Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fall Vegetable Quinoa Hash with Poached Eggs

Fall Vegetable Quinoa Hash with Poached Eggs

This is originally a breakfast recipe from Martha Stewart's Whole Living magazine. We occasionally have breakfast for dinner nights and this is always a big hit. Actually, anything with poached eggs is a big hit in our house.

Cook time 1 hour

Serves 4

1 large sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 beets, peeled and cut into ½-inch wedges, greens reserved and rinsed well
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
4 large eggs
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut ¼ inch thick, and rinsed well
½ cup quinoa
1 cup water or broth
¾ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potato with 1/2 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; spread in an even layer on half of a rimmed baking sheet. Toss beets with 1/2 teaspoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt; spread on other half of sheet (so that beets don't discolor potatoes). Roast, stirring halfway through, until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

2. Cook 1/2 cup quinoa. Rinse, combine 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup water or broth. Bring to a boil. Turn heat on low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, fluff with fork.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil; add vinegar. Break each egg into a teacup. Reduce heat so that water is just simmering. Slightly immerse 1 teacup, and gently slide egg into water. Use a spoon to fold edges of white over egg. Repeat with remaining eggs. Simmer until whites are just set but yolks are runny, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer eggs to a towel using a slotted spoon, and drain. OR see below.

4. Thinly slice beet greens (I have yet to find beets with the greens). Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add greens, leek, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook until tender and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in quinoa, thyme, and vegetables; press down using a rubber spatula. Divide among 4 plates; top each with 1 egg, and season with a pinch of pepper.

Poached eggs with Fusionbrands Poachpods. Rub vegetable oil on plastic poachpods, carefully crack egg into each pod. Cook covered for 5 minutes in simmering water 2 inches deep.

Sausage and Polenta Parmesan

Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield:4 servings


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 17 ounce tube prepared polenta, sliced into 8 rounds
8 ounces sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
6 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping
8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the broiler. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the polenta and fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add the sausage to the skillet and cook, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until just browned, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley.

3. Arrange the polenta rounds in the skillet on top of the sauce. Place the mozzarella slices over the polenta and sprinkle with the parmesan. Broil until the cheese is browned and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Top with more parsley and pepper to taste.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Pork Tenderloins with Red Wine and Figs

Pork Tenderloins with Red Wine and Figs

Grilled Zucchini*

Spinach Cranberry Salad**

Serves 4-6

The pork recipe is from the discontinued Spring 2009 issue of America's Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers magazine. The figs make the sauce pretty sweet but it is a delicious meal that feels like dinner with a hint of dessert.

Pork Tenderloins with Red Wine and Figs
2 cups red wine
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 pork tenderloins (1½ to 2 pounds total)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup dried figs, halved lengthwise
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

1. Whisk wine, sugar and 1 Tbsp vinegar in bowl; set aside. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Pat pork dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Cook tenderloins until well browned all over, 5 to 8 minutes.

2. Add wine mixture, figs and rosemary to skillet and cook, turning tenderloins occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened and meat registers 145 degrees, about 10 minutes. *Grill zucchini. Transfer pork to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 15 minutes. **Plate salad while meat rests.

3. Add remaining 1 Tbsp vinegar and simmer sauce until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Discard rosemary, slice pork, transfer to platter or plate and spoon sauce over top. Serve.

*Cut zucchini lengthwise. Turn grill on high. Brush with olive oil on both sides. Salt and pepper cut side.
Place cut side down and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes until desired doneness. If you don't have a grill, you can use a non-stick pan, a sandwich press or George Forman type electric grill.

**Our go to salad is baby spinach, dried cranberries, crumbled feta cheese and toasted almonds, or whatever toppings I can scrounge up. I just throw salad on everyone's plate and let them add the toppings they want.

Monday, January 5, 2015

REVIEW: Chicken and Broccoli Cavatappi Bake with Cheddar Sauce

For more information on Gobble check out my first review here or visit their website Gobble delivers fresh, healthy meals that are par-cooked and prepped to easily prepare in "10 minutes". We have tried 3 boxes and have been pretty close to the 10 minute cook time. I realized our oven takes 14 minutes to heat up to 400, and it takes my electric stove 4 minutes to get the pan hot enough to cook the meat. Plus I spent the time to photo document everything so those factors slowed me down.
When you sign up, every week you get meals delivered to your door step fully prepped with easy to follow instructions to cook quickly. You can choose from 6 different meals offered each week starting at $11.95 per serving or opt to skip a delivery (no other fees, that includes shipping. This box was 3 meals x 2 servings = $71.70
(sorry about the stock pot in the back, I was making turkey stock this day) So here we go. I dumped the chicken onto a paper towel to dry it off a bit, and unpacked everything while waiting for my pan to get to medium high heat.
At almost 4 minutes in I started the acutal cooking part once my pan was hot, then everything was a breeze from here.
Add veggies. Add pasta.
Add sauce. Add bread crumb topping.
Throw in oven on broil. Prep salad.
Wait, there is a ton of salad here, I had to get a bigger bowl to dress it (and that's only half the salad in the bag).
13 minutes 37 seconds and done cooking. Minus a minute or so to take photos and the extra time for my stove to heat up.
Add on a minute or two to plate, and this meal goes from being in bags in the fridge to cooked on the plate in 15 minutes.

How does it taste... surprisingly delicious. The vegetables were really fresh and perfectly cooked. The salad dressing/vinaigrette was really tasty. I was little nervous about the par-cooked pasta, but it was perfectly al dente. I make similar dishes with broccoli and red peppers but the cheddar cheese sauce was so much better than what I make. The portions were huge on this one. We had leftovers that I fed the kids the next night when I made the next dinner kit for my husband and I to eat together when he got off work late.

I haven't tried other dinner delivery companies yet, but some just send you the ingredients and you have to prep everything, the directions are hard to follow, and they take from 35 minutes to 1 hour to cook. I REALLY like that Gobble preps everything and par-cooks some of the ingredients so the meals are easily made in around 10 minutes. The sauces have been outstanding. The portion sizes are great and they are healthier and cheaper than take-out or going out to eat. It's like having your own personal sous chef that preps and delivers delicious meals to your house.

If you live in California and Nevada you can use this link to get a free dinner kit to try them yourself. Gobble is trying to expand to other states soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

REVIEW: Roasted Root Vegetables with Risotto

Gobble claims: "Gobble prepares farm fresh 10-minute gourmet dinner kits with 3-step instructions delivered to your door. Our weekly delivery includes three thoughtfully hand-crafted dinner kits filled with fresh pre-chopped and par-cooked ingredients (along with a gorgeous recipe card!) for you to create Michelin-worthy dinners in your very own kitchen."

Gobble delivers: prepped ingredients and instructions for healthy, delicious dinners that I have been able to cook in 9-15 minutes (our electric stove takes 4 minutes to get to the right temperature, and our oven takes 15 minutes to get hot which slow down my cook time). My husband is a foodie and was skeptical, but we have been pleasantly surprised at how good these meals are. They are better than most of the restaurants we have here in the suburbs.

Down side/up side: Gobble is a bit like the Columbia House Music Club (I'm dating myself here) where you sign up for weekly delivery when you join, and then have to "Skip Delivery" on their website to cancel for that week or email them to cancel permanently. On the up side, the service is great so you just might want to keep the weekly deliveries.

The Roasted Root Vegetables with Risotto took me just over 9 minutes to cook. It took me another 2 minutes to plate and split up the veggies evenly (my food presentation skills could use some improvement).

The dinner kit was intended to only serve 2 people. We have 2 kids so I actually baked a tri-tip in the oven and then cooked this meal while the meat was resting, turning it into a meal that served 4.

How did it taste... the risotto was better than any I've made, and better than many restaurants I've ordered it from. The root vegetables were perfectly cooked. The brussels sprouts were hands down the best I've ever had. I didn't know I like rutabaga. I could eat this once a week.

We have tried several of the kits now (I'll blog more soon) and have really enjoyed the meals. The Gobble dinner kits have more vegetables and are healthier than most of our local restaurants and the dinners are faster/cheaper than take out. AND they are delicious. Plus they are delivered to my doorstep saving me a trip to the grocery store. We've started making larger meals on the weekends so I can feed the kids leftovers and make these Gobble meals for my husband and I to eat together after he works late. I could literally gobble them up. 2 forks up!

If you live in California and Nevada you can use this link to get a free dinner kit to try them yourself. Gobble is trying to expand to other states soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Roasted Broccoli (Kid favorite)

This is my go to side dish for parties and kids' lunch/dinner playdates. Every time I serve this broccoli, people ask for the recipe. So here it is. Enjoy!

1 large head of broccoli
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
a little black pepper
(optional lemon wedges)

1. Heat oven and large rimmed baking sheet on middle or lower rack at 500 degrees.

2. Cut broccoli in quarters. Put broccoli wedges in large bowl and toss with 3 Tb olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, sugar and pepper to taste and toss to combine.

3. When pan is hot, remove from oven, quickly dump broccoli and spread around so flat cut side is down. Bake 8-10 minutes until stalks are well browned and tender and florets are lightly browned. Transfer to dish, serve immediately (optional drizzle with lemon juice from wedges).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Uncle Dan's Chili

A crowd favorite, this chili is perfect on fall/winter night (although we eat it year round).

Serves 6

Cook time: 45 minutes

Olives and corn in chili? I was skeptical at first; I never would have thought to put these two ingredients together, but we were all pleasantly surprised. This is one of our favorite dishes.

Uncle Dan's Chili

1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 pickled chile peppers, seeded, finely chopped (optional depending your spicy level)
2 cans (15 oz each) Progresso black beans, drained, rinsed
2 cans (14.5 oz each) Muir Glen organic fire roasted undrained
1½ cups water (or chicken broth for non vegan version)
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon coarse (kosher or sea) salt
½ cup sliced kalamata olives
1 cup frozen or canned sweet corn
Optional toppings
Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
Sour cream or plain yogurt, if desired for non vegan version
Shredded Cheddar cheese, if desired for non vegan version

1. In 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic; cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.

2. Stir in black beans, tomatoes, water, molasses, chili powder, cumin and salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in corn and olives. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 5 minutes longer.

3. Top each serving with optional remaining ingredients.
Also great with warm cornbread, corn tortillas, naan or hearty bread.