Monday, September 27, 2010

French Onion Salisbury Steak

I received a complimentary issue of a magazine called Cuisine at home the other day because I subscribe to their newsletters via e-mail (or at least I think that's why I got it). It had an abundance of recipes that I was dying to test out! That is where this recipe actually came from - plus I conveniently had a package of ground turkey in the fridge waiting to be used. Plus after seeing the picture displayed in the magazine, I had to taste it!

Salisbury Steak is known as a classic dinner staple for American families... not mine though! I can't remember a time eating Salisbury Steak when I was younger. Another staple that this dish replicates is French Onion Soup. I do remember eating my fair share of French Onion Soup growing up on the other hand! I would frequently get it at the diner near my house on Long Island and make it from scratch with friends while in college. Without further delay, here is the recipe:

For the steak -
1 1/4 lb ground beef or turkey (I used turkey)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tbsp minced scallions
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp flour

For the sauce -
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups sliced onions
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup dry red wine (I didn't feel like opening a whole bottle so I omitted this)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Combine ground beef, 1/4 cup parsley, scallions, salt and pepper. Divide evenly into four portions and shape into 3/4-1 inch thick oval patties. Place 2 tbsp flour in a shallow dish; dredge each patty in flour. Reserve 1 tsp flour.

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high. Add patties and saute 3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from pan. Add onions and sugar to pan; saute 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste; saute until paste begins to brown, 1 minute. Sprinkle mixture with reserved flour; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, wine, salt and thyme.

Return meat to pan; bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Serve steaks on Cheese Toasts with onion sauce ladled over. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan. Each patty is 337 calories and 16g of fat if you use ground beef.

Cheese Toasts
4 slices Italian baguette, cut diagonally (1/2 inch thick)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Pinch of paprika
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tbsp shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread on a baking sheet. Combine butter, garlic, and paprika; spread on one side of each slice of bread. Combine cheeses and sprinkle evenly over butter. Bake until bread is crisp and cheese is bubbly, 10-15 minutes. Each toast is 172 calories and 9 grams of fat.

I don't like soggy bread so I did not place it underneath the steak patties for that reason. I did still dip the bread in the lovely gravy that I made though! I would HIGHLY recommend this recipe to anyone craving a hearty meal who still wants eat healthy. It really warms you up inside! Tutti Mangia!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?"

I made dinner the other night with one craving - Dijon mustard.

I happened to have some chicken thighs in the freezer so I defrosted those in the morning. The awesome thing about the recipes below is that they both use fairly common ingredients that most people have in their pantry already. The fun thing about cooking is that you can always improvise on certain ingredients if you don't have them anyway - as I did below!

This recipe is courtesy of Ellie Krieger, adapted from

Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs
4 large bone-in chicken thighs, skins removed (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons grainy French mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (shockingly I didn't have any so I didn't use it!)
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Combine mustard, garlic, marjoram and maple syrup in a small bowl. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard mixture evenly on top of each chicken thigh, being careful to cover as much of the surface as possible to form a "crust." Arrange chicken in a glass baking dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until mustard mixture has formed a crust and is slightly hardened, and juices run clear when the chicken is pierced.

For a side-dish, I stuck with the Dijon-mustard theme and made roasted potatoes and asparagus. The asparagus was just dressed with salt, pepper and olive oil before cooking though. I didn't want to over-do it! The potatoes were crispy and popped in your mouth because I roasted them. The mustard seeds formed a delicious crust on the outside and the lemon was a great addition.

This recipe was adapted from - one of my favorite websites!

Mustard-Roasted Potatoes
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I did not use FRESH so HA!)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel (I didn't have a real lemon)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 pounds 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter mixed unpeeled red-skinned and white-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges (I used baby small potatoes that did not need to be cut)

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, lemon peel, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add potatoes; sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat. Divide potatoes between prepared baking sheets, leaving any excess mustard mixture behind in bowl. Spread potatoes in single layer. Roast potatoes 20 minutes. Reverse baking sheets and roast until potatoes are crusty outside and tender inside, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes longer.

This is what it looks like before cooking, after all the ingredients were on them.

This is what it looks like after cooking. Much more appetizing, don't you agree?

I would highly recommend both of these dishes for anyone to try, even a novice chef. I frequently roast potatoes and many different vegetables during the Fall and Winter months, so I will definitely be using that recipe as one of my go-to's from now on. For anyone feeling particularly inspired by Ellie Krieger's chicken dish, you should go out and buy her cookbook called "The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle". It won a few awards in the Cooking World and contains tons of healthy recipes - worth picking up.

Here is a picture of the final dish --> Tutti Mangia!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homeade Margarita Pizza

Who doesn't love pizza? If you live in America, you love pizza. I dare someone to argue that fact. This recipe is a great go-to meal made with pantry staples that comes together in no time!

It just takes a few simple ingredients - as you can see. I use a lot of shortcuts because, as I've said before, I'm a busy girl.
- Pillsbury Pizza Crust
- Fresh mozzarella cheese (Sorrento is one of my favorites, it melts so well!)
- Marinara Sauce
- Fresh basil
I don't want to get knocked for using store-bought marinara sauce because 9 times out of 10 I make my own and slave over the stove for hours to simmer it to the correct taste, just like Grandma used to do. Sometimes I could use a little help.... that is where this Tuttorosso sauce comes into play. I have to say that I have tested many bottled sauces and this is one of my favorites. That is probably because I use their canned tomatoes when making my own sauce. You don't taste any sugar or other additives like some of them out there.

The directions for this recipe could not be easier either - just roll out the pizza dough, right out of the can. I don't even use a rolling pin, I just put a little olive oil on a baking sheet and roll it out sicilian style - into a rectangular shape. Let that bake for about 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven then flip the dough over. This helps it get that thin-crust pizza flavor that everyone loves! Let the dough cook for another 5-7 minutes on it's own and then put on the marinara sauce, fresh basil (shredded by hand, not cut perfectly), and mozzarella cheese (cut into thick circles). You can also add any other cooked ingredients at this stage if you would like. As you can see, I had some little pepperoni slices, so I threw those on there. Let it cook in the oven until the cheese melts to your liking - just don't burn it!

Try to let it cool off when it comes out of the oven - I know it looks so damn good, I burnt my tongue! Tutti Mangia!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken Meatballs Piccata

This will be one of my first blog posts that I actually used one of the 90+ cookbooks that I own. Yes I have a "collecting" problem but we don't have to talk about that right now. I bought this one recently too (the title caught my eye) - I love meatballs of all kinds!

I decided to make pasta alongside these meatballs (even though they are not ordinary) for two reasons: 1) I love pasta and will use any excuse to eat it and 2) I knew the sauce in this recipe was going to be luscious and tangy all at the same time. Boy was I right about that! It was delicious with the lemon juice and the capers... MMMHH - I couldn't eat enough of the sauce, I made sure I had some with every bite. Of course I spoiled myself and had a glass of white wine with this meal as well.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/4 lbs ground chicken or turkey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup small capers, drained and rinsed
Vegetable oil spray

1) Preheat the oven broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil, and spray the foil with vegetable oil spray.

2) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. While vegetables cook, whisk egg and milk in a mixing bowl, add breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons parsley and Italian seasoning, and mix well.

3) Add 1/2 of vegetable mixture and chicken to the mixing bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and mix well again. Make mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs, and arrange meatballs on the prepared pan. Spray tops of meatballs with vegetable oil spray.

4) Broil meatballs 6 inches from the broiler element, turning them with tongs to brown all sides.

5) While meatballs brown, add butter to the vegetables remaining in the skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in stock and lemon juice, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Stir in remaining parsley and capers, and simmer 3 minutes, uncovered.

6) Remove meatballs from the baking pan with a slotted spoon, and add meatballs to sauce. Bring to a boil, and simmer meatballs, covered, over low heat, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon, for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink. Serve immediately.

Tutti Mangia!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Recently, I went to Costco to get a few staples... and among the spice aisle I saw this HUGE taco seasoning jar for less than $4.00 so I had to buy it. I LOVE eating different kinds of tacos, but I especially love tacos made with turkey meat. In face, it is one of my go-to meals when I am looking to make a quick dinner. Now that I have such a gigantic seasoning mix at my disposal, I have to start coming up with new ways to use it up. Dinner on this particular night included potato wedges as a side dish, in which I used salt, pepper, olive oil and taco seasoning. It added amazing flavor to them and I loved it.

When I make my tacos, I use ground turkey not only because it is healthier for you but I think it has a great taste. The turkey really adapts to the flavor of whatever spices you are putting on it because it is less fatty than beef. I start the dish by putting a little olive oil in a saute pan with diced onions and peppers. BTW, there is almost nothing better than the smell of onions sauteing, except when my mom makes her red sauce, but that's another blog post all-together! Once the onions and peppers start to sweat and become translucent, add your ground turkey (or any other meat you'd like). Make sure that it cooks until the meat is no longer pink. Then go ahead and add water and the taco seasoning. For your information, I don't measure any of these ingredients, I go by smell and taste because I've made this exact (very easy) dish so many times. The taco seasoning flavors will start to meld together with all of the other ingredients and the water will evaporate almost all the way. That is when you know dinner is served!

I use both hard and soft taco shells when we have Taco Night at my house. For this particular taco, I put out toppings such as guacamole, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, raw onions and cheddar cheese. Usually I end up over-stuffing my taco shell so everything falls out onto my plate but I just eat that up with a fork!

Tutti Mangia!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Farmer's Market

One of the many things I love about summer is going to the farmer's market in Haymarket (here in Boston). I also love all the delicious food that comes from that shopping trip. There are nothing like main-dish summer salads, fresh or grilled vegetables to go along with dinner, etc. Going to this particular farmer's market is no easy feat, that's for sure! There are huge crowds of people everywhere and multiple vendors yelling prices out at you but those prices are CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. It takes a fine eye, like my own, to pick out the good fruit and vegetables but they are there waiting for me! Last weekend, like many, Shaun and I went to the farmers market with $20 cash between us and this is what we got:

6 peaches
2 avocados
4 sweet potatoes
2 baby eggplant
2 pints cherry tomatoes
2 red peppers
2 orange peppers
6 green sweet peppers
2 pints blueberries
Bunch white asparagus
3.5lb bag clementines
2 lbs strawberries
2 cucumbers
Green onions

Is that unbelievable or what?? More recipes to come with what I decided to make with our $20 purchase...

Just for a few laughs, I wanted to share our lunch with you - SUBWAY, Eat Fresh! It was the quickest healthiest option near the house... after seeing all those veggies at the farmer's market, we were famished! I got a BMT with the works (my favorite) and Shaun got a turkey on wheat (so plain) HAHA!

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