Monday, February 13, 2017

Make-Fast Mondays: Cheesy Grits with Sausage, Fried Egg and Collard Greens


Making this meal won't take much time, but it will take up some space on your stove -- you’ve got the grits going in one pan, you’re frying eggs in another, and using a third pan to cook the sausage and greens. But trust me, it’s worth having to clean a few dirty dishes.

Cheesy Grits with Sausage, Fried Egg and Collard Greens 
Serves 4
3 cups lowfat milk
¾ cup quick-cooking grits
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
2 tablespoons olive oil
14-ounce smoked turkey sausage, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and leaves cut into thin strips
¼ cup chicken broth
¼ -½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on your spice preference)
1 tablespoon butter
4 large eggs
Garnishes: Salt and pepper, Tabasco sauce

Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly stir in the grits. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add grated cheese and stir grits until cheese has melted into the grits. Cover and remove from heat.

While grits are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan or skillet. Add sausage and cook until browned, 4-6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage from pan to a plate.

Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in same frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute, until fragrant. Add collard greens, chicken broth and red pepper flakes. Cook greens, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until greens are just wilted but still bright green.

Just before serving, melt butter over medium heat in a large nonstick pan. Crack eggs into the hot pan and cook until the eggs have reached desired consistency. I cooked mine for 3 minutes, until the whites were set but the yolks were still runny. Divide grits among four bowls. Top each bowl with greens, sausage and a fried egg. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce as desired.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bulgur, Chicken and Salsa Verde Casserole


The next time you feel like cooking a cozy dinner without spending too much time in the kitchen, give this delicious casserole a try. Use an oven-proof skillet or frying pan if you’ve got one to save yourself some time when cleaning up!



Bulgur, Chicken and Salsa Verde Casserole 
1 cup dried bulgur
2 cups water
1 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
8 ounces canned diced green chiles
12 ounces salsa verde
2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of aged white cheddar and pepper jack)
Possible garnishes: avocado, cilantro, green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring water and bulgur to a boil in a pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Drain off any extra liquid.

While bulgur is cooking, combine combine chicken, salsa and chiles and in a skillet or frying pan. Warm the chicken mixture up over medium heat. Stir in cooked bulgur until everything is mixed. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to an ovenproof dish if needed. Top with shredded cheese, cover with aluminum foil or an oven-proof lid, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven, top with garnishes, and serve.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Roasted Beet Salad with Feta and Olives


We recently had a fantastic dinner at Mill Valley Beerworks. Everything was clean-the-plate delicious but one dish that I truly couldn’t get enough of was a beet salad with feta and olives. I do love beets in a salad, but this was the first time I’d had them with olives -- it's a great slightly-sweet-and-salty combo. This is my attempt to recreate it at home.

Roasted Beet Salad with Feta and Olives 
1 pound beets, roots and stems trimmed
⅓ cup raw, unsalted pistachios
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (from half an orange)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 cups arugula
2 ounces crumbled feta
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each beet loosely in aluminum foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Put the beets in the oven and roast until tender when poked with a fork, 60-90 minutes (depending on how big your beets are). Remove beets from oven and set aside to cool.

Put pistachios on a separate baking sheet and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove pistachios from the oven and set aside to cool.

Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, orange juice and balsamic vinegar.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, remove them from the aluminum foil. Peel the beets (wear gloves if you don’t want pink hands). Cut the beets into wedges and place in a medium bowl. Toss the beets with just enough dressing to coat.

Once pistachios have cooled, coarsely chop them. Toss remaining dressing with arugula, feta and olives.

Distribute the arugula mixture between four dishes, then top each dish with beets. Sprinkle each dish with chopped pistachios and serve.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tri-Tip Chili


We recently had some friends over for a barbecue and ended up with a ton of leftover tri-tip. While my husband’s recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, excessive leftovers of any sort can be a challenge. Hence, this chili. It’s easy and delicious, and a great way to make something new with what’s hogging space in the fridge.

Tri-Tip Chili 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound cooked tri-tip, cubed
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 7 ¾ ounce can El Pato tomato sauce with jalapeño

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cayenne and salt and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins


We recently moved into a new house, and while it was a local move, it was still quite a bit of work, hence no new recipes from me for a bit. But, everything’s finally unpacked and I’m back in the kitchen! Our new place has a great backyard, where I recently discovered some late-season mega zucchini that the previous tenant must’ve planted. These bad boys are each at least a foot long!


I was able to put a (slight) dent in our backyard bounty with a batch of tasty muffins. Note: if you’re working with a bigger zucchini like I did for this recipe, you’ll want to quarter it lengthwise and remove seeds before grating.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins 
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup grated zucchini
½ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
Cooking spray or butter, to grease muffin tin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin tin. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl and stir or whisk to blend. In another bowl, combine zucchini, yogurt, vanilla extract, egg, brown sugar and walnuts, stirring until blended. Add dry ingredients to the bowl with the zucchini mixture, stirring until everything’s mixed. Scoop ⅓ cup mix per muffin cup. Bake for 20 minutes.

Yields 9-10 muffins

Monday, September 26, 2016

Make-Fast Mondays: Grilled Chicken and Brie Sandwiches with Honeycrisp Apples and Arugula


Ever try a Honeycrisp apple? Take one bite and you’ll be hooked -- they’re absolutely delicious, so sweet and juicy. Just as their name implies, these apples are nice and crisp, and they hold up great in this quick, suuuuuper tasty sandwich.

Grilled Chicken and Brie Sandwiches with Honeycrisp Apples and Arugula 
Serves 4 
8 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
¼ cup whole grain dijon mustard
1 large Honeycrisp apple, cored and sliced thin
1 pound shredded rotisserie chicken
4 ounces Brie, sliced thin
1 cup arugula

Butter one side of each slice of bread and then spread mustard on the inside of each slice. Layer half the slices, buttered side down, with apples, chicken, Brie and arugula. Top each sandwich with a second slice of bread, buttered side up.

Heat a large nonstick frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Put 1 sandwich in the pan at a time (or 2 if you’ve got a big enough pan) and cook 2-3 minutes on each side, carefully flipping once, until cheese has melted and the bread is toasted.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Open-Faced Bruschetta Burgers


This was my first time making a batch of burgers using more than one type of meat for the patties, and I must say I was quite pleased with the results. Mixing Italian sausage in with ground turkey makes for a flavorful burger. Serve it with a slice of toasty Italian bread, fresh mozzarella and some homemade bruschetta and you’ve got quite a grilled delight on your plate!

Open-Faced Bruschetta Burgers 
Serves 8 
2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cored and diced
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for bread
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
1 pound ground turkey 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
½ teaspoon salt, plus extra for bruschetta
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into eight slices
1 loaf Italian bread, cut into one-inch slices (you’ll likely have extra)

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Make bruschetta by combining tomatoes, 2 teaspoons garlic and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, Italian sausage, salt and pepper, remaining garlic and Italian seasoning. Shape the mixture into 8 patties.

Put 8 bread slices on a plate and lightly brush with olive oil.

Place patties on grill, cooking for 5 minutes before turning them over. Top each patty with a slice of mozzarella. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes, until meat is completely cooked and the mozzarella is slightly melted. Remove burgers from the grill and let them sit for a minute.

Put bread slices, oiled side down, on grill for a minute to lightly toast them. Remove from grill.

Build your burger by starting with a toasted bread slice, adding a patty and topping with bruschetta.