This week we’re looking at seafood, ground beef, and chicken thigh recipes.
This week we’re looking at seafood, ground beef, and chicken thigh recipes.
I love Cabot cheese. I think you KNOW that I love Cabot cheese.
As a member of their “Cheese Board” (get it?) I get regular deliveries of cheesy goodies on my doorstep. Which, let’s face it, is pretty freakin’ awesome.
Recently, this box from Heaven contained a cheese I hadn’t tried before. A “Tomato-Basil” Cheddar.
Now, another thing I love is all things caprese (tomato/mozzarella/basil), so when I saw this lovely block of white cheddar labeled “Tomato-Basil”, it didn’t event require a second thought…
What could possible be better for the Ultimate Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich?
Yeah, it rocked.
Oh, and if you can find this “Everything” Italian bread…it was amazing!
MY KITCHEN Outreach Program
The Ultimate Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
4 thick slices of rustic artisan bread (your choice)
3.5 oz Cabot Tomato Basil Cheddar Cheese (sliced ½ inch thick)
1 firm beefsteak tomato, sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1-2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Coarse sea salt, to taste
Brush each sliced of bread (both sides) with a little olive oil.
Layer 2 pieces of the bread with cheese slices and chopped basil.
Pre-heat a nonstick pan over medium-low heat, and drizzle with a melted butter. Grill sandwiches until golden brown, add tomato, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, to taste.
Top both pieces with remaining bread, flip and grill until cheese has melted.
DO NOT cover the pan with a lid to melt cheese, it will make your bread soggy!
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To serve, cut in half and serve hot, maybe with a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar.
Okay, let’s face it…some folks love to make sushi. Rolling perfect cylinders with their little bamboo mats, slicing perfect rings with their razor sharp Yanagibas (sushi knifes), and topping them with brightly-colored little garnishes of this and that.
Some of us, however, just love to EAT sushi.
And no sushi is more ubiquitous to the Western sushi-bar than California Roll.
First appearing in Los Angeles in the 1960s, the California Roll is a maki-zushi, a kind of sushi roll, usually made inside-out, containing cucumber, crab meat or imitation crab, and avocado.
Though there are many variations of additional ingredients, these are the “mainstay” of the California roll.
As one of the most popular styles of sushi in the US market, the California Roll has been influential in sushi’s global popularity
Ichiro Mashita, a sushi chef, first substituted avocado for toro (fatty tuna) in hope that removing the raw fish would make it more palatable to Western customers, and realized the oily texture of avocado was a perfect substitute for toro. He also made the roll “inside-out” (with the rice on the outside), because Americans didn’t like seeing and chewing the nori on the outside of the roll.
By the 1980s, the California Roll was the single most popular item in the sushi craze that was sweeping across the United States.
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This recipe allows for the same flavors and textures of the traditional California roll, without requiring the skills or equipment necessary to create the more familiar rolled presentation, with Furikake seasoning replacing the traditional nori (seaweed sheets).
Furikake seasoning can be found in Asian grocery stores, or can be ordered from our Amazon.com store.
Deconstructed California Roll Salad
1 batch sushi rice (recipe below), room temp.
2 Tbsp. Furikaki seasoning
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1 small cucumber
8 oz. imitation crab or lobster
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce for serving (opt)
Mise en Place
Prepare the rice (recipe below). Peel, seed, and cut cucumber into half-rounds. Break imitation crab into bite-sized portions. Peeled and pit the avocado, and slice 1/4-inch thick.
Prepare the Dish
Divide the cooled rice between two plates, and sprinkle with 1/2 of the Furikaki seasoning and 1/2 of the toasted sesame seeds. Top with crab, cucumber, and avocado, the sprinkle with remaining Furikaki seasoning and sesame seeds.
Serve immediately with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce (all optional).
1 cup sushi or short grain rice
1 cup water
1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
Rinse rice in a mixing bowl 2 to 3 times, or until the water is clear.
Place the rice and 1 cup of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Combine the rice vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture.
Allow to cool to room temperature before using to make sushi or sashimi.
Makes 2 cups
There are tons of recipes online for leftover turkey so I’m not going to re-hash (ha!) them here. Instead, I’m going to share with ya’all my one go-to recipe that I always make in the days following a bird roastin’….Roast Turkey Risotto.
Risotto is a class of Italian dishes of rice cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be meat-based, fish-based, or vegetable-based; many kinds include Parmesan cheese, butter, and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy but still with some resistance or bite: al dente, and with separate grains. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all’onda (“wavy, or flowing in waves”). It is served on flat dishes and it should easily spread out but not have excess watery liquid around the perimeter. It must be eaten at once as it continues to cook in its own heat and can become too dry with the grains too soft. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risotto)
“How rice arrived in Italy is a controversial issue,” say Anna Maria Volpi, Culinary teacher and author of the FANTASTIC Italian food blog, Anna Maria’s Open Kitchen. “It is known that the Arabs brought rice to Sicily and Spain. They probably got it from India and extended its use through the territory under their control.
Rice was brought into the Po Valley in the fourteenth century—probably from Spain—and found the perfect environment and climate: flat lands, abundance of water, and humidity. Rice cultivation became intensive in the area for the centuries that followed, so much so that rice became a staple in that part of Italy.”
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Now, despite my own Italian heritage, risotto wasn’t a dish that was prepared out own house, and this recipe was one that was passed along to me by Nona on her death-bed. I created this off-the-cuff recipe one day several years ago, the day after Thanksgiving in fact, when I was trying to come up with a dish worthy of the pan full of golden delicious turkey broth I was staring at.
It turned out to be a hit.
As my fellow foodie Chef Chris Renner would say, “I’d rather be lucky than good!”
Just a note – many folks think that risotto is a hoity-toity dish, reserved for fancy restaurants and accomplished chefs. Nothing could be further from the truth! Risotto is a very simple dish who’s most important ingredient is patience…patience and a big spoon. You’re going to to stirring constantly, so make sure that everything else is prepared for the meal in advance.
5 Cups Turkey broth* (& pan scrapin’s)
1 cup dry white wine
2 Cups cubed turkey
2 Cups Arborio rice
1 leek, sliced thin
1 Cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 Tbs fresh garlic, diced
3/4 Cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
2 Tbs butter, divided
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
Salt & pepper to taste
*If you didn’t save your turkey broth, you can swap this out with 8 teaspoons of Better Than Bullion chicken base, mixed with 5 cups of boiling water.
Heat separated broth and wine to a low simmer, keep hot.
Sautee onion and leeks in 1 Tbs each oil and butter, five minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook five more minutes until mushrooms have just begun to soften.
In a large separate pan, heat the remaining oil and butter, over medium heat and add dry rice. Stir constantly until rice just starts to brown and give off a nutty aroma.
Add sautéed veggies and stir.
Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until mostly absorbed. Maintain a constant heat that causes the dish to steam, but not quite simmer (no bubbles.) Repeat until rice becomes creamy and takes on a pearly sheen. Remove from heat and stir in turkey and 1/2 cup cheese. If you run out of broth/wine mixture, continue adding hot water until finished.
Side Dish Recommendation: Steamed asparagus or broccoli goes nicely.
Wine Recommendation: The mushrooms and Parmesan in this dish will go beautifully with a light red Burgundy.
NOTE: I’m not a fan of smoked bird, myself (I’ll take brisket, thanks!) but I’ve been told that this recipe works pretty darn good with leftover smoked turkey, as well.
Chef Chris will roll his eyes, I’m sure, but there IS such a thing as too much heat!
Here are some great tips on how to tame the flame in a too-spicy dish. If you have a favorite method that’s not on the list, be sure to share it below!
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Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk and foster kids!
A few ingredients with big flavors make for big taste. These quesadillas deliver the classic combo of beef and horseradish in a delicious, easy to make, handheld snack.
Disclaimer: Cabot Creamery makes my favorite Horseradish Cheddar, and the cheese for this recipe was provided to me for free, as a member of the Cabot Cheese Board.
Roast Beef & Horseradish Cheddar Quesadilla
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 large flour tortillas
1/4 lb Italian roast beef (deli)
1 cup, Cabot Horseradish Cheddar, shredded
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 11 minutes
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray, and place 1 tortilla in the pan.
Top the tortilla evenly with onion and cheese, allow cheese to start melting, and add roast beef. Fold tortillas in half.
Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining quesadillas.
Cut each quesadilla into 3 wedges; serve.
PS – Want a chance to win a year’s worth of delicious Cabot Cheeses, along with their new cookbook? Check out the details here!
This recipe isn’t included in our free meal plans, but it’s too awesome not to share…
I love it when the various bits of the flotsam and jetsam that bob randomly about in my head occasionally drift together into something useful.
Here’s an example:
Several weeks ago, we had the privilege of teaching some classes and hosting some special dinners for the awesome kids at the Sparks of Hope summer camps.
The regular meals were provided by the kitchen staff of the camp (best camp food I’ve ever had, btw), and one night, they grilled steaks.
Now, I’ll be perfectly honest, when the guy manning the giant bin-o-steaks asked me if I wanted medium-well, or well done, I had to fight not to shudder visibly, or possibly burst into tears, over such an atrocity being committed to a lovely bit of beef. But I was polite, I took one of the little brown hockey pucks and shuffled dispiritedly back to my table, where I sat and stared at it with an overwhelming sense on underwhelmation. (Yes, I made that word up…)
But, I had to be polite, right?
I had to set a good example for the kids, right?
So, I tried it…and instantly suffered one of the “paradigm shifts” that everyone is always yapping on about.
The steak was obviously well done, solidly brown all the way through, but it was also juicy, tender, and full of flavor…a condition I would have bet my favorite saute pan was not possible in an “overcooked” steak like the one I was eating.
Seriously, it was really, REALLY good!
Obviously, there was a secret here that I had to weasel from someone.
Chef Cris and I tracked the grill-master down, and he was kind enough to share his trick…we didn’t have to pull a knife or ‘nuthing…but I’m not going to tell you what it is quite yet (don’t panic, all will be revealed in the recipe…)
At our new country digs, the nearest “grocery” stores are about 10 miles from our farm, and we pass them nearly every day. coming and going.
All on the same crossroad, sit a Fred Meyer, a Safeway, and a Dollar Tree.
Now I do most of my shopping at the local produce co-op about a mile further down Main Street, but I often pick up the rest of my odds and ends at one of these three. Dollar Store, in particular, is a great source for a lot of the gear and disposables we us in our MY KITCHEN classes.
Outside of the Dollar Tree hangs a big banner, proudly announcing “Rib Eye Steaks, $1 each!
Like an itch between the shoulder blades that only becomes harder to ignore the harder you try to ignore it. Rib-eyes? At Dollar Tree? For a dollar? It became something of a sick obsession for me, I had to see them for myself.
I had to cook one of these “Dollar Tree Steaks” and find out what they were all about.
What I found was a 3.5oz, one-half inch thick frozen cross section of a rib-eye steak, each packaged individually, and each bearing a disconcerting resemblance to a Dr. Scholls sneaker insert.
Unfortunately, it’s been my experience that steaks this thin are nearly impossible to cook properly. To get the proteins to caramelize on the outside, you have to cook them far too long for the thickness, and then they toughen up, so…your options are tasteless and tender, or a delicious flap of shoe-leather.
I was disappointed, but not dissuaded. I threw a few of the frozen cow planks into my basket, and headed for the door.
Once home, I tossed them into the freezer, and promptly forgot about them.
So, the swirling tide that brought the various bits of this post (and recipe) all together was another sick obsession of mine…Pinterest. One of my favorite “pinners” posted a recipe and a to-die-for picture of a rib-eye sandwich with fried onions.
I wanted it…I’m telling you…I wanted it bad.
And then it clicked…the Dollar Tree ribeye steaks (purchased the week before) were still in my freezer. Their shape and thickness practically begged for the addition of a toasted hoagie roll. Plus, I had a fresh bag of sweet onion…and the grill-masters secret ingredient, already in the kitchen.
I swear, on the eyes of my children (which I always thought was kinda a creepy idea, even for The Godfather), I swear to you that this was, hands down, THE BEST steak sandwich I’ve ever eaten!
Here you go…thank you camp grill-master, thank you Dollar Tree, you came together and made something beautiful here…
Dollar Tree Steak Sandwich with Fried Sweet Onions
The night before (this is it…the secret!) place the thawed steaks in a gallon zip bag, add Italian dressing, seal and squoosh the bag around with your hands until all the steaks are well coated. Put the bag in the fridge until dinnertime the next night, flipping it a couple of times in between.
In a small, nonstick pan, heat a teaspoon or so of oil over medium high heat, and add the peeled and sliced onions with a dash of salt.
Flip or stir the onions every couple of minutes until they begin to get golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a cast iron skillet*, heat a couple of more teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Remove the steaks from the bag and pat them dry. (Wet meat don’t brown.)
Fry the steaks in oil – no additional seasoning necessary – until browned on both sides, adding a little extra oil to the pan, if needed. Remove steaks from heat, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, dump your fried onions in the steak skillet, and re-fry them for a minute, letting them caramelize in all those fantastic steak juices.
Split and toast your hoagie rolls (a must, always.) Give the bottom halves of the rolls a very thin coating of steak sauce (optional) and place a steak on each.
Top with 1/4 of the grilled onions, finish the plate with a chilled tossed salad, and serve!
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Not only does the overnight marinating in Italian dressing tenderize the meat (keeping it juicy, but not tasting at all like Italian dressing,) but the acids and sugars help the steak caramelize faster, and add an amazing depth of delicious “steak-house-steak” flavor.
And…it’s dirt cheap! I’m guesstimating around $1.50 a serving, not including the salad.
Now, before the math nerds all wet their high-waters in a frenzy to point out that $1 for a 3.5oz steak equals just over four bucks a pound…I realize that.
$4 a pound is still a pretty freaking good deal for rib-eye, PLUS good luck finding a butcher who will sell you a 3.5oz cut of steak, especially one cut thin like this for sandwiches (and, NO…that nasty “steak-um” stuff doesn’t count!)
So, yeah…I’ll be heading back to Dollar Tree in the near future. I’m thinking we need a steak-roulade experiment…
*Next time I’m going to try this recipe on the grill chimney, I’m guessing it’s going to be even better!
Deviled eggs are one of the great comfort foods of my youth. Growing up in a Southern family, everybody made deviled eggs, and every party or family gathering had several platters of these beauties, each one some aunt or cousin’s “secret” recipe.
My mom, of course, made the best deviled eggs ever: heavy on the mustard, light of the relish.
Southern-style deviled eggs are, classically, filled with nothing more than egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard and sweet pickle relish.
For this recipe I’ve omitted the relish. The hot, savory note of El Diablo Steakhouse Mustard creates a completely unique, amazingly delicious flavor and what is, easily, the best “devil egg” I’ve ever had (and again, I am a total deviled egg slut!) The title is my play on “El Diablo.”
In El Diablo’s own words, “Bold flavors. Great Taste. Hot as Hell.”
These ain’t your Grandma’s deviled eggs…but she’d love them! This makes for great appetizer for those upcoming Labor Day weekend parties, as well!
Spicy Steakhouse Devil Eggs
12 organic farm-fresh eggs
1 Tbsp. vinegar
4 Tbs. Best Foods Real Mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. El Diablo Steakhouse Mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Smoked paprika for garnish
Put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, cover with cold water (2 inches over the tops of the eggs), add a Tbs of vinegar and ½ tsp of salt. Bring water to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for one minute.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes
NOW… Halve hard-cooked eggs lengthwise and carefully scoop yolks into a bowl and mash, setting the whites aside.
Combine the thoroughly mashed yolks and mayonnaise, then stir in the mustard. Stir in the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust if necessary. Stir well with a spoon to achieve a creamy texture.*
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Fill the egg whites evenly with the mixture and garnish each egg half with a sprinkle of smoked paprika. (Or, if you’re really a hot head, try dusting each with a little Volcano Dust Bhut Jolokia Pepper (ghost pepper) Powder…but do so at your own risk!)
*NOTE: Mama never had a stand mixer, but I do. When doing a dozen or more eggs, I like to combine the ingredients in my Kitchen-Aide and give them a good whip, for a lighter, fluffier filling. If making less than a dozen (which is seldom) I use a hand mixer.
Also, sometimes I’ll replace the salt with a teaspoon of my favorite bbq dry rub, just to kick it up a notch!
Disclaimer: As the owner of the blog, I do occasionally receive free products or services, and/or are compensated for my review. The post (above) is one of these. SimplySmartDinnerPlans will make note on any posts where a product was received for free, or where I was paid to review.
Please note that compensation and/or “free” product does NOT effect my opinions in any way. I strive to provide 100% honest feedback about the products being reviewed. Also note that SimplySmartDinnerPlans does not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.
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Do you love chili?
Do you love tamales?
More importantly, do you love to have your family and friends roll their eyes back, groan, and beg you for your recipe?
Here’s a quick, super-simple trick to take your chili to the next level…
For roughly every 8 cups of chili you’re making, bring 2 cups (prepared) of Better Than Bullion Organic Beef Base to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in 1/2 cup of Masa Harina*.
Cook gently for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and carefully pour the masa broth into your finished chili and stir. Allow to simmer on low another 5-10 minutes before serving.
(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)
If you make a more “soupy” chili, leave about a cup or two of whatever liquid you would add in the original recipe. If you like thick chili, only use 1 cup of broth.
If you’re making a white chicken chili, substitute the Better Than Bullion Chicken Base for the beef base.
Serve, and get ready for some serious beggin!
*Masa Harina is the dried and powdered form of masa, a dough made from prepared hominy, and used for making corn tortillas, tamales, pupusas, arepas and many other Latin American dishes. Masa Harina is available in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores, or from any Latino market.
Peanut butter and jelly. Soup and salad. Pizza and beer. There are many great pairings in the world of food, but cheese and wine might be the greatest of them all. Check out this infographic from Cabot Creamery Cooperative and see what cheeses perfectly compliment your favorite wines. Trust us, your tastebuds will thank you.
Also be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get other delicious meal ideas and food pairing tips straight to your inbox!
Presented By Cabot Creamery