Friday, December 23, 2011

Leftovers: Pasta with Sausage and Sauce

Whenever I make my highly desired Braised Shortribs recipe, I always have so much leftover sauce.  Since the sauce is just too good to waste, I always save the sauce for future recipes.  Here is one recipe that I make with this succulent sauce.

Pasta with Sausage and Leftover Sauce
Original Recipe by Kitchen Groovy

1 box of whole wheat rotini pasta
2 carrots, diced
1 lb. sweet italian sausage, sliced (regular or turkey would work great)
2 1/2 C leftover sauce from Braised Shortribs, hot

Over medium high heat, cook sliced italian sausage on a frying pan until fully cooked.  Set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any fat.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Add diced carrots to the noodles in the boiling water about 1-2 minutes before the noodles are done cooking. 

Drain noodles and carrots.  In large serving bowl, combine pasta, carrots and sausage.  Add in the heated leftover sauce and combine until well mixed.

Chef's Note: feel free to add what you like to this dish - it's leftovers!  I encourage you to add what you like and what you are craving!  Brocolli would be a GREAT addition!  I only added what was left in my refrigerator!  :-)

Delicious!!!  It was so good, the family was begging for me to make more Shortribs, so they can get these leftovers again!  Ha!  WIN-WIN!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Braised Shortribs

I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe yet - this Braised Shortribs recipe is up there in my Top 10 favorite recipes of all time. If you are not sure about trying recipes from random places you find online - this one is an exception for you!  This is a must try, must make, must eat and must share type of recipe.  Invite your neighbors, invite your friends, family, strangers.  It's that good. 

I saw this recipe prepared on our local television Saturday morning show by a chef at a local restaurant called "Wildfire".  At first, I wasn't paying too close attention to what was being made, but as I watched, I remember thinking - "wow, that looks really, really good" and "I think I can make that, too".  My husband was sitting with me and he said "yeah, you should totally make that".  Deal. 

And the rest is history.  It's a great go-to, Sunday night, warm your bones on a cold winter's night kind of meal. 

Oh, and stay tuned for a follow up recipe on how I use leftovers!

Braised Shortribs
Original recipe by Wildfire Steaks, Chops & Seafood

4 - 12 oz cut rectangles of cleaned, boneless short ribs
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb peeled carrots, sliced ½" thick
1 lb cubed onions, 1" square
12 oz sliced celery, ½" thick
¼ cup sliced garlic cloves, 1/8" thick
2 tsp minced, fresh rosemary
2 tsp minced, fresh thyme
2 ea bay leaves
2 cups red wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups beef stock
1 cup diced tomatoes in juice

Make sure short ribs are cleaned of excess fat and silver skin. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place large sauce pan on high heat on stove. Add olive oil and brown meat on both sides. Remove short ribs from pan and add vegetables.

Caramelize vegetables, then add garlic and herbs and cook for two more minutes.

Pour in red wine and balsamic vinegar and cook down until half the liquid has evaporated. Then add chicken and beef stocks and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

Add short ribs back to pan. Place parchment paper over short ribs, then cover with aluminum foil or pan lid and place in a 370 convention oven. Cook in the oven for two hours, 40 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and let sit for a half an hour. Remove short ribs from pan and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Add short rib pieces to sauce, and heat until hot.

My Personal Chef's Note: I take the leftover sauce and vegetables, place it in a food processor and make a gravy.  It is an absolute must do!  Salvage as much of the sauce as possible, as the sauce makes for great leftover meals! 

Serve with roasted root vegetables and mashed potatoes (with sauce, too!). Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

 served on mashed potatoes. . .

What do you think?  No meal screams "H-O-M-E" like a good old meat and potatoes kind of meal.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Harvest Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Happy Day After Thanksgiving!  Happy Black Friday!  Happy Shopping!  Happy Day Off! 

Whatever this wonderful, lovely day is to you - may it be happy!  Hopefully, you are still high off of all the delicious Thanksgiving food you gobbled up yesterday! 

We truly had a feast fit for a Thanksgiving King - my family agreed that I topped myself out.  Aaaahhhh . . . words and feelings I love to hear from my kids and hubs.  I tried a new salad this year - and it was loved by all. 

I wanted to share it with you because not only is it perfect for the holidays, but it's really a great salad at any time during the fall and winter months.  It was DELISH!!!  There were a few ingredients that she listed as "Lunds and Byerly's" - I didn't use them except for the Island Breeze Seasoning.

Harvest Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Original recipe by Sue Erickson, Byerly's

4 T pomegranate juice
2 T sherry wine vinegar
1 T Lunds & Byerly's Maple Syrup
1 tsp. Lunds and Byerly's Island Breeze Seasoning
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
6 T grapeseed or canola oil
2 HoneyCrisp or Braeburn apples, cored, diced
2 - 5oz. packages mixed spring greens
1 C shaved aged Gouda cheese
1/2 C thinly sliced shallots
1 C roasted, salted pepitas
1 C pomegranate seeds

In mixing bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice, vinegar, syrup, lemon juice, Dijon, salt and pepper.  Slowly whisk in oil.

Place diced apples in bowl; pour 1/2 C vinaigreete over, tossing to coat.  Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Place spring greens in large mixing bowl; pour remaining vinaigreete over, toss to coat.

Arrange tossed greens on 8 salad plates, using slotted spoon to divide apples over each salad.  Garnish with cheese, shallots, pepitas and pomegranate seeds.  Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over each salad.

To prepare ahead: vinaigrette will keep, tightly covered, in refridgerator for up to 3 days.

I could have eaten this all day!  Well, I suppose I could have eaten turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, apple pie all day too - but you get the picture!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Also - I'd like to thank Pip & Ebby for passing an award on to me - I am super honored!  This dynamic duo also live in the same area as myself, so it's always fun for me to know that I'm blogging "next" to them! 

But, be sure to check them out (click here to get to their website)- they have amazing recipes and I have tried a number of their recipes and have absolutely loved them!  Thanks Pip!  Thanks Ebby!  xoxo

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nutella Tart

A dear friend of mine and I went to a cooking class last week, and the menu was to die for - especially this dessert.  I literally wanted to lick my plate, but being that we were supposed to act somewhat civilized, I restrained myself!   

I decided to try it out last night at home, and found that it is probably one of the easiest desserts to make.  Added bonus and perfect for the holidays!!

Nutella Tart
original recipe by Carmela Hobbins
serves 8-12

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 C Nutella
1/2 C semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 C white chocolate morsels
1/2 C sliced almonds (I like a lot of almonds, so I used closer to 3/4 C)
Cocoa for dusting
Whipped cream for garnishing

1. In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together for about 4-5 minutes until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add almond extract, followed by flour.  Mix until combined.

2. Press dough into a 10x1" tart pan with a removable bottom.  Chill until firm, about 30 minutes, or as long as overnight.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove tart pan from refrigerator and drop spoonfuls of Nutella evenly over the crust (don't attempt to spread as it might damage the tart).  Bake tart for about 5 minutes, remove from the oven and now spread evenly the softened Nutella over the crust.  Sprinkle chocolate morsels over the Nutella, then top with the sliced almonds. 

3. Bake on the lower rack of the oven until crust is golden, about 20-25 minutes.  Cool, remove side of tart pan and serve at room temperature or warm.  Dust the plate with cocoa and garnish with whipped cream. 

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Steak Fajita Chili

Every year, when the weather turns cool, my husband asks for this meal for dinner.  It's perfect during fall and winter and especially during football season!  I have been making this chili for a few years now - and it's probably one of my favorite varieties of chili. I have to warn you - not all of my kids love this dish, although - there are very few dishes that all three of my kids love.  Regardless, it's definitely blog worthy and I am positive there are many who will make this their favorite, too!  :-)

I found the original recipe from Food Network, but I have adapted it over the last couple of years and while still close to the original recipe, this is my own version.

Steak Fajita Chili
Original Recipe by Food Network Magazines
Adapted Recipe by Kitchen Groovy

  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 3-4 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 64 oz. low-sodium beef broth (you will not actually use all of it)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 red and/or green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 C frozen corn kernels
  • 2 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Guacamole, sour cream, taco-blend cheese and fried tortilla strips, for garnish

Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to another large pot (set the first pot aside) and add the broth. Cover and cook until tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 cup oil in the reserved pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano, flour, 1 tablespoon pepper, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, until the flour is smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until the meat is done.
Transfer the short ribs to a cutting board; cover the broth and set aside. Let the meat cool slightly, then cut into chunks. Place the pot with the vegetables over medium-high heat. Slowly add the warm broth and whisk until smooth. Stir in the chopped short ribs and the beans, bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with guacamole, sour cream, cheese and fried tortilla strips, for a little extra crunch.

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Roasted Tomatoes

So, I've once again been blessed by the generosity of a dear friend and her insanely abundant garden.  This time, Roma Tomatoes.  Oh Romas, how I love thee.  This was delicious as a side dish for literally anything.  We had it with Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy (which was also a gift from this same friend - and equally delicious!).

Roasted Tomatoes
Original recipe by Ina Garten
Adapted recipe by Kitchen Groovy

12 plum Roma Tomatoes, halved
1/4 C good olive oil
1 1/2 T aged balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer.  Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle with garlic, sugar, salt and pepper.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, until the tomatoes start to caramelize and the flavores are concentrated. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tomatoes are abundant this time of year - this is a must have delicious new side dish to try out!!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti

In the past, I have made my own spaghetti sauce, and I've had success with it.  But, I haven't had anything that was SO great and incredible.  Except this one.  It is really good.  I mean really, really good.  The sauce is a simple sauce, nothing complicated or overly done.  For something like this, I don't want anything that is going to try to draw attention to itself with fancy ingredients.  This is simply put, a beautiful recipe.  Thank you Ina Garten. 

The meatballs are a bit more time and labor intensive - so feel free to do something different if you're in a hurry.  But, what ever you do - DON'T SKIP THE SAUCE! 

On another note - my family loves a lot of sauce on their noodles, and I always felt that Ina's recipe never provided enough sauce.  So, I have doubled the sauce recipe :-)

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

For the Meatballs:
1/2 lb. ground veal
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
1 C fresh white bread crumbs
1/4 C seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 T chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 extra large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the Sauce:
2 T olive oil
1 whole white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 C good red wine, such as Chianti (I used a Malbec, as this is my favorite wine)
2 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 T chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
3 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For Serving:
1 1/2 lbs. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

For the Meatballs:
Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg and 3/4 C water in a bowl.  Combine very lightly with a fork.  Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2" meatballs.  You will have 14-16 meatballs.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large 12" skillet (I used a large Dutch oven) to a depth of 1/4".  Heat the oil.  Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium heat, turning carefully with a spatula or fork.  This should take about 10 minutes for each batch.  Don't crowd the meatballs.  Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.  Discard the oil bud don't clean the pan.

For the Sauce:
Heat the olive oil in the same pan.  Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 25-30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.  Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan cheese!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Hellooooo!!!!  Today is the first day of school for our family (except my kindergartner who starts tomorrow) and I feel as though life will finally return to normal once again!  I love summer, but boy was this last one a summer to go down in the history books in terms of craziness.  I am sad to see my kiddos gone during the day, but I am definitely welcoming a life of routine.

Our family was at a friend's house for a BBQ, and I was tasked with making this side dish.  I had no idea that this is what I would be making.  Of course, I was excited to help with the meal prep!  And, this dish was SO good, I just had to share it ASAP!

(I have no idea where the recipe came from, so I am not able to give credit where it is due - sorry!)

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

1 pound asparagus, trimmed
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 C halved grape tomatoes (we used 3/4 C grape tomatoes, 3/4 C roma tomatoes, chopped)
1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T crumbled goat cheese
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1. Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tomatoes and garlic, cook 5 minutes.  Stir in vinegar, cook 3 minutes.  Stir in salt.  Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.
How easy is that!!?? 
We used a combination of grape tomatoes and roma tomatoes - and the chopped romas sort of "melted", for lack of a better term which gave more of a sauce type mixture.  Personally, I really liked it that way as I prefer that texture vs. just straight tomatoes that are intact.  Yes, it's a quirk of mine.

The picture is not the best - I wasn't expecting to blog about this particular recipe and didn't have my camera with me.  However, my phone did a decent job, don't you think?!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

French Potato Salad

I mentioned in my last recipe posting of Cold Cucumber Buttermilk Soup that I had taken a cooking class that offered an amazing menu.  This is another side dish from that class.  Now, I really don't care for potato salad, but I realized that I personally don't care for mayo based potato salads.  Actually, not a big fan of any salad that is mayo based.  I think I have been exposed to too many of them growing up - I'm from the midwest, and it's a staple around here, but it's something I just couldn't get behind. 

So, when I tried this French Potato Salad, my tastebuds danced!!  It is very good - I highly recommend you try it.  If you like the traditional potato salad, give this one a try too - it's a bit different, but well worth it!

French Potato Salad
original recipe by Lori Valenziano

2 lbs. combination of red and Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
6 T white wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
3 T fresh chives, minced
1 T of any or all of the following herbs:
           - tarragon, mint, dill, thyme, parsley
2 T capers, drained
1 T whole grain mustard (I used 2 T to cut back on the vinegar taste)
6 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold, salted water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork tender - about 20-25 minutes.  Drain.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the vinegar, shallots, herbs, capers, and mustard.  Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.  Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.
3. While the potatoes are still warm, toss with the vinaigrette to combine.  Serve at room temperature.

We ate this with Flank Steak Sandwiches - my family swarmed on this meal so fast, I didn't have a chance to take a picture!  Thank God I was able to at least snap this for you!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cold Cucumber Buttermilk Soup

A little over a month ago, I took a cooking class entitled "Summer Picnic with Lucia's" which was taught by local restaurant Lucia's head chef.  It was me a two dear friends, and we had a blast!  The menu was amazing, and the atmosphere even better. 

I made their Cold Cucumber Buttermilk Soup yesterday, and it was just as I remembered it that night.  It has just the right amount of tang, is crisp and fresh - and perfect for any hot, summer day!

Now, I just have to share it with you - since I can't really have you in my kitchen :-)  I cut the recipe in half since I basically made it just for myself!  My family is not really into the idea of "chilled" soups, so I have to slowly introduce the idea to them . . . mwuah haha!  They will be loving cold soups before they know what hit them!

Cold Cucumber Buttermilk Soup
Original Recipe by Lori Valenziano
Serves 8

2 lbs. cucumbers
Kosher Salt
1/4 bunch Italian Parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 C olive oil
2 C plain yogurt
1 C half and half
3 C buttermilk
White pepper, to taste
8 sprigs of mint (optional garnish)

1. Peel, seed and coarsely chop the cucumbers.  Sprinkle with salt, place in a strainer and drain for 1 hour.  Pat dry and set aside.
2. Pick parsley leaves and chop.  Crush garlic cloves with 1 tsp. of salt (or use a microplane). 
3. Place garlic in a large glass bowl, beat in olive oil.  Stir in the yogurt, half and half and buttermilk.  Mix well.
4. Add the cucumbers and chopped parsley.  Puree (I used an immersion blender).  Taste for seasoning; adjust with salt and white pepper.  Chill well before serving - a few hours.  Garnish with mint.

This was my lunch today.

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Parmesan Crisps

A very dear friend of mine, whom I've known for most of my life recently had a baby - I was so honored to host a baby shower for her and her sweet, precious baby boy!  Not only did I get to hold him and hug him, but it also gave me a chance to cook and bake for a group of gals.  Woot woot! 

Here is what was on the menu -
Parmesan Crisps
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts - recipe to come later!
Fruit, Meat and Cheese

Today, here is the recipe for Parmesan Crisps.  It's a ONE ingredient recipe!  It was so elegant and light - perfect for an afternoon baby shower.  It pairs very nicely with sparkling wine, sparkling water and strawberries!

Parmesan Crisps

- 4 oz. Parmesan Reggiano Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Finely grate 2 oz. cheese, set in a bowl.  Finely shred another 2 oz. cheese and mix together with grated cheese.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, take 1/2 tablespoon scoops and pile on parchment paper.  I usually did 12 on a baking sheet.  place in oven and bake for 6 minutes.  Repeat until all cheese is used. 

Serve (can be made a couple of hours ahead of time). 

They were light, crisp, salty and very delicious!

And - here's a little peek of the cupcakes I made - those were also y.u.m.m.y.!!!


Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vegetable and Feta Orzo Pasta Salad

A dear friend of mine asked me to provide dinner to a leadership meeting she is hosting at the end of the month - woop woop!  I'm honored and excited to do this for her.  She came over yesterday to help me prepare for a baby shower, and of course, I had to start testing recipes.  I made this yesterday for lunch and we LOVED IT!  We decided that for the meeting, we would add black olives - but it sure was great as is :-)

Actually, a few weeks ago, I was at a cooking class and we made something similar but I adjusted the recipe according to my friend's specifications.  At some point later, I'd love to post the original recipe as that was delicious, too!

Vegetable and Feta Orzo Pasta Salad
Original Recipe by Lucia
Adapted recipe by Kitchen Groovy

Kosher Salt
1 lb. orzo
½ C freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. asparagus
1 pkg. grape tomatoes
1 cucumber, seeded and medium diced
¾ lb. feta cheese, crumbled
Parsley, or any other favorite fresh herb!

1.       Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2.       Place asparagus on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt – roast for 10 minutes.
3.       Fill large pot with water, add 1 T salt and bring water to boil. 
4.       Add the orzo, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.  Simmer for 9-11 minutes.  Cook until it’s al dente. 
5.       Drain and pour into a large bowl.  Whisk together the lemon juice, ½ C olive oil, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper.  Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.
6.       Add asparagus to the pasta, toss in the remaining ingredients, adding the feta last.  Set aside at room temp for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight.  If refrigerated, taste again for seasoning and bring back to room temp before serving.

 Note: more salt is needed when serving dishes cold.

Doesn't it look absolutely refreshing??

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Perfect Turkey Burgers

I love turkey burgers, but my hubby despises grilling them at home (he says they fall apart alot easier than grilling beef).  I am not the master griller of the home, and I don't know a thing about grilling.  I don't even know how to turn our grill on.  So, whatever hubby says, goes. 

But, I've been on the hunt for a really delicious turkey burger that passes hubby's strict guidelines for grilling.  This one passed with flying colors - FINALLY!  I found it in my most recent Food Network magazine and I was glad I did.  It was loved by all, even Miss Sunshine.

I modified the recipe slightly, and I will post what I made :-) 

Perfect Turkey Burgers
Original Recipe by Food Network
Makes 8 burgers

6-8 oz. baby portobella mushrooms, coarsely chopped into 1" pieces
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
3 T lightly packed fresh parsley, or 1 T dried
1 1/4 lb. lean ground turkey
2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Kosher Salt and Pepper
8 slices of Swiss Cheese
8 English muffins, split
Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and sliced avocado, for topping

1. Place chopped mushrooms, shallots and parsley into food processor and pulse until chopped.
2. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a large bowl.  Add the turkey, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste; gently mix with your hands until just combined.  Divide into 8 burgers.  Put on a large plate, cover and refridgerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat a grill to medium.  Brush the grates with olive oil.  Grill the patties, undisturbed, until marked on the bottom, 4-5 minutes.  Give the patties a quarter turn and cook until marked again, 4-5 more minutes.  Flip the patties and grill until cooked through, 6-7 more minutes; top each with 2 slices cheese during the last 3 minutes of cooking and cover with a disposable aluminum pan to melt. 
4. Toast the English muffins on the grill, then spread with mustard and mayonnaise.   Serve the patties on the English muffins; top with avocado.

Chef Note: according to my hubby, it is very important to follow the grilling instructions.  It will make a difference in the end result.

It was really hard for both hubby and I to eat just one turkey burger!

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quick Apple Sausage Quesadillas

Happy post 4th of July!  I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday enjoying our independance ;-)

A very good friend of mine, Liz, sent me this cookbook quite some time ago and I've been meaning to post a great recipe I found from it.  Liz: so sorry it took me so long to brag about this awesome cookbook!  Everyone else: it's called "No Whine with Dinner" and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!  It's written by 2 dieticians, who are also moms, who also have a hard time finding healthy options for their kids to eat.  This cookbook is the answer if you have kids who are hard to feed.

This is one of our favorites from this cookbook so far:

Quick Apple Sausage Quesadillas
Original recipe by "No Whine with Dinner" cookbook, pg. 81

2 T canola oil, divided
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4" dice (1 1/2 C)
2 fully cooked apple chicken sausages, casings removed and meat coarsely chopped
1 C reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 C frozen corn, thawed
2 T BBQ sauce
5 8" flour tortillas, preferably whole wheat

1. Heat 1 T of the oil in a large nonstick skillet of medium-high heat.  Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the sausage, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until heated through, 2-3 minutes.
2. In a bowl, stir together the cooked bell pepper and sausage, cheese, corn and BBQ sauce.  Spread the mixture evenly over half of each tortilla.  Fold over, press down gently, and set aside.
3. Heat 1 tsp. of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat (you may want to wipe out the skillet first).  Add 2 of the prepared quesadillas and cook, pressing down occasionally with a spatula, until the bottoms are crisp and golden, about 3 minutes.  Flip them and cook until the other sids are golden, about 2 minutes.
4. Repeat with the remaining oil and quesadillas.  Cut into halves or quarters and serve.

We wrapped these up and took them to a softball game.  They travelled nicely and were delicious!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

White Bean and Chicken Chili

Man, where have I been?  I'll tell you . . . maybe like yourselves, I've been in the car most of the day running my kids from one  sports camp to another, to friends' houses, to the mall, to the park, to the beach or where ever their sweet hearts are wanting or needing to go.  That's during the day.  At night, we live on softball fields, baseball fields and basketball courts. 

However, this week - it's VBS!  I'll tell ya, if you thought the above sounded tiring, try working at VBS.  I am dog tired every day and am ready to fall face first into anything that looks relatively soft.  But, it is quite the sight when you get to see 750+ kids learning, growing and having fun.  Quite rewarding!

So, I feel like I haven't cooked much these days.  Whaatttt???  Yes, we have fallen into the frozen tundra of pizzas, brats, and pizza rolls - all pulled from the freezer, tossed into the oven and off we go for dinner. 

But, last night - it was literally 55 degrees here and my ragged, tired, cold bones was craving something comforting and warm.  This was the perfect answer.  A friend of mine made this one night for us during football season and it was perfect football type food.  Even in the middle of June, as the wind blustered outside, it seemed perfect again. 

The recipe is originally a Giada de Laurentis recipe, and I changed it up a bit based on what I had in my house.  To find the original recipe, please click here.  But, I am posting my adapted recipe for you, and it was really good.  The biggest change - I cut the broth in half and I put in half the amount of chicken (I just didn't have enough on hand) but I kept the seasonings the same.  I LOVE my chili really chunky and flavorful with not a lot of liquid. 

White Bean and Chicken Chili
Original recipe by Giada de Laurentis
Adapted recipe by Kitchen Groovy

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound ground chicken
1 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
2 T ground cumin
1 T fennel seeds
1 T dried oregano
2 tsp. chili powder
3 T flour
1 15oz. can cannellini beans, or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 pkg. frozen spinach, thawed (I threw mine in frozen, and it was just fine)
1 1/2 C frozen corn, preferably sweet corn
1 15 oz. can chicken broth or stock
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Freshly ground pepper for seasoning
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add ground chicken, 1 tsp. salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Stir the flour into the chicken mixture.  Add the beans, spinach, corn and chicken stock.  Bringg the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Simmer roughly 30 minutes on low.  Add red pepper flakes and simmer.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in mozzarella cheese.

Ladle into bowls, spinkle with cheese and chili powder. 

I think next time, I'll use 2 lbs. of ground chicken.  My family loved this dish - even Miss Sunshine.  Hubby is never a fan of spinach in any dish, but he actually gobbled this up.  I could not believe it!  With that said, I think by adding in more chicken, it will be a bit more proportioned and not feel like there is so much spinach in it. 

Please click here for a printable version of this amazing recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad

Good Monday morning to all!  This is our first "official" day of summer vacation - and we welcome it with open arms!  Of course, we started off our morning bright and early with swimming lessons for Miss Sunshine!!

I found this recipe from an awesome food blog - and once I saw it, I knew I HAD to try it.  I didn't make it exactly the way Pip made it, but it sure inspired me to make something similar.  You should really check out this blog, Pip and Ebby - I have found so many great recipes from this dynamic duo.  Click here for their original recipe - I highly recommend you try it!!

I made a few adjustments, based on my own families likes and dislikes.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE finding recipes that give me inspiration to make something for my own family that they will love.  And sure enough - this is the best recipe I'm posting so far as part of my "Picnic at the Park" series!!  Here is my attempt at something similar  :-)

Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad
Original Recipe by Pip and Ebby
Adapted Recipe by Kitchen Groovy

20 oz. package of cheese tortellini
8 oz. summer sausage, cubed
8 oz. colby jack cheese, cubed
1 zucchini, quartered
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 C shredded carrots
1/2 bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Run under cool water to cool pasta.  Transfer to large bowl and add remaining ingredients.  Toss with italian dressing.  Chill in refrigerator, then serve.

I didn't have any on hand, but I thought brocolli would be a great addition, too.  I love it that it is packed full of veggies and protein :-)  It was PERFECT for a nice summer picnic!  Thank you Pip and Ebby for giving me inspiration to feed the family!!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grilled Italian Sandwich

In my quest to find recipes that are suitable for my "Picnic and the Park" series, I realized that everything I make isn't going to make the cut.  I have made a few things that my kids have actually gagged on.  Go figure!  I made a healthy wrap - seems safe enough, right?  But for some reason, it tasted horrible!  We  couldn't figure out why it would taste so bad.  It just had meat, lettuce, red peppers - nothing fancy.  Bad, bad, bad.  It made me realize that my pursuit for easy recipes wasn't going to be as easy as I originally thought.  Hmmm . . .

I did come up with this one, and it passed with flying colors.  Now remember - the recipes that become a part of this series are not original by any stretch of the imagination.  Just simple :-)  It will take a bit of time to prep ahead of time, but well worth the $50 we will avoid spending if we eat out.  And yes, $50 for my family is what we would spend.  Thus, my strong desire to bring dinner each night!

Again, the goal is to give you ideas on what to bring to the park.  You can stick with the recipe, or switch out any ingredients to your liking!

Grilled Italian Sandwich
Original Recipe by Kitchen Groovy

1 loaf of your favorite artisan bread
Marinara Sauce
Provolone Cheese, sliced
Olive Oil

Take 2 slices of bread, spread marinara sauce on both slices.  On one slice, layer cheese, meat, then more cheese.  Top with second slice of bread.  Brush with olive oil.

Grill on a pan or in a panini press until cheese is melted or sandwich is heated through. 

Wrap in aluminum foil until you are ready to eat.  Serve with your favorite pasta salad, green salad or raw veggies.

Okay, at this point in the game, I know they don't look "picture perfect", but we're going for convenience and easy :-) 

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!