Sticky Sweet Balsamic Lamb Chops

April 16, 2014 in Entrees, Holidays

Sticky, sweet, tangy. The perfect lamb chops for your spring feast.

Honey Balsamic Lamb Chops

Easiest and Tastiest Lamb Chops Ever.

This is the very first time we have posted a lamb recipe on this blog. Because lamb is spendy where I live, it is a once-a-year treat at our house – usually for our Easter feast.

And so, it has to be yummy. And easy. This honey balsamic glaze is tangy and sweet and just the right amount of sticky to make you lick your fingers brazenly with every bite.

This is a version of a recipe by Jamie Oliver, whose love for cooking healthy real food is contagious. I am an avid fan of his show 15 Minute Meals, and this recipe is the kind of food he cooks – playful and flavorful food that is easy and quick.

I did make twice as much of the glaze as he calls for – and for me this is the perfect ratio of glaze to lamb chop. I also added a dash of cayenne pepper sauce – just for a little heat. I think this is the perfect mix of flavor and texture for these chops – and this will be on my table on Easter Sunday.

– posted by Donna

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Rocket Man Pizza

April 10, 2014 in Entrees, Gluten Free, Vegetarian Entrees

 Never tried an arugula-topped pizza? 

Arugula, ricotta, chevre, and feta + garlic, lemon and thyme vinaigrette, topped with toasted hazelnuts = Rocket Man Pizza (with gluten-free crust from Bob’s Red Mill)

I’m sure Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland has many other delicious pizza offerings and other excellent far, but I wouldn’t know. Ever since encountering their “Rocket Man” pizza (rocket as in the UK name for arugula), I haven’t been able to bring myself to order anything else. It’s arugula tossed in a lemon-thyme (a long, long thyme?) vinaigrette, atop a bed of ricotta, chevre and mozzarella, sprinkled with feta and toasted hazelnuts as a final flourish.

I had the chance to hang with Donna and the family this weekend, and in an early celebration of my daughter’s 6th birthday, we had a pizza party with a variety of pies; some pre-made, some make-your-own. I’ve been wanting to try an approximation of HUB’s Rocket Man for a while now, so this was the perfect excuse to give it a shot.  Read the rest of this entry →

Easy Asian Chicken Meatball Stir Fry with Spring Vegetables

March 24, 2014 in Entrees

Asian flavors with chicken meatballs – just in time for spring!
Asian Chicken Meatballs

Hooray for Spring! Double Hooray for spring vegetables, I say! This time of year I just can’t get enough of green spring veggies – like peas, asparagus and green onions, also known as “spring” onions.

Spring vegetables are perfect for a stir fry dish – and I decided to make chicken meatballs in place of the usual chicken strips.

And my current Asian food obsession: ponzu sauce. Think soy sauce with citrus flavors. Sort of a Japanese vinaigrette. LOVE the stuff. It is perfect as a stir fry sauce, with just a little cornstarch stirred in.

This is a dish that comes together in about 20 minutes – so simple and packed with delicious Asian flavors. You could serve it over rice to stretch it as a family main dish – but I like it just out of the skillet.

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One Pot Honey Balsamic Spring Chicken Recipe

March 20, 2014 in Entrees

Easy Honey Balsamic Chicken – spring deliciousness on a plate.

Honey Balsamic Spring Chicken

Spring on a Plate – with honey balsamic flavors.

Easy weeknight meals require creativity and experimenting. Take this dish, for example.

I love chicken thighs and I have lately been craving spring ingredients. Asparagus is abundant and cheap the last few weeks! Why not chicken and asparagus together?

So I tried this dish with just the chicken thighs and the veggies, but it seemed too bland to me. I decided to up the flavor by adding the thighs back to the skillet at the end of cooking with a little balsamic vinegar and honey to deglaze the pan and to glaze the thighs. A million per cent improvement! We were literally licking our fingers to get every drop of this yummy sticky glaze!

This dish is really simple and an be on your table in about 20 minutes.

Happy First Day of  Spring Everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Corned Beef and Cabbage Pot Pie Recipe

March 10, 2014 in Entrees, Holidays

Irish comfort food – corned beef and cabbage in little pot pies.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Pot Pies

Good old American pot pies – St Patrick’s Day  edition.

These easy pot pies combine one of the greatest American dishes – pot pies – with the Irish classic – Corned beef and Cabbage. It had to happen, really. The salty flavorful bits of corned beef is perfect in a sauce with sweet veggies like onions, carrot and peas. Oh, yes, and cabbage.

You cook this dish the same way you would cook a chicken pot pie. I used corned beef I bought at the deli counter, sliced a little thicker than 1/4 inch. Then, I diced the corned beef into small cubes so that the corned beef flavor does not overwhelm the pies. I stirred in the diced cabbage after turning off the heat in the skillet, because if you cook it, the cabbage will turn to mush. This way it has the perfect texture.

You can use whatever biscuit recipe you like. James Beard’s famous cream biscuits (TWO ingredients: cream and self-rising flour!) would work well for this. Just roll the biscuit dough thin and cut into circles to top the ramekins. If you like, you can cook this in a 9 x 13 inch pan, but you will need to extend the cooking time a bit.

We at the Kellys celebrate March 17th as the second biggest holiday of the year. If you come to my house you you will meet lots of folks dressed in green – and please be prepared to eat a lot of Irish stew and colcannon. And mint chocolate chip ice cream = our neighbor insists on bringing it every year. St Pat’s Ice Cream, he calls it.

Either way, Happy St Patrick’s Day to All!

– posted by Donna

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Slow Cooker Coconut Milk Poached Fish Fillets

March 4, 2014 in Entrees

Poach your fish in coconut milk for buttery soft fillets.

Coconut MIlk Poached Fish Fillets

Buttery soft fish fillets – poached in coconut milk.

Poaching is underrated, IMHO. Especially with delicate fish fillets.

Poaching with coconut milk – plus aromatics of your choice for flavor – produces fish fillets that are buttery, fragrant and delicious. And so good for you.

This is the simplest way to cook fish – you just pour hot coconut milk into your slow cooker with whatever aromatics you like. I went with Mediterranean flavors like capers, parsley, lemon and garlic. You could add some peppers for a little heat if you like. Then you cook for about an hour on high – cooking the fish very gently The slow cooker is the perfect kitchen tool for cooking fish very gently.

Most poached fish recipes call for salmon – perhaps because of the high fat content in salmon that withstands poaching while staying moist. The oil in coconut milk provides fat and the fish absorbs it and becomes rich and buttery in texture. I used Chilean Sea Bass, but you could choose any mild white fish, such as cod, tilapia, even halibut – they all will be will be very tender and have a beautiful flavor. There is something about slow cooking that infuses wonderful flavor into your fish.

Try poaching fish and even those family members who used to turn up their noses at fish will become fish fans!

– posted by Donna

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Roasted Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

February 24, 2014 in Entrees

The perfect grilled cheese – spring edition.

Raosted Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Spring vegetables – in grilled cheese form.

Sometimes I have a craving for a good grilled cheese sandwich. Like today. And so, I set out to make the perfect Meatless Monday grilled cheese!  BTW, if you’re a grilled cheese fanatic, you must check out  Family Fresh Cooking’s post – 50 Amazing Grilled Cheese recipes. I drooled over all of them.

Roasted asparagus is one of the things I look forward to the most in the spring. And you just can’t go wrong roasting it in a very hot oven just until it begins to brown.

I have learned to do these things to take grilled cheese sandwiches to a whole new level of deliciousness:

1)  Grate the cheese(s). That way, you can have a mix of cheeses and you can add a dash of acid (lemon juice) and hot sauce (cayenne pepper sauce) (I like Frank’s) to wake up the flavor of the cheeses. Try adding a little ricotta in the mix, for creaminess. The cheese melts better this way, too.

2)  Add veggies that pair well with your cheese(s). Roasted veggie slices are fabulous on grilled cheese sandwiches – because they add a roasted flavor and the roasting process removes water so that your sandwich won’t get soggy.

3)  Cook at low heat and press your sandwich as it cooks. Adding a skillet or some weight to the top of your grilled cheese keeps the bottom in good contact with the skillet and you get a fabulous crunch on the outside of your sandwich. The Kitchn recommends keeping a lid on, but I think a press is even better. Perfect golden brown crunchiness – hard to beat!

4)  Use mayo! Slather the outsides of your bread with mayonnaise – and NOT butter – to make a beautiful crust on your grilled cheese sandwich!

Hang on food fans, winter is almost over!

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Asian Lacquered Sticky Chicken Recipe

February 21, 2014 in Appetizers, Entrees

Sweet and sticky Asian style chicken. Finger licking required.

Asian Chicken

Barbecued chicken is something I could eat most every day in the summer. And now I have found a new favorite winter chicken obsession: Asian sticky chicken.

The sauce in this dish is absolutely magical – it is the perfect blend of sweet and hot and sticky. It clings to the chicken and forms a clear glaze that is beautiful and rich looking. These are very messy to eat, but well worth licking your fingers.

Asian Sticky Chicken

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Caribbean Vacation Salmon

February 19, 2014 in Entrees

Caribbean Vacation Salmon

Let your taste buds take a tropical vacation!

Are you sick of winter, too? Gray has never been my favorite color, but in February I hate it even more.

Since a Caribbean vacation is not in my budget, I decided at least I could have the Caribbean on a plate. This sweet and spicy salmon fits the bill perfectly.

And, did you know eating salmon makes you happy? It’s true: it’s one of the good mood foods! Win-win in the winter time, I say.

This salmon is so easy, it is ready in 20 minutes from grocery bag to table. And you can use any jerk blend of seasoning that you like, but you will need to add just a few things. Or, follow my  ”jerk seasoning” recipe at the end.

I love this Caribbean proverb: Betta belly buss dan good food wase ((Better to overeat than to waste good food). Amen!

Hang on everyone – ONE MONTH OF WINTER LEFT!!

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Slow Cooker Italian Chili Recipe

February 2, 2014 in Entrees, Soups and Stews

 If chili moved to Italy, it would become this steamy bowl of goodness.

Yes, it's true. Chili made with the flavors of Italy.

 When chili calls, I answer. I have always loved the stuff, and my chili obsession has increased dramatically since I moved to the Rocky Mountains 10 years ago – seriously, when it is below freezing, I start to crave chili. I even daydream about chili. And in one of my daydreams, I dreamt about chili translated into Italian.

The Italian sausage is the star of this dish, so make sure you get the good stuff – I like the kind my grocery store makes daily. Then, the rest are more traditional ingredients – like beans and tomatoes. But the flavors are Italian all the way.

Serve this up in bowls with Parmesan and crostini on the side. Warmth to the belly and the soul!

– posted by Donna  Read the rest of this entry →