Friday, June 25, 2010

"Beef" Stir Fry

I'm not the biggest fan of processed foods.  That being said,  I sometimes resort to packaged foods when short on time or cooking during the week.  When I came across the gardein products at Whole Foods, I just had to give them a try.   I used the beef less tips for this stir fry recipe and was pleasantly surprised. The best part of the all is when Courtland tasted it, he asked how I got such tender meat?  Ha!  I had to confess:)
I served the stir fry on top of quinoa, but it would be good on top of rice as well.

"Beef" Stir Fry

1 pkg. gardein beef less tips
Shitake mushrooms (1-2 c. sliced)
red or orange pepper-sliced
4 green onions-chopped
bunch of asparagus-cut into pieces
Quinoa or rice-prepare according to directions

Follow the "marinade" directions on the back of the gardein beef less tips package and set aside.  Chop up vegetables.  Heat a saute pan with canola or olive oil on high heat.  Stir fry tips until browned on each side.  Add vegetables and stir fry until browned.  Add a swirl of soy sauce to the pan and voila. . .a healthy dinner!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day.  The last 2 years, I've shorted Courtland when it comes to celebrating Father's Day by mistakenly planning girls weekends (insert selfish comment here) and coming home late by missing my planes.  . .I know. . . not one, but two years in a row.  So, this year, I marked my calendar and made sure my man got his day of celebration.  We started off the day by going out for breakfast at his favorite dive breakfast joint, Sunnyside Up Cafe, with our 3-year-old, Jack.  If you live in Minneapolis and haven't had the french toast at Sunnyside, you are seriously missing out. Go there, order it. It's crunchy, cinnamon goodness.   Don't order the coffee--it's terrible.  Stop for coffee at Bob's Java Hut across the street after breakfast.
With our bellies full for the rest of the day, I had enough time to prepare  Father's Day dinner.  Courtland requested burgers.  Now, I just couldn't make any old burgers, so decided to make Brie Sliders.  Marinated Grilled Vegetables,  Roasted Beets, and a Tomato-Basil Salad with a Balsamic Reduction were served as side dishes to balance out the richness of the sliders.  I did all the prepping and Courtland was the grill master.  Dinner was incredible.   Below are the recipes for the sliders and my mom's recipe for marinating vegetables.

 Brie Sliders
1 pkg. of small size buns or rolls (Breadsmith makes great small buns for sliders)
1 1b. grass fed beef (I like Thousand Hills)
season burgers with dried thyme, sea salt, pepper, and a small diced onion
Make into small patties
Grill until medium-rare/medium (or to your liking)

While the sliders are resting, place a thin piece of brie cheese (St. Andre is the bomb)-let the cheese melt a bit, before placing on the buns ( I warmed mine in the oven with a bit of butter first). 
These burgers do not need ketchup or mustard, unless of course you just have to add them.

Vegetable Marinade
3 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Combine ingredients in a large Ziploc bag.  Add vegetables of your liking (bunch of asparagus, portabella mushrooms, peppers, onions, and zucchini)  to fill most of bag.  Marinate vegetables for at least 30 minutes.  Place on grill basket or tray and grill until heated through and browned. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sausage Egg Bake

Whenever Courtland and I host brunch for company, we seem to make egg bakes. There are so many different ways to bake them. They are easy and can be prepared ahead of time. You are certain to impress your guests ifyou serve one with pastries/bagels, fruit, coffee and mimosas. My sister-in-law was in town last weekend, and gave us the perfect excuse to try a new egg bake recipe. This recipe is adapted from the Stampede Casserole, "Best of the Best and more" cookbook, by the Best of Bridges Series. I have to give Courtland credit for putting the egg bake together in the morning. I was at at the gym, working up an appetite for all the food:) It turned out well; however, we decided chorizo might taste better in this dish instead of pork sausage.

Sausage Egg Bake

1 1/2 lbs. pork sausage (or chorizo)
1-2 4 oz cans green chileis, diced
1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 lb. monterrey jack cheese, grated
9 eggs, beaten
1 cup skim milk
2 Tbsp. flour
paprika, salt, pepper

Brown sausage and drain well. Save 1/3 chilies and set aside. Layer sausage with cheeses and remaining 2/3 chilies in a greased 9x13" baking dish. Beat eggs, milk, and flour together until well-blended. Pour over layered mixture. Decorate top of dish with chilies. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Bake, uncovered, in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Italian Turkey Lasagna

Lasagna--if there's ever a recipe that I get a request to make over and over again, it's lasagna. ve baked various kinds, but this recipe is by far my favorite. I've adapted it from Ina Garten's recipe for Turkey Lasagna. It's wholesome, comforting, yummy goodness; fabulous when served as a leftover dish the next day, and is a hit with my 3-year-old. Serve it with a side salad and crusty bread, and you've got yourself one delicious meal that will wow your guests.

Italian Turkey Lasagna

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. sweet italian turkey sausage, casings removed
28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen)
6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt
1/2 lbs. lasagna noodles
15 oz. light ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top
2 pkgs. shredded mozzarella cheese-set 4 oz. aside
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and cook 5 min. over med-low heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up, 10 minutes until browned. Add tomatoes, paste, 2 Tbsp. parsley, basil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 min.

While sauce is simmering, fill a stockpot with very hot water. Add the noodles, cover, and allow them to sit in water for 20 min. Drain.

In another bowl, combine ricotta, 4 oz. mozzarella, 1 cup parmesan, egg, remainin parsley, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Ladle 1/3 meat sauce in 9 by 12 baking dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half mozzarella, half the ricotta, and 1/3 meat sauce. Add a second layer and sprinkle with parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes until brown on top.
Let sit for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Casa Mono, NYC

I just got back from a weekend trip to see my girlfriends in NYC, and of course, NYC is the mecca of international cuisine. We were fortunate to get reservations at Casa Mono,, a Spanish Tapas Bar, owned by Mario Batali. The restaurant is a cozy, intimate restaurant. The food was incredible. We started out with bread and olives. Here's what we shared: Special Cheese Plate with Asparagus and Artichoke; Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Croquetas; Soft Shell Crab with Gazpacho Vinaiagrette; Mussels with Cave and Chorizo; Rabbit and Articuchos with Habaneras Cuajada; and Skirt Steak with Onion Marmalade. The rabbit was the shining star at our table. We also shared the Torta de Chocolate with Apricots for dessert-girl can never go wring with chocolate. Due to the intimate setting, I didn't feel comfortable flashing my camera and didn't get any photos of our dishes. Unfortunately, our sevice did not live up to the food. Our waiter was nonchalant, seemed to be almost annoyed at having to wait on our table. The clincher was when are bill came, and we let him know that he had forgotten to charge us for the $72 dollar bottle of wine. He grabbed the bill and came back shortly with the revised bill--not once did he thank us for our patronage, honesty, etc. Maybe just an off night, but I was expecting more from a restaurant at this level.