Grilled Skirt Steak with Avocado, Cilantro and Grilled Green Onions

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This recipe is California Comfort Food to the “T”. Its succulent, delicious and has that fresh element that makes your body want to do backflips and take a jog on the beach. It also has that Latino flare which is oh so authentico de los Mexicanos esta en California. I love it! The other great thing is that its actually really easy which is always helpful. Since its pretty much an endless summer here grilling on the barbecue isn’t relegated for just June through September. I love grilling so much that I’ll fire up my Charbroil just to cook one turkey patty for myself for lunch in January. But if barbecuing is out of the question for you at the moment feel free to remember (or pinterest!) this for future use. Enjoy!

Marinated Skirt Steak with Grilled Green Onions, Avocado & Cilantro

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs Skirt Steak

6 Green Onions

1 Avocado sliced

Fresh Cilantro to garnish

Marinade (recipe to follow)

Directions:

In a large plastic freezer bag combine skirt steak and marinade. Marinate for at least an hour or overnight.

Heat your outdoor grill to medium high heat and place steak on the grill and cook until medium to medium rare.  Green onions to grill and cook until there are some nice grill marks. Once steak is done set aside and let rest. Slice steak against the grain and put it on a platter. Top with avocado, green onions and cilantro. Serve with grilled corn tortillas and salsa if desired. Enjoy!

Marinade Recipe:

two cloves garlic (large)

½ cup Canola oil

¼ soy sauce

½ tsp garlic salt such as lawrys

juice from one lemon

1/8 tsp cracked pepper

Directions:

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade mince the garlic. Add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse. Set aside.

Grandma’s Meatloaf

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A sunday dinner at Grandma’s house was tantamount to going to Disneyland for me when I was a kids. The boredom of Sunday was only bearable

Grandma’s Meatloaf Recipe:

Ingredients

2 lbs low-fat ground beef

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

1 egg

1/2 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup celery diced finely

1/2 cup onion diced finely

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried sage

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Direction:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine the beef, breadcrumbs, egg, carrot, celery and onion, thyme, sage, salt & pepper and combine thoroughly. Put mixture in a greased 4 1/2 by 8 1/2 meatloaf pan and bake until an internal temperature thermometer reads 150 degrees (about 45 minutes). Top with ketchup mixed with a little brown sugar if you’d like. Enjoy!

Easy Green Chicken Enchiladas

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Lets face it. Most days we just need to get dinner on the table and quick. And it would be nice if it was tasty too. Despite the fact that we have all these pinterest boards full of exotic recipe ideas sometimes we just need a easy dinner so we can collapse on the couch next to our spouse, eat dinner and wile away an hour or two watching a movie. This recipe fits the bill perfectly for those days. I verbally told a wedding planner friend of mine this recipe once and she totally made it from memory. I did the same thing with my brother-in-law (evidently my sister decided she wasn’t going to make dinner that week) and he made it in a snap. That’s how easy it is. And its the type of recipe that you can stock up on the ingredients so you have it in case you are a day or two late getting to the grocery store and need to throw something together. Hope you enjoy this as much as my husband. He claims this is his favorite enchilada recipe even though some of my other ones are fancier and more time consuming. Go figure….

Easy Green Chicken Enchiladas Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 a large bag of frozen chicken

2 large 28 oz cans of green enchilada sauce

20-30 corn tortillas

2 bags of shredded monterrey jack cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Put the frozen chicken in a crockpot set to low. Pour  enchilada sauce over the chicken until just covered. Reserve the remaining sauce for later. Cook chicken for 6-8 hours until the chicken pulls apart easily when shredded with two forks. (Its good to do this first thing in the morning so its all ready by the time you want to assemble for dinner). Shred all the chicken and set aside.

Grill the tortillas on each side in a  pan set to medium hight heat. Set aside when done. (This allows for the tortillas to be more flexible and not split apart when rolling).

Take one tortilla and dip in enchilada sauce. Fill with a spoonful of chicken and sprinkle a little cheese and roll. Place in a baking pan. Repeat until all the tortillas are gone. Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top making sure each tortilla is fully covered in sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake for 15 minutes on 375 degree’s until cheese is melted and slightly browning on the sides. Serve and enjoy!

Bacon Fig & Gorgonzola Burger

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Michael and I went to a restaurant in town called Eureka’s for lunch one day and that is what inspired this recipe.  Eureka’s specialized in gourmet burgers and is absolutely delicious. I ordered their Fig Marmalade Burger (which I’m still not sure why the fig spread is called a “marmalade.” I thought marmalades were made of citrus fruit with a peel…) and loved the sweet fig and bacon combination. I revised it a bit by doing gorgonzola instead of goat cheese so there was more of a “bite” to it. I’ve now made it 4 or 5 times and twice for dinner parties. Its easy, delicious and definitely a crowd pleaser.  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients: Serves 4

4 hamburger patties

4 hamburger bun

1 cup crumbled gorgonzola

fig jam

8 strips of bacon cooked crisp

arugula

Directions:

Grill burger patties on a outdoor grill until you’ve reached desired doneness. Spread fig jam on both the top and bottom of the bun. Layer in the burger, gorgonzola, bacon and arugula. Serve and enjoy!

Succulent BBQ Spare Ribs Recipe

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You will never have more delicious bbq spare ribs than the ribs from this recipe. The crockpot gets the meat tender and juicy while the barbecue finishes them off with some nice grill marks for texture. Whenever I ask Michael, “What do you want for dinner?” his usual response is, “ribs.” We have a little white board on our fridge so we can write grocery list items we need and “ribs” ends up there a lot too. Although the other day I saw “ambrosia” written up there which was a new one. The little white board on the fridge really does work because I did actually make that ambrosia. Hello 1960!

Ingredients:

Spare Ribs

BBQ Sauce

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Salt & Pepper both sides of your spareribs. Place ribs in a large crockpot and set on low. Slather BBQ sauce over both sides of the ribs. Set the crockpot for 8 hours. After 6 hours check the ribs and if they are falling off the bone you can take them out. If not, keep them in for another hour or two. Once they reach the desired doneness transfer them to a platter. Place the ribs on the barbeque heated to a medium high temperature. Cook just long enough to get a few grill marks on each side. Remove from grill and serve. Enjoy!

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Turkey Meatballs with Cilantro over Spaghetti and Homemade Marinara

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I like cooking with turkey for a weeknight meal. Its yummy, healthy and makes you feel great afterwards. I’m a big fan of cilantro because I love the zesty fresh taste it has and I think its a great twist for spaghetti & meatballs. Enjoy!

turkey_cilantro_meatballs

Turkey Cilantro Meatballs

Ingredients: 

1 pound ground turkey

½ tbs seasoning salt such as Lawry’s

1 egg beaten

½ cup parmigiano reggiano cheese

⅓ cup dried bread crumbs

2 small cloves garlic minced

handful chopped cilantro

extra virgin olive oil

marinara (recipe follows)

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine turkey, seasoning salt, egg, cheese, bread crumbs, garlic and cilantro. Mix together with hands until thoroughly combined. Form into 12 meatballs and place on a sheet pan. Cook for 15 minutes until browned and firm. While meatballs are cooking make the marinara and pasta.

Note: Turkey can overcook very quickly so keep a timer on hand and don’t cook for longer than 15 minutes unless the meatball registers under 160 degree’s on a thermometer.

Marinara & Pasta Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 pound spaghetti

2 tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves minced

1 24 oz can crushed tomatoes

¼ cup red wine

1 tbs sugar

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tbs tomato paste

2 oz herbed goat cheese

Directions:

Boil a large pot of water. Drizzle some olive oil and salt in the water before adding the spaghetti. While the pasta is cooking make sauce.

Heat a pan to medium high and add 2 tbs olive oil. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant about a minute. Add crushed tomatoes & tomato paste. Add wine, sugar, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper and oregano. (Crush oregano between your palms to release the oils before adding).  Simmer for 5 minutes and then add goat cheese. Let the goat cheese melt and mix it into the sauce completely. Taste and correct seasoning.

Drain pasta and add to sauce in batches making sure that there is a good balance of sauce to pasta. Top with meatballs. Serve and enjoy.

Chicken Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)

mexican_soup with chicken meatballs

My parents came over for dinner yesterday and so I made this soup for them. My Mom loves soup, my Dad loves mexican food and both of them like eating light. Oh, and my Mom doesn’t eat beef (as some of you know from my Dramatic Holiday  Season Recap post…) SO…I made Chicken Albondigas Soup which is basically a vegetable soup with chicken meatballs. Its so hearty, delicious and it happens to be super healthy. And its amazing the next day so you could make this a day ahead and then just reheat it for a dinner party. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Meatball Mexican Soup:

Recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped and separated into two parts
  • 1/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 1 serrano chile, whole
  • 2 small Yukon gold potato, skin on, diced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 yellow squash, diced

Directions

In a heavy large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add ½ he onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, mix together the sauteed onions, rice, parsley, ground meat, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using wet hands, shape the meat mixture into 20 to 22 (1-inch) meatballs. Set aside.

Sauté the remaining onion in the same pot adding more oil if necessary. Cook until translucent. Combine the carrots, serrano chile, potato  and vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and squash and simmer on low heat until the meatballs are cooked through and rice in the meatball is soft, about 20 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Crepe Cannelloni’s with Panchetta and Spinach

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Michael and I love Paris and eating crepes (and Coca Lite!) off a cart in that beautiful city are some of my most fond memories. I make crepes all the time for at home for breakfast or dessert and fill them with sweet things like jam or nutella.I decided to try this recipe because I love savory foods and wanted to try an Italian spin with a crepe as the “pasta”. I tested it on my family and it was a huge success. Enjoy!

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Crepe Cannelloni with Panchetta and Spinach:

Crepe Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup water

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

2 cloves garlic minced

½ large onion diced

1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

15 oz ricotta cheese

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese for filling

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese for topping

3 oz Prosciutto chopped

1 cup loosely packed coarsely chopped spinach leaves

1 recipe marinara (or 1 16 oz jar prepared marinara with ½ cup cream added)

Preheat Oven to 375 degree’s.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour ⅓ cup of batter onto the pan. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.  Cook the crepe until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side briefly. Set aside. Repeat until batter is gone.

Sauté onions with olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and continue cooking for another few minutes. Take off heat and set aside. In a mixing bowl combine ricotta, parmesan, parsley, prosciutto, onion & garlic mixture & spinach. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add egg and combine thoroughly. If the filling is slightly thick, thin out with a tablespoon of water so the consistency is soft enough to easily scoop out.

Spray a 13×9 glass casserole dish with cooking spray. Take a crepe and fill with approximately 2-3 heaping tablespoons of filling. Roll and place in pan. Repeat until all crepes are filled and rolled.

Pour marinara over cannelloni’s. (If using prepared marinara, warm in a pan and mix in ½ cup cream before pouring over cannelloni’s) Taking a spoon spread out the sauce so it covers all the cannelloni’s evenly. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned. Serve hot.

Thai Peanut Pizza

I have made this recipe for years and I really love it for entertaining or just a simple dinner at home. It can be a great appetizer if cut into smaller portions as well. I always wrestle with rolling out the pizza dough perfectly. The good news is it doesn’t have to look perfect it just has to taste really good – which it does. Enjoy!

This is the dressing I use as the sauce. Its so delicious and you can find it at Trader Joes along with a great pre-made pizza dough. ;)

Ingredients:

1 package pizza dough or homemade pizza dough (I get mine at Trader Joe’s but I’ve made it from scratch before too)

1 jar spicy peanut dressing (I used Trader Joe’s Brand)

1 cup shredded mozzarella

¼ cup sliced green nions

¼ cup shredded carrots

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 ripe avocado diced

1 cooked chicken breast diced

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Roll out pizza dough on a floured service. Place dough on a pizza stone that has been warming in the oven.  Bake pizza dough for 5 minutes and then remove from the oven. (This helps to crisp up the bottom of the dough). Top with peanut dressing, mozzarella, green onions, carrots, cilatro and chicken breast. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown on the edges. Take out of the oven and let cool. Add avocado on top. Crack some salt and pepper on top to taste. Enjoy!

Duck Duck (Food Shoot)

I love doing food shoots. The amazing Duo Catering created this DELICIOUS duck breast with panisse crouton, bloomsdale spinach and blood orange and sage demi glace. And of course it was styled by the incredible Kelly Oshiro of sbchic.com. One of the perks of shooting food is you get to EAT once you are done! Its awesome…. Enjoy!

Let’s get started:

Ingredients:

6 7-8 oz Duck Breasts (source from a reliable butcher or specialty market)

*****

2 cups Panisse (Garbanzo Flour) – Polenta is a good substitute

6 cups water or chicken stock

2 Tbl of chopped shallots

1 tsp of picked thyme leaves

*****

6-8 cups washed spinach (roughly 2 bunches)

2 cloves garlic (sliced)

Zest and juice of 1 small lemon

2 Tbl Olive Oil

2 tsp of Butter

*****

1 cup Veal or Duck Demiglace (homemade or sourced through a specialty grocer)

2 Tbl diced shallots

1 clove sliced garlic

6-8 Sage Leaves

½ cup of Blood Orange Juice (Pomegranate Juice would also work well)

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Serves 6.

Procedure for Panisse:

  1. Sauté shallots in 2 tbl of olive oil in a large saucepot until translucent (2 minutes).
  2. Add 6 cups of chicken stock (or water) to the saucepot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add Panisse and reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Stir in the chopped thyme.
  5. Cook until Panisse is thickened and pulling away from the pan.
  6. Pour the mixture into an oiled baking pan and allow to cool.
  7. After cooling, cut the Panisse into 1×4 inch rectangles.

Preparing the duck:

  1. Score the skin of the duck breast. (Cut a crosshatch pattern into the skin of the duck taking care not to slice into the flesh of the duck).
  2. Heat a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Season the duck with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the duck into the pan skin side down.
  5. Reduce heat to a medium low flame and cook until the skin has darkened to a rich brown color and has crisped somewhat (this may take 4-5 minutes).
  6. Flip the duck and continue to cook for 2 minutes more (be careful not to over cook the duck- you are aiming for medium rare).
  7. Remove the duck from the pan and allow to rest while you prepare the remainder of the dish.

Preparing the Duck Sauce:

  1. Immediately after removing the duck from the pan, reserve all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered duck fat (this will keep several weeks in your refrigerator).
  2. Add 2 Tbl diced shallots to the pan and sauté until translucent (1-2 minutes)
  3. Pour the blood orange juice to the pan (this is called deglazing) and reduce by half.
  4. Add the veal or duck stock (you could also use chicken stock in a pinch); add a garlic clove and the sage leaves.
  5. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to combine while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Cooking the Panisse:

  1. Heat 2 Tbl of olive oil in a pan until it shimmers in the pan (just before it reaches the smoke point).
  2. Place the Panisse croutons in the pan and cook until browned on all sides, remove from pan and set aside.

Wilting the spinach:

  1. In the same pan that you prepared the Panisse in, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Add the cleaned spinach and allow it to begin to wilt.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the sliced garlic and Lemon.
  5. Finish with 2 tsp of butter (optional)

To Complete:

  1. Slice the duck breasts into 5-6 slices on a bias.
  2. Place two Panisse croutons in the center of each plate.
  3. Top with drained spinach (draining on a paper towel prevents the spinach liquid from running across your plate- ruining your presentation).
  4. Arrange your duck breasts over the spinach in a fanlike pattern.
  5. Spoon 2 Tbl of sauce over each breast (about midway up).
  6. Enjoy with your favorite bottle of wine.