Sunday, May 31, 2009

Noodles with Sugar Snap Peas and Red Peppers

A few weeks ago I made this dish of noodles with broccoli and was so happy with the results that I was excited to try different variations.

We made these pork chops tonight so I thought noodles with Asian flavors would pair nicely.

  • 2 packages Ramen noodles - noodles only, not the seasoning packet
  • 1 c sugar snap peas
  • 2 red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 10 oz chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)


Last time I used a foil pouch cooking method, but I'm getting low on tin foil so tonight I layered the ingredients in a baking dish and covered it tightly with foil.

  • Place noodles in the baking dish
  • Put all of the veggies on top
  • Pour the liquids on top of everything and seal the dish with foil
  • Cook in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes

This is not a gourmet side by any means, but for how quick, easy, and delicious it was, I'm not complaining!

What's this, another marinade post?

Must be grilling season! Jon not only loves grilling, but as you can probably tell by the number of marinade posts in my blog, he loves creating marinades.

Tonight's marinade was for pork chops -

  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
Warning - sake is highly flammable! We had some good sized flames on our grill when Jon first put the chops on. He grilled them on high at first to sear them, and then did them low and slow - about 15 minutes on low.

This marinade gave a very light flavor with just a bit of a kick, but not too much. We both agree that it would work well on chicken.

I served the chops with these noodles with snow peas and red peppers.

Grilled Marinated Steaks and Mushroom Risotto

Saturday night has become our night for cooking or grilling a nice dinner at home instead of going out. We come up with a nice menu together, something that takes a little longer and is a little fancier than a weeknight meal. Jon usually gets a nice bottle of wine that we can enjoy with dinner and then on our deck after dinner.

So yesterday I picked up some strip steaks and Jon picked up a bottle of Cakebread Cab to go with them. I also planned on making risotto as well as sauteed spinach.

Jon created yet another fabulous marinade for the steaks:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup scotch
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano

The steaks marinated for about 7 hours and they really took the flavors from the marinade. They were delicious!

Jon always requests risotto when we grill steaks, so I made a simple mushroom risotto. I started with onions, shallots, and garlic, and chopped baby bellas, and added freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the end. Here is a similar recipe using different kinds of mushrooms and cheese, and vermouth instead of white wine, but the method is the same.

Finally, the wine. We enjoyed a 2006 Cakebread Cab.

We have enjoyed older vintages of this wine, and found this one to be similar, although not as oaky. It was very smooth yet full, and is worth the splurge in our opinion.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grilled Veggie Salad

We had a small family party on Memorial Day, and except for the amazing burgers and natural casing dogs from a local farm, we made all of the food.

Appetizers -
- Jon's
shrimp and cocktail sauce
Pico de gallo (Jon made it this time)
Tortilla pinwheels - I made some like the ones in my original post with the addition of chopped fresh spinach, and changed up some ingredients on the other half. I mixed cream cheese with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne instead of using the dry Ranch dressing. Delicious!

In addition to my
potato salad, I also wanted to serve another fresh salad. I came up with an idea for grilled vegetable salad while flying to Chicago last week (lots of time to think on a plane!).

Ingredients (serves 10)
  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 2 yellow squash, halved lengthwise
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 5 bell peppers - I used a mix of green, red, yellow, and orange. Remove tops and seeds
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, quartered
  • 1 head garlic
  • Handful chopped fresh basil
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper, dried oregano


  • Toss veggies (except garlic) with olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano
  • Chop the top off the head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in foil. Place on top rack of grill to roast.
  • Grill veggies until you get some nice color on them. I had to do this in 2 batches and it took about 20 minutes total. Remove veggies from grill and chop into bite sized pieces.
  • Remove garlic from the grill after 30 minutes and peel - I was surprised that it had perfectly roasted in that time!
  • Toss veggies with the garlic and basil. Chill until ready to serve.

When I thought about this recipe, I planned on tossing the veggies with olive oil after they were grilled as well, but I didn't have to. I didn't even need to add more salt and pepper, and the basil was just a nice touch at the end - I probably could have gone without it.

The grilled flavor was enough to make this a delicious and fresh salad. And could it be any prettier? I love all of the colors.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Food at Yankee Stadium

My sister called me last week to let me know that one of her vendors gave her tix to Yankee Stadium and to ask me to go. Of course I'd go! Even better, they were playing my Phillies!

She said we had good seats only 9 rows behind home plate so I was super excited. Little did I know that we were in the really good seats with access to the Legends Suite Club.

After walking around the stadium a bit and taking it all in, we found our way to the Legends Suite Club. I felt like I was walking into a nightclub, or a VIP area in a casino. After getting our wristbands, we walked into the first bar and restaurant. Opus One at a baseball game?
And the food! Sushi, crab legs, lobster, prime rib, salads, tons of fresh veggies, wings, shrimp, bacon wrapped asparagus, fruit salad, pasta made to order, several types of sausage, sliders, beautiful desserts, and an ice cream bar.

We went downstairs where there was another buffet and bar - this room also had a nightclub feel. It was very dark, cool, and sleek, and there must have been 120 plasma TVs between the two rooms. Oh, that's not including the TVs built into the mirrors in the bathrooms!
After enjoying a few innings of baseball from our amazing seats (look at this view!!)...

...we went inside to enjoy some of the food (all free, included with the ticket).
Now I'm all for eating well, but who eats gazpacho and calamari salad at a baseball game? Wow. Everything was really good, too. It didn't taste like buffet food at all. We both went back for seconds...

And if the two buffets aren't enough for you, you can order off this menu..yes, for free. Again, truffle fries at a baseball game??

If you still have room after all of that food, you can enjoy some of the treats the waitresses were offering during the entire game - ice cream sandwiches, water ice, Cracker Jacks, peanuts, and cotton candy. Just because I could, I grabbed a Hebrew National hot dog in the 10th inning (extra innings make my hungry!).
To top it all off, my Phillies won in the 11th inning. Who could ask for anything more? Thanks for a great day, Stacy!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Easy Marinade for Grilling - chops or chicken

Today was a busy day and we are both traveling tomorrow so we needed something quick and easy for tonight. We love grilling when it's nice outside (actually, we grill year round, even in the snow!), and Jon comes up with the best marinades, so grilled pork chops it was.

Marinade for 2 Boneless Pork Chops

  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • A few turns of freshly ground black pepper

The chops marinated in the fridge for about 6 hours. Jon grilled them by searing them over high heat, and then he turned the heat to medium low and finished them - about 15 minutes.

YUM!!! For such a simple marinade, this delivered a ton of flavor!

I served the chops with sauteed broccoli rabe and shells tossed with butter and Parmesan cheese.

Cilantro-Lime Fish

In an effort to try to eat more fish, I came up with this recipe using flavors that I love - coriander, cilantro, and lime.

  • Fish filets - I used 3 orange roughy filets but can also see tilapia, grouper, basa, or sea bass working as well
  • Salt, pepper, coriander, chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sm white onion, finely chopped
  • Juice from 1 lime plus 6 slices lime
  • Handful freshly chopped cilantro


  • Heat oil in an oven-safe saute pan over medium heat; pre-heat oven to 375.
  • Lightly season the fish with salt, pepper, coriander, and chili powder
  • Add onions and garlic to the pan, saute 2-3 minutes
  • Add fish to pan, squeeze some lime juice on the top and cook on each side for 45 seconds, seasoning the other side with lime juice when you flip the fish.
  • Top with lime slices and cilantro and move to the oven for 5 minutes, or until fish is done.

The fish was very light with subtle flavors of the lime and cilantro. I served it with sauteed peppers - red, yellow, green, orange, and poblanos - and rice.

The other thing on the plate is sauteed hominy... I had a can to use so thought it would go nicely with tonight's dinner. I'm glad I tried the hominy but don't need to make it again!!

I hope everyone enjoys their long holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wine Braised Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

I have not been good about menu planning the past few weeks. Once my travel schedule gets busy, I end up planning day by day. This results in a lot of meals where I just make things up as I go along, but based on my past few meals, this usually works for us.

So last night was another night of grabbing what I had to pull together dinner. My main ingredients were chicken breasts, asparagus, crimini mushrooms, shallots, garlic, wine, and chicken broth. I decided to brown the chicken, cook the veggies, and then braise the chicken in the wine and broth.

Ideally I would have served this over Herbed Polenta, but Jon isn't a fan so I stuck with noodles.

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt, pepper, dried thyme, paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1-inch long pieces (remove ends first)
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 1 14.5 oz can low sodium chicken broth


  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan
  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, dried thyme, and paprika; add to pan. Cook until golden brown, approximately 5-6 minutes per side. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  • Add shallots and garlic to pan; saute 2 min
  • Add mushrooms; saute 2 min
  • Deglaze pan with half of the wine, scraping up brown bits
  • Add asparagus and stir
  • Add the rest of the wine and the chicken broth and bring to a simmer
  • Return chicken to pan, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

This was absolutely delicious. It was extremely fragrant while cooking, and the flavor was just as good - light and fresh.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sauteed Curried Chicken with Peppers

Another one of those nights of "what ingredients do I have on hand and what quick and easy meal can I make with them?"

Chicken, peppers, onions, garlic, and pantry full of spices and other staples. I remembered a dish I made and really like a few weeks ago, Sauteed Curried Beef with Broccoli. Let's try it with chicken!

I changed a few of the ingredients and the cooking method, and came up with this -


  • 2 chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can low sodium chicken broth
  • Sliced bell peppers - I used a bit of red, orange, and green peppers (about 1/2 pepper each)
  • 2 cups rice, cooked


  • Heat oil in a large saute pan
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to pan and cook 6-7 minutes
  • Add onions and cook 3 minutes
  • Add garlic, brown sugar, curry powder, broth, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil.
  • Add peppers; cover and let simmer 8-10 minutes.
  • Serve over rice

This definitely worked with chicken. I'll put this on the menu again when I'm looking for something quick and easy yet full of flavor.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sausage-Broccoli-Pepper Pasta Bake

Ingredients on hand (that I felt like using): Hot Italian sausage links, broccoli, assorted peppers, and pasta. My original plan was to crumble the sausage and cook it with the veggies and then toss with pasta, similar to these recipes for
Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe and Pasta with Sausage, Broccoli, and Red Peppers.

But last minute I decided that baking everything together with a Mornay sauce would be good (Mornay is what a Bechamel sauce becomes when you add cheese). I threw this together as I went along.

Jon grilled the sausage so we wouldn't make such a mess in the kitchen - you know, all the grease that splatters when you brown sausage, and that aroma that sticks around for a day or two.


  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • Assorted peppers, chopped. I used half each of a green, red, and yellow pepper
  • 1 sm onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 lb dry pasta - I used Rotini
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 c light cream or half and half - I used a mixture of both
  • 1 c shredded cheese - I used mostly Parmesan and a touch of cheddar
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Optional: red pepper flakes
  • 4 links sausage, grilled or cooked, and sliced into rounds (or crumbled and cooked if that's how you like it)


  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove. Add the peppers and cook for 45 seconds. Remove. Cook pasta in this water once the veggies are removed. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water.
  • Heat butter and oil in a pot. Add garlic and onions. Cook 2 minutes.
  • Add flour and stir until coated
  • Add cream, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a steady simmer.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in your cheeses (it's best to add cheese off the heat to keep it from getting chalky). Adjust seasonings if needed.
  • Toss pasta, veggies, and sausage with the sauce. Pour into a baking dish.
  • Cover and cook on 400 for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

We both loved this. The sauce was so creamy, the sausage gave the entire dish great flavor, and I loved the extra kick from the red pepper flakes.

It makes a dad is getting lunch tomorrow and we're even going to have the leftovers for dinner tomorrow (if you know my husband, you know he's not crazy about leftovers except for his famous roast beef, chili, and meatballs/sauce). So that says a lot about this dish!!

Dry Rub for Pork Chops

Aah, it's so nice to come home from a business trip and get back in the kitchen. Hotel and restaurant food gets old quickly.

I was wiped out by the time I got home, but still wanted to cook so I made something simple - a dry rub for pork chops.

After Jon trimmed the chops, I rubbed them with smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, salt and pepper. I didn't measure, but used enough to fully coat the chops, using smoked paprika the most.

Jon grilled them - aren't they pretty? He seared them over high heat, and then turned the grill down and let them cook for another 12 minutes or so. They were tender and juicy, and the dry rub was a gave them a very earthy, smoky flavor.

I served the chops with my
Creamy Vegetable Orzo and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Shrimp and Pasta in a Garlic-Lime-Cilantro Broth

Last week started my busy travel season - every week for the next 2 months, at least. But I was home on Sunday and felt like cooking so I whipped up an easy dish - shrimp for Jon, chicken for me.

My inspiration came from a dish I made a while back - Spicy Chicken and Linguine in a Garlic Lime Broth.


  • Pasta of your choice, cooked - I used capellini tonight. I used linguine in the original recipe.
  • 3/4 lb shrimp (or 1 chicken breast, chopped)
  • Spices - salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tequila
  • 1/3 c chicken broth
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro


  • Coat shrimp (or chicken) in the spices
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan
  • Add shrimp and garlic (if you do this with chicken, cook the chicken before adding the garlic). Cook until done.
  • Deglaze pan with tequila
  • Add chicken broth, lime juice, and cilantro. Bring to a simmer
  • Toss with pasta.

3 cloves of garlic for one person? In our house, yes!! This was so easy and was packed full of flavor. We both love lots of garlic, the flavors from chili powder and cumin, and the balance the lime and cilantro add to a dish.

Jon tossed his shrimp and pasta with roasted broccoli before I had a chance to take a picture, but this would be just as good on its own, without broccoli.