mel’s kitchen

favorite recipies of a food addict

bean and sausage stew April 15, 2007

Filed under: soup. stews — girlymama @ 2:55 pm

since spring is refusing to come, i’m going to enjoy a few favorite winter recipes before it gets here…

Bean and Sausage Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
1 13-oz package chicken sausage links, sliced in 1/4  rounds
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 19-oz can white beans, drained
1 14.5-oz can chicken broth
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 bag baby spinach
1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat the oil in a dutch oven. Add sausage and cook over medium heat until browned. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes more.
Add beans, broth and tomatoes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add spinach to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 2 minutes more.
Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread.

the original recipe calls for kale, but i like spinach better. substitute any sausage for the chicken sausage. sweet italian sausage is yummy, too. this could be easily adapted to vegetarian as well!


chicken piccata April 1, 2007

Filed under: main dishes — girlymama @ 6:31 pm

this is fantastic! don’t change a thing in recipe – it’s perfect. got great reviews and was super easy. i halved this recipe and it served my husband and i with leftovers. i served with a side of pasta tossed with olive oil, garlic and a bit of lemon juice.

Chicken Piccata

4 split (2 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 extra-large eggs
1 ½ cups seasoned dried bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
½ cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound it out to ¼- inch thick. (I sliced two chicken breasts in half lengthwise and then pounded thin.) Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper on a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the eggs and 1 tablespoon water together. Place the breadcrumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread-crumb mixtures.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add 2 chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan while you cook the rest of the chicken. Heat more olive oil in the sauté pan and cook the second 2 chicken breasts. Place them on the same sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the sauté pan with a dry paper towel. On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, white wine, the reserved lemon halves, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves. Serve one chicken breast on each plate, spoon on the sauce, and serve with sliced lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Recipe Origin: Barefoot Contessa at Home


black bean and corn stew March 26, 2007

Filed under: main dishes,soup. stews,vegetarian — girlymama @ 3:22 pm

i love black beans – always looking for a new recipe that involves them! garnish with cheese, chopped scallions, some tortilla chips or a heated flour tortilla.

Black Bean and Corn Stew
4 tsp olive oil
1 med onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
2 cans black beans, drained, rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 package (10 oz) frozen corn

1. Heat oil over med heat. Add onion; cook until softened. Add garlic and cumin; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 min more.
2. Add chilies, beans, tomatoes (with their juice) to the pan. Add 2 c water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, until it thickens slightly, about 20 min.
3. Puree 2 cups of stew in a blender or processor. Return puree to the pan, and add the frozen corn; simmer until heated through, about 5 min.


pepper-crusted filet mignon March 3, 2007

Filed under: entertaining,main dishes — girlymama @ 10:20 pm

i found filet mignon on clearance at the grocery today, so i splurged. and, on my goodness, was it worth it. this was my first time making filet mignon, so i wanted to do something simple! i served this with carmelized shallots, roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon

2 filet mignons (mine were about 8 oz each)
coarse salt, ground pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp butter

1. Season filets very generously on both sides with salt and lots of pepper, patting it into the meat.
2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium meat. Cook filets for about 3 minutes a side, to brown. Transfer to 400-degree oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes more. 
3. Meanwhile, bring wine to a boil in a small saucepan. Let boil down for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter. Swirl pan until butter is melted and sauce is a bit thickened. Serve over filet.

Recipe Origin: adapted from a Everyday Food recipe.


carrot cupcakes February 18, 2007

Filed under: desserts — girlymama @ 9:53 pm

we’re in cupcake mode this week – its my daughter’s birthday on thursday so we are making cupcakes for school, her party, the whole town….
these are a family favorite.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup shredded coconut, plus more for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, vanilla extract, and eggs.
2. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and salt. Add flour; mix. Stir in carrots, walnuts, and coconut with a spoon or spatula.
3. Oil a standard muffin tin or line with paper cups; distribute batter evenly.
4. Bake until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 minutes. Let cool before frosting. Garnish with toasted shredded coconut.

Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.


roasted cornish hens with grapes February 17, 2007

Filed under: entertaining,holidays,main dishes — girlymama @ 9:41 pm

I had planned to make this for Valentine’s Day. But, you know, snow storm, sick kids, blah blah blah. Maybe next year. I still think it sounds amazing. Maybe because of my new obsession with shallots… 

Roasted Cornish Hens with Grapes

1 ½ pounds mixed red and green seedless grapes
8 shallots, root end intect, halved if large)
6 springs fresh thyme, plus some leaved for hens
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
4 Cornish game hens (1 to 1 ¼ pound each)

1. Preheat oven to 450. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss grapes and shallots with thyme springs, oil, tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
2. Nestle hens among grapes on baking sheet, breast side up. Season hens generously with salt and pepper; sprinkle with thyme leaves.
3. Roast, basting hens occasionally with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of leg (avoiding bone) registers 160°, 30 to 35 minutes.

Recipe origin: Everyday Food


chicken curry February 2, 2007

Filed under: main dishes,slow cooker — girlymama @ 4:20 pm

another family favorite.

Chicken Curry

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken (thighs or breasts)
1 onion, halved and very thinly sliced
4-6 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
8 slices fresh ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
1 cup plain yogurt
1 package frozen peas (10 oz)
½ c toasted cashews (optional)

1. In a slow cooker, toss chicken with onion, garlic, ginger, curry, coriander and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook on high setting until chicken is fork-tender, about 4 hours. (Don’t be tempted to peek – keep the cover on while cooking.)
2. Stir in yogurt and peas; cover and cook until peas are heated, about 20 minutes.
3. Transfer chicken to a large bowl or plate and shred with a fork. Return to pot and toss with the sauce.
4. Garnish with toasted cashews, if desired, and serve over rice.

i think that the cashews make a difference – add a good salty crunch. i never make this without them!