Archive for August, 2010


…are actually delicious!  Dwight Schrute, I owe you an apology.  We found a recipe for beets and chive cream in this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine had them alongside RR’s Ratatouille Riggies from Every Day.  What a delicious meal!

For the ratatouille you need:

  • 1 lb. eggplant
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. whole-wheat rigatoni rigate
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can plum tomatoes
  • crushed red pepper
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • parsley, for serving
  • Parmigian0-reggiano, for serving

Boil a pot of water, salt it, and cook the beets for 35 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450.  Cut the eggplant in half and score the flesh with shallow crisscross cuts.  Brush the surface lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place the eggplant cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until the vegetable is tender.

Boil another pot of water and salt it for the pasta.  Cook it to al dente, about 10 minutes.

Season the zucchini with salt and pepper, then dredge the slices in flour.  Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet over medium-high and cook the zucchini in batches for about 1-2 minutes a side.  Add one clove of garlic to the last batch and drain the veggie chips on a paper-towel-lined plate.

In another skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high.  Cook the other 2 cloves of garlic and the onion; season the mixture with the thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Cook until the onions are tender, about 4 minutes.

Mix the stock, tomato paste, and roasted red pepper in the food processor and chop until the mixture is smooth.

Add the red pepper mixture to the onions and bring it to a boil.  Then, add in the plum tomatoes and crush them with a wooden spoon or potato masher.  Bring the sauce back up to a bubble and stir in a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Knock the heat back to a simmer.

When the eggplant is done, scoop the flesh out into the food processor and blend it until smooth.  Then, add it to the tomato mixture on the stove.

When the beets are done, drain them and use a paper towel to rub the skin off.  Quarter the beets and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt/pepper.  Stir together some Greek yogurt and chopped chives to make a dipping sauce.

Toss your pasta with the tomato sauce and top with fresh basil, a dash of parsley, some zucchini rounds, and Parmigiano.   Serve alongside some beets topped with a dollop of chive cream.

Beets really are delightful, especially with this chive cream!  And, the zucchini rounds that top this ratatouille are absolutely delicious–I could eat them plain on a regular basis!  I highly recommend making this meal and taking advantage of the produce department while it still has a ton of goodness to offer and before the winter months hit!



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…were meant to be together.  Schatzi chose Rocco’s salmon with mustard crust and spinach as one of our meals this week, and I can’t say I was particularly optimistic about it.  I just couldn’t see the flavors of salmon, mustard, onion, and orange working together so perfectly.  However, I was most certainly proven wrong when we made this delicious dinner!

For Rocco’s salmon you need:

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp. bacon bits (we used 4 pieces of turkey bacon, crumbled)
  • 12 oz. baby spinach

Preheat the broiler on low and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Mix the onion, orange, and mustard together and season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Lay the salmon on the baking dish and season with salt and pepper.  Cover the fillets completely with the mustard-coated mixture and broil for 8-10 minutes until the onions start to char.

Heat a skillet over medium-high and coat it well with the spray.  Cook the garlic just until fragrant, then toss in the spinach and pop a lid on the skillet.  Wilt the spinach for about 3 minutes and mix in the bacon and some pepper.

Serve a salmon fillet topped with the veggies on a bed of the spinach/bacon mixture.

I still can’t believe how good this fish supper is!  It really is divine, especially considering that it has under 10 grams of fat and only about 250 calories!  We will most definitely be making this meal again.


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…was one of Schatzi’s delicious creations.  He had the idea to make stuffed tomatoes, and they were quite delicious!

For Schatzi’s tomato breakfast you need:

  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 link chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup hash browns
  • 2 eggs
  • your favorite Mexican cheese
  • cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare the tomatoes.  Simply cut off the tops and scoop out most of the insides, making a cup.

Brown the chorizo in a skillet over medium heat.  When it’s almost done, toss in the hash browns to crisp them a bit.

Stuff a tomato with a layers of chorizo, hash brown, and cheese.  Then, crack an egg on top.  Bake the tomatoes for about half an hour or until the egg sets.

Serve a tomato topped with a dash of cinnamon on a bed of extra hash browns.

These stuffed tomatoes are delicious !  Having a husband who can cook is absolutely awesome.


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…is one of our favorite meats to cook with.  However, we don’t use it too terribly often because of the fat content!  When we do decide to splurge and eat this delicious sausage, it is always enjoyable.  Lately, we’ve been attempting to develop our own recipes, and last night we made the much-anticipated creation that we now like to call “chorizoloaf.”

For Mexican meatloaf  you need:

  • 1 lb. ground elk/beef
  • 4 links Mexican-style chorizo
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo
  • 1/2 tbsp. adobo sauce
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350.  Combine the meats, eggs, almost all of the onions, breadcrumbs, milk, and cilantro.  Mix it together using your hands and mound it into a loaf.

Next, combine the tomatoes, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon, and the rest of the onion in the food processor.  Pulse the sauce until it is thick and mostly smooth.

Spread the sauce on top of the loaf and bake it for about an hour.  In the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, top the loaf with the queso fresco crumbles.  When the cheese is melted and slightly browned, it’s time to eat!

We served a slice of chorizoloaf with an ear of corn on the cob topped with herb butter.

This version of meatloaf is delicious, if I do say so myself!  Experimenting in the kitchen is always a lot of fun, and (as I’ve said before) you really can’t go wrong when chorizo is involved…


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…was wonderful, as it was shared with my family at the beach for vacation!  We made an old favorite, baked french toast casserole, and I daresay it was enjoyed by all!

For this delicious breakfast you need:

  • 1 loaf french bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • dash of salt
  • praline topping, recipe follows

The night before you want breakfast, combine the eggs, milk, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Lay your sliced bread in a greased 9×13, overlapping the slices.  Pour the prepared batter over the bread, making sure everything is nice and saturated.  Cover it up and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, heat the oven to 350 and make the DELICIOUS praline topping.  You need:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Simply melt the butter and combine all of the ingredients.

Spread this luscious topping over the prepared bread and bake for 40 minutes.

Now.  Paula Deen says to serve this casserole with maple syrup, but I promise you won’t need it!  Serve up a plate of casserole as is.

This casserole is so easy and is  just too good!!  We love making it for our families (then taking a 10 mile hike afterward to burn off all that butter!).


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…hit the spot like nothing else!  It is such a classic meal, and it’s rare to find a person who doesn’t have their own favorite version of the recipe.  We made RR’s mini meatball risotto last week, and it is delicious!  With mini meatballs scattered throughout creamy risotto, you really can’t go wrong.

For RR’s meatball risotto you need:

  • 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 cup Parmigiano-reggiano
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef (we used elk)
  • 3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400.  Combine the tomato sauce and stock in a large skillet over low heat.

In another pot, heat a drizzle of oil.  Add the onion and 2 cloves of garlic and cook for a few minutes to soften them.  Then, add the arborio and toast it for a minute.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute.

Stir in the wine and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated.  Then, add in a ladle of the tomato sauce mixture.  Stir until it has been mostly absorbed, then add another ladle-full.  Continue this process until the tomato mixture is gone.  The rice will take about 18 minutes to finish.  During the last few minutes, stir in the butter and about half of the cheese, then the basil.  Good risotto takes awhile–don’t rush it!  The end product is always worth the effort!

While the risotto is going, mix the breadcrumbs and milk.  Add the egg, parsley, meat, salt/pepper, and the rest of the cheese and mix it all Together.  Score the meat into 4 equal sections and make 8 tiny meatballs from each section.  Place them on a baking sheet, coat with a drizzle of oil, and bake for 5 minutes until they are nice and golden.

Serve up a bowl of risotto topped with about 8 tiny meatballs and some crunchy broccoli alongside.

Subbing risotto for spaghetti is, quite frankly, brilliant.  This is an absolutely fantastic meal that we highly recommend you try!


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…are one of those foods that I often get a craving for, but almost never indulge in.  It certainly isn’t a food we keep in our freezer,  and when it gets down to it, we just aren’t the type of people who will go to Buffalo Wild Wings on a whim.  However, last night, my months of craving the taste of delicious wings was more than satisfied by RR’s meal of hot wing sloppy joes paired with buttermilk mashed potatoes.  We had both been looking forward to this meal all day and it did not disappoint!

For the sloppy joes you need:

  • 2 lbs. ground chicken
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 6 burger buns, toasted
  • dill pickles
  • blue cheese crumbles

Heat a skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes.  Then, add in the vegetables and garlic and continue cooking the mixture for another 5 minutes.  Season the mixture with some salt and pepper.

Combine the hot sauce, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, and stock.  When the veggies and meat are finished cooking, stir this sauce into the mixture and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

Rachael completes this meal with delicious buttermilk mashed potatoes.  You need:

  • 2 1/2 lbs. potatoes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chives, diced
  • 6 slices bacon
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 and place the bacon on a broiler pan.  Cook it for 15 minutes, until the meat is nice and crispy.  Then, chop the meat into bite-size pieces.

Peel and halve the potatoes, place them in a pot, and cover them with cold water.  Bring the water to a boil, salt it, and cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes, until they are fork-tender.  Using a potato masher, mash in the buttermilk, chives, and cheese.  Fold in the bacon and you are good to go.

Serve a bun piled high with the sloppy joe mixture, dill pickles, and blue cheese and a dollop of mashed potatoes alongside.

This meal is SO GOOD!!!  I can’t wait to have clearance tonight and eat it again.  And, with the addition of vegetables, buttermilk, and homemade hot sauce, this version of hot wings is considerably healthier than ones in the frozen section of the grocery store or at your favorite wings restaurant.  Give it a try–it is sure to satisfy your craving for wing goodness!


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