Thursday, October 22, 2009

Steak and Portobello Risotto

In case you haven't noticed, I don't prepare steak very often. Don't get me wrong, I like it, I just don't crave it as often as others. Luke was heading out of town, and it was a Saturday night, so it seemed like the perfect night to prepare a special, slow cooked meal. This takes a little time, but it's well worth it.

Steak and Portobello Risotto

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large portobello mushroom cap, cut into 1 inch pieces

Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound sirloin steak
2 cups arborito rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced shallot
1/2 cup dry white wine, warmed
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup shredded parmesan

Heat a skillet on medium heat and warm 1 tablespoon oil. Add zucchini and mushroom to skillet and saute about 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat a cast iron skillet and spray with cooking spray. Rub down steak with salt and pepper, and cook in skillet about 5 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness is reached. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat a large, heavy saucepan on medium low heat and warm 2 tablespoons oil. Add rice, garlic and shallot and cook, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine and cook until until absorbed by rice, then start adding the broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Once 1/2 cup has been absorbed, add another, until risotto is creamy. This should take about 20-30 minutes, and note that you may not use all of the broth. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper and stir in parmesan. Stir in vegetables, then top with steak. Enjoy!

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

I hardly ever use pepperoni (even when making pizza), but every now and then I just get the biggest hankering for it. Although I love pizza, pasta always tops my list, so I decided to create a pasta using traditional pepperoni pizza toppings for a fun spin. With whole wheat pasta and subbing some shredded parmesan for gobs of mozzarella, this is a healthy(ish) swap!

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

1 pound whole wheat large pasta shells

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup pepperoni, roughly chopped
1 cup sliced olives
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dried basil
Parmesan, shredded

Place a large pot of water to boil, and cook pasta until al dente, drain and set aside. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium heat and warm oil. Saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes, then add bell peppers and cook another 5. Stir in marinara sauce and let simmer about 10 minutes. Add in pepperoni, sliced olives, salt and pepper and basil and cook 2 minutes. Top with desired amount of parmesan (I used about 1 cup). Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chicken and Grape Couscous

I love those Thursday night meals that come together with a flash of inspiration, and this one was no different. We recently helped Zoes Kitchen open their Austin location a few weeks ago for work, and I got some of their famed "Spice of Life"- a secret mix of Mediterranean spices. Since it's secret, I'm not sure what exactly is in it, but I'd recommend subbing with salt, pepper, garlic, basil and oregano if you can't get your hands on some. I used that as my muse for Thursday night's dinner and was not disappointed :)

Chicken and Grape Couscous
2 cups whole wheat couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups grapes, halved
1 cup olives, halved
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Zoes Spice of Life
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook couscous to package instructions. Set aside, keep warm. Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat and warm olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste and cook until done, about 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Add to a large bowl with cous cous and toss with grapes, olives and lemon juice. Season with Spice of Life and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in feta cheese. Enjoy!

"Potato Salad"

1 pound potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons oil, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Zoes Spice of Life
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 ounces fresh romaine
1 ounce parmesan, grated

Preheat oven for 400 degrees. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil and season generously with salt and pepper and Spice of Life. Bake about 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet on medium heat and warm 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions and saute 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and add to a bowl. Toss with romaine and parmesan, and potatoes when slightly cooled. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Balanced Weeknight Meal

Some nights inspiration just strikes. After my success with with brussel sprouts, I decided to do a take 2 and see if I actually liked them (and not just the bacon!) I saw this recipe for Nutty Warm Brussel Sprouts Salad in Cooking Light, and did my own (a little less healthy) spin. This meal fell together nicely and represented lots of important nutrients. The brussel sprouts tasted almost sweet! A great weeknight meal.

Nutty Brussel Sprouts
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 elephant garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 pound brussel sprouts
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded Asiago

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute or just until golden, stirring constantly. Add breadcrumbs; cook 1 minute or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Transfer garlic mixture to a small bowl.

Separate leaves from Brussels sprouts; quarter cores. Heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add leaves and cores to pan; cook 8 minutes or just until leaves wilt and cores are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; toss with breadcrumb mixture, salt, and pepper. Top with walnuts and cheese.

Cranberry Rice
2 cups brown rice

1 tablespoon butter
Salt to taste
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Prepare rice according to package instructions. Stir in butter and salt to taste, and toss with cranberries. If you have addition walnuts from the brussel sprouts, try those too!

Maple Dijon Pork
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch thick slices
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Season pork with salt and pepper on both sides. Warm 1 tablespoon oil in skillet, and cook pork, about 7 minutes on each side, until done. Remove to a plate.

Heat remaining oil in skillet and whisk in maple syrup and dijon, bring to a simmer. Whisk in butter, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Add pork back to skillet and toss in sauce. Serve.