Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just a quick tip for some extra delicious burgers...

Last night Seli and I made burgers on the grill, but for a little extra kick I decided to whip up some sauteed mushrooms to put on top. Well...they were a hit!! We couldn't get enough of them, and they were super easy to make. All I did was take 1 package of sliced portobello mushrooms (although it didn't make nearly enough so I would suggest 2 packages), throw it on a skillet with some butter and cook until they're golden. Then add 1 chopped piece of garlic and 2 tablespoons of worcestire sauce. Cook until the worcestire sauce has burned off, and then serve on top of the burgers. Yummy!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ellie Krieger's Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

I am really starting to love cooking meals by Ellie Krieger. Her recipes are always so healthy and delicious. The chicken noodle soup recipe is by far one of my favorites, and this Tuscan Roasted Chicken is also something I'll definitely make again. It's a fairly simple recipe - just calls for some chicken breasts (bone-in) and a few vegetables, but the end result is extremely satisfying and delicious. Plus I got to use my new roaster which was an extra bonus!!

Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 50 min
Servings: 4

6 roma tomatoes
3 medium zucchini (~1/2lb each)
1 bulb fennel (which is also known as Anise, which is what Raki is made of!)
3 tbl oil, divided
3/4 tsp salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbl lemon juice
4 chicken breast halves skinless, bone-in (~2.5lb)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbl fresh chopped rosemary leaves, or 1 tsp dried

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise into quarters and remove the seeds.
3. Trim the zucchini and cut it in half crosswise and then cut each piece in half lengthwise once if the piece is thina dn twice if it is thicker, so that the pieces are relatively uniform.
4. Remove the outermost layer of the fennel bulb and discard.
5. Cut the bulb in half so that each half retains part of the stem end.
6. Cut each half into 8 thin wedges so each wedge is held together by a little piece of stem.
7. Put the vegetables into a large baking pan (or roaster).
8. Toss them with 2 tbl oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Arrange the chicken pieces in the pan with the vegetables.
9. In a small bowl, combine 1 tbl oil, 1/2 tsp salt, garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
10. Rub the mixture into the chicken in the pan. Season with a few turns of pepper.
11. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then give the vegetables a stir and add the rosemary.
12. Cook for about 20-30 minutes more until the chicken is done and the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nana's Pork Chops

My Nana's pork chops are one of the best, and one of the easiest, recipes that I make. I forgot to take a picture, but here is the recipe regardless. Bon appetit!!

1 onion
2 pork chops
bread crumbs

1. Cut up onion and saute in oil until brown. Then transfer to a plate and put aside.
2. Coat pork chops with Italian bread crumbs (Italian panko also work well) and saute in a tiny bit of oil until brown on both sides.
3. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning while browning.
4. Turn heat to simmer and put onion on top of pork chops.
5. Add about 1/2 cup water (fill pan about 1/2 inch) and cover.
6. Cook about 1.5 hours on top of stove.
7. Check to see if more water is needed occasionally, do not let the pan go dry.

There will be gravy leftover. I typically serve with a vegetable (tonight was broccoli!) and some cous cous.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Last week was Passover in the Jewish religion. The holiday, which lasts 8 days, commemorates the story of the Exodus in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Seli is Jewish (compared to me who is Catholic), and since he wasn't able to spend any of the holiday with his family I thought I'd at least attempt to make some traditional Passover food for dinner. Then our good friends Mia and Mark decided to come over and celebrate with us as well, so it turned out to be a really fun night! I made brisket, which was delicious (although I'd probably put a little less brown sugar in it next time and a little more cayenne pepper - but that's just a personal preference). Seli made a traditional Sephardic dish of boiled eggs, and Mia made a delicious baked cheese and onion dish which I unfortunately don't know the name of. It was similar to a frittata I guess - or at least there was a lot of discussion on whether it was like a frittata. Anyway, I found the brisket recipe on, but then it turns out that a colleague of mine who is also Jewish uses the same recipe so I was encouraged that it was good. It was a recipe by Emeril, which made me even happier since it was a combination of Seli's Jewish culture and my Cajun culture!!

Emeril Lagasse's Passover Brisket

8 to 10 pound brisket
Garlic cloves
1 quart beef stock (unsalted or low salt)
3 large onions, sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence, recipe follows
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup ketchup
1 cup chili sauce
1 cup brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
2. Using a paring knife and your finger, stuff brisket all over with garlic.
3. Place brisket in a baking dish or casserole and bake until browned on top, remove from oven, turn brisket and return to oven until browned on both sides.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
5. Add enough beef stock to casserole to come up 1 inch on sides, cover with foil and bake one hour.
6. While brisket is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and saute onions in vegetable oil, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and most liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
7. Remove brisket from oven after one hour and add caramelized onions and all remaining ingredients, moving meat around to combine ingredients.
8. Cover and continue to bake until very tender but not falling apart, another 2 to 3 hours.
9. Remove brisket to a carving board and slice.
10. Strain reserved cooking liquids and pour over sliced brisket. Brisket may be returned to casserole dish and allowed to cool, then served the next day. (Reheated in oven.)
**Brisket is better if made a day in advance.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

I forgot to take a picture of the full brisket, so this is just a picture of the brisket on my plate! As I said...delicious!!

Seli's boiled eggs (they were boiled in onions and other delicious spices, so they tasted like more than just a boiled egg)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuscan Lemon Chicken

My best friend Hallie sent me the latest Barefoot Contessa cookbook a few weeks back, and I finally got the chance to try my first recipe out of it - Ina's Tuscan Chicken. The lemon, rosemary, and garlic marinade smelled and tasted absolutely amazing. I have to admit that the grilling part of it was a bit difficult for us only because her recipe explained how to grill it on coals whereas we have a gas grill (and are still learning how to use the grill for different types of cooking). However, after reading some of the comments online it looks like you can also make this in the oven which I am anxious to try. We ate the chicken with cous cous and a big salad, and had plenty of leftovers for lunches that week. Delicious!

Tuscan Chicken

1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, flattened (you can ask the butcher at your local deli to do this for you, it requires removing the backbone and the chestbone from the chicken)
Kosher salt
1/3 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved

1. Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side.

2. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a small measuring cup.

3. Place the chicken in a ceramic or glass dish just large enough to hold it flat. Pour the lemon marinade over the chicken, turning it in the dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken 2 or 3 times while marinating.

4. When ready to grill, prepare a hot charcoal fire on 1 side of a grill (or turn a gas grill on low heat). Spread 1/4 of the coals across the other side of the grill.

5. Place the chicken on the cooler side, skin side up, and weigh it down with the dish you used for marinating. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown.

6. Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.

7. Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grill, cut side down for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

8. Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

9. Cut in quarters, sprinkle with salt, and serve with the grilled lemon halves.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

I won a subscription to Cooking Light from work about a year ago and I had no idea how much I was going to use it and love it!! Each month has dozens of pretty easy and healthy recipes to choose from, and the best part is that they are also delicious! I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started trying their recipes because I've always somewhat believed that anything too healthy will probably also lack in taste. However, Cooking Light has proven me wrong! My favorite recipe so far is their chicken cacciatore from the October 2009 issue.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup chicken mixture, 2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil)

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Cooking spray
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
3/4 cup prechopped bell pepper
1 1/2 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Sprinkle chicken evenly with oregano, dried basil, and red pepper (I add a little extra red pepper because Seli and I like spicy foods).

3. Coat pan with cooking spray.

4. Add chicken to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently.

5. Add mushrooms and bell pepper to pan; sauté 5 minutes.

6. Stir in pasta sauce and wine; bring to a simmer.

7. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

8. Stir in salt and black pepper and then sprinkle with cheese and fresh basil.

Nutritional Information
Fat:6g (sat 2.7g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.5g)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Alee's Shrimp Sauce Piquante

This is by far my favorite Cajun recipe - and I've tried a lot! This is my grandmother's recipe. Alee, my father's mother is one of the greatest cooks I have known(along with my Mama). Born and raised in Southern Louisiana, she has dozens of amazing Cajun recipes ranging from Crawfish Etoufee to Shrimp Gumbo to Shrimp Sauce Piquante. I make this one at least once or twice every winter. It's perfect on a cold, winter night with a good glass of red wine. Depending on how spicy you want it, you can play with the amount of cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce you want to include.

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 tablespoons cooking oil
2 cups onions, chopped
2 cups green onions, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
6 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water
1/2 cup dry red or white wine
1 pound fresh mushrooms

1. Make a roux by browning flour in oil

2. Add onions, green onions, celery, bell pepper and tomato paste. Cook until vegetables are completely wilted, about 20 minutes.

3. Add shrimp, salt, garlic, pepper and water. Cook 1 more hour.

4. Add fwine, mushrooms, and parsley and cook 20 minutes more.

5. Serve over fluffy rice.

Serves 6-8