Archive for the ‘main course’ Category

Spicy Meatball Subs

These spicy meatball subs are quite the man pleaser in our house…meat, cheese, and very few dishes to wash.  They are a perfect, quick, weeknight meal.  I usually make them from ground turkey, but ground beef would work great also.  I’d suggest using at least 93% lean though…otherwise your sauce will likely get a bit greasy.

Ingredients:
1 ¼ pounds ground turkey
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, divided
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 sub rolls

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, ½ cup parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, 1 tablespoon parsley, oregano, fennel seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Roll into 12 meatballs, about 1½ to 2 inches wide, and flatten each a little so that it’s more oval shaped (this helps it fit in the sub better).

Bring the tomato sauce, chicken stock, and ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes to a medium boil in a deep saucepan.  Add meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 13 minutes, or until they are cooked through.  Meatballs should be mostly covered while they are cooking; add additional chicken stock if your saucepan is a bit wider and this is not the case.

Meanwhile, lightly toast sub rolls.  Top each with 3 meatballs, the remaining parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and garnish with remaining parsley.

Source: the little kimchi pierogi.

Pasta e Fagoli Soup

This soup is really good.  It is so good that BK, in fact, calls it “Crack Soup” because I can’t stop eating it.   Left to my own devices if BK is not home to give me a stern look, I will eat it until my stomach is killing me.

The funny thing is that I didn’t used to think this soup was so good.  When I was young and single and ate onions, I used to carefully spoon the bacon drippings out of the soup pot so it would be healthier.  Then BK and I got married and I figured I’d be splitting the bacon drippings with someone else, so I’d just leave them in.  Well, let me tell you: it makes *all* the difference!!  Leave the bacon drippings in, in the name of all that is good in the world!!

Many times, “soup for dinner” meals are disappointing because the soup just isn’t hearty enough to make a meal.  This one is though…the beans and pasta will fill you up.  It’s also very good as leftovers, but the pasta soaks up a ton of the broth, so I like to add more water when I’m reheating.

Visit Taste and Tell’s Saturdays with Rachael Ray for more delicious recipes!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
⅛ pound (3 slices) pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 (4- to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact, or 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
coarse salt and pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini or great northern beans
1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 quart chicken stock
1½ cups ditalini
grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
crusty bread, for mopping

Directions:

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta or bacon.  Brown the pancetta or bacon bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic.  Season vegetables with salt and pepper.  Add beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high.  Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta.  Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente.  Rosemary and thyme leaves may separate from stems as soup cooks; remove stems and bay leaves.  Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated cheese.  Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.

Slightly adapted from The Food Network, Rachael Ray.

Best Ever Grilled Chicken Fajitas

I do not bestow this title lightly.  This recipe really is The. Best. Ever.  Thank you, Annie!  Thank you, thank you.  It was not just the margaritas talking when your husband said “this chicken is a miracle.”   (Or maybe it was, but they were speaking the truth.)

I’m a huge fan of fajitas, but rarely order them when out…I just cannot overcome my passionate love of enchiladas (another story).   I had given up on making them at home because I felt beaten down by constant disappointment.  But after reading Annie’s review, I went for it one more time and was so, so happy to have found (yes, I am going to say it again) The Best Ever fajitas.  They have so much flavor.  They are so good.  Please, I am begging you…make them now.

To make a pretty quick and sure-to-please meal, pair the fajitas with some refried beans, grilled veggies, and margaritas.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes or a bottle)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 jalapeno, seeded, ribbed and diced
1½ tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied (6 halves total), about 1½ lbs.
1 large red onion sliced into ½-inch thick slices, rings not separated
2 large bell peppers  stemmed, quartered and seeded
8-12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc., for toppings, if desired

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Place the chicken breast halves in a separate bowl and pour in just enough marinade to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes, reserving remaining marinade.  Brush both sides of the onion rounds and peppers with the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat your grill.  Remove the chicken breast halves from the marinade and place them and the onion rounds and peppers on the the grill.  Cook the chicken until it is well browned and until it is no longer pink inside.  Cook onions and peppers until spottily charred and crisp-tender, turning once or twice as needed.  When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a large plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Turn the heat on the grill down and in 2 or 3 batches, transfer the tortillas in a single layer to the now empty grill.  Cook until warm and lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side.  When the tortillas are done, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or foil.

Meanwhile, separate the onions into rings and place them the bowl with reserved marinade.  Slice the bell peppers and chicken lengthwise into narrow strips and add them to the bowl with the onions.  Toss well to combine.  Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a large platter with the warmed tortillas.   Serve with accompaniments, if desired.  (I found that sour cream worked really, really well with these fajitas and enhanced their flavor.)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, via The Way the Cookie Crumbles and Annie’s Eats.

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

BK loves chicken lettuce wraps, so we had a taste test one week…we tried 3 different recipes and this one is probably our favorite.  The original had water chestnuts, mushrooms, and onions.  I knew mushrooms and onions were on BK’s “I don’t eat” list, but I wasn’t sure about water chestnuts.  When I asked, he looked at me and said, “My little pierogi.  I don’t understand water chestnuts…what are they?  What food group are they in?  Are they nuts?  Do they grow in the water?  Are they like the cro-magnon relative of actual chestnuts?”

Ummmm…<blink, blink>

Instead of answering his questions (I couldn’t anyway), I went ahead and took his response as a “no.”  I then took the liberty of substituting green peppers and carrots — nice “normal” ingredients.  I imagine you could probably use lots of different kinds of veggies and it would taste great.  In addition, we usually eat the wraps with rice and some Korean gochujang…one of us is Asian, after all.

Ingredients:

Wraps:
2 tablespoons oil, divided
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4-5 leaves bibb or boston lettuce

Stir-Fry Sauce:
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Directions:

Bring 1 tablespoon oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.  Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove chicken from the pan.

With the pan still on high heat, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Add garlic, peppers and carrots to the pan.  Saute for 2-3 minutes, until just soft.  Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.  Add the chicken and stir-fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes until sauce has reduced some.  Serve in the lettuce “cups”.

Heavily adapted from Food.com.

Tuna Cakes

When I go out for lunch during the work day, I tend to eat a good amount and am sometimes not terribly hungry for dinner.  There are days that despite this, I make a big dinner, eat a big dinner, and then feel sort of full and crummy afterwards.  And then there are better days where I make something light and delicious that perfectly fits the bill.  This is a recipe that helps me get to the better days!  The tuna cakes are crab cake-esque and get all nice and crispy on the outside.   And they make great leftovers the next day for lunch.

The tuna in olive oil does give a better flavor to the cakes, but tuna in water works as well.  This recipe makes about 5 small/medium cakes, so it’s not that much food, especially for two people.  Feel free to double.  The original recipe suggested serving these with salsa, but we didn’t care for that.  We liked them plain, but I think a tartar or aioli sauce would work well.  I usually make my tomato, corn, and pepper salad as a side, as well as some nice french bread.

Ingredients:

4 (5-ounce) cans tuna in olive oil, drained and flaked
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
⅓ cup plain breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed), finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together tuna, egg, cilantro, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and jalapeno.  Mix gently until ingredients just hold together.  Shape into 5 cakes.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium.  Working in batches if necessary, cook cakes until golden brown and crisp on the outside, about 2 minutes per side.  Serve hot, with sauce of desired, and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Adapted from marthastewart.com

Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil Over Coconut Rice

BK and I are both big stir-fry fans, but I haven’t been making much lately because it just doesn’t seem that summery to me.  But this recipe used two of my garden items, hot peppers and basil, so I went for it.  Is it an authentic Thai dish?  I doubt it.  Is it tasty?  Yes, extremely.  Lots and lots of flavor.  We’ve made it several times and will put it in our regular rotation.

We used ground beef, but you could use turkey, lamb, pork, or chicken also.  The first time I made it, I wasn’t sure what “long hot peppers” were.  My plan was to go to the grocery store and literally look for a long, hot pepper.  I found one and then looked at the label: it said “long hot pepper.”  So, although extraordinarily boring, it is a proper name for something.   I used three and it wasn’t very spicy.  So, the next time, I tried for spice by making it with jalapeno chiles, but couldn’t find red ones.  Instead, I used 2 of my spicy salsa peppers from the backyard.  The spice adds a nice kick, and you can use the rice to cool  your mouth off.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups jasmine rice
1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
coarse salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 long hot peppers or 2 red jalapeno chiles, seeded and sliced into 2-inch matchsticks
1 ¼ pounds ground beef sirloin
1 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
lime wedges for serving

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, ¾ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl; set aside.  Heat a cast-iron skillet or wok over high.  Add oil and heat; add garlic and half the chiles.  Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds.  Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until completely browned, about 4 minutes.  Thoroughly drain fat.  Add soy mixture and cook 30 seconds.  Add basil and remaining chiles and stir to combine.  Serve beef over coconut rice with lime wedges.

Adapted from MarthaStewart.com.

Chicken Cobb Burgers

In the summer, BK routinely has hankerings for Cobb Salad.  I, myself, very much enjoy it as well, but have come to terms with the fact that unless I have it for lunch with some good bread, I’m going to be hungry an hour later.  BK has not come to terms with this.  In fact, just the other night he ordered Cobb Salad.  I warned him, but he got it anyway and then sure enough, as soon as we got home, he announced he was hungry.

When I saw this recipe for Chicken Cobb Burgers, I knew it was for us…Cobb Salad, but filling!  The burgers are really delicious…BK had the leftovers the next day for lunch and told me repeatedly that he wished we had made more.  In fact, when I was editing the photos, I turned to look at him and he was staring at the computer screen with a crazy glint in his eye…I think he was contemplating trying to grab the burger out of the computer screen…

We discussed making this with chicken breast instead of ground chicken.  Its a pretty big burger though, and the chicken breast results in a softer burger that probably makes it easier to eat without everything sliding out.  If you use chicken breast, it would certainly taste good, but could be messier and harder to eat.

Ingredients:

For the burgers:
8 (½-thick) strips bacon
1 ½ pounds ground chicken, 90 percent lean
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup crumbled blue cheese (can certainly use more if desired)
1 large beefsteak tomato cut into 4 slices
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 8 slices

For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely shredded romaine lettuce

Directions:

Make the vinaigrette.  Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and oil in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using to allow the flavors to meld.  Just before assembling the burgers, place the romaine in a medium bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.

Heat the grill to medium.  Place the strips of bacon on the grill (lay them across the grate so they don’t fall through) and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Increase the heat of the grill to high.

Form the meat into 4 (8-ounce) burgers, brush with the oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Grill the burgers until golden brown on both sides and cooked completely through, about 5 minutes per side.  Top the burgers with the blue, close the cover, and continue cooking until the cheese begins to melt, about 1 minute longer. (I found it kind of hard to top the burgers with the crumbly blue cheese while they are on the grill.  I did my best and then put more on after we took the burgers off the grill…it still melted.)

Place the burgers on the bottom half of each bun and top with a slice of tomato, 2 slices of avocado, 2 slices of bacon and some of the dressed romaine.  Cover each burger with the bun tops and serve.

Slightly adapted from Bobby Flay via Food Network.

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