Tag Archives: onion

Orange Mango Banana Poppy Seed Bread

15 Jun


One of my fellow MasterChef 4 competitors invited me to write a guest post for her blog. I decided to share this delicious quick bread (or muffins – your choice!). Oh, and would you believe it’s low-fat and gluten-free?! Oh, yes!!! Please visit Celebration Generation for the recipe and other interesting tidbits about our MasterChef 4 experience.

Cottage Pie

30 Nov

Reading up on Cottage Pie vs. Shepherd’s Pie I learned that the former is traditionally made with beef while the latter with lamb. Both are quite similar beyond that, with veggies and a mashed potato topping. This is my version, in which I used neither (ground turkey).Whatever you want to call it, I hope you find it as appetizing as we did.

Time: 20 min prep, 20 min cook              Serves: 6


  • Potato Topping

  • 2 pounds baby yukon gold potatoes, cubed (or potato of your choice, peel if you want)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or to your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or to your taste)
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Meat Filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken (may use beef as well)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or to your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or to your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup chicken stock, warmed (sub beef stock if using ground beef)
  • 2 tbsp AP flour

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Potato Topping

  • Place potatoes and garlic in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water, about an inch over top. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. (In the meantime, begin meat filling.)
  • Drain water. Add butter, cream cheese, and milk. Mash until creamy. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in chives. Set aside.
  • Meat Filling

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender. Add meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned – breaking up as you go. Drain off excess liquid.
  • Turn burner to medium-low and return skillet to stove. Season with salt, pepper, and onion powder. Add parsley, tomato paste, and corn. Stir to combine.
  • In a cup or small bowl, combine stock and flour. Whisk until incorporated. Add to meat mixture and stir. Cook until just thickened.
  • Place meat filling mixture in bottom of a casserole dish. If you want a more shallow pie (as I did), divide between to 9-inch pie plates or similar. Top with potatoes, smooth to even out. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

4 Nov

I think I’m in love with butternut squash. This soup is lick your bowl good! Adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe.

Time: 1 hour                Serves: 4-7


  • 1 medium butternut squash (2-3 pounds) peeled and cut into about 1-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
  • 6 pieces of thick sliced Applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored & diced into about 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp fresh rubbed sage leaves, chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable stock (chicken would be OK too)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Toss squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out onto 2 baking sheets, not overcrowding the pieces. Place in oven and roast for about 40 minutes, or until edges are browned. Stir squash up about half way through for more even cooking.
  • Heat a 5 quart stock pot over medium heat. Cook bacon until crispy and place on paper towel lined plate.
  • Add onions to pot and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add apples and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add sage and season with salt and pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove squash from oven and transfer to stock pot. Add stock and turn heat up. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, check squash and apple for tenderness. If needed, cook longer. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • At this point you can either use an immersion blender to puree the soup or use a stand blender and go in batches as I did. (I did 3 batches.) Add half of the cooked bacon to the soup before blending. Puree until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Reheat as needed, crumbling remaining cooked bacon on top to serve.
  • Serves 4 entree portions of 1 3/4 cups or 7 starter portions of 1 cup.

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


  • 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.

Zucchini Risotto

1 Aug

Another great use for those fresh, abundant summer zucchini.

Time: 30 minutes                 Serves: 2-3


  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 small shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped basil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

How to make it

  • Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan, then reduce heat to low & keep warm.
  • Squeeze excess moisture out of shredded zucchini using a clean dish towel or paper towels.
  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan/skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and saute 2-3 minutes – until softened – stirring occasionally.
  • Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute for another minute.
  • Add rice. Stir to coat & toast for 1-3 minutes.
  • Carefully add vermouth/wine and cook, stirring, until no liquid remains, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Begin adding stock 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more.*
  • Fold in zucchini with last 1/4 cup of stock.
  • Stir in basil and Parmesan, mix well and remove from heat.
  • *This process takes about 20 minutes in total. Rice should be creamy (not mushy) and slightly firm in the center. If your rice hasn’t become tender enough by this point, add more liquid by 1/4 cup measures using same technique – may use more stock or water.

Tartar Sauce

3 Jul

Whipped this up to accompany an oven-fried fish recipe and found it was tasty on other things as well.

Time: 10 min + chill              Serves: 4


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup mustard (Dijon/grainy)
  • 1/4 cup pickle relish/chopped pickles
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • 2 tbsp minced dill
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated onion (I did not use this, but will next time)

How to make it

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix to incorporate. Refrigerate if not using right away.

Chicken Parmigiana

10 May

This is my interpretation of the Italian classic, baked – not fried, inspired by my friend Janet. I tweaked it to our tastes and I was wowed bite after bite. Give it a try!

Time: 30 min prep, 30 min cook            Serves: 4  


  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to even thickness OR 2 large b/s chicken breasts sliced in half horizontally
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped + a bit for garnish
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup shredded cheese – I used Sargento’s 6 Italian Cheese Blend but any similar blend or simply mozzarella will work just as well.

How to make it

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add onions  and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a light boil and reduce to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, beat egg in a small bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a pie plate or similar, combine bread crumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Dip chicken pieces into egg, then into the crumb mixture. Set aside. Repeat with all chicken breasts.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a baking dish.
  • Pour 2/3 of the tomato sauce mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and then spoon on the rest of the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with the 1/3 cup of Parmesan and garnish with oregano.
  • Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes until hot and bubbling.
  • I served this with whole wheat spaghetti, spooning some extra sauce onto the pasta, along with roasted asparagus. It would make a delicious sandwich.

Italian Food

10 May

Italian Food, by Shel Silverstein, Every Thing On It

Oh, how I love Italian food.
I eat it all the time,
Not just ’cause how good it tastes
But ’cause how good it rhymes.
Minestrone, cannelloni,
Macaroni, rigatoni,
Spaghettini, scallopini,
Escarole, braciole,
Insalata, cremolata, manicotti,
Marinara, carbonara,
Shrimp francese, Bolognese,
Ravioli, mostaccioli,
Mozzarella, tagliatelle,
Fried zucchini, rollatini,
Fettuccine, green linguine,
Tortellini, Tetrazzini,
Oops—I think I split my jeani.

Me too! And if that wasn’t enough to choose from, check out some of my other Italian-inspired recipes: Spinach Ricotta Gnudi, Italian Wedding Soup, Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Pasta and stay tuned for my next post.

Nacho Pork Chops and Refried Beans

24 Feb

The chops are delicious and easy to prepare and the beans round the meal out. Add a salad and you’ve got dinner. It’s National Tortilla Chip Day, let’s celebrate!

Time: 30 minutes          Serves: 4


  • Chops

  • 4 boneless pork chops (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1 packet store-bought or batch of your favorite homemade taco seasoning
  • 2 cups (or more) crushed Kettle brand TIAS Nacho Cheddar chips, or your favorite flavor, or Doritos if you prefer
  • 1 egg whisked with 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Beans

  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 tbsp bacon grease
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • sea salt, to taste
  • cheddar cheese, shredded

How to make it

  • Chops

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Place a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Rub taco seasoning into each side of all chops. Dip in egg wash then press into chips to coat well. Add chops to skillet and cook until browned, 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer chops to prepared rack. Place in oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145-150. Remove from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
  • Beans

  • Mash beans in a bowl with potato masher. Add onion and some sea salt and mix to combine. In a skillet, heat oil and bacon grease over medium heat. Add beans and stir constantly until heated through. Top with cheese when serving.
  • This went perfectly with salsa verde. Also could have added a squirt of fresh lime, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, and a side of avocado.

Red Beans & Rice

20 Feb

My mother is from New Orleans and my grandparents would always serve Red Beans & Rice on Mondays when we went to visit.

Time: 3o minutes          Serves: 4

  • Rice

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup rice (white Basmati)
  • Beans

  • 2 16oz cans red (kidney beans), drained
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 lb cooked ham, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter (I used bacon drippings)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp white cheddar)
  • **Note: This can be made in a vegetarian version easily. Just leave out the ham and sub vegetable stock or water for the chicken stock.

How to make it

  • Rice

  • Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add rice, give a quick stir and then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the moisture is absorbed. Fluff rice with a fork and return cover.
  • Beans

  • In a large saute pan, heat oil/butter/grease over low-medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add ham and stir well. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add garlic, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add beans, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes and stir well. Cover and turn heat to low (simmer) just until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  • To serve, spoon rice into bowl, spoon beans over top, add shredded cheese and a dash of hot sauce of your choice if you like. Enjoy!
  • *Serve with grilled andouille sausage for the full experience 🙂