Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Turkey Sandwich on Croissant

Lunches are one of those things that I can easily get bored with.  You try not to have the same thing everyday but sometimes it is really hard not to.

So today I made a sandwich layered on a croissant was turkey breast, smoked Gouda cheese, sprouts.  I spread a layer of guacamole to each side of a slightly toasted croissant.  To go along side the sandwich was hickory smoked potato chips.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Salad with Leftover Chicken

Wanted to keep dinner simple tonight and use the leftovers from yesterday.

I had leftover chicken piccata from last night.  I just added it to make a salad.

Green Leaf Lettuce
Leftover Chicken
Heirloom Tomato
A couple of Strawberries
Some Sprouts
A little romano cheese grated over top and then used the french dressing that I made to go with the dinner last night.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicken Piccata

Here is a recipe that I have for Chicken Piccata:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded into cutlets
Salt and Black Pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used a Viognier, this happened to be what I had open)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth (I used my homemade broth that I pulled from the freezer)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon drained capers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Lemon Slices

Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Coat a pan with nonstick spray, add oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Saute cutlets 2-3 minutes on one side.  Flip cutlets over and saute the other side, covered, 1-2 minutes.  Transfer cutlets to a warmed platter.  Deglaze pan with wine and add garlic.  Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Add broth, lemon juice, and capers.  Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for about 1 minute. Transfer cutlets to plates.  Finish sauce with butter and lemons.  Once butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets.  Garnish with fresh parsley (optional).

To go along with this I served the chicken over a cooked capellini pasta.  

Also a salad of green leaf lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, dried cherries (if you have never had that in a salad I highly recommend) and some croutons.  It was dressed with a homemade french dressing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Salmon Salad Melts

Wanted something very simple tonight.  I didn't feel like cooking.  We participated in the JDRF walk and all events associated with the walk.  So simple it is for dinner.

I used canned Wild Planet Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon which is boneless and skinless.    I drained the salmon and then used a fork to break it up.  I added a little mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish and a fish herb mix.   Placed the salmon on a bun and topped with swiss cheese and then placed it under the broiler until the cheese melted.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuna Salad

I wanted to keep dinner simple so I sauteed a piece of tuna for a salad.  I put fresh ground salt and pepper over the tuna and then a little olive oil.  I cooked the tuna until it was a medium rare.

Added it to a salad that consisted of lettuce, tomato, cucumber a little Parmesan cheese and croutons.  We used the dijon dressing that I made the other night.  Click here for the recipe.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Portobello Mushroom Burgers

I was at the grocery store today, it was a spur of the moment stop while I was out.  I went into the store because I wanted to see what I could make for dinner.

So I picked up some things and got a few ideas while I was in there.  I picked up portobello mushrooms right away and went from there.  I knew that I wanted to grill the mushrooms and make burgers.  Now what will I marinate these with?  As I walked around the store I picked up a few more items and continued to think about what I was going to do.  I picked up a bottle of a apricot pineapple teriyaki sauce.  I looked at the ingredients and decided I would pass on that.  Not only was it high in sodium it had other ingredients in it that were not healthy.  So I decided that I would make my own version of that sauce.

Here is what I did:

In a food processor (I would have used a blender but mine is a piece of junk - currently shopping for a new one and will probably get a Vitamix) I combined organic canned chucked pineapple in its own juice some apricot jam (natural jam no HFCS or other junk) some pineapple juice from the can and some teriyaki sauce.  I blended them together and added a little more of each until I got the consistency and taste that I was looking for.

I put the marinade and the mushroom caps in a bag and placed it in the refrigerator.

The mushrooms were then grilled.  They were put cap side down.  When we did this the marinade stayed in the cup part of the mushroom and cooked there and then it was flipped over.  The mushrooms were grilled until they had a nice color to them.

The rolls were placed on the grill cut side down to warm them.

To the rolls I added: mushroom, goat cheese, fresh basil, clover sprouts, heirloom tomato slice and a leaf of lettuce.  I took a little of the leftover marinade and speared some on the top inside of the bun.

Also made some garlic rosemary oven potato fries.  I actually had a bag in the freezer.

Served this all up with some Pinot Noir from Oregon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Homemade Pot Roast

I don't know about you but when the weather starts to change I think of hearty comfort foods.   With that in mind I thought of pot roast with root vegetables.

Here is my pot roast recipe.

Pot Roast
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 boneless chuck roast (I used a rump roast because it was what I had in the freezer)
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Viognier, I already had a partial bottle open)
1-1/2 cups beef broth (I use an Organic Better Than Bouillon Beef Base - I haven't made my own homemade beef broth yet)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups sliced onions
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Sear roast on all sides for about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a 4-6 quart slow cooker.  Stir flour into saute pan; cook 1 minute.  Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute more.  De-glaze saute pan with wine, cooking until liquid evaporates.  Stir in broth and Worcestershire sauce; bring mixture to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits.  Transfer broth mixture to the slow cooker and add onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.  Cover and cook until meat is for tender, on high heat setting for 4-5 hours or on low heat setting for 8-9 hours.  Discard thyme
 and bay leaves before serving.  Serve with gravy.

I also made mashed potatoes to go with this meal.   I keep it very simple when making my potatoes.  Cook peeled and cut up potatoes until soft.  Drain from water add potatoes back into the pan and put on stove.  Add a couple of pats of butter.  Mash potatoes along with butter in pan.   In another pan have milk warming on stove to add to the potatoes.  Add enough warmed milk to make potatoes smooth (continue to mash).  Add salt and pepper to taste.

A side salad was added to the meal as well.  Lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, a couple of croutons and a little Parmesan cheese on top.  Served with a Dijon Vinaigrette dressing.

Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing
2-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix all ingredients together.

The dinner was pulled all together with a really wonderful wine.  We had a Virginia Wine called "3".  It got its name from 3 winemakers, 3 vineyards, 3 varietals, 1 wine.  The wine is 1/3 Merlot, 1/3 Petit Verdot, 1/3 Cabernet Franc.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Red Grouper

We picked up a fish at the market that we have never cooked before.  It is Red Grouper.  Upon looking up information on it we knew that the flesh could dry out when cooked.   I Took some mayonnaise and spread it on the flesh part of the fish and then sprinkled it with a fish seasoning.  The mayonnaise helps to keep the fish moist while it is being cooked on the grill.

Made a couscous with saffron and chives.  Grilled asparagus that was drizzled with olive oil.  A side salad with lettuce, cucumber, and tomato that was drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

SIDE NOTE:  After having the fish cooked this way I have decided that I would not cook red grouper this way again.  Grouper has a very meaty and dense texture.  It doesn't have a lot of flavor on its own. I think the next time I decide to make something with this fish, I will cook it a different way so that it can be really flavorful.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taco Salad

I like to make my own taco seasoning instead of buying pre-made seasoning.  Here is what I do:

2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground pepper

There is enough seasoning for 2 different meals.  Use about 2 tablespoons per 1 pound of ground beef.  Brown ground beef and then add seasoning and about 1/2 cup of water.  Cook until seasoning is absorbed.    I love making this because you can tweak it to your tastes.

I used organic corn tortillas to use in the bottom of the salad.  I pre heated the oven to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit and then put the tortillas on a cookie sheet and cooked them until they were crisp.  Once crisp let them cook and then break them into the bottom of a bowl.

I added lettuce, beef, grated cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

I could have added black beans, refried beans, corn or any other ingredients in this salad.  I guess you can say I was lazy and wanted to keep it simple.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday Night Scramble on a Tuesday

I took leftovers from last night's Monday Night Scramble and put it into a baking dish.  I added fresh sliced mozzarella to the top and baked it at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.  I made sure it was in the oven long enough for everything to be heated thoroughly and the cheese began to bubble.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Night Scramble

Tonight I actually had a plan to make meatloaf, changed my mind and made something else instead.

Here are the ingredients:
1 pound grassfed ground beef
1 yellow bell pepper (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato sauce
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1 can pitted black olives, drained
1/2 box pasta, cooked and drained (I had a partial box of ziti so that is what I used)
Garlic (I used a couple of cloves since they were small)
A dried herb mix of sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, oregano, sweet bell pepper, salt
Fresh parsley

Took the onion and pepper and added it to a hot skillet and cooked until tender, added the garlic then the ground beef.  Cooked until the beef was done then added the cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, artichoke hearts, a little oregano and dried herb mix.  Mixed that all together and then added the pasta to the skillet and mixed it all together.  Stirred in some olives and parsley.  Topped with some fresh Parmesan cheese.

We also had a loaf of garlic bread.  There are times where we have something to eat that I didn't actually bake or cook from scratch. I have found a frozen garlic bread (baguette) made by Alexia.  It doesn't contain any ingredients that are bad and actually it contains what I would probably use to make garlic bread.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Steaks on the Grill

Tonight marinated grassfed beef tenderloin steaks in teriyaki sauce.  Grilled them to a perfect medium-rare.

I took fresh sliced mushrooms and cooked them in a little bit of olive oil in a hot skillet then added some red wine (same wine we will be drinking with dinner) into the pan along with some salt.  Let that cook until the wine had cooked off.  I like to add a little bit of wine to my mushrooms, they pick up the accents from the wine.

I decided I wanted a blue cheese sauce to accompany the steaks. So I took about 1/2 cup heavy cream (leftover from making creme brulee the other day), added about 1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese and heated that on the stove, then added about 1 tablespoon of flour (this helped to thicken the sauce slightly) and then I added a little bit of worcestershire sauce (I use a brand that is Vegan and doesn't contain MSG), continue to cook on the stove until the cheese is totally melted.  Use a whisk to help blend the sauce to make it smooth.

Asparagus on the grill, drizzled with a rosemary infused olive oil and then cooked on the grill.

Grilled romaine lettuce with balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzle, topped with a little blue cheese.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lemon-Honey Crème Brûlée

I have been dying to make this dessert and finally broke down and made it.  It was a lot easier to make than I thought.  It is a little time consuming but with a dessert like this you certainly don't want to rush it.  I was intrigued by the lemon.  I think lemon can be really fresh as a dessert and thought this would be great, I was right.

The recipe comes from the cookbook The Grassfed Gourmet, page 230.  I can't share the recipe with you because I don't have permission from the author.  I would highly recommend this cookbook to everyone.

What I really like about this recipe is its adaptability.  The next time I make this dessert I will be changing it and making something totally my own and when I do I will post the recipe.   So check back with me at a later date.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Banana Bread

Bananas really don't have much of a shelf life and before you know it the bananas are no longer firm.  I like many other people like to take those and either make a milk shake of some kind or banana bread.  Today I chose to make banana bread.

Here is my recipe:
1/3 cup shortening or butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) - I usually use walnuts but pecans add a nice flavor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs and beat well.  Sift together dry ingredients.  Add, to creamed mixture alternating with bananas, blend well after each addition.  Stir in chopped nuts.  Pour into well greased loaf pan.  Bake 45-50 minutes or until done/when a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Fresh Cut Pineapple

I am not a big fan of a lot of gadgets in the kitchen.  Over the years I have found that you can do the same things by hand in the same amount of time as it takes you to use a gadget.  However, I have found this gadget that has become very useful in my kitchen.  It is a pineapple wedger.  It is sold by Pampered Chef.

This wedger removes the outer layer of skin and removes the core all in one easy step.  The way the outside skin is removed you don't lose a lot of the pineapple, so there is less waste. Why buy canned pineapple when you can have fresh in a very short period of time.

The Pineapple Wedger 

 Cut the top and the bottom off of the pineapple
You can save the top of the pineapple and plant it into dirt (with the green part above the dirt) 
and you can grow a houseplant.

Place the wedger onto the pineapple.  Rock wedger back and forth slightly as you push down.

 The outer skin is removed and the pineapple is put into 2 halves, with the core removed.

Slice the sections into bite size pieces.

The wedger is dishwasher safe and comes with a cover to protect the blades.


I love hummus and homemade has a much better flavor and what is great is that you can tweak the flavor to suit your taste at the time.

Here is what I do to make hummus

1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans
4 large cloves of garlic (add more if you want a strong garlic flavor)
1/3 cup of water (add more if consistency is to thick)
1/2 cup tahini
juice of 4 lemons (use less if you aren't a big fan of lemons)
salt to taste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.  Serve with wedges of pita, crackers or vegetables.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Okay the other night I made dinner and didn't share with you what I made.  I didn't want to tease anyone with the food because I wasn't planning on sharing the recipe.  I made manicotti with homemade sauce (I have never shared this recipe) which leads me into tonight's dinner.

I had some tomato puree and some ricotta cheese that I didn't use all of for the dish the other night.  So I decided I wanted to use the leftovers so that it wouldn't go to waste.

I took some italian sausage links that I sliced before cooking.  I cooked the sausage until done and then added the puree to the same pan along with fresh garlic and a number of spices to give it flavor.  I bought the other day at the store some potato and basil gnocchi, so I cooked it according to the instructions and then once cooked I added it to the sausage, tomato mixture.  I then stirred in the ricotta cheese and cooked until warm.

I also made a small tossed salad to go with dinner and some leftover garlic bread.

Smoked Barbeque Pork Butt

We took a 3-1/2 pound pastured pork butt  from Mountain Run Farm and placed it on a gas smoker with Mesquite wood.  The pork was smoked at a low temperature of 215 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and was on the smoker for 6-1/2 hours.  The pork was cooked to an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the pork was done smoking we brought it inside and covered it with foil to cool a little.  Once we cooled it some we chopped it up.

Because I couldn't decide what kind of barbeque sauce we wanted on the barbeque, I made three.

North Carolina Vinegar Sauce
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you wanted it hotter you could also add some cayenne pepper or your favorite Tabasco sauce)
Mix all ingredients.  I mixed it into a mason jar so that you could just shake the ingredients to mix them.

Tomato Vinegar Sauce
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1-1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you wanted it hotter you could also add some cayenne pepper or your favorite Tabasco sauce)
Mix all ingredients.  I mixed it into a mason jar so that you could just shake the ingredients to mix them.

Mustard Sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
6 ounces yellow mustard
1/4 of a onion, minced
8 tablespoons of water
8 tablespoons of tomato puree
1/2 tablespoon paprika
3 cloves of garlic, minced (I use a garlic press)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

Left to Right: Mustard Sauce, Tomato Vinegar Sauce, N.C. Vinegar Sauce

To go along with the barbeque I also made a macaroni salad.  The salad consisted of cooked pasta, a little bit of chopped red and orange bell peppers, cucumbers (that have been seeded), small amount of chopped onion, a tomato and a half that has been seeded and chopped.  Add some mayonnaise, salt, pepper, a little bit of sugar and a little drizzle of cider vinegar to taste.  Mix all together and chill.