Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Asparagus Soup with Chicken Sausage

I've been very spoiled lately. Brady hasn't been traveling and he's been making dinner on nights that I get home later. It's been so nice! Brady made asparagus soup last week and it turned out great. I loved that the soup was rich and creamy yet it didn't have any butter or cream in it. It certainly doesn't look or feel like spring right now but this perfect spring soup has me hoping that it's right around the corner!

Asparagus Soup with Chicken Sausage

Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes

2 T. olive oil
1 package of chicken sausage, cut into small cubes
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
4 c. chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pices
6 oz. plain Fat Free Greek yogurt

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken sausage and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate and set aside. Add the green onions and garlic and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and broth and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the asparagus and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In small batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the yogurt and chicken sausage and season again with salt and pepper. Serve with a little grated cheese and warm bread.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pasta with Eggplant and Garlic Thyme Breadcrumbs

Pasta always seems like an easy option for Friday night dinners during Lent. Brady came across this recipe for pasta with eggplant and garlic thyme breadcrumbs recently and we gave it a try last weekend. We eat tons of vegetables but I tend to forget about eggplant. I think it's partially due to the fact that eggplant requires a little prep work. I also try to avoid heavy groceries when it's just me doing the grocery shopping! This dish reminded me though how tasty eggplant is and that it's completely worth the extra 30 minutes to let it soak in salted water to get rid of any bitterness. Luckily, the rest of the steps in this recipe are simple and the end result is delicious!

Pasta with Eggplant and Garlic Thyme Breadcrumbs

Prep/Cook Time: 45 minutes

8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. tomato puree
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
12.5 ounces whole wheat rigatoni or fusilli pasta
1 eggplant
1 T. capers
1 T. black olives, halved
salt and pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Garlic Thyme Breadcrumbs
6 T. breadcrumbs
3 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme

Preheat the broiler to HI.

Cut the eggplant into small cubes and put them in salted water for half an hour. After soaking, pat them dry and put them on a baking dish covered with a little cooking spray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and broil them for about 4-5 minutes, until golden and crisp. Set them aside.

Cook the pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, saute the garlic in a pan with 2 T. olive oil. Add the halved tomatoes, the tomato pure, a little salt and 3 T. of water. Let the sauce cook for 5 minutes on low. Add in the capers, olives and a little torn basil.  Add the baked eggplant cubes and mix well.

While the sauce is simmering and the pasta is cooking, combine the garlic thyme breadcrumb ingredients in a small bowl.

Before draining the pasta, put 2 T. pasta water in the tomato and eggplant sauce. Drain the remaining pasta water and then combine the pasta and eggplant sauce. Serve with grated cheese and the garlic thyme breadcrumbs on top. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pistachio Cranberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Last Sunday, Brady made a stuffed pork tenderloin for our pre-Oscars dinner. It was absolutely delicious. Brady loves pork tenderloin and I think everything tastes good with creamy goat cheese added to it so it was a win win. This is also a faux fancy recipe because the ingredient list is short, it doesn't take long to prepare, but the end result is something that you could easily serve to company and they would be impressed.

 Pistachio Cranberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

3/4 c. raw unsalted shelled pistachios
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces goat cheese
salt and pepper
1 1/2 to 2 pound pork tenderloin
2 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Toast 1/4 cup pistachios in a small skillet over medium high heat until slightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Side aside. Meanwhile, grind the remaining 1/2 c. pistachios in a food processor. Pour onto a plate and set aside.

Put the toasted pistachios into the food processor along with the cranberries and garlic. Pulse until the mixture is evenly grown. Add the goat cheese and pulse to combine.

Butterfly the pork tenderloin. Sprinkle the inside of the meat with salt and pepper. Spread the pistachio/cranberry/goat cheese mixture evening on the inside of the meat. Roll the tenderloin lengthwise and tie with butcher's string at about 2 inch intervals. Roll the tied tenderloin in the ground pistachios, pressing the pistachios onto the meat, until fully coated.

Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet. Place the tenderloin in the skillet and sear on all side 1-2 minutes or until browned. Place the skilled in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the inside of the pork is cooked through.

Remove from the oven, place the tenderloin on a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.