Tag Archives: complete meal

Spring Risotto Primavera with Crispy Lamb Sausage

9 May

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I got inspiration for this dish from last month’s Food & Wine. This dish screams Spring with every bite! While the sausage and risotto pair perfectly together, feel free to mix and match these recipes in with others. The risotto would be great with a poached egg.

Time: 1 hour                     Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • Risotto


  • 1/2 cup cherry, grape, or mini heirloom tomatoes – halved
  • 1 large carrot, peeled then shaved into ribbons with veggie peeler
  • 1 parsnip, peeled then shaved into ribbons with veggie peeler
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch asparagus tops (reserve rest for another use)
  • 1 cup cubed yellow summer squash
  • 1/4 pound baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small leeks, cleaned well cut in half and sliced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 small bunch green onions, bottom white and light green parts only – chopped
  • 1 cup packed pea shoots
  • 1/4 cup assorted herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, mint, parsley, and tarragon – chopped
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • toasted pine nuts – for garnish
  • chive blossoms – for garnish
  • Sausage


  • 1 fennel bulb, minced – reserve fronds for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 slices bread, cubed (I used Udi’s Gluten Free Sandwich Bread)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 pound ground lamb

How to make it


  • Risotto


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Toss tomatoes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and roast in oven for about 25 minutes.
  • Rub parsnip and carrot ribbons with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a wire rack and bake in oven for 6-8 minutes until dry & crisp but not too brown.
  • Toss asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and roast in oven for about 10 minutes until charred and tender.
  • Place 1 tbsp olive oil each into 2 large skillets over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and zucchini to one, and leeks to the other. Season each with salt. Cook stirring for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add garlic to mushrooms and zucchini. Cook an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Add risotto to leeks once tender, about 4 minutes. Cook until all risotto is coated with oil and is lightly toasted 1-3 minutes.
  • Add white wine and cook, stirring, until no liquid remains, about 2-3 minutes. Begin adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. This process takes about 20 minutes in total. Rice should be creamy (not mushy) and slightly firm in the center.
  • Add red pepper flakes, lemon zest, cheese, peas, and green onions.
  • Add roasted tomatoes, roasted asparagus, squash, mushrooms, garlic, and pea shoots.
  • Top with cooked crispy lamb sausage and garnish with parsnip and carrot chips, fennel fronds, chive blossoms, and toasted pine nuts.
  • Sausage


  • Coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Set aside to cool
  • Combine bread cubes and milk. Allow to absorb as fennel cooks.
  • Combine cooked fennel and garlic, soaked bread cubes, seasonings, and lamb. Form into four 1″ logs.
  • Heat a cast iron grill pan rubbed with olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook lamb until browned on all sides, turning every 2 minutes – about 8 in total. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Chicken Pot Pie Mac & Cheese

25 Apr

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I’ve been back in Detroit for almost two weeks and Spring has definitely come through here and there but it’s still not in full swing. This comforting dish is nice on a rainy, cool spring evening and reminds me of the saying “April showers bring May flowers” because of how colorful it is,  incorporating fresh spring produce. This was my beau’s brainchild and I’d say an experiment gone

Time: 1 hour           Serves: 10

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (b/s), poached in 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, shredded*
  • 8 oz. elbow quinoa pasta, cooked al dente (or short cut pasta of your choice)
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced (about 1 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup corn, frozen
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground  (I used about 1/2 tsp each)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 oz. New Zealand white cheddar, shredded – divided
  • handful pea sprouts, for garnish

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 1 13×9 or 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Melt butter in a large 5 qt. pot. Add onion, cook until softened. Add carrots, cook for 2 minutes. Add celery, cook for 1 min. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add flour. Cook until a lightly brown roux forms around the veggies.
  • Slowly add stock, and whisk to incorporate. Remove from heat. Add shredded chicken, mayo, cooked pasta, corn peas, and half shredded cheese. Mix to incorporate. Pour into casserole(s), I set one aside at this point to cool completely to freezer for another great dinner.

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  • Top with remaining cheese. Bake on middle rack for 15-20 minutes until bubbling. Transfer to top rack and turn on broiler. Broil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with pea sprouts.

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Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

4 Apr

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Although spring is trying to peak out, it’s still chilly here in SoCal where I’m currently based. I don’t mean to wine, I know it’s warmer than my native land. But I thought it would be nice to introduce a Midwestern favorite. A big salad is great for lunch but for dinner a hearty, satisfying, comfort food is in order. The array of vegetables not only pack a nutritional punch but they lend their colors to make this dish really pop. A great make-ahead meal. Prepare it up until the baking, cool completely and freeze, I usually divide into 2. Just defrost in fridge before baking, or up baking time by about 45min. I meant to add mushrooms to this dish but forgot, maybe next time.

Time: 90 minutes           Serves: 6-8

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (I used orange cauliflower)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/8 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp each)

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for another 4 minutes. Finally, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  • Drop broccoli and cauliflower florets into boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then remove and drain in a colander. Run cold water over top until cooled through or drop in an ice water bath.
  • In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken stock in 3 parts, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened somewhat. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and season to taste. Add all vegetables, chicken, and both kinds of rice. Mix well to incorporate. Spoon into prepared baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until bubbly and cheese has melted.

Rice Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce and Roasted Tofu

27 Mar



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Spicy peanut sauce that will make you want to lick your bowl clean! with rice noodles and roasted tofu. Add a side of steamed broccoli to round out the meal. The month of March happens to be National Noodle Month, National Peanut Month, and National Sauce Month and this bowl of goodness delivers on all three of those. So, enjoy and cheers to the rest of March!

Time: 30 minutes             Serves: 5

Ingredients


  • Tofu


  • 14 oz. pack extra firm tofu, drained and pressed to release moisture
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tsp each olive oil and toasted sesame oil, combined
  • Sauce & Noodles


  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 6 stalks fresh lemongrass – inner bulbs only, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 thumbs ginger, grated/finely minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • zest and juice from a lime
  • heaping 1/3 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy will do)
  • 1 pound brown rice noodles or soba
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

How to make it


  • Tofu


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cube tofu. Toss with tamari and oil.
  • Place in roasting pan and bake for 25 minutes, until edges are browned.
  • Sauce and Noodles


  • Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a rapid boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • Process in a blender, processor, bullet…lemongrass, garlic, ginger, shallot, and chile paste.
  • Heat oils in a large skillet over medium-high. Add mixture to pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant – about 2 minutes.
  • Add tamari, vinegar, honey (or brown sugar), peanut butter, and lime. Whisk to combine.
  • Add cooked pasta and toss to coat.
  • Serve the roasted tofu right on a mound of these yummy noodles. Top with cilantro and green onions. And don’t forget to eat your veggies!

 

Mediterranean Chicken and Village Salad

19 Mar

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I’ve been craving Mediterranean food and decided to whip this up. A light, refreshing plate that I served with carrots simply pan roasted in olive oil, S&P, along with a scoop of rice topped with raw garlic spread.

Time: 30 min + marinating Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • Chicken


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • Village Salad


  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced (I de-seed)
  • 1 medium seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • S&P – to taste

How to make it


  • Chicken


  • Combine all ingredients except for chicken in a non-reactive bowl. Whisk together to incorporate. Add chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Heat skillet over medium-high. Add a drizzle of olive oil and place chicken into skillet. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and juices run clear. The chicken may also be done on a grill, under the broiler, or baked in the oven.
  • Village Salad


  • Combine all ingredients and toss well to incorporate.

Pork & Veggie Stir Fry

15 Jan

A delicious, healthy meal on your table before Chinese take-out can get there. Change this up according to the ingredients you have on hand, easily customizable.

Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 4 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/3 cup water, stock, or wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 12 oz. pork tenderloin cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed & halved
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (button/shiitake/baby bella)
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini
  • 2-4 green onions, white/light green & green parts sliced & separated

How to make it


  • Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain & set aside. (I ran mine under cold water so they wouldn’t stick together too much – gasp! – but also tossing bit a splash of toasted sesame oil would work.)
  • Combine cornstarch, sugar, red pepper flakes, water and soy sauce in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat oils in a large skillet or wok over medium-high. Add ginger, garlic, and pork. Cook for 3 minutes then stir and add carrots. Cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, snap peas, zucchini and white/light green parts of green onions. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring. Add soy sauce mixture and rice noodles, tossing to coat. Cover and cook another 3-5 minutes until sauce has thickened.
  • Garnish with green onions.

Soba Noodle Bowl With Crispy Tofu

8 Jan

soba noodle bowl

A delicious, flavorful bowl of goodness! The sauce has a great balance of sweet, tangy, savory, and spicy flavors and clings to the crispy tofu. Feel free to change up the vegetables to suit your tastes or what you have on hand.

Time: 30 minutes            Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 8 oz. soba noodles
  • Tofu


  • 15 oz. extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Sauce


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp sriracha or to taste
  • Vegetables


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • thumb of ginger, grated or minced
  • 5 green onions, sliced – white & light green parts separated from dark green
  • 5 oz. baby spinach leaves
  • 4 oz. pea shoots, roughly chopped – set a bit aside for garnish
  • For Serving


  • Gomasio (sea salt, seaweed, and sesame seeds)
  • lime wedges, for serving – optional

How to make it


  • Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Be sure not to overcook and place in an ice water bath to stop cooking. Drain & set aside.
  • Tofu


  • Place tofu between two pieces of paper towel, then wrap in a dish towel. Place a plate weighed down with a couple cans of vegetables to press excess moisture out.
  • Cut into 1/2 in thick slices – rectangles or triangles are fine.
  • Place cornstarch in a pie plate or similar. Coat each piece of tofu with cornstarch and shake off excess.
  • In a large skillet, heat oils over medium-high heat. Add coated pieces of tofu and cook until lightly golden brown on each side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  • Sauce


  • Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and mix well to incorporate.
  • Vegetables


  • In a large skillet or wok, heat oils over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until tender and moisture has released and cooked off.
  • Add garlic, ginger, and white & light green parts of green onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add spinach and sprouts, stir, and cook just until wilted.
  • Add sauce, crispy tofu, and cooked soba noodles. Stir and continue to cook just until heated through.
  • For Serving


  • Divide into individual bowls and garnish with dark green parts of green onion and reserved pea shoots. Sprinkle with Gomasio and garnish with lime wedges.

Cheesy Chicken & Vegetable Bake

8 Nov

This dish is rather light for a casserole (no starchy pasta or rice) and oh so tasty!

Time: 45 minutes             Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 head broccoli cut into florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 4 oz. baby Bella mushrooms (or button), diced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 tsp dried onion
  • 1/3 tsp onion powder
  • 1/3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 tsp celery seed
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8×8 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli and cauliflower and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat pour into a colander.
  • Season chicken with salt & pepper. Heat 2 tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until juices run clear, turning halfway through to cook both sides. Set aside. Once cooled, cut into bite size pieces.
  • Add 1 tbsp butter and mushrooms to skillet and season with salt & pepper. Saute until they begin to produce their own juice. Remove & set aside.
  • Add chicken stock to skillet and scrape up drippings. Add cream and sour cream and seasonings. Bring to a slight boil and turn heat to medium low. Add flour and whisk with a fork until well incorporated. Remove from heat and incorporate chicken, vegetables, and sauce. Pour into casserole dish and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

Broccoli And Sausage Pasta In Creamy Tomato Sauce

12 Oct

Another quick, versatile pasta recipe that may be mixed & matched to suit your tastes and what you have on hand.

Time: 20 minutes             Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1/2 pound pasta (I used penne), cooked al dente
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 specialty chicken sausage, sliced or diced (I used spinach & Asiago)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about one medium)
  • 4 oz baby bella mushrooms (or more if you’d like, that’s all I had)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – with liquid
  • 1/2 large head broccoli cut into florets – lightly steamed
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes – to taste
  • fresh basil to garnish
  • grated Parmesan to garnish

How to make it


  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, stir, cook for 5 more minutes. Add broccoli, tomatoes with liquid, and cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well to incorporate. Add pasta and toss well. Serve garnished with basil and Parmesan.

Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice

7 Aug

One of my favorite dishes to order at a local Thai place is Thai Basil Fried Rice, so I decided to try my hand at making it at home. It was very tasty! I don’t know if it is truly authentic, but certainly hit all the flavor notes I was looking for: spicy, salty, savory, and a touch of sweet.

Time: 30 minutes              Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (or cooking oil of your choice)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 tsp crushed red pepper (-/+ to taste)
  • 4 green onions, white & light green parts sliced thinly, dark greens cut in 2-inch diagonal pieces
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into about 1-inch chunks
  • 8 oz. snow peas, trimmed & halved diagonally
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups cooked Basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped Thai/holy basil or sweet basil
  • 2 small limes, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium seedless cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch slices

How to make it


  • Pour about 1 tbsp of olive oil into a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add shallot and sliced green onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and red pepper. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Move to one part of the pan or wok.
  • Add more oil as needed. Add chicken pieces. Cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through and juices run clear.
  • Add snow peas and dark green parts of green onion. Stir well and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.
  • Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar in a small dish. Whisk to combine. Add to skillet. Stir well.
  • Add cooked rice and basil. Stir well to incorporate. Remove from heat.
  • Serve with lime wedges and sliced cucumbers.