Monday, January 19, 2009

Italian Meatloaf

I love a good meatloaf, but it's surprising how rarely I eat or make it. Ever since Cooking Light did a feature on meatloaf in a fall 2006 issue, I've realized there's more that you can do with it than the traditional.

I also recently visited the Austin downtown farmer's market and picked up some really delicious fig and red wine jam from Watson Farm in Fredericksburg, which I thought would be the perfect topping for a rich Italian meatloaf- boy was I right!

Italian Meatloaf

2 pounds ground sirloin

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 cup fig and red wine jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 9 ingredients (through basil) and form in 2 9 by 13 loafs. Mix cheeses and top on one of the loaves. Place the other loaf on top and seal edges. Spread jam over it and bake an hour and 15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

I served these with some really simple mashed potatoes that complimented the meatloaf marvelously.

Sun Dried Tomato Mashed Potatoes

1 pound small red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in salted boiling water about 20 minutes, until soft. In the mean time, pulse tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until creamy. When potatoes are done, drain and place back in warm pot. Mash with a fork until slightly lumpy. Mix in sun dried tomato mixture and serve.

wasn't my prettiest meal, but it sure was tasty!

Sweet and Sour Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

I realized that I hardly ever cook with shrimp, which is surprising because it's so versatile and tasty. I went for a simple Asian dish that has tons of great vegetables and flavor. And, this meal was extra special because my best friend Brittney surprised me and came in town. As you may recall from an earlier post, she loves my Polynesian Chicken, and this closely mirrors that. Here's to old friends!

Sweet and Sour Shrimp

1 pound shrimp, deveined and tails off
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
1 small can diced water chestnuts
2 mangos, peeled, pitted and chopped
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Cut shrimp into bite-sized pieces and toss in flour. Heat oil and butter in a nonstick skillet on medium high heat. Saute shrimp about 3 to 4 minutes until warmed. Remove and cover with foil. Cook garlic, onion and bell peppers in remaining oil in pan for about 5 minutes. Add water chestnuts and mango and saute additional 2 minutes.

Combine sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, water, ketchup and cornstarch in a saucepan and heat until thickened, stirring occasionally, 5 to ten minutes. Stir in 3/4 of mixture into vegetables and add shrimp. Serve over rice with additional sweet and sour sauce on the side. If desired, serve in lettuce cups for an added crunch :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Steak Tacos and Black Beans

My coworker Eric always has delicious homemade tacos everyday for lunch, so I decided to make my own steak tacos Friday night. I went a little crazy with sides and toppings (with the roommates' help!), so we had quite a feast. I also used a delicious spice combo that my friend Ivette gave me for Christmas which was Chili, oregano and salt to season the steak- the flavors really complimented one another.

Steak Tacos

2 pounds flank steak
1 tablespoon chili, oregano and salt mixture
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 avocados, sliced and di
1 poblano peppe
r, roasted
2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Corn tortillas


2 mangos, peeled, pitted and sliced

1 cup shredded jicama

1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons cheddar cheese

Top steak with first 3 ingredients and marinade for 30 minutes to an hour. Hea
t a grill pan to medium high heat. Cook steak about 5 to 6 minutes on each side (for medium to medium rare). Remove from heat, let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Combine 1/2 avocado, pepper, sour cream and salt and pepper in a food processor and serve as sauce for tacos in corn tortillas. Top tacos with remaining avocado and mangos, jicama, cilantro and cheese as desired.

Black Beans

4 cloves garlic

1 cup chopped red onion

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed

1 green bell pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup corn kernels

1 teaspoon chili powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and red onion and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook about 10 minutes. Serve with rice and cheddar cheese.

The boys also prepared fried yucca and plantains which were SO good. If I ask nicely, I'm sure I could get them to blog about it :)

The final product!

As an added bonus, I had some beans left. The next morning I made a southwestern scramble simply by scrambling 8 eggs then mixing in the beans for the last minute of cooking (I warmed them first) and topped with some cheese. Delicious!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Barbecue Buffalo Burgers

I love a good burger, but I hate to make the same one twice. I decided to mix up my proteins this time and try using ground buffalo. This is a healthier alternative to beef and had a lot of flavor. I topped it off with some homemade barbecue sauce, the recipe courtesy of my roommate Luke's dad. Yum!

Barbecue Buffalo Burgers

2 pounds ground buffalo meat
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1/2 medium red onion, cut into rings
6 slices sharp cheddar
6 Kaiser rolls

Barbecue Sauce:

3 cups ketchup
3/8 cup brown sugar
3/8 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1/2 stick butter
1 teaspoon garlic
1 cup water

Heat grill. Combine first 4 ingredients and form into 6 patties. Cook on grill about 6 minutes on each side. During the last minute of cook time, place a slice of cheese on each patty to let it melt. Place onion rings in foil and cook about 10 minutes on the grill. Place grilled onions and barbecue sauce on burgers and serve with sweet potato fries.

To make the barbecue sauce, just simmer all ingredients on the stove until flavors meld. Enjoy!

Lamb Kebabs with Greek Yogurt Sauce

The great thing about living in Texas is that you can grill pretty much any time of the year. I had some Greek yogurt in the fridge, a hankering for lamb, and an itch to use the grill. What seemed more perfect that to make some tasty lamb kebabs with a Greek yogurt dipping sauce? This was a really flavorful meal that was super simple to create.

Lamb Kebabs with Greek Yogurt Sauce

1 1/2 pounds leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

10 small red potatoes, halved as needed
1 green bell pepper, halved, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
20 mushrooms
20 cherry tomatoes

First, soak about 20 wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. Start the grill and let the coals go for 30 minutes. When skewers are ready, thread 5 to 6 pieces of lamb on 6 skewers, reserve about 15 skewers for vegetables.

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and brush 1/2 of the mixture over the lamb, reserving the rest for later. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Grill lamb for about 6 minutes on each side until browned and medium to medium rare in the middle.

For the vegetable kebabs, thread assorted veggies on skewers. Brush with the remaining canola oil mixture and grill 10 to 15 minutes. Be warned, the potatoes may take longer, so you may want to cook them separately to prevent scorching of the remaining vegetables.

Greek Yogurt Sauce

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve on the side of lamb kebabs for dipping. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Cranberry Rice

We had extra pecans and fresh cranberries from our holiday cooking, so I gladly took the leftovers to create a new dish. I loved the rice because it turned out pink :)

Pecan Crusted Chicken
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted
1 cup baking mix (like Bisquick)
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat ov
en to 425 degrees. Pulse pecans in food processor, then combine with remaining dry ingredients and place in a shallow dish. Whisk together egg and milk and place in a shallow dish. Dunk chicken breasts in egg then dredge in pecan mixture and place on a baking dish. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until juices run clear. Serve with honey mustard or barbecue sauce.

Cranberry Rice

1 1/2 cups rice, prepared
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Heat cranberries and orange juice in a saucepan until reduced. Stir in vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper, then cool. Stir into prepared rice with celery and dried cranberries and serve.

Orange Br

4 cups broccoli
1 orange
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam broccoli, then toss with zest and juice of one orange and salt and pepper.

Ham and Veggie Quiche

Happy New Year! My apologies for the delay, but here's another leftovers recipe I created last week with some honey glazed ham from Christmas. I love eggs and saw a delicious quiche at the bakery by my office, so I thought this was the perfect time to experiment with my own.

Ham and Veggie Quiche

1 pie crust

1 cup cooked ham
1 cup steamed broccoli

1/2 cup fresh spinach

1 cup roasted cherry tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar

4 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Layer pie crust with ham, vegetables and cheese. Whisk together eggs, cream, milk and salt and pepper and pour over ham and vegetables. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes and serve.