Friday, March 27, 2009

Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Feta and Spinach in Phyllo Cups

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings


1/2 stick butter, melted
3 sheets phyllo pastry dough, found in the freezer section
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 thin cut boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips on an angle
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow skinned onion, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, 10 to 12 pieces, chopped
2 boxes chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3/4 pound, 12 ounces, feta cheese, crumbled


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Brush 6 or 12-cup muffin tins with butter using pastry brush. Brush a layer of phyllo dough with butter, top with a second sheet of pastry, butter, then season the phyllo with salt and pepper and then top with a third sheet. Cut into 6 or 12 squares and arrange the phyllo in cups, allowing the dough to crumple and spill out of the tops of the tins. Brush the inside of the pastry cups with remaining butter. Bake until golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Cool.

To a skillet preheated over medium high heat add chicken, garlic and onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute 5 minutes, add the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Add feta and taste to adjust seasonings.

To serve, place phyllo cups on a serving platter and fill with mounds of chicken, sun- dried tomatoes and spinach mixture. A hearty vegetable and olive salad makes a perfect starter or side to this delicious, quick cross between chicken pot pies and spanakopita.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grilled Boneless Leg of Lamb

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 2 to 3 plus 1 pound leftover


1 small boneless leg of lamb, 2 3/4 pounds, ask your butcher to butterfly the leg for you
Coarse salt and black pepper
6 cloves crushed garlic
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, washed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Wedges lemon or grapefruit
Baby Potatoes, recipe follows


Preheat a grill or grill pan. Place lamb on a shallow baking pan. Season both sides of the meat with salt and coarse black pepper. In a food processor, puree the garlic, mint, salt and pepper, then add the extra-virgin olive oil in a slow stream. Pour marinade over the lamb and rub into the meat. Place on grill and cook on 1 side for 10 minutes. Flip lamb, cover with aluminum foil and grill for another 10 minutes.

Remove lamb from grill pan and let rest for 10 minutes for juices to redistribute. Slice and serve. Squeeze a wedge of lemon or grapefruit over the meat and enjoy. Reserve 1 pound of the meat for the next day's recipe, see below. Complete this menu with Baby Potatoes with Cumin and Watercress Salad with Lime Dressing.

Baby Potatoes with Cumin:

1 1/2 pounds very small potatoes, halved, leave 1 1/2 inch potatoes or smaller whole
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Coarse salt

Set potatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle them with just enough oil to lightly coat them, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Toss potatoes with cumin seed and roast 20 minutes at 400 in a hot oven, then broil 5 minutes on high to brown edges of the cut potatoes. If you are making them with the above recipe for lamb, set the baking sheet with the potatoes in the oven along side the lamb on the same rack. Toss cooked potatoes with salt, to your taste, and serve.

Yield: 3 servings
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Level: easy

Watercress Salad with Lime Dressing:

1 bunch watercress, trimmed and coarsely chopped
4 sprigs fresh mint, chopped, 2 tablespoons
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 heart of romaine, coarsely chopped
1 ripe lime, juiced
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
Coarse salt and pepper

Combine watercress, mint, parsley and romaine in a small salad bowl. Combine lime juice and sugar in a small dressing bowl. Whisk oil into lime juice in a slow stream. Pour dressing over the salad and season with salt and pepper, to your taste.

Yield: 3 servings
Level: easy


Ham Steaks

Here's a recipe from Rachael Ray's Easter Feast


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 large ham steaks, cut in halves


Heat a large skillet, with olive oil. Add the ham steaks and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Serve with Frittata and Peas and Carrots Spring Salad.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Honey Nut Chicken

Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


4 ounces, 2 small packages, honey roasted peanuts, about 2/3 cup
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Seasoning by McCormick)
2 eggs
A splash half-and-half or whole milk
2 teaspoons hot sauce, several drops
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 (6 to 8-ounce) pieces of chicken breast
Barbequed Succotash, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put nuts, bread crumbs and grill seasoning in food processor and pulse grind to combine the nuts into bread crumbs. Pour nutty-breading onto a plate.

Beat eggs and half-and-half or milk with hot sauce in a shallow dish.

Pour flour out on a plastic board or plate.

Dust both sides of the chicken with flour. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture and then coat with the nutty-breading.

Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer, 2 or 3 turns of the pan. Brown chicken pieces 2 minutes on each side in hot oil or until evenly light golden in color. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in oven until juices run clear and breasts are cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with Barbecued Succotash.

Barbecued Succotash:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin or vegetable oil, 1 turn of the pan
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (14-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10-ounce) box frozen corn
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup smoky barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons chopped chives, parsley or cilantro leaves, for garnish

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and peppers and saute 5 minutes. Add beans and corn and season with salt and pepper. When corn heats through, add barbecue sauce. Stir to combine and serve succotash with chopped chives, parsley or cilantro to garnish.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Cook Time
Ease of preparation: easy


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Crunchy, Oven Baked Chicken Toes

Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


1 cup corn flakes
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice - the SECRET ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders, 2 packages, cut into 2-inch pieces by GH (Grown-up Helpers)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup honey mustard (recommended: Gulden's)
1/4 cup barbecue sauce


Have your GH (Grown-up Helper) turn the oven on to 375 degrees F.

In a pie pan or other shallow, large dish, pour out the corn flakes. Crush the cereal up with your hands. Mix in bread crumbs, sugar, salt, pepper, and allspice - your SECRET ingredient. Do not tell anybody what your secret ingredient is - ever! If they ask how you make your special chicken toes, tell them about everything EXCEPT the secret.

Drizzle about 3 tablespoons vegetable oil evenly over the breading, tossing and turning it to mix the oil all through the bread crumbs and crushed-up corn flakes. Have the GH pour the oil out slowly. A vegetable oil bottle has a big opening so, 3 tablespoons will pour out pretty quickly, probably by the time you can count to 5, so watch the GH closely and count really loudly!

Have your GH cut the chicken fingers into toes, 2-inch pieces. Turn the chicken in flour, eggs and then in the special crunchy breading. Arrange the chicken toes on a nonstick baking sheet. Make your GH go and wash their hands. Place the chicken toes in the oven and cook 15 minutes or until crisp and brown all over.

Mix together honey mustard and barbecue sauce in a small bowl. Serve hot chicken toes with honey mustard and barbecue sauce for dipping.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tuna Steaks with Tomato and Basil Raw Sauce

Cook Time: 4 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons
4 (1-inch) tuna steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each
Salt and pepper
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
A handful parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup torn or chopped fresh basil leaves, about 10


Heat a grill pan or indoor/outdoor grill to high. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the tuna steaks spread it around then season with salt and pepper.

Combine tomatoes, onions, parsley and basil in a bowl. Dress with extra-virgin olive oil, enough to coat the tomatoes evenly, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper, to taste. Let the sauce marinate at least 10 minutes.

When you are ready to eat, grill steaks 2 minutes on each side for rare, 3 minutes for medium and 4 for opaque, well done. Stir sauce up then serve liberal amounts of it on top of the steaks.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Cream Eggs with Irish Cheese and Chives

Cook Time: 5 min
Yield: 8 servings


2 tablespoons butter, cut into small bits
8 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream, eyeball it
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound farm house Cheddar, shredded or diced
12 blades fresh chives, chopped


Heat a medium nonstick pan with butter over medium low heat.

Whisk eggs with cream and salt and pepper. Scramble eggs soft only, stir in cheese and chives and continue to cook a minute more then serve.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Meatball Subs

Cook Time: 32 min
Level: Intermediate
Yield: 4 servings



1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (3 handfuls), Italian bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons (several drops) Worcestershire sauce,
1/4 cup (a couple of handfuls) flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup (a couple of handfuls) grated Parmigiano or Romano
Coarse salt and black pepper

5 Minute Marinara Sauce:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, (2 turns around the pan)
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
A handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, about 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounces) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14 ounces) can chunky style crushed tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 semolina crusty sub rolls, with or without sesame seeds
1 (10-ounce) bag (2 1/2 cups) shredded provolone or Italian 4-cheese blend
Shredded basil (sweet) or shredded arugula (spicy) leaves, for garnish
Oven fries, as an accompaniment, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place ground sirloin in a large mixing bowl and punch a well into the center of meat. Fill well with the egg, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire, parsley, cheese, and a little salt and pepper. Mix up meatball ingredients until well combined, yet not over-mixed. Divide mix into 4 equal parts, roll each part into 4 balls and space equally onto a nonstick baking sheet. Place meatballs in oven and roast about 12 minutes. Break a meatball open and make sure meat is cooked through before removing from the oven.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and garlic. When garlic starts sizzling, add herbs and crushed pepper. Allow oil to infuse for half a minute, then stir in the tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a bubble, reduce heat, and simmer until meatballs are removed from oven.

Combine meatballs and sauce and pile into sub rolls, 4 meatballs per sub. Top with shredded cheese and place under subs under broiler to melt cheese. Top with shredded basil or arugula and serve with a pile of oven fries, recipe follows.

Oven Fries:

4 medium white skinned potatoes, each cut into 8 wedges lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil, to coat
Grill seasoning blend or coarse salt and black pepper

Drizzle potatoes with a generous pour of extra-virgin olive oil. Toss potatoes with seasoning blend or coarse salt and pepper. Place potatoes on a nonstick baking sheet and roast 20 minutes or until just tender. Give the baking sheet a good shake after 10 minutes to avoid sticking.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Recipe courtesy: Manana Garage (Maui, Hawaii)
Level: Easy
Yield: 1 drink


1 1/2 ounces vodka (recommended: Fris)
3 ounces ginger beer, recipe follows
2 ounces mango puree
1/5 ounces sour mix, recipe follows


Shake well then strain.

Sour Mix:

12 ounces fresh lime juice
6 ounces lemon-lime soda (recommended: 7-Up)
3 ounces sugar
3 ounces lemonade

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Ginger Beer:

3/4 cup fresh ginger, grated
6 cups boiling water
2 limes, juiced
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried yeast

Combine all ingredients, stir well and place in a large container. Seal tightly and leave at room temperature for 24 hours or more. Strain and refrigerate until completely chilled.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Halibut Fish Tacos with Guacamole Sauce

Cook Time: 10 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings, 3 fish tacos each


4 pieces fresh halibut, steak or filets, 6 to 8 ounces each
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
1 lime, juiced
3 small to medium ripe Haas avocados, pitted and scooped from skins with a large spoon
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon coarse salt, eyeball it
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
1 heart Romaine lettuce
12 soft (6-inch) flour tortillas


Preheat a grill pan or indoor grill to high heat or, prepare outdoor grill. Drizzle halibut with extra-virgin olive oil to keep fish from sticking to the grill pan or grill. Season fish with salt and pepper, to your taste. Roll lime on the counter top to get juices flowing. Also, any under ripe citrus may be placed in a microwave oven for 10 seconds at high setting to induce the juices to flow. Grill fish 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until opaque. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime down over the fish and remove from the grill pan or grill. Flake fish into large chunks with a fork.

While fish is cooking, in a blender or food processor, combine avocado flesh, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, yogurt and salt. Process guacamole sauce until smooth. Remove guacamole sauce to a bowl and stir in diced tomatoes and chopped scallions. Shred lettuce and reserve.

When fish comes off the grill pan or grill, blister and heat soft taco wraps. To assemble, break up fish and pile some of the meat into soft shells and slather with guacamole sauce. Top with shredded lettuce, fold tacos over and eat!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Egg Pasta Frittata

Cook Time: 19 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings


1 12 ounce box egg fettuccini pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg, eyeball it
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
12 extra large eggs, beaten
HamSteaks, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add pasta and cook 6 minutes -- to a chewy al dente. Pasta will continue to cook in frittata. Drain and reserve.

Heat a large nonstick skillet with oven safe handle over medium high heat. If all of your skillets have rubber handles, cover handle tightly in foil to protect it. Add oil and butter and melt together. Add cream and reduce for about 3 minutes. Add cheese and nutmeg, salt and pepper. Toss sauce with cooked pasta to coat. Add parsley and beaten eggs to the skillet and stir gently to combine. Allow the eggs to set up on the bottom of the pan and become firm. Transfer pan to hot oven and bake 10 minutes, until golden. Serve from the pan or transfer to a platter. Serve hot or cold, cutting frittata into wedges and serve with Ham Steaks.

Ham Steaks:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 large ham steaks, cut in halves

Heat a large skillet, with olive oil. Add the ham steaks and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes on each side.