Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nigel's Turkey Meatball Soup

If you haven't noticed, we've been eating a lot of soup lately. In the past few weeks, we've had this soup twice. It is so easy to make and both times it was delicious. Nigel is the master of this soup, both times he made it for me while I was at my Monday night hockey game. The soup is also great for lunches and one pot made enough for 2 dinners and 2 lunches. We didn't make the turkey meatballs ourselves, so that cuts down a lot of the prep time (the President's Choice brand are an awesome alternative to homemade). Feel free to adapt yours with other vegetables or beans, or even leave out the bulgur wheat.



Turkey Meatball Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
2 cups, diced carrots
1 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 small can, tomato paste
1 large can, diced tomatoes
1 carton, beef broth (try to find one with low sodium)
1 can, white kidney beans
1 cup, cracked bulgur wheat
1 1/2 lb. mini-turkey meatballs, cut in half
5 handfuls, baby spinach

Sauté garlic, shallots, and carrots in olive oil in the bottom of a large stock pot until shallots soften. Add spices and cook for about 30 seconds until they become fragrant.

Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, broth, and beans to the pot (heat should be medium-high). After the soup begins to bubble, add cracked wheat. The wheat needs to cook for at least 15 minutes.

Turn the heat down and add the meatballs (they should have been pre-cooked and cut in half). Cook about 5 minutes and then add the spinach. After the spinach wilts, serve with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brownies!

The other night, Nigel and I were craving sweets and as it turned out, I magically had all of the ingredients necessary to make homemade, from-scratch brownies! We were still in recovery mode the other night after a fantastic trip to New York to visit my friends, so the last thing we actually wanted to do was bake. However, I was able to make the brownies tonight after work and they turned out better than any I've ever made from a box. They were rich and delicious, and it is possible that there won't be any left by tomorrow night!



Fry's Cocoa Brownies

Ingredients
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 cup Fry's cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt (don't use salt if you use salted butter) together in a bowl and set aside.

In a medium-large saucepan heat butter over medium heat. When melted, remove from heat and stir in cocoa powder, blending until lumps disappear.

Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the cocoa mixture, then add dry mixture and the chocolate chips. Blend well and pour into a greased 8x8 metal baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife comes out of the centre cleanly.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Old Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Meringue

Topping off a delicious meal was a fantastic fall cake! If you want to try something new this year for Thanksgiving, I'd highly recommend this as an alternative dessert (or an additional one...)  The cake was actually relatively easy to make. The best part was the meringue, I was practically licking the bowl (do not attempt this at home... there are raw eggs in there) and even after it baked, it was perfect- not dusty like some meringues according to N.

The recipe came from Food 52, a neat blog where they have a category every week and users vote on the best recipes. This cake was a winner of the apple cake category. My version is slightly different- fresh grated ginger, dried cranberries, maple syrup, and nutmeg were my additions/substitutions. I also ran out of brown sugar when making the meringue, so the cake had white sugar instead.


Cake and Meringue layers, so pretty and so yummy



Old Fashioned Apple Cake


For the Meringue:
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
For the Cake::

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar + 3 tbsp. pure maple sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large, Granny Smith apples, cored and grated on the large holes of a box grater
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 cups spooned and leveled all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the middle level of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9"x9" baking pan or casserole dish.

To make the meringue, place the egg whites, brown sugar and water in the top of a double boiler. Put enough water in the bottom of the double boiler to touch the bottom of the top pot. Over high heat, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until peaks form, 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

For the cake, beat together butter and brown sugar until fluffy; add egg yolks and blend well. By hand, stir in baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, grated apples, walnuts and raisins.

Fold in the flour, blending well but being careful to not overmix.

Spoon batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Spread meringue evenly over the batter. Bake until top is crisp, about 45 minutes. If you serve it while warm, the meringue will crack when you cut it, but that's a good thing. If you want nice, neat uniform slices, serve the cake the next day.

Gorgeous meringue topping, just out of the oven

Green Bean and Tomato Salad

The Maple Peppercorn Pork Chops were just one aspect of a lovely dinner I made today. I made a green bean salad to serve with dinner. I thought something lighter tasting would go well with the rich pork chops. Nigel and I also ate a lot of the Boursin as a snack while everything was cooking, oops!



Green Bean and Tomato Salad

1 1/2 lb. green beans
1/2 carton cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Boursin Herbed cheese

Dressing (Make this to taste)
4 tbsp. Olive oil
3 tbsp. Red wine vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tsp. sugar

Steam green beans only until bright green, then blanch in a bowl filled with ice water.

Whisk dressing ingredients together, be sure to taste as you go and adjust vinegar and lemon juice to your preference.

Pour dressing over beans, tomatoes, and cheese and mix together.

Maple Peppercorn Pork Chops

A few weeks ago my mom (K) and dad gave me a container of amazing maple syrup! They got huge jug of pure Canadian maple syrup as a gift and lucky for me they had to share it with me, or else they'd never finish it. I've been looking for ways to use this liquid yumminess and remembered a recipe for Maple Peppercorn Porkchops on Serious Eats! These pork chops were to die for...



Maple Peppercorn Pork Chops
From Eggs on Sunday via Serious Eats


2 bone-in, thick cut pork chops (about 1-inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup (Grade B or Dark Amber)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, season the pork chops well with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Pour the oil into large ovenproof skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chops. Cook the chops for four or five minutes on each side, until they are well browned.

Flip the chops, and then carefully transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook them until their temperature reaches 145°F, about 2 to 4 minutes. Check with a instant read thermometer. Set the chops aside and cover with foil.

Place the skillet back on a burner and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the shallot, thyme, and the rest of the salt. Cook until the shallot is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the vinegar, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits. Reduce heat to a simmer, and let reduce for 2 minutes. Then add the maple syrup and the crushed black pepper. Return to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes.

Serve sauce over pork chops.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf Stuffed with Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese

As the second "K" in the K & K food blog, I have sadly not pulled my weight in trying out new recipes for the blog. I was informed by Nigel, Kelsey's #1 sous chef, that I needed to add something new to the blog. So he shamed me into following through with my promise to do so. Over the last six months, Tim and I have decided to eat less "4- legged animals" so it has challenged me to use turkey and chicken in new way. So when Tim ask for meatloaf for dinner, I hit one of the food blog listed on the K & K site, the Skinny Chef. I found this Turkey Meatloaf recipe and it sounded like it had all healthy ingredients and was lower in fat than traditional meatloaf. It was an easy recipe to make as it was put together in 15 minutes and it only called for 45- 50 minutes of cooking. The bonus to this recipe was that it was delicious. Both Tim and I loved the flavor of it and it is a definite keeper of a recipe. I need to thank Tim, my food taster and photographer for taking the picture to add a visual for all the foodies out there.

Enjoy, Kim


Ingredients

Serves: 8 Update (not sure it would feed 8 unless you only want one slice)
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
1 pound ground turkey ( I used 1 and 1/2 lbs. as we wanted leftovers)
1 cup oats (not quick cooking; I used steel cut oats which worked fine)
2 egg whites
1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup non-fat milk
1/4 cup minced parsley
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella
2 tablespoons ketchup or barbecue sauce

Directions
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat a large, dry skillet over high heat. Add the spinach and 2 tablespoons water. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until the spinach wilts. Set aside. Place oats into large bowl, along with eggs, milk and soy sauce. Stir well to coat and soak about 10 minutes. Add ground turkey, parsley, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and paprika. Mix well.
Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and smooth half the meat mixture into the pan. Top with spinach. Sprinkle over cheese, then press the remaining meat over top and cover with ketchup or barbecue sauce. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the meatloaf is no longer pink in the center, test by inserting a knife. Rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

****I cooked it 50 minutes and we felt it was a little overcooked but it could be our oven cooks "hot". I would test it at 40 minutes next time. ******





Thursday, November 4, 2010

"What do you want to call our soup?" Soup

Today was a rainy, cold, dreary day in Ottawa - a perfect day for some delicious, comforting soup!  After looking at a few recipes and not being satisfied, we decided to wing it at the grocery store and create our own recipe. The result was way better than either of us expected. I know I'm definitely looking forward to the leftovers!



"What do you want to call our soup?" Soup

One bunch, carrots
2 large beets
4 red potatoes
2 bay leafs
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water, from the steamed vegetables (ours was a beautiful pink from the beets!)
1 can brown lentils
5 links, mild Italian sausage
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup red wine (we used a Malbec)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
3 large handfuls, baby spinach

Chop your vegetables (carrots, beets, potatoes) and steam for 5-7 minutes, add carrots and beets first.

Add steamed vegetables to chicken stock, spices, and lentils (rinse first) in a large stock pot. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes.

While the vegetables and stock are cooking, cook sausage over medium-high heat until outside is brown, but not completely cooked. Take sausage off the stove and cut into discs. Add back to pan along with olive oil, diced garlic, and onions. Cook until sausage is browned, then add the wine and brown sugar. Cook until wine starts to reduce.

Separate about 2 cups of the broth from the soup pot into a small bowl and mix cornstarch in until lumps are dissolved. Add back to the pot.

Add sausage, garlic, and onions to the soup pot and simmer over low heat for 5 more minutes. At the last minute, add the spinach to the pot. Serve with some Parmesan cheese.
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