New England Style Clam Chowdah

Jump right in, the chowder is warm, lol! Not exactly a New Year’s Resolution-type recipe featuring copious amounts of detoxifying veggies and no sodium… however, I used light cream instead of half and half and added chopped celery which the original recipe didn’t call for. It may not be the healthiest meal choice but it makes me happy and gosh-darn it, that’s a goal for 2019 too! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Serves 6 – 8

  • 4, 6.5 ounce cans of chopped clams in juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 slices of low sodium bacon cut into lardons
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 – 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 3 cups light cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • milk for thinning
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • tabasco, if desired
  • oyster crackers for garnish

Directions:

  1. Drain clams and reserve the juice.
  2. In a large enamel coated pot with lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the bacon and cook until bacon starts to crisp.
  4. Add the onions and celery and cook until onions are translucent, celery softens and bacon is almost fully cooked.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and add the potatoes. Mix well, partially cover and cook for five minutes.
  6. Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir to coat.
  7. Add reserved clam juice and mix well until there are no lumps.
  8. Slowly add the cream while stirring continuously.
  9. Add the thyme and bay leaves, reduce heat and let simmer, partially covered for 15 – 20 minutes.
  10. Season with salt, pepper and tobacco to taste. Use milk to thin the soup if desired/needed. Remove bay leaves.
  11. Turn heat off, add clams and mix well. Let stand 5 minutes.
  12. Stir once more and ladle chowder into soup bowls and top with oyster crackers.

*Adapted from Anne Burrell

Easy Crab Cakes

I made these crab cakes earlier today in preparation for our family’s Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes. My mother-in-law always hosts the meal but this year, I offered to bring a dish. Looking forward to celebrating this food themed holiday with my peeps; it’s my favorite kind of festivity! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Feeds 10 – 12 people, 2 crab cakes each

  • 4 cups oyster crackers
  • 1/2 cup cornichons
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 4 scallions, roughly chopped
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard (preferably with grains)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 pounds lump crabmeat
  • canola oil for frying
  • lemon wedges for serving

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Directions:

  1. Pulse oyster crackers into crumbs using a food processor. Transfer 2 cups to a large bowl, reserve the rest.
  2. Wipe out food processor and add cornichons, capers, scallion and tarragon. Pulse into small pieces. Next, add mayo, lemon juice, mustard and pepper and pulse until well mixed. This mixture is both your tartar sauce and your binding agent.
  3. Remove 1 cup of sauce from the food processor, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add the remaining sauce to the bowl with the cracker crumbs. Fold in the eggs and the crabmeat. Mix until combined.
  4. Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large frying-an over medium-high heat. Using a 1/4 cup scoop, form cakes from the crabmeat mixture and roll in the reserved cracker crumbs.
  5. Fry crab cakes in small batches taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook for approximately 3 – 4 minutes per side and then transfer to a paper towel lined plate for draining.
  6. Serve warm with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Notes:

  • Original recipe did not call for coating the cakes with additional cracker crumbs, but I think it helped give them a nice crunchy coating after frying.
  • These can be cooled and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in a 325 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

*Original recipe adapted from Nancy Fuller, foodnetwork.com

 

Beef Ragú with Herbed Ricotta

This dish was inspired by one of my favorite foodie Instagram-ers and made for the perfect rainy Sunday supper tonight! It takes only minutes to prep, leaving your slow cooker to do all the work. Serve the hearty and flavorful ragú over your favorite pasta with a dollop of herbed ricotta and you’ll wow everyone at your dinner table any night of the week. Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1, 28 oz can chopped tomatoes ( I use fire roasted tomatoes)
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz chopped carrots (approx. 3 large carrots)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 lb of favorite pasta (I use fusilli or pappardelle)IMG_7367

Directions:

  1. Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Rinse and pat dry flank steak. Cut into large chunks with a sharp knife.IMG_7366
  3. Place steak in the bottom of the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour in the stock. Add garlic, carrots and spices including bay leaves and thyme.IMG_7368
  5. Top with chopped tomatoes and cook on high for 6 hours.
  6. While meat cooks, combine the ricotta, parmesan and parsley in a small bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.
  7. Remove meat from slow cooker using tongs and shred.
  8. Add honey to the sauce and using an immersion blender, gently purée. Take care, as slow cooker is shallow and sauce will be hot!
  9. Return shredded meat to the sauce and set slow cooker to the lowest setting.
  10. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare pasta of choice according to package directions.
  11. Serve sauce over pasta with a dollop of herbed ricotta and garnish with additional parmesan.IMG_7410

*Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Slow Cooker Asian Style Short Ribs

This is delicious twist on traditional slow cooker short ribs! The medley of mushrooms and the sweet and spicy flavor of the sauce, pair perfectly with these fall-off-the-bone short ribs. Serve it up over egg noodles with a side Napa Cabbage Slaw and you’ve got the makings of a unique and tasty Sunday Supper!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 10 – 12, bone -in beef short ribs, trimmed (approx. 4 lbs)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (plus extra if needed)
  • cooking spray
  • 3 cups fresh, sliced, assorted mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic, divided
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger, divided
  • 1 cup low sodium beef stock
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake

Directions:

  1. Rinse and pat the ribs dry. In a heavy bottom skillet or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season ribs with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in small batches, adding oil to the skillet if needed.
  2. Transfer browned ribs to a lightly sprayed 6-qt slow cooker.
  3. Meanwhile, add mushrooms and half the minced garlic and ginger to the skillet and sauté until they begin to soften.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients including the remaining garlic and ginger, the stock, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper flake.
  5. Cover ribs with mushroom mixture and pour sauce over top.
  6. Cook on LOW for 6 – 8 hours, until meat falls off the bone.
  7. Place rib meat on a serving platter. Use a slotted spoon to remove mushrooms and garnish the meat with them. Skim fat from the cooking liquid and drizzle sauce over the platter.

*Original recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Asian Short Ribs

 

Tiny Turkey Meatloaves with Roasted Vegetables

I’ve been doing some meal planning/catering which has me prepping a breakfast, a lunch and 2 – 4 dinners per week for a local family. Needless to say, I am spending a lot of time in my kitchen cooking! In an effort to streamline the process and make it not only tasty but also cost effective, I have begun to double everything I make for my client’s family and use half of it to feed my own. In addition, I am not only seeking out healthy and unique recipes, but also ones that feed a crowd and aren’t too time consuming. I came across this recipe in Cooking Light and tweaked it just a bit to suit my needs. I think you’ll agree, it’s super simple yet truly tasty! Check it out!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4

  • 1 1/3 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 6 tbsp ketchup, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 4 large carrots peeled and quartered
  • 6 small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the first seven ingredients including 3 tbsp of the ketchup and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix Worcestershire sauce and remaining ketchup.
  3. In another large bowl, combine the green beans, carrots and potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder and pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions. Using your hands shape each into a small loaf and place them equidistant on the baking sheet. Brush each with the Worcestershire-ketchup sauce.
  5. Scatter the vegetables around the loaves and bake everything for 25 – 30 minutes, turning the veggies half way through cooking time.

 

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Turkey Veggie Chili

Now that’s a mouthful! This recipe is a staple ’round these parts because it takes just minutes to assemble, practically cooks itself, and satisfies bellies with its hearty southwestern flavor. I get a little help from a store bought spice packet but I ratchet things up a notch by adding additional spice, liquid smoke and half a can of beer! You can’t go wrong on a cold night with a warm bowl of chili and chips…

Ingredients: Feeds 6 – 8

  • cooking spray
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey, browned
  • 1, 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I use “fire roasted” tomatoes)
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium Bermuda onion, medium dice
  • 1 Tex-Mex Chili seasoning packet (I use McCormick’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried minced garlic
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 6 oz of beer (I use Corona)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Brown the ground turkey in a skillet on the stove.
  3. Combine tomatoes, beans, chopped peppers, onion and seasonings in the slow cooker. Add the turkey, beer and liquid smoke. Mix well.

4. Cook on LOW for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed.

5. Serve over rice or with tortilla chips. Garnish with fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or shredded cheddar cheese.

IMG_6654

 

 

 

Crock Pot Curry

This crock pot curry is a no-brainer; throw everything in, turn it on and walk away! Your house will smell amazing and dinner will be on the table in a few short hours. It’s the perfect Monday Night meal or whenever the weather calls for warm and cozy curry!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • cooking spray
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, chunked
  • 2/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 8 oz baby spinach
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1, 15 oz can lite coconut milk
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup green curry paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  • lime wedges

Directions:

  1. Spray inside of your slow cooker or Crock Pot with cooking spray.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and lentils to the pot. Cover with spinach, sprinkle jalapeño over the top.
  3. Place the chicken thighs on the bed of spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients including the coconut milk, chicken stock, curry paste, garlic and ginger. Next, the pour mixture over the chicken.
  5. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours, stirring contents half way through cooking time. Reduce heat to LOW, stir once more and cook for another hour.
  6. Taste, adjust seasonings if needed. Serve as is or over white rice with fresh chopped cilantro and lime wedges!

*Adapted from Paula’s Pantry, “Chicken, Spinach and Lentil Coconut Curry”