Friday, September 25, 2009

Old Fashioned Chicken Pasta Salad

Fall is creeping in around the country, but not here in Arizona. It is still hot, so I am going with a great chicken pasta salad that is packed with crunchy veggies. Get some water boiling and lets get started.


* 2/3 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
* 1/3 cup frozen corn
* 1 cup cubed cooked chicken
* 1/4 cup sliced celery
* 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
* 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
* 1 tablespoon chopped onion
* 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* 2 teaspoons white vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. Cook corn according to package directions; drain and cool.
In a serving bowl, combine the macaroni, corn, chicken, celery, egg, green pepper and onion. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Yield: 2 servings.

You will need some frozen corn, onions, macaroni, green pepper, cooked chicken, celery, white wine vinegar, mayo, salt and my secret ingredient, Cumin. The recipe calls for hard boiled egg, but I didn't have any eggs so none went in!

I got these great organic onions at the local farmer's market. They are the perfect size for cooking small portions.

Chop up the green pepper and the celery.

Get your pasta into the water.

Chop up the cooked chicken, I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You cannot beat the convenience of these things, I always pick one up when they have a sale.

Chop the onion.

Measure out the mayo and vinegar.

Add in some of the secret ingredient. Cumin is my favorite, I add it to tuna salad also.

Mix it all up to make the dressing.

Drain your noodles and get them in a big bowl. I am using one of my most recent Pyrex finds.

Add in the chicken and the chopped veggies.

Stir in the dressing and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours. This is a great salad to make ahead to take for a pot luck or picnic.

When its chilled out for a while, plate it up. I made this again in a larger portion to take for a weekend away in the mountains, it was great!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Asian Salisbury Steak

Everyone remembers Salisbury Steak from the old TV dinners but this version is way better and is super easy to make. The recipe comes from Eating Well Serves Two.

12 ounces 90%-lean ground beef
3/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
4 bunches or 2 4-ounce bags watercress, trimmed (16 cups)
1/2 cup Shao Hsing rice wine (see Ingredient note) or dry sherry

1. Place rack in upper third of oven; preheat the broiler. Coat a broiler pan and rack with cooking spray.
2. Gently mix beef, bell pepper, scallions, breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce and ginger in a medium bowl until just combined. Form the mixture into 4 oblong patties and place on the broiler-pan rack. Brush the tops of the patties with 1 teaspoon oil. Broil, flipping once, until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add watercress and cook, stirring often, until just wilted, 1 to 3 minutes. Divide the watercress among 4 plates. Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add rice wine (or sherry) and the remaining 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce and stir until smooth, bubbling and slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Top the watercress with the Salisbury steaks and drizzle with the pan sauce.

First thing is to preheat your broiler and then we can gather some ingredients. You will need some ground beef or bison as I used, hoisin sauce, bread crumbs, scallion or shallot, sherry or rice wine (I actually used marsala), red pepper, ginger and some watercress or spinach. I couldn't get watercress that day and spinach worked out great. You also need a little vegetable oil.

Lets get prepping. Chop up the red pepper.

Chop up the shallot.

Chop the ginger. I keep my ginger wrapped in plastic and foil and store it in the freezer. I don't use it that much so it keeps much better that way.

Get your meat into a bowl, I have a great vintage Melamine bowl.

Drop in the chopped veggies and ginger and add in the hoisin and the breadcrumbs. Reserve some hoisin for the pan sauce at the end.

Combine everything but don't overwork the meat or it will get tough.

Grab you veggie oil and a brush.

Form the meat mixture into patties and put them on a greased broiler pan. I use the non stick Reynolds wrap and I love it! Once they are down, brush the tops with the oil. Put them in the broiler and set the timer for 4 minutes. Having a timer in the kitchen is so important to me, I would have had many disasters without one.

In a sauce pan or skillet add in a teaspoon of oil and get it hot.

Flip your steaks after the 4 minutes is up.

Drop in the greens into the hot oil and give it a quick stir until they are wilted about a minute or 2.

Get the greens out and on to the plate and pour in the wine and the reserved hoisin and give it a stir until bubbly.

Pull out the steaks and you are ready to eat!

Plate the steak on the greens and pour the sauce over it all. This was so delicious and so easy to make. You will not be thinking TV Dinner or cafeteria lunch after you try this version of Salisbury Steak.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Edamame Lo Mein

I have been busy lately but still finding time to cook some simple and delicious meals. This vegetarian dish is perfect for a weeknight. It comes from the cookbook Eating Well Cooks For Two.

8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
2 cups frozen edamame (shelled soybeans)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup oyster sauce or vegetarian "oyster" sauce
1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 small red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and edamame and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, whisk scallions, oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and crushed red pepper in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved.
3. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add carrots and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pasta and edamame. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is crispy in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sauce and stir to combine.

Get some water boiling and lets gather some ingredients. You will need some whole wheat spaghetti, frozen edamame, green onion,(which I didn't have) oyster sauce (they do make a vegetarian variety or you can just leave it out) rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, red pepper, vegetable oil, carrots and red bell pepper.

This is really the only prep you have to do and if your local grocery store has a salad bar, just stop in and grab them pre cut. This is a great tip if you are cooking for one. Salad bars let you buy small portions of ingredients so there is no waste, and you save time on prep.

Once your water is boiling drop in the pasta and the edamame. I know that some purists think that whole wheat pasta is evil, but in a dish like this it is a good choice because its very filling and adds another layer of flavor.

While your pasta boils with the edamame, cut up the green onion (if you have it) and combine it in a bowl with the oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and red pepper. Stir it until the sugar is dissolved.

Next you want to drop your cut veggies in a frying pan with the vegetable oil, I used peanut oil. Cook those for 3-4 minutes until softened.

Drain your pasta and edamame.

Get it in the pan with the veggies.

Pour on the sauce and give it a stir to combine and you are ready to eat.

Simple, quick and delicious. You won't miss the meat as the whole wheat pasta is filling and the sauce gives it such a great flavor. If you don't have or don't like edamame you can replace it with peas or even green beans. Lots of variety means you can make this often and change it up.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pork Cutlets with Cumberland Sauce

This recipe comes from the Eating Well Serves Two cookbook that I have been really enjoying. I had never heard of 'Cumberland sauce' so I did a little research on Wikipedia and found that it was named for the Duke of Cumberland in Germany but is very popular in England. It traditionally uses red currant, but I sure didn't have any of that laying around, so I used Red Cherry preserves instead. Lets get all of our ingredients together and get cooking.


* 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 thin-cut boneless pork chops (8 ounces), trimmed of fat
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1 small shallot, minced
* 1/2 cup dry red wine
* 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
* 1 1/2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon red currant jelly
* 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
* 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard


Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper, transfer to the pan and cook until browned and no longer pink in the middle, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add shallot to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add wine and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk cornstarch and vinegar in a small bowl; whisk into the sauce. Cook, stirring, until thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in jelly, sugar (if using), mustard and any accumulated juices from the pork. Serve the pork with the sauce.

You need some olive oil, 2 boneless pork chops, a shallot, red wine, corn starch, red wine vinegar, red current jelly (or any red berry jelly should work fine), brown sugar and dijon mustard.

Measure out the brown sugar, dijon and jelly.

Chop up the shallot pretty fine. If you cannot find shallot, just use regular onion.

Measure the vinegar.

Measure the wine. Perhaps pour an equal amount into a glass for yourself just to be sure it tastes ok.

Season your pork with some salt and pepper and we are ready to get cooking.

Get some oil in a pan over medium high brown them for a few minutes on each side.

I put the lid on to be sure the pork gets a little more cooking in as my chops were not that thin. I let them brown for about 4-6 minutes per side.

Once they are browned, get them out and cover them with foil or a covered dish so they stay warm.

Add in the shallot and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Add in the wine and scrape up all the tasty pork bits from the bottom. Bring it to a boil and let it reduce for 2-3 minutes.

While its reducing, whisk the cornstarch into the vinegar. Pretty in pink!

Stir it into the sauce and let it thicken for about 30 seconds.

Get it off the heat and stir in the sugar, dijon and jelly. Add any juice that may have come out of the pork as it rested and give it a final stir.

Pour it over the pork and serve with your favorite veggie side. This goes right along with my love affair with savory and sweet. I can't get enough.