Tag Archives: entree

Recipe Swap: Chicken Parmesan Burgers.

Winner, winner, chicken parmesan burger dinner!  Ok, I actually made these for lunch but you get the idea.

This week’s recipe swap theme was Italian.  Who doesn’t like Italian food?  I was thrilled to get this recipe from Oishii Food… Brianna is the one responsible for bringing the Ultimate Sriracha Burger to the blogosphere and if she recommends something, chances are I’m going to try it.

These burgers were nothing short of fantastic.  They were super easy to put together, and making them in the skillet gave them an amazing crust.  I’m pretty sure I scraped the pan in order to scoop up the extra crunchy bits.  And adding some marinara sauce to the patties AND topping them with more sauce just increased their tastiness.  I’ll definitely be making these again.

Chicken Parmesan Burgers – adapted from Oishii Food

  • 10 Slices Italian Bread, thickly sliced – 8 slices toasted, 2 slices crusts removed and diced
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 4 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, minced, plus additional large leaves for garnish
  • 3/4 Cup Marinara Sauce
  • 1 Lb. Ground Chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, divided
  • 1/4 Cup Onion, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 4 Thin Slices Mozzarella Cheese
  • 4 Large Radicchio Leaves

Combine diced bread, parmesan and 2 Tbsp. basil in a food processor.  Pulse to form a fine crumb.  Transfer half of the bread crumbs to a shallow dish and set the other half aside.

Combine marinara and 2 Tbsp. basil in a small saucepan.  Transfer 2 Tbsp. to a medium bowl.  Heat the saucepan over a low flame and keep warm.

Add chicken, 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, onion, the remaining half of the breadcrumbs and salt to the bowl medium bowl with the marinara.  Combine well and form the mixture into 4 patties.  Coat with crumbs.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook patties until the bottoms are crusted, about 4 minutes.  Flip patties over, top with cheese and cook another 3 minutes.  Cover and cook an additional minute, until patties are cooked through and cheese is melted, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

Assemble burgers with bread, radicchio, basil leaves and warm marinara on toasted bread slices.

Summer Vegetable Pie and Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette.

I have a confession to make:  I am a CSA dropout.

For the past few weeks, I’d been placing orders with an organic produce delivery service.  I loved the idea of having local produce delivered straight to my doorstep without having to go to the store (because let’s face it, lack of motivation usually gets the best of me).  I was excited to discover new produce that I may not have been familiar with.  I was happy to be supporting local farms and farmers and reducing my carbon footprint.  What’s not to like, right?

As it turns out, at least half of the produce in my box was not local.  Some of it even came from as far as Mexico.  Some of the fruit we received began to turn within a couple of days.  A lot of the time, we couldn’t get through the vegetables before they started to go too.  And I really, truly missed packing the Fruitaholic into the stroller and spending the morning at one of our local farmer’s markets.  So when Lindsey of Our Share of the Harvest announced that this month’s What’s Baking theme would be “Bake Local,” I did just that.

We picked out fresh zucchini from a farm out of Indiana, carrots and spinach from Michigan, and tomatoes and sweet corn from downstate.  And the basil was just about as local as I could get: my very own backyard.  I took our bounty home in my reusable tote and created a dish that was just perfect for sitting outside on our deck and enjoying our summer evening.

Summer Vegetable Pie – adapted from Real Simple

  • 3 Zucchini, grated
  • 4 Carrots, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. Salt
  • 1 Ear of Corn, kernels removed
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I used Cabot Extra Sharp)
  • 6 Egg Whites
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan, grated
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tomato, sliced thin
  • Basil, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350.

Grate the zucchini and carrots and sprinkle with the 1 Tbsp. salt in order to draw out the moisture.  There are a few methods that you can use.  You can line a plate with paper towels and squeeze out the moisture, press out the moisture through a fine mesh sieve/colander, or give it a few spins through a salad spinner.  I was able to draw out more than a cup of liquid.

Return the zucchini and carrots to a large bowl and combine with remaining ingredients except for the tomatoes.

Transfer the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate that has been coated with cooking spray.  Top with sliced tomatoes and additional parmesan, if desired.  Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and garnish with fresh basil.  Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette – adapted from Reluctant Gourmet

  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Stone Ground Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
  • 5 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Dried Herbs of your choice – ~2 Tbsp. (I used Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle)

Combine garlic, vinegar, mustard and agave nectar in a small bowl.  Whisk in oil.  Add spices, to taste.  Keep refrigerated when not in use.

Place a bed of spinach on a plate and dress with the vinaigrette.  Top with a slice of Summer Vegetable Pie.

Handmade Pasta with Creamy Zucchini Sauce.

This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was to make pasta without the use of any machinery!  Making pasta is one of the items on my Eleven in ’11 list so I was thrilled when the challenge was announced since it gave me a much needed kick in the pants to keep working away at my goals.

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Späetzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I, of course, decided to do things my own way, and with the help of a couple of tutorials and advice from a chef friend, made a basic long noodle and dressed it with a creamy zucchini sauce which made use of a squash that needed to be used.

Making pasta completely by hand is both incredibly hard and really easy at the same time.  It involves a lot of kneading and rolling and manpower and I’m not going to lie, my wrists and arms hurt like hell for 3 days but it was the best arms workout I’ve ever had and gave me an excuse to skip the gym.  :)

The easy part is that pasta requires few ingredients which you already likely have in your kitchen and is infinitely customizable.  You get to decide the shape, you can add herbs to the dough, you can fill it with whatever foods sound good at the moment and pick the sauce to top it all off with.

When adding homemade pasta to my Eleven in ’11 list, I never imagined that I would make it completely by hand.  But the process was strangely relaxing, the end product delicious, and I’m really glad that for the first time making it, I did it the “real” way.  Now that I’ve got the basics down, I’m ready to start experimenting with more “adventurous” recipes.

Handmade Pasta with Creamy Zucchini Sauce – pasta recipe adapted from the back of the bag of Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour, advice from a friend, and Annie’s Eats; sauce recipe barely adapted from Pink of Perfection

  • 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Semolina Flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs + 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Water + more as needed (I ended up using about 5 Tbsp throughout the process)
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1 Large Zucchini, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Cream
  • 4 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 tsp. Red Peper Flakes
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg

Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.  Crack the eggs into the well.  Using your hands, slowly work the eggs into the flour until a dry, scraggly dough forms.  Add the olive oil and water (adding more 1 Tbsp. at a time if necessary) and knead until the dough becomes smooth and consistent, 10-20 minutes.  Divide the dough into four balls and cover with a damp kitchen towel.  Let rest for 20 minutes.

Working one dough ball at a time and keeping the remaining balls covered, use a rolling pin and roll out the pasta on a lightly floured work surface into a flat disc.  Lift pasta disc, flip over and roll again.  Fold the pasta into thirds, flip over and flatten again.  Repeat 4 or 5 times until pasta is smooth, malleable and at your desired thickness.  You should have a long, thin sheet.

If making strands of pasta (think linguine or fettuccine), gently fold the pasta into thirds.  Slice into strands using a pizza cutter or sharp knife (I used the edge of a cake lifter) and unfold.

To prepare, boil the noodles in salted water until al dente, about 3-5 minutes.

If not using the pasta right away, hang it to dry for 1 hour (I made a makeshift “noodle hanger” out of a roasting rack and hung it from the knobs on my cabinets).  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or the freezer up to 3 months

To make the sauce, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the zucchini and garlic and season with salt.  Cook zucchini until the moisture has lessened and the pieces are soft, stirring when it begins to stick to the pan, about 10 minutes.  Mash with a potato masher, stir in the cream, parmesan red pepper flakes and nutmeg, and allow to cook until the cream reduces slightly.  Toss with the pasta and serve with additional parmesan, if desired.

Recipe Swap: Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa.

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was for this week’s recipe swap.  We love Mexican food and I couldn’t wait to add another great recipe to my repertoire.  So when this recipe for fish tacos landed in my inbox, I immediately started drooling.  I.  Love.  Fish Tacos.

Chances are, if they’re on a menu, either the Husby or I will order them.  And while there is a time and a place for those beer-battered fried pieces of fish, I much prefer them without when housed within a taco.

I have to admit that I stepped a bit outside of my cooking comfort zone and conquered a small fear.  You see, when it comes to fish in my kitchen, I’ve really only cooked with tilapia.  I’ve attempted to sear tuna a few times, but it always ended badly.  I’m still trying to figure out what kinds of fish I like and while I’ve had cod before, I’d never ever thought of trying to cook with it at home.  Turns out I had nothing to fear.  It was quick, easy and flavorful.

This was the best dinner we’ve had in a while.  The Husby immediately called it a keeper and asked me to add it into “the rotation” (I’m not sure exactly what rotation he is talking about since we tend to try new recipes 90% of the time).  I did assure him, however, that this would definitely become a repeatable meal.  I’m already thinking about putting it onto next week’s menu.  And the next one, and the next one, and the next one….

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa – tacos as seen on Mrs. Reguiero’s Plate and salsa adapted from Food Network

Tacos:

  • 1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Lb. Cod filets

Serve with:

  • Fresh Corn Tortillas
  • Mexican Crema (or sour cream)
  • Limes, quartered
  • Mango Salsa, recipe below

Place the red onion in a small bowl and add enough red wine vinegar to cover.  Cover with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Allow at least 30 minutes for the onions to pickle.

Combine chili powder, oregano, cumin, cilantro and jalapeño in another bowl and stir in olive oil until well mixed.  Spoon half of the marinade into a shallow dish, cover with fish and add the remaining half of the marinade on top.  Make sure the fish is evenly marinated on both sides.  Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add the fish and marinade to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until the fish is cooked through.  Remove from heat and flake the fish in the pan.

In a clean skillet, warm the tortillas over medium heat until they are soft, about 30 seconds per side.

Place a spoonful of prepared fish in the center of each tortilla.  Top with onions, crema, mango salsa and extra cilantro if desired.  Garnish with a lime wedge.

For the Mango Salsa:

  • 1 Mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 Cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 Avocado, diced
  • 1/2 Jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Diced Red Onion
  • 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve over tacos.