Posts filed under ‘main-meals’

Stuffed Tomatoes

This recipe is based on one that I got from my French instructor when we first moved to Belgium.  She told me it is something that Belgians eat quite often.  You won’t find it in a restaurant, but basically every home will make some variation on it for dinner at least once a month.  I have to admit, we haven’t eaten it as often, but we have adapted it to our own recipe.  Now I’d like to share a little taste of Belgium with you!

Stuffed Tomatoes
3 Tbs. olive oil
8 round medium tomatoes
1 Tbs. butter
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 lb. pork
1/4 lb. veal
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup coarse breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese, freshly grated

To Make:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat a rimmed baking dish with 1 Tbs. of oil.  Hollow out the tomatoes using a paring knife or spoon, leaving enough of the flesh on the sides to form a sturdy “cup”.  Reserve scooped out flesh and set aside.  Set tomatoes upside-down on paper towels to drain.
In a large skillet, melt the butter in 1 Tbs. of oil.  Add onion and garlic and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add the meat and cook over moderately high heat until no longer pink, breaking up the pieces as it cooks.  Add reserved tomatoes and cook until juices evaporate (about 5 minutes longer).  Transfer meat mixture to a bowl and let cool slightly.  Mix in parsley, eggs, 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and the cheese.  Spoon into tomato cups and place in baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs and drizzle remaining olive oil on top.  Bake for 45 minutes or until heated through.

4 servings 


April 17, 2008 at 9:03 am Leave a comment

Shrimp Enchiladas with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

In Belgium, it can sometimes be difficult to find foodstuffs for Mexican food.  Sure, we can usually find avocados, tortillas (flour only), Old El Paso salsas, taco seasonings, fajita seasonings and now and then red enchilada sauce.  What’s more difficult to find are jalapeno, ancho or habanero peppers, cheddar cheese (that’s not plastic-y and orange), corn tortillas, green enchilada sauce and the ever-elusive black beans.  With that in mind, you can see how making a Mexican meal isn’t always a last minute decision here. 
I had a craving for seafood enchiladas and was trying to be good and use up as many things I had on hand as possible.  I had some shrimp, flour tortillas, an avocado, one red pepper, some roasted garlic, lemons, feta and goat cheeses, and a can of black beans (brought from a recent trip back to the U.S.).  I thought a green enchilada sauce would go best with shrimp enchiladas, but knew I wouldn’t be able to find it.  I tried to think of another sauce that wouldn’t overpower the delicate shrimp, but would still give it a “Mexican” flair.  I decided to invent my own.
I made up a roasted red pepper cream sauce and it worked perfectly!  I just had to post about it because it was so “thrown together” that I knew I’d never remember it again if I didn’t write it down.

Shrimp Enchiladas with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce
15 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
4 tortillas (corn are best, flour work too)
1 pint heavy cream
1 Tbs. flour
1 head garlic
1 red pepper
the juice of half a lemon
3 Tbs. soft goat cheese
3 Tbs. feta cheese
1 small red chile, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped fine, for garnish
3 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed 

To Make:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
First, roast the garlic and the red pepper.  To roast the garlic, peel the outer layer of paper keeping the cloves in tact.  Slice off tips to expose the garlic cloves.  Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and place in preheated oven for 40 minutes.  To roast the red pepper, either place on an open-flame burner or under the broiler until skin is charred and bubbly.  Turn to evenly roast on all sides.  Set aside to cool, then peel off skin.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Next, in a blender or food processor, combine roasted pepper, roasted garlic (as many cloves as you prefer – I used about 5), lemon juice, red chile and some of the cream to help it blend.  Purée.  In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat cream.  Add the pepper mixture to the cream, stirring constantly.  Add 1 Tbs. of feta and 3 Tbs. of goat cheese to the mixture.  Finally, thicken if necessary, with 1 Tbs. flour.
In a separate pan, sautée spinach in a little bit of olive oil until wilted.  Roughly chop the shrimp and mix together with 1 Tbs. feta and the sautéed spinach.  Place on mixture on tortillas, roll, and place in oven-proof baking dish.  Cover with sauce.  Top with remaining feta and bake at 350 degrees until enchiladas are heated through and feta is slightly browned.  Serve.

4 enchiladas 



April 12, 2008 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

White Pizza with Mushrooms and Spinach

Sunday night is pizza night at our house.  I try to do something different each time I make one.  This time, I thought I’d try a white pizza.  Traditionally, white pizzas are just dough, herbs and olive oil – no sauce.  They are similar to foccacia and very tasty.  I was in the mood for something a little richer, though, and came up with a recipe that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.  It’s got a roasted garlic and rich and creamy white sauce as a base layer, followed by sautéed spinach and mushrooms, then topped off with a sprinkling of mozzarella di bufala and some feta.  The flavors meld together seamlessly and the pizza just looks amazing right out of the oven.  This one will definitely make it into the pizza rotation around here!

White Pizza with Mushrooms and Spinach

1 portion pizza dough
1 cup skim milk
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
½ lb mushrooms, sliced
1 head garlic
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 cups fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
1 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup crumbled feta
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I prefer mozzarella di bufala)

To Make:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  
Peel outer skin from head of garlic, keeping cloves intact.  Slice off tips and set aside.  Drizzle 1 Tbs. olive oil over exposed cloves, wrap in foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until soft. Remove garlic from foil and set aside to cool (can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated in an airtight container).  Meanwhile, press pizza dough into pan.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and pre-bake for 7 minutes or until crust just begins to brown.  Squeeze roasted garlic from cloves and mash with a fork.  Spread over crust to form a thin layer.  In a saucepan, over medium-heat, whisk together milk and flour until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread white sauce over pizza crust.  Coat a separate pan with remaining olive oil and heat on medium-high.  Sautée peeled garlic tips and mushrooms until tender.  Add spinach and continue cooking until spinach wilts.  Add vegetables to pizza.  Top with basil, mozzarella and feta and return to oven.  Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

1 12 in. round pizza (8 slices)



April 9, 2008 at 11:21 pm Leave a comment

Katie’s Chicken Rigatoni with Marsala Cream Sauce

I haven’t posted in a while, we’ve spent 3 weeks either traveling or entertaining guests and have had very few home-cooked meals. I love eating out at restaurants, but sometimes just want to be in control of what I’m eating and make it my way.
This is a recipe inspired by one of those restaurant meals, but made my way. I had lunch at an Italian restaurant in Minneapolis with my friend Katie specifically so we could try this dish – her favorite! She asked me if I could figure out the recipe and make it for her, so I said I’d try. Here’s my go at it and I think it turned out pretty well! So this one’s for Katie – hope you enjoy!

Katie’s Rigatoni with Chicken in Marsala Cream Sauce
4 T. olive oil
2 large sweet onions
2 heads garlic
2  boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
8 ounces white button mushrooms
1 cup marsala wine
2 cups white wine
1 T. chicken base
16 ounces rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

To Make:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a very large dutch oven or wok, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir to coat. Let onions cook just until translucent (about 3 minutes). Turn down the heat to medium-low and let the onions continue to caramelize. Stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, peel the outer paper of the heads of garlic, leaving the skin that covers the cloves. Chop off the tips of the bulbs, leaving an exposed flat area. Peel the remaining tips, and set aside. Drizzle the bulbs of garlic with olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Quarter the mushrooms lengthwise.
When the onions are nearly done (medium brown in color), add the mushrooms and garlic tips to the pan. Cook until mushrooms are lightly browned.

Turn the heat up to high and add the wines. Make sure to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken base to the pan.
After the sauce is reduced slightly (about 3 minutes), add the chicken pieces and cook until nearly done.
Check the level of liquids at this point. You will be adding the pasta to the pan, but want the liquids to just barely cover the pasta. If there is too much liquid, continue cooking to reduce it further before adding the pasta. If there is not enough liquid, you can add boiling water to bring it to the level needed. (You do not want to much liquid or the sauce will be runny). Add the pasta to the pan and cook just until tender.
Remove from the heat, stir in cream, butter and parmesan cheese. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the baked bulbs into a dish, mash them and add to the sauce.
Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and serve.

4-5 servings

March 30, 2008 at 1:40 am Leave a comment

Garlic and Lemon Shrimp with Feta

Mmmm…this is one of the best shrimp dishes I have tried in a long time. It’s really special! The flavor is a lot like shrimp scampi but with the added tang of feta cheese. The recipe comes from Greece and is typical of the southern areas of the country. Using the shrimp with the shells on, intensifies the flavor, but if you prefer, you can clean the shrimp ahead of time and reduce the cooking time. The dish should be spicy, but the red pepper used should not overpower the other ingredients. Enjoy with rice, couscous or simply a green salad.

Garlic and Lemon Shrimp with Feta
Adapted from “Mon carnet Gourmand, Tessa Kiros”
2 pounds of large, raw shrimp
7 Tbs. butter
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 bunch fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or peri-peri)
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

To Make:
Rince and de-vein the shrimp. In a large dutch-oven or saucepan, sprinkle 2 T. of butter (in pieces) over the bottom. Add a layer of shrimp and lightly salt each piece. Sprinkle 1/3 of the parsley and garlic over the top and add a pinch of the red pepper. Add another 2 T. of the butter, then more of the shrimp and follow with the parsley, garlic and red pepper in the same manner. Continue until all of the shrimp are used. Cover and cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes, or until shrimp are slightly colored. Add the lemon juice and the feta. Mix well to mix the sauce. Using a spoon, top the shrimp with the sauce mixture and continue to cook, covered, an additional 10 minutes or until the feta is melted. Serve immediately.

2-3 servings

March 14, 2008 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Pan-Seared Chicken with Garlic Sauce

There are some nights when I just don’t have time to cook, but want to make something nice. I almost always have chicken breasts on hand, so it’s become somewhat of a fall-back food. It’s nice that it can be made into basically any dish and can be enhanced with any spices you may have on hand. This dish was made entirely with ingredients I had readily available and came together in minutes and in one dish. I was not expecting much from it, but the garlic sauce proved to be rich and elegant. Enough so, that one could even consider serving this for a special occasion…it’s that good!

Pan-Seared Chicken with Garlic Sauce
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. olive oil
12 medium garlic cloves, peeled and halved
2 chicken breasts
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup chicken broth, divided

To Make:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine first 5 ingredients in small bowl. Sprinkle generously over chicken breasts, covering both sides. Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet. Add chicken and cook 2 minutes on each side. Add garlic cloves to skillet along with 3/4 cup of chicken broth. Place skillet in oven and bake until chicken is done and garlic is soft (approx. 10 – 15 minutes). Remove from oven. Set aside chicken breasts, keeping them warm. Add remaining broth to skillet. Mash garlic cloves with fork and cook over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, or until heated through. Serve garlic sauce over chicken.

2 Servings

February 13, 2008 at 6:08 am Leave a comment

Lamb with Red Pepper Tapenade

The actual definition of Tapenade – a thick paste originally from Provence made with capers, olives, anchovies, lemon juice and herbs. The name comes from Tapeno, which means caper. It’s used as a condiment on grilled fish, meat or served with cruditées and toast. Today, the definition is not as straightforward. It can be used to describe any paste involving vegetables, lemon juice and herbs added to fish or meat or served as a spread. I’ve taken liberties with the looser definition in using the term with this dish. It seemed fitting, and anyway, who cares? When it tastes this good, you just can’t worry about the details!

Lamb with Red Pepper Tapenade
Adapted from “Marie Claire Recettes: saveur, Donna Hay”

6-8 lamb chops
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves (I couldn’t find these in winter, so I left them out)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper (or harissa, if you can find it)
2 pitas (for serving)
Tzatziki sauce (for serving)*

To Make:
Remove excess fat from the lamb chops. Mix the pepper, onion, cilantro, crushed red pepper and garlic together. Add lemon juice and olive oil. Stir to combine. Spread tapenade onto both sides of each lamb chop. Broil in oven for 3 – 4 minutes each side.
Serve with tzatziki and pitas.

2 Servings

*Tzatziki sauce can be bought or made. I usually make my own since it is so simple. It will keep for 3 -4 days, covered, in the refrigerator.

Tzatziki Sauce
1/2 cup yogurt (greek style, if available)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
2 T. fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
salt, to taste

To Make:
Mix all ingredients together. Season with salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

February 7, 2008 at 1:06 am Leave a comment

Older Posts


Recent Posts

Flickr Photos