Archive | December, 2010

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

26 Dec

Another Giada De Laurentis recipe! 
To go along with our Christmas celebration, I made this for dinner on Christmas Eve for some family.  I don’t eat meat, so I cant tell you what I thought about it, however my DH said it was flavorful, yet I’m not sure he was a fan of the coriander and cumin.  He’s more of a salt and pepper kind of man!  These new seasonings did add a different taste to the beef he said, but if you don’t like these seasonings, you could probably add some garlic, salt, pepper, and what ever else you may like in place of the cumin and coriander. 

I didnt take a picture of the meat after it was fully cooked, but it was cooked until medium rare and nice and tender.

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed

Directions

For the beef: Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a heavy baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

In a mortar and pestle, or spice grinder, finely grind the cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the spices and cook for a few seconds until aromatic and toasted. Put the spices in a small bowl. Chop the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Holding a chef’s knife at a 45 degrees angle, scrape the garlic and salt together to form a paste. Add the garlic paste to the bowl with the spices. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, and oil and stir until smooth. Put the meat on the prepared baking sheet and rub with the spice mixture. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 125 degrees F, for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cover the meat loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/roasted-beef-tenderloin-with-basil-curry-mayonnaise-recipe/index.html

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Calamari, Tomato & Caper Salad

26 Dec

In celebration of Christmas Eve, I thought it would be perfect to try this recipe I had recently bookmarked.  My husband loves Calamari and he did enjoy this recipe.  However, I feel like the tomatoes were on the stove to long and made this more into a stew than a salad.  We both agreed that this recipe would be good if the calamari was grilled and the tomatoes were the good ones from the summer time!

 Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound calamari, cleaned, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Season the calamari with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Saute, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the mixture in a colander.

*The original recipe calls for capers and a lemon and olive oil dressing which I omitted.  See link below for remaining ingredients.

Adapted from:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/calamari-tomato-and-caper-salad-recipe/index.html

Pico de Gallo

26 Dec

As I have mentioned many times before to people who know me best; I love salsa!  This is a variation on your normal restaurant style salsa.  It tastes so fresh as if you just picked all the vegetables right from your garden!

The Cast of Characters:

1/2 large yellow onion
1/2 large red onion
8-10 Roma tomatoes
1-2 jalapenos (if you like things spicy, leave in the seeds)
lime
kosher salt
Bunch of Cilantro

Directions:

1.  Dice up the yellow and red onion.
2.  Dice up the tomatoes.
3.  Grab the bunch of cilantro, and chop it up very finely.  I love cilantro, so I probably add at least 1 cup to this pico.  Add more/less depending on your liking to this side.
4.  Slice up 1 or 2 jalapenos in half and then dice into very tiny pieces.
5.  Next, add all of the above into a large mixing bowl and give a good stir until everything is combined well.
6.  Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice from the lime into the bowl.
7.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and stir well until combined.  I normally add extra salt on the top right before this is served.

Adapted from: 
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/pico_de_gallo_a/

May not be Pepe’s, but pretty close!

20 Dec

I love Pepes Pizza!!! This homemade pizza may not be the actual thing, but it’s pretty close in my opinion!!

6 more days till Christmas!!!

I scream; you scream… We all scream for some Chex Mix!!!!

19 Dec

Who doesn’t like Chex Mix? Growing up, my best friend Erin and I would make chex mix every holiday season. It would always come out too buttery and burnt. It was always a habit of mine to cook things until they were too well done! I have changed my cooking habits since that young age! This stuff is perfect!
The buttery goodness and seasonings involved make this one good snack! The original chex mix recipe is good, but this recipe goes one step further! The fresh garlic adds a different dynamic along with the Tabasco sauce.
Feel free to alter this recipe to your liking. Rather than add the full amount of pretzels, I normally add more corn chex into my mix as the corn chex is my favorite part of this snack!

Ingredients:

3 cups of Corn Chex
3 cups of Wheat Chex
3 cups of Rice Chex
2 cups of mini pretzels
2 cups of peanuts
1 1/2 sticks of butter
3 to 5 cloves of garlic (put through a garlic press)
5 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
6 to 12 shakes of Tabasco Sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons of Seasoned Salt
1 tablespoon Onion Powder

Directions:

1. Dump cereal in large bowl. Add in pretzels and peanuts and mix until well combined.

2. In microwave safe bowl add butter and Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce. Give a good stir.

3. Next add the seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and the fresh garlic (garlic should be put through garlic press first before adding) to the above butter and sauce mixture.

4. Microwave mixture until all butter has melted.

5. Grab a piece of chex and dip into the buttery sauce mixture. Taste it and see what you think about the seasoning. Add more seasonings or sauce until desired flavor is achieved.

6. Next, begin slowly pouring the butter and seasoning mixture over the cereal and nuts while stirring constantly. Once entire mixture is added to cereal, keep mixing together until everything has been coated well.

7. Pour the mix into a large aluminum pan; since this is a lot of chex mix, I buy a large roasting pan and everything fits nicely.

8. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes; longer if you think it needs it. Stir every 20 minutes.

9. Enjoy your chex mix!!!

Adapted from:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/12/pws_chex_party_mix/

Salsa Salsa Salsa!!!

19 Dec

To me, there is nothing better than tortilla chips and salsa for a quick snack. In a perfect world, I’d eat the salsa from “On the Border” everyday! Their salsa is so flavorful, fresh, and the perfect consistency. Unfortunately I can’t go to On the Border everyday! As a backup, I always make sure I have a jar of salsa or some store made
pico de gallo on hand; they are great in a pinch! However, when I’m looking for salsa similar to my favorite Mexican chain restaurant, I make it! This is the real stuff! To me, this stuff screams On the Border! It’s spicy. It’s fresh. It’s good!

If you don’t like spicy things, I would recommend using 1 jalapeño first. After tasting salsa with 1st jalapeño, determine if you want more spice. If you want more spice, add second jalapeño! Get ready for the heat!
To keep the salsa freshest the longest I store in 2 large size mason jars. The presentation in itself is nice; but these salsa filled jars make lovely gifts as well! Just add a bag of your favorite tortilla chips and your friend will be delighted!

Ingredients:

2 fresh jalapeño peppers
5 cloves of garlic
6 Roma Tomatoes
1 28oz. Can of diced tomatoes; with liquid drained
1 tbsp. Cumin
1 small yellow onion
1 small red onion
1 tbsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime

Directions:

In food processor, combine the jalapeños and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add all other ingredients to the food processor.

Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the consistency you desire. For this kind of salsa, I prefer for everything to be chopped and diced up very finely.

Adapted from:
http://annies-eats.com/2009/01/25/my-favorite-salsa-ever/

Parma Rosa a la Daniel

13 Dec

A few weeks ago my husband and I, along with my in-laws took a drive to Springfield MA. After an afternoon spent shopping, we ventured to a restaurant called ” A Touch of Garlic”. This place was your local mom and pop type of place. The menu offered much variety with the majority being homemade. The meal was so good that when I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner this past Sunday night, he proclaimed- “Parma Rosa”, which was the name of the dish he had ordered and devoured on our trip!
I searched the Internet for an actual recipe, but couldn’t find one. I did get some ideas from ladies who have made similar dishes, so I took some notes and after heading to the local market, was ready to give this meal a shot!

Ingredients:

Package of ground hot sausage
2-3 pieces of skinless thinly sliced chicken breasts cut up into smaller pieces; if you like a lot of chicken add a few more pieces.
Package of sliced mushrooms
Bag of spinach
Fresh garlic; approximately 3-4 cloves depending on your preference.
EVOO
Italian Seasonings
Hot Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper
Your favorite pasta
Butter; approximately 3 tablespoons
Jar of Marinara Sauce (I used Patsy’s) or if you are feeling overzealous you can make your own!
Small container of heavy cream
Ricotta Cheese
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:

1. In a large pan, add a few tablespoons of oil and heat over medium high heat for a few minutes until oil gets hot.
2. Once hot, add the package of ground sausage and the chicken. Reduce heat to medium. Continue to mix while enduring that the sausage gets broken up. Remain cooking until both are lightly brown and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Next add 3 tablespoons of butter to pan set over medium heat. As butter begins to melt, add few cloves of garlic and your mushrooms and spinach. Sprinkle with some Italian seasonings and salt and pepper. Give a good stir and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes until both spinach and mushrooms have been cooked down.
4. While the spinach and mushrooms are being sautéed, bring pot of water to boil and cook according to package.
5. Once mushrooms and spinach have been cooked, reduce heat to low and add in the chicken & sausage mixture (drain fat/grease first). Stir together while on low heat.
6. Add your pasta sauce or Marinara sauce to small pot and heat until warmed. Add extra seasonings if you prefer, I added some garlic powder! Then add in 4-5 tablespoons of ricotta cheese (more/less depending on your preference) and about 1/3 cup of heavy cream. Stir to combine until the sauce has reached that “pink color” and the consistency is to your liking. Add extra cream if need be.
7. Plate dish with pasta and top with your sausage, chicken, spinach, and mushroom mixture. Lastly add your sauce and some fresh mozzarella cheese to top off.