Dinners

Recipe—Portobello Cordon Bleu

There are two things I hated as a kid and refused to eat, raisins and mushrooms. I guess I had problems with eating wilted fruit and fungus. That’s understandable, right? To this day I still can’t eat raisins unless they are baked in something but I LOVE mushrooms! Love, love, love the fabulous fungi! I have come a long way and can now appreciate the rustic earthy flavor of mushrooms. My friend commented that if she has a good portobello that it is as good as a steak. And it is true! Don’t get me wrong I love steaks, but it is exciting when you find something that makes a great substitution and is lower in calories and is just as filling. Portobello mushrooms are super filling, rich in potassium, essential amino acids, and vitamin B. They are low in calories, fat-free, and are a great source of protein.

This is probably one of my favorite new ways to enjoy portobellos. The creamy Dijon sauce is amazing! And come on, add ham and swiss to anything and you know it will be awesome. The sprinkling of the panko on top gives you just the right amount of crunch. And best of all, this delicious dinner took about 20 minutes to make! Next time I prepare these I want to try and add a fried egg to the top and serve it for breakfast. Oh my goodness, I think that would be awesome! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

INGREDIENTS
4 large portobello mushrooms
olive oil for drizzling
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c parmesan, graded
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 lb thin sliced ham
8 slices swiss cheese
4 tbsp panko
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  • Remove the stems from the mushroom caps and slice a thin layer off the top to allow it to sit flat. (Save all of these pieces.)
  • Drizzle the mushroom caps with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place prepared mushrooms on the lined baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes.
  • While the portobellos are cooking, chop the mushroom caps and other pieces you trimmed off earlier on.
  • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms and garlic for 5 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, and parsley.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  • Add the parmesan, Dijon, and a little salt and pepper to the sauce and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens up.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the oven and drain off any excess liquid from the baking sheet.
  • Fill the upside down caps with sauce and then layer with ham, cheese, ham, cheese.
  • Top with another spoonful of the sauce and a sprinkling of panko.
  • Place the prepared mushroom caps back in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes and then finish them off under the broiler for another 3–4 minutes or until the panko is lightly brown and crisp.

Recipe adapted from Peace, Love, and Low Carb.

Looking for more portobello recipes? Give this one a try!

Breakfast PortobellosBreakfast Portobellos

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

As I announced a few weeks back after my break from blogging I started a new job back in August. It’s always a rough transition moving out of your comfort zone into something totally new. New environment. New responsibilities. New coworkers. Eek! It can be kind of nerve racking! Well the way I deal with nerves is food. Yes, I am an emotional eater! So I made a batch of these wonderful delicious bars but I couldn’t bear to eat them all so what did I do, I took them to work to share with my new co-workers. Way to bond and score some points at the new gig, right? Well these were a hit and I apologize that the recipe is 5 months late getting to you. Good news is I am still at my job so I must have made quite the impression with my tasty treats or maybe it’s my mad skills.

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted

CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

COOKIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS
5 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c flour
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 325º.
  • Line a 8” x 8” baking dish with foil making sure there is enough to go up all four edges of the pan.
  • In a medium bowl mix together all of the graham cracker crust ingredients.
  • Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking pan using a spoon or backside of a spatula making sure that it is firmly packed.
  • Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
  • While the crust cools beat together all of the cheesecake ingredients on low speed until smooth.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture into the baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt until well combined and smooth.
  • Add in the flour until well incorporated.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Sprinkle small clumps of the cookie dough over the top of the cheesecake mixture making sure to cover most of the dish.
  • Bake until the cookie dough looks cooked and the cheesecake has set, about 25–30 minutes.
  • Move the dish to a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
  • Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Remove the entire “bar” from the baking dish by holding onto the edges of the foil and lifting it from the pan.
  • Slice into small squares and eat up.
Soups

Recipe—Creamy Cheesy Broccoli Soup

It is FINALLY starting to feel like winter in California! We have been having 60–70 degree days in December and January. Not normal! Don’t get me wrong, I love nice weather but one of my favorite things about Cali is that we usually have 4 very distinct seasons. I love being bundled up with a cozy scarf and boots on a cold winter day with a big bowl of soup and it has just not been that kind of winter. Well we just got our first spell of rain in what feels like months! This led me to go into full on soup mode.

Broccoli cheddar soup has always been one of my all time favorite soups. It is so rich, creamy, and filling. (Exactly what you need after you made your new year’s resolutions right?) Well give yourself a cheat day and serve this up with an old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich for a real winter treat. A perfect warm up for a cold winter day!

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/4 tsp thyme
3 tbsp flour
3 c milk
3 c chicken broth
1 c heavy cream
2 heads broccoli, chopped
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c parmesan, grated
salt
white pepper

STEPS

  • Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic, onion, and thyme and cook stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 4–5 minutes.
  • Add in the flour and mix until well combined and it starts to brown, about 1 minute.
  • Gradually whisk in milk, broth, and cream.
  • Stir in the chopped broccoli and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the broccoli is tender, about 8–10 minutes.
  • Add in the shredded cheeses and stir until smooth and melted, about 2 minutes.
  • Season to taste with the salt and white pepper.
  • Serve and top with additional shredded cheddar if desired.
  • Serve immediately.
Dinners

Recipe—Smothered Chicken

I am not posting this recipe because it is super easy or quick. Not that it is challenging by any means, just lots of steps and dirty pans. But hey, sometimes meals are completely worth it. I am posting this recipe because it is rich, tasty, and a wonderful indulgence. This is the type of dinner for a romantic night, a special occasion, in or if you are entertaining a couple of guests. The name says it all, a simple chicken breast smothered in all sorts of wonderful, creamy, scrumptious, goodness. This is the perfect recipe for all the low carb lovers out there. When I’m focusing on eating low carb I typically go for lower fat items but sometimes you just need something rich to satisfy those cravings. This is it.  Even if you aren’t watching carbs, this will be a wonderful indulgent dinner.

CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices, mozzarella cheese

CREAMED GREENS INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
3 tbsp red onion, minced
1 bunch of kale or chard, inner stalks stripped out and greens chopped
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

SAUTEED MUSHROOM INGREDIENTS
1/4 c butter
2 c mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c white wine
1 tsp garlic, minced
salt and pepper

CHICKEN STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a small bowl combine the garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken.
  • Place the seasoned chicken in a greased baking dish and bake for 16 minutes.

CREAMED GREENS STEPS

  • While the chicken is baking, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the red onions and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2–3 minutes.
  • Add in the chopped greens and cook until they are completely wilted.
  • When the greens are done stir in the cream cheese and parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Continue cooking until the cream cheese is melted.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.

 SAUTEED MUSHROOM STEPS

  •  Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until browned all over.
  • Add the wine, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Continue cooking until most of the wine is cooked out.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.

ASSEMBLY

  • When the chicken is done cooking, remove the dish from the oven and flip the chicken over.
  • Divide the creamed greens over the top of each breast.
  • Add the sautéed mushrooms to each breast.
  • Top each breast with the sliced mozzarella.
  • Continue baking the smothered chicken breasts for another 14–16 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Butter, Bacon, Cheese, and Garlic.

Dinners

Recipe—Swiss Chard and Chicken Pasta

Sometimes when I want pasta I want a dish that isn’t smothered in sauce, something more refined. This rustic pasta dish is it. You have some nice hearty chunks of chicken, bits of salty prosciutto, a mild creaminess from the ricotta, and of course some healthy greens mixed in, and it’s all finished off with a nice crispy topping. It really is a perfect balance. There is just something about hot baked pasta coming straight out of the oven and onto the plate that warms my belly and makes me happy. I just put the entire baking dish down on the table and let my family serve themselves. Unfortunately, we lack self-control and could not stop eating it! It was just so good!

Note: In case this is one of your first times cooking with chard be sure to wash it thoroughly and then pull the leaves off the thick stalks. They can be tough and bitter so you just want to eat the leafy green part.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 lb (8 oz) penne pasta
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
4 oz prosciutto (chopped pieces for cooking)
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 c white wine
1 1/2 c ricotta cheese
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded
2 tbsp butter
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c panko crumbs

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Fill a large pot with water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
  • Add the pasta and cook until al dente per the package instructions. When the pasta is done drain will and toss with a generous amount of olive oil (enough so that all the noodles have a nice coating but aren’t swimming in it). Set aside until you are done with the rest of the filling.
  • While the pasta is cooking heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large wok or pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.
  • Add in the garlic and prosciutto and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the Swiss chard to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the chard for 8­10 minutes stirring occasionally until the greens are wilted and tender.
  • Stir in the wine and ricotta until well combined and then mix in the chicken and cooked penne.
  • Transfer your pasta to a medium sized baking dish.
  • Melt the butter in a small bowl.
  • Add in the Parmesan and panko and stir until well mixed.
  • Sprinkle the panko mixture over the top of the pasta,
  • Bake for 20–25 minutes or until the top just starts to turn a golden brown.
Dinners, Sandwiches

Recipe­—Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Greens

Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Greens

I love a big thick juicy homemade beef burger just as much as any one else, but I also love coming up with tasty alternatives to the all American meal. When I saw a recipe for an Italian sausage burger on Huffington Post I knew I had to try it. I love the flavor of Italian sausage and like Popeye I love my greens. So I made my own little tweaks and made these fantastic Italian sausage burgers. They were awesome! They are definitely rich, but oh so tasty.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb bulk Italian sausage, formed into 4 thin patties
4 slices of provolone cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 bunch chard, kale, or spinach, inner stalks stripped out and greens chopped
salt
1/4 c pesto
1/4 c mayonnaise
4 ciabatta rolls, cut in half

STEPS

  • Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Add the sausage patties and cook until browned on the bottom, about 5–7 minutes.
  • Flip the patties and cook on the other side for an additional 5–7 minutes or until cooked all the way through. (Top each patty with a slice of provolone during the last couple of minutes.)
  • While the sausage patties are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic and chopped greens.
  • Cook until the greens are wilted and tender and season with salt.
  • Place the ciabatta rolls in the oven to lightly toast and heat through.
  • In a small bowl mix together the pesto and mayonnaise.
  • Spread the cut side of each roll with the pesto mayonnaise.
  • Place the cooked patty on the bottom bun and top with cooked greens and top bun.

Recipe adapted from Huffington Post.

Appetizers

Recipe—Creamy Smoked Salmon Dip

Are you on the hunt for an elegant and absolutely delicious hours devours? If so the hunt can come to an end. This dish takes less than 10 minutes to make and is the perfect snack to serve at the next function you have coming up. Salmon is an incredibly popular fish here on the West Coast and I really enjoy the flavor combination of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers. This has all those wonderful flavors plus a nice refreshing zest of lemon and a little bite from the shallot. One of the things that is great about this recipe is that it can be whipped up minutes before your social function or even made ahead a day or two ahead of time. This appetizer truly is perfect for an afternoon or evening social, or even spread on your bagel for breakfast.

Note: You can serve this dip with crackers, toasted bread, sliced cucumber, pretty much anything, but what I love is this dip served with everything crackers or bagel chips. Just something about all those wonderful flavors really takes this already awesome dip to the next level.

INGREDIENTS
4–6 oz smoked salmon
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c cream cheese
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp capers
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp shallot, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1 tbsp chives, minced

STEPS

  • Place all ingredients except for the salmon in a blender or food processer and blend until well incorporated.
  • Add the smoked salmon to the blender and pulse until desired consistency.
  • Transfer the dip to a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Serve with some toasted crostini or your favorite crackers.
Side Dishes

Recipe—Cauliflower and White Cheddar Gratin

I was never much of a cauliflower fan growing up and now as an adult I just can’t get enough of the stuff. Sorry mom, but I think you were making it all wrong! The trick is to smoother it in cheese and all sorts of other wonderful flavors. I made this dish the other night and I’m embarrassed to admit that my husband, son, and I finished off the entire dish. All of it! Okay, so my son probably only ate it because I told him it was mac n’ cheese. Is that bad? Apparently we just couldn’t get enough of the creamy cheese sauce and crispy panko topping. We enjoyed this with some cooked greens and a juicy steak. It was delish! If you are having a hard time getting your kids (or even your spouses) to eat their cauliflower, give this recipe a try.  Maybe you’ve just been making it wrong. 😉

INGREDIENTS
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter, divided
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c milk
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 c white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c panko

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Place the cauliflower florets on a large baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss cauliflower to coat.
  • Roast the cauliflower until lightly browned, about 20–25 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350º.
  • In a large saucepan melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in the flour and let it cook until it starts to turn a light golden color.
  • Whisk in the milk, nutmeg, cheese, and some salt and pepper.
  • Cook until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce thickens.
  • Add the roasted cauliflower to the cheese sauce and transfer to a square-baking dish (9” x 9” or 8” x 8” works great).
  • In a small microwave safe bowl melt the remaining tablespoon of butter.
  • Add the panko crumbs to the melted butter and stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle the buttered panko over the cheesy cauliflower.
  • Bake the gratin in the oven until it is bubbling and the panko is golden brown, about 15–20 minutes.
Dinners, Sandwiches

Recipe—Lamburgers

Growing up my dad used to live on the edge of Wyoming, right up against the Idaho border. I would go out and visit him several times a year. He lived in this gorgeous 3-story ranch house right next to a sheep farm. I always loved looking at the sheep. Especially in winter when those cute little white fluffy lambs were out in a snow-covered field. It wasn’t until I was a young teenager that I discovered that those cute little fluffy white sheep were raised to be someone’s dinner. I was appalled that anyone could eat such a cute little creature! That is, until I got my first taste of lamb. Yum-o! Sorry lamby, you taste too good not to eat.

Lamb is absolutely delicious and, in my opinion, like no other meat. It has this absolutely delicious rich flavor that is unlike any other meat. I have been wanting to try making lamburgers at home for sometime now but it can be difficult to find ground lamb. Just about every year my dad purchases and entire lamb from the sheep farm. When I saw him a couple of weeks ago he happened to still have some of the ground lamb leftover from his last purchase, so I bummed it off him just so that I could make these exotic burgers. These were mind blowing good. I felt so bad for my husband because he happened to have a cold when I made them and was unable to taste much of anything. Looks like I am going to have to make them again very soon. Aw shucks!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 tsp cumin
1–1 1/2 lb ground lamb
salt and pepper
olive oil
block of feta cheese sliced
red onion slices
green leaf lettuce
4 burger buns

STEPS

  • In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and cumin and set in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Season the ground lamb with salt and pepper.
  • Form the ground meat into 4 thin patties.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the meat patties to the hot skillet and cook for 3–4 minutes.
  • Flip the patties and add the slices of feta cheese to the patties.
  • Continue cooking the lamburgers for another 4 minutes.
  • While the meat is cooking, lightly toast the buns in the oven.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and while the cheese finishes melting spread a good amount of the cumin mayonnaise onto the cut side of both the top and bottom buns.
  • Arrange the lettuce and red onion on the bottom half of each bun.
  • Top with the most delicious lamburger patty ever.
  • Add the top of the bun to your masterpiece and enjoy!
Dinners

Recipe—Shrimp in Creamy Red Pepper Sauce Over Linguine

A couple weeks back I was having my good friend Sarah over for dinner on a work night. Work nights are already crazy so I needed something snazzy but yet quick and easy so I wouldn’t be spending our whole night together in the kitchen. Well one thing that cracks me up about Sarah is that she eats whole bell peppers like an apple. This girl loves her bell peppers! So I knew I wanted a dish that had a nice red pepper flavor. This one was it! The pepper flavor is very mild and goes great with the rich creamy wine sauce and of course shrimp cook super quick. We had a winner! This recipe was a huge hit. I served this pasta dish with a green salad and a fresh baguette for a quick and impressive dinner you’d think came out of a restaurant.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper
1/4 c white wine
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp chili paste (more if you like things on the spicy side)
1 pt whipping cream
1/4 c fresh bail, chopped

STEPS

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic and heat through for about 1 minute making sure not to burn it.
  • Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté the shrimp and cook most of the way through, about 3–5 minutes.
  • Transfer the cooked shrimp to a bowl and cover with foil.
  • Pour the wine to the skillet and cook until it reduces by half.
  • Add the bell pepper, chili paste, and cream.
  • Simmer for 5–6 minutes or until the cream begins to thicken.
  • Add the shrimp back into the skillet and simmer in the sauce for another 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the majority of the basil leaving some for garnish.
  • Serve the shrimp and a spoonful of the sauce over cooked linguine and garnish with some of the leftover chopped basil.