Monthly Archives: January 2013

Nashville Restaurant Week!

Monday January 14th marks the start of Nashville Restaurant week.

Be sure to check out the wonderful restaurants and great deals!

http://www.nashvilleoriginals.com/

restaurant week

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Steak and Mushrooms With Pureed Cauliflower

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I am not much of a potato person but I think I’ve found something that resembles mashed potatoes.

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Pureed Cauliflower!

cauliflower florets

You just simply roast the cauliflower florets

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and blend them in a food processor with pat of butter. A large pat.

They end up tasting like a mix between grits and mashed potatoes and they are very flavorful!

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I topped them with sauteed mushrooms and sirloin steak sliced very thinly.

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This dish has a prominent steak flavor so you have to be a lover. However, even if you don’t like steak, I urge you to make the cauliflower. It was so good!

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The parsley give the steak a nice bright flavor.

Steak and Mushrooms with Pureed Cauliflower

Ingredients: 

1 pound sirloin filet, thinly sliced or shaved

10 ounces mushrooms, sliced (your choice, I used portobella)

1/2 cup red wine or beef broth (if you’re not a red wine lover, use broth)

1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 bunch of asparagus (about 1 pound)

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

olive oil

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions and directions: 

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake on a parchment line baking sheet for 25-30 minutes until cauliflower are tender but not too brown.

In a plastic bag, toss asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes depending on size of asparagus.

Meanwhile, sautee mushrooms in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add thinly sliced steak and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer cooked cauliflower to a food processor or blender (blender would have to be a good one 🙂 ). Add butter and puree until smooth, adding a few tablespoons of broth if needed.

Serve steak over puree and sprinkle with parsley.  Top with asparagus.

Add a little pat of butter to cauliflower and treat like mashed potatoes if desired!

Adapted from Real Simple

Blast from the Past! Cheesy Homemade Helper

I discovered chicken helper in college while living in a small studio apartment next door to a girlfriend of mine. I won’t embarrass you by telling everyone you liked Chicken Helper, but you know who you are 🙂

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While it was never my favorite dinner choice, it did provide leftovers and a full stomach.

I know other people that lived on hamburger helper in college and love to walk down memory lane. Instead of cringing, when someone asks me to make it…

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I had to come up with a way to make Hamburger Helper o.k. in my house. I’m all about indulging in cravings but that powder in a box? I just can’t. So I made up a recipe! There are tons of homemade helper recipes out there so I checked them all out and customized mine accordingly.

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I picked fusilli pasta because I feel like all the cheese and goodness sticks to it best.  Any short pasta would do.

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Even though it might sound like I’ve sort of been hating on the helper, it is pretty awesome that it all cooks in one pan!

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Adding cheese right before you serve it, makes it super creamy.

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No preservatives, no box, but similar-and by similar I mean better.

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Dinner served and I didn’t even need that creepy little walking hand (with a face!) to help me!

CHEESY HOMEMADE HELPER

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey

1 Small diced onion

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

15 twists freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup water

2 cups milk (i used 1%)

1/2 pound fusilli or other short pasta

1 cup sharp cheddar, grated

Instructions and directions: 

Cook onion and ground meat in a large skillet until the meat is no longer pink l

Add pasta, seasonings,  water and milk to skillet. Stir well.  Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes (stirring periodically), or until pasta is cooked through and liquid is mostly absorbed.

Stir in cheese until melted and creamy. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened.

Butternut Squash Salad with Hazelnuts and Blue Cheese

I love salads with neat toppings that are also filling because let’s face it, sometimes lettuce just doesn’t do the trick.


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This one has butternut squash, thinly sliced red onion, blue cheese and hazelnuts.

And just for fun I thought I’d show you how to peel a butternut squash in case they intimidate you.

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For this recipe you start out with a small butternut squash.

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Peel it with a vegetable peeler until the light colored flesh is gone and the orange color of the flesh starts to show through.

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Cut the squash in half.

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Using a spoon (preferably a grapefruit spoon with teeth 🙂 ) scrape out the seeds and pulp.

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Then you just cut into cubes!

Toss these in salt and pepper and roast for 30-35 minutes.

dressing

In a small bowl you simply whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard and salt & pepper.

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Thinly slice red onion and crumble the blue cheese.

hazelnuts

Lightly toast hazelnuts.

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Toss together mixed greens, squash, dressing, hazelnuts, red onion and blue cheese.

salad with chicken

Serve with grilled chicken.

I like to marinate cutlets or chicken breast the night before in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and a splash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH HAZELNUTS AND BLUE CHEESE

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 pound butternut squash, cubed

5 tablespoons olive oil

salt and fresh pepper (a teaspoon of each)

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

1- 5 or 6 ounce package mixed greens

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled ( 1 cup)

4 chicken breast cutlets (drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with  salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and a splash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce

Instructions and directions: 

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat grill.

In a bowl toss together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cubed squash, salt and pepper. Spread squash on parchment lined cooking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, spread hazelnuts on a second parchment line cooking sheet and toast in the oven. Shake on baking sheet occasionally until the become fragrant, 10-12 minuets.

Grill chicken cutlets over medium heat 3-4 minutes per side or until juices are clear. Remove and and tent on a plate with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add squash, hazelnuts, greens and onion. Sprinkle with cheese and serve with chicken.

adapted from real simple

Roasted Salmon with Cauliflower, Tomato and Red Onion

I love it when a meal comes together like this one did!

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I have mentioned before that one of my favorite ways to make Salmon is by roasting it. It just seems to come out so perfectly every time.

This recipe was one of my favorites that I have had in some time. The complexity of flavors in such an easy dish are sure to impress. It was ready in no time for a quick week night meal and is fancy and colorful enough for company.

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The salmon is perfectly flavored and seasoned with a small amount of curry.

The tomatoes are sweet and juicy and really pair well with the substantial cauliflower and the caramelized red onion.  I have already considered making this combination of vegetables again in the very near future.

The textures are really great together and it was so pretty that I had a hard time choosing which pictures to post!

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The heat is going to help with flavor and timing.

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Combine the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Line them on a sheet pan and roast.

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Nesltle the salmon into the partially roasted vegetables and roast a little longer.

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And it is good for you!

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Roasted Salmon with Cauliflower, Tomato and Red Onion

Ingredients: 

2 small red onions,  cut into wedges

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 pint grape tomatoes

3tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 pound  salmon filet, cut into 4 pieces

1 teaspoon curry powder

Instructions and directions: 

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine, cauliflower, tomatoes and onion with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast on a large parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Drizzle salmon with olive oil and season with the curry.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper . Nestle it among the vegetables on the baking sheet. Continue roasting  until the salmon is opaque throughout and the vegetables are golden brown and tender, 12 to 15 minutes more.

Adapted from women’s day magazine

Grown Up Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

I think one of the best things about being a grown up is that you can eat ice cream for dinner if you so please.  Having said that, I have never had ice cream for dinner (a 2013 resolution perhaps?)  but knowing I could if I wanted to, makes me happy.

I am pretty sure that when I was little and my mom & dad were in a rush or couldn’t think of anything else to make, they would just heat up a can of Campbell’s tomato soup and a grilled cheese. Done. (P.S. At the time I would have rallied for an ice cream dinner with no success)

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I can’t say I blame them for their need for speed or their refusal to serve cold sugar in a bowl and while I was never a big fan of that tomato soup and grilled cheese combination, times have changed my friends. Grown Up Grilled Cheeses and Tomato Soup are what made a soup and grilled cheese believer out of me

While still simple, this soup doesn’t “only require water” and its sidekick doesn’t get all melty and cheesey with an individually wrapped orange square. No, no, no. This soup is hearty with big pieces of tomato and earthy mushrooms and the sandwich has substantial bread and 3 kinds of cheeses!

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The not so secret ingredient for me in the soup is V8.

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And the mushrooms make this soup stand apart from your other homemade tomato soups.

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After simmering for only 30 minutes you end up with this.

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Topped with this.

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And it melts like this.

And that is where the grilled cheese comes in!

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Sturdy peasant bread is the base of our grilled cheese.

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After you spread on the butter you grate and press Parmesan cheese into the butter.

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This is going to create a crust you won’t believe!

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And the cheese melts so incredibly!

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Ahhh. It feels like 1986 in this house.

Grown Up Tomato Soup

3 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

1-8 ounce package mushrooms

20 ounces of tomato juice or V8

1-14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

10 grinds fresh pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons of dried basil, oregano or parsley (i used a combination of all)

1 cup boiling water

fresh Parmesan for topping

In a pot over medium heat, melt butter and add onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes until onion is tender.

With the exception of the Parmesan, add all ingredients and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Grilled Cheese 

Ingredients: 

8 slices peasant bread

4 deli slices provolone cheese, halved

4 deli slices mozzarella cheese, halved

1/4 cup butter, softened (more or less depending on your taste)

freshly grated Paremsan (about 8 tablespoons when loosely grated)

Instructions and directions: 

Spread 1-2 teaspoons of butter on one side of each piece of bread. Sprinkle and press Parmesan onto each buttered piece of bread.

In a large skillet over medium heat, place 4 pieces of the bread, buttered side down. Top each piece of bread with 2 halves of mozzerella and two halves of provolone. Place the other 4 pieces of bread on the cheese, butter side up. Leave for 3-4 minutes, flip and grill other side 3-4 minutes or until butter/cheese is golden.

Soup adapted from the Picnic, Grilled Cheese Adapted from My Recipes

Cheeseburger Pizza

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Is it possible that anything on a pizza dough would turn out well? That was my first thought after tasting Cheeseburger Pizza.  I think though that mixing things up and trying them different ways tastes good too.

It may seem unconventional to see a cheeseburger on a pizza dough and since I had never tried it before I thought I would give it a shot. It really turned out quite well.

I crave the occasional cheeseburger but often times they leave me feeling heavy and lethargic. This might have something to do with the French fries that usually accompany them.

This pizza used lean hamburger, didn’t include any mayonnaise and wasn’t the least bit greasy. I also didn’t serve fries along side it.  It was a win in the cheeseburger department.

You start out by shaping your dough. I have found that this pizza is best made on a thin crust so get it stretched out as thin as you can.

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Lean ground beef works best here so you don’t have any excess grease. The ground beef is flavored with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, Worcestershire, ketchup and mustard.

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Layering cheese on the crust before adding the ground beef helps give the ground beef something to hold on to. Don’t worry ground beef. We won’t let you go anywhere.

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Then you had more cheese of course!

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After you bake the pizza for a short 15 minutes you can top it with pickles and tomatoes. Any of your favorite toppings would be fine. Bacon would be awesome too for a Bacon Cheeseburger!

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Slice the pizza and serve.  Not only is this pizza delicious but it is colorful and fun too!

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Top with lettuce if desired!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I topped with lettuce and tomato and the pictures were much more colorful but I ended up picking them off and adding extra pickles.

I’d love to comment on the left overs but someone who will not be named left them on the counter in the Ziploc container overnight.

How do you like your burger?!?!

In college I took my burgers (and plenty of them) with cheese and mayo only. These days if it is just a typical cheeseburger I’ll throw some mustard and pickle in there too.  Old habits die hard.

CHEESEBURGER PIZZA

A Hungry Apple Original 

Ingredients: 

1 pizza dough

1 pound lean ground beef

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

15 twists of freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons mustard

1/2 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

6 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (or more if desired)

1/2 cup thinly sliced dill pickle chips

1/2 cup thinly sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup lettuce, shredded (optional)

Instructions and Directions: 

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

On a parchment lined pizza or sheet pan, shape dough to desired thickness. (This pizza is best with thin crust.)

Bake the dough in the oven for five minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile cook lean ground beef in large skillet over medium high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Add ingredients beginning with salt thorough Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes more allowing the flavors to combine.

Sprinkle one handful of cheese onto par baked crust. Top with ground beef and spread to the edges. Top ground beef with remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.

Top with pickle, tomato and slice pizza. Top with lettuce if desired.

5 Ingredient Guacamole!

Since this is the first post of 2013 I thought I would dedicate it to one of my life’s loves. Avocado.

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Avocados contain good fats, are high in fiber, have more potassium than my favorite fruit, the banana and are thought to lower cholesterol.

I love recipes where the main ingredient shines through with a little help from a few friends.  I think it is safe to say that the fewer ingredients the better. Although I don’t always let this principle guide what I cook, I love it when it happens like it has in this recipe.

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Here they are: avocado, lime, red onion, jalapeno and salt. That’s it!

Lots of guac recipes call for tomato, salsa, garlic and so on but i combined a few recipes I found and stuck with these 5.

This 5 Ingredient Guacamole recipe is simple and the ingredients are just what you need without too much fuss.

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You just pit and peel the avocado.

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In a large bowl you combine the avocado that you are about to mush up….

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with red onion, jalapeno and lime juice.  Mix his all together.

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Sprinkle with salt and you are done!

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I could eat this stuff with a spoon, but I won’t.

5 INGREDIENT GUACAMOLE

Ingredients: 

3 ripe large avocados

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1 jalapeno, finely diced

the juice of two limes

sea salt

Instructions and directions: 

In a bowl, combine avocado, onion and jalapeno. Mush to desired consistency. Add lime juice and stir. Sprinkle a little at a time with sea salt to taste.

adapted from about.com and eat live run blog