Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner

When Hirsh and I are bored of our standard chicken, fish, pasta rotation, sometimes we spice things up and do breakfast for dinner. With the leftover potatoes and mushrooms from the two previous blogs, we had the perfect ingredients on hand for a frittata and home fries.

Mushroom, Feta and Cheddar Frittata
I first learned about frittata's when Hirsh and I were visiting Chloe in Josh in New York and Chloe made one for breakfast (coupled with chocolate chip pancakes, it was the best brunch ever. I teased her that she should open Cafe Chloe.) It's basically an open face omelette that you start on the stovetop and finish under the broiler. It's great because you can add any veggies, meats or cheeses you have on hand.

6 eggs
Salt and Pepper
Half container mushrooms, chopped
Crumbled feta
Shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Make sure to get the eggs really fluffy.
2. Saute mushrooms (or whatever veggies you have) in a little bit of butter in a 10 inch saute pan. If there is some mushroom juice that comes out, try to get it with a paper towel-- leaving it in makes the frittata too mushroomy.
3. Add egg mixture, giving the pan a quick stir and then going around the pan, sweeping the eggs to the inside and letting the liquid pool over, until the bottom of the eggs are set but the top is still a little runny.

4. Add feta cheese and put frying pan under broiler for 3 minutes. NOTE: your frying pan must be oven safe up to 500 degrees! No plastic handles!
5. After 3 minutes, add shredded cheddar to top, broil another 30 seconds to melt.
6. Take pan out of oven (POTHOLDERS REQUIRED! It is very easy to accidently grab the frying pan handle with bare hands)
7. Cut into 3 wedges and serve.
*Note, if you increase to 8 eggs for 4 people, use a 12 inch pan

Difficulty: Medium
Debbie's Rating: 8
Hirsh's Rating: 8.5

Red Potato Home Fries
I modified this recipe from one I found online. It was fun to make because I got to practice my knife skills that I learned from "Good Eats."

About 10 small red potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Garlic powder
One garlic clove, minced

1. Wash and dice potatoes.
2. Toss with olive oil, put in microwave safe bowl, cover tightly with saran wrap and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
3. Blot excess oil from potatoes with a paper towel.
4. Add a few shakes each of each seasoning, tossing to coat.
5. Melt a little butter in a sauce pan and saute potatoes for about 7 minutes.
6. Add garlic and continue sauteing 5-10 minutes until potatoes are golden brown.

Difficulty: Easy
Debbie's rating: 7, good taste, but could have been crispier-- I'll do them longer next time
Hirsh's rating: 8

*Note, since I was busy with the frittata, Hirsh did all the sauteing for the potatoes. I have the best sous chef ever. :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicken Marsala

While this isn't technically a new recipe, I have only made it a few times, so it still qualifies as a cooking adventure.

Chicken Marsala
2 deboned chicken breasts
Flour, salt and pepper
Extra Virgin Olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp)
Half container of mushrooms, chopped (I use baby bellas)
1 tbsp dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup marsala wine (you can get cooking wine in the grocery store)

1. Flatten chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thick between two sheets of saran wrap.
* If you haven't flattened chicken breasts before, here is what you should know: Use the flat side of the pounder (the bumpy side is for meat), it is going to be VERY loud (I always wonder what my neighbors think) and as much as you will want to stop, you should go until your chicken breasts are very thin. They will thicken while cooking and if they are too thick to start, they won't cook through.
2. Combine about 1/2 cup flour and a few shakes of salt and pepper on a plate. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Set aside.
3. Heat 10 inch skillet a over medium heat. Add a few drizzels of olive oil. Cook mushrooms, garlic and parsley about 4 minutes.

4. Push mushrooms to the side of the pan, add a bit more olive oil and add chicken breasts. Cook 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
5. Add marsala wine. You will see vigorous boiling and smell the alcohol burning off. Cook for about 5 minutes turning the chicken in the sauce, or until the sauce thickens to your liking.

Difficulty: Medium
Debbie's Rating: 10
Hirsh's Rating: 9

As a note, the rice was not new, but is very easy and tasty. We use Uncle Ben's Fast and Natural Brown rice. It has all the taste and health benefits of brown rice, but much faster cooking time. It goes very well with the marsala as well as stir fry, which will be the subject of a later entry.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia and Fried Red Potatoes

Tonight Hirsh and I tried two new dishes. The recipes were both from my Mom. Thanks Mom!

Fried Red Potatoes
We were getting bored with our rice and pasta side dishes, so we decided to try potatoes. These were relatively quick and easy. I bought the really tiny red potatoes since these tend to be more tasty than the bigger ones.

10 mini red skin potatoes halved
1 tbsp butter (smart balance)
Garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste

Cut potatoes in half and boil in salted water for 15 minutes. Drain. Melt butter in skillet. Add salt and garlic powder. Toss potatoes quickly to coat and then turn cut side down and fry for about 8 minutes until golden. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Difficulty: Easy
Hirsh's Rating: 7.5 (I think kraft mac and cheese will ALWAYS be his favorite side)
Debbie's Rating: 9

The potatoes turned out very flavorful and crispy. Yum!

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
We are normally salmon people, but we are trying to branch out on our fish since it is so healthy. So we decided to try tilapia.

0.8 lb tilapia (four pieces)
1/2 C breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Butter (smart balance)

Spray foil with cooking spray and lay down fish. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Coat top of fish. Add a few more shakes of Parmesan. Top with little pieces of butter about 5 per piece. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Hirsh's Rating: 8
Debbie's Rating: 8

The fish was very tasty and very easy/ quick to prepare. We will definitely do it again!

Welcome to my cooking blog!

Last week Hirsh and I watched "Julie & Julia" a fantastic movie about a girl who cooks her way through Julia Child's "The Art of French Cooking" in one year and blogs about her experiences. While I don't plan to attempt such a great feat (it almost ruined her marriage!) it inspired me to start a cooking blog. I have been thinking about starting a cooking blog for a long time since I love trying new dishes, and I know so many people who love to cook and try new recipes. I will post all the new dishes I try with recipes and pictures as well as the fun cooking tricks I pick up along the way. Let me know if you want to do a guest post to share a recipe of your own!