Monday, June 20, 2011

Pesto-Stuffed Pork Chops

5 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
3 Tbsp. prepared basil pesto (I made my own version)
1 1/2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
6 pork loin chops or boneless pork loin chops, cut 1 1/4 inches thick

1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/3 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/3 tsp. dried thyme, crushed

1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1. For filling, stir together cheese, pesto and nuts. Set aside. Trim fat from meat. Make a pocket in each chop by cutting horizontally from the fat side almost to the bone or the opposite side. Divide filling among pockets in chops. If necessary, secure opening with wooden toothpick.

2. For rub, in a small bowl combine black pepper, salt, oregano, garlic, red pepper and thyme. Rub evenly onto all sides of meat. Place chops on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until done (160 degrees) and juices run clear. Brush vinegar onto chops during last 5 minutes of baking. Before serving, discard toothpicks.

If desired, you may also grill.

Frozen directions:

Stuff pork chops as described in recipe. Wrap and freeze individually.

Lay flat on to thaw in refrigerator 24-48 hrs. Once thawed, apply rub and cook as described, brushing on balsamic vinegar during last 5 minutes.

Chicken Empanadas

Makes 12 empanadas

Filling ingredients:
3 cups cooked shredded chicken breasts
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and diced
1-2 cloves garlic
3 green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 teaspoons chili powder
4 oz. canned green chilies
salt and pepper, to taste
12 empanada discs (I prefer the frozen 5-inch Goya “discos,” which come 10/pack and have plastic sheets separating each disk. They thaw in an hour at room temperature.)
egg/olive oil wash, kosher salt

Mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl, adjusting seasoning as necessary. Remove one disc and wet the edge with a bit of water. Using approximately ¼ cup filling per empanada, place filling in center of thawed disc dough and fold over, pressing and sealing edges together with the tines of a fork (or using a plastic empanada press - available at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, which makes the process much easier!) Continue wetting/ filling/sealing the empanadas, placing on a baking sheet before flash freezing. (Tip: to fit more empanadas on the baking sheet, instead of laying them flat, stand the empanadas side-by-side, using the plastic wrappers from the package of discs to keep them from sticking to each other.) Once frozen, the empanadas can be removed from the baking sheet and placed in a freezer bag for easy storage.

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place frozen empanadas on cookie sheet, brushing with egg wash or olive oil. (The egg wash will give you a nicer brown color, but the olive oil adds more flavor.) Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Serve with salsa or sour cream.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tequila-Glazed Chicken Thighs

*If you would rather not use tequila, you can substitute 1/3 cup pineapple juice. Start the grilling over direct heat to get good grill marks and charred bits, and then move to indirect heat to gently finish the cooking. 

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup tequila
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons grated lime rind
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat grill to medium-high heat using both burners. After preheating turn the left burner off (leave the right burner on).

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; rub evenly over chicken.

Bring the pineapple juice, tequila, and honey to a boil in a small saucepan; cook until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 10 minutes).

Combine cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, and stir well. Add cornstarch mixture to juice mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, and stir in lime rind, 3 tablespoons lime juice, and red pepper.

Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray over right burner (direct heat). Cover and grill for 5 minutes on each side, basting occasionally with juice mixture. Move the chicken to grill rack over left burner (indirect heat). Cover and grill an additional 5 minutes on each side or until done, basting occasionally.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 thigh).

calories, 241; fat 7g (sat. 2.1 g, mono 2.8g, poly 1.7g); protein, 18g; carb, 17.2g; fiber, 0.4g; chol, 64mg; iron, 1.2mg; sodium 374mg; calc 19mg

from Cooking Light, June 2011 issue

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grilled Herb Shrimp with Mango Salsa

Herb Shrimp:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 lbs shrimp; peeled, tail-on, deveined

Combine garlic, onion, parsley, basil, mustards, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add the shrimp and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temp or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Prepare grill and skewer the shrimp. Grill shrimp for 1 min 30 seconds each side or until done. Serve with Mango Salsa (recipe follows).

Mango Salsa:
2 tbls olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 ripe mangos; peeled, seeded, and small-diced
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tsp minced fresh mint leaves

Saute olive oil and onions in large saute pan over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until onions are translucent. Add ginger and garlic, cook for 1 more minute. Add the mangos; reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Add the orange juice, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and jalapeno; cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add the mint. Serve warm, at room temp, or chilled.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mom's Beef Teriyaki

2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 salad oil
2TBS ginger root minced
2 TBS molasses
2 tsp dry mustard
6 cloves minced garlic

Combine with 2 pounds flank steak and marinate at least one day.

Soak skewers in water for 20 minutes and then skewer the meat.
Grill and enjoy!