Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Caramelized Onions

Over the weekend, I was craving steak so my husband got some ribeyes for grilling. I decided to make a topping of caramelized onions and serve along a strawberry and feta cheese salad. Making caramelized onions is super simple. Here is what I did:

2 medium yellow onions sliced
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp white sugar
1 splash (about 1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar or red wine
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan heat the oil and butter, place the sliced onions and cook for about 10 minutes on medium high heat. Then add  the salt, pepper and sugar and let cook for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally. You may have to turn the heat down to medium or medium low. Make sure you are not stirring too often because you have to let them sit in the pan for a while to start caramelizing. Only stir when they are getting too brown making sure they don't burn. If they are getting too dry, add a splash of water. After the 30 mins or when they are done, add the splash of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.

*Tip: You can use the caramelized onions for salads, to top hamburgers, steaks, sandwiches. Or you can make a simple onion dip with mustard, sour cream, and the onions and enjoy with potato chips, veggies, sandwiches, etc.

Bon Appetit!

Spinach Quiche Bread Cups

We love spinach so for our Easter brunch this year I decided to make a spinach and ricotta cheese quiche using a muffin pan. It turned out really delicious and I will be making it again. Of course I had to share.

1 - 11oz refrigerated French bread loaf dough - I used Pillsbury
1 - 6oz bag baby spinach chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic (fresh)
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
2 oz soften cream cheese
4 eggs
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/8 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Cut the French bread loaf into 12 equal pieces. Press into the bottom and sides of the muffin cups. I first press with my fingers to flatten a little bit before pressing in the cups. In a pan saute the spinach and garlic in the olive oil until wilted. Let it cool. In a medium bowl, hand beat the eggs and then add the remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour in equal portions into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Cilantro Turkey Patties

A friend of mine sent me a recipe a long time ago for cilantro turkey burgers with chipotle ketchup and given the fact I adore cilantro and chipotle, this became a go to recipe in our house. I often make the turkey burgers but I also make just the patties and serve with rice and salad or just a quick salad, etc. I also serve them with oven fried sweet potatoes as a side dish with just the patty and the chipotle ketchup - delicious and healthy. Here is the recipe I adapted to fit our family and to use ingredients I pretty much always have on hand.

1 cup dry breadcrumbs

1/4 cup or so minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 pound ground turkey
1 tsp mustard
1 beaten egg
*1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (sometimes I omit this and it still turns out delicious)
1/2 of a medium onion grated or finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

For the chipotle ketchup
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. If the mixture is too wet, I add a little more bread crumbs. Shape into patties and grill until done. You can also do this in a non stick pan using cooking spray but I personally prefer to grill them (and less clean up).
Mince 1 chile and a little bit of the adobo sauce from the can and combine with the ketchup.
* Tip 1: I keep the remaining sauce and chiles in a zip loc bag in the freezer and use for other recipes when needed.

* Tip 2: You can serve your patties on your favorite hamburger bun with lettuce or with rice and a quick salad. Or with oven fried sweet potatoes - 2 large sweet potatoes cut into 1/2 inch thick fries. Toss with 1 tbsp vegetable, canola or olive oil, 1 tbsp chili powder, and 1 tsp garlic salt (making sure they are all coated with the mixture). Place on a single layer in a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake on a 400 deg oven for 30 mins (turning once).


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip mini muffins

I am obsessed with chocolate and bananas so a staple in our house are banana chocolate chip pancakes and of course muffins. I discovered this recipe a while back for the muffins and I've been making them every time I have too many ripe bananas. Here is the link to the original recipe All Recipes. I modified it just a little bit.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt - I use Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup of whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 cup mashed ripe bananas - I use about 1 1/2 cup of bananas
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.


Decadent Plum Bread

While having an "eat a lot of fruit mood" one day, I bought a big container of plums. Well, the truth is, I love fruit but no matter how much I eat, I couldn't possibly eat a whole container by myself. I then started thinking what could I make with them to use them all up and while searching online I came across a delicious recipe. I couldn't believe how easy yet decadent this bread turned out. So moist cake-like deliciousness. All recipes.

1 cup pitted, chopped plums
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour1/2 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt and added 1/4 cup of whole milk)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Sprinkle chopped plums with 1 tablespoon of flour in a bowl, and toss to coat. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the margarine, white sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. In another bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cup of flour with salt and baking soda. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, alternating with yogurt until the mixture forms a smooth batter. Lightly stir in the flour-coated plums, and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with brown sugar.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool in the pan before slicing (if you can resist the temptation).

Bon Appetit!

Time for Chili

Once in a while, my husband likes to eat chili dogs and I like to make them for him. Of course I can't deny the fact that I like them as well but only once in a blue moon :). I will admit I see chili as something that you can just make as you go and it always turns out good. I don't necessarily have a recipe but this time, I used some ingredients I had on hand and I really liked the end product. I started with about 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef that I had prepared to make a sheppards pie so it had tarragon and thyme but that can be ommitted here.

2 med onions chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 jalapeno chopped (I use the seeds to make it a bit more spicy but you can remove if you don't like it too hot)
3 T butter
1-1/2 lbs ground beef (or you could use turkey)
6 oz can tomato paste
1 c beef stock
1 T flour
½ c white wine
1 15 oz can of red chili beans
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp of ketchup
1/4 cup of your favorite bbq sauce
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauté onion, garlic & bell peppers in butter until soft. Turn up heat and add meat and stir until brown. Drain off fat and add tomato paste, flour and broth. Cook for a min. until bubbly then add wine and spices. Simmer for 15 min. Add bbq sauce, ketchup, beans and diced tomatoes and simmer for another 30 mins. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.