Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe & Crumbled Sausage


       Okay so this meal wasn’t supposed to be “bloggable”. But after I threw it together in a pinch, ate 1 too many servings of it, scraped every last drop for the leftovers, I had to report back to you!

             The funny thing is I don’t know why I always feel cooking pasta is a 1-2-3 meal. When in reality, it is not! Confused? Yeah, you should be as I just told you this was thrown together in a pinch! See that’s the annoying thing with pasta, the sauce and noodles cook and create a meal in a snap, while the freakin’ pots and pans take all night!

            So while this dinner will be ready in less than 30 minutes, it’s the mess waiting for you in the kitchen that will have you itching to get on that couch. I sadly don’t have a solution for you in that department though. Sorry my friends, I only bring you edibles, not miracles! Enjoy…

Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe & Crumbled Sausage
Serves: 2-3

OBJ: TCW be able to convince her husband that broccoli rabe isn’t like broccoli

½ lb rigatoni pasta, or any other hollowed out tube-shaped version
2 sweet or hot sausage links, casings removed
1 bunch broccoli rabe, rinsed, ends removed and coarsely chopped
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
½ C low sodium chicken broth
¼ C dry white wine, I use Pinot Grigio but use what you booze!
1 TBS unsalted butter
S & P: salt and pepper
Red chili flakes, optional
Freshly grated Parmesan

1. Boil pasta water and cook according to package directions, adding broccoli rabe into water with 4 minutes remaining
2. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat, add sausage, garlic and S & P (chili flakes too if you’re using). Cook over medium-low heat, crumbling up sausage as it cooks with a wooden spoon. Cook until sausage is browned and garlic is softened (about 10-12 minutes). Remove sausage with a slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate
3. Add wine to the remaining oil and garlic, stir up pieces on bottom of pan. Bring wine to boil, then lower flame to let wine simmer and reduce, about 5 minutes
4. Add sausage, chicken broth, butter and a pinch more S & P into pan and stir well over medium heat. Cover and keep on low flame for 5 minutes
5. Uncover pan, add drained pasta and broccoli rabe, about 3 TBS Parmesan  and stir well over medium-high flame ( If too dry, add more broth 2 TBS at a time )
6. Top with additional Parmesan, bring to the table and serve!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Steak Fajitas

                Beef: the one ingredient that always throws Hubby for a loop when he spots it in the cart. No joke, the entire cart could be filled with Twinkies, Doritos, mozzarella sticks, chicken wings- no double look there…..But you throw in a pack of beef- burgers, ground beef, tenderloins…he stops the cart, holds up the item and needs to know immediately what it’s for and when we are having it!  What is it with men and meat? HHHHmmmm…..I think I’ll leave that one for you to ponder;)
            Anywho, the man loves his red meat I guess. And you know what? I do too! Not like a lover of it, but from time to time, I do crave it, order it, buy it and make it. I think I’ll actually make it more in the summer when we’ll hopefully get a grill. Now that sounds like something I would even stop my cart for- Filet Mignons portioned perfectly for a drizzle of oil, S & P and thrown on the sizzling grill……Oh summer….
            Ah, I digress…..back to my relationship with red meat. Like I was saying, I do enjoy it. One of my favorite versions is actually this recipe: Steak Fajitas. I found this seasoning mix by a quick Google search. I adapted it for what I had on hand and it came out great. I served the fajitas just like they do at my favorite Mexican restaurant,Jose Tehas, steaming and sizzling right in the pan. We assembled our own fajitas, jazzed them up as we wanted, and enjoyed a delicious restaurant re-do! Enjoy….

Steak Fajitas
Serves: 3-4

Seasoning Mix adapted from:

OBJ: TCW be able to make a restaurant favorite of hers

Fajita Seasoning Mix:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 red bell pepper, sliced
 ½ green bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 lb top sirloin steak, sliced
1 ½ TBS canola oil
4 taco size tortillas
Fixings: guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheddar, salsa

1. Combine all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl, set aside – you will need 2 TBS
2. Heat oil in large sauté pan, add peppers, onions, and  1 TBS seasoning mix, cook until veggies are soft, about 8 minutes
3. Add steak, remaining 1 TBS seasoning mix and 3 TBS water.  Cook until meat is cook through, scraping pan frequently
4. Serve with warmed tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, cheddar and salsa

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kung Pao Chicken

            Here is a recipe that I tweaked a bit here and there. I like my Asian food more on the saucy side so I added more of the wet ingredients. I also had a ton of veggies in my fridge that I wanted to use, so I threw them in too. And since we are becoming more “spicy” people, I added a touch of chili sauce.

            The result: one of the best Asian meals I’ve made yet! Really, I was so impressed with the outcome, I don’t think I stopped talking about it all night. Hubby also agreed it was one to remember. I liked the sweet to heat progression the spoonfuls produced. The extra veggies were nice too, in that they crunched just enough to counter the soft and saucy rice. By the end of dinner, I had troubles convincing myself that I had had enough. I eventually put my fork down once I realized I could bring it into lunch the next day!

            Needless to say, I’m glad I got around to making this- I definitely found a gem! Enjoy…

Kung Pao Chicken
Serves: 4
Adapted from: Food Snob 2.0

OBJ: TCW will get back to some Asian Cooking

2 TBS canola oil
½  C broccoli florets
¼ C  water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup fat-free, chicken broth
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
½ C diced or chopped carrot
½ C chopped onion
1 ½ C string beans, halved

1. Heat 1 TBS oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat
2. Add broccoli, carrots, onion and string beans and sauté 2 minute, stirring often
3. Add water, stir and Cover. Cook 3 minutes over medium flame or until veggies are crisp-tender. Remove veggies  from pan and keep warm
4. Heat remaining 1 TBS oil in pan, add crushed red pepper, and chicken. Cook 4-6 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned and cooked all the way through, stirring frequently
5. Meanwhile, combine the broth, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch and chili garlic sauce with a whisk in a small bowl
6. Once chicken is browned and cooked, add broth mixture to pan, cook two minutes over medium flame or until mixture thickens (stirring constantly)
7. Add veggies back to pan, toss well over medium flame for 2 minutes
8. Serve over rice


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Beer Battered Zucchini

       I don’t mean to boast but I think I’m a pretty healthy person. I run 4-5 days a week before the sun comes up, buy more produce than anything else at the supermarket, and drink around 90 ounces of water a day. Now these are not things I walk around talking about. I simply do them and am just thankful my jeans fit each weekendJ
            Truth be told, I also do these things because I love to indulge. Fresh baked cookies, penne vodkasausage pizza and fried calamari are my weaknesses and running, fibering-up and hydrating are my solution.
            And so with that mentality, I will continue to make goodies such as this recipe. Oh yeah, this recipe…..yum yum yum. It’s a serious deep-fried concoction that will have you dancing in the kitchen. They didn’t even make it to the platter in my home, we ate them freshly salted from the fryer. Now isn’t that the way we should all eat once in awhile?!? Enjoy…            

Beer Battered Fried Zucchini
Serves: 3-4

OBJ: TCW be able to turn a healthy ingredient into an unhealthy one!

2 zucchini, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
1 ½ C flour, separated
¼ C paprika
2 TBS black pepper
1 can of a 12 ounce beer (not all will be used)
Vegetable oil, for frying

1. In a large sauce pan, heat your oil up until when you drop in a pinch of flour it sizzles (the oil should go ½ way up sides of pan)
2.  Make the batter by mixing the 1 C of flour, paprika, and pepper. Whisk in the beer a little at a time until the mixture has the consistency of pancake batter. Save extra beer for someone to drinkJ
3. Dredge the zucchini into the ½ C of flour and then dip into batter. Shake off a bit of the excess batter and drop into fryer in batches
4. Fry each batch for about 3 minutes, turning half way through, until dark golden brown
5. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towel-lined plate, immediately sprinkle with sea salt
6. Repeat frying with remaining batches, serve hot