Sunday, June 30, 2013

Recreating Flavors for Summertime Meals

I'm always looking for new ways to cook or flavor ground beef. It's become a staple in our house when work is slow and paychecks are low. I recently found this awesome recipe for Mongolian Beef that I was dying to try, but it's been in the upper 80's for the past week and I was extremely reluctant to fire up the stove since it increases the temperature in the house at least 5 degrees when I do so. 

Instead, I decided to take the recipe and break it down into hamburgers and an aioli. That way, I could fire up the grill and keep the heat outside. I did wind up using the stove for the sides, but it's hard to make rice on the grill.

So we wound up with Mongolian Beef Burgers with an aioli, steamed cilantro ginger and lime rice and broccoli. Yum!

Mongolian Beef Burgers (this one will make 4 1/4lb burgers)

1 lb ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 T soy sauce
3/4 T sesame oil
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne

Combine all ingredients and form into patties.


1 tsp white wine
1 tsp sherry
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 T brown sugar
1 tsp peanut butter
1/4 c mayonaisse
1 T scallions, sliced

Combine wine, sherry, vinegar, brown sugar and peanut butter. Whisk until well mixed and sugar is dissolved. Mix in mayo, fold in scallions.

Serve hamburger, grilled to preferred temp, with aioli.

I served mine on potato rolls because that's what I had on hand. I would suggest perhaps a pita or flatbread as well.

Cilantro Ginger and Lime Rice (serves 3)

1/2 c rice, uncooked
1 T lime juice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 T cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice per instructions, adding lime juice to the water. Stir in cilantro, salt and pepper. 

Overall, without the bun, this one checks in at 470 calories per serving meal.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

I know Father's Day was a few days ago, but I'm finally catching up. This Father's Day, Cal actually got home from work early (as in by noon!), so we were able to actually hang out and he got to spend some time with Emily. He played with her while I prepped and cooked dinner. I had wanted to get down to the Double Wide Bar and Grill and get him a growler of some kind of special beer, but my bank account said no, so he never did get his Father's Day present.... but I did make him this delish dinner, so that has to count for something, right? He also got a new picture of Emily to put in his work truck to replace the on from last FD when she was 4 months old! 

Anyway, he's a big seafood lover, and, despite them being on sale, we couldn't afford the yummy looking fresh lobster at the grocery store, so I settled on a king crab cluster and cocktail shrimp. I loosely followed Chicken Chesapeake recipe by Tide and Thyme. I didn't have any thicker cut bacon, and I added some other seasoning and rolled it instead of stuffed it. It turned out to be amazing. Then again, you can't really beat chicken and crab topped with cheese and bacon! I served it with a side of lemon basil orzo and steamed broccoli. I even made him a cute shrimp cocktail for an appetizer. 

Chicken Chesapeake for Two!

1 8oz or 2 4oz chicken breasts,  pounded to almost double the size
1/2 tsp old bay seasoning (or to taste)
2 strips sliced bacon
1/2 oz shredded cheddar cheese

1 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 T sour cream
dash Worcestershire Sauce
1 lemon wedge, juiced 
pinch salt
pinch of  pepper
1/2 tsp tabasco sauce (because everything needs a dash of hot sauce!)
4 oz crab meat

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a glass baking dish and set aside. 

In a medium saute pan, cook off bacon until crisp. Set on paper towels to drain and cool. Keep the pan and bacon drippings, as you will use it to cook your chicken. Crumble bacon when cool. 

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, Worcestershire, lemon juice and salt. Mix well. Gently fold in crab meat.

Season chicken with old bay and place filling in the center of the breast. Fold sides up around the filling, securing with toothpicks if necessary. 

Sear chicken in bacon pan about 3 minutes per side. Place in baking dish and top with cheese and bacon.  Place in the oven until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes, and filling is hot. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Lemon Basil Orzo

1/2 c orzo, uncooked
1/2 lemon, juiced
2-3 basil leaves, chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain and add lemon, basil, salt and pepper. Let rest, covered, for about 5 minutes for flavors to meld.

The chicken comes in at 363 calories per serving. The orzo comes in around 65. Steamed broccoli with a little salt and pepper is 10 calories per half cup, making this a scrumptous 438 calorie meal!