Monday, February 27, 2012

Mazidra - your life is about to change

Can you see that crusty circle around the edge??? Probably not because my camera settings were bonkers this night, but believe me, it's there! 


Eating this might change your life. Forever. 

You might become a lentil lover. You might incorporate vegetarian meals into your weekly menu. You might be a hero at dinner time and even receive a few thank-yous. 

Give it a try and let me know how your life changes….. it will be for the better, I guarantee.

Here’s what you need:
Lots of thinly sliced onions
Lots of olive oil
About 1 C brown lentils
Some rice (Today I used a little bit of long grain wild rice, but whatever you have is fine)
White wine

Here’s what you do:
Sautee the onions very slowly over low heat. Allow them to caramelize and don’t rush them. Add the garlic only when the onions are almost done cooking. The onions are the key, so take care with them.

Cook the lentils according to the package, but not too long! They must not start to get mushy!
Cook the rice according to the package. Mix all the elements together in an oven proof pan. Cast iron is perfect here.

I always add a bit of white wine to make a type of broth, but not too much. Drizzle olive oil around the edge to help create a crusty circle….. bake in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until desired ‘chewiness.’

Season with salt and pepper. 

special enough for Valentine's Dinner :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Black and White Chicken Chili

World's Easiest Soup 

Supposedly this recipe is a “lost classic.”  I found it in a new cookbook (I just treated myself to four – count ‘em – four!) that I ordered from America’s Test Kitchen. The book is called Cook’s Country Best Lost Suppers – Old-Fashioned, Home-Cooked Recipes Too Good to Forget. 

Some of the recipes do seem a bit out dated, like Johnny Marzetti or Salmon Wiggle, but not this one. We loved it! My son ate two huge bowls as an after school snack and my husband and I polished off almost all of it for dinner. The absolute fantastic finishing touch was sour cream, salsa and cilantro. I recommend this one!

Here’s what you need:
1 – 1 ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ t cumin
1 ½ t oregano
4 C low-sodium chicken stock (use good quality, because your finished soup will only be as good as the stock you put into it.)
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans – drained and rinsed
1 15 oz.  can black beans – drained and rinsed
 1 ½ C corn
1 8 oz. can chopped green chilies
Sour cream, salsa and cilantro for garnish (all three really made this soup excellent!)

See how I tried to mimic shredded chicken - it actually kinda worked! Think small pieces. 

Here’s what you do:
Chop the chicken in small bits – I tried to mimic the look of shredded chicken. The original recipe called for chicken with the bones in and skin on, which you first brown, then simmer for an hour or so in the broth, remove, de-bone, shred, clean off the fat…..  which would have been great, but I was in a time crunch – like usual…..

Sautee the onions for a few minutes. Add the chicken, garlic and spices. Cook through. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for a while. EASY and surprisingly tasty! The toppings are a must.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Baked Fish – Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Not a fish eater? You don’t know what you are missing (I apologize if I sound like your mother....) I predict you just might change your mind after tasting this. (Again, I apologize if I sound like your mother....)  This was A+ Excellent! You can find the original recipe here. Other Food Revolution recipes I have made are found here

Here’s what you need:
3 cloves garlic
Fresh basil
1 T olive oil
1 jalapeno or Serrano chili
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 T red wine vinegar
4 x 5 ounce white fish filets, such as cod or sea bass – skin off and bones removed
¼ C good quality Greek black olives, pits removed. 

Here's what you do: 
Start by cooking the garlic and pepper in some olive oil. Cut a slit in the pepper to get some of the spicy goodness out of it and into your sauce. 

Add the tomatoes, smash it all together, being sure to get the juice out from the pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar to give it a boost. 

Snuggle the fish down in the sauce - I was lucky enough to have fresh white fish here, but any mild fish would be nice - not salmon.... Sprinkle on the basil and olives. (It actually looks like I may have used parsley.... these photos are from a while ago.... whatever...)

Put the whole thing in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the fish is done - Don't over cook it! Serve with pride - it's a thing of beauty. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Venison Burgers – a first for me

Me: “What do you guys want for dinner?”

Son: “How about venison burgers? You know, that meat that my boss gave me that has been sitting in the freezer for months?”

Me: “Um…. Well….. I kinda have to be in the mood to deal with that…..”

Son: “Mom, he gave it to me so I could try it! How long are you going to avoid it?”

Me: “Um…. Well….. I kinda feel like salad tonight…..or how about pasta?”

Son: “Look, you asked what I want and I told you!”

Me: “Um…. Well….. cough….cough…..”

I was un-naturally afraid to open this package..... 

Here’s how to deal with venison for the first time in your life (which is strange for me, a Michigan girl, surrounded by hunters and not afraid of eating red meat.)

Venison on the left: Beef on the right 

Mix it with some ground beef, add lots of A1 Sauce, garlic powder, smother with bacon and avocados and serve it to your hungry and grateful son.

The truth….. My guys ate the venison burgers…. I had one bite…. And then I ate a Boca Burger. I think it was the odor?

Your opinions about venison?

PS  - I recently participated in a fun link-up. You might like to check it out! It's called "Sunlit Sunday" and it was hosted my My Little Home and Garden.  I submitted my "Sunshine Chicken" and I was the only recipe blog participating... most others were photo blogs.