Sesame Flank Steak

This is another recipe from The Sisters' Cafe. The marinade had a great flavor. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful at my attempt at heating coals for my BBQ (Mike was gone and I was just trying to do what I remember seeing him do) so I had to bust out the George Foreman. I bet it's even better when actually barbequed though.

¼ c. chopped green onions
3 Tb soy sauce
2 Tb sesame oil
1 Tb vinegar
1 Tb brown sugar
1 Tb chopped fresh ginger
1 Tb chopped garlic
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ c. toasted, crushed sesame seeds

Combine above ingredients. Marinate steak 4 hours and barbecue.

Feta Pork Chop Skillet

Trying all these new recipes out has me getting brave enough to buy meat other than chicken and ground beef. I saw this recipe on The Sister's Cafe and thought it looked really good. I love adding new flavors to our menus and this one was a huge hit. Ella ate all her meat and even asked for more!

1 t crushed dried rosemary
1 t dried basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pinch black pepper
1 T olive oil
4 pork chops (I used 3)
¼ c fresh lemon juice
2 oz (or more) crumbled feta cheese with basil and sun-dried tomatoes (I used 4 oz)
1-2 yellow summer squash or zucchini, remove seeds and slice (I have never removed seeds from them so I didn't...I used 3 zucchini and 2 squash because I love them, but I did have to take the meat out at the end so I had more room for them all to finish cooking)

In a small bowl, stir together rosemary, basil, garlic, and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip pork chops in lemon juice, and spread both sides with herb mixture.
Place pork chops in skillet, drizzle with some of remaining lemon juice, and sear both sides, about 7 minutes per side.
After a few minutes, add sliced squash to edges of pan. Reduce heat to low.
Sprinkle feta on top of chops; cover skillet, and cook until cheese begins to melt, about 5 minutes.
(We served over rice)

Chicken Tikka Masala

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this! I saw the recipe on The Sister's Cafe blog, but she got it from The Pioneer Woman. I thought it looked and sounded good, but must admit I was getting a little nervous while I was making it. It used large quantities of spices I wasn't very familiar with so I wasn't quite sure how it would taste in the end, but it was a hit!

3-4 chicken breasts (I used 3 small ones)
1/2 c plain yogurt (I used FF sour cream)
6 Tb butter (divided)
kosher salt

1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 in. chunk fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 T. salt
3 T. Garam Masala
1 T. sugar
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c heavy cream

2 c Basmati rice, uncooked
1 T ground turmeric
4 c. water

fresh cilantro
chili peppers (I used ground red pepper to give it some spice)
frozen peas

Start by seasoning the chicken breasts with Kosher salt. Next sprinkle them on both sides with coriander and cumin. Then coat the chicken with the plain yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined cookie sheet and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes on each side. It should have slightly blackened edges. Remove from oven.

To a rice cooker add 2 cups Basmati rice, 4 Tb butter, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tb ground turmeric and 4 c water. Cover, turn on your rice cooker and walk away.

Next dice the onion and saute with 2 Tb butter over med-high heat until slightly browned. As the onions cook, mince your garlic and ginger. Add to onions with 1 Tb salt.
At this point add 3 Tb Garam Masala spice. If you like it hot, add a chili pepper or two. (I just used some ground red pepper) Add the tomatoes and continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add about 1 Tb sugar and allow this mixture to simmer on medium for 5 minutes.

After the Tikka Masala sauce has had a chance to simmer for a bit, add in the 1 1/2 c heavy cream. Now chop up your chicken breasts into chunks and add them into the sauce.
A handful of chopped cilantro is a nice addition if you like cilantro. You can also throw some frozen peas into the cooked rice, give them a stir and allow the heat of the rice to cook the peas. (We aren't fans of peas around here but I did put in the cilantro and the added green made the dish prettier...and tastier of course)

Spinach and Feta Rice

I found a great deal on Feta cheese last week so I bought it and then began a search for a new recipe to use it. pulled through for me again and I found this one. I ended up making it for lunch and it was SO good! It completely hit the spot and was easy and healthy as well. I definitely will be making this again soon!!!

•3 Tablespoons olive oil
•1 large onion, chopped finely
•2 large garlic cloves, minced
•1-1/4 cups uncooked long-grain rice
•2 cups chicken broth
•1/4 cup dry white wine
•1-1/2 (10-ounce) packages fresh baby spinach leaves (remove any large stems), very coarsely chopped
•2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
•1 cup crumbled feta cheese (or bleu cheese)
•Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the rice and stir about 2 minutes or until the rice is translucent.
Carefully add the chicken broth and wine. Stir to mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook about 15 minutes or until the rice is almost tender.
Stir in the spinach, cover and cook another 8 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Mix in the tomatoes and Feta cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Triple Layer Rice Krispie Treats

I have been meaning to try out this recipe from The Sister's Cafe for awhile and now that I have a huge supply of Rice Krispies (thanks to Kroger's sale!) I couldn't wait! I found my chocolate layer a little hard to spread so I added some extra marshmallows to the plain layer and next time will do that for the chocolate layer as well. We topped ours with chocolate and they were delicious (and messy)!


Peanut butter layer:
1.5 Tb butter
20 large marshmallows
1/3 c peanut butter
3 c rice krispies cereal

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Stir in peanut butter and remove from heat. Add rice krispies and stir until well coated. With buttered fingers, press into buttered 9x13 pan.

Chocolate layer:
1.5 Tb butter
20 large marshmallows
1/2 c milk chocolate chips
3 c rice krispies cereal

Follow instructions under pb layer - substituting peanut butter with chocolate chips! Press chocolate layer evenly on top of pb layer.

Original layer:
1.5 Tb butter
20 large marshmallows
3 c rice krispies cereal

Follow same instructions, skipping adding anything at end. Press original layer on top of chocolate layer.
Top with melted chocolate chips if desired!

Ella and Addie loved helping count the marshmallows out and then melting them!

Maria's Italian Meatballs

I found this recipe on when I did a search for recipes using ground beef. I ended up using ground turkey instead and they were great. Simple ingredients, easy preparation and lots of flavor. The recipe makes lots of meatballs too so I froze half of mine to save for later.

•1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
•1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
•1/3 cup water (more or less)
•1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
•1 medium onion

Mix all ingredients together. Don't add all of the water at one time. Mixture should be moist but not so that the meatballs fall apart.
Shape meatballs to desired size and place on a broiler pan (I wet my hands before shaping each meatball and it helps make a nice meatball.) Broil until outside is slightly brown on one side and then turn and broil the other side. When finished, add to spaghetti sauce and simmer at least 20 minutes.

Southwestern Enchiladas

A big thank you to Kathy from the blog Three on Food for suggesting I give these babies a try! I am in love with them and can't wait to make them the next time we have people over for dinner. They were SOOO delicious and she is right...don't get weirded out by the pecans!

1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped onion (I used extra)
1 Tbs. margarine or butter
1 (3-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened (I used 4 oz.)
1 Tbs. milk
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (I used 1/2 t.)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used a can of chicken)
6 8-inch flour tortillas (I used 9 corn tortillas)
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used 98%FF)
1 (8-oz.) carton sour cream (I used FF)
1 cup milk (I used 1/2 heavy cream I had left over and 1/2 1% milk)
5 or 6 chopped pickled jalapeno peppers (I was worried about them making the enchiladas too spicy, but I cleaned the seeds out and the spicy-ness was just right!)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tbs. chopped pecans

In a medium skillet cook the 1/4 cup pecans and onion in butter till onion is tender and pecans are lightly toasted. Remove from heat.
In a bowl combine the softened cream cheese, the 1 Tbs. milk, and cumin. Add nut mixture and chicken. Stir together till well combined.
Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixtures onto each tortilla near one edge; roll up.
Place filled tortillas, seam side down, in a greased 2-quart square baking dish.
In a bowl combine soup, sour cream, the 1 cup of milk, and the pickled jalapeno peppers. Pour the soup mixture evenly over the tortillas in the baking dish.
Cover with foil; bake in a 350 degree oven about 45 minutes or till heated through.
Remove foil. Sprinkle enchiladas with cheese and the 2 Tbs. pecans. Bake for 4-5 minutes more or till cheese is melted. (I even like to turn on my broiler to get the cheese a little golden).

Makes 6 servings.

Rustic Lemon-Onion Chicken

This is the other recipe from The Next Food Network Star, Melissa d'Arabian, that I served with the mini-potato gratins. We LOVED the combination of flavors...definitely something new compared to our usual fare. I also loved that it looked so fancy, but was still easy to make.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced in half crossways (butterflied, cut all the way through)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (could skip this to make it gluten free)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine, optional
1 cup chicken broth
3 lemons, juiced
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
Spinach "bed", recipe follows

Season chicken with dried thyme and salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the oil. Dredge the chicken in flour, add to the hot oil and saute until cooked through. Set chicken aside to rest on plate tented with foil.
In same saute pan, over low heat, add onions and fresh thyme and cook until aromatic.
In a measuring cup, measure out wine, if using, and broth, and add the lemon juice. Turn the heat up to high, and deglaze the pan with the broth mixture until starting to reduce.
Remove the pan from the heat and finish the sauce by whisking in butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place a bed of cooked spinach on a serving platter, top with the chicken. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Spinach "bed":
1 bag pre-washed fresh spinach
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Microwave spinach in a microwave-proof dish with a few tablespoons of water on high for 5 to 6 minutes, or until hot. Drain, and toss with butter, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Individual Potato Gratins

I made extra of these because I just knew I would love them and I did!!! They were SOOO good and SOOO easy to make! Thank you to the new winner of the The Next Food Network Star, Melissa d'Arabian, for the fabulous recipe! (and thanks to Mckell for telling me about it!) I made her Rustic Lemon Onion Chicken to go with them and they were both fabulous!

Vegetable spray
2 large russet potatoes, roughly peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray 8 muffin tins with vegetable spray. Layer potato slices, cheese, and onions into each muffin cup. Season with salt and pepper and top each gratin with 1 or 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Invert gratins onto plate and serve.

Beef and Snow Pea Stir Fry

This recipe is from the blog Favorite Family Recipes. I wasn't sure how good it would be with only the snow peas and no other veggies, but it was great! The meat had a great flavor from the marinade and I loved the crunchiness of the snow peas with it. Mike and Ella really liked this one too and they're not big on stir fry.

1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1/8 inch strips
1 tsp cornstarch
2 cups fresh snow peas
4 tsp canola oil, divided

-In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, broth, and garlic. Reserve 1/4 cup of mixture for later.
-Place beef in a resealable plastic bag. Add the larger part of the soy sauce mixture; seal and mix. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
-Place cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir in the reserved 1/4 c. soy sauce mixture until smooth; set aside.
-In a nonstick skillet, stir-fry snow peas in 2 tsp hot oil for 3-4 minutes or until snow peas are crisp-tender and bright green. Remove and keep warm.
-Drain and discard marinade from beef.
-In same skillet, stir-fry beef in remaining oil for 2 minutes. Stir cornstarch mixture; add to skillet.
-Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Combine with snow peas.
-Serve over rice.

Leftover 'Dillas

We eat quesadillas at least twice a week and throw whatever we have around in them. The girls' favorite is ham and cheese which we eat instead of ham sandwiches. I've been enjoying THE most yummy 'dillas (this is how Ella used to say quesadilla and it stuck) with my book club leftovers though and had to share.

The layers...
Corn tortilla
Spread cream cheese (leftover from our pepper jelly/cream cheese & cracker plate)
Spoon Black Bean Salsa (a leftover too)
Place some thin Avocado slices on top
Cover with 2% Mexi-blend shredded cheese to hold together
Corn tortilla

I just used the last of our black bean salsa and I'm so sad! These were SOOO good!

Greek Potatoes

Another recipe emailed to me from my friend Camille. I'm holding Preston and typing with one hand so this is the exact recipe she sent w/o my commentary. YUM!!!

8 large potatoes, peeled, cut into large wedges (about 6-7 wedges per potato)
4 garlic cloves, minced (more garlic is a good thing, less garlic is a no-no for this recipe)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oregano (get the Mediterranean, it's the best!)
1-1 1/2 lemon, juice of
sea salt
fresh coarse ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 440°F A reviewer has suggested spraying the baking pan with Pam - that sounds like a great idea!
Put all the ingredients into a baking pan large enough to hold them.
Season generously with sea salt and black pepper.
Make sure your hands are very clean and put them in the pan and give everything a toss to distribute.
The garlic will drop into the water/oil solution but its flavour will permeate the potatoes, and this way, it won't burn.
Bake for 40 minutes.
When a nice golden-brown crust has formed on the potatoes, give them a stir to bring the white underside up, season lightly with a bit more sea salt and pepper and just a light sprinkling of oregano.
Add 1/2 cup more water if pan appears to be getting dry, and pop back into oven to brown other side of potatoes.
This will take about another 40 minutes.
Do not be afraid of overcooking the potatoes- they will be delicious.
Note: I often melt a bouillon cube in the water; if you do, make sure to cut back some on the salt.