Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Creamy Spicy Cauliflower "Risotto" (Buffalo Ranch)

Courtesy of Hidden Valley

For those that know me, it's no secret that I adore anything with buffalo sauce in it - anything. In an attempt to be somewhat healthier, I decided to look for new recipes containing cauliflower "rice" instead of actual rice -- and came across this gem! It sounded a little odd at first, but the taste was great and we both really enjoyed this side. We had to make ourselves put the fork down - literally. I think this would also be great if you added grilled chicken - to form a sort of buffalo chicken ranch dish, but tonight this was simply a side to go along with our bison steaks. Enjoy, and you're welcome!

1/2 cup Hidden Valley Buffalo Ranch (I couldn't find this, so mixed my own Ranch with Buffalo Sauce)
3 tb olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped red onion
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 head cauliflower, core removed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tb chopped fresh parsley (I was out of this, so left it out)


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly softened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower and cook 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper, and cook until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese and cook 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the dressing and parsley. Serve hot. This can be made up to 1 day in advance and reheated in a skillet over medium heat.

Seared Scallops and Zucchini with Lemon-Herb Feta

Zucchini Courtesy of Weight Watchers
Scallops Courtesy of Fine Cooking

I made this recipe earlier this week, and it was very fresh and healthy - just what we were looking for. Our goal this week is to stay in and cook until Friday! I bought the zucchini from our Farmer's Market and the scallops were bought fresh as well - so this came out great! This is pretty quick and easy for a week night meal - give it a go!

Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Pan Sauce
1 lb dry, larger sea scallops (muscles removed)
1 tb + 3 tb unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces
1 tb olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tb diced shallot
1/4 cup dry white wine or white vermouth
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (they recommend chives and parsley, but I used thyme and rosemary that I had on hand)
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest

Remove the tough abductor muscle from the side of each scallop (some scallops are sold with the muscle already removed). If you feel any grit on the scallops, rinse them under cold water. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels; surface moisture impedes browning. Heat a 10- or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the oil and butter, if using, and heat until quite hot. Pat the scallops dry once more and put them in the pan in a single, uncrowded layer. Season with salt and pepper and let sear undisturbed until one side is browned and crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the scallops and sear until the second side is well browned and the scallops are almost firm to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, transfer the scallops to a plate, and set them in a warm spot. Let the pan cool for a minute before you make the sauce.

Zucchini with Lemon-Herb Feta
3 tb crumbled feta (I used mediterranean seasoned feta since I had it on hand)
2 tb minced mint leaves
1 tb olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 medium scallions, minced
4 small zucchini (about 1 1/2 pound) - I used two larger zucchini from the Farmer's Market
1/2 tsp salt

In a small bowl, combine feta, mint, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and scallions; set aside. Trim ends off zucchini and slice in half lengthwise; slice each half into 4 or 5 chunks. Place zucchini on a baking sheet (or other flat surface) in a single layer; coat both sides with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Off heat, coat a grill rack or grill pan with cooking spray; heat over high heat. Cook zucchini, carefully flipping once, until grill marks are evident and zucchini is softened, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Arrange zucchini slices on a platter and serve with reserved feta topping.

Basil Pesto Ravioli with Sautéed Artichoke Tomato Sauce & Shrimp

Courtesy of Plated Perfection

At our Farmer's Market, there is a great stand that sells homemade, fresh pastas. This past week, I purchased their whole wheat basil pesto ravioli. I decided to come up with a tomato white wine sauce to go along with it, and include shrimp as the protein. The sauce turned out very good - the only thing I would note is that it's not very saucy -- but enough to coat the ravioli. Definitely give it a go with some regular pasta!

1 package ravioli (basil pesto for this go around - about 18 of them)
3 tb olive oil
1 clove garlic (I'd add 1-2 more cloves if you're using regular pasta)
1/2 cup (approx.) chicken broth (low-sodium)
1/3 cup (approx.) dry white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1-2 tb tomato paste
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts (I used marinated ones from the olive bar and just pat them a little dry for the flavoring)
handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I used small orange heirloom)
1/2 -3/4 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined) - depends on how many shrimp you prefer
dash of Italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to top the pasta

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. In the meantime, heat a sauce pan with 2 tb of olive oil over medium-high heat. Rinse and pat the shrimp dry and season with the Italian spices on both sides. Saute the shrimp in the pan for 2-3 minutes per side until almost cooked through. Set aside on a plate. Toss the pasta in the boiling water once ready - cook per the pasta's instructions. Heat the remaining tb of olive oil and sauce the garlic until soft, approximately 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice, tomato paste, tomatoes, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook over high heat until it reduces down a bit - approximately 5 minutes. Add the artichokes and mix in with the sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and place the shrimp back in the pan. Stir well to combine the shrimp into the sauce and serve over the drained pasta, with a splash of the pasta water.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Bison Steaks with Sautéed Escarole & Zucchini

Courtesy of Plated Perfection

It may have been two months since I've last posted anything, but this one is worth the wait! We are fortunate to have a farmer's market a few blocks away every Saturday in the Spring/Summer. I visited last weekend and went crazy! There was a local farm selling bison steaks in every cut you could imagine (Thank you Cibola Farms!!!!). I've had ground bison burgers, but never the steaks. I bought 1 filet and 1 ribeye so that we could share and try them both out. I also bought some fresh zucchini and escarole from a local farmer. Tonight was all about supporting the community! These steaks were DELICIOUS. I think we have a new favorite cut of meat...if you can find bison steaks, definitely give this a try. You won't regret it!

Bison Steaks:
2 bison steaks (both of mine were tender cuts and totaled about 1.5 pounds)
1/2 tb unsalted butter
canola oil, to coat the bottom of a frying pan (I used stainless steel)
salt and pepper, dashes of each on each steak on each side
custom red meat seasoning, dash on each side (this is a combo of many spices I bought in NYC)

Escarole & Zucchini Mixture:
1 large bunch escarole, rinsed and drained and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 zucchini, sliced (I sliced them in half as well)
2-3 garlic cloves, mashed and diced
a couple swirls of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
dash of fresh lemon juice

Set your steaks out about 30 minutes ahead of time to bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pat the steaks dry and season with salt, pepper, and whichever seasoning you prefer. Heat a stainless steel fry pan with a coating of Canola oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the steaks on all sides until slightly brown to form a crust. Once complete, heat 1 tb butter in the edge of the pan and spoon over the steaks. Place the steaks in the preheated oven for approximately 5 minutes. for thicker cuts, this will come out medium-rare, which is ideal. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes and then serve.

In the meantime, heat another pan with a couple of swirls of olive oil, and toss in the zucchini over medium-high heat to get a slight brown on them. Toss in the garlic and reduce to medium heat. Cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes. Toss in the escarole and mix in the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir well to distribute the garlic and olive oil. Cook for approximately 5-10 minutes depending on how low and slow you want to cook those. Add a dash of lemon juice at the end of cooking and stir to combine. Serve with the steaks.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Scallop & Snow Pea Purses with Orange Miso Sauce

Courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine

As most of you know, it has been WAY too long since I've cooked and posted anything on the blog! In the last month, we have moved places and both gotten new jobs -- just a little busy. We finally are both in town this week (and super happy about it). I was like a kid in the candy shop this afternoon when I went to the grocery store -- and this meal was super delicious! What a great meal to kick off our routine again...hopefully we can stick to it for a bit! This was also my first shot at cooking with parchment paper as well, but turned out great!

This recipe came out of the Clean Eating magazine. I had no idea how much flavor this recipe would have, and my husband has now announced it's in his all time top 10 recipes I've ever made! Woo hoo - give it a shot! You won't regret it.


  • 3 cups snow peas, trimmed (about 8 oz.)
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks (I actually used 2 carrots)
  • 1 1/2 tb white miso paste
  • 1 tb peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 tsp orange zest, plus 1 tb fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp rice wine (NOTE: this is also known as Chinese cooking wine or Shaoxing. You can also substitute with sake.)
  • 1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lb bay scallops, patted dry (I used the larger sea scallops since they were fresh and just cut them in half)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (white and green parts)
  • 1 tb sesame seeds (I ran out of these, so left out)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Butcher's twine
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Soak 4 5" pieces of twine in water. Cut 4 15" pieces of parchment paper. Mound one quarter each of the carrots and snow peas in the center of the parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the miso paste, ginger, orange zest and juice, sesame oil, rice wine, and soy sauce. Add the scallops and gently toss to coat. Scoop one quarter of the scallop mixture on top of the snow pea and carrot mixture. Sprinkle with green onions, sesame seeds and black pepper.

Package up all 4 corners of the parchment paper and tie with one piece of soaked butcher's twine into a packet. Repeat for all 4 packets. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until scallops are opaque throughout and the vegetables are tender, which should take about 15 minutes. 

 Before (pictured above)
After (pictured above)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pork Chops with Shallots and Mustard Sauce

Adapted from Rachael Ray

Apparently I've been on a pork chop kick recently - hence my last two posts on this blog. I can't help it; I love pork chops - especially the thick cut chops, and you can buy them so lean! I saw this recipe made on the Rachael Ray show - she used bone-in, which I normally would have, but these looked better in the store today. So, they worked out just fine! You could definitely use this sauce on chicken as well -- it was very tasty!!! I'm planning on having the leftover sauce for lunch tomorrow on grilled chicken - can't wait! This was fairly easy once you prep all of the vegetables to cut up - so it shouldn't take super long to prepare on a weeknight. I served this with canned green beans from my grandmother - not pictured. Enjoy!

Note: the recipe below is for my adaptation of the recipe

4 pork chops, each about 1 to 1 1/4-inches thick (boneless or bone-in)
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 springs rosemary leaves, stripped and chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons capers in brine, drained
2 rounded tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large, cast-iron skillet, heat the oil, three turns of the pan, over medium-high. When the oil ripples and smokes, add the chops and cook until browned, 2 minutes per side. Using tongs, lift the chops and brown them on the edges; transfer to a plate. Add the shallots, garlic and rosemary to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, until the shallots soften, 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until evaporated, about 1 minute more. Add the stock, capers, mustard and butter; swirling the pan to incorporate. Add the parsley then slide the pork chops back into the pan. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Spoon some sauce from the skillet onto each plate. 

Smoky Pork Chop with Grilled Asparagus Salad

Adapted from Redbook 

Who doesn't love the flavor of smoke when you combine it with a pork chop?! If only it were grilling season, this would definitely be at the top of my list. Don't fret - you can still make this inside, and it's still very tasty! This was extremely quick and easy, and I grabbed the grilled asparagus salad that I love from Whole Foods to go with it vs. the avocado salad listed in the original recipe. I love avocados, but that particular night, it just wasn't on my mind! This was a great recipe - give it a try!

1 tsp finely ground coffee (I used bold Starbucks - Thanksgiving blend)
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp garlic powder
kosher salt and pepper
4 bone-in pork chops, trimmed of fat
grilled asparagus salad (in prepared food section of Whole Foods)


In a small bowl, mix the first 6 ingredients, plus salt to taste. Rub the pork chops with the oil, then the spice blend. Grill on medium-high heat 5-7 minutes per side until desired “doneness”.