Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a Spanish influenced dish combining sausage, chicken and in many cases, shrimp.  It can have a tomato base depending on the regional influences and generally has a little bit of a kick.  I find this recipe as a general family staple as I have most of the ingredients stocked in my refrigerator, freezer or cabinets.  This particular recipe was modified based on what I had on hand.  I find that the strong flavors yield more flexibility and forgiveness when you need to make substitutions.

Ingredients

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 kielbasa (~8 ounces) sliced 1/4 inch thick, then sliced horizontally into thick matchsticks

1 large chicken breast diced

1 red pepper diced

1 onion diced

2 celery stalks diced

1/2 bag frozen cooked shrimp partially defrosted

1 cup precooked rice

1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes

3 frozen chicken stock cubes

2 frozen green pepper slurry cubes

3/4 tbsp paprika

3/4 tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp Adobo

1 3/4 cup chicken stock

Directions

1.  Heat olive oil and butter in large saucepan

2.  Saute kielbasa

3.  Add chicken and saute

4.  Add paprika, cumin, Adobo, and cayenne pepper. Stir

5.  Add onion, pepper, celery and tomato

6.  Saute 5-10 minutes

7.  Add chicken stock, and frozen stock/pepper slurry cubes

8.  Bring to a boil

9.  Add precooked rice and shrimp.  Cover and cook for 10 more minutes

10. Let rest for 5-10 minutes

Spinach Feta Stuffed Pork Chops with Baked Rice Pilaf and Sautéed Mushrooms and Asparagus

My husband goes through diet phases – sometimes it’s the warrior diet where he only eats once a day, other times it different Men’s Health diets.  I’m not a big believer in diets.  I want to eat what I like, therefore I usually cook what I like.  But sometimes these two conflicts resolve themselves nicely.  The spinach feta stuffed pork chops are only 240 calories.  Even if the pork chop is a little bigger than those used in the recipe and they are a little more stuffed, they still come in at about 300 calories. They are juicy and tasty too.

I figured rice would be a could side dish, but wanted to spice it up a little bit.  I usually have brown rice around as a staple and there are some smoked, unseasoned almonds in my cabinet that I thought I could use so I went in the rice pilaf direction.  I didn’t find 1 recipe that I liked so I took inspiration from a couple of different ones including Alton Brown’s Rice Pilaf, Curried Rice Pilaf and a Basic Baked Brown Rice Pilaf.  I like the baked cooking method in Alton Brown’s recipe but knew that 15 minutes wasn’t going to be sufficient for brown rice.  Adding an extra layer to the rice pot is a pretty common in the Caribbean, but usually it is banana leaves not a towel. And just to reassure everyone, the towel does not catch fire.  It came out hot, but no visible scorch marks.

And lastly the vegetable.  While there was spinach in the pork chop, and red peppers and onions in the rice pilaf, I still wanted a vegetable side.  I asked for suggestions from the people I was cooking for and I got asparagus and mushrooms.  I was pretty sure those ingredients went well together, but there is nothing quite like a quick Google search to figure that out.  I pretty closely followed this buttery pan roasted mushrooms and asparagus recipe.

I think it is important to note that I made 14 pork chops last night (12 stuffed and 2 plain).

Ingredients

14 garlic cloves, minced

Adobo

2 (16 ounce) packaged frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

9 tablespoons cream cheese

rind and juice of 2 lemons

14 boneless center-cut pork chops, trimmed (I go to Harris Teeter for these as their butcher cut is nice and thick.  Generally, grocery stores cut them thinner and they are hard to work with)

6 tablespoons brown mustard

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

5 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 large shallots, minced

1 red pepper, minced

2 cups brown rice

2 3/4 cup chicken stock

3 strips orange zest

pinch of saffron strands steeped in 1/4 cup hot water

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted

3 bunches asparagus

2 packages sliced baby portabellas

1/2 red onion

Spinach Feta Stuffed Pork Chop Directions

1.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat

2.  Saute 6 garlic cloves and spinach until moisture evaporates.  Add Adobo for seasoning

3.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cheeses and rind

4.  Combine remaining 6 garlic cloves, juice, mustard and oregano in a bowl.  Stir well

5.  Cut a horizontal slit through thickest part of each pork chop to form a pocket

6.  Stuff pork chop with spinach mixture (approximately 1/4 cup spinach) into each pocket.  Sprinkle with Adobo

7.  Brush mustard mixture over upward facing side of the pork chops

8.  Broil 6 minutes on high

9.  Flip pork chops.  Brush mustard mixture over pork and broil additional 4-5 minutes until done

10.  Put any leftover spinach mixture into small casserole dish and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees

Baked Brown Rice Pilaf Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.  In wide, lidded saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat

3.  Steep saffron strands in 1/4 cup water

4.  Add shallot, red pepper, garlic and season with Adobo

5.  Sweat the onions and peppers until aromatic, stirring constantly

6.  Add the rice and stir to coat.  Continue stirring until rice smells nutty

7.  Add chicken stock, orange zest, saffron and water, and bay leaf

8.  Bring to a boil

9.  Stir once, then cover pan with moistened dish towel.  Place lid on pan and fold towel corners over lid

10.  Bake for 40 minutes, then remove from oven, and let sit, covered, for additional 10 minutes

11. Remove lid from rice and turn onto platter.  Add toasted chopped almonds and fluff with fork

Sautéed Mushrooms and Asparagus Directions

1.  Slice 1/2 red onion

2. Chop asparagus into 1 inch pieces, only including the first 2 or 3 inches starting from the tip (that is the most tender part)

3.  In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter and about 2 tablespoons olive oil

4.  Add in vegetables and saute for about 15-20 minutes.  Stir ever few minutes to make sure all the vegetables cook thoroughly

Results

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this meal.  The toasted almonds added that something to the perfectly cooked rice.  The pork chops are quite large, so 1 is enough for either 2 normal size portions or 1 large portion.  And the vegetables were tasty as well.  The leftover spinach mixture did not go untouched.  The leftovers were stuffed into a red pepper for gentle roasting later.

Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese is the quintessential comfort food.  Homemade baked macaroni & cheese was a staple in my house growing up, and is definitely a staple in my house for barbecues, parties or just dinner. I never had boxed mac n’ cheese (if you can call processed orange powder cheese) until I was in high school and was babysitting for a kid.  I was expected to serve it for dinner.  I’m a big believer in trying food before making kids eat it.  Needless to say, I have had quite a few unpleasant experiences.

There are hundreds of ways to make macaroni & cheese by simply changing up the cheese, adding bacon or lobster or garlic; making a béchamel sauce and melting the cheese into that; topping it with breadcrumbs, etc. I have to say, mine is pretty simple.  And based on how quickly it goes, it seems to be enjoyed by all.

Ingredients

1 box medium whole wheat shells (traditionally it’s made with elbow macaroni, but I tend towards these)

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp, medium, 3 cheddar blends all work equally well.  I prefer to use cheddar as it gives it a bite.  I find that the mac n’ cheese blends that include swiss and american tend to be more mild)

1/2 stick butter

1 can evaporated milk (fat free works as well as regular)

1 cup milk

salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Cook pasta according to package directions to the minimum cook time.  The pasta will continue to cook in the oven so you want it closer to underdone than overdone

3.  Drain pasta and pour into casserole dish

4.  Stir in butter until it melts

5.  Add in 2 cups cheese and mix thoroughly

6.  Add evaporated and regular milk and mix

7.  Add salt & pepper to taste

8.  Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese on top

9.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

10.  Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving

The cheese should all be melted and there should be crispy pieces along the edge.

Oven Smoked Salmon with Dill Yogurt Sauce

Growing up on St. Croix, we ate a fair amount of fresh seafood.  Most often this was picked up from a local fisherman right after he made his daily catch.  Once I moved to the states, it took me a long time to start eating seafood here.  I was always a little concerned about its freshness.  I have gotten over it on the eastern coast, however I’m still consciously avoid it when I head towards Oklahoma or Colorado (unless it is catfish or trout).

I try to cook seafood about once a week, but it doesn’t alway work out that way.  Given that I had a craving for seafood and combed the grocery stores for my best option.  I also did some research on new fish recipes.  There were a couple of contenders, but the oven steamed method from the LA Times since straight forward.  Given the ease of the salmon preparation, most of my modifications came with the sauce.

Ingredients

2 pounds salmon – I used 3 pieces versus 1 full piece)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Adobo

1 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup fresh chopped dill

1/2 of a large shallot or 1 small shallot

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Salmon Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees

2.  Boil water to pour into baking dish

3.  Foil line and lightly oil baking sheet

4.  Place salmon pieces next to each other and lightly season with Adobo

5.  Fill baking dish with boiling water on bottom rack of oven and place salmon on upper rack

6.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick penetrates fish easily

7.  Gently brush collagen off with a moist pastry brush

Dill Yogurt Sauce Directions

1.  Zest and juice lemon into bowl

2.  Chop up shallots and dill and place into mortar.  Use pestle to puree mixture, releasing juices and breaking down shallots

3.  Add shallots and dill to lemon, add in yogurt and dijon mustard and mix

4.  Let rest for a minimum of 15 minutes

Results

The salmon itself is pretty bland, as you would expect from a lightly seasoned, steamed fish.  However, the dill yogurt sauce was tasty.  I served it with steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes, and some roasted beets with goat cheese.

Meatball Subs with Classic Beef Meatballs and Roasted Tomato Sauce

My youngest daughter loves meatballs – turkey, beef, from restaurants or even pre-made packages. Some of the packaged ones are ok, but I usually would toss some sausage in the sauce as well, and the rest of us would prefer that over the meatballs.  After a pretty mediocre packaged meatballs a couple of weeks ago, I decided that I was going to make my own.

I have fond memories of making lasagna with my parents, but I also remember the time and effort it took.  We usually made mini meatballs, which means you are rolling them for quite a while.  And then they were fried in batches, which also took a while.  I had ground beef in the freezer and knew I wanted them baked, so those were the criteria for the meatball recipe I found. My recipe is closely based on this classic beef meatball recipe from epicurious.com.

We hosted a party at our house this past weekend and we had a lot of leftover vegetables.  There were too many cherry tomatoes to eat, so I decided to roast them and add them to the sauce.  This was the basis for the roasted tomato sauce.  I also threw in some of the baby carrots.

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

3 pounds lean ground beef (I used 90%)

1 1/2 cups ricotta

3 large eggs

3/4 cup bread crumbs

3/8 cup dried parsley

2 teaspoons dried oregano

3 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3/4 teaspoon ground fennel

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 onion diced

4 garlic cloves

1/2 yellow bell pepper

3 handfuls of baby carrots (roughly equal to 3 full size carrots)

2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)

1 tablespoon each of oregano, basil and garlic powder

4 nice sub rolls

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Meatball Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil into a one regular sized 9×13 inch baking dish and a secondary smaller casserole dish

2.  Combine the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and fennel in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated

3.  Roll the mixture into round, golf size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches – I used an ice cream scoop to help), making sure to pack the meat firmly.  Place the balls in the prepped baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly in even rows vertically and horizontally.  The meatballs should be touching

4.  Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through

Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.  Spread cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves into baking dish in single layer.  Sprinkle diced onions on top.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper

3.  Roast tomatoes for 30 minutes until tomatoes

4.  Add roasted vegetable mix to blender and add in pepper and carrots.  Blend until smooth

5.  Put blended tomato mixture in saucepan with canned crushed tomatoes, add oregano, garlic powder and basil.  Stir and let simmer for 25-30 minutes.  Add meatballs to sauce and simmer for additional 15 minutes

Meatball Sub Directions

1.  Cut roll in half lengthwise

2.  Moisten bread with sauce (as you would put mayo or mustard on a sandwich)

3.  Add in 3 meatballs and layer with some additional sauce on top

4.  Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese and broil for 4 minutes until cheese is melted

Results

I think I’m scarred from packaged meatballs.  I don’t think I can do it again.  These were awesome.  They paired very nicely with the roasted tomato sauce and I picked some perfect sub rolls.  It makes me very happy when things all come together.

Naan Bread

One of the challenges that cooking for kids is that you end up eating what they like.  I’m pretty lucky in that my kids eat a wide range of meats and vegetables, and they are willing to try anything new that I cook.  One category of food, which I haven’t yet gotten them to diversify on is starch.  They eat whole wheat and regular pasta, vegetable pasta like whacky mack and both white and brown rice.  I have gotten them to eat Israeli cous cous, but only because I tell them it is small pasta.  They don’t like lentils, regular cous cous or barley.  This has left me in a little bit of a rut and I’m pretty bored with the rice option.

As such, I was thinking about alternatives to rice to go along with the mole pork and I thought about a nice naan bread, a flatbread predominantly served with Persian and Indian food.  Originally I was going to see if I could hunt down a good bakery that made it, but then googled a recipe and found out that it wasn’t that difficult to make.  I followed this recipe from allrecipes.com with a few minor tweaks.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 package active dry yeast (.25 ounce)

1/4 cup warm milk

1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used greek), room temperature

4 tablespoons melted butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Directions

1.  Put warm water in a small bowl, add sugar and yeast and stir until dissolved.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until it foams

2.  Blend in the warm milk, yogurt and melted margarine.  In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds.  Pour in the yeast/milk mixture all at once and work it into flour, using your hands.  Continue mixing, adding flour and water as needed, until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl

3.  Knead for 6 to 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with damp cloth and let stand in warm place to rise for about 4 hours or until doubled in size

4.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees and set a rack in lower third of the oven.  Place a large pizza pan or iron griddle on the rack while preheating

5.  Punch dough down and knead briefly.  Divide into 8 pieces and shape them into balls.  Place them on a lightly oiled plate anad cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap.  Let balls of dough rest for 10-15 minutes.  Roll out and stretch each ball

6.  Bake each piece of naan at 500 degrees for 4 minutes until bread is puffed up and has brown spots, then transfer to wire rack.  Wrap finished bread in a towel while baking the remaining loaves

Results

This naan bread was chewy in some places and puffed up and crispy in other places.  I didn’t throw them under the broiler as they got the “charcoal dots” that were recommended.  It was a nice vessel for the mole pork.  We have lots leftover, which I think will go great with hummus and other sauces.

Mole Sauce (pronounce Mo-lay)

My 9 year old daughter asked for a chocolate cake, with chocolate whipped cream with chocolate chips frosting, for her birthday.  I fully indulged my daughter with this extravagance, however it left me with a whole container of cocoa powder.  Unfortunately, I’m not a chocolate person and don’t really do a lot of cake or cupcake baking.  I decided that I was going to use this to make a mole sauce.

The first time I did this I started with a raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce that I had made, added in some Indian Chili paste that had tumeric, cumin, cinnamon and cloves, all flavorings in or that pair well with the mole sauce traditional ingredients.  I added some additional tomato sauce.  The sauce was good except it was a little more Indian than Mexican.  I then took some dried chilis and steeped them with water.  I blended them with diced tomatoes and roasted peppers and added it to the sauce.  It came out great.  Unfortunately, this was a mad scientist experiment in the kitchen, which I knew I would never be able to replicate.

This time around, I kept track of my ingredients and made the sauce a day ahead.

Ingredients

2 dried New Mexico chiles

2 dried Chipotle chiles

1 onion, quartered

3 large garlic cloves whole

2 cups water

1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)

1 cup tomato sauce

3 tbs cocoa powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamon

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 tbs peanut butter

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 cup chicken stock (I used 1 cup water plus a chicken boullion cube)

Directions

1.  Bring chili peppers, onion, garlic, and water to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce to low and simmer for 25 minutes.  Peppers and garlic should be soft and onion layers translucent

2.  Pull out stems from peppers and open to remove seeds

3.  Strain ingredients to isolate seeds from mixture

4.  Blend ingredients and liquid with diced tomatoes

5.  Pour blended mixture back into same saucepan used for simmering.  Add tomato sauce, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, cumin, and peanut butter and let simmer for another 25 minutes.

6. Taste mole sauce and check consistency.  It should be a dark red color with a balanced flavor profile (not too much tomato, chocolate, or sweetness from the spices).  It should have a moderately thick consistency.  Add balsamic vinegar and chicken stock, simmer for another 10 minutes

7.  Let rest for 2-3 hours, or overnight preferably

Once the sauce is done, you can do with it what you like.  I have used it as the sauce for pulled chicken, used that chicken as the base for my enchiladas, and added some chicken to it and let it bake in the oven.  This all worked well.  Tomorrow, I will be using it to braise some pork.

Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Sugar Snap Peas

Until 2012, I had never cooked braised short ribs.  It just seemed to be a lot of work, and my family hadn’t taken to pot roast very well, so I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t eat it.  I think it would have been pretty frustrating to me. However, a few months boneless short ribs caught my eye in the grocery store, so I purchased the ingredient and was determined to find a recipe.  I found the Pioneer Woman’s website with fantastic pictures and step by step instructions.  It seemed as good a place to start as anywhere else.

Originally I made this recipe with the creamy polenta recipe she provided.  Unfortunately I have never really like polenta, and this one wasn’t an exception.  It was definitely the best polenta I ever made (as it was the only time I made it) and probably ranked up there with some of the best polenta I’ve ever had.  It still didn’t beat a creamy side of mashed potatoes. I make pretty good mashed potatoes, but I’ve been experimenting with other mashed potato recipes because I’m searching for that fantastic bite you get in your favorite restaurant.  I decided I would try to make the mashed potatoes the Pioneer Woman’s way, especially after I looked up one from Rachael Ray and they were almost identical.

As for a vegetable, I bought the snap peas because I like them.  As you know from earlier posts, I’m kind of bored of steamed vegetables so I’m on the look out for tasty dishes.  I found this one on allrecipes.com.

Ingredients

12 – 15 boneless short ribs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

8 pieces center cut bacon

olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

5 carrots, diced

4 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 cups red wine

3 cups chicken stock (I used 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup water with a chicken boullion)

2-3 sprigs thyme

2-3 sprigs rosemary

5 pounds russet potatoes

3/4 cup butter

6-8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup milk

2 packages frozen sugar snap peas

Adobo, fresh cracked pepper and thyme

Braised Short Ribs Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  In a large oven safe pot or dutch oven, cook bacon over medium – medium high heat until completely crispy

3.  Meanwhile chop all your vegetables

4.   Season the short ribs with Adobo and fresh cracked pepper

4.  Dredge short ribs in flour

5.  Remove cooked bacon from pot and start browning short ribs on each side (approx 45 -60 secs).  Brown all meat in batches so not to crowd the pan

6.  Remove ribs and set aside.  Turn heat down to medium

7.  Add onions, carrots, shallots to pot and cook for 2 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for additional 1 minute

8.  Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan.  Add chicken stock, water, boullion cube

9.  Bring to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes

10.  Taste broth and add Adobo and fresh cracked pepper to the liquid

11.  Add ribs to the liquid.  They should be almost completely covered by the liquid.   Add bacon bits.  Add thyme and rosemary sprigs

12.  Cover and put in the oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees, then reduce heat to 325 for additional 30 to 45 minutes.  Ribs should be fork-tender

13.  Remove from oven and allow to site for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving.  At the last minute, skim off the top of the fat

Mashed Potatoes Directions

There are 2 keys to this recipe: 1) using cream cheese and 2) mashing and mixing ingredients over a low heat, letting the steam escape.

1.  Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces roughly the same size

2.  Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes

3.  Bring to a boil and cook for 30 – 35 minutes.  The fork should easily slide into the potato with no difficulty

4.  Drain the potatoes in a colander.  Put the potatoes back into the pot and put the pot on the stove over low heat

5.  Mast the potatoes, allowing the steam to escape

6.  Add the butter, cream cheese and milk and continue to mash

7.  Add Adobo and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Stir well

Sugar Snap Peas

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2.  Spread sugar snap peas on single layer on large baking sheet

3.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Adobo, fresh cracked peper and thyme

4.  Bake 8-10 minutes, until tender

Results

The short ribs were tender, the gravy was rich, and the potatoes creamy.  What more could you ask for in dinner?  Baking the sugar snap peas at a high temperature brought out an unexpected nuttiness.  I enjoyed this preparation more and more as I continued to eat them.

Lamb Chops with Roasted Cauliflower and Cous Cous Salad

This meal was a tribute to lemon.  I didn’t realized that until after I cooked it, and had I thought ahead might have changed the flavors up a little bit.  That said, I believe that if a flavor is pleasant to you, use it.  My family really likes lamb, therefore we tend to have it pretty regularly as part of our family meals.  As for the roasted cauliflower, I tried this simple recipe for the first time in the last couple of months as I was getting bored of just standard steamed vegetables.

Ingredients

1 cup Israeli cous cous

1 red bell pepper

1 – 1.5 cups each peas, corn, broccoli (these had been previously cooked leftovers.  you could have just as easily cut up celery, carrots and a couple of different colored bell peppers.  The key is to add vegetables you and your family enjoy with a variety of different colors to make it look pretty)

6 lemons (I ended up using 3 lemons and about 1/4 cup of lemon juice)

4-5 pounds lamb shoulder chops

2 packages frozen cauliflower

1 cup of olive oil

Adobo, fresh cracked pepper, oregano

Lemon Vinaigrette  Directions (used on cous cous salad and as marinade for lamb chops)

1.  Juice 3 lemons into small bowl

2.  Add Adobo, fresh cracked pepper and oregano

3.  Drizzle in ~1/2 cup olive oil, whisking as it is added

4.  Taste and add any additional seasoning as needed

Cous Cous Salad Directions

1.  Cook cous cous per the package directions

2. Chill cous cous down in refrigerator

3.  Cut vegetables down to small dices (to mimic approximate size of cous cous) as needed

4.  Mix vegetables and cous cous together and stir in vinaigrette

Roasted Cauliflower Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.  Place frozen cauliflower in casserole dish

3.  Sprinkle zest and juice of 1 lemon over cauliflower

4.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with Adobo and fresh cracked pepper

5.  Roast for 30-40 minutes, until cauliflower is tender and florets start to turn golden

Lamb Chop Directions

1.  Marinade lamb chops in lemon vinagrette for a minimum of 10-15 minutes (1-2 hours is preferred)

2.  Heat grill pan over medium high – high heat

3.  Sear lamb chops for about 2 minutes  on each side

4.  Turn down heat to low – medium low and cook lamb chops for additional 6-8 minutes

5.  Check meat texture or temperature (130 – 140 for medium rare, 145 – 150 for medium.  see this finger test article for details on checking doneness by touch)

I added a little mint jelly as I like the pairing of it with lamb.

Results

I know that a meal is good when my daughters ask for several additional servings.  In this case, one daughter had 3 servings and another daughter had 2.

Roast Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables

One of the simplest and tastiest dish in my repertoire is roast chicken.  It really isn’t that difficult, but until recently, I only had the time to do this on the weekend.  You do need a couple of hours to cook it, but if you have planned appropriately, you have enough for dinner, leftovers and still some tidbits on the carcass left to make a hearty pot of soup.   Unfortunately, I have also learned that I need a minimum of a 5-6 pound chicken for it to manage all this for my family.  I purchased a 3-4 pound whole chicken a couple of weeks ago, and my kids had devoured it so there wasn’t enough for my husband or any subsequent meals.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken (I used a 7.5 pound oven roaster)

lemon juice

Adobo, fresh ground pepper, thyme, oregano and paprika

1 each of medium sweet potato, white potato, turnip, beets

olive oil

wine, broth or water for basting chicken

Chicken Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Make sure to remove the hearts, livers, necks from the cavity of the chicken.  I will usually put these at the bottom of the roasting pan to make the pan drippings more rich

3.  Rub down entire chicken, inside and out, with lemon juice (This is a habit I picked up from my parents, who I believed picked it up in St. Croix.  I think it was originally for sanitation reasons, but then stuck around because it adds a nice flavor and makes the skin brown and crispy)

4.  Season chicken thoroughly with Adobo, fresh ground pepper, thyme, oregano and paprika

5.  Place chicken on rack in roasting pan

6.  Put in oven for appropriate cooking time.  I use 20 minutes per pound which equates to approximately 2 1/2 hours

7.  Every 30 minutes, baste chicken with basting liquid (I used a light red wine I had on hand)

Roasted Root Vegetables Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2.  Peel and cube root vegetables

3.  Drizzle root vegetables with olive oil and season with Adobo and fresh ground pepper

4.  Cover with foil and roast in oven for 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender

5.  Uncover and broil vegetables for 5 additional minuts to add additional color and texture

I served the roast chicken and roasted vegetables with green beans, a mixed vegetable salad and homemade cranberry sauce.

 

 

 

Post Navigation