep time was about 15 minutes, cook time close to 30. Calorie count according to the recipe, 489.

Grocery List:
Preferred cuts of steak
2 tablespoons of softened butter
1/2 cup of crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 tablespoon of fresh chives (or accidental green onions, whatever)
1/2 teaspoon of Horseradish
Worcestershire Sauce

Additional Needs:
Oven-safe baking dish
Meat injector (if you have one, it can be a fun little toy and very inexpensive)

We started by injecting the meat with Worcestershire sauce to get it nice and juicy, then preheating the oven to 450 degrees.

Next, throw your steaks in the skillet to let them sear for about 3 minutes on each side, medium-high heat.

Once they are seared, put them in the oven safe dish and pop in the oven for 15 minutes.

While these are in the oven, it's time to make your special butter. Chop up the chives nice and small and set aside. If your butter isn't soft enough, stick in the microwave for 5-8 seconds, but don't melt it. Stir in the gorgonzola crumbles, then add the chives. Finally the horseradish.

After 15 minutes, check on your steaks to see if they need more time. Ours were a little more rare than our liking so we popped them in for another 5 minutes. Once done, take them out and spread the Gorgonzola chive butter over the top, it will smell delicious as it melts and begins to drizzle down the sides and it tastes even better!

A mouth watering, elegant meal - you need to try this one! Served with my perfect potato recipe and the garlic grilled parmesan zucchini.

Garlic-Grilled Parmesan Zucchini

A tasty delicious treat - perfect side dish to the birthday meal. This was very easy to make, even in the midst of preparing the steaks and mashed potatoes. Takes about 15 minutes to prepare and about 15 minutes to cook. One thing I would suggest doing differently is to slice the zucchini into smaller "coins", rather than the full half. It takes longer to cook and I feel the zucchini would have softened better had they been cut smaller and thinner.

Grocery List:
1 Zucchini (enough for 2 people)
2 tablespoons of butter, softened (A decreased amount of the suggested use, 2 tbsp was perfect)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Additional Needs:
Cutting Board, knife
Mixing Bowl

Start by taking your zucchini and cutting it in half lengthwise, to give you two long halves.

Then cut those halves into three sections.

Take your butter (if not softened, microwave it for about 8 seconds) and add the minced garlic and parsley in a bowl.

Mix it together and apply the butter mixture to the top of the zucchinis.

Next, sprinkle parmesan cheese over top each section.

Carefully set them on the grill/griddle and let cook for 10 - 15 minutes, until they are soft. This is where the smaller sections would have come more in handy. I ended up taking the thicker sections off and cutting the bottoms off to help make them thinner.

We very much enjoyed the taste of these, but again, would have done better if they were thinner during the preparation process - or maybe, I should have just cooked them longer!
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