Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pizza On The Grill

Who doesn't love pizza?  My family loves to create their own pizzas and calzones, but I had yet to try pizza on the grill.  I had heard many times how delicious and crunchy the crust is when you grill it, but had no idea how truly delicious it can be!

To start, I got all of my ingredients ready.  Once you put your dough on the grill, it literally only takes 3-4 minutes....so you don't want to look away or you may burn the crust!  I used homemade, but you can use store bought or your favorite pizzeria dough.  Roll out the number of individual pizzas you will be making....I did four. 

The crust starts to bubble up when it is ready to be taken off the grill.

Place the uncooked side of the pizza down on a plate or stone.  Add toppings to your pizza.  I usually use tomato paste, salt/pepper, oregano or other Italian seasonings, cheese, veggies (mushrooms, red pepper, onion, zucchini, tomatoes, olives, etc), fresh herbs.  Then put the pizza on the grill to cook the other side and melt the cheese.  Close the lid!

My boys like lots of cheese, so here are their pizzas.

Watch them closely so they don't burn!

These were amazing!  Grilling pizza is new for us and we LOVED it!

Give it a try!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Roasted Cornish Hens with Grapes

I love Cornish hens.  Everyone gets their own bird and they just look delicious!  Many people don't think to cook them because they don't see them at the grocery next to the pork, chicken and beef.  These are sold in the frozen section (I got these at Jewel, they came in a pack of 2).  Usually when I make these I also make a cornbread stuffing with it, so when I saw this recipe in my Everyday Food Great Food Fast cookbook I had to try it!  It did not disappoint!

I washed 1 1/2 pounds of red grapes and peeled the outside skin off of 8 shallots.  Place them on a large sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and add salt & pepper.   

FYI:  a shallot type is a type of onion plant producing small clustered mild-flavored bulbs (shaped like a clove of garlic, but much larger).  They are usually sold packaged in the produce area, near the onions and garlic.

I removed the Cornish hens from the packages, rinsed them inside and out, and laid them on a paper towel.  I used another towel to dry the tops. 

Tie the legs together using kitchen twine.  I also like to tuck the wings under so they do not burn.  Season the birds with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and your favorite dried seasonings.  Place them on top of the grapes and shallots to roast at 450 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Here is what they look like when they come out of the oven.  Check the thickest part of the meat to be sure it registers 160 degrees.  If it is a little under, I let them set tinted with foil and they will continue to cook to the needed temp.  If they are overcooked, they become dry, so I pay attention to the temperature as they are cooking with a digital thermometer.

When you are about to plate the hens, don't forget to remove the twine.  I use kitchen shears or a knife for this.  Serve each hen on a bed of grapes and shallots.  Pour broth on top of the chicken.  I also serve remaining broth in a gravy boat in case someone wants more.

We had ours with broccoli.  The boys loved having their own "chicken" to eat. 

I found the recipe on the Everyday Food website.  Click the link below to get the full recipe:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fish Tacos

These delicious tacos are so easy to make, you will wonder why you never made them before!  I had never made fish tacos.  For some reason I thought it sounded like fish and taco did not go together.  I'm so glad I have decided to try it!  Here is what I did:

I had a package of catfish fillets from Costco in the fridge.  The recipe I was going by said to use some sort of white fish.  We love catfish and I figured it would hold together well in a taco.  I cut the fillets in strips using a pair of kitchen shears.  Then I halved those strips, coated them with salt and lemon pepper rub on both sides and put them  into a skillet with about two tablespoons of olive oil.  Cook on both sides and put onto a paper towel to collect any extra oil from the fish. 

Here are what my fish strips looked like when they were finished cooking.  You could easily do it on the grill too.  Yum.

For the tortillas, I simply place them on the burners of my gas stove to cook/brown them.  I use whole wheat tortillas, but you can use whatever your family likes.

Brown rice in the rice cooker is always easiest, but you can make it on the stove top as well.  I started this before the fish since the rice takes a good 20-25 minutes to cook.  I added some fresh lime juice and cilantro to it for added flavor.

Toppings:  chopped Roma tomatoes, fresh lettuce, fresh cilantro and a sour cream lime sauce.  The sauce was amazing.  Who knew that 1/4 C sour cream and 2 tablespoons of lime juice with added salt and pepper could make such a delicious sauce?  It was very refreshing.

Once it's all on the table, the family couldn't wait to dig in!  Everyone gets to make their own and add what they like to their fish taco.  I really enjoyed this meal.  Great as leftovers the next day too!

Here's mine loaded up.  It was SO good. 

Give it a try.  You may be surprised at just how easy it is to make this delicious meal!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chicken Chilaquiles

The first time I read this recipe I thought, tortilla chips?  I'm am not a chip person so this didn't appeal to me, but when I looked at the other ingredients and my husband said, "that looks good" when I was flipping through recipes I figured I'd give it a try. 

First you saute garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil for a couple of minutes. Add a can of tomatoes with puree (breaking up the whole tomatoes as you put them into the pan--this gets messy!). Add 1 C water, chipotle chillies and salt. Simmer 6-8 minutes until thickened.

In case you don't know what you are looking for when I say Chipotle, here is what I used.  Now I use chipotle seasoning a lot, but these are SPICY so be careful.  If you are not a spicy food lover you can skip them altogether.  Next time around I will only use one.  My youngest son (5) couldn't stand the heat, but my 9 year old made it through...with lots of water and a bribe of homemade ice cream sandwiches.  I'm just sayin', they're hot!

While the sauce is simmering, debone a small roasted chicken.  You will need about four cups for the dish.  Shred the chicken into pieces and when the sauce is ready, add them to the sauce.  You can save time by getting a rotisserie chicken from the store.  I just used my baker and cooked one in the microwave for 30 minutes.  Fast and easy.  Cheaper too.

To serve place tortilla chips at the bottom of the bowl/plate, layer with tomato/chicken mixture, sour cream, crumbled feta cheese and chopped cilantro.

This recipe came from Everyday Food's Good Food Fast cookbook.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Crusted Pork Medallions

We love pork tenderloin at our house.  So to find a new recipe for it that is so fast is a relief!  This meal was prepared in a matter of minutes!  I served the pork with corn on the cob, which I boiled, and lettuce from the garden.  (I had a few of the roasted potato bites left, so we each had one of those as well.)

I get my pork tenderloin at Costco. It comes with two packages (two in each package). I only used one package and put the other in the freezer. I also only used one of the tenderloin in the package, but will definitely use two next time since they were such a hit and all three of the boys in the house wanted more!

Cut the tenderloin into medallions and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Coat each piece with egg mixture on both sides.  (I use egg whites, but you can use a couple of whisked eggs as well.)  Then coat in bread crumbs on both sides.  I used store bought Italian seasoned bread crumbs, but you can use whatever bread you have on hand and pulse in your food processor until the right consistency and add your own seasonings.

Saute in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, turning as they brown.  You can also bake them in the oven, but I found this to be the fastest way to get dinner on the table quickly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Roasted Potato Bites

These potatoes are delicious!  I'm always looking for new ways to serve potatoes since my youngest son is not a fan.  I find when I roast them, he tends to eat them, and who can resist a potato with all that added topping?

I washed sliced about 12 potatoes lengthwise.  I used a melon baller to take out most of the inside of the potato.  (Don't throw it away.  I boiled some water and added all the insides for a quick smashed potatoes for another day for lunch.)

Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil on both sides, then season with salt and pepper.  I also added an Italian seasoning to them that I love.  Mix them all with your hands so they are completely coated, and place in a preheated 425 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Take them out of the oven when they are golden brown.

In the meantime, mix 8 oz cream cheese (melted in the microwave about 30 seconds) with 6 tablespoons of sour cream, and 2-3 tablespoons of fresh chives.  I used kitchen shears to cut them right into the bowl.

Fill potatoes with cheese mixture and top with cooked bacon (I used Canadian bacon) and freshly grated cheddar cheese.  Thew were soooooo good!  Great as part of your meal or as an appetizer.

We had ours with steaks one night and turkey burgers the next!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Dominican Mangu

I first had Mangu at my mother-in-law's home.  What is it you say?  It is mashed up plantain with sauteed veggies, a fried egg and bacon (Canadian bacon in my house).  I fell in  love with this the moment I tasted it.  I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as my family does.  My version is a little different than my mother-in-laws, but has pretty much the same ingredients.


These are plantains.  They look like green bananas.  They are larger and the consistency inside is much more firm.  They are also comparable to a potato, I think.  For Mangu you want your plantains green.  The yellow ones are delicious sliced thin and fried in oil...they are sweet.  I'll save that for another entry.


To start put a large stock pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, cut off the ends of the plantain and use a paring knife to cut slices down the peel all the way to the plantain.


Peel the skin off of the plantain.

Here are what they look like completely peeled.

Cut in half.

Slice down the middle.

Slice down the other side.

Then cut into quarters.

They will not stick like bananas since they are firm, so just pile them up.

By this time your water should be at a full boil.  Put the plantains in the pot and boil for 20-30 minutes, until soft.  I judge this with a fork.  If it pierces it and drops off the spoon it is ready. 

While the plantains are boiling, chop half of a red pepper, 1/4 of an onion and 3 garlic cloves.

You can serve it with regular bacon, but I love Canadian bacon and so I use this in my dish.  Slice it and cut into small squares to be sauteed in a skillet.

In a skillet with heat at medium, add about a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Add the onion, pepper and garlic.  Saute until the onions are translucent...about 10 minutes.  Slide it to one side of the pan and cook the bacon.  If you are using regular bacon, you can make it in a separate skillet or in the oven.

When the plantains are ready (20-30 minutes boiling time), use a slotted spoon to place them into a food processor.  You can mash them by hand, but I find this gives them a much creamier consistency.  Add two ladles of the cooking water to loosen up the plantains as they will get really thick.  Add the pepper/onion/garlic mix and about 1 tsp each of salt and pepper.  You can also add a couple of tablespoons of butter at this time...or whatever type of oil you like.  We like butter.  Leave the mix in the food processor with the lid on so that it stays warm while you prepare the eggs.

Fry up your eggs and season them.

Scoop a large scoop of mangu, place a fried egg on top, and sprinkle with Canadian bacon.  I cut into mine and let the yolk cover my mangu!  I LOVE THIS BREAKFAST!  It is very filling too, so watch out!  This was just enough for our family of 4 (two adults and two kids...9 & 5).  My husband and son had seconds. 

Enjoy trying something new!