Monday, May 23, 2016

Taste of Thanksgiving in May - Big Blue Turkey Burger

I always try to do Thanksgiving in May each year since it is my favorite holiday and why make an effort to be thankful only once a year?  The past couple of years I experimented with turkey tenderloins http://cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2015/05/thanksgiving-in-may-2015.html
http://cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2014/05/thanksgiving-in-may.html,
but this year for some reason my fridge has been overflowing with leftovers so decided to go real simple and do turkey burgers. 

Rachael had made this one shortly after Thanksgiving of last year giving me the idea to pick up a bottle of TJ’s cranberry sauce while it was still available so I can make this any time of the year without having to worry about looking for fresh cranberries in the summer.  Taking advantage of tomatoes being in season this time of year, getting the best of both worlds, I used that instead of the lettuce.  Leftover blue tortilla chips from Cinco de Mayo redux is perfect to serve alongside or smashed in like another burger topping giving it extra crunch!! 

To make it really feel like Thanksgiving, I made the same chestnut and mushroom stuffing like last year, this time with a sprinkle of smoky bacon - http://cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2015/05/thanksgiving-in-may-2015.html.  Happy Thanksgiving in May!!

Big Blue Turkey Burger Rachael Ray Show – http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipes/21736_big_blue_turkey_burger/

Price:  $10 for 4 Servings = $2.50 per serving


 
 

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ayesha Curry’s Oven Roasted Brown Sugar Chicken

With amazing moves and awe inspiring shots, it makes me and many of you wonder what is Steff Curry eating to give him what seems like superhuman powers.  Although I am a huge fan of his on the court and can just watch his top 30 shots/moves on repeat all day long, it is how he holds himself off the court that makes me an even bigger fan.  Being a supportive husband as just another audience member for wife Ayesha Curry’s first time on the Rachael Ray Show last September, making an effort to have at least one meal a day around the table as a family when he is not on the road, his deep appreciation for Ayesha and that recognition that she is the reason he can do what he loves per his recent MVP speech, and his patience as a father sharing the spotlight with Riley.  The flurry of Twitter activity over a shot of Ayesha supporting and being so proud of her husband at a recent game causing a small amount of controversy of men wishing they can have their own version of Ayesha Curry.  Well, they can if they can be even half the man Steff Curry is. 

But back to my original question, what is Steff Curry eating?  Ayesha gave us a behind the scenes look into not only their kitchen (I can only dream about what I can do if I had an oven like that!) but one of the dishes reminiscent of her roots and eclectic background.  With the brown sugar to sweeten up the soy sauce and how tender it is, it reminds me slightly of Hawai`i’s Shoyu Chicken since Shoyu has a sweetness that is normally missing from regular soy sauce.  I had some chard in my fridge so made Garlic Chard - http://cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2014/03/grilled-chicken-breast-with-zucchini.html for my veggies.  Since the pan I used to brown the chicken could not go in the oven (see notes below), I made the chard right in that same pan picking up all the delicious flavor left behind and didn’t even need any chicken stock, just a little water as the liquid to steam in.  Delicious!! 

Although I cannot guarantee that you can play like Steff Curry, by eating like Steff Curry, this is definitely a winner, chicken dinner!!

Ayesha Curry’s Oven Roasted Brown Sugar Chicken Rachael Ray Show - http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipes/22775_ayesha_curry_s_oven_roasted_brown_sugar_chicken/

Notes: 

1.      I did not have an oven proof pan/Dutch oven (Maybe Rachael Ray will one day let one fall of the truck for me!) that I could just transfer straight into the oven to finish cooking so I had to be creative and transfer the chicken into a Corning Ware and poured the sauce over it before putting the glass lid on top to finish off in the oven. 

2.      Not sure why the recipe said chopped ginger but I grated it like they had done on the show to tone down the pungency of it.

Price:  $10 for 4 Servings = $2.50 per serving
 
 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Green Eggs and Ham and Open Faced Avocado Toast a la Carmel Belle

I love brunch but very rarely do I get a chance to go out for it.  This weekend happened to be the exception as we had an entire free day to ourselves.  After a crazy 10 hour drive to, through, and back from the Grand Canyon to Phoenix exactly 2 weeks before, a less than 3 hour round trip drive seems like a piece of cake.  So our recent Sunday destination happened to be Carmel and Monterey.  I had a go-to place for brunch in Carmel for over 10 years but a couple of years back had found our experience literally hard to swallow prompting me to look for a new spot.  Seriously, how can you call sliced bananas on top of a plain cold pancake that had obviously been sitting out banana pancakes? 

Anyways, since I had such a great dinner at La Bicyclette last year, I thought I give them a shot for breakfast.  Unfortunately they close at 10:45 after breakfast and reopened at 11:45 for lunch.  With my heart set on that elusive brunch, we went for the backup, Carmel Belle - carmelbelle.com, hidden in the Doud Studio’s area.  With so many wonderful choices, it was hard to decide but I did see two items I knew I would love, their Open Faced Avocado Toast and Green Eggs and Ham but since I had all the ingredients to make it myself at home, it gave me a chance to try something else like their delicious Berkshire Pork Sandwich and Poached Eggs with Fra`mani Sausage. 

All I needed was to pick up a fresh baked Italian Roll from Luca while I was in Carmel for a buck and I had everything I needed to make the two other dishes I wanted.  So I loved the idea of being able to cook brunch items for breakfast, lunch, or dinner thanks to Rachael so here is my version of Carmel Belle’s Green Eggs and Ham and Open Faced Avocado Toast!  Bonus is it helps me keep my New Year’s Food Resolution going as well of replicating a restaurant dish at home monthly. 
 

 

Open Faced Avocado Toast
 
Ingredients

1 Avocado (preferably not too ripe), sliced thinly if possible
Sea Salt
Fruity Olive Oil – I used lemon one
Soft French or Italian Bread Sliced on a bias

Preparations

  1. Toast your sliced bread
  2. Top with your thinly sliced avocado
  3. Grind a little sea salt over the avocado
  4. Drizzle with your fruity olive oil
Notes:  My avocado was a little ripe so was harder to thinly slice so they were thicker and therefore less slices per toast.  I was able to get 3-4 small slices of toast out of one large TJ’s avocado.   

Price:  $1.50 vs. $7.50 out



 
Green Eggs and Ham

Ingredients

2 Slices of Prosciutto
2 Eggs (Poached)
2 Slices of French or Italian Bread cut on a bias
Mint
Parsley
Lemon Juice
Pistachio

Preparations

Poach your Eggs

  1. After water has boiled, lower it to a simmer and add 1 tbsp of vinegar to water
  2. Crack an egg in a separate bowl
  3. Swirl the boiling water with a spoon
  4. Gently slip the egg from the bowl into the swirling water
  5. The vinegar and the swirling water will help keep the egg whites closer to the yolk
  6. Cook to your desired consistency in the simmering water after it has floated (covered for about 2-3 min for medium)
Assemble your dish

  1. Toast your sliced bread
  2. Top with Prosciutto
  3. Place drained medium poached egg on top -
  4. Add dollop of pesto

Notes:  Using ingredients I had at home, I didn’t make the arugula pesto Carmel Belle top their’s with.  Instead, I made the mint, parsley, and pistachio pesto like last week’s Orechetti - http://cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2016/05/orechetti-with-asparagus-fresh-peas-and.html

Price:  $1.25 vs. $10.75 out (price is reflective of the fact that I already had the ingredients leftover for the pesto from the previous recipe)


 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Orechetti with Asparagus, Fresh Peas, and Lemon Herb Pistachio Pesto

I love finding recipes that turn out even better than it sounds and this one was surprisingly one of them.  Full of spring time veggies, it was right up my alley since I love cooking with seasonal vegetables due to its reasonable price point in season and the freshness it lends to the dish itself.  I normally make traditional basil based pesto with pine nuts but when I saw Rachael using pistachio nuts, my mind went right to the ½ bag that has been sitting in my pantry since I made Shamrock Muffins for St Paddy’s Day.  I was pleasantly surprised that this mint one was not overpowering but instead helps dial back the parsley.  Most ingredients are available at my favorite one stop TJ’s and just substituted (orechetti vs. cavatelli) or left out a few (tarragon, spring onions) that I couldn’t find. 

Overall, it was a success and since it is delicious served hot or at room temp, a great shareable dish after my MIL’s cataract surgery. 

Cavatelli with Asparagus, Fresh Peas, and Lemon Herb Pistachio Pesto - http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipes/22745_pasta_with_spring_vegetables_and_pistachio_mint_pesto/

Price:  $10 for 6 Servings = $1.67 per serving



Friday, May 13, 2016

Prosciutto Wrapped Avocado and Egg

This is a twist on a twist on an original.  Rachael saw this on a menu at Estrella Restaurant in LA area but never got a chance to try it first hand since she was flying out the next day.  Sounds like me discovering Mau`i restaurants via the inflight magazine, but on the way home.  I loved the flavor profile of this dish with the creaminess of the avocado, the saltiness of the bacon, and the decadence of a poached egg.  However, not wanting to have to buy bacon just for this dish, I substituted it with a couple of slices of proscuitto I already had on hand and made it open faced to avoid avocado overload.  Because I used prosciutto, I did not have to brown it nor put in the oven to crisp it up as I find heating it makes it overly salty.  So the only cooking here is poaching the egg to your liking. 

 
 
Price:  $2 for 2 Servings = $1 per serving


 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chicken and Refried Beans Nachos

Since we just got back from a whirlwind trip to Arizona and Vegas, I did not make anything for Cinco De Mayo this year.  Instead my cousin bought us enchiladas and tamales from a Mexican restaurant to food “celebrate”.  I normally buy vegetarian refried beans to ensure there is no lard in them but not having any control over how the restaurant makes them and most Mexican places find that it makes a huge difference in flavor it was too heavy for me.  We paired our food with the Mexican rice for our lunch and dinners and only 1 out of the 3 servings of beans that came with the orders.  Not wanting to waste the other 2 servings, I figured out a way to lighten it up and make a meal out of the leftover refried. 

For my last meal, I changed my final product at the last minute and fused two recipes together for a grilled lemony chicken breast with tomato pizzaiola sauce.  Since I didn’t use my zucchini, tomatoes, and corn to top my chicken as originally planned - http://cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2014/03/grilled-chicken-breast-with-zucchini.html, I decided to make nachos full of vegetables and topped with the sliced grilled lean chicken breast.

I made sure to cook up extra diced zucchini and corn so I can top any leftover chicken breast as my original plan.  So ultimately, I ended up with 3 different meals from the grilled chicken breast including a dinner for two and lunch for 1 with leftover refried beans.  Admittedly it was still on the heavier side which is why I seldom go out for Mexican, at least I didn’t have to feel so bad once it is loaded with veggies.  Since I wanted to make it better not worse no nacho cheese sauce but just a sprinkle of shredded cheese to hold it together a little.  

Ingredients

Refried Beans
¼ cup chicken stock
Shredded Cheese (Mexican blend or cheddar)
2 Zucchinis Diced
2 Tomatoes Diced
1 Avocado Diced
1 Cup of Frozen Corn
Blue Tortilla Chips
1 Grilled Chicken Breast cut in strips

Preparation

1.      Thin out the refried beans with the chicken stock until it is pliable and heat in microwave

2.      Steam the frozen corn for about 3 minutes

3.      Saute the zucchini with the steamed corn for about 5-6 minutes

4.      Layer the bottom of a Pyrex dish with tortilla chips

5.      Spread the thinned out refried beans over the chips

6.      Top with 2/3 of the vegetable mixture

7.      Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and run under the broiler until cheese has melted

8.      Top with the remaining 1/3 of the vegetable mixture, tomatoes, and avocados

9.      Serve with additional chips on side if needed

Price:  $5 for 3 Servings = $1.67 per serving



Monday, May 9, 2016

Chicken Pizzaiola

Since zucchini, tomato, and corn seem to be in season these days, I originally was going to make my tried and true Grilled Chicken Breast dish -  http://cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2014/03/grilled-chicken-breast-with-zucchini.html.  I even went as far as marinading the meat in the lemon juice, zest, and garlic before deciding to switch it up last minute when I saw my leftover pint of baby heirlooms. 

Recently I made a steak sandwich that was so tasty I decided to make the same sauce using the rest of the baby heirlooms over grilled chicken breast, making this a fusion of two dishes.  Since I had limited baby heirlooms leftover, I only had enough pizzaiola sauce for the dinner portion so I will be pairing some of the rest with the zucchini, corn, and tomato I originally planned and wait until you see what I have planned with the remaining chicken breast. 

Tomato Sauce was prepared the same as for this steak pizzaiola sandwich
http://cookwithzee.blogspot.com/2016/04/steak-pizzaiola.html