Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Fave or Fail . . . chicken a la Judy

I'm faving myself today... is that okay? And since this is normally a restaurant review, I'll keep it more photo focused. (and share one little recipe, too)
We had our sweet friends Ginny and Kyle over the other night for dinner. We were in charge of the food, they were in charge of the drinks and we just chatted and chatted all night. Such a good time! There's SO nothing better, in my opinion, than getting together with people you love over a MEAL. Good for your soul, good for your body, good for your community... I say call your pals up now and make plans for tonight!

Homemade sliders for starters! Broiled buns, bottom coated with our ever- so- famous avocado hummus spread, burger topped with white cheddar, caramelized onions, romaine hearts and topped with ketchup and golden grape tomatoes!
Skewered with a toothpick and topped with a sweet, hot pickle! (we used Famous Dave's but I HIGHLY recommend you ordering Tony Packo's, straight from my hometown of Toledo!)
Beyond presentable AND delicious!
 The side salad: finely chopped romaine mixed with soft chevre, fresh raspberries, pomegranate seeds, golden raisins, drizzled with extra- virgin olive oil, a dash of balsamic vinegar and finished with cracked black pepper and a hint of sea salt. Might have been my favorite item of the night.
 Sweet Ginny making our drinks! First was muddled plum and apricot mixed with fresh lime juice, vodka, tonic, simple syrup and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Momma's corn souffle (modified) going in the oven...
 And out of the oven!
 And the main... Chicken a la Judy! Judy is my mother in-law. ;)
The marinade for Chicken a la Judy: for about 2 lbs of chicken.
  • little less than 1/2 cup brown sugar... although next time we're trying honey or agave
  • heaping 1/2 cup ketchup, a.k.a. tomato sauce ;)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • few generous dashes of teriyaki or oyster sauce
  • 2 fresh cloves of garlic, minced
  • lots of generous dashes of hot sauce... we, of course, used Valentina. And a LOT of it. :)
Marinate preferably overnight and grill! Serve with a side salad, a fresh fruit salad, and a fun, All- American side like corn souffle and you've got yourself a really great picnic meal!

Happy Friday, friends... grill away and enjoy your weekend!
(really great recipes in that book below)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

Keeping with the theme here, James and I were yet again staring at a seemingly bleak fridge situation yesterday. But we were not giving up. I'll spare you the back and forth that went on between us and the ridiculous ideas we were scheming and tell you we ended up with baked black bean burgers! (say that five times fast) They were totally awesome and the mixture made WAY too many so we're enjoying them again in an hour when I finish posting! :)

You'll Need:

  • 1 can black beans. Or use fresh ones that you've soaked all night, which we didn't have.
  • 1 can whole kernel corn. I used about 3/4 of whole kernel and 1/4 can of creamed because I made corn souffle the night before and had extra, but I don't recommend doing that.
  • handful of baby carrots
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeds removed.
  • 1 clove garlic, minced.
  • 1 egg. I forgot this but they would've been better texture with. But vegans, this is your lucky day! They still tasted great regardless.
  • a few dashes of Valentina hot sauce, or whatever kind you prefer.
First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Put all your ingredients in your Vitamix (which i've linked at the bottom of page so you can buy one right now if you don't already have one) or other amazing food processor and blend! I'd leave mine a little "coarse" for lack of a better word, just for texture's sake, but you can blend it well if you'd prefer.
Next, rub a thin layer of olive oil onto a baking sheet and lightly dust with flour or cornmeal. Transfer your mixture to a bowl and if it's thick enough on it's own (which it might be because of that egg), form into patties and place on the baking sheet. If your mixture isn't quite sticking together, a little too liquidy, add a 1 & 1/2 Tablespoon of whole wheat flour or cornmeal and stir. Place the patties about an inch apart on the baking sheet because they will flatten a little and bake for 13 minutes! Just keep an eye on them, every oven temperature is different. I left mine in for another 5 minutes once I saw the edges slightly cracking.
 sorry about the blur!
this is about to go in, just wanted to show you the consistency of my mixture.
that's the slight cracking I mentioned.

Take them out, let cool for a minute or two, then slice some white cheddar and place them on top of the warm black bean cakes to get melty! Then go to town on your toppings!
We were still very breadless at this point so we decided to double up the patties and serve them as is! :) Even my food loving husband didn't miss the extra carbs. (and mentioned it to me later... impressed!)
 James' was served more "all-American" style. With our avocado hummus spread on the bottom, finished with sliced golden grape tomatoes and topped with ketchup. Bite-sized romaine on the side.
Mine was served Mexican style! Same spread on the bottom, topped with golden grape tomatoes and finished with a LOT of Valentina hot sauce, a side of kickin' salsa and romaine on the side.

I'm going to shamelessly recommend that you give these a try, and not just for you, but for the family! And for your meat loving husband!

I'll remind you... my husband is from AUSTRALIA. They eat meat. Lots of it. And he wasn't missing one darn thing. :)
Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Naked Tacos ! a party on your plate

There's no exorbitant amount of photos OR instructions for this post because it was just too easy. But it tasted OH so good! And I couldn't leave it off the "what we bought, what we made" series because it's exactly the kind of meal that rises triumphantly from the seemingly barren pantry hole!

James and I wanted an early dinner and early bedtime just the other night and the LAST thing we were going to do was grocery shop, or go out to dinner. We opened the fridge and saw a whole lot of nothing staring at us... but then I spotted that awesome leftover meat pie filling and got inspired. There was only enough left for one person, and being that I don't mind going vegetarian, we were set. Naked tacos it was! I knew we had a leftover bag of chips that our friends Nolan and Nicole brought over the night we all made those killer fish tacos, and we had plenty of black beans, corn, lettuce and salsa, considering we bought the salsa from Costco... so we were in business!

First, heat up that onion and meat mixture in a small skillet. Then mix together black beans and corn in a small saucepan and begin to warm those over medium heat. Add in a healthy amount of Valentina hot sauce or whatever hot sauce you prefer (although I highly recommend that), and stir and let simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Finely chop some romaine lettuce, grate or chunk some white cheddar cheese, slice an avocado, half for each person, and slice a lime in half for squeezing. Arrange the lettuce on the bottom, dish out the meat mixture and pile it on top, place the white cheddar cheese atop that and let it get a little melty before continuing. Next add on the black bean and corn mixture, then top with the avocado, greek yogurt, more hot sauce and salsa, then finish by squeezing fresh lime juice over the whole plate. If you're the one with the vegetarian plate, place the beans and corn mixture right on top of the lettuce and do the same with the cheese, letting it get melty first. Toss some chips on the side and call it a night!

Trust me... Moe's ain't got nothin' on you! ;)

ENJOY my friends!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Helpful Navigation Tips ... & other things

For those of you who are new around here and for those of you 'well seasoned'... (get it?) ;) ...

Here are a few helpful tips on how to navigate Recitherapy without having to struggle taking your eyes off the delicious photos to find what you're looking for. It can be quite a battle!

Click on the title of the post you want to print then just go over to that little orange button on the right hand side! Ta Da!

Do you have too many black beans on your hands and don't know what to do with them? Type in "black beans" in the little search bar on the right hand side and all of my posts that have black beans in them will come up! Pizza recipe? Type in "pizza" and you're all set!
Check out the most popular posts listed on the ride hand column and see if anything strikes your fancy!
Click on that pretty, flashing Eiffel Tower at the bottom left of the page and join Bloglovin'. Bloglovin  allows you to add all the blogs and websites you follow together in one place and lets you know when one of them has a new post! One stop shopping! I've just recently joined myself and it is HELPFUL. 
Click on the little white box on the bottom left to share a page of Recitherapy with your friends on Facebook or Twitter!
And that's all folks! Recitherapy made easy, for your blogroll convenience. :) And one other fun thing I wanted to share with you...

I think I've already told you about this but, that awesome new Williams-Sonoma program called Tasting Table is doing a cool "Sous Chef" series right now. It's a fun site that shares seasonal, awesome recipes from great chefs around the world. What I discovered today is this little green tab that appears...
It reads, "Need help with this week's recipe? Get advice and tips from our Tasting Table Test Kitchen about this week's recipe." What? No way! So you click the "TALK NOW" button and sure enough, it takes you to a form where you simply type in your e-mail address, your phone, if you want, your name and your question! And it doesn't have to be about this week's recipe. It can be anything! THEN, they answer you within the hour. HOW COOL IS THAT?

And one more thing I discovered today... Do you remember that awesome avocado hummus spread we made the other night for burgers and chicken sandwiches? Check out the "latest idea" on Tasting Table's website today!
It looks like we're ahead of the game over here at Recitherapy. ;) Enjoy your new bloglovin and Tasting Table adventures... and be sure to try out all those buttons here on Recitherapy!


Red Wine Pasta

Yes, dear friends, we're STILL on that same grocery shop!! 13 days and counting!! :) HA! I'm impressed myself honestly. Point being, you definitely can make your grocery shop stretch and still enjoy great food. And sure, you may have to run in the store for a can of stewed tomatoes every once in awhile, but it's not going to put you over budget.

I'm not sure which meal number we're at here, I lost count... but it's got to be in the teens by now. Whole wheat spaghetti with a RIDICULOUS red wine sauce. (James told me this one was restaurant quality) ;) 

You'll Need:
  • whole wheat spaghetti
  • rotisserie chicken, for a heartier pasta
  • your favorite marinara sauce
  • red wine, I used a DOCG chianti because I love cooking with chianti
  • greek yogurt
  • white cheddar cheese
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • garlic
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pesto, Trader Joe's has a really great one if you don't make your own
  • grated or shaved parmesan
  • fresh herbs, particularly basil

Start by sauteing some olive oil and basil in your skillet. Make sure the skillet is large enough to hold quite a bit of liquid, as this is where you're making your sauce!

 After stirring that for about 3 minutes, add in sliced or minced garlic, I used two cloves, and a handful of sun-dried tomatoes. Don't be afraid of the oil that comes with scooping the sun-dried tomatoes... it really adds something tasty to the dish.
 Saute until the garlic gets a little color and it starts to sizzle and smell delicious.
Now add in your chicken. I prefer the look of more broken up chicken rather than diced, but do whatever you wish! Drizzle in some more olive oil once you've added the chicken and sprinkle with some sea salt and cracked black pepper. (in case you're wondering, yes, this is indeed the same rotisserie chicken I bought on that big grocery shop... but I did NOT just make this pasta either... there have been too many posts to put up and somehow this one got pushed until now... I don't recommend eating one rotisserie chicken for two weeks) ;)
 Stir that around for about five or ten minutes, then we'll add your sauce! Pour in a generous amount of your starter marinara sauce. Then drizzle with a fair amount of balsamic vinegar and stir. (at this point, I would boil your noodles and put them aside, that way they'll still be warm by the time your sauce is finished.)
 Your sauce should be taking on a little thicker feel by now, and then it's time to add in a dollop of greek yogurt. Stir.
Let the sauce simmer while stirring for another five minutes, then pour in a good amount of your red wine. Don't be afraid of it! It tastes amazing! And if you taste it and think it's too much, add in a little more greek yogurt and stir in more olive oil. (or just let it cook for longer and it won't taste so much like wine... the alcohol cooks down)
Once you've stirred in your red wine, add in those little bits of white cheddar and press down and stir with the back of your wooden spoon/ spatula. (nicole, what do we call those things? ha!)
Your sauce should be taking on a beautiful, creamy color and consistency, which means you're almost done. Turn the heat way down and stir in a dollop of your pesto. And your sauce is finished!
Here's the fun part! Toss those beautiful noodles into the saucepan and stir until well combined! Dish out a generous portion of that beautiful, creamy, red wine dreamy pasta onto a clean, large plate. Then top with some shaved or grated parmesan and a fresh basil leaf.

Dinner is served!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

girl 's night fancies !

Girl's night to me is like the ultimate foodie possibilities party. Especially when you have friends like I do. Let me tell you, these girls are unreal. They love everything gourmet, they're adventurous, they've lived over seas just to do it and experience the European lifestyle.. really, they're a total dream come true for an odd bird like me.

So, Ginny and Steph came over the other night for our weekly ritual of catching up, wine drinking, sharing life and eating... A.K.A. Girl's Night. (original, we know)

Keeping with our latest series here on Recitherapy, I had to use what was already at my disposal. So I'm going to walk you through two of my favorites from that night, and share photos of the other hors d' ouevres.

First off... stewed rosemary nectarines over honey cottage cheese. (these might have been my favorite of the whole night)
You'll Need:

  • nectarines, washed and sliced... i prefer skin on, but peeled will work as well
  • a sprinkle of granulated sugar
  • rosemary simple syrup
  • cottage cheese
  • honey
  • water
Toss your sliced nectarines in a small saucepan. Fill your saucepan with just enough water to almost cover the nectarines. Sprinkle in some sugar, not too much, and place over low heat.
Stir every 5 minute or so and let them get nice and warm and soft. Once they've been stewing for about 20 minutes, stir in some of your rosemary simple syrup, depending on your likeness to rosemary. :)
Let simmer for another 10 minutes or so, then remove from the heat and let them sit. Once they've been sitting awhile, remove the nectarines with a slotted spoon and place in their own dish. Pour the juice into a syrup server or creamer to use as a garnishing syrup. Dish out some cottage cheese into pretty ramekins and drizzle with honey. Then when your guests sit down to enjoy, dish the nectarines out and drizzle with your syrupy goodness. Voila!
This was so delicious and a really refreshing, summery, stone fruit delight... a good way to break up the savory hors d' oeuvres without being too sweet. :)

Next up: simple creamy marinara spaghetti served in parmesan crisps!
You'll Need:
  • whole wheat spaghetti
  • your favorite marinara sauce, fresh or store bought
  • a dollop of greek yogurt
  • fresh basil
  • grated parmesan or asiago parmesan blend cheese
  • empty, clean egg carton, this will be your mold for the crisps.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with preferably parchment paper or foil. Parchment will work so much nicer but I didn't have any. Sprinkle out circles of the grated cheese and press firmly until the cheese is smashed together well. Keep a good inch between each circle.
Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until they're just turning golden. Watch them carefully, they burn easily! Take them out and let them cool for only about one minute, then remove them with a thin spatula and place them over each upside down egg hole. This will make them take a dish shape.
While those are molding, take out your leftover spaghetti noodles from pasta the other night, or boil some fresh. Plop them out onto a cutting board and dice the noodles up small, for easier assembly and bite sized ease.
Just before your girlfriends arrive, toss the noodles into a saucepan with your favorite marinara sauce and warm on medium heat. Once it starts to simmer, stir in your dollop of greek yogurt. Then peel away those beautiful little parmesan crisps and get ready to fill them!
Grab out a small portion of your pasta with tongs and place inside the parmesan crisps. Don't overload them because you want them to be easy to eat in one or two bites. Then sprinkle with more of that same grated cheese and top with fresh basil leaves. DELICIOUS! (and beautiful, aren't they?)
 golden grape tomatoes and goat's cheese with fresh herbs
 fresh made rosemary focaccia underway!
 the little wine station
 almost there...
making use of every little quirky nook in this table
olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives, balsamic up top, parmesan crisps added, dark chocolate sea salt covered almonds, our sumptuous stewed nectarines... just waiting on focaccia to come out of the oven!
 and there it is... perfect as ever.
 thrown on the cheese board and looking so inviting...
a delicious spread. salty, sweet, creamy, crunchy...

It was a beautiful night, with all the essential elements of a glorious, gourmet, over the top hors d' oeuvres girl's night. And we managed to keep in line with our "what we bought, what we made" list...

what a success!

enjoy your weekend... and have some friends over!