Category Archives: dinner

Rosemary & Red Wine Hamburger Patties

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Here is a ridiculously simple yet tasty dinner that is also fast. I think of it as a more sophisticated take on  your classic hamburger patty. My husband first introduced me to this dish early in our relationship; he wasn’t much of a cook but as an adult, realized that he couldn’t live on take out alone. I was skeptical when he first told me about this dish. Perhaps it was because he referred to it “as that hamburger thing”. However, I quickly changed my tune once I tasted it. In the years since then I’ve tweaked his recipe and in my opinion, improved upon it.

This is truly an easy dish to make. My number one recommendation, however, is to use a good tasting wine that you enjoy drinking. If you don’t like it in the glass, chances are you won’t like it on your plate. Besides, you only use a cup so there will be plenty left in the bottle to enjoy with your dinner. Serve this alongside noodles, mashed potatoes or another starch that can help absorb the yummy sauce because you won’t want to waste a single drop of it.

ROSEMARY & RED WINE HAMBURGER PATTIES

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

salt and pepper

1 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

3 tablespoons butter

Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.

When the oil shimmers, add the shallot to the pan and saute until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, use your hands to form the ground beef into four equal sized patties.

Season the patties generously on both sides with the salt and pepper.

Add the patties to the skillet and cook until the meat begins to cook and the patties are slightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Flip the patties and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Add the wine and the rosemary to the pan.

Continue to cook until the meat is cooked through to your liking and the wine begins to simmer. For me, this usually takes an additional 4 to 5 minutes.

Off the heat and stir in the butter. Adjust the seasoning as necessary and serve.

Serves 4

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Browned Butter Flounder w/ Lemon Snap Peas

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This is a fast and fresh tasting dinner option adapted from Cooking Light that literally cooks in minutes (so be sure to prep all of your ingredients before beginning to cook). There are just a handful of ingredients and best of all, everything is cooked in a single pan meaning cleanup is a snap as well. I’ve used flounder in this recipe but use whatever firm white fish you prefer.

BROWNED BUTTER FLOUNDER w/ LEMON SNAP PEAS

4- 6 ounce flounder fillets

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4teaspoon kosher salt

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

  • Combine the flour, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and salt in a shallow dish.
  • Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
  • Heat half of the oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Swirl the oil to coat then add the fish to the pan, cooking for 3 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the pan.
  • Cook for 1 minute or until the butter begins to brown.
  • Pour the butter into a small bowl, stir in half of the lemon juice and the parsley.
  • Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining oil.
  • Add the snap peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender crisp.
  • Stir in the remaining lemon juice and zest and serve alongside the fish topped with the brown butter.

Serves 4

Roasted Chicken, Corn & Saffron Soup

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Some days just call for soup. Here in Belgium, even though the calendar says it is spring, we still have days that are decidedly chilly. And when it is cool outside nothing warms the body more than a comforting bowl of soup. Chicken soup is a family favorite and this soup, from Saveur , proves that not all chicken soups are the same.

You start by roasting your own chicken, which is incredibly easy (and as a bonus the cooking of the chicken takes the chill off of the house on a cool day). If you aren’t up to roasting your own bird, or are pressed for time, you can substitute a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken but then you won’t have the rich pan drippings which add so much flavor and depth to the soup. The soup is studded with both corn and noodles and the surprising addition of saffron adds both a rich golden color and an earthiness that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

This definitely isn’t your grandmother’s chicken noodle soup but it is so delicious that it is sure to become a new family favorite. So the next time the weather turns chilly, fire up the oven, turn on the stove and make this soup.  You won’t be disappointed.

ROASTED CHICKEN, CORN & SAFFRON SOUP

1 (3–4 pounds) whole chicken
2 tablespoonsolive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 cups chicken stock
4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
34 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
12 ounces egg noodles
  • Heat the oven to 400°.
  • In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, rub the chicken with the olive oil and then liberally season the outside with salt and pepper.
  • Roast the chicken until golden brown and very tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the dish to a rack, lift the chicken from the dish, and place the chicken on a cutting board.
  • Let the chicken stand until cool enough to handle and then pick the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Roughly chop the meat and transfer to a large saucepan.
  • Pour 2 cups chicken stock into the baking dish and scrape the dish with a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom.
  • Pour the stock from the dish into the saucepan with the chicken along with the remaining 10 cups stock.
  • Add the corn and saffron to the broth and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the stock is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the egg noodles and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  • Season the soup with salt and pepper.
Serves 8

Braised Rabbit In Belgian Ale

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Rabbit is one of those meats you either love or hate; I’m in the camp that loves it. I don’t cook it often but whenever I do I find myself wondering why I don’t cook it more often. After all, it is readily available fresh in Belgian markets. And rabbit is a versatile meat-it can be grilled, baked, or fried in the same ways one would cook chicken. But my favorite method is slow cooking it in a stew or a braise.

Now that the cooler weather is upon us again braised meat is the perfect dinner. This recipe, adapted from Simply Recipes, is easy to make and the ultimate in comfort food. And when using real Belgian ale, I like to think of it as a quintessential Belgian fall dinner. Serve the rabbit over a parmesan infused polenta or other starch that can soak up the juices.

BRAISED RABBIT in BELGIAN ALE 

1 2 1/2- 3 pound rabbit cut into 6 or 7 serving pieces

Salt

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

6 whole garlic cloves, peeled

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 1/2 cups Chimay or other Belgian ale

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons whole grain mustard

2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • Place the rabbit on a large plate and sprinkle on both sides with salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Place the flour on another plate and dredge the rabbit pieces in the flour.
  • Heat the oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Once the butter is melted and foamy, add the rabbit in a single layer. Brown on both sides for 5 to 6 minutes per side without disturbing. Remove the rabbit to a plate.
  • Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown.
  • Add the garlic cloves and thyme and cook until the onions are soft and the garlic is fragrant.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the ale. Simmer for 2 minutes then add the chicken stock. Season with the salt and pepper.
  • Return the rabbit to the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Cover the pot and reduce the temperature to low. Cook for 45 minutes or until the rabbit is cooked through and tender.
  • Remove the rabbit to a platter and keep warm.
  • Increase the temperature to high and reduce the liquid by one third.
  • Reduce the temperature to low and stir in the mustard and sugar.
  • Return the rabbit to the pot and rewarm.

Serves 4-6

Chicken Marsala

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Chicken Marsala is a family favorite in our house and this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is my all time favorite.  Sweet Marsala wine combined with mushrooms result in a rich sauce that is the perfect topping for boneless chicken breasts.  If you can find them, I like to use chicken breast filets since they are thinner and cook up in just a few minutes.  If you only have chicken breasts you can either pound the meat into a uniform thickness or slice the breasts in half to make them thinner.  When paired with a pasta or mashed potatoes, this dish is fast and you can have dinner on the table in a matter of minutes.  Alternatively, you can make the chicken ahead of time and let it sit on a warm burner for up to two hours before serving.

CHICKEN MARSALA

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 boneless chicken breasts or 8 chicken breast filets

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 ounces pancetta, finely chopped

8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 1/2 cups sweet Marsala wine

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Place the flour in a shallow pan and generously season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and set aside.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Add the chicken and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes for chicken breasts and 3-4 for chicken breast filets.  Transfer to a plate.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering.
  • Add the pancetta and mushrooms to the skillet and stirring occasionally, cook until the pancetta is crisp and the mushrooms are brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and tomato paste.  Cook until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the Marsala, scraping up any browned bits.  Simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and any accumulated chicken juices.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, one piece at a time.
  • Return the chicken to the pan.
  • If you serving the chicken immediately, proceed to the next step.  Alternatively, cover the pan and return it to low heat until ready to serve.
  • Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Asian Sloppy Joes

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Here is a new twist on a childhood classic and these sandwiches certainly aren’t the Manwiches you grew up with. The recipe comes from Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger Restaurant and combines the best of Asian flavors in a fun form. Sambal Oelek is a spicy chile sauce which adds zip to any dish. If you aren’t familiar with it, try a bit before adding it to your meat mixture. I love it but it is spicy so a little goes a long way. Three tablespoons might add too much spice for your family so add less (or more) if you prefer.

The recipe calls for using a mixture of ground pork and ground chicken but feel free to substitute ground turkey or lean beef if you prefer. You can serve these sandwiches as bite sized sliders or as full-sized sandwiches for a quick dinner.  Like their namesake, these sandwiches are messy so put plenty of napkins on the table, use a fork and knife if you prefer, and dig in. These are a new family favorite in our house.

ASIAN SLOPPY JOES

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 medium red onions, finely chopped

1 cup celery, finely chopped

3 tablespoons Sambal Oelek

3 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound ground pork

1 pound lean ground chicken

1 cup Hoisin sauce

1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

8 large or 20 small rolls, split

  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers.
  • Add the onions, celery, Sambal Oelek, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper. Combine all of the ingredients then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the ground pork and chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat.
  • Stir in the Hoisin sauce, tomatoes, and lime juice and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
  • Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Serve on top of the rolls.

Yields: 8 large or 20 small sandwiches.

Chicken Korma

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It isn’t quite spring around here but the tease of warmer weather and definitely longer days has me thinking about ways to lighten up my menus.  On sunnier days stick to your ribs stews are loosing their appeal and have me seeking out lighter fare. But lighter doesn’t have to mean less flavorful as this quick dish from the  Noble Pig attests to.

The rich and tangy flavors of cilantro, cumin and ginger add spice to ground chicken (you can substitute turkey if you prefer) while the peas and fresh cilantro add brightness and the necessary vegetables that make this a complete dinner option. Its fast, delicious and sure to please.

CHICKEN KORMA

1 large red onion; 1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
3/4 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt plus more for garnish
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
4 pitas, for serving

  • Combine the chopped onion, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin  1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of water in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse  until a thin paste forms.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and cook until golden, 4 minutes.
  • Add the ginger paste and cook, stirring, until most of the water is cooked out, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken and cook until opaque, breaking up the meat.
  • In a small bowl mix the yogurt with 1/4 cup water, add to the pan and simmer over medium-low heat until the meat is cooked through, 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add the peas and the cilantro and season to taste with additional salt if desired.
  • Meanwhile, heat another skillet over high heat. Brush the pitas with oil, season with a tiny amount of salt and toast in the skillet, about 1 minute per side.
  • Divide the chicken mixture among the pitas.

Serves 4

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