Saturday, October 30, 2010

Balsamic Flank Steak

This was such a flavorful dinner, I'm excited to share it with you! Taken from my Cuisine Tonight Favorites magazine, this is a quick and easy steak dinner. The sweet balsamic vinegar caramelizes the meat, making for a tender finish with a complementary parsley-cilantro sauce. I was skeptical about the sauce at first but it truly made the meal. Nutrition facts for this serving includes 454 calories, 10g carb, 1g fiber and 37g of protein.

Grocery List:
for the marinade and steak
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb flank steak (enough for two)

for the sauce
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Preheat grill to medium-high. We used the Egrill, but if you are grill-less, this works on a griddle, just takes a little longer to cook.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar and salt for the marinade until the sugar is dissolved. Add the steak to the bowl, piercing all over with a fork. Make sure the meat is covered and set in the fridge for no more than 30 minutes.

In a mini-processor, add the parsley, cilantro, garlic, oil, lime juice, salt and pepper flakes for the sauce. Process until smooth and set aside.

Remove steak and set on the grill, reserving the marinade. Cook covered for 6-7 minutes on each side (for medium-well).

When the steak is nearly done, flip and baste the other side with the reserved marinade. This creates the caramelized finish as it grills.

Once cooked to your liking, remove and thinly slice diagonally against the grain. Serve steak with the sauce and enjoy!

Paired with roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes for one perfect Saturday night meal. Max Man has already asked for this dinner again soon.

Roasted Asparagus

We haven't had asparagus in a while so I decided to pair tonight's dinner with this delicious green dish. Instead of a simple steamed asparagus, I put together a few ingredients to jazz it up.

Grocery List:
2 tbsp. Olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tbsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper then toss the asparagus spears so they are well coated. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spread the asparagus spears across it.

Roast in the oven for 8 minutes, then sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and roast for 2 more minutes.

Take out of the oven and you are ready to serve!

Paired with Balsamic Flank Steak and mashed potatoes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tarragon-Cream Chicken

This one comes from my new favorite source, the Cuisine Tonight Favorites magazine. I was turned away from the recipe at first because it meant using mushrooms - something I have been strongly opposed to and frankly grossed out by. Yes, loyal followers who have read what I say when I don't like something, I have indeed been "allergic" to mushrooms for as long as I can remember.

I planned to try this recipe and omit the little fungi but in a conversation with aforementioned friend Greer via g-chat on gmail, she informed me that they are a umami and I shouldn't leave them out. I thought that was a typo so I asked her, "um excuse me, what?" She quickly sent me the Wikipedia definition from the word she learned from the Food Network Challenges. Umami, also referred to as savoriness, is one of the basic tastes sensed by specialized receptor cells present on the human and animal tongue. It is Japanese for "good flavor", "good taste". Getting a cultural lesson tonight, aren't you? The definition continues on into carboxylate anion this, glutamates that and glutamic acid something or another... uh-uh, lost interest, taking me back to high school chemistry or maybe it was biology lab?? Whatever class, I obviously did not do well with it. I stopped my Wikipedia read and decided to just focus on the part of this term I did understand - savoriness and good flavor.

In the name of good flavor, I decided to conquer my fear and use the mushrooms, making a "umami-esque" dish tonight. I was grossed out cutting them up, I was grossed out cooking them, but when I taste-tested the sauce, I wasn't so irked by them anymore. I sure as heck still scraped them off my food in the end, we are not there yet my friends, baby steps here... but the moral of tonight's recipe is to try new things, even if just partially. If you love mushrooms, you will really love this recipe and if you don't like mushrooms, it is really good and I'm still alive, writing this blog post - they won't kill you and are full of flavor when you are cooking!

Nutritional facts include 490 calories, 42g protein, 14g carbs per serving. It was right around 30 minutes to make.

Let's get started, shall we?

Grocery List:
Chicken Cutlets (only about 5-6 oz each. Not as much meat, easier to saute in a pan due to the thin cut)
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flower
Olive oil
8 oz. button mushrooms, halved if large (I guessed on this and put in about 1/3 cup)
3 oz. prosciutto (I used 4 thin slices)
1 cup white wine or low-sodium chicken broth (I prefer white wine and used a cheap Pinot Grigio)
1 cup heavy cream (I used half & half instead as the "healthier" alternative)
2 tsp. minced tarragon
1 tsp. cider vinegar
Minced fresh chives

Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.

Using a large pan, saute chicken in oil until lightly browned on both sides - about 8 minutes. Set aside and keep warm (I stick on a plate and set in microwave).

Chop up the prosciutto and add it to the pan, followed by the mushrooms on medium-high heat. Cook until mushrooms soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

I covered with the largest pot top that I had for a more thorough cook

Add the wine (or broth if you choose) and then the half & half to the pan, reducing the heat. Simmer until sauce slightly thickens, about 8 - 10 minutes.

Stir in tarragon and vinegar, cooking for about 1 minute. Garnish the sauce with chives and season with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken back to the pan and cook for 2-5 minutes or until there is no pink in the center.

Spoon the cream sauce over the chicken and you are ready to serve! I paired this with simple lemon-garlic green beans and sweet corn.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with RasPberry Sauce

This recipe comes with a story, which will explain the P in rasPberry...

...once upon a time ago, I stayed over at my friend Greer's parent's house while she was house-sitting. We had cooked a big meal the night before, then had a fun night out on the town, so the next morning we decided to cook a delicious breakfast. Still groggy, I am looking through the fridge for jelly and pull out a jar loudly explaiming "rasPberry? what the heck is rasPberry?" - emphasis on the P. Within seconds I realized my mistake, but it was too late. I look over to see Greer perk up in her chair, eyes grow huge and then hysterical shrieks of laughter followed. I blamed it on the curve of the label, it didn't read right, I was tired, I had a temporary lapse of cognitive understanding, I... no excuses, blond moment. Which, I think I was blond at that point in time so it will work as the underlying excuse.

When I stumbled on this recipe in a Comfort Cooking book my mom gave me years ago, I died laughing at the memory. I decided to try this as a tribute to that special moment of confusion in a friendship that has endured all kinds of moments such as this. I texted her to let her know that I would be making this so I dedicate this recipe to Greer and our rasPberry jelly morning.

Grocery List:
for Pork marinade
1 lb pork tenderloin
1/4 cup Tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon black pepper

for rasPberry sauce
2 tablespoons shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup Merlot
1 jar (8 oz.) seedless rasPberry jelly
1 tablespoon arrowroot
2 tablespoons water

Start by making the marinade for the pork tenderloin. Combine the olive oil, tamari or soy sauce, minced garlic and minced shallots in a bowl. Mix together well then add the pork tenderloin to the sauce. Pierce the meat with a fork all over and mix around in bowl until fully coated. Set in fridge for 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan saute the shallots in olive oil until fragrant. Add the Merlot and bring to a simmer - this smells divine!

Add the rasPberry jelly, stirring until melted in.

In a separate bowl, combine arrowroot and water, mixing well.

Stir mixture into the sauce and simmer until thickened.

Set this aside and prepare your pork. We used the mighty Egrill and this took about 15 minutes to cook all the way through. To save on time, you could cut the pork into medallions and either pan-sear, grill or roast in the oven.

Once cooked, slice up (if you have not already when cooking) and spoon the rasPberry sauce over top the pork. Max Man and I found this to be aah-mazing!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deviled Roasted Potatoes

Confession - I am LOVING this new magazine. Tonight's dinner was fun to make and so tasty!

Aptly named, these spicy potatoes pack a robust flavor! I took the basis of this recipe and added a few of my own ingredients including garlic and Tony's Creole Seasoning, decreasing the original amount of cayenne pepper, but still leaving enough for a kick. I paired this potato side with a sweet and tangy raspberry sauce pork tenderloin and simple carrots. The combination of the sweeter foods with this spiced up potato was perfect. The nutritional facts per serving are 181 calories, 20g carbs, 3g fiber and 4g of protein.

Grocery List:
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 shakes garlic salt
2 shakes Tony's Creole Seasoning
8 small red potatoes, quartered

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Next, start slicing your potatoes in half and cutting into fourths. Boil in water until just slightly softened. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, dry mustard, white vinegar, dill, cayenne pepper, garlic salt and creole. Whisk together well.

Drain your potatoes and put in a large bowl, then pour your mixture over the potatoes. Toss potatoes until well coated.

Take a cookie sheet, spray with vegetable oil. For easy clean up, cover the cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray that with vegetable oil as well (the veggie oil will keep the foil from stick to the cookie sheet). Pour potatoes onto the foil and spread out.

Put in oven and cook for 20 minutes, until well browned and soft when pierced by a fork.

Pan-Seared Halibut with Pesto Butter

This was absolutely delicious! It reminded me slightly of the Halibut en Papilote that I made for my very first post, but this was a great new version. This recipe combines a simple pesto and butter, with grape tomatoes and a pan-seared halibut fillet.

I found this recipe in a new recipe magazine that I picked up while standing in line at Whole Foods last week. It's a Cuisine Tonight Favorites, with the caption reading "Quick and Easy Meals" - which as I've shared is something I am looking for this busy event season. With subtitles reading "sensational dinners in no time," and "most popular recipes for your busiest nights," I was hook, line and sinker. This recipe is 484 calories with 38g of protein. It truly took all of 20 minutes to prepare and I served with a risotto alfredo, also found in this magazine.

Grocery List:
4 tbsp of unsalted butter, softened; additional 2 tbsp. of butter melted
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tbsp. pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 halibut fillets (about 6 oz. each)
Salt and black pepper
Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup whole or halved grape tomatoes

Combine 4 tbsp of softened butter with basil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic cloves, salt and red pepper flakes and puree in the food processor until smooth. Then set aside or refrigerate until ready.

Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a microwave safe bowl, then apply it to the fish fillets. Season with salt and pepper.

Coat with bread crumbs, pressing them into the fillets to adhere.

Add the olive oil to a skillet and heat on medium-high. Add fish and cook for 3 minutes.

Take your tomatoes and cut them in half.

Carefully turn each fillet and add tomatoes to pan. Cook for 10 minutes.

Once cooked through, transfer to a plate and gently apply the butter to the top of the bread-crusted fillet, then add the tomatoes on top.

The crisp fish paired with the pesto and tangy tomatoes are a symphony in your mouth. We loved this entree and hope you do too!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Creamed Spinach

Here is a spinach recipe you can feel guilt-free about consuming! Using lighter ingredients and more flavor to substitute for the fatty usual suspects, you create a delicious and "light" creamed spinach recipe that I couldn't tell apart from any steakhouse favorite. I got this from fellow blogger Gina, but reduced her recipe to make enough for two (okay technically four with the leftovers!). This recipe is only 190 calories.

Grocery List:
2 tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup fat free skim milk
2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Fresh Pepper
Salt to taste
4.4 oz of Boursin Light (I got a garlic and herb, if you can't find Boursin, Laughing Cow or a light reduced fat cream cheese will work but add 2 cloves of garlic to the recipe)
1/2 bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of moisture

In a large skillet, melt your butter. Add the shallots and cook on medium heat until fragrant. Add the flour and whisk in until blended, cooking for another minute.

Reduce heat and slowly add the milk, whisking well until combined before adding more.

Add Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper then whisk together.

Turning up the heat, add the Boursin Light, mixing until smooth.

At this time, add your spinach and combine with your cream sauce. Cook for 3 minutes until bubbly, stirring constantly, then you are ready to serve!

To add a little kick, try 3 shakes of Tony's Creole Seasoning, mmm-mmm-mm! While eating with my butternut squash and salmon, I thought how delicious it would be with steak and my Smoked Gouda Mac&Cheese, we will definitely be making this again soon.
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