"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." ~ James Beard

May 25, 2011

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Mozzarella

  • 12 ounces spaghetti

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • kosher salt and black pepper

  • 3/4 pound ground beef chuck

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 pounds beefsteak or plum tomatoes, chopped

  • 6 ounces bocconcini (small balls of mozzarella), halved

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  • Directions

    1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
    3. Add the beef to the skillet and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 5 to 7 minutes more (add up to ¼ cup water if the pan is dry).
    4. Add the beef mixture, bocconcini, and basil to the pasta and toss to combine.

    Chicken Fingers with Curried Ketchup

  • Cooking spray

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch-wide strips

  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets

  • 3/4 cup ketchup

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set a rack on a baking sheet and mist with cooking spray. Whisk the eggs, mustard, 1 teaspoon curry powder, the cumin and 1 teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl. Mix the panko with 1/2 teaspoon curry powder in another bowl.
    Dip the chicken strips in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, then coat with the panko. Place the chicken on the rack and mist all over with cooking spray. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
    Meanwhile, bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large pot with a steamer rack or basket in place. Add the broccoli, cover and steam until crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Mix the ketchup, lime juice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon curry powder in a small bowl. Serve the chicken strips with the curried ketchup and broccoli.

    Mushroom and Poblano Tostadas



    1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, poblano, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
    2. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has nearly evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the corn.
    3. Heat broiler. Brush the tortillas with the remaining tablespoon of oil and place on a baking sheet. Broil until crisp, 1 minute per side.
    4. Top with the cheese and broil until melted, about 1 minute. Top with the vegetables, lettuce, and salsa.

    Sunny's Patriotic Berry Trifle

  • 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 premade angel food cake, cut into 1-inch slices

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature

  • 2 pints blueberries

  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced

  • Directions

    Heat 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

    Brush both sides of each slice of cake with the syrup. Cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.

    Beat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.

    Arrange half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a 13-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with a layer of blueberries. Dollop half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with a layer of strawberries. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then sprinkle with more blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

    Spicy Jalapeno-Shrimp Pasta

    12 ounces fresh or frozen large shrimp in shells
  • 8 ounces dried linguine

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 or 2 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, finely chopped*

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes and/or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

  • Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

  • Directions
    1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp. Cook linguine following package directions.
    2. In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add jalapenos, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook and stir 1 minute. Add shrimp; Cook about 3 minutes more or until shrimp turn opaque. Stir in tomatoes; heat through.
    3. Drain linguine; toss with shrimp mixture. Top with Parmesan, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

    Garlic and Pepper T-Bones with Grilled Corn Relish

    4 beef T-bone steaks, cut 1 inch thick
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 recipe Grilled Corn Relish (see recipe below)

  • Directions
    1. Trim fat from steaks. For rub, in a small bowl combine garlic, pepper, and salt. Sprinkle over both sides of steaks; rub in with your fingers.
    2. For a charcoal grill, grill steaks on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium heat until desired doneness, turning once halfway through grilling. Allow 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare (145 degree F) or 12 to 15 minutes for medium doneness (160 degree F). Serve with Grilled Corn Relish.
    3. Serve with Grilled Corn Relish. Makes 4 servings.
    Grilled Corn Relish
    In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 teaspoon chili powder. Remove husks and silks from 2 ears fresh sweet corn. Brush corn lightly with some of the lime juice mixture. For a charcoal grill, grill corn on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals for 10 to 20 minutes or until tender and slightly charred in places, turning occasionally. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium-high. Place corn on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.) Set corn aside until cool enough to handle. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Combine corn kernels; 2 tomatillos, finely chopped; 1 small sweet pepper, chopped; 1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro; 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion; 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and the remaining lime juice mixture.

    Chicken Thighs Braised in Garlic and White Wine



    1. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
    2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, season with the spice mixture, and dredge in the flour. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the chicken, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
    3. Add the onions to the pot and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cherry peppers and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the pepper brine, wine, and broth and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions. Divide among individual bowls and spoon the chicken and sauce over it.

    Tangy German Style Potato Salad

  • 6 red potatoes, cubed

  • 2-3 cups white distilled vinegar

  • 3 slices bacon

  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced (optional)

  • 1/2 cup peas, thawed if using frozen

  • 1 tablespoons dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • salt (to taste)

  • pepper (to taste)

  • chives, for garnishing

  • Directions:
    1. Place cubed potatoes in a small pot. Cover with a mixture of 2/3 vinegar, 1/3 water. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat slightly and let simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender, but not soft. Drain and let cool.
    2. In a saute pan, brown bacon until crispy. Drain and let dry. Crumble.
    3. In same saute pan, cook diced white onion slightly until translucent. Place onion in large bowl. Let cool then add in peas, crumbled bacon and cooled potatoes.
    4. In a small bowl whisk together the dijon mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Test the taste of the dijon vinaigrette before pouring over potato salad. Mix together and serve.

    Charred Orange Glazed Chicken

    8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
    2/3 cup mesquite- or hickory-flavored barbecue sauce
    1/4 cup apricot fruit spread
    2 tablespoons orange juice
    1 tablespoon grated orange peel
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

    1. Heat grill or broiler. (If broiling, line broiler pan with foil; top with broiler rack. Spray with cooking spray; place chicken on rack. ) Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or coals 20 to 30 minutes or until no longer pink, turning every 5 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in small bowl until blended. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture.

    3. Brush chicken with half of the remaining barbecue sauce; grill 1 minute. Turn and brush with remaining sauce; grill 1 minute. Brush with reserved 2 tablespoons sauce before serving.

    Pork and Asparagus with Mustard Vinaigrette



    1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
    2. Season the pork with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, turning, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes.
    3. Transfer the skillet to oven and roast until the pork is cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
    4. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the asparagus and shallots with 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
    5. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer and roast, tossing once, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
    6. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and remaining ⅓ cup of oil. Serve the pork with the vegetables and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

    May 22, 2011

    Parmesan Baked Fish

    4 4-ounce fresh or frozen skinless salmon or other firm fish fillets, about 1 inch thick
    1/4 cup light mayonnaise or salad dressing
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or sliced green onion
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce for chicken
    1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
    2. In small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, chives, and Worcestershire sauce. Spread mayonnaise mixture over fish. Place in greased 2-quart square or rectangular baking dish.
    3. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Makes 4 servings.

    Chicken Pizza with a Kick

    • 12
      ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
    • 2
      teaspoons cooking oil
    • 1
      medium red sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
    • 1/2
      of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 1
      10-ounce package refrigerated pizza dough
    • 1/2
      cup bottled mild picante sauce or taco sauce
    • 1/2
      cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
    1. In a large nonstick skillet cook chicken strips in hot oil over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from skillet. Add sweet pepper and onion to skillet; cook about 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from skillet; set aside.
    2. Coat a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll pizza dough into pan; press with fingers to form a 12x8-inch rectangle. Pinch edges of dough to form crust.
    3. Spread crust with picante sauce. Top with chicken and vegetables; sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 13 to 18 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese melts. Makes 6 servings.

    Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

    • 1
      2- to 2-1/4-pound deli-roasted chicken
    • 1
      tablespoon olive oil
    • 1
      medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    • 1/3
      cup cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
    • 1/2
      cup tomato sauce
    • 3
      to 4 tablespoons seeded and finely chopped fresh red and/or green hot chili peppers
    • 2
      tablespoons snipped fresh thyme
    • 2
      tablespoons molasses
    • 2
      tablespoons water
    • 1/2
      teaspoon salt
    • 4
      sandwich buns, split
    • Bread-and-butter pickle slices
    1. Remove meat from chicken (discard skin and bones). Use two forks or your fingers to pull meat into shreds.
    2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally to separate into rings. Add vinegar; cook and stir 1 minute more.
    3. Stir in tomato sauce, chile peppers, thyme, molasses, water, and salt. Bring to boiling. Add the chicken; tossing gently to coat. Heat through. Serve on rolls with pickle slices. Makes 6 sandwiches.

    Baked Farfalle with Escarole and Zuchinni

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 pound farfalle

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virigin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced

  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

  • 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes

  • 1 15-ounce can plum tomatoes

  • 4 large sprigs basil, plus 1 cup chopped fresh basil

  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped escarole, sauteed

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini, sauteed

  • 3 cups shredded Italian fontina cheese

  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the farfalle until very al dente, 2 to 3 minutes less than the label directs; drain.

    Meanwhile, make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is golden. Crush the plum tomatoes into the skillet with your hands; rinse out each can with 1/2 cup water and add the water to the skillet. Add the basil sprigs; simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, 15 minutes. Discard the basil; season the sauce with salt. (Alternatively, heat 4 cups prepared tomato sauce.)

    Stir the chopped basil and parsley into the sauce, then add the escarole and zucchini.

    Brush a 3-to-4-quart baking dish with olive oil. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and half of each cheese. Spread in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pasta. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

    Eggplant Parmesan Heros

    • 1
      medium eggplant (about 1 lb.)
    • 1
      cup bottled marinara sauce
    • 1
      cup seasoned croutons, crushed
    • 1/3
      cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 4
      hero or hoagie buns, split
    • Fresh basil leaves (optional)
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Peel eggplant (optional); cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices.
    2. Place marinara sauce in a shallow dish. In a second shallow dish add croutons and half the cheese. Dip eggplant in marinara then crouton mixture; press to coat. Place eggplant on prepared baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes or until breading is browned and eggplant is tender. Remove from oven.
    3.On baking sheet, toast buns for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Meanwhile, transfer remaining marinara to small microwave-safe bowl; heat for 30 seconds. Place eggplant on toasted buns, top with marinara and cheese. Sprinkle basil leaves. Makes 4 servings.

    Pepper-Jack Chicken with Succotash

  • 4 ounces pepper-jack cheese, shredded

  • 2 cups baby arugula, roughly chopped

  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (12 ounces each)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Cajun spice blend

  • Vegetable oil, for the grill

  • 1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed

  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, diced

  • 2 cups corn kernels

  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • Directions

    Combine the cheese and arugula in a bowl. Cut a deep 2-inch-wide pocket in the thickest part of each chicken breast with a paring knife. Stuff with the arugula mixture. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and the Cajun spice blend.

    Preheat a grill to high and brush the grates with vegetable oil. Grill the chicken until blackened and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 155 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board.

    Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the lima beans, squash and corn, season with salt and cook until the squash is just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Slice the chicken and serve with the succotash.

    Creamy Asparagus Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

    A simple shortcut gives this pasta its delectable creaminess: a package of garlic-and-herb-flavored spreadable cheese. It melts into the pasta, generously coating each piece. You can substitute any seasonal vegetables for the asparagus.
    8 oz. farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
    2 cups diagonally sliced thin asparagus (1 inch)
    1 (5.2- to 6.5-oz.) pkg. garlic and herb spreadable cheese, such as Boursin
    3/4 cup drained sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup white wine or lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding asparagus during last minute of cooking; drain. Return pasta and asparagus to pot.
    2. Stir in spreadable cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in all remaining ingredients.

    Hash Brown Eggs

    **This is a fun breakfast recipe! I love the crispy texture and I normally make this with cracked egg-whites in the middle!

    Fry 1 cup each chopped onion and grated potato in a cast-iron skillet with butter until crisp. Add 1/2 cup grated cheddar and crack in 2 eggs. Bake at 425 degrees F until set; top with salsa.

    Mediterranean Portobello Burger

    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    4 portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed
    4 large slices country-style sourdough bread, cut in half
    1/2 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
    1/2 cup chopped tomato
    1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
    2 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives
    1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 cups loosely packed mixed baby salad greens
    1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
    2. Mash garlic and salt on a cutting board with the side of a knife until it's a smooth paste. Mix the paste with 1 tablespoon oil in a small dish. Lightly brush the oil mixture over portobellos and then on one side of each slice of bread.
    3. Combine red peppers, tomato, feta, olives, vinegar, oregano and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl.
    4. Grill the mushroom caps until tender, about 4 minutes per side; grill the bread until crisp, about 1 minute per side.
    5. Toss salad greens with the red pepper mixture. Place the grilled mushrooms top-side down on 4 half-slices of the bread. Top with the salad mixture and the remaining bread.

    Grilled Rosemary-Salmon Skewers

    2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
    2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned (see Tip) and cut into 1-inch cubes
    1 pint cherry tomatoes
    1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
    2. Combine rosemary, oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add salmon; toss to coat. Alternating the salmon and tomatoes, divide among eight 12-inch skewers.
    3. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the skewers, carefully turning once, until the salmon is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Serve immediately.
    Tips: How to skin a salmon fillet: Place skin-side down. Starting at the tail end, slip a long knife between the fish flesh and the skin, holding down firmly with your other hand. Gently push the blade along at a 30 degrees angle, separating the fillet from the skin without cutting through either.
    To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Don't use cooking spray on a hot grill.)
    MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare the skewers (Step 2), cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Proceed with grilling (Steps 1 & 3) when ready to serve.

    Sara's Chocolate Fudge Pie



    1. Heat oven to 375º F. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Prick crust with a fork and line with foil. Fill to top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until just golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
    2. Reduce oven temperature to 325º F. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter.
    3. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, salt, and ½ cup of the sugar until fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold a third of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder.
    4. Pour the combined mixture into the crust and bake until puffed and beginning to crack, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 1 hour, then chill.
    5. Beat the cream with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over the pie and sprinkle with the shaved chocolate.

    May 11, 2011

    Chicken and Asparagus Skillet Supper

    8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 slices bacon, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 1 lb. asparagus spears, trimmed

  • 1 small yellow summer squash, halved crosswise and cut in 1/2-inch strips

  • 4 green onions, cut in 2-inch pieces

  • Directions

    1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In 12-inch skillet cook chicken and bacon over medium-high heat 12 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Carefully add broth; cover and cook 3 to 5 minutes more or until chicken is tender and no longer pink (180 degrees F).
    2. Meanwhile, in microwave-safe 2-quart dish combine asparagus, squash, and 2 Tbsp. water. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Cook on 100% power (high) 3 to 5 minutes, until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring once. Transfer to plates. Drizzle cooking liquid; top with chicken, bacon, and onions. Makes 4 servings.

    Paula's Gold Medal Sizzling Fajitas

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • Dash hot sauce

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds meat (boneless, skinless chicken breast, skirt steak or peeled and deveined shrimp)

  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced lengthwise

  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced

  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas

  • 1 lime, juiced, for topping

  • Sour cream, for topping

  • Salsa, for topping

  • Guacamole, for topping

  • Cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping

  • Directions

    In a heavy duty resealable plastic bag, combine 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, salt, pepper and your choice of meat. Seal and toss the bag around to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator. *Cook's Note: 15 minutes for shrimp, 20 minutes for chicken and 1 hour for skirt steak.
    Preheat your cast iron servers in a preheated 400 degree F oven for at least 20 minutes, to get a good sizzle when you plate the fajitas.
    Heat the outside grill or a large indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and place it on the hot grill, discard the marinade. Cook chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, skirt steak about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare and about 2 minutes for shrimp. Slice the chicken and steak into strips if you are using.
    In a large skillet heat up the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and fry the onions and bell peppers until crisp-tender with some salt and pepper.
    Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven with the servers for 15 minutes.
    When you are ready to serve, remove the cast iron servers from the oven and quickly arrange the meat and peppers and onions on it. It will immediately start to sizzle from their fat and moisture. Serve sizzling immediately with the warm tortillas and other accompaniments.

    Pan-Fried Garlic Steak and Potatoes

    12 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb. tiny new potatoes, scrubbed

  • 4 6-oz. boneless beef ribeye or beef strip steaks

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes

  • Fresh oregano (optional)

  • Directions

    1. Using the side of large chef knife smash garlic; discard skins. Halve any large potatoes. Place potatoes in microwave-safe bowl. Cover with vented plastic wrap; microcook on 100 percent power (high) 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cover; cook 5 minutes more or until tender, stirring once. Drain.
    2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook steaks, half at a time, 8 minutes for ribeye or 4 minutes for strip (145 degrees F for medium-rare or 160 degrees F for medium), turning once. Keep steaks warm while cooking remaining steaks.
    3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add potatoes, garlic, and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tomatoes begin to wilt, stirring occasionally. Serve potato mixture with steak. Top with fresh oregano. Makes 4 servings.

    Citrus Salmon with Broccoli

  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

  • 2 Tbsp. butter

  • 4 4-oz. skinless salmon fillets

  • 1 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill

  • 1 bunch (1 lb.) broccoli, trimmed

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

  • Lemon slices and fresh dill (optional)

  • Directions

    1. Slice 1/2 of the lemon into thin slices; set aside. Juice remaining 1/2 lemon into a 1 cup measure; add water to equal 1/2 cup. Stir in sugar. Set aside.
    2. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden; turn fillets. Add lemon juice mixture. Top with snipped dill and lemon slices. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.
    3. Meanwhile, in another skillet heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Quarter broccoli lengthwise into long spears; add to skillet along with garlic. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp-tender, turning often. Serve salmon with broccoli; pour pan juices over salmon. Serve with additional lemon slices and fresh dill. Makes 4 servings.

    Pesto Chicken Sandwich

    1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 medium yellow summer squash or zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick

  • 1 large green, red, and/or yellow sweet pepper, cut into strips

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

  • 2 tablespoons purchased basil pesto

  • 1 9- to 10-inch Italian flatbread (focaccia), cut in half horizontally

  • 2 ounces provolone cheese, shredded

  • Directions

    1. In a small bowl, combine Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Using your fingers, rub spice mixture into all sides or chicken.
    2. In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine chicken, onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Pour undrained tomatoes and vinegar over mixture.
    3. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
    4. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Add squash and sweet pepper. Cover; cook for 30 minutes more.
    5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and pesto. Spread evenly over cut sides of flatbread. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Thinly slice chicken. Arrange chicken slices on bottom half of bread. Using a slotted spoon, spoon vegetable mixture over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Add top half of bread. Cut into wedges.

    Spice-Rubbed Pork with Quinoa

    • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • Kosher salt
    • 2 pork tenderloins (1 3/4 pounds total), halved crosswise
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
    • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
    • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
    • Freshly ground pepper
    • Jarred salsa verde, for serving (optional)


    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the paprika, red pepper flakes, cumin and 2 teaspoons salt in a shallow dish. Rub the pork all over with the olive oil, then roll in the spice mixture to coat. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest, 5 minutes.

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and fluff with a fork. Toss with the corn, scallions, and salt and pepper to taste.

    Slice the pork and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with the quinoa and salsa verde, if desired.

    Potato Topped Beef Bowl

    1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 16-oz. pkg. frozen mixed vegetables

  • 1 8-oz. pkg. shredded cheddar cheese (2 cups)

  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

  • Salt and ground black pepper

  • 2 cups instant mashed potato flakes

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted

  • Directions

    1. Preheat broiler. In extra-large skillet brown beef over medium-high heat; drain off fat. Stir in frozen vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Stir in half the cheese, half the parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
    2. Meanwhile, in large bowl combine 2 cups boiling water, potato flakes, and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
    3. Divide beef mixture among four 16-ounce broiler-safe dishes. Top with potatoes; sprinkle remaining cheese. Broil 3 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is melted. Drizzle with melted butter; sprinkle with remaining parsley. Makes 4 servings.

    Sauteed Shrimp and Asparagus

    1 pound fresh or frozen large shrimp in shells
    2 teaspoons canola oil
    1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
    2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
    1/4 cup dry white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
    8 ounces fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
    1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
    Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta
    1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels.
    2. In a large nonstick skillet, cook shrimp in hot canola and sesame oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque, turning occasionally. Remove shrimp from skillet; set aside.
    3. Carefully add wine and asparagus to hot skillet. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add shrimp and green onions to skillet; heat through. Serve with Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta.
    Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta: Cook 1 cup dried orzo pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Return pasta and reserved pasta water to saucepan. Stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel, 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives, 2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until water is absorbed. Serve warm.

    Raspberry Cheesecake

      12 lemon-nut cookies (such as Pepperidge Farms)
      1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts*
      1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
      3 tablespoons sugar  
      7 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
      1 cup sugar
      2 tablespoons raspberry-flavored liqueur or berry juice
      4 eggs
      1/2 cup sour cream
      1 cup fresh raspberries  
      1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
      1/2 cup sugar
      3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
      1 cup fresh raspberries
      2 tablespoons cornstarch  
      1 cup heavy whipping cream
      1 tablespoon sugar
      1 cup fresh raspberries  
      1. Heat oven to 300°F. In food processor, process cookies and walnuts until finely chopped. Add melted butter and 3 tablespoons sugar; pulse to mix.