Greek Stuffed Tomatoes, SRC September

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

So.. excuse me but I’m a little busy getting MARRIED RIGHT NOW! Like, not even kidding, as this is posting at midnight on 9/1, my wedding will be just wrapping up (and the after party will be starting of course). Isn’t that crazy?!  I SOMEHOW still found time this week to not only cook a fun recipe but to blog about it for you for the Secret Recipe Club!  Don’t worry, I’ll post pictures on facebook and instagram this coming week 🙂

For those of you who are new to the blog (shoutout to the new work friends!), The Secret Recipe Club is an awesome program I’m in where every month, I’m assigned a new blogger in the program.  I get to visit their site and check out some new recipes.  Then, I have to make one of their recipes and blog about it!  We all do the same thing and post on the same day.  It is awesome to try new things and read about everyone else’s experiences!

This month, I was assigned to check out Francesca’s blog, Della Cucina Povera.  She is amazing!  I could not decide what to make because all of her recipes sounded so yummy and also her photography is GORGEOUS.  Francesca has such an interesting background which I’m sure attributes to her creative recipes… she is an Italian-Iranian-American living in Amsterdam.  WOW.  I’m also super jealous of all of her travels!  Due to my serious decision making issues… I also tried her Carmelized Onions & Blue Cheese Pasta… holy cow it was so good!   I’m also making these Lamb Meatballs next… omg.

just AWESOME blue cheese pasta recipe.  So simple but so good.

just AWESOME caramelized onions & blue cheese pasta recipe. So simple but so good.

For now though, let me share with you these crazy good Greek Stuffed Tomatoes!

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4-6 Large Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon + 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Large Onion, grated

bunch of Fresh Mint, chopped

1/2 cup Brown Jasmine or Basmati Rice (cook it ahead of time if you can!)

Salt & Pepper

a few Red Potatoes, chopped

1/2lb Ground Turkey (I would so use lamb but I didn’t have any!)

Directions:

1.  Rinse tomatoes and cut off the tops.  Using a spoon, take the insides out making sure not to scoop all the way to the skin.  Place the tomato pulp into a foodprocessor or blender and pulse.  Place hollowed-out tomatoes in a baking dish and surround with potatoes.

2.  Saute the grated onion in the first Tablespoon of EVOO.   Add the ground meat (whatever you use) and saute, chopping.  Continue until the meat is almost cooked through.  Add the tomato pulp, mint, and cooked rice to the pan.  Stir and cook for a few minutes until the meat is done. 

3.  Turn the oven on to 400 degrees.  Fill each tomato and replace the “lid”.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the tomatoes and add salt and pepper to the potatoes.

4.  Bake for about 45 min – 60 min, or until the “lids” start to brown.

Recipe from:  Della Cucina Povera, Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffin' ingredients ready to do work!

Stuffin’ ingredients ready to do work!

Tom's surrounded by Po's... not too bad!

Tom’s surrounded by Po’s… not too bad!

The crispy, crunchy, delicious finished product!

The crispy, crunchy, delicious finished product!

Even the potatoes were outrageous

Even the potatoes were outrageous

Jambalaya

I LOVE New Orleans.  Love love love.  Dave and I traveled there a few years ago on a mini-vacation during Halloween.  I don’t think I’ve ever gained so much weight in such a short period of time.  We walked everywhere, exploring and of course eating (and drinking) our way through the city.

In honor of one of my favorite cities and to celebrate Mardi Gras, I cooked up a pretty sweet Jambalaya recipe on Fat Tuesday.  I think this is one of my best ones yet!

The recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “Kicked-Up Jambalaya” from way back when in 2000.  I was really excited because he included the recipe to make his Cajun Seasoning… and I actually even had all of the ingredients!  I made a whole batch and have a little baggie of leftovers for another time.  YUM BAM!

And please, let the records show that I was an Emeril fan long before his “Emeril Live” show even aired its pilot.  My Aunt and I used to watch “The Essence of Emeril” and “Molto Mario” when I’d sleepover back in the late 90’s.  How is this the first recipe of either of their’s for me to try?!

Let’s kick this up a notch and get started… 

Jambalaya

Recipe adapted from Emeril’s Kicked Up Jambalaya

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Emeril’s Creole seasoning (See below)
4 Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts (1 pkg)
14oz Andouille Sausage, cut into slices
2 cups chopped Onion (1 large)
1 cup chopped Celery
1 cup chopped Red Bell Pepper
2 Tablespoons minced Garlic
3 Bay Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons dried Thyme
1 (14oz) can Diced Tomatoes, partially drained
6 cups Water
2 cups Uncooked Brown Bismati Rice (Quick Cook)
Salt & Pepper
1 cup chopped Green Onions
1/2 cup chopped Parsley

Directions:

1.  In a large Dutch Oven, heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil over medium-high heat.  Cut Chicken into 1-inch strips or pieces and season with the Emeril Creole seasoning.  Saute until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove and set aside, reserving oil and all the good juices in the dutch oven.

2.  Add sausage and cook for a few minutes.  Remove and set aside.

3.  Add Onion, Celery, Bell Pepper, Garlic, Bay Leaves, Cayenne and Thyme and cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until the veggies have softened.

4.  Add the can of Diced Tomatoes and Water to the pot.  Season with a pinch of Salt and Pepper.  Simmer, covered for about 20 minutes.

5.  Add uncooked Rice to the pot, stir well and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for another 10-15 minutes (Check at 10).  Most of the liquid should be evaporated and cooked into the rice at this point.  Add in the Sausage, Chicken, another sprinkle of Emeril Creole Seasoning, Green Onions, and Parsley.  Cover, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Let sit off of the heat for 10 minutes before serving.  Remove Bay Leaves.  Garnish with extra Green Onions and Parsley.

Emeril’s Creole Seasoning
2.5 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Tablespoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon of each:  Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Oregano, Dried Thyme
Mix in a bowl and reserve leftovers… add it on top of chicken, seafood, or even popcorn!
Emeril's Creole Seasoning... you can make it with the recipe here or buy it in the grocery store

Emeril’s Creole Seasoning… you can make it with the recipe here or buy it in the grocery store

A new skill I learned while I was visiting my friends in Fort Wayne, IN!  Bob taught me how to cut a Bell Pepper in one swoop!  YAY!

A new skill I learned while I was visiting my friends in Fort Wayne, IN! Bob taught me how to cut a Bell Pepper in one swoop! YAY!

Before adding the liquids

Before adding the liquids

I could NOT believe how much liquid was soaked up by the time I opened up the lid.  I love parsley and green onions... mmm!

I could NOT believe how much liquid was soaked up by the time I opened up the lid. I love parsley and green onions… mmm!

I realize this recipe has a lot of ingredients.  But read over… it really isn’t that bad!  You can use the veggies for other recipes if you don’t already have them in the house.  You can also use Shrimp instead of the Chicken if you’d like and any type of rice too!  The Jambalaya is just so flavorful without being overly spicy.  If you wanted it to have an extra kick… add some Cayenne.

I was nervous to try my first Emeril Recipe but this one was super simple and SO delicious.  The best part is that you will probably have leftovers like I did… and it only got better after being reheated.  BAM!
Delicious Jambalaya!

Delicious Jambalaya!

Thai Chicken & Green Bean Saute

It’s time I let you in on my little secret obsession:  my “Cookbooks”.

Besides cooking up a storm, taking pictures of everything anyone eats, and blogging about it all… I have spent over a year collecting recipes of all kinds and saving them into my “cookbooks”.  Instead of having boxes of old index cards or pages of crinkled up magazine clippings everywhere, I have made up my own system:

1.  Copy/Paste or type recipe (if it’s online) into a Word Doc

2.  Format to my liking, using columns for the ingredients to save space

3.  Print

4.  Cut and Paste (literally) recipes from the word docs and magazine clippings  into categories to fit as many on a page as possible, then stuff into a plastic page protector.

5.  They all go, into labeled categories in (what has now become 3) a 3-ring binder.

What’s so great about my system is that I can save magazine recipes, recipes from friends, FoodNetwork.com, My Recipes (my favorite being COOKING LIGHT! Obsessed…), and really ANYTHING all together in the same place.  They are organized and kept safe from spills, tears, and rips by the plastic.  I can also easily remove one page from the binder and take it to the kitchen with me when I want to try it out!  I love it.

I have saved so many recipes over the past year from blogs and magazines and tv shows that I am constantly overwhelmed… I never know what to try!  This week, being our second week in our new apartment seemed like the best time to go all in and try out some of my saved recipes in my cookbook.

This recipe is one that I’ve wanted to try for a while from a 2007 Cooking Light Magazine.  I made some changes, doubled the sauce to make it more like the style of a curry dish (but made with Sriracha… love) , and added a ton of veggies.  Dave and I both really enjoyed it and I have some for lunch today too!  YUMMY!

Thai Chicken & Green Bean Saute

Recipe inspired by:  Cooking Light

Ingredients:

4 Servings Rice (I used TJ’s Organic Brown Basmati)

1lb Chicken Breast, sliced into 1-inch strips

1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce (or Low Sodium Soy if you don’t have)

2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil (or other), divided

2 teaspoons Minced Garlic

1/2 Sweet Onion, thinly sliced

1 Bag Fresh Green Beans

Other Veggies (I used 1/2 Bell Pepper, Celery, & Grape Tomatoes)

1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, minced

1 Can Light Coconut Milk

3 Tablespoons Sriracha 

1.5 Tablespoons Sugar

1.5 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice

A few Sprigs of Fresh Cilantro

Directions:

1.  Start to prepare your rice.  Mine would be done in 15 minutes so I made sure all of my chicken and veggies were chopped up first.  

2.  Combine the cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce (instead of the typical water you’d normally use).  Mix the cut up chicken with the cornstarch mix in a bowl.  Heat the first Tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan or wok and when it’s hot, throw the chicken in.  Cook for about 5-6 minutes.

3.  Remove chicken from the pan.  Heat the remaining Tablespoon of oil in the same pan.  Add your onion, garlic, ginger and saute for one minute.  Add green beans and other veggies if you’d like and saute while stirring for a few minutes.  

4.  Stir in the coconut milk, Sriracha, sugar, and lime juice.  Cook for about five minutes to heat through.  

5.  Serve mixture over rice and sprinkle with some fresh Cilantro.  Use a ladle, you definitely want to get all that sauce in there!

I used our Wok that had been in storage all year... I missed it!

I used our Wok that had been in storage all year… I missed it!

The rice soaked up all of the yummy sauce... mmm!

The rice soaked up all of the yummy sauce… mmm!

photo 2 (4) (1)

 

How do YOU keep all of your recipes?  

Pineapple Chicken & Homemade General Tso Sauce

Just when you thought I was off my Asian kick…

Time for a new recipe for Pineapple Chicken with Homemade General Tso Sauce!

Ingredients for the chicken:
3 Chicken Breasts
2 Slices Pineapple (canned, in pineapple juice)
2 Tablespoons Pineapple Juice (from the can)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Hot Cherry Pepper, diced
1/2 Onion, diced or sliced however you desire
1 teaspoon Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
1 Tablespoon Teriyaki Sauce
1 Bag Steamfresh Snow Peas, cooked

3 Servings Instant Brown Rice

Ingredients for the sauce:
2-3 Tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1 pinch Light Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Honey
1 teaspoon Garlic
1 teaspoon (or more) Sriracha Hot Sauce
1 teaspoon Cornstarch (plus 1 teaspoon Cold Water)
1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds

This amazing dish was so simple!!

For the chicken: Start by sauteeing the onions and garlic in a grill pan with 1 teaspoon Olive Oil. Cut your chicken breasts into small pieces or 1-2 inch long slices and add into the grill pan. Season with the Cayenne Pepper. After chicken is almost cooked (just a few minutes) add the rest of the “chicken” ingredients EXCEPT the snow peas and brown rice (the peas will fall apart if they are added in too early). Mix to combine well with the sauce. It shouldn’t be too saucy.

For the sauce: Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, combine the Teriyaki Sauce through the Sriracha Hot Sauce and stir with a whisk. Toast the sesame seeds and add them into the sauce. Now, stir a teaspoon of corn starch in with a teaspoon of cold water in a separate container. Add the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, lowering the heat to medium. Stir the sauce until it becomes thick.

Serve the chicken mixture over some brown rice and spoon the sauce ontop for a quick, healthy, spicy & sweet dinner!

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