Category Archives: Main Meals

Cabbage Rolls

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You probably can’t live in Southwestern Pennsylvania without having a recipe for cabbage rolls.  I’m not entirely certain, but it might be a requirement for citizenship.

This is my mom’s recipe for cabbage rolls. It makes enough to feed a small army – which happens to be the quantity in which she’d frequently cook. So, these would fit in well at a family reunion, graduation party, or other large gathering. If you don’t happen to have a large group to feed, the leftovers freeze very well. Just thaw and heat through in a 350 degree oven. Bam. Homemade cabbage rolls – [almost] whenever you want.

Cabbage Rolls

Yield: Makes about 34 cabbage rolls

Cabbage Rolls

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 pounds ground pork
  • 3 cups white (or brown) rice, cooked
  • 1/2 cup onion, grated (using large holes on a box grater)
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 2 29-ounce cans whole tomatoes (in juice)
  • 1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 pound sauerkraut

Instructions

  1. Discard the outermost leaves of the cabbage. Remove the core. Place the cabbage in a stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Turn the cabbage every couple minutes. Remove any leaves that are separating away from the head of cabbage and place them into a colander to drain and cool. Continue the process until all the leaves are cooked and pliable, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Combine the beef, pork, rice, onion, allspice, salt, and black pepper. Mix well.
  4. Trim the thick center rib from the bottom of each cabbage leaf. Place meat mixture in the bottom of each leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf in and over the meat, then roll from bottom to top.
  5. Place rolls in a large baking tray. You can use a 20" x 12" full-size steam table tray, large roasting pan, or a couple 13" x 9" baking dishes.
  6. When the leaves get too small to stuff, simply chop them and toss them over top of the cabbage rolls. If there is any leftover meat mixture, make little oval-shaped meatballs to bake along with the cabbage rolls.
  7. Rough-chop the whole tomatoes and pour them (and the juice) into a mixing bowl along with the tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Pour evenly over the cabbage rolls.
  8. Scatter sauerkraut (and juice) over top of the sauce-covered cabbage rolls.
  9. Cover loosely with foil.
  10. Bake for 2 hours. Carefully, remove foil. Bake for another 30-60 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the cabbage is tender.
  11. Serve with mashed potatoes topped with the tomato sauce and sauerkraut remnants from the baked cabbage rolls. Yum!
http://bleulegume.com/2015/07/cabbage-rolls/

Thai Coconut Red Curry

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Thai Coconut Red Curry

Yield: 6 servings

Thai Coconut Red Curry

I love everything about this stuff. Not only is this a quick meal, but it's flexible. Adjust the spice level by adding more or less of the curry paste. Use any colorful vegetable you have on hand: red cabbage, red pepper, green pepper, carrots, eggplant, long beans, snow peas, kale. Likewise, use any protein you like: chicken, pork, tofu, etc.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste (or to taste)
  • 2 pounds chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 Thai eggplants, quartered (or about 8 oz American or Italian eggplant)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 4 oz carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves (about 20 leaves)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil and red curry paste in a wok over med-high heat, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chicken and stir fry until 80% cooked through.
  3. Add coconut milk and vegetables. Cook until crisp-tender.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in basil leaves, fish sauce, and sugar.

Notes

430 calories; 23g fat; 1087g sodium; 695g potassium; 12g carbs; 3g fiber; 34g protein

http://bleulegume.com/2015/07/thai-coconut-red-curry/

Grilled Chipotle Shrimp

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She says:  For a quick and spicy summer meal, serve these along with Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad!

He says: You might ask, “Does that middle skewer bisect the angle formed by the outer skewers?” To which I’d reply, “Can it, Pythagoras … we’re lookin’ at grilled shrimp here.” But if you insist on getting all geometrical, you’ll observe that the skewers meet at the vertex formed by our old friend, fresh corn and black bean s̶a̶l̶s̶a̶ salad. Note that I don’t call the skewers “rays,” because that would imply that they extend forever from the vertex bowl, and sadly “infinite grilled shrimp” is just too much awesome for this imperfect universe.

Grilled Chipotle Shrimp

Yield: 4 servings

Grilled Chipotle Shrimp

Notes:

In this recipe, we leave the shells on the shrimp to prevent them from drying out. To save time cleaning, pick up some raw, large (or bigger) EZ peel shrimps. Adjust cooking time as necessary.

If using bamboo skewers, soak for at least an hour before using.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds raw shrimp, cleaned with shell on
  • Marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or pressed

Instructions

  1. Prepare grill.
  2. Zest and juice lime. Add remaining marinade ingredients and whisk together.
  3. Add marinade and shrimp to a bowl and toss to coat. Marinade 20 minutes while coals and grill are heating.
  4. Place shrimp on skewers. Grill for 2-3 minutes each side.
http://bleulegume.com/2015/06/grilled-chipotle-shrimp/

Nicoise Salad

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She says: Nicoise (nee-swaz) salad is a great way to get your daily veggies. It also packs in some great protein and healthy fats. And it’s just so darn beautiful! My typically veggie-ambivalent crew doesn’t even complain about this salad.

He says: “Another amazing salad,” says the non-salad guy. I’m being forced to reevaluate my opinions on salad, and I don’t like changing my mind about things. #DYBL!! But seriously, look at that thing: it’s like eating a garden, but better. It’s like eating a garden that grows fish plants and egg stalks in addition to the usual green vegetable stuff. (Can beef sprouts and pork pods be far behind? Get on it, science!)

Nicoise Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Nicoise Salad

Notes:

While the tuna here was pan-seared, feel free to prepare it on the grill. Grilling will add a nice, light smokiness to the fish.

Preparation of the eggs, potatoes, and beans might be a bit more work than you want for a salad, but those can all be prepared even a couple days in advance.

Nicoise olives can be difficult to find. In fact, actual Nicoise olives are quite difficult to come by as they are grown in Cote d'Azur -- and in limited quantities. You are more likely to find Nicoise-style olives, which are still incredibly delicious. Feel free to substitute with any small black olive, such as kalamata or Moroccan dry-cured olives.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tuna steaks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosker salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and blanched
  • 1 pound of new potatoes
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 4 eggs, medium-cooked and peeled
  • 1 cup nicoise olives
  • 8 cups of salad greens and herbs
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or grated
  • 2 teaspoons whole seed dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Using a medium pot, cover potatoes with salted water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Place eggs into a small pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover. Remove from heat and allow eggs to sit in the hot water for 6 minutes. Drain water. Run eggs under cold water to cool.
  3. When potatoes are finished cooking, drain and remove the potatoes to a bowl to cool. Fill the pot again with water and bring to a boil. .
  4. Fill a mixing bowl with ice water. This will be used to stop the cooking process for the beans.
  5. Add the green beans to the boiling water. cook for 3 minutes -- just until crisp-tender. Drain and immediately add green beans to the ice water to cool. Drain. Pat dry.
  6. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat oil. Season tuna with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, sear tuna for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees. Remove from heat and rest on a plate.
  7. Whisk together ingredients for the dressing until well-blended.
  8. Toss greens gently, but well (1-2 minutes), with half of the dressing.
  9. Line plates with salad greens. Top each plate with a tuna steak. Evenly distribute olives, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, and halved eggs among plates, arranging as desired.
  10. Drizzle each plate with remaining dressing.
http://bleulegume.com/2015/06/nicoise-salad/

Almond-Crusted Chicken Breast and Spinach Salad with Caramelized Orange and Shallot Dressing

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While leafing through some accumulated notes, printouts, and clippings, I came across this incredible recipe and immediately imagined the photo.  It likely originated from America’s Test Kitchen.   The Spinach Salad recipe is a perfect accompaniment!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts, about 8 oz each
4 oz (1 cup) sliced almonds, processed to crumbs
½ cup panko
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons pepper
6 Tablespoons canola oil

For the Salad:
1 shallot, minced fine
2 T oil
6 oz baby spinach
2 oranges

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Quarter one orange.  Set aside to squeeze over each plate when serving.  Remove the zest of the second orange with a microplane.  Set aside for use in the egg wash.  Then, cut away the peel of the second orange, cut into 8 sections, and dice each section into 1/2-inch pieces.  Set aside for use in the dressing.
  3. In a cake pan or other shallow dish, mix together almonds and panko.
  4. In a separate shallow dish, whisk together eggs, mustard, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon orange zest.
  5. Over med-high in nonstick skillet, heat 6 Tablespoons oil.
  6. Dip chicken in egg, allowing excess to drip off.  Then coat in almond mixture, pressing breading into chicken, gently shake off excess.
  7. Place chicken in oil and cook 3 minutes until brown. Flip, and cook 3 more minutes,  Temperature should read about 155 degrees
  8. Keep warm in 200 degree oven where the chicken will continue to cook to 160 degrees.  Depending on the thickness of the chicken, the crust may brown well before the chicken is done. In this case, finish the cooking process in a 350 degree oven until the chicken has reached 160 degrees.
  9. Toss out any remaining oil and browned bits from the skillet.   Wipe skillet with a paper towel.
  10. Place pan back over med-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon oil.  Add diced orange.  Cook 2 to 2 1/2 minutes until they brown and start to fall apart.  Add another 1 Tablespoon oil.  Remove from heat and add shallots and any remaining zest. Use residual heat from the pan to soften shallot.  Pour over baby spinach and toss.
  11. Plate chicken and salad.  Using the quartered orange, Squeeze juice over both chicken and salad on each plate.