Tag Archives: dinner ideas

Filet Mignon Party!

 

Filet and some good friends

 

We had an absolute feast with some friends featuring grilled filet mignon with sauteed mushrooms and onions, spicy red pepper mac n cheese, rosemary and garlic mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach.  The Strip District struck again!  I had wanted to get a log of filet for quite some time because the price goes down as you buy a bigger cut, so we called on some friends to help us out.

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Deep Dish Lasagna

I love lasagna but I have found that making it in a traditional rectangular lasagna pan limits the amount of layers and fillings I can add. So I decided to try something different this time around and made my lasagna in a dutch oven. For those who do not have a dutch oven you could also use the ceramic pot of your crock pot as the vessel for this classic dish.

I started off by making my fillings for the lasagna. First I sauteed some onions and mushrooms and set those aside.

Another filler I typically add is sausage. For this dish I used hot Italian Sausage.

I just cook it up and try to break it down into small bite size pieces. Once it’s cooked through I drain it and set it aside as well.

The next filler is one of the most important- the ricotta cheese. To the ricotta I add an egg, freshly minced garlic, and my dried spices- typically salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.

Once all the fillers are set it’s time to assemble everything. I cooked the pasta as the directions on the box specified (I used Dreamfields low carb pasta) and gathered tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella as well.

Then it’s really up to you how you want to layer everything. I always start of with a layer of sauce and then noodles.

Here you get a sense of the depth of this pot.

I trimmed my pasta so it would fit in here. Obviously with the round dish it’s a bit more challenging, but it worked out just fine.

I sort of freestyle the rest of the layers- ricotta, sauce, pasta. Sausage, sauce, pasta. Mushrooms and onions, sauce, pasta… you get the idea. Go until you reach the top or you run out of ingredients! I topped it all with some shredded mozzarella.

The next step is to bake it. What I also loved about using the dutch oven was that I could cover it using the lid. In the past when I used the lasagna pan I would cover it with tin foil and since I would fill the pan to the top the cheese would always melt and stick to the tin foil. When I would take the foil off, half of the cheese would come off too. By using the lid here I was able to avoid that mess.

I baked it for about 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees and took the lid off for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Once the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted it’s done. Its tough to do this, but if you can let it rest for a good 15 minutes before you cut it. Easier said than done though! 

It came out great. You can see all the layers below.

It takes a while to prep this dish but as you can probably guess you will have leftovers for days. Leftover Italian dishes always taste better than the first night too! I hope you like this one.

– Eileen

Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

This is an interpretation of burgers and wings and most importantly, buffalo and blue cheese flavors!  This was inspired by our friend Matt that brought buffalo chicken burgers to a cookout a while back.  He got the idea from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I took the basic idea and added some flavors that we have enjoyed with this combo.

Start with ground chicken.

These are made in the same fashion as regular burgers but with a few different ingredients.

Garlic Parmesan buffalo sauce was a key ingredient that was mixed into the burgers and I also reserved some as a topping sauce.

Garlic Parmesan Buffalo Sauce

Get those hands dirty and mix up the meat and form the patties.

Patti Mayonnaise

I prepped the rosemary potatoes and threw them on the top shelf of the grill for about a half an hour before starting the burgers.  It was just foil wrapped redskin potatoes with rosemary, garlic, onion, banana peppers, salt, and pepper, and oil.

Be sure to wrap it well in 2-3 layers of foil.

Ready for battle

About 45 minutes on the grill

Grill the burgers up as you normally would.  Be sure that the grill is well oiled as the chicken has more of a tendency to stick and come apart a bit.

A key component of any buffalo dish is the blue cheese.  Nothing beats a good garlicky homemade blue cheese dressing!

So simple and so great!

Great as a dip, dressing, topping

The final product minus the sauces

Recipe for Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Recipe for Garlic Parmesan Buffalo Sauce

Recipe for Blue Cheese Dressing

Greg


Chicken Piccata

My sister sent me this recipe for chicken piccata almost two years ago and  Greg and I been loving it ever since. It ‘s certainly a basic version, but it’s  a nice easy to follow recipe and tastes great. I’ve served it with different sides in the past, including pasta, rice and veggies. Rice is probably the best as it soaks up the delicious lemony sauce. For this go round however I served the chicken with some steamed broccoli (another good sauce absorber),  squash and zucchini.

The ingredients include olive oil, chicken (of course), chicken stock, lemon juice, butter, capers and flour ( not pictured). I actually experimented a bit and substituted almond flour for traditional all-purpose flour. Almond flour/meal has more fiber and less carbohydrates than regular flour and worked pretty well in this dish.

I purchased chicken breasts that were already sliced thin. If you are using regular chicken breasts you can slice them in half and pound them out. This is a bit easier if the chicken is still semi-frozen or if you buy it fresh, you can put it in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to slice.

The next step is to coat each chicken piece with flour.

Then get your butter and olive oil going in a pan and begin to cook the chicken. Since the pieces are pretty thin they do not need much time, maybe 2-3 minutes per side.

As each piece of chicken finishes cooking just set them aside. Once all of the chicken is cooked and removed from the pan, add the chicken broth and lemon juice to make your sauce. Let the sauce get up to a boil, then turn it down to simmer and reduce. Once the sauce is nearly finished you can add capers (this was not part of the original recipe) if you’d like. Then dip each piece of chicken into the sauce, coating it completely. Plate the chicken and pour sauce over top or serve in a gravy boat.

Some pre-sauce shots:

and after the saucing… (I covered the veggies in the sauce too!)

I hope your enjoy this one!

Recipe for Chicken Piccata (courtesy of my sister)

Moules Fromage Bleu

You know that show on the food network called The Best Thing I Ever Ate where famous chefs tell you where they had the best whatever the theme happens to be that day? Well, if I were ever asked what the best mussels dish I ever ate was it would hands down be the moules fromage bleu from Granville Moore’s in DC. In fact, these mussels beat Bobby Flay’s in his mussels throw down episode! Yeah, I love the food network 🙂

I have recreated them several times at home, and it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are the same, but just not of the same quality as GM’s. (Sorry Giant, but you lack gourmet ingredients). But that’s how it goes sometimes and that’s OK! This dish still tastes amazing, particularly if you are a fan of bacon and blue cheese (an unbeatable combo in my book).

The ingredients:

From top left to bottom left: Blue cheese, mussels, lemon juice, shallots, spinach, and bacon. MIA- the white wine and oil.

Once you get cooking here, the process is very quick. However, first, it’s a good idea to put the mussels in a bowl and fill it with water. This allows any sand in the mussels to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Just remember to not drain them by pouring them out as this will just dump all the sand back onto them. I used a plastic strainer/spatula to remove the mussels from the bowl.

Next, it’s bacon cooking time! The recipe calls for cooking the bacon IN oil. I was very hesitant to do this, but I went with it. It forms the basis of the broth, but I find it very understandable if you wish to omit cooking your BACON in OIL.

Once the fat was rendered, I added the sliced shallots.

Doesn’t that look divine? And you can imagine how great it smelled. How can a dish go wrong from here?

[The next sequence of events is done rather quickly. My sous chef/photographer was feeling a little under the weather, so I was on my own. I tried my best to capture each step!]

At this point you want to add the mussels, wine and lemon juice and stir ’em up.

bacon shallots mussels

Once they are about half way open you want to add half of the blue cheese. You want the blue cheese to melt into the broth. I tried to move the mussels to one side of the pan to achieve this.

Just keep stirring and incorporating everything together.

Once they are fully open, you want to add the spinach.

That’s pretty much it. Once you spoon them into the bowls, top with the remaining blue cheese.

SO GOOD!

Recipe for Teddy Folkman’s Moules Fromage Bleu

Mango jalapeno chutney

Greg made this a couple weeks ago and it was packed with flavor and very easy to put together. We used it as a topping on broiled tilapia, which is a great use for it. It could also easily be served atop any other white fish, chicken or even pork. It would also be great with tortilla chips as a dip. All in all, this is a fun little salsa to make.

fresh mango!

jalapenos for some heat and crunch

red onions add some great color to the chutney

and some citrus for acidity

serve it atop whatever you please!

Recipe for Mango Jalapeno Chutney

Greek Feast!

If you are a fan of Greek food I am pretty sure you will really like this meal. It is relatively easy to prepare and the flavors are intense and extremely satisfying. We made gyro burgers, which were composed of ground beef and lamb as well as some traditional Greek spices. We also prepared homemade tzatziki sauce and  a Greek salad of tomato, cucumber, red onion and fete cheese. It all went well together and you could also serve the burgers in a pita or flatbread if you so desired.

I will begin with the tzatziki sauce, which is a traditional sauce served with gyros that is made with yogurt and cucumber and is awesome.

The key ingredient here is mint. Luckily mint grows like weeds and we have plenty growing outside!

I just combined all the ingredients and let it chill in the refrigerator while we prepared the rest of the meal. Below is a pic of the final product. Not only is this a great sauce to put on whatever you please, really, but can also be served as a dip with pita or veggies. It is so good.

Along with the burgers we also prepared a Greek salad. I love this salad, especially in the summer when the vegetables are nice and fresh. It is a great accompaniment to any meat, really, and goes particularly well with the strongly flavored lamb.

Now, on to the burgers! I’ll let the pictures do the talking here….

The meat had a gyro like consistency as you can see below (sorry, it’s a bit blurry) and of course the flavor was right on.

Give this one a try!

Recipe for Gyro Burgers

Tzatziki

Greek Salad