Monday, May 23, 2016

Make-Fast Mondays: Ground Lamb Kebab Wraps with Cucumber-Radish Salsa

With summer so close you can taste it, I’ll bet you’re dreaming of grilling up something meaty and delicious. Give this a recipe a try the next time you feel like firing up the barbecue.

Ground Lamb Kebab Wraps with Cucumber-Radish Salsa 
1 pound ground lamb
½ cup finely diced white onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
2 tablespoons chopped mint, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sliced radish
½ cup peeled and diced cucumber
½ teaspoon olive oil, plus extra for grilling
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 warm flatbread or pita rounds
Equipment: 4 12-inch skewers (I used metal skewers, but wooden skewers work great)

If using wooden skewers, place them in a shallow dish, cover with water and soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain skewers when you’re ready to use them. 

Get your grill started (medium-high heat).

Combine radishes, cucumber, ½ teaspoon olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine lamb, onion, 1 tablespoon each parsley and mint, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and salt. Divide meat mixture into four portions and form each around a skewer, making an oblong sausage shape. Brush lamb kebabs with a little bit of olive oil.

Grill kebabs for 5 minutes before turning once and grilling another 5 minutes, or until meat is brown and thoroughly cooked. Remove meat from skewer. Spread hummus on each flatbread, add meat and top with salsa.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Make-Fast Mondays: Pesto Chicken Polenta Bowls with Artichoke Hearts and Spinach

Nothing beats the taste of fresh, homemade pesto, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep a store-bought jar or two stashed in the cabinet for those times when you want pesto in a pinch. Crack open a jar of your favorite store-bought variety and give this recipe a try. Wondering what to do with the rest of the jar? Find just a few ideas for what you can do with the leftover green goodness here.

Pesto Chicken Polenta Bowls with Artichoke Hearts and Spinach 
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup polenta
2 bay leaves
¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
3-4 tablespoons pesto
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
8 ounces chopped spinach

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually add polenta and bay leaves, stirring for a minute, before reducing heat to low and covering the saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring the polenta for a minute every 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, remove bay leaves, and stir in the grated Parmesan. 

Once polenta is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Heat remaining olive oil and add mushrooms to the pan, cooking until mushrooms are slightly softened. Add the chicken, artichoke hearts, pesto and red pepper flakes to the pan, stirring once or twice, until everything’s nice and warm. Add spinach and continue to cook for just a minute longer, until spinach wilts but is still a vibrant green, and everything’s got an even coating of pesto sauce. Divide polenta evenly among 6 bowls, followed by the pesto chicken mixture. Garnish with Parmesan and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Golden Beet and Sunchoke Soup

Spring is in the air, skies are blue, the sun is shining … Yes, I know we’re all pumped for summer salads and barbecues, but how about a delicious bowl of soup before the weather heats up too much? This soup takes only about 30 minutes to make and is great when you’re craving a bowl of something hot and tasty that’s also veg-friendly and dairy-free.

Golden Beet and Sunchoke Soup 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound golden beets, peeled and chopped
1 pound sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes), peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted

Warm olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add beets, sunchokes, onion, garlic and salt and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 4 cups vegetable broth, nutmeg, white pepper and cayenne. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beets and sunchokes are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Working in batches, process the soup in a blender until smooth. Add more broth if you want to thin the soup a bit. Season with salt. Divide soup among bowls (yields 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are) and garnish with pumpkin seeds.