Saturday, April 20, 2013

Asparagus, Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Spring in Chicago is kind of terrible. I could really do without it. It's cold, it's rainy, and you get teased every other week with one really beautiful day that gives you hope that you can put away the parka and then next thing you know it's freezing again. This recipe for Asparagus, Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad is perfect for at least making you feel like real spring weather is around the corner. It has to be right???

 Asparagus, Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Serves: 2
Prep Time: 20 minutes

10 spears of asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp honey
bag of mixed greens
handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup hulled and sliced strawberries
2 Tbsp freshly crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss asparagus pieces with 1 tsp olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Lay out in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine the remaining 2 tsp olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and honey. Whisk until emulsified; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the mixed greens with the dressing, and then gently toss in the sliced strawberries, asparagus, and fresh basil. Top salad with feta crumbles.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Turkey Meatballs with Apricot Marmalade Glaze

Nothing is worse then showing up at a party empty handed. We went to our friends' house for appetizers and drinks a couple weekends ago and I wanted to bring a small appetizer. Nothing fancy but something that would travel well and be a crowd pleaser. The below recipe for turkey meatballs is a great party recipe. They are super simple to make and don't require many ingredients. I am always a little leery of cooking with ground turkey. It has a tendency to dry out and well, just taste too healthy, but the apricot glaze lends tons of flavor and moisture to the meatballs.


Turkey Meatballs with Apricot Marmalade Glaze

Makes about 25-30 meatballs
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 egg
1/4 c.skim milk
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 T. olive oil
1 c. low sugar apricot (or orange) marmalade
1 T. white wine vinegar
pinch of red pepper flakes

Beat the egg and milk in a small bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Add the ground turkey, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Shape the meatballs into 1 inch balls. Heat oil in a large skillet and place the meatballs in a single layer. Cook until well browned on all sides. Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set aside.

Mix marmalade, broth, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a skillet over medium heat. Bring to boil and then reduce to medium-low. Return the meatballs to the skillet and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has reduced to a glaze consistency.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Oven Braised Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary

Braising it a great way to get tons of flavor out of inexpensive cuts of meat. I have posted numerous braising recipes and the below recipe for chicken with lemon and rosemary is yet another keeper. We loved the tenderness of the chicken and the mushrooms, rosemary and lemons lend tons of flavor. Plus, how can you beat a recipe that involves one dirty dish?!
Yes, this chicken is still raw. I thought it looked really pretty pre-braising.
Oven Braised Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary

Serves 4
Prep/Cook Time: 40 minutes

8 chicken thighs (I used boneless skinless)
6 whole garlic cloves
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
8 Lemon Slices, seeds removed
1 Dried Bay Leaf
2 Tablespoons Capers, drained
2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
½ Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch Oven heat olive oil to medium high.  Brown chicken pieces on both sides and transfer to a plate. Lower heat to medium and add garlic cloves, cooking until lightly golden. Add onions and cook until evenly browned. Add chili flakes and sauté for an additional minute.  Add mushrooms and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Return the chicken to the pot. Add lemon slices, bay leaf, capers, and rosemary sprigs.  Place lid over the pot and put into the oven for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is done. Carefully take the pot out of the oven. Remove rosemary sprigs, bay leaves and skim off and discard any fat. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rigatoni with Asparagus-Pistachio Pesto

The below recipe for rigatoni with asparagus-pistachio pesto is another winner from Andrew Zimmern's food blog. He created the recipe while working at a French restaurant in Minneapolis years ago and apparently it helped win over his wife. It's easy to see why. This pasta dish was absolutely delicious. Brady did most the work so I can't talk about the labor that went into it but I can say that the pasta has tons of flavor. This recipe makes a lot so be prepared for leftovers, we were eating off it for a couple days. Probably not the best decision a few days before my final wedding dress fitting but luckily it still zipped!

Rigatoni with Asparagus-Pistachio Pesto
** adapted from Andrew Zimmern's blog

Prep/Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6-8

1/4 c. pine nuts
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 c. basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. honey
2 tsp. thyme, chopped
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 pound whole wheat rigatoni
1/4 pound sliced bacon
1 c. chicken stock
2 T. butter
1/4 c. pistachios, finely chopped
1/3 c. parsley, chopped
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400. Toast the pine nuts on a baking sheet for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

In a food processor, combine the asparagus, carrots and shallots and process until chopped. Put the mixture in a baking dish, stir in the basil, garlic, honey, thyme, lemon zest, cumin and 1/4 cup olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring once, until the vegetables are soft and starting to brown. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Set the pasta aside and toss with just a little olive oil to coat.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and then chop.

In a large skillet or pot, combine the cooked vegetables with the stock and butter and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the pasta, pine nuts, pistachios, and the reserved pasta water. Cook until the sauce is thick and the pasta is coated. Stir in the parsley and chopped bacon. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with grated cheese.