Pancetta Pork Roast

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Have you ever had something cooking in your house that smelled so good, your mouth was just watering in anticipation of eating the fabulous meal you were preparing? That’s what happened yesterday for me.

My sweet friend, JoAnne, was coming for dinner. I was looking forward to seeing her and enjoying a meal together with her and my husband, Dennis. JoAnne’s husband, Jack, was away in Alaska on a fishing trip. JoAnne’s son, Christian, was busy last night and my daughter, Kylie, was busy as well.

When I returned from my walk yesterday morning, I was about to put my slow cooker back in the place I store it when it hit me that maybe it would be a good idea to use it to make my pork roast. It turned out to be a fabulous idea because my house smelled so good all afternoon.

I sliced small slits all over the top of my pork roast and stuffed pieces of fresh garlic into the slits before sprinkling the top and bottom of the roast with kosher salt and pepper.

I browned all sides of my pork (4 minutes per side) on the cooktop in one tablespoon of olive oil and then set it aside on a plate while I made my topping that I wanted to flavor my pork.

To make the mustard mixture for the topping, I mixed together dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, grated parmesan, Herbs de Provence, the zest and juice of one lemon and red pepper flakes.

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I spread this mixture over the top of my pork and added a 4-ounce package of pancetta to the top.

I sliced two fennel bulbs and a sweet, yellow onion, and peeled 8 cloves of garlic (which I halved) and laid this in the bottom of my slow cooker as a bed for my pork roast. I also poured 1/2 cup of sparkling Italian Mineral Water into the bottom of my slow cooker. Sometimes I add wine to the bottom of my slow cooker, or chicken stock, but thought I’d try something new (and it worked!).

I set my slow cooker to high for 4 hours. My house smelled so good while this was cooking. The smell was incredible. I was hungry for dinner all afternoon. I’m glad I decided to cook my roast in the slow cooker yesterday for just that reason.

I served my pork over the cooked fennel and onion with a side of hericots verts that I sautéd in olive oil, butter, kosher salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and the juice of half a lemon. (Hericots verts is a younger and skinnier green bean.) JoAnne made a lovely salad with strawberries, cucumber and candied pecans with a wonderful dressing she prepared. JoAnne makes the best salad dressings, she’s definitely an expert in that department!! We also had a crusty olive bread to round out our meal. It was fantastic! It was the perfect summer evening for ice cream cones, which JoAnne brought for us all. She brought three types of ice cream. I have to say, the lemon was my favorite, it was so refreshing!

Ingredients

  • 1 pork roast (I used a 2 pound roast)
  • 4 ounces pancetta
  • 2 bulbs fennel, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 12 cloves garlic, total (4 sliced, 8 cut in half)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Italian Sparkling Mineral Water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Pat pork dry with a paper towel.
  2. Slice small slits on top of pork. Place pieces of garlic into slits.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat olive oil in pan on stove.
  5. Brown both sides of roast, 4 minutes per side. Set aside on plate.
  6. In large measuring cup, mix together mustard, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, Herbs de Provence, lemon zest and juice and red pepper flakes.
  7. Spread over pork.
  8. Top with pancetta.
  9. Lay over bed of fennel, onion and halved garlic cloves in slow cooker.
  10. Set on high for 4 hours.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

 

Potato, Bacon and Scallion Quesadillas

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After spending a few hours at the beach today with Dennis, I wanted to make something somewhat quick and easy for dinner. But, at the same time, I wanted to make a dinner that felt like I put some effort into. I decided on quesadillas. I chose to fill my quesadillas with thinly sliced russet potatoes, bacon, scallions, diced jalapeño and, of course cheese. Sounds a bit like a stuffed baked potato, doesn’t it? I also added arugula to my quesadilla. I would serve my stuffed, baked potato with a salad, after all.

I sliced two russet potatoes, very thinly, on my mandoline. I laid the potatoes out on a large baking sheet and drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with kosher salt and pepper. I baked them in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. I put bacon onto another large baking sheet, on a rack, and baked that along with the potatoes. Cooking bacon in the oven makes much less of a mess than cooking it on the stove top. While the potatoes and bacon were in the oven, I took the time to dice a jalapeño, sliced a few scallions, and shred my cheese.

After the potatoes and bacon were done, I started to build my quesadillas.

I started by brushing melted butter on the outside of the bottom tortilla. First, I placed the shredded cheese on the tortilla. Then, I added some of the potato slices. Next, came the cut up bacon pieces. On top of that, I added the diced jalapeño and sliced scallions. Last, I added the arugula and a little more cheese, to assure the quesadilla would melt together from top to bottom.

I laid another tortilla on top and brushed it with melted butter. I placed my quesadilla in a large skillet over medium heat. I let it cook until the cheese started to melt and the bottom tortilla was brown and a bit crispy. I flipped the quesadilla over and browned the other side.

Once the quesadilla was done, I cut it and put more arugula and a dollop of sour cream on top. I sprinkled a bit more jalapeño and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for color (and flavor, of course) to the top. I had lots of leftovers, good news for tomorrow’s lunch!

Ingredients (to make three large quesadillas)

  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 6 scallions (white parts only)
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • dollop of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice russet potatoes on a mandoline and place on a large baking pan
  3. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Lay bacon on a large baking pan.
  5. Cook potatoes and bacon for 25 minutes.
  6. Brush melted butter on outsides of flour tortillas.
  7. Place butter side down and build quesadilla.
  8. Start with cheese, then add potatoes, bacon, jalapeño, scallion, arugula and more cheese.
  9. Place tortilla on top. Brush with melted butter.
  10. Cook until cheese starts to melt and bottom tortilla browns nicely. Flip and brown other side.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Beer and Garlic Grilled Bratwurst with Rigatoni

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Summer evenings call for a simple dinner, one that has “summer” written all over it. This week, I wanted to make brats for dinner, but also wanted pasta. So I decided I’d cook my brats in beer, as I always do before grilling them, and also add in a few cloves of garlic into the pot. Somehow the idea of a brat, simmered in beer sounded so good with marinara sauce. I pulled out a package of rigatoni and cooked that, minced a package of fresh thyme, and shredded a cheese that I really love. It’s Black Pepper Toscana Cheese that I buy at Trader Joe’s. I love this cheese! I also buy Syrah soaked Toscana at Trader Joe’s. If you haven’t tried either of these cheeses, run … don’t walk to your nearest Trader Joe’s and buy some. It’s really good.

I decided I’d google to find out a bit about Toscana cheese. I knew I loved it, but didn’t know much about it. What I found out from Wikipedia is that Toscana cheese is a firm textured ewe’s milk cheese that is produced in Tuscany. Toscana that is “well matured is widely used across Italy as a substitute for parmesan.”

My niece, Madeline was here for dinner and her and I wanted pasta, Kylie and Dennis wanted their brats in a bun. Once Dennis saw the pasta put together with the brats, he ended up choosing to have the Beer Brat Rigatoni Pasta with Maddie and I.

I placed my sausages in a large saucepan and covered them with beer and added three cloves of garlic that I had peeled and cut into pieces. The brats were brought to a boil and then simmered for 10-15 minutes, until they were no longer pink.

Meanwhile, I started the water for my pasta. I then minced 3/4 of a package of fresh thyme and set it aside and shredded the black pepper Toscana cheese.

Once the brats were done simmering, I removed them from the beer and grilled them on my indoor grill pan. After they had the grill marks I was looking for (cooking them a few minutes per side), I set them aside.

Putting the pasta together was easy. I heated a jar of marinara sauce, along with a can of crushed tomatoes. I spooned the marinara sauce over the rigatoni, placed one cut up brat (I cut them on the diagonal because I think it looks prettier) on each plate, sprinkled fresh thyme and shredded cheese over the top and dinner was served.

Ingredients

  • 1 package bratwurst
  • 2 bottles of beer (I used Stella Artois)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • black pepper Toscana cheese (as much or as little as you like)
  • 1 package dried rigatoni

Directions

  1. Place brats in a large saucepan, add beer and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, until the sausages are no longer pink.
  2. Mince thyme and shred cheese.
  3. Grill brats (either outside or on an indoor grill pan).
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  5. Heat marinara and crushed tomatoes.
  6. Cut brats on the diagonal
  7. Spoon sauce over cooked pasta, add bratwurst, thyme and cheese.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Prosciutto, Crispy Sage, and Pear Pizza

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Who doesn’t love pizza for dinner? I think there aren’t many people that don’t enjoy a yummy, cheesy, comforting pizza. I enjoy making pizza at home for a couple reasons. One reason being that I can control the amount of fat and sodium that goes into my pie and the second reason … because it’s fun!

The other night I made a prosciutto, crispy sage and pear pizza. Instead of mozzarella cheese, I chose fontina. I also used marinara sauce instead of traditional pizza sauce.

I sautéd garlic in olive oil for about 30 seconds until the garlic was fragrant.

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I removed the garlic from the pan immediately, set it aside and added minced sage into the same pan, sautéing it for a little over a minute and turned off the heat. The sage crisped up nicely and made a nice touch for this pizza.

I let me pizza dough rise for 20 minutes on a lightly floured bread board. (I use pizza dough that I buy at Trader Joe’s). I did nothing more to the dough than sprinkle sea salt on it before baking. Baking my crust for for 8-10 minutes before adding any toppings allows my pizza crust to get a little crispier. After the 8-10 minutes of pre-baking my crust, I remove it from the oven and let it sit for a minute before building my pizza.

I started with jarred marinara sauce. Next, I added fontina cheese that I had shredded. On top of that, I laid prosciutto that I had cut into strips. (I used four pieces of prosciutto that I had stacked and cut into pieces.) After the prosciutto, I added my garlic and crispy sage to the pizza. Slices of pear were placed on top of the pizza before sprinkling diced red onion. For a finishing touch, I added a sprinkling of crushed red pepper.

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I baked my pizza for 13 minutes. The crust was thin and crispy … just the way I like it. Definitely give this pizza recipe a try! It was fantastic.

Ingredients

  • fresh pizza dough
  • marinara sauce (as much or as little as you like … I used 1 cup
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, cut into strips
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 pear, sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt (for sprinkling crust)
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions

  1. Set dough out to rise on a floured bread board.
  2. Form dough on pizza pan and sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. Bake dough in a preheated 425 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Heat olive oil in small sauté pan.
  5. Sauté garlic for 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.
  6. In same pan, sauté sage for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and let sage sit in pan. It will become crispy.
  7. Spread marinara sauce on pre-baked crust.
  8. Sprinkle cheese on pizza.
  9. Add prosciutto, garlic, sage, sliced pear and red onion to pizza.
  10. Sprinkle pizza with crushed red pepper flakes.
  11. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is melted.
  12. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Chicken, Mango and Black Bean Burritos

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Last night, my lovely nieces, Madeline and Olivia were at our house for a sleepover. Maddie and Olivia are also our Goddaughters. Their older sister, Alexis, was at work so was unable to join us for the evening. It was so much fun listening to Kylie, Maddie and Olivia chat and laugh. The sound of laughter coming from teenage girls is always music to my ears. These three girls had such a great time! They watched a movie and once they finished that they were bored. I suggested they play a game and Olivia suggested “Head’s Up”. Oh my goodness, they were laughing so hard, I loved listening to them. We missed Alexis … next time, she’ll have to join in on the sleepover.

While they were enjoying their time together, I was in the kitchen starting dinner. The girls were in the family room, so I felt I had company while cooking last night, which I always enjoy.

I decided I’d make chicken burritos with mango, and black beans. First I started by sprinkling kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and Chile lime seasoning over both sides of the poultry. I then squeezed the juice of two limes over the chicken. Next, I baked the chicken at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reached 165 degrees.

In a large skillet, I heated a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sautéd 4 mangoes together with two red peppers that I had cut into 1/2 inch pieces … I sprinkled salt and pepper over the mangoes and red peppers.

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I chopped red onion and cilantro for the burritos as well as cutting up a few avocados.

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I heated flour tortillas in foil in the oven for about 20 minutes, until they were nice and warm.

Once the chicken was done, I cut it into chunks. The chicken turned out perfectly moist and perfectly flavored.

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I then built my burrito. I started by placing the black beans on the tortilla, topping those with the mango and red pepper. Next, I added the chicken, onion, aged white cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado. I folded my burrito and topped it with a dollop of sour cream, cilantro and a bit more avocado.

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Ingredients

thin sliced chicken breasts

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon Chile lime seasoning

juice of two limes

shredded, aged white cheddar cheese

4 mangoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3 avocados

1/2 red onion, minced

1 can black beans, heated

dollop of light sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, Chile lime seasoning.
  3. Squeeze lime juice over chicken.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  5. Heat tortillas
  6. Build burrito with black beans, mango and red pepper, chicken, cheese, onion, cilantro and avocado.
  7. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Thighs in a Balsamic Mustard Sage Marinade

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Last night’s dinner reminded me of a simple, comfort supper that is great for any weeknight, but also works for impressing your guests. I simply sprinkled kosher salt and pepper on chicken thighs and poured over a mixture of olive oil, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and dried sage. I let the chicken sit for about an hour before baking it in the dish I had it marinating in and baking it in the marinade. I wanted to have a little extra “sauce” for the chicken.

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I served this chicken with green beans that I roasted in nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper and a side of cous cous.  It was delicious!

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Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1\/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over both sides of the chicken. Lay in a glass baking dish.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup, mix together olive oil,balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic and sage.
  4. Pour marinade over chicken and let sit for 1 hours to 3 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking to bring dish to room temperature.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

 

Penne with Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausages in a Creamy Jalapeńo Sauce

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This past Friday, our daughter, Kylie, graduated from high school. It seems like just yesterday that she was entering kindergarten. Everyone told me this time would go by very quickly … it did indeed. Torrey Pines was a fabulous high school and she really enjoyed the four years she was a student there.

My sister, Cherie, came in for the festivities on Wednesday. We were busy from the get go. Thursday was the reunion with Kylie’s elementary school.

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The kids that graduated Del Mar Heights Elementary School came back together and announced their name and their future plans to the students that are there now. You see, each and every year, Del Mar Heights has what is called Dancefest. Oh how my friends and I loved the Dancefest. You get to school early when dropping the little ones off and set up your blankets and lawn chairs to mark your spot … the place you’ll be picnicking with your child and yours and their friends. Everyone, of course, wants to sit in the front row … all the better for videoing and taking pictures of this fun event! Each grade at the Heights does a particular dance for all the parents to watch. For instance, kindergarteners do the chicken dance (so cute!) and 6th graders do the waltz to “Moon River”. I remember my friends and I saying to each other “I can’t believe it’s already time to do the waltz, these elementary school years flew by.” The seniors that come back for the reunion stand together before the Waltz is to be performed and talk about their future plans. It was wonderful to see the kids at this age, all grown up and ready to venture out into the world.

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When it was Kylie’s turn to talk, she took the microphone and proudly announced “I’m Kylie Braunreiter and I’ll be attending Cal State University San Marcos.” and proceeded to talk about what she wants to do with her future. All these kids have wonderful futures waiting for them. One of the young men that Kylie went to elementary school with is heading to UCLA to play football! The kids that came back to Del Mar Heights have gone to one of a few high schools in the area (Torrey Pines High School, Canyon Crest Academy, Cathedral Catholic High School, San Dieguito Academy, and the Grauer School). Del Mar Heights was only one of several elementary schools in our area that feeds into the high schools. There were over 700 graduates just from Torrey Pines.

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All of the schools in our area are fabulous. Everything we did at Del Mar Heights was a memorable experience and we were all truly blessed by our kids having attended there and making the friends they did. A lot of the parents stuck together and are still friends. To me, this is what life is all about. Making friends and enjoying their friendship for life.

I wish each and every one of the graduates of 2017 all the best, I can’t wait to see where your individual journeys take you.

On Friday, two of Dennis’ brothers, arrived. David and his wife, Donna, flew in from Texas Friday morning and Doug and Kelly drove in from Tucson with two of their children, Angela and Andrew. Dave and Donna arrived early in the day and Donna headed to the school with me to set up our blankets at the football stadium to save our seats for the big event. It was a bit like Dancefest … get there early, get set up and head home to get ready for the big event. Doug and Kelly met up with Dave and Donna at the hotel and met us at the ceremony. Dennis, Cherie and I headed over to the school and Donna was able to lead the rest of the gang and tell them where to go since she had come with me in the morning to set up. It was such a wonderful day having our siblings with us to celebrate and join in on the fun day and weekend. I could never have accomplished this party without the help of my sister and sisters-in-law, my brothers-in-law and my niece and nephew. They were amazing! We love them all so very much and are so glad they were here for our celebration.

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Dennis and I waiting for the ceremony to begin. I still can’t believe the day is behind us!

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Kylie on her big day!

After the ceremony, Kylie headed to a graduation dinner party with friends. Dave, Donna, Doug, Kelly, Angela, Andrew, Cherie, Dennis and I headed out for a pizza and back to the house to do some last minute set up for the party Saturday.

Kylie’s graduation party was held on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. We had a wonderful time with my aunt and uncle, my cousins and their kids and our many friends and neighbors that were able to join us in our celebration. I actually had her party catered, but did have appetizers and snacks out. One of the appetizers I served at Kylie’s graduation party was Smoked Apple Chardonnay  Chicken Sausages. I baked these and cut each sausage into sixths and served it on a platter with dijon mustard. My friend, Elizabeth, is a fabulous cook! She is in my dinner club … her and I are the co-founders of Del Mar Dinner Club. This is an appetizer that Elizabeth puts out and is always a hit. Elizabeth made an artichoke dip for Kylie’s party that everyone absolutely raved about. It is so good!

I had lots of sausages left over and wanted to use them, so decided to use them in a pasta dish. I bought Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausages from Trader Joe’s. Feel free to use any chicken sausage that you like. I felt that the chardonnay chicken sausages would taste great with a creamy sauce that had a bit of a kick to it. Kylie’s friend, Kendra (also a graduate of Torrey Pines! Kendra sang the National Anthem at the Graduation Ceremony … she has a beautiful voice) was here for dinner last night. I decided to make enough pasta for us and then to double my recipe so she could take some home for her lovely parents, Neil and Marcina, for their dinner tonight.

I started by chopping two jalapeńos and putting them into my mini food processor. I then added three cloves of garlic, chopped and a half of a sweet yellow onion, kosher salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. I processed this mixture together until it was smooth.

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Next, I made a white sauce. This consisted of butter, flour (to make a rue). After melting the butter and adding the flour, and whisking together, I added one cup of fat free milk, kosher salt and pepper. I always have fat free milk at home, but you can use whichever milk you prefer and have on hand. Once the white sauce was done, I added it to my cut up chicken sausages that I was reheating on a skillet on the stovetop. I then made my pasta, drained it and added it to the sauce and sausages. I did not add cheese, but garnished this pasta with chives.

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place chicken in a large glass dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a glass measuring cup, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, and dried sage. Whisk together and pour over the chicken. Let sit 30 minutes on the counter or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator. (If you place it in the fridge to marinate, make sure to bring the dish to room temperature before baking). Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Cover with foil and let chicken sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Turkey Tacos with Pasilla Pepper Cream Sauce

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Tonight’s dinner started with a pasilla pepper. I knew I’d be making ground turkey tacos this week and wanted to make a sauce to spread over the corn tortilla before stacking my taco with the meat, diced onion, chopped tomato, cheese, cilantro and avocado.

I started by chopping up half of a pasilla pepper and adding it to my mini food processor.

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To the food processor, I also added two garlic cloves that I’d chopped. I then added 1/4 cup of light sour cream and 1/8 cup of light mayonnaise, kosher salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. I also added the zest and juice of one lime.

I set this aside in the refrigerator while I prepared my ground turkey for the tacos.

I browned a pound of ground turkey, along with a white onion that I grated over the meat and two minced garlic cloves. For my seasonings, I added kosher salt, pepper, oregano and Chile lime seasoning.

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I heated corn tortillas over the open flame on my gas stove. Once they were done, I spread some pasilla cream sauce over each one and topped them with the ground turkey, minced red onion, diced tomato, shredded white cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado.

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This sauce had the perfect kick to it. It wasn’t too spicy, just full of flavor. You can definitely make this spicier by increasing the amount of crushed red pepper flakes you use. I think this sauce would be an excellent marinade for chicken and would also be wonderful spooned over fish.

Ingredients for Sauce

  • 1/2 a large pasilla pepper, diced
  • 2 large (or 3 small) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/8 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions for Sauce

Place pepper and garlic into mini food processor. Grind until peppers and garlic are very small. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Whir until all is mixed together and creamy. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.

Ingredients for Taco Meat

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 white onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Chile lime seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

Directions for Taco Meat

Place ground turkey in large skillet. Grate onion over meat and add minced garlic. Add salt, pepper, Chile lime seasoning and oregano and cook until meat is browned and crumbly.

Heat corn tortillas over open flame (or in oven if you have an electric stove). Top with cream sauce, meat, diced onion, chopped tomato, shredded white cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Heirloom Tomato, Lemon, and Arugula Capellini

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Tonight for dinner, I prepared an heirloom tomato, lemon, and arugula pasta.  When I have an arugula salad, I dress it with nothing more than olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon, along with a bit of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Because I was adding arugula to my pasta tonight, I decided to add freshly squeezed lemon juice (and zest).

I started by mincing five cloves of garlic, mincing two shallots and zesting two lemons.

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In a large sauté pan, I added two-thirds cup of olive oil and heated it. To the olive oil, I added the garlic, shallot and lemon zest.

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I cooked that together for about a minute before adding two 16-ounce containers of mini heirloom tomatoes, along with a teaspoon of kosher salt and a half teaspoon of pepper. I also included a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Once the tomatoes were starting to soften and burst a bit, I added the juice of my two lemons and added a package of arugula and let it cook together for about ten minutes.

While the tomatoes and arugula were sautéing, I cooked my capellini pasta. Once that was done, I added it directly to the sauté pan, adding freshly grated parmesan cheese (and a pinch of red pepper flakes) to the noodles before mixing it together with the tomato mixture.

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This dish was so very colorful! I love to have a lot of color in my meals and this one definitely hit the mark.

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This is definitely a light and refreshing pasta for the summer months. I’m thinking about making this one for my bookclub when I host in a couple weeks. I sure hope they like it!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound capellini noodles
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus an additional pinch
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bag arugula
  • 2 16-ounce containers mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Directions

Heat olive oil in large sauté pan. Add garlic, shallots and lemon zest. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook until tomatoes soften and some start to burst. Add lemon juice and arugula and a pinch of kosher salt. Let cook together until arugula cooks down.

Add cooked pasta and parmigian. Blend together and serve with a tad more grated cheese. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Blue Cheese Ranch Burgers

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While I was in Trader Joe’s today, I saw my good friend, Karin. I was telling her that I was going to be making “ranch” burgers for dinner tonight and asked her opinion on what she thought would go with ranch. I had blue cheese in my cart, thinking blue cheese would pair well with ranch, and that was my start. Karin mentioned blue cheese and also mentioned grilled apricots and caramelized onions. What a great idea! I never thought to add apricots to my burger …. yummmmmm! The apricots added something fantastic to my burger in tonight’s meal. I also caramelized a red onion and I had some fennel that I needed to use, so caramelized that along with the onion.

I cut the apricots in half and removed the seed. I then drizzled olive oil and honey on the inside of the apricots and added a pinch of kosher salt, a pinch of pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

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Let me just tell you, Karin is one of the best cooks I know. She is in my dinner club and is one of my favorite people. Karin is the first (and only) person to ever make a beef Wellington that I was able to try. We were together at another friend’s one Christmas Eve. JoAnne and her husband hosted and we each brought something. JoAnne is a fabulous cook as well, just amazing! She is also in our dinner club. Karin brought the beef Wellington that night and it was the first time I’d ever tried it. To this day, that is one of the best memories I have of a wonderful holiday spent with friends and it is one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

I wanted to have leftover burgers for Dennis and Kylie for the week so I started with two pounds of ground beef (I use 96% lean). I put the beef in a large glass bowl and to that I added kosher salt, pepper, onion salt, one egg and one egg white and one package of Ranch Salad Dressing Mix.

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I mixed this together lightly with a fork. I then formed my patties and placed them on a foil lined cookie sheet. I added about two tablespoons of aged blue cheese to my meat so it would cook into the burger.

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I wanted to cook my burgers in the oven instead of on my indoor grill pan. I was thinking of my burger as an individual meatloaf. I placed the burgers in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. My burgers had no pink in the middle. Dennis and Kylie prefer their burgers cooked well. If you would like a medium burger, check them at 11-12 minutes.

I wanted to eat my burger without a bun, so served it on top of arugula that I dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of a half lemon, a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

For the caramelized onions and fennel that I served atop the burger, I cooked one red onion and fennel in one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of melted butter. I cooked them for about 15 minutes until they were starting to caramelize and were softened to my liking.

The apricots were cooked in a small sauce pan over medium high heat until they started to get charred marks on them. I cut the apricots and laid them across the onions and fennel over the burger patty.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef (96% lean)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 package Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • blue cheese (2 tablespoons per burger), plus some for the top of each burger
  • 2 fresh apricots, grilled (drizzled with olive oil and honey and sprinkled with kosher salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes)

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix salt, pepper, onion salt, ranch salad dressing mix, egg and egg white into ground beef lightly with a fork. Form beef into six patties, adding the blue cheese individually before forming each burger patty.

Line baking sheet with foil and place patties on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes for well done. Check at 11-12 minutes for medium.

Lay burger patty on arugula that has been dressed in a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of  1/2 lemon, plus a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Top burger with caramelized onions and fennel and sliced, grilled apricot.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris