Friday, March 30, 2012

Curried Grilled Chicken

So I stop in a store called Fresh Market and pick up a couple of things for dinner.  I decide on chicken breasts to cook on the grill.  I then decide that I want to marinate them before cooking them on the grill.  The one thing I chose to pick up for the marinade is a can of coconut milk, I know that this will be the base of the marinade but at this point I don't know what exactly I am going to do until I get home.  When I got home my husband unpacks the groceries and sees the can of coconut milk and really begins to wonder but doesn't say anything.  When I shop I sometimes pick up one item and decide the meal around that item.  This time it was coconut milk.  So here is what I did, I just made it up as I went along.

Curried Grilled Chicken
1 can of coconut milk
3 tablespoons curry powder
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons dried chives
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 tablespoon honey (start with a little bit and work your way up to the tablespoon, taste it along the way, I didn't use quite this much but it was close)
Boneless Chicken Breasts
Place chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade into bag, seal. Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.   Remove chicken from bag and place on a grill over medium high heat and cook for 25 minutes.

Grilled Asparagus
Snap asparagus (hold a piece of asparagus in both hands and bend the asparagus, the asparagus will break at the tender spot of the asparagus).  Don't throw away the tough end (the part you don't want to eat), save those (stick them in the freezer) to make vegetable broth with.  Place the asparagus on foil just like you did with the potatoes.  Add a little bit of olive oil over asparagus.  Place the asparagus on the grill, direct heat and cook for 5 minutes and then move to warming rack. 

Grilled Carrots
Peel carrots, slice and place in a foil package.  Add a couple of slices of butter and a tablespoon of honey.  Add carrots to grill over a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove to warming rack. 

Grilled Romaine Lettuce
Take 1 head of romaine lettuce, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, sprinkle with garlic powder.  Place romaine on the grill over  medium heat for 10 minutes.  Remove from grill sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serve.  On occasion we drizzle the lettuce with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cheeseburgers and Pasta Salad

Since the weather is warm I feel like it is the right time to grill out.  I know that it is only March and summer isn't even close yet but it sure feels like summer and what is better in the summer than burgers on the grill.

Cook grassfed burgers on the grill to your temperature.  We like our burgers cooked medium. Cook for about 15 minutes.  Add all the necessary accompaniments (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles) to a hamburger bun.

Macaroni Salad a.k.a Noodle Salad
I always have a pantry stocked full with pastas of many different types.  I never gave any thought to the fact that I was out of elbow macaroni or any other type of noodle.  The only noodle that I had in the pantry was a tagliatelle and spaghetti.  Well I didn't want to run to the store for just a box of macaroni so I used the tagliatelle for this dish.  I just broke up the noodles as they went into the pot of boiling water.  Cooked the pasta until it was done.  Drain, rinse in cold water.  Add pasta to a large bowl with chopped green pepper, peeled seeded cucumber; chopped, seeded tomato; chopped.  Add mayonnaise and mix.  I like to add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  If it is too tart add just a teaspoon of sugar to balance it out.  Mix and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sourdough English Muffins

I really wanted to try something different with my sourdough so I thought I would try to make English Muffins.

In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup fresh starter**, 1-1/4 cups warm non-chlorinated water and 1-1/2 cups flour.  Set in a warm place until bubbly, (several hours).
Combine these next ingredients together in a separate bowl:
1 cup flour (any flour can be used)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Stir the flour mixture into the bubbly sourdough batter.  Stir in enough extra flour to make a tough, plastic like dough, 1/4 to 1/2 cup more.  Knead 3-5 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky.  Roll on a lightly floured board to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into 3 inch rounds with a wide mouth canning jar ring.  Sprinkle a place with cornmeal.  Moisten both sides of the dough rounds with non-chlorinated water and flop them on the cornmeal.  Place each on waxed paper, leaving enough space so that they do not touch and can rise.  Let rise until double in thickness (about 1 hour).  Very lightly grease a skillet or electric fry pan*, heating to low, 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook them about 10 minutes on each side until browned and puffed up.  Cool. Split with a fork and toast.

*I used an electric fry pan so that I could regulate the temperature easier.

**Fresh Starter - In a bowl with 1/2 cup of sourdough starter add:
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/4 cup warm, non-chlorinated, water
Stir thoroughly, and set in a warm place as before until it is actively bubbling.  (About 6-1/2 hours) When starter is bubbly and light, stir gently, then set aside the 1/2 cup of start and put in the refrigerator until next time.  Now you can proceed with your favorite recipes with the fresh starter.  The sourdough is fresh when you start the recipe so it should be less time to see the active (bubbly) stage again depending on the temperature it is placed in.

Muffins in the electric skillet cooking
Fork Split muffin prior to toasting
Lightly toasted with butter

One note is that I will indeed make these again.  They are super easy and I think the next time I will make them cinnamon raisin.  No more store bought muffins for me!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grilled Salmon with Grilled Sweet Potatoes

I don't know what the deal is but I am trying to inspire myself for dinners and am not having much luck.  I guess I really haven't gotten back in the true groove of things since we returned from vacation.  I promise to do better, soon, very soon!  Tonight I decided to do salmon on the grill.

Grilled Salmon
Take 2 filets of salmon (we have wild Alaskan Coho Salmon from SeaBear), drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and I have a little of this herb mixture that is made for fish (contains: lemon peel, garlic, parsley, white pepper, chives, basil, cayenne).  Grill salmon over medium heat skin side up for 5 minutes, flip over and grill for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Sugar
Take 1 Japanese sweet potato (Japanese Sweet Potatoes are purple on the outside and white on the inside.  They are not the orange color you associate with American sweet potatoes), slice super thin (I used a mandolin, no not the musical instrument, but one of those slicers that you can slice stuff really thin).  Place slices onto a piece of foil, overlap the slices slightly.  Add a couple of slices of butter; place the slices throughout the top of the sweet potato slices.  Sprinkle the top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar (I used regular white sugar).  Place another piece of foil on top and turn up the ends so that you are sealing the potatoes into a foil packet.  Place the packet onto the grill over high heat, cook for 5 minutes, turn packet over and cook for another 5 minutes.  Removing to warming rack for 10 minutes.  (Once you remove the packet to the rack, place salmon onto the grill.  Remove from heat.

We had a small side salad to go along with dinner tonight.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cooking on the Grill

This is the first use of the grill for this season.  It is nice to have it all cleaned and ready to use (making sure no one built a nest in it over the winter - thankfully no one did).  Tonight all the food was cooked on the grill except for the salad.  We like to make little foil packets to put the vegetables in to be cooked on the grill, less mess and super easy.

Here is what we had for dinner tonight:
New Potatoes
Wash potatoes thoroughly and slice to about 1/4 of an inch.  The skins can stay on these because the skin isn't thick and is thin and very edible.   Take 2 - 12 inch pieces of foil.  Lay one piece of the foil onto the counter and lay the sliced potatoes onto it, add a few slices of butter and some fresh ground pepper.  Take the second piece of foil and lay over top of the potatoes.  You will now want to seal the edges (from one piece to another) together.  Do this by folding the edges up until you have a seal.  Place the foil packet on a preheated to 400 degree Fahrenheit grill over direct heat and let cook for 5 minutes, turn over and cook for 5 more minutes.  Remove from direct heat and lay on top rack of grill to continue to cook.  *Here is a fun fact for you about potatoes: Did you know that the annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the 21st century included about 73 pounds of potatoes.

Snap asparagus (hold a piece of asparagus in both hands and bend the asparagus, the asparagus will break at the tender spot of the asparagus).  Don't throw away the tough end (the part you don't want to eat), save those (stick them in the freezer) to make vegetable broth with.  Place the asparagus on foil just like you did with the potatoes.  Add a little bit of olive oil over asparagus.  Place the asparagus on the grill, direct heat and cook for 5 minutes and then move to warming rack.  *Fun fact - The stem thickness indicates the age of the plant, with the thicker stem coming from a much older plant.

Tenderloin Steak
Instead of using a marinade on the steak like we usually do, we instead used a Montreal steak seasoning made by McCormick.  This is the same seasoning we use in making bloody mary drinks (recipe to come at another time).  Remove steak from refrigerator, sprinkle with seasoning on each side and rub in.  Let steak stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.  Place steak onto a 500 degree Fahrenheit direct heat grill for 5 minutes, flip steak and cook for 3 minutes and then move to warming rack and turn grill off and let sit for 4 minutes.  The steak temperature will be medium rare.   We eat grass fed beef which is much more filling to eat than regular store bought beef.  We have learned over the years of eating grass fed meats that since you don't eat as much, don't cook as much, so therefore we cooked only 1 - 8 ounce steak for the two of us.

Along with the above we had a small tossed salad, which consisted of green leaf lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, green peppers and homemade french dressing.

The meal was accompanied by a 2006 Rioja (Crianza) from El Coto Winery in Spain.

This post was shared on the Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania 3/26/2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Simple Salad

The weather where we live has gotten rather warm very quickly.  Because of this huge shift in the weather the last thing I wanted to do is heat up the kitchen (our outdoor grill hasn't been cleaned for use yet) so we opted to make a salad for dinner.

The salad consisted of:
Red Boston Lettuce
Green Leaf Lettuce
Carrots, sliced
Cucumbers, sliced
Green Pepper, diced
Dried Cranberries
Aged Cheddar Cheese pieces
French Dressing

Here is how I make the French Dressing:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup olive oil
Put all contents into a jar and shake until mixed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Version of Rice and Beans

This dinner was chosen out of necessity.  My husband decided to pull Andouille sausage from the freezer for dinner without giving any thought as to what to do with it for dinner, this is where I come in.  We are still trying to catch up somewhat from being on vacation and really haven't gotten back into a normal routine.  I am still missing some key items that I normally keep on hand all the time.  I really need to plan meals for the week and go grocery shopping.

Here is what I decided to do for dinner tonight with the Andouille sausage.  I decided to make my own version of beans and rice.  I know that this isn't even close to the real thing and I apologize to those who are fans of the real thing ahead of time.  I cooked 2 servings of brown rice (just cooked it according to the package).  I cooked the Andouille Sausage in a skillet until nicely browned.  We get our sausage from a local farm.  All of their products are produced from grassfed cows.  Place the rice in a large bowl, slice the sausage and add to rice, dice a tomato and add to mixture and mixture. The meal was served with a small salad.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Smoked Salmon LT'S

Okay you are probably wondering what the title of this post is all about. Wanted to make dinner for tonight, didn't have anything thawed out and wanted to make something quick. Decided to make my own version of a BLT, but instead of using bacon I used smoked salmon in its place. Wheat bread (lightly toasted), mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and smoked salmon.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Homemade Sloppy Joe's

I remember having Sloppy Joe's as a kid and thought this would be a really great thing to have for tonight's dinner.  My husband wanted a meat loaf, I really wasn't in the mood for something so heavy so I changed his mind with what I concocted.  In this recipe you will find that I didn't use green peppers, which is what you find in most recipes, so in its place I used carrots.  This is a great way to get vegetables into your diet and adds nice color and texture.  The meal was served with sweet potato fries that we actually had pre-made from the freezer.  This dinner will not take very long to make and you will have dinner on the table in no time.

Sloppy Joe
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup minced carrots (I used about 3 small carrots which ended up being slightly over 1/2 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 pound grass fed ground beef
1/2 cup organic ketchup (organic ketchup doesn't have HFCS or MSG added)
1 - 15-1/2 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
pinch of dried thyme
fresh ground pepper
steak seasoning, like McCormick

Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet, add carrots and onion.  Cook until onion is translucent and tender.  Add ground beef and brown.  Add garlic as the beef is cooking.  Once beef has been browned add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and thyme.  Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add salt, pepper and seasoning to taste.  Serve on hamburger buns.

A trick that we do in this house is to keep a package of hamburger buns in the freezer and only take out what you need.  This is a great way to have them on hand and that they won't go to waste if you buy a whole package and only use a couple.  Just make sure that the buns are doubled in freezer bags so that you don't end up with freezer burns.

We also had a Caesar Salad to go along with tonight's dinner.  You can catch the recipe for Caesar dressing from a previous post here.

This post was shared on the Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania 3/19/2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Smoked Salmon with Cream Sauce and Pasta

Well as I promised from my Alaska post that I would be getting ideas from the foods I ate.  Tonight was no exception.  On our trip we went to a place north west of Fairbanks called Chena Hot Springs.  On their menu was a recipe very similar to what I made tonight.

Here is what you will need:
6 ounce package of smoked salmon, drained of any juices and chopped with a fork until you no longer have huge chunks of salmon (you want to be able to see that you have salmon in the pasta)
1/2 of a 16 ounce bag of pasta (I used a Fusilli pasta), cooked
1 red pepper, sliced thin and cooked but slightly crispy, drain of any water and pat dry
Parmesan Cheese, grated
Smoked Gouda, sliced into thin strips
Bechamel Sauce (recipe below)

Bechamel Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, blend in flour with a wooden spoon, and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without turning more than a buttery yellow color.  Remove from heat, and when bubbling stops, vigorously whisk in all the hot milk at once.  Place back on heat and bring to a boil, whisking until thick.  Simmer, stirring for 2 minutes.  Season to taste.

Once the Bechamel Sauce is done, add a little bit of the sliced smoked gouda and some parmesan cheese. Stir until slightly melted.  Stir in smoked salmon.  Add sauce mixture to the pasta and toss until pasta is coated.  Stir in red peppers.   To serve top pasta with slices of smoked gouda and grated parmesan.

Suggestion:  When you go to make this cook your pasta first, drain, place in a bowl and toss with some olive oil (this will prevent the pasta from sticking together).  Slice and cook the peppers.  Have salmon and cheese ready to go.  It will not take very long at all to make the Bechamel Sauce.

The meal was served with romaine lettuce and Caesar dressing.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
2 pressed garlic cloves
1/4 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 cup vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
Mix together. 
Add just enough dressing to coat romaine lettuce but not too much.  Sprinkle each salad with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


You are probably wondering where I have been this last week. I have not been in my kitchen because My husband and I are on vacation I. Alaska. I have had some wonderful food since I have been here. To start off with I had Herb Crusted Halibut at the Glacier Brewhouse in Anchorage. The next night I went to Mooses Tooth for pizza and beer. Mooses Tooth in Anchorage was recommended by a friend who used to live in Alaska. We ate dinner at the Talkeetna Roadhouse the first night in Talkeetna, dinner was served family style, so we got to know everyone at our table. We have done some amazing things here in Alaska everything from seeing the start of the Iditarod, the Running of the Reindeer a Fur Rondy event, the restart of the Iditarod in Willow, and snow machining outside of Talkeetna. Today we are going to the Vern Halter Dream a Dream Dog Sled Kennel. As time goes on I will post some more about our trip and the food we have eaten. I am however getting some great ideas for future dinners.