Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lasagna Rolls

We recently launched our Facebook page where we will be posting tips, tricks, kitchen misses, and mini-recipes (i.e. cocktails, etc.).  However, we are more thrilled about the opportunity to interact with our followers.  One of our Facebook followers requested a lasagna recipe so today I give you: Lasagna Rolls.  These rolls are easy to make and I love to cook things for individual portions (hence, the mini lemon cakes you saw previously).   They are also perfect for making on the weekend and having some left over for weekday lunches.

For this recipe, I used a sauce that is very similar to my turkey spaghetti recipe.  However, I like to make the sauce thicker so I nix the tomato sauce and only use the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.  It helps everything to stick together without running all over – you’ll thank me when you’re rolling these with your bare hands :)  I haven’t tried this with other lasagnas before but I’m sure it could work with any!  You could use spinach and butternut squash or any other combination you think would work.  Actually, I happen to have a recipe for just that…maybe you’ll see it on the No Pressure Cooker soon!

Lasagna Rolls

6 lasagna noodles
1 lb ground turkey (not turkey breast)
½ c chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz can crushed tomato
3 oz tomato paste
3 tsp salt, divided
3 tsp ground pepper, divided
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp seasoned salt
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
7oz part-skim ricotta cheese
8oz part-skim shredded mozzarella
Cooking spray

Brown turkey in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  When half of the turkey is browned, add onion and garlic.  Cook until all turkey is browned.  Add crushed tomato, tomato paste, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper, sugar, seasoned salt, garlic powder, red pepper, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves.  Stir until well mixed.

Increase heat to medium-high and bring sauce mixture to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes. 
Stir and reduce heat to low.  Allow sauce to simmer as long as possible – at least 20 minutes.  Pour sauce into a bowl and place in the freezer to allow the sauce to cool slightly before preparing the rolls.

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook pasta according to directions on package or until al dente.  Be sure not to overcook the noodles.  Drain and dry noodles with paper towels. 

Lay cooked noodles on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to prevent slipping.  Spoon a layer of ricotta on each of the cooked noodles.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Follow with layers of sauce and mozzarella. Loosely roll each of the noodles and place into a 13”x9” baking dish, lightly coated with cooking spray.  Top each lasagna roll with more sauce and mozzarella.

Place baking dish in oven and cook at 375 for 30-40 mins or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

This is a bit time-consuming but there are ways to make this an easy weeknight meal.  This lasagna sauce freezes very well, so make ahead and freeze for months!  (This also works for spaghetti sauce.)  When you’re ready to make your rolls, just take the sauce out in the morning and sit in a tub of cold water in the sink.  It should be thawed by the time you get home from work.  Or, you can allow it to thaw slowly in the refrigerator for a day or two.  Bon appetit!

Note: Thaw time will depend on the amount of sauce that is frozen.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mini-Recipe: Ham and Cheese Pinwheels

My fave pizza dough recipe makes enough for 2 pizzas... we had pizza last night, but didn't want to make a second one today. Enter Ham and Cheese Pinwheels. Totally easy, totally good! We made a salad and called these dinner (and a snack, but who's counting.)

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

1/2 recipe Pizza Dough
1 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar, but pepper jack, Swiss, or Parmesan would be good) 
1/2 cup chopped ham (I used deli sliced ham, but I think turkey would be good too)
1 tablespoon butter - divided: 1/2 tablespoon for buttering the dough, 1/2 tablespoon for greasing the pan 

Roll out pizza dough very thin (mine was cold from storing in the fridge overnight and it was fine) and spread a very thin layer of butter all over. Sprinkle cheese and ham over the entire dough and roll it up tight. 

Slice the roll into 1 1/2 inch slices and arrange in a buttered baking dish. Let the rolls rest and puff up for about 15 minutes and then bake for about 25 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

Eat and enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki Sauce

Okay. I'm nuts about zucchini. Totally and completely crazy-pants for zucchini. I have been trying to build my zucchini repertoire and found some inspiration in these fritters. We ate them tonight with some grilled chicken and topped with tzatziki. I loved them (obviously!) My husband loved them, and our tiny gentleman loved them. 

Zucchini Fritters - adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment; preheat a griddle pan or frying pan to medium heat

1 pound grated zucchini, about 1 large zucchini
1/2 cup finely chopped onion, about 1 small onion
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup grated asiago (parmesan would work fine too)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Grate the zucchini and let it drain while you as prep the other ingredients. Chop the onion and grate the cheese. In one bowl combine flour, baking soda, cheese and salt. 

When the zucchini has drained some, using a clean dish towel, wring out the rest of the water. In a second bowl, beat the egg, add onion and zucchini and stir until nicely combined. Fold wet ingredients into flour and cheese mixture. 

Form into balls and fry on the griddle or in your pan. Cook on each side until browned (about 4-5 minutes each side. I had to flip them back and forth a few times to get the color I wanted.)

Transfer cooked fritters to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes to add crispness. 

Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup grated cucumber (about 1/2 a medium cucumber)
2 garlic cloves grated or finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chopped
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
a few grinds of fresh pepper

I have seen a lot of recipes for tzatziki that call for the cucumber to be peeled and seeded - I don't do this. I like the dark green skin and since the Greek yogurt can be very thick, I like the cucumber to thin it out a bit. 

Anywho - combine all ingredients and let this rest for about 30 minutes. I grated the zucchini and let it start draining and then made the tzatziki, then finished the fritters. Everything came together on a good schedule.

A few things about this recipe...

These would be good with some grated carrots or yellow squash added if you wanted a veggie variety. 

I don't think you need the egg... I plan to try these again soon without it.

Whenever I have the food processor out, I grate extra zucchini and freeze it for later. I add it to soups in the winter, I make zucchini bread and muffins, I will now make fritters. 

I promise I will not post about zucchini again... for a while anyway. I have tomatoes ripening to be nuts about real soon.  :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dirty Rice

Dirty rice is a popular Cajun dish that has traditionally been made with chicken livers to give it its “dirty” appearance.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of chicken livers.  So I’m sharing my mom’s dirty rice recipe with you.  She uses ground beef to make her dirty rice.  Her star ingredient is curry powder, which really sets this apart from other dirty rice dishes I have tried and gives this almost a Cajun fusion feel. 

This recipe calls for very few ingredients.  I have added a couple that my mom doesn’t typically add just to give it a little more color (scallions) and heat (red pepper flakes), but it is important to use all of the good stuff since curry powder, beef, and butter are really the stars of the show.  I thought long and hard about making a healthy version of this using brown rice and ground turkey, but I quickly came to realize that it wouldn’t be the same.  Stay tuned and I may try it out one day J

Dirty Rice

2c uncooked rice (using rice cooker measuring cup)
2c water (using rice cooker measuring cup)
1 lb lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ c chopped onion
4 tbsp butter, divided
1 lb shrimp
4 tsp salt, divided
4 tsp ground pepper, divided
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp curry powder
¼ c diced scallions

Combine rice and water and cook rice in a rice cooker per instructions.  Note: In my rice cooker, 2c  = ~1 ½ c uncooked rice.  (If not using a rice cooker, cook 1 ½ c rice per package instructions).  Once finished cooking, remove from heat and set aside.

Tip: Use a little less water than what the rice cooker or package calls for to prevent the rice from getting mushy when combining with other ingredients.

Brown ground beef over medium heat.  Once about half of the beef is browned, add garlic and onion. 

While ground beef is browning, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp butter to skillet.  Once melted, add shrimp and cook shrimp on each side for 2 minutes.  Season shrimp with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.

Note: I used large shrimp (13-15 per pound) but you can use any size for this dish. Keep in mind that cooking time will be significantly less for smaller shrimp.

Once ground beef is browned, reduce heat to low and season beef with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Add cooked rice and shrimp (including drippings) to beef mixture.  Add remaining salt, ground pepper, seasoning salt, butter, red pepper flakes, and curry powder and stir until combined. 

Remove from heat and stir in scallions.  Serve immediately.

This rice is delicious as an entrée or a side dish.  To make it a full meal, serve with a green salad and you have an easy weeknight dinner in under 40 minutes.  If you want, make the rice in advance and save even more time!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Green Chili Turkey Burgers

It's 100 degrees in Portland. I do not want to turn on the oven! Our little house cooks in this kind of weather and adding another 300 degrees just isn't gonna happen. So, it's BBQ time! We made green chili turkey burgers, these were not spicy, but really flavorful, tender and juicy. We ate them covered in grilled onions and guacamole with watermelon slices on the side. Awesome 100 degree solution. 

Green Chili Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey
1 small (4oz) can of mild chopped green chilies
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
 pinch of salt

With your hands, mix together the ground meat, chilies, cheese, bread crumbs, egg and salt. Form into four patties* and let the meat rest for 10 minutes or so while the grill heats up and you sort out your fixings. 

Grill until internal temperature of the patties reaches 160 degrees. (Don't be like us and leave the metal thermometer in a patty while you reach for a spatula and then grab the thermometer burning your tender fingers. If you do happen to do this, we suggest ice cold water for your fingers and ice cold beer for the rest of your damaged self.)

*I once read on the Internets that if you make an indentation in the middle of your burger patty they will cook up flat rather than like over-inflated footballs. It works! It works!

A few things about this recipe...

We made similar burgers the next night using beef as we were out of turkey... I liked the turkey better, but the beef was good too. Use what you like. And, since we put cheese in the patties, we didn't put more cheese on the burgers, however, more cheese is almost always better, so more cheese would be worth thinking about. :) 

If it's not 100 degrees, or if you're blessed with AC and feel like turning on the oven, I think this would make a great turkey meatloaf rather than grilled burgers. The egg and breadcrumbs keep everything together nicely and the chilies and cheese keep everything juicy. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Veggie Hand Pies

We grow summer veggies. Lots of them. Every summer, about this time, we start a competitive race. Us vs Zucchini. It's intense. Tuesday a zucchini will be a tiny, 3 inch baby. Wednesday that same zucchini will be a 30 pound monster. Needless to say, we eat a lot of zucchini in August. These summer veggie hand pies took down half a zucchini... served with Antoinette's salad, they made a great dinner!

Summer Veggie Hand Pies - adapted from Whole Foods

Preheat oven to 375 

1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup corn - cut from 1 cob
1/4 chopped red onion
1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup crumbled feta
salt and pepper

For the dough
2/3 cup butter (11 tablespoons)
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
cold water - about 1/3 cup

Start with the dough... my mom is a pie dough genius. She doesn't measure. She uses a butter knife and fork to cut the butter into the flour. She sprinkles in cold water and her dough is perfect every time. I am not a pie dough super genius, but I've gotten to a good spot using a food processor.

Put flour, salt and butter into a food processor. Pulse until butter is in pea-sized bits. Pulse and pour in cold water until dough just starts to come together. Dump the dough onto plastic wrap, form it into a disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze while you make the filling.

For the filling... chop veggies and saute in 1/2 tablespoon of butter or olive oil until tomatoes release their juices and some of the juice evaporates - about 5 minutes. Add basil, salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in feta crumbles. Set aside and let the veggies cool a bit.

Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it in half. Roll out one half at a time to about 1/8 inch thick, re-rolling scraps as you need to. Cut out 8 disks that are about 5 inches in diameter. I used the underside of my sifter. (Or cut dough into squares - square pies taste just as good as round pies.)

Place 4 disks on parchment lined baking sheet and place about 1/2 cup of filling on each leaving about 1/2 inch boarder. Run your finger dipped in water around the edge of the disk then place another disk on top. Stretch the disk over the filling and seal with a fork. Poke the tops of the pies with a fork to vent while cooking. Bake 30 minutes or until crust is golden.

A few things about this recipe...

I'm always glad to find vegetarian things, but this would be great with some meat added too. My husband and I thought that ground lamb would be particularly good with the feta. 

Pie dough isn't really hard, but it does take some extra time. Refrigerated store bought pie dough would make this a 45 minute start to finish meal. 

If you have left over dough, make this!  :)

Peach Blackberry Galette

Little bit of pie dough - I was able to roll out a circle about 10 inches in diameter
2 peaches chopped - about 1 1/2 cups
12 or so blackberries
1 tablespoon sugar

Roll out pie dough and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Put peaches and blackberries in the middle and sprinkle the sugar on top of the fruit. Fold over sides to hold in the fruit. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until dough is golden.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chicken Milanese

Italian food is my absolute favorite so you’ll find a lot of dishes in the blog that are my version of what I think Italian food should taste like :)  I’m sure Italians would curse me.  Chicken Milanese is one of my staple Italian weeknight dinners because it’s super quick and easy to make.

In our house, we tend to eat a lot of chicken, fish, and turkey because we try to limit excess fat.  (That is, of course, when I’m not eating a Peach Raspberry crisp…thanks Sarah!)  Since chicken breasts are ALWAYS around, they can get a little old sometimes…I seriously think I can make a chicken breast 100 different ways.  They tend to be my blank canvas.  To that, I like to add different types of breadcrumbs, or spices, or herbs, stuff them, or all of the above.  There are so many different options.  Today’s option: chicken cutlets with panko & Parmesan breading.

aka… Chicken Milanese

5-6 skinless, boneless thin-cut chicken breasts
1 tsp black pepper, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
½ c all-purpose flour
¾ c dry panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
6 tbsp EVOO, divided

Season chicken with ½ tsp salt and pepper and set aside.

Place flour in a shallow dish.  Combine panko, remaining salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan in a shallow dish.  Place egg whites in a shallow dish.  Dredge chicken in flour; dip in egg whites.  Dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  Place chicken on a wire rack to allow the mixture to adhere.

Note: Grated Parmesan works best for this dish.  I’ve also used shredded, but it doesn’t adhere as well.

While the chicken is resting, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook 3 mins on each side or until browned.  Allow chicken to rest a couple of minutes before serving.

If you look up other recipes for Chicken Milanese, you’ll see that many of them call for whole chicken breasts that you have to either butterfly, cut in half, etc.  Why not make it easy???  In most grocery stores nowadays, you’ll find chicken breasts already thinly sliced for you.  Pick up a pack or two and you can knock this out in 10 minutes :)

I served this with orzo and broccoli and it made for a great combination and a pretty plate!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Peach Raspberry Crisp

I have ruined lovely ingredients on bunk crisps and cobblers. Not enough topping, too much biscuity dough, too sweet, just bunk. Most of the time we were able to spoon out the berries and still eat them over ice cream. Not a bad solution, but not a crisp. Enter dearest family friend, Jeannette, with a perfect, easy, adaptable crisp. I'm never turning back!

My brother is in town and together we picked enough raspberries for 2 batches of jam, 2 crisps, 1 breakfast feast and a ton of snacking. I love summertime... wandering down dusty rows picking fruit in hot sun is wonderful!

Peach Raspberry Crisp - from the lovely Jeannette

Preheat the oven to 425.

For the Filling
3 cups raspberries
2 cups sliced peaches
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour

For the Topping
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter

For the filling, toss fruit together. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and flour together and toss with the fruit. Scrape into a shallow baking dish - I used a ceramic pie plate.

For the topping, mix together flour, oatmeal, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in melted butter until well combined and scrape crumbles over the fruit. 

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for 30 minutes.

A few things about this crisp... 

I used 5 cups of fruit, but you can use more! The topping is pretty thick over 5 cups and I used a shallow dish. I've used a deeper dish and more fruit with great results.

This recipe doubles really well for big, giant crisps. 

I used fresh fruit this time, but frozen works really well too - no need to defrost. Just increase the second cooking time to 35 minutes.

Raspberries cooked alone are a little tart - peaches, blackberries or apples make great combos. 

You can add chopped nuts to the topping if that's your thing.

Happy summertime eating!

Don't forget to join our email list!  To join, send your name and email address to 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shrimp and Grits...the way I like it :)

Shrimp and grits may not seem like a fitting duo to some, but to Southerners, it’s a staple dish that is known for bringing families and friends together.  I haven’t had the greatest luck with finding a restaurant that makes it how I like it so I decided to try it at home for myself.  My husband is from the South so I knew it would be right up his alley! 
My secret ingredient in this shrimp and grits is the Southwestern seasoning.  I used the McCormick brand because it has chipotle pepper.  I feel like this is what many other shrimp and grits dishes are missing.  For me, I like my grits creamy but not runny and I like my shrimp to stand out and not to be swimming in gravy.  I guess everyone has their own preference but today, I’m sharing mine with you :)

Shrimp and Grits
3 oz Andouille sausage (1 link), diced
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1c sliced white onion
1c sliced green pepper
1 tsp garlic
1 lb peeled, deveined large shrimp
1 ½ tsp salt, divided
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp Southwestern or Creole spice mix
1 ½ c grape tomatoes, halved
1 tsp hot sauce
¼ c green onion, sliced
2c milk
1c water (plus more if needed)
1c quick-cooking polenta
1 tbsp butter
½ c grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil on medium-high.  Add sausage and sauté until sausage starts to brown.  Add onion and green pepper to pan and sauté until soft and onions become translucent (about 4-5 mins).  Add garlic and sauté for another 2 mins.

While sausage mixture cooks, heat milk and water in a large saucepan until boiling.  Slowly whisk in polenta.  Add ½ tsp salt and stir.  Reduce heat to minimize splatter.  Cook slowly, whisking frequently, for 5 mins or until polenta is cooked and the mixture is creamy.  Add 1 tbsp butter to polenta and ½ c of Parmesan; whisk until well mixed.  Add water if mixture thickens, until desired texture is attained.

Meanwhile, season shrimp with spice mix.  Add shrimp to sausage mixture and heat 2-3 mins on each side or until just cooked through.  Reduce heat.  Stir in tomatoes, hot sauce, remaining salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes are just blistered.

Serve shrimp mixture over grits and sprinkle with green onions for garnish.

Note: This goes great with greens!  You can dice up some extra andouille sausage and add to the greens for some added smokiness. 

Don't forget to join our email list!  If interested, please send your name and email address to us at