February 20, 2011

Sunday Night Dinner: Roast Beef

I am sorry that it has been so long! Time in my kitchen has been very limited lately... something I need to work on.  I started a new job, and have gone from working 3 - 12hr. days per week, to 5 - 8hr. days per week, and I am learning how to adjust.  Unfortunately, the name of the game this week has been convenience and, needless to say, cooking yummy, blog-worthy meals has not happened.  But... its Sunday night.

Growing up, my family tried to make sure that whenever possible, we got together on Sunday night for dinner. I remember going to my aunt's or grandmother's house and spending the evening enjoying great dinner, playing games and catching up with my mom, aunt and grandmother.  I do not live near enough to them to keep the exact same tradition going, but I still try to have Sunday dinner.  Sometimes its just me and my husband, sometimes its the two of us and my in-laws. Tonight, I was in charge of dinner, and my mother-in-law brought dessert.

Tonight's Menu:
Roast Beef, Homemade Mashed Potatoes, Oven-Roasted Asparagus and Chocolate Pie (yum!)

I searched through some roast beef recipes and decided to try a Giada Di Laurentiis recipe:

Roast Beef with Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce
For the Beef:
1 2-2½ lb. sirloin tip or chuck beef roast
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 Roma tomatoes, cut in half
2 tsp. Herbs de Provence
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce:
1½ cups fresh flat-leaf parsley (about one bunch)
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
¾ tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper (I used 1/2 tsp.)
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (I did not use all of the oil, but added it to taste)

To make the beef, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. Place a medium, heavy roasting pan or Dutch oven over high heat. Heat the olive oil. Sear the beef over high heat on all sides. Turn off heat. Place the seasoned tomatoes around the seared beef and place pan in oven. Roast until a meat thermometer reads 130 degrees for med. rare, 135 for medium, about 30-40 minutes. Take the roast out of the oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

To make the sauce, place the parsley and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the parsley is finely chopped. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, red wine vinegar and the roasted tomatoes from the beef pan and process until pureed. Add the olive oil in a steady stream with the machine running.

We all really enjoyed it. I used a 2.2 lb roast, and it was plenty for the four of us, plus we have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

I hope that everyone is enjoying their Sunday nights.  I will do my best to cook and share this week!

You can find the original beef recipe here on foodnetwork.com. 

February 10, 2011

Banana-Walnut Oat Bran Muffins

I haven't done much cooking this week.  However, today when I noticed two ripening bananas on the counter, I was immediately inspired to bake.  I set out to make some delicious, healthy banana-walnut oat bran muffins.  I began by surfing the web to look at different muffin recipes, and compiled what I liked into one recipe.  The result: a quick-and-easy, perfect, healthy banana-walnut muffin to enjoy with a cold glass of milk!

Banana-Walnut Oat Bran Muffins
(makes about 12 muffins)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ripe bananas, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (plus, more to sprinkle on top before baking)
Raw sugar, for tops of muffins (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tins with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together milk, butter, eggs and vanilla in small bowl. Make a small well in dry ingredients; add wet to dry and mix until combined. Stir in nuts and bananas. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 of the way. Sprinkle tops of muffins with walnuts and raw sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks. 


February 04, 2011

Day 3: Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

Ok. I have to admit, this challenge was a little difficult. After a long week filled with overtime, cooking more chicken wasn't exactly what I wanted to do with my Friday night... (I may love to cook, but I'm not immune to the charm of take-out).  However, I kept thinking that I had to do it, if for no other reason than I had to post about it!!

I'm very glad that I did.  The Chicken Enchiladas were not only easy to make, but they were yummy!! Very flavorful, and comforting- I will definitely be making them again.
I made a quick avocado-radish salad to serve as a side dish: chop one avocado, thinly slice three radishes, add fresh lime juice, cilantro leaves, salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
Cooking Light, April 2006

1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 7oz. bottle salsa verde
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup, 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
8 (6in.) corn tortillas  *I don't care for corn, so I used flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco  *I used monterey jack
1/2 tsp. chili powder
4 lime wedges
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender, process until smooth.  Combine chicken and cream cheese in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup of salsa mixture. Reserve remaining salsa mixture.
Bring broth to simmer in a medium skillet. Working with one tortilla at a time, add tortilla to pan; cook 20 seconds or until moist, turning once. Remove torilla; drain on paper towels. Spoon about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-side down, in an 11x7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, broth, and chicken mixture.
Pour remaining salsa mixture over enchiladas; sprinkle evenly with queso fresco and chili powder. Bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with lime wedges. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

I am declaring the chicken challenge a success.  If you decide to try out any of the recipes I've posted this week, or if you have any suggestions for future "challenges", please leave a comment below!

You can find the complete original recipe here.

February 01, 2011

Day 2: Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder

The winter weather this year has made me crave soups more than usual.  Soup is typically a quick and easy dinner option, and thanks to Cooking Light, even cream soups can be healthy (healthier)...

For Day 2 of my Roasted Chicken Extravaganza, I decided to try out the Cooking Light recipe I found for "Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder".  This soup was delicious!! I followed the recipe exactly (a rarity) and it turned out perfectly.  Just the right amount of spice, the perfect thickness, and wonderfully satisfying and warm.

Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion (*I used one small yellow onion)
1/4 cup chopped celery (*I used two stalks)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk (*I used fat-free)
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1 14.75oz can cream-style corn

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery and jalapeño; cook for 3 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently.  Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 5 minutes).

I hope that you try it and love it as much as I did! I'm can't wait to enjoy it again tomorrow for lunch!

Coming soon: Day 3: Chicken Enchiladas

You can find the original recipe, here from Cooking Light December 2001, via myrecipes.com