Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chicken and Greens Rolls

One of the favorite things of my week is my delivery of Prudent Produce.  I love getting a variety of organic produce delivered to my door.   Plus, it challenges my menu for the week, forcing me to come up with new, creative ways to enjoy the produce I get!

That was the case for me last week...I had leeks, collard greens, and swiss chard to name a few.  It's easy to cook the greens down and have them accompany a dish, but I wanted them to be the star.  Add a little protein in the way of chicken and bacon, and, really, you couldn't go wrong!

So here is a new, unique way to eat your greens!

Chicken & Greens Rolls

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2' pieces
2 leeks, sliced into rounds
1 bunch swiss chard, roughly chopped, cutting at the end of leaving and reserving stems (should you choose to.  I use them when I make vegetable broth)
1 bunch collard greens, roughly chopped, green removed from vein
4 chicken breasts
2 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saute pan, cook bacon over medium heat.  When it is golden brown, about 5-7 minutes, remove the bacon but not the grease, from the pan.  Add leeks, and cook until they soften, about 5 minutes.  Then add the remaining greens and reduce heat to low, stirring every few minutes, until the greens are cooked down and soft, about 15-20 minutes.  

While the greens are cooking, pound the chicken breasts so they are thin and evenly thick.  Generously salt and pepper.

When the greens are done, add back in the bacon and mix well.  Scoop green mixture onto each chicken breast and spread evenly.  Roll the chicken and then secure with toothpicks.

In a large fry pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and sear chicken until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  

Put pan in oven and bake between 15-25 minutes until the chicken is done.  

Allow to rest for a few minutes and then slice and serve.  Drizzle with a splash of balsamic if you are so inclined!

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Honey Mustard Pork

My last order of pork chops from a local pork producer were beautiful.  They were thick cut and fatty, which makes them easy to bake without getting overdone.  The best thing about pork is that it can be accompanied by a variety of sauces and still taste great.  One such sauce is honey mustard.  Especially honey mustard that is roasted on to create more of a crust, so to speak, on the outside of the pork chop.  Give this recipe a try soon.  You won't be disappointed.  I promise.

Honey Mustard Pork Chops

4 center cut pork chops, 2" thick
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  When I cook pork, unless it is ground, I always have it at room temperature, especially a thick cut chop.  This allows it to cook more evenly so you don't have edges that are done and centers that are not.

In a bowl, combine honey, mustard and olive oil.  Pat pork chops dry using a paper towel and then generously coat each side of the chop with honey mustard.

Place a cooling rack inside of a sheet pan and then put the pork chops, spaced evenly, on the cooling rack.

Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Turn the pork and cook an additional 10-15 minutes until done.  You can check with a thermometer if you are not sure.  The temperature should read 145 degrees.  I usually pull the pork out when the temperature is at 135-140, allow it rest for about 5-10 minutes, then check the temperature again.  Allowing it to rest will finish the cooking and seal in the juices.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Twice Baked Sweet Potato

How can you go wrong with a sweet potato?  They are almost the perfect food.  

Someone at the gym has an infatuation with some twice baked sweet potatoes in the ready to eat foods at our local grocery store and when he found out what the ingredients were he wasn't
too happy that he'd have to give up this "out of this world" sweet potato.

Of course I knew I needed to adapt it.  He said I nailed it...and that it was even better.  Can't beat that praise, especially when it's healthier!

Brian's Twice Baked Sweet Potato

1 lb. baked sweet potato flesh
2 ounces raw honey
6 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
1/8 tsp. ground clove
1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash sweet potato with a fork in a large bowl.  Add the honey and mascarpone and mix with a hand mixer until well blended.  Add the spices and then fold into mixture.

Put the mixture in ramekins, sprinkle lightly with additional cinnamon, and bake for about 20 minutes. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Salmon Bites

The other day I was taking some photos for a local CrossFitter friend who has developed a line of clothing call BroFit Box Apparel.  Even though they decided to target men, which is obvious by the name, they thought they better add a few ladies items as well.  So a couple of ladies from my box came by one afternoon to do a few photos.  

One of them happened to mention that they wouldn't be opposed to taste testing anything I had going on in the kitchen.  Luckily for her I happened to know she loves brie so I whipped these little tasty treats together.  

That morning I had roasted some of my grape tomatoes to have on hand for salads, sauces, eggs, etc. and I knew they would go perfect.

 This is a quick and easy dish and is a perfect afternoon snack!

Salmon Bites

1 can wild caught salmon, drained
1/2 round brie, room temperature
salt and pepper
splash of fresh lemon juice
1 cucumber, peeled and then sliced in rounds about 1/2 " thick
roasted grape tomatoes

Put brie in a medium bowl.  Smash up using a fork and then add in the salmon.  Mix well, continuing to smash the mixture with a fork if necessary.   Generously salt and pepper to taste and then add a splash of lemon.

Place the brie mixture by tablespoon full onto each cucumber round and then top with one roasted grape tomato. Garnish with fresh ground pepper.


And yes, she loved them!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Herb Pesto/Summer Vegetable Salad

What do you do when you have a lot, and I mean, a lot of herbs?  Make an herb pesto to go with a cold summer salad of course.  This combination was perfect with the mild cucumber and sweet tomato. Yeah, I have an abundance of those too.  Another subtle flavor in my summer herb pesto is lemon olive oil.  It definitely is worth it, so seek one out.  If you live in the Des Moines area, go visit AllSpice and pick up a bottle of their Eureka Lemon Olive Oil.

Herb Pesto

4 cloves garlic, blanched
4 c. mixed herbs (2 c. basil, 1/2 c. Italian parsley, 1/4 c. thyme, 1/4 c. oregano, 1/4 c. chive and 1/4 c. mint)
1/4 c. lemon olive oil
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Put the garlic, herbs and pine nuts in a food processor.  Pulse until the pine nuts are broken down to small crumb size, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Mix the lemon olive oil and olive oil together and then slowly drizzle into processor while blade is moving.  Continue to scrape down sides and mix until the pesto is creamy.

Fold with your favorite summer vegetables.

You can freeze this as well.  Put in a jar and lightly cold with olive oil, leaving about 1/2" space at the top to allow for expanding in the freezer.

Summer flavors all year around are a plus in my book!