Friday, November 30, 2012

Spicy Black Bean Empanadas

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Who's in the Christmas spirit yet? Anybody? Personally, I was listening to the Christmas radio station as soon as it started playing in early November. I also decorated immediately after we were done with our Thanksgiving celebrations. No need to wait.
Empanadas are a great appetizer idea since they are a fun little finger food and they are packed with flavor. Using puff pastry really speeds up the process as well. I enjoyed these plain, but some sour cream, guacamole or even salsa would be great on the side. Enjoy!

  • 2 packages (4 sheets) puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1 small red pepper, diced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 4 medium green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup light sour cream (optional)
  • 1 cup guacamole (optional)
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork or whisk.

Cook the pork in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Stir in the diced red pepper, onions and garlic and cook until tender. Stir in the tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and crushed red pepper. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the cheese, 1 cup beans and the cilantro. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Cut into 10 (2 1/2-inch) circles. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheets, making 40 in all.

Spoon 1 teaspoon pork mixture on half of each pastry circle. Brush the edges of the pastry with water. Fold the pastry over the filling and crimp with a fork to seal. Place the filled pastries onto baking sheets. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Serve the pastries with the sour cream, guacamole and remaining beans.

Tip: To make ahead, place the unbaked empañadas onto a baking sheet. Cover and freeze until firm. Remove the frozen empañadas from the baking sheet and store in a gallon size resealable plastic bag in the freezer for up to 1 month. Bake the frozen empañadas as directed above.

Source: Pepperidge Farm

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dripping French Onion Roast Beef Sandwiches with Provolone

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Talk about a sandwich.
This is a twist on a Classic French Dip gone right. Chris texted me when he was leaving our nephew's basketball practice and I knew he would be hungry after chasing kids around all morning. I was able to pull these together for us in 10 minutes max. MAX!
Chris loved the addition of the banana peppers on top. They added some crunch and really complimented the components of the sandwich. I, of course, loved the au jus sauce since it was basically french onion soup. What more can I ask for? This is a quick and easy lunch (or dinner) that I'm sure your whole household will love. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 can (10 1/2 oz.) condensed French Onion soup
  • 1 tbsp. reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 lb. thinly sliced deli roast beef
  • 4 hoagie rolls
  • 4 slices deli Provolone cheese, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup drained hot or mild pickled banana pepper rings

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Heat the soup and Worcestershire in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. Add the beef and heat through, stirring occasionally.

Divide the beef evenly among the rolls. Top the beef with the cheese slices and place the sandwiches onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 3 minutes or until the sandwiches are toasted and the cheese is melted. Spoon the soup mixture onto the sandwiches. Top each sandwich with 1 tablespoon pepper rings.

Source: Campbell's Kitchen

Monday, November 26, 2012

Southwestern Breakfast Burrito

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You know how I'm a huge breakfast junkie? Like how it's my favorite meal of the day? Well, I think I just created my all-time favorite breakfast item. And surprisingly it doesn't include anything sweet and doesn't take hours to make.
Chris and I are big fans of breakfast burritos since we always have tortillas and eggs on hand. We usually throw in some peppers or whatever extra ingredients we have available, and it always works out. By adding bacon, potatoes and diced tomatoes with green chiles to this batch, I created a masterpiece. It really was SO good. The cheese becomes gooey and the different textures of the vegetables and bits of bacon really top it off. I think we scarfed these down in 2 minutes flat. Just what we need to do after Thanksgiving, right? Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 large flour tortillas (corn if you're going gluten-free)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 baby yellow potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles, drained well
  • 6 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon pieces and cook until brown, flipping occasionally. Remove with slotted spoon onto a paper towel-lined dish.

Pierce the potatoes with a fork. Cook in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, until they just begin to soften. Remove and allow to cool. Once cooled, cut into bite-size pieces.

Put a large skillet over medium heat. Coat with the vegetable oil. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the potato pieces and drained Rotel. Cook until heated through.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add eggs to the skillet with the tomatoes, onions and peppers. Using a spatula, stir the mixture constantly so the eggs do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until eggs are done and then remove from heat.

Place a tortilla on a piece of aluminum foil (zap the tortilla in the microwave for a few seconds if it does not roll easily). Add some of the egg mixture to the center of the tortilla. Top with Cheddar cheese. Roll the tortilla like a burrito and then wrap the aluminum foil around it. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Place the aluminum-wrapped burritos in the oven for about 5 minutes, so the cheese can melt. Enjoy!

Source: SK Original

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their family yesterday. Once you get out of your food coma, I have a perfect recipe for you to try. Since I'm sure your family is like mine and is faced with mounds of leftovers the day after Thanksgiving, instead of reheating them or letting them go to waste you should use them as ingredients in new meals!
My Turkey and Pancetta Pot Pie recipe is perfect for all that extra poultry. And these cranberry sauce muffins are a scrumptious breakfast treat that you can make using your leftover homemade cranberry sauce. The cinnamon flavored cake topped with the sweet and tart cranberries would be perfect alongside a cup of hot coffee. Enjoy those leftovers!

Printable Recipe

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce (I used homemade chunky sauce)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a muffin pan (of mini bundt pan) with non stick spray. Or use muffins liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, sugar, sour cream, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk in flours until just combined (batter is pretty thick).

Fill the muffin cups with the batter, then spoon about 1 tbsp of your cranberry sauce over the batter.

Bake muffins for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Store the muffins in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days.

Source: Adapted from Ask Chef Dennis

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

No-Flour Cornbread (Gluten-Free)

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Our family has never been one to have cornbread on Thanksgiving, but I know many families do so I figured I would make some for the majority of the population. This was partly me just being nice, but it is also an attempt to get my family to see that cornbread is normal on Thanksgiving. Not just Italian bread and dinner rolls, but cornbread! (I love the stuff.)
I made this one gluten-free to satisfy the dietary restrictions of my younger brother. Most cornbread recipes call for flour, but I used all cornmeal in this recipe so that he could have a slice. I know that most gluten-free products can be dry or lacking flavor, so I threw a can of corn into the recipe to add a little texture and moistness. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Enjoy!
Printable Recipe
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (8.75 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • Salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Mix the egg and buttermilk together. Add the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add corn. Mix with large spoon or whisk.
Put butter in well-seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium to high heat.
Just as the butter is about to start smoking, pour it into the cornmeal mixture, stirring as you pour (if you can manage it). Leave enough in the skillet to coat the bottom and sides.
Stir the butter into the cornmeal mixture and then pour the entire mixture into the buttered skillet.
Place skillet on middle rack of oven; bake until cornbread is springy in the middle, browned and pulling away from the skillet on the sides (about 15-20 minutes).
Remove from oven and invert skillet over serving plate. If cornbread does not drop easily, you may need to run an icing spatula or even a flexible metal egg-turner around/under it so it comes loose.
Serve hot, with plenty of butter. Or margarine, if you insist.
Source: Adapted from

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Gingered Creme Anglaise

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With a little Gingered Creme Anglaise on top...
I've been mulling over what to make for the Secret Recipe Club this month, solely because The Freshman Cook has so many tempting recipes to chose from. To keep up with my Thanksgiving theme, I decided to narrow it down and pick a recipe that would be suitable for this Thursday. I had originally chosen the Pumpkin Biscotti recipe and was all ready to make it, but as soon as I saw this bread pudding I was immediately intrigued.
...or enjoy plain.

Since Pumpkin Pie is the traditional go-to at the end of a Thanksgiving meal, this bread pudding would most likely be a welcomed change of pace. It's best served warm with the chilled creme anglaise poured on top. Your guests will devour this alongside a fresh cup of coffee. It isn't too sweet and is perfectly moist with a hint of pumpkin. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

  • 4 cups white bread, stale or day old
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg Yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp. light butter
Gingered Creme Anglaise:
  • 1 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 5 egg Yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13" dish and set aside.

Cut the bread into small cubes. If it is fresh bread, place it on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes so it dries up. If it is stale, you can use it as-is. Pour the cubed bread into the dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together all your ingredients, except for the butter. Pour your mix over the bread crumbs. Pat down all the bread cubes so they are wet. Let sit for 10 minutes to make sure the bread is fully soaked. Place the 1 tablespoon of butter on top.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. The pudding should be set in the center, but not dry. The edges will puff up during baking, but it will deflate when your pan is removed from the oven.

While the bread pudding is baking, make your creme anglaise. Place the milk, cream, and ginger in your pot, and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, remove the pot from the heat, and let it stand, covered, for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, beat the yolks with the sugar until it is pale and thick. This should take 3-4 minutes. Slowly pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture. Stir constantly until blended.

Return the mix to the saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens. Be careful not to let it boil. If the sauce boils, it will curdle. If it curdles, remove the sauce from the heat immediately, and pour it in your blender. Spin around a few times, but be careful since the mixture is hot.

Add the vanilla, but make sure the heat is not on when you do.  Place the sauce in a small container, and let it cool.

When ready to serve, pour the creme anglaise over the bread pudding and enjoy!

Source: Adapted from The Freshman Cook

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sausage and Sage Stuffing

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Besides Roasted Red Peppers, the thing I look forward to the most on Thanksgiving is the stuffing. Eating it only once a year is completely unacceptable to me. I could eat a box of StoveTop any day and have absolutely no regrets. Sometimes it accidentally finds its way into my cart and I have no choice but to make it. In a crazy month like July, too! I've actually tried to sneak it into recipes in the past to justify eating it on a non-Thanksgiving day. Works in my book.
This stuffing is packed with flavor from the pork, onions, celery, sage and parsley. I lightened it up a bit by using light butter instead of the regular stuff, so you can feel slightly better about eating all those carbs. If you can find turkey stock in your local grocery store, go ahead and use that. I couldn't find any so I resorted to good ol' chicken stock, but that did the trick. The stuffing was so moist and is definitely a keeper. It gives StoveTop a run for its money. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

  • 1 lb. bulk pork sausage
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) light unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 cups)
  • 6 stalks celery with leaves, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 (14 oz.) package seasoned bread stuffing cubes
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups hot homemade chicken stock or canned chicken stock, plus 1/2 cup more if baking all of stuffing outside of turkey

In large, heavy skillet over moderate heat, sauté 1 pound bulk pork sausage, breaking up pieces with spoon, until meat shows no sign of pink, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to large bowl.

In 12-inch, heavy skillet over moderate heat, heat butter until hot but not smoking. Stir in onion and celery, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. (Vegetables can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before continuing: In 12-inch, heavy skillet over moderately high heat, sauté, stirring often, until heated through, about 5 minutes.)

Transfer to large bowl with sausage crumbles and add stuffing cubes, parsley, celery salt, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in 1 1/4 cups hot stock.

If using to stuff turkey: Use immediately to fill cavities and spread remainder in baking dish as directed in recipe .

If baking entire recipe as side dish: Preheat oven to 350°F and butter 3-quart casserole or 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Transfer stuffing to dish and drizzle with 1/2 cup hot stock. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is slightly crisp and golden, about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

You can also cut the recipe in half and bake it in a 9x9" pan like I did. Or else you can divide the full mixture in half and bake it in two 9x9" pans if you want to save one pan for a separate occasion.

Source: Adapted from Epicurious

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lightened-Up Cranberry Sauce

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Every Thanksgiving we have canned cranberry sauce. Not the cranberry sauce where you can make out the shapes of the whole cranberries either. The cranberry sauce that comes crammed in a can that you have to run a knife around the edge to remove. Or even resort to continually banging on the end until you hear the big "sluuuuuuuurp" of it slowly pouring out. That cranberry sauce is my favorite.
If you want to go the homemade route this year, this easy and low-calorie cranberry sauce is the way to go. Since I use Splenda in place of white sugar, the caloric count is already cut in (more than) half. I love the combination of sweet and tangy that the fresh cranberry and sugar mixture create, but there are many other add-ins you can mix in if you're feeling it. Brown sugar and cinnamon are great additions. Orange zest, allspice or nutmeg can also add some amazing flavor. It really just depends on what you and your guests prefer. Enjoy!

P.S. I also used the leftover cranberry sauce for a great post-Thanksgiving recipe that I'll show you next Friday!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup Splenda sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups (1 12-oz. package) fresh cranberries
  • Optional add-ins: Brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, allspice, nutmeg

Wash cranberries thoroughly.

In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Allow to boil for 5-10 minutes or until most of the cranberries burst. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

If you want to change the flavor, you can add some brown sugar and cinnamon to the cranberries while they are cooking. Orange zest is also a great compliment. Allspice and nutmeg are also great spices to add. Personally, I prefer the prominent sweet and tangy flavors of the cranberry/sugar combination, so I don't tamper with them.

Source: SK Original

Monday, November 12, 2012

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

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I know most people enjoy traditional mashed potatoes with Thanksgiving dinner, but another option are these Crispy Smashed Potatoes. Although they are not what everyone may be used to, they're equally as (or dare I say even more) delicious and even easier. They're crunchy on the outside, yet perfectly soft on the inside. The oil and salt combination that is sprinkled on top is just enough extra flavor to give them the taste and crunch of a french fry, but they're baked so you avoid the extra fat and calories.
You can also cook and smash the potatoes the day before, so in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving Day you'll only need to throw then under the broiler for a few minutes to get them crispy. That's it. It's a change I think most people will love.
Oh, and if this was any day other than Thanksgiving, I'd easily top these with some cheese, sour cream and scallions. And maybe bacon bits. A smashed loaded baked potato. Pure evil. Or pure genius? Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 lb. baby yellow potatoes (or 1-2 per serving)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for serving (optional)

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with water. Make sure the water rises at least 1-inch over the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Alternatively, you can make a small slit in the top of each potato and microwave for about 7 minutes per pound, or until the potatoes are tender. This might take less time depending on the size of your potatoes.

Set your broiler to medium.

When they potatoes are done, place on paper towels to dry them off. Once dry, transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet. Use a paper towel or paper plate to carefully mash them to 1/4-inch thick.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over top. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Set the potatoes under the broiler for 5-8 minutes or until they become crispy. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Enjoy immediately.

Source: My Mom

Friday, November 9, 2012

Apple Pie Cookies

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In addition to my beloved Roasted Red Peppers recipe I posted on Wednesday, from now until Turkey Day I'll be starting to feature a bunch more Thanksgiving-themed recipes to help with your dinner menu. I'm sure we all have our go-to recipes in place, but I'll offer a few different options in case you want to switch it up. And these Apple Pie Cookies are a great start. How cute, right?
I know most of us serve pies at our Thanksgiving table, but maybe this year you should give these a go. Individual "pies" in the form of cookies are so much easier to share. Plus everyone will feel special having their own personal Thanksgiving treat. You can also pop a lollipop stick in between the pieces of dough before sealing to make Apple Pie Pops! Kids will love those. Especially if they are served warm with some ice cream on top. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup very cold water
  • 2-3 medium baking apples
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch fresh nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • Sanding sugar (optional)
To make the pie dough: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low just to combine. Add the butter and beat on low speed to cut it into the dry ingredients - the pieces of butter should be no bigger than small peas when you're finished. Add the water to the mixer and mix on low just until the dough starts to come together and there are no more dry bits in the bowl. Turn out onto your work surface and shape the dough into a ball. Divide in half, shape each half into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one disc of dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out until it is about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (the shape doesn't matter). Use a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut as many shapes as possible from the dough. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheets and pop in the refrigerator while you repeat the process with the second disc of dough. Refrigerate all of the rounds until you finish prepping the apples.

Peel the apples. Starting from one outside edge, cut thin (1/8 to 1/4-inch) slices from the apple until you reach the core in the center. Repeat starting on the opposite outside edge. Using a 1 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut small discs from the apple slices. Add the apple discs to a bowl and top with the lemon juice, tossing to coat (this stops them from browning as quickly). In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

To assemble the cookies: Brush one side of a round of dough with water (this helps seal the cookies). Grab one apple disc, and coat it in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place it on the dough round and top with a second round of dough. Press the edges to seal, then use a fork to crimp the edges. Repeat using the remaining dough rounds and apple discs.

Make egg wash by beating the egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush each of your apple pie cookies with the egg wash, then sprinkle them with the sanding sugar, if you're using it. Use a paring knife to cut slits in the tops of the cookies.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and golden brown. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks to allow the cookies to cool (that said, these are great warm so feel free to dig in as soon as they're cool enough that you won't burn your mouth!).

Source: Tracey's Culinary Adventures

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Roasted Red Peppers

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I dieee. 

My mom's roasted red peppers are by far my favorite snack, side dish, appetizer...basically any time I can get away with eating them, I will. No matter how full I am on Thanksgiving, I always make sure I have room for at least two helpings of these guys. Yes, I know they don't take up that much room, but you also don't know how much food I eat on Thanksgiving. And now that I'm married I have to scarf down two dinners (I know...poor me, right?).
You simply roast the red peppers and douse them with olive oil and garlic cloves. The garlic gets diffused in the oil so it adds SO much deliciousness to the peppers. Serve these up as a part of your main course or as a light appetizer earlier in the day. They would be perfect on an Antipasti Plate as well. They're easy, light and full of flavor, plus you can make them ahead of time so you don't have to add it to your list of things-to-do on Thanksgiving day. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Place peppers on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until skin is wrinkled and begins to char.
You can also place them under the broiler, turning as they begin to char. This takes less time if you're in a hurry.
Remove from oven and place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit until they are cool enough to handle.

Cut peppers in half and remove insides. Peel skin from each half. Cut into thick strips and place in a bowl. Cover with olive oil and garlic cloves. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: My Mom

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sesame Quinoa (Gluten-Free)

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Sometimes I have trouble "matching" my dinners. I'll crave Lettuce Wraps, but I'll also want Hawaiian Baked Beans. Or I'll want Macaroni and Cheese and Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

Yes, pasta and potatoes. Apparently my body doesn't know or care what "carb overload" means.

So when I decide to make Shrimp with Spicy Garlic Sauce the other night, I knew I had to find something other than a Caesar salad to serve with it. I mean that's just embarrassing.
Quinoa is one of my new favorite sides since it's easy to make, gluten-free and packed with protein. I found some on sale at the grocery store, so I decided to make a side that would compliment the main course. I love the flavor of sesame oil, so this quinoa was right on point. I served it at room temperature, but it was just as good hot or cold. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil (plus more, to taste)
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, sliced very thin
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced into thin pieces
  • Sesame seeds, for serving

Check quinoa package to see if it is pre-rinsed. If not, rinse under cold water for five minutes. Bring water to a boil. Add rinsed quinoa and cook for 12-15 minutes or until done.

Meanwhile, combine sesame oil, vegetable oil, ginger, red pepper flakes and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Taste and add more sesame oil if needed. Set aside.
Once quinoa is done, put in a bowl and top with water chestnuts, mushrooms, carrots and scallions. Stir to combine. Top with oil mixture and gently stir. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve hot, room temperature or cold.

Source: SK Original

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pork Rollatine

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Here's another delicious guest post from my mom!
Hi, it's Amy's Mom again. Growing up in Brooklyn many (many) years ago, my mom (Amy's grandma whom she called "Nanny") used to make these as a special treat. She used veal cutlets, but back then veal was cheap. I chose pork but you can use veal or even chicken. I have a few of my Mom's recipes, and her measuring wasn't quite as precise as I would like it to be- a pinch, a shake, a handful- you get it. Therefore, this recipe is basically just a list of ingredients and you use "quanto basta"- as much as you like. We weren't so calorie or cholesterol conscious then so feel free to use part skim mozzarella and any healthier form of butter you like. I used the real things!! Enjoy.
Thanks Mom! This is such a yummy and special treat. I had to make it for myself and Chris a few days after she told me she made it, and I used her recommendation of part-skim cheese and light butter. Still fantastic!
Note: Make sure you secure a toothpick on the ends to prevent the cheese from oozing out :)

Here are my Mom's handy step-by-step photos:
Layer all the ingredients on top of the pounded pork cutlet
Roll it up and hold it together with toothpicks
Note: I also put a toothpick on the helps keep the cheese inside
Printable Recipe

  • 1 lb. pork cutlets (or veal or chicken), pounded very thin
  • Pepper
  • Parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Mozzarella, sliced into thick strips
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

On each pounded cutlet, sprinkle pepper, parsley, garlic powder and a good amount of Parmesan cheese. Add strips of Mozzarella on top. Roll and hold together with toothpicks.

Roll in melted butter and place in pan. Pour remaining butter over the top.

Cover and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on thickness and the type of meat used. Remove foil and cook another 10-20 minutes until meat is done and cheese is melted.

Source: My Mom and Nanny