Tag Archives: side

Easiest Ever Porkchops and Roasted Butternut Squash.

Around this time last year, my friend Shawn hosted a holiday cooking party.  She invited over a group of friends for wine, appetizers and dinner.  But before the big meal, she channeled her inner Giada and showed us all how quick and easy it was to prepare the super delicious, good for you meal.  Ever since, this meal has graced my table at least twice a month.  You can prepare and cook both the pork chops and the butternut squash at the same time.

Shawn’s Easiest Ever Pork Chops

– 1 Package Boneless Pork Chops, butterflied if preferred

– 1/2 Bottle Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette Dressing

– 1 Pacakage Goat Cheese, crumbled

– 1/4 Bag Trail Mix with Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit (I always use Trader Joe’s Oh My Omega Trek Mix)

Preheat oven to 350.  Arrange pork chops in a baking dish and cover with dressing.  Top with goat cheese and trail mix.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Shawn’s Roasted Butternut Squash

– 1 Butternut Squash, cubed (I leave the peel on to add extra nutrients, but you could certainly peel it as well)

– Honey (a big drizzle should be enough)

– Cinnamon, to taste

– Nutmeg, to taste

– Cayenne, to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients together and pour into a baking dish.  Bake for 35-40, until tender.

Bombay Sloppy Joes and Massaged Kale Salad.

It probably comes as no surprise to most of you that I watch a lot of television.  I tend to fall victim to teen dramas, NBC sitcoms and reality show competitions.  And while I’ll admit that I do watch a lot of crap (as I’m often lovingly reminded so by the Husby), I’m proud to say that I’ve never seen an episode of Jersey Shore.

When the Fruitaholic was first born, we watched a lot of the Food Network.  I’d listen to Rachael Ray rasp at me during feedings, wonder during diaper changes how Paula Deen was still alive as she used pounds of butter in her dishes and get lost in Giada’s teeth when the Fruitaholic woke during the night.  We joked that with the amount of Food Network shows seen throughout his first few months of life, the Little Dude had no choice but to become a chef.  It was then that I started watching the Next Food Network Star.

This past season, Aarti Sequiera was my favorite from the beginning.  She had a great on-camera presence, a likeable personality, and an idea for a show that really hadn’t been done before.  I’ve always been enamored by Indian flavors, but never really thought that a home cook such as myself would be able to recreate those dishes in my kitchen.  Aarti has a great blog that she still keeps up with even though she’s a big star now.

This meal comes from Aarti’s first episode.  I really loved that she took a familiar dish and added her own spin to it.  We served this when we had friends over for dinner and everyone agreed that it was great.  Even the babies gobbled it up!

Bombay Sloppy Joes – created by Aarti Sequiera, as seen on Food Network.

For the Sauce:

– 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

– 1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, minced  **TIP: keep extra ginger root in the freezer.  It will keep for months**

– 2 cloves Garlic, minced

– 1/2 Serrano Chile Pepper, seeded and finely minced (save the other half for the turkey)

– 1 tsp. Garam Masala

– 1/2 tsp Paprika

– 1 15 oz Can Tomato Sauce

– 1 Cup Water

For the Turkey:

– 3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

– 1/4 Cup Shelled Pistachios

– 1/4 Cup Raisins

– 1 tsp. Cumin Seeds

– 1/2 Large White Onion, Finely Diced

– 1 Red Bell Pepper, Seeds and Membrane Removed, Finely Diced

– 1/2 Serrano Chile Pepper, Seeds Intact (do not chop)

– 1 Lb. Ground Turkey

– 1/2 tsp. Honey

– 1/4 Cup Half and Half

– Salt, to taste

– Small handful Chopped Fresh Cilantro (soft stems included)

– Buns (I used Arnolds 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins)

Begin making the sauce.  Over medium heat, warm the oil in a saucepan until it shimmers.  Add ginger, garlic and serrano pepper.  Saute until the ginger and garlic brown a little.  Add garam masala and paprika and saute for 30 seconds.  Stir in tomato sauce and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet.  Add pistachios and raisins, and cook until the raisins plump and the pistachios toast slightly.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and warm.  Add the cumin seeds and sizzle for 10 seconds.  Stir in the onions and bell pepper, saute until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.  Add serrano pepper and saute for another few minutes, seasoning with salt.  Stir in the turkey, break up any big lumps and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.

Once the sauce is ready, pour into the skillet with the turkey.  Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

Remove the serrano pepper, add the honey, half and half, pistachios and raisins.  Stir through until well combined.  Before serving, garnish with fresh cilantro.  Toast the buns, fill with the turkey mixture and serve.

Massaged Kale Salad – created by Aarti Sequiera, as seen on Food Network.

– 1 Bunch Kale, stalks removed and discarded, leaves torn or thinly sliced

– 1 lemon, Juiced

– 1/4 Cup Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling

– 2 tsp. Honey

– 1 Mango, Diced

– Salt and Pepper, to taste

– Small Handful Toasted Pepitas

In a serving bowl, add the kale, half of the lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and salt.  Massage with your hands until the kale starts to soften and wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil and whisk until a dressing forms.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas.  Toss and serve.

Pumpkin Meatloaf Muffins with Cranberry Topping and Apple-Potato Pancakes.

again, it's not so pretty. has anyone ever taken a good picture of meatloaf?

By now I think everyone is aware of my obsession with pumpkin, and now that the weather has changed, I’m craving comfort food, and I do love me a good meatloaf.  The grocery store had ground turkey on sale last week for 2/$5 so I took advantage and stocked up.

We’ve recently taken to making meatloaf in muffin form since they’re single size servings, easy for little hands to pick up, and freeze really well.  Plus, they look really cute when you “frost” them with mashed potatoes.

The Husby, Fruitaholic and I all enjoyed these muffins, but thought they were a little on the bland side.  It’s really my fault since I didn’t use any seasoning whatsoever besides sage, salt and pepper.  I’ll definitely make this again, but next time I’ll use a mirepoix (Trader Joes sells a prechopped mix, which is good since I’m time constrained), some garlic, allspice and more sage to add a little bit more flavor.

Pumpkin Meatloaf Muffins with Cranberry Topping – adapted from Veggie by Season.

– 1 lb. Ground Turkey

– 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree

– 1 Egg

– 2/3 Cup Oatmeal

– 1 tsp. Sage

– 1 Tbsp. Worchestershire

– Salt and Pepper, to Taste

– 1 cup Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients except cranberry sauce in a mixing bowl.  Scoop portions into muffin tin, leaving about 1/4 inch at the top of each round.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Heat cranberry sauce until warm.  Spoon on top of each meatloaf muffin.

Apple-Potato Pancakes – from Weight Watchers

– 1 Potato, peeled

– 1 Apple, peeled, cored and quartered

– 4 tsp. Onion Flakes

– 1 Egg

– 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

– Salt and Pepper, to taste

Shred potato and apple using a box grater.  Stir in onion flakes.  Transfer to a strainer and press out as much liquid as you can.  Wait one minute, then press again to drain.  Stir in egg, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high.  Using a cookie scoop and working in batches, drop potato mixture into skillet and flatten to form a pancake.  Cook until golden, about 3 minutes, then flip and do the same.

Orzo Salad with Watermelon and Feta.

yeah, i could really use a new camera. sorry for the ugly picture.

My son is what we like to call, a fruitaholic.  It’s always a sure bet that no matter what else is on his plate, he will immediately lunge at the fruit.  While he enjoys all types of fruit, his favorite is definitely watermelon, and it is his unconditional love that inspired this dish.

In the summer months, we always have had watermelon in our fridge, seeded, ready and available for all of the Fruitaholic’s fruit needs.  So when I came across this recipe, I was really intrigued by it.  And when MC suggested a Mediterranean theme for our dinner party, I knew this side would be the perfect addition to our menu.

And now that the weather here in Chicago has turned (boo), I apologize for tempting you with such a crisp and refreshing dish that is perfect on a warm summer night.  But I look at this recipe as a stepping stone…  It would be equally as delicious substituting  a combination of grapes and blue cheese, peaches and shaved parm, gorgonzola and pear, or pomegranate and goat cheese for more of a fall flavor.

Orzo Salad with Watermelon and Feta – From Weight Watchers

– 1 cup Uncooked Orzo

– 2 cups Watermelon, seeded and diced

– 1/2 cup Feta Cheese

– 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

– 1/2 cup Fresh Basil, sliced thin

– Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cold water, allow to cool.  Toss with remaining ingredients in a medium serving bowl.