Tag Archives: food

Cheesy Sausage Balls

I’m pretty slow to the sausage ball party. I first became aware of these little bites from Trisha Yearwood’s show on Food Network and thought that they would be a perfect little nugget for me considering how much I love sausage (turkey sausage, that is). But since then, I suddenly see sausage balls everywhere – on Pinterest, on the Today show, on my Instagram feed. Well, I figured it was high time for me to jump on the bandwagon and I was especially thrilled when I came across this recipe for Cheesy Sausage Balls which has a little different twist than your standard sausage balls.

Sausage, cheese, and quinoa make up the base of these bites which are perfect for a Thanksgiving appetizer. Instead of baking mix, these balls have cooked quinoa which is so much healthier than some floury mix. Granted, baking mixes are super simple and easier to throw into a bowl than cooking up a batch of quinoa but it only takes fifteen minutes for quinoa to cook so you can do it ahead of time and still have some leftover for another dish later. Plus, quinoa is so much better for you! The quinoa actually adds a bit of texture to these sausage balls, a bit of a pop, if you will. I haven’t tried the sausage balls made with baking mix but I don’t think I need to. I’m perfectly happy with these little guys and I bet you will be too!

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 Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine quinoa, cheese, cornstarch, black pepper and sausage in a bowl.

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Shape mixture into 40 (1 1/2-inch) balls. Place balls on a lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 375°F for 18 minutes or until lightly browned and done.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter

I mentioned yesterday that I served the Nut-Crusted Chicken with an orange-flavored broccoli but my puny description didn’t do this dish justice. I’m pretty used to roasting broccoli and do it more often than steaming it. But this Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter takes it a step further before taking it another step further.

Broccoli florets are roasted and then put under the broiler for a few minutes until nice and dark before being tossed in a mixture of browned butter, orange zest and orange juice. The roasted broccoli alone is flavorful enough but the browned butter and the addition of orange makes this an even fancier side dish than plain old steamed broccoli. I loved this dish with the chicken from yesterday because they both had hints of orange and paired well together but this broccoli will be a perfect addition to any meal.

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Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly browned, stirring once. Heat broiler to high, leaving pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until lightly charred.

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Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. Stir in rind and juice.

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Combine broccoli and butter mixture in a large bowl.

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Nut-Crusted Chicken

I was away for work all of last week and even though I had made food to post ahead of time, I just never got around to it. I flew in on Friday and woke up on Saturday to having zero food in the house so I bundled myself up (seriously, why is it so cold??) and went to the grocery store, list in hand. After eating catered food for lunch and restaurant food for dinner every day, I was ready to eat some home-cooked meals and fresh produce. I’ve been eyeballing this recipe for Nut-Crusted Chicken for a while and decided it was time to get it done.

Dijon mustard, fresh orange juice, salt and pepper coat one side of boneless chicken breasts before being coated in chopped pistachio nuts and baked until perfect. The tang of the mustard and saltiness of the pistachios pack this chicken with flavor leaving it anything but boring. I served mine with some orange-flavored broccoli which I’ll post tomorrow but by all means, try out the rest of the recipe by making the carrots included.

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Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pistachios in a shallow bowl. Whisk together mustard, orange juice, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a second shallow bowl.

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Coat 1 side of each chicken breast with mustard mixture, and dip coated side of chicken in chopped nuts. Place chicken, nut sides up, on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

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Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and nuts are lightly browned. Sprinkle chicken with orange zest, if desired.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Coastal Living magazine

 

White Bean Spread

When you are eating healthy, you need healthy snacks, right? So you buy some baby carrots to have on hand to snack on here or there but after a while you just want to dunk it into some creamy or cheesy dip. Carrots are my quickest go-to when it comes to quick-grab veggies but sometimes, I just can’t eat another one plain. And since I hate cooked carrots more than anything and don’t particularly care for light dressings, I’m left to find myself another way to eat these little guys. Luckily for me, I usually have cans of beans on hand so when I came across this recipe for White Bean Spread, it was like an aha moment.

Canned cannellini beans are whirled together with nothing more than lemon juice, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, producing a fiber and protein-filled snack. This vegetarian dip is simple but complex in flavors and one of the easiest things you can make. The lemon juice gives it a real vibrancy and the thyme shines through subtly. I didn’t process the beans all the way so I could have some chunky bites here and there (for those of us who like lumpy mashed potatoes) which made this feel more like a small meal than a snack. This dip is thick and only gets thicker if you put it in the refrigerator but can easily be thinned out with water or additional lemon juice. If you are sick of hummus, give this fresh dip a try.

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Combine beans, oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor.

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Process until smooth.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Family Circle magazine

Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha

Breakfast is what’s for dinner tonight. I can’t imagine not liking breakfast food. I can eat eggs at any time of day or night and often eat hard boiled eggs as a snack or scrambled eggs at dinner. Several months ago, after trying Sriracha mayonnaise, I decided to top a deviled egg with a few drops of Sriracha. I never looked back. That turned into me adding Sriracha to my scrambed, fried, or sunnyside up eggs as well. Just for kicks, I wondered what it would taste like to make a savory French toast and top it with Sriracha instead of syrup. You guys, I can’t even tell you how happy I am with this result: Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha.

Herbes de Provence are added to the egg and milk mixture which coats thick slices of hearty bread. Cooked until golden brown, these slices are topped with a flavorful chive butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light and didn’t miss the extra calories!) and drizzled with as much (or as little) Sriracha as you want. The result is a mildly herby French toast with a buttery tang and spicy bite. The floral herbes de Provence can easily be replaced with dried thyme or oregano and you can definitely leave off the Sriracha if you’d like (but why would you?). For an even bigger oniony bite, use the chive butter to brown the slices if you desire. Everything about this French toast is savory and perfect for your next breakfast dinner. I’m ecstatic!

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Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha (serves 2)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 slices hearty bread (such as French loaf or Artisan Wheat)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Sriracha

Combine the softened butter and chives in a bowl. Transfer to plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Over medium-high heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to a large skillet. While butter melts, whisk together eggs, milk, herbes de Provence and salt in a shallow dish. Add one slice of bread at a time and soak, flipping frequently, until saturated with egg mixture.

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Add 2 soaked slices to the hot skillet and cook until the bread is golden brown; flip and continue cooking, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer cooked slices to a plate and keep warm while cooking the remaining bread slices.

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Garnish each slice of French toast with one pat of chive butter. Drizzle with Sriracha.

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Smoky Weeknight Chili

I was shocked the other day when I was driving around and noticed how few leaves are on the trees already. Didn’t summer just end? Did I miss the full color of bright yellow, red, and orange leaves that I’m typically in awe over every single Autumn? It’s only the middle of October! And, I might add, it’s going to be 80 degrees in Philadelphia today! Where are my leaves? I shake my head thinking about how quickly Christmas will be here, which means winter, which means cold, which means…sad face. I love Fall, and all that comes with it: bright leaves, football, pumpkin beer, and warm chili. I may not be able to do anything about the leaves but I can certainly make some chili. This Smoky Weeknight Chili is perfect for the busy person who doesn’t have time to hang out in the kitchen before dinner.

With two different kinds of beans and no meat, this vegetarian chili gets thick tomato flavor from tomato sauce, smokiness from fire-roasted tomatoes, and a warm, surprising undertone from cocoa powder. Don’t worry, there is nothing sweet about this chili which is hearty and fulfilling, even though it’s vegetarian. Sure you can add meat if you’d like but there is no need. The white beans are creamy, the chickpeas are chewy and the onion and peppers round everything out. This is a perfectly quick meal for the middle of the week in the middle of month like today.

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In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet pepper and onion; cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.

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Add beans and chili powder; cook and stir 2 minutes.

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Stir in tomato sauce, undrained tomatoes, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.

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Cover and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Top with sour cream, green onions, and additional chili powder, if desired.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Cannellini beans

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce

I was in Buenos Aires for work last week and was either working, eating, drinking, or sleeping and didn’t have time for blogging or much else. In Argentina, people don’t eat dinner until sometime after 9pm. One night, we didn’t even finish eating until after 12:30am! I was worried about finding something to eat in Buenos Aires since I’d heard that they eat a lot of meat down there, primarily beef and pork, both of which I don’t eat. But luckily, they had plenty of grilled chicken, plenty of fried cheese, and tasty cheese empanadas. The empanada options there were typically either cheese or pork so I decided to come home and make my own with some chicken and spinach. The result were these Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce.

Precooked chicken, cheese, spinach, onion and pimientos are combined with a creamy mixture of cream cheese and smoked paprika before being folded into empanada dough and baked until golden brown. A quick chimichurri sauce of parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flake adds a bold, fresh flavor which would also be a great addition to any beef, chicken or pasta dish. These empanadas are full of flavor and are perfect for a small meal on the go.

Tip: I found the empanada dough discs in the freezer section of my market, near the international and vegetarian frozen meals. To quickly thaw the dough, remove the discs from the packaging, separate them by the paper between each one and sit at room temperature while you make the filling.

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Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce (makes 10 empanadas)

For the empanadas:

  • 1/2 pound rotisserie or leftover chicken, shredded
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimientos
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 ounces 1/3-less fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-ounce package frozen empanada discs, thawed (such as Goya Empanada Discs)
  • 1 egg

For the chimichurri sauce:

  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • salt and red pepper flake to taste

To prepare the empanadas, cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and cool slightly. In a bowl, mix chicken, spinach, mozzarella cheese, pimientos, onion, and pepper.

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In a small saucepan, mix broth with cornstarch. Add cream cheese and smoked paprika. Whisk over high heat until mixture is boiling, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape over chicken mixture and combine well, adding salt to taste.

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Place thawed empanada discs on a flat service. Stretch each disc carefully to expand dough slightly. On each disc, spoon heaping 2 tablespoons of chicken mixtures.

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Fold dough over filling to form a semi-circle, then fold edges together and pinch to seal, using a fork. Gently place empanadas, slightly apart, on baking sheet.

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In a small bowl, beat egg to blend and brush generously over each pastry.

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Bake in a 375°F oven until empanadas are golden browned, 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

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To prepare the chimichurri sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.

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Spoon into a bowl and serve with empanadas.

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