Thursday, June 30, 2011

The first time we had guests over for dinner was a few weeks after we had gotten married and moved into our apartment. Some friends of the hubs from work had helped us so we invited them over to thank them.

I, of course, being Mrs. Newly Married Wifey wanted to impress and also thought making them a home cooked meal was better than taking them out to dinner. So I came up with a menu: toasted ravioli for an appetizer, 3 cheese bread and caesar salad for sides, spaghetti and meatballs for the main course, and angel food cake with whipped cream and fruit for dessert. The ravioli, bread, and spaghetti and meatballs all came from Joelen's Blog.

I obviously overestimated my cooking/timing skills and didn't realize that I had planned two big things that required a lot of work and frying as well as making my own spaghetti sauce and fancying up the bread. I should have just stuck with spaghetti and meatballs, bought some bread and served it with plain butter, and done a pre-maid appetizer. Hindsight would be so much more useful if it was foresight.

Anyways, the meal came together and everyone enjoyed it. The hubs learned a little more about me and how stressed I could (and often do) get and still loved me for it. But I put off making this meal, even though it was delicious, for more than a year! We had this the other night and it was just as delicious and much less stressful since I didn't attempt to overdo it!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

2 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 lb 'meatloaf mix' or 1/2 lb each ground beef and ground pork
1-1.5 cups canola oil for frying
1 lb spaghetti, cooked
Your favorite sauce or the one in Joelen's Blog

Place the milk and torn bread in a bowl and mash them together with a fork until smooth. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the meat, pasta, and sauce, and mash together to combine. Add the ground meats and kneed the mixture by hand until well combined.

Form the meatballs, using your hands, into 2-inch diameter circles. Place your meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and you can even make them up to a day in advance.

Heat the oil in a skillet or saute pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add the meatballs to the pan in a single layer to fry. Turn them to brown on all sides until fully cooked. Place the browned meatballs onto a paper lined plate to soak up any oil and set aside.

Serve over pasta with sauce and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekly Meal List

Tuesday: Salsa Chicken
Wednesday: Mac and Cheese
Thursday: Spaghetti Bolognese
Friday: Loaded Potatoes and Chicken Skillet

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bruschetta Chicken

Here is the second recipe for bruschetta chicken! This one comes from The Taste of Home Classic Cookbook, my favorite cookbook. It has a nice breaded coating but doesn't require an extra dipping step so it's still an easy weeknight meal. I added a little balsamic vinegar to the tomato mixture because I love me some balsamic vinegar!

Bruschetta Chicken
Source: Taste of Home Classic Cookbook

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter, melted
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 tbsp minced fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, optional

Preheat oven to 375º. Place flour and eggs in separate bowls. Dip chicken into flour, then in eggs; place in a greased baking dish. Combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and butter; sprinkle over chicken. Loosely cover baking dish with foil. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5-10 minutes longer or until top is browned.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over chicken. Return to oven for 3-5 minutes until mixture is heated through. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Skillet Bruschetta Chicken

I love bruschetta. Absolutely love it. It just tastes so fresh and summery. Plus, I usually always have all the ingredients in my fridge to make it. Except for the basil. I've tried multiple times to keep a basil plant alive and I've failed each and every time. We usually have something with basil once a week and I always end up killing my basil plant or keeping the store bought leaves in the fridge until they wilt.

The hubs is kind of sick of spending money each week to buy more basil so he has convinced me to have all the meals with basil in one week. So, since I love bruschetta, I have two recipes for bruschetta chicken for you this week! This recipe is from The Milkman's Wife.

Skillet Chicken Bruschetta

4 thin-cut chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried parsley
salt & pepper
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
half a medium onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1-1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
parmesan cheese and fresh basil, for garnish

Mix flour, basil, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the flour and shake off excess. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add chopped tomato and balsamic vinegar, cooking until vinegar is reduced and tomatoes are softened, about 5 more minutes. Remove mixture from skillet and set aside. Cove with foil to keep warm.

Melt butter in the same skillet. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to serving plater. Spoon sauce mixture over the chicken, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and basil. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Stromboli

Buffalo chicken and pizza are always good. If there is ever a night where I just don't want to cook and we open the fridge and there are no leftovers or frozen meals to pop in the microwave, we usually order pizza. Or wings. Or sometimes both. This recipe from Tiny Tyrant's Kitchen combines both pizza dough and buffalo chicken for a delicious dinner.

1 pizza dough recipe (I used refrigerated pizza dough)
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
12 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1-1.5 cups shredded cheese
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375º. Roll out dough and shape into a rectangle. Mix together the chicken, buffalo sauce, and bleu cheese crumbles. Spread the mixture on the dough, leaving a 1-inch perimeter. Cover with shredded cheese. Roll lengthwise into a log. Brush with a beaten egg. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Green Chile Cheeseburgers

I was browsing through the recipes on Taste of Home Cooking, who hosts the roundups, and found this one under Easy Weeknight Meals roundup. She modified the original Bobby Flay recipe to make an easy dinner that is definitely a winner. We loved this burger and will be making it again!

2 lbs ground chuck
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 thin slices of provolone
4 hamburger buns, toasted
2 cans green chiles
Mayo, optional
Romaine lettuce leaves, optional
4 thick slices tomatoes, optional

Heat grill to high. Form meat into 4 burgers and season each burger on both sides with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Grill until charred on both sides and cooked to desired doneness.

Divide the cans of green chiles onto the burgers. Place 2 slices of cheese on each burger, close the grill lid or tent with foil, and cook until the cheese has just melted and chiles are warmed, about 1 minute. Place burgers on buns and top with mayo, lettuce, and tomato, if desired. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Recipe Swap: Orzo Salad with Watermelon and Feta

The theme for this recipe swap was Memorial Day. There were lots of cookout and summer inspired recipes (you can check out the roundup of everyone's recipes here). When I think Memorial Day, I think cookouts by the pool and laying out on the beach. It's the first "official" day of summer for me and I love to celebrate by lighting up the grill and cooking out!

This year's Memorial Day was not spent in my favorite way. Instead I had a four hour flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles and then a two hour battle in traffic from Los Angeles to our home in San Diego. By the time we got home, cooking out was the last thing on my mind. So instead of cooking out by the beach with friends, we pulled on sweats and had some takeout. It was good enough for me.

Later on that week, we decided to grill out so I could make this recipe and enjoy it with some real summer food-hamburgers. I received this recipe from Jey, of the Jey of Cooking. We loved it! I'm a sucker for anything with cheese and the watermelon and basil added the perfect flavors! She tried out one of our favorite Bobby Flay recipes for Grilled Corn with Garlic Butter, Lime, and Parmesan (check it out here)!

1 cup uncooked orzo
2 cups watermelon, seeded and diced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced thin
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water and allow to cool. Toss with remaining ingredients and serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes

Balsamic vinegar has become my new favorite ingredient. I've used it in two different chicken recipes (here and here), for bruschetta (and for bruschetta chicken-recipes to come), as salad dressing, and more! One of my favorite side dishes using balsamic vinegar is this recipe from Proceed With Caution. It was simple and delicious- my two favorite adjectives for food!

1.5 lbs new potatoes, quartered
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
8 garlic cloves, smashed
1.5 tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425º. In a baking dish, combine potatoes, broth, vinegar, garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until potatoes are tender and liquid has been reduced to a glaze, about 1.25 hours, tossing twice. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Feta Baked in Olive Oil with Marinara, Red Onions and Oregano

Most of the recipes I blog about come from hours of just looking around the internet and finding something that looks good. When I find something, I'll add it to my "To Make" list and I usually pick 3-4 things off of the list when I make our weekly meal lists. When I saw this recipe from Oishii, I wrote down the ingredients and sent Neil out to buy them so we could have it for dinner that night.

This was delicious! It was so simple to put together but it was honestly one of the best things I have made. It's not often that the hubs is okay with a block of cheese for dinner but this is definitely one recipe he'll be okay with.

1 block of feta
extra virgin olive oil
jarred marinara sauce
red onion, diced
fresh oregano, chopped
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 375º. Place the feta in a shallow baking dish. Pour olive oil on and around the feta so that it almost covers the feta, but leaves the top uncovered. Add spoonfuls of marinara around the feta. Top the feta with the onion and oregano and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bake for 20 minutes, until the oil is bubbling and cheese is softened. Serve with sliced crusty bread. Enjoy!