Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella

Can I just say that Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen is a genius and this recipe is a  prime example of her talents.  This rustic dish full of flavor and I'm always looking for ways to sneak in eggplant into meals.  My husband says he detests it but seems to eat this.  This can be served as a main dish for a hearty side for grilled steaks, chicken, etc.

1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 celery stalk, in a 1/4-inch dice
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, rinsed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 to 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest or more to taste, up to the zest of a whole lemon
4 ounces mozzarella, firmer is better here, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 1/2 ounces parmesan, grated
1 can diced tomatoes, drained

Sprinkle eggplant generously with salt and let it drain in a colander for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rinse it well and pat it dry on towels.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and once the oil is shimmering, add the eggplant. Fry for 8 minutes, stirring pieces occasionally. Transfer fried eggplant to paper towels to drain. Add celery and carrots to remaining oil and cook for 3 minutes before adding onion and garlic. Cook together for 5 more minutes on medium heat. Stir in the orzo and tomato paste and cook for two minutes more. Off the heat, add the oregano, mozzarella, parmesan, tomatoes, fried eggplant, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon table salt, many grinds of black pepper and the stock and mix well.

Transfer mixture to an 8×11-inch (about 2 quarts) ovenproof baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, then bake 20 minutes without the foil.

Recipe and pic from Smitten Kitchen

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Avalanche Bars

Warning, if you make these you may be compelled to eat the whole pan.  Seriously, you've been warned because these are just so darn good. 

1 (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips or white chocolate melts
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Lightly grease 8x8" baking dish. Set aside.
In large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate chips for 1 minute. After 1 minute, stir, then microwave in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring between intervals, until completely melted. Once melted, add the peanut butter and stir well to combine. Add the Rice Krispies and then let cool for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add the marshmallows and chocolate chips and stir to combine. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and let cool completely before cutting. You can put into the refrigerator for about an hour which helps in cutting clean squares.   

Recipe all over Pinterest

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mexican Hot Corn Dip

Since the Superbowl is right around the corner, I thought about this wonderful dip to help me pass the time since I generally have no idea which teams are on the field and really only look forward to the snacks and time with friends or family.  This is one bowl of sinful cheesy dippy delight and so have lots of corn chips and cold beer ready and may the best team win.


  • 2 11-oz can Mexican corn, drained
  • 2 small cans chopped green chiles, drained
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Corn chips, for dipping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9- 13- by 2-inch casserole dish.
In a medium bowl, mix the corn, chiles, cheeses and mayonnaise until fully combined. Spread the mixture in the prepared casserole dish and bake, uncovered, until bubbly around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve the dip warm from the oven with corn chips.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chicken Tequila Burgers with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

The temps have been hovering in the single digits for days and quite frankly, I'm just plain sick of winter.  I know I'm not alone when I say that I am now yearning for sun, sand and even mosquito bites would be a welcomed diversion from boots, icy driveways and shivering commutes to work.  So imagine my surprise to stumble across this recipe that made me feel like a we had a bite of summer for dinner.  Let's face it - anything with tequila makes me happy.  These were a huge hit with the family but be warned that they have a slight kick so you may want to reduce the jalapeno if you don't like any heat.  The cilantro lime mayo is also delish so be sure to take the extra time to make it as well.

1 pound ground chicken breast
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 chopped garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or 1/4 cup uncooked regular or quick-cooking oats
 2 tablespoons tequila
1 teaspoon lime zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

Sliced bell peppers
Sliced onions
5 hamburger buns

Cilantro Lime Mayo:
3/4 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon (or a little less) salt and dash of white pepper

Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat.  We used an indoor grill. 

Pulse ground chicken, cilantro, garlic, chives and jalapeño pepper in a food processor 3 to 4 times or until combined. Add panko or oats, tequila, lime zest, salt, pepper, and soy sauce; pulse until combined. Shape into 5 patties.

Grill, covered with grill lid, 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°; remove from grill. Keep warm. Grill sliced bell peppers and onions until slightly charred and tender.  An indoor grill grill works great too!

Serve burgers, bell peppers, and onions on buns with Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise.

Pic and recipe slightly adapted from from Southern Living, October 2012