Tag Archives: feta

Giada’s Meatloaf (tweaked) and Rachael’s Orzo (tweaked)

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Everyone in my household is out of sorts today. One out of the four of us is smiling, sweet, and caring. The rest of us need a reset button.  Good thing there’s always tomorrow.

Today would have been my mother’s birthday. I didn’t have a very good relationship with her, and she was a very broken woman, but over the past couple weeks, I have caught a glimpse of her in my daily activities. The good parts. Like the flash of a smile or perfume on a breeze, these good memories come and go and make me wonder if I just imagined them in the first place.

I spent a great deal of my life trying to not be like my mother. Every thing I did was an act of defiance, a protest. I was determined to never have kids, because she had kids and she hurt us. But time smooths over rough edges and life rarely happens according to plan or protestation. One day, I stopped running from my mother’s nature and nurture (or lack thereof), embraced the stepkids at my feet, wiped sticky faces, scolded, read a book, danced, and cooked for this family I never planned for.

I still fold towels like she taught me. And I can make a damn good meatloaf.

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That being said: here’s a meatloaf recipe. And an orzo recipe. It’s what for dinner!

Giada’s Meatloaf, also known as Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sundried Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, diced fine
  • garlic, diced fine
  • 1 cup plan bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup diced feta cheese
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper

Method: Mix it. Form it. Bake it at 375. It’s really good.

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Rachael’s Orzo, also known as Cheese Orzo

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups orzo
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • fresh basil and dried oregano
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan

Method: Saute onion and garlic. Add liquid and bring to a boil. Add orzo. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t clump at the bottom. Add oregano and salt and pepper. Cook pasta in liquid until the orzo soaks up the stock and sauce. Finish by stirring in cheese and basil.

 

Chicken Sausage, Feta, and Grape Tomato Pasta

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I really didn’t do much today. No homework or yoga. I did sweep the kitchen floor and I did go to Market of Choice. I took a nap. See? I’m embarrassed to even reveal how lame my day was.
But, I had a plan for dinner. So, in my twisted little brain, I do feel like I accomplished something today. Dinner was a success. I highly recommend this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 pint of yellow grape tomatoes
  • 1 package of feta
  • half of an onion, diced
  • four cloves of garlic, minced
  • mixture of herbs, minced with the garlic (parsley, thyme, rosemary)
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • half of a cup of chicken stock
  • half of a pound of whole wheat pasta

Method: Brown the sausage in some olive oil. I threw them in the pot whole, instead of squeezing them out of the casings. After they were sufficiently browned, but perhaps not cooked all the way through, I set them aside. Next, I sauteed the onion, zucchini, garlic, and herbs in the oil from the sausage. I added the whole grape tomatoes, some salt and pepper, and let it cook together until the tomatoes popped. I kind of squished them, too, so that they would release their juices to make a sauce. I sliced the sausage, added it to the tomatoes, diced the feta added it to the sauce, and added the stock. I simmered it all together until the pasta was cooked. Threw it all together. The end.

In other news, Sriracha Ice Cream Sandwich!

Caponata with Israeli Couscous and Spinach and Feta Meatballs in a Yellow Tomato Sauce

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Remember the eggplant I bought a couple days ago? While we’ve been slowly eating leftovers, I’ve been devising my eggplant plan. What did I come up with? Jamie Oliver’s “Incredible Sicilian Aubergine Stew,” also known as caponata. I am also making Spinach and Feta Meatballs to go alongside.

Deviations: 

  • Used kalamata olives
  • Used balsamic vinegar
  • Used 1 red bell pepper
  • Used 2 zucchini and only 1 eggplant

Ingredients:

• olive oil
• An eggplant, cut into
large chunks
• teaspoon dried oregano
• kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 small red onion, peeled and finely
chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley,
leaves picked and stems finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons  capers
• a handful of kalamata olives
• 2–3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
•  2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Method:

In order to make sure that my eggplant and zucchini were browned and toasty, I did several batches. I think I fried four pans full of eggplant and zucchini–and I’m glad I did. The roasted flavor really came through in the final dish. Between each pan full, I dumped it into a plate to rest.

When I was done doing the eggplant and zucchini in batches, I added them all back to the frying pan and added a bunch of dried oregano. I sauteed this for awhile, then I added the onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and parsley stems to the pan.

Five or ten minutes later (I really let this cook down quite a bit), I added olives, capers, and vinegar. Then the chopped tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. I cranked it up for about five minutes, then lowered the heat and put a lid on it.

 While the caponata was simmering away, I began making the meatballs.

Spinach and Feta Meatballs in a  Yellow Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • spinach, microwaved and squeezed dry
  • feta cheese

I hand mixed these ingredients together and pan fried the meatballs, a few at a time. When all of the meatballs were done, I took them out of the pan and let them rest on a plate. I drained the grease from the frying pan and added a pint of yellow cherry tomatoes. I let the tomatoes cook until they burst, gave them a drink of wine, and let them reduce for a couple minutes.

Then, I put the meatballs back in the pan with the sauce and let them simmer with a lid on for a few more minutes.

While everything was simmering away, I made a cup of Israeli couscous.

When the couscous was done, I poured a good deal of the yellow tomato sauce into it to finish it off.

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Chiles Rellenos con Camarónes, Chorizo, y Arroz

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I never thought I’d be looking to Guy Fieri for an idea on how to tie together shrimp, chorizo, and peppers. I knew I was going to stuff these peppers–but hadn’t figured out a way to tie it all together. So, I won’t say that I was inspired but he was able to practically put together the disparate parts swimming around in my brain. The boyfriend and I went kinda crazy at Winco today. Shrimp, chorizo, feta cheese, poblano peppers, eggplant… it’s going to be a busy cooking weekend.  My way of celebrating making it to spring break.

On to the stuffed peppers…

Here is the link to the Fieri recipe.

Deviations:

  • Using brown rice
  • Feta cheese–cotija would be more authentic, but I just like feta.
  • No wine used
  • Tomatoes used in the rice
  • Roasting the peppers, first, then sweating them and peeling the membrane off the outside
  • Not using jalapeno.
  • Using enchilada sauce

Ingredients:

  • tube of chorizo–oh, dear Lord, how I hate cooking with chorizo. It’s slimy, greasy, and doesn’t ever look quite right. But please give it a chance. I’m glad I did.
  • an onion
  • cumin
  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • feta cheese
  • lime
  • chili powder
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Brown the chorizo as best as you can. It’s kind of a yucky process. I’m sorry. Drain it when it gets mostly cooked through. Add diced onion, diced tomatoes, and red bell pepper. Saute for a bit. Add one cup of brown rice and saute for a couple minutes.  Add chicken stock and cook rice until tender.

In the meantime, crank your oven up to nearly 500 degrees. Take four poblano peppers and set them directly on the rack. Turn them over with tongs every few minutes, until the the peppers are blistered and black.  Take the peppers, throw them in a bowl, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Take your shrimp, douse them with lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper.

When the rice is done, halve the shrimp and throw them in the rice. Turn the heat off and let the residual rice heat partially cook the shrimp. Add half of a crumbled block of feta cheese.

Take the peppers out of the bowl and peel the blistered skin from them. Cut a slit in them and rinse the seeds out under running water.

Grab a can of enchilada sauce. Spoon some in the bottom of a casserole dish. Take a spoon and carefully overstuff your peppers. Place them in the casserole dish and cover with the rest of the enchilada sauce. If you’d like, reserve a handful of shrimp, slice them in half and lay them on top of the stuffed peppers. Cover in the rest of the crumbled feta cheese.

Bake in the oven on 400 until done.

Serve with tortillas and beans.

Weekend Menu Planning

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I have been on summer vacation for the past two weeks now and have probably cooked one time.  There are a couple of reasons for this–but not really any good ones.  I haven’t blogged because I haven’t been cooking–but I also haven’t been blogging because one of my students dropped my camera on the last day of school and broke it. Excuses, excuses.  No blogging, no camera, no homemade meals…

I have been eating out way too much as a result. This. Needs. To. Change. Today.

Camera or not, here is a blog post and camera or not I will be posting recipes and attempting pictures with my phone.

Yesterday, we finally went grocery shopping.  Here’s what I got:

  • pizza dough
  • olives
  • cherry tomatoes
  • basil
  • mozzarella
  • regular tomatoes
  • chicken breasts
  • hamburger
  • ciabatta bread
  • mushrooms
  • green onions

Here is a tentative plan:

Feta Rice Stuffed Tomatoes                                                                                                      I will hollow out some tomatoes and stuff them with a feta rice dish that I made earlier this week. (Feta rice: 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of stock, cumin, mexican oregano, garlic, a large handful of corn, 1 onion, some feta cheese. Saute the spices, garlic, and onion. Add the rice to the pan and toast it for a minute or so. Add the liquid, corn, and feta. Cover with a lid and cook until rice is tender.) After stuffing tomatoes, I will bake them in the oven at 400 degrees until they are bubbling and done.

This week, for Jeff’s birthday, I bought a TV and an Xbox.  He has been gleefully playing his games, and I have been watching Jamie Oliver’s old show, “Oliver’s Twist,” on Netflix. Let me just say this: I absolutely love Jamie Oliver. His food is accessible, passionate, playful–and Jamie seems to embody those characteristics as well.  Super love him and super love his show.  This recipe is from one of his episodes.  It looked delicious.
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I don’t have a recipe for this, but I think I will throw in whatever sounds good at the moment. I have some artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms that sound like a lovely combination.  I still don’t know what to do with the hamburger or chicken that I purchased, though.  Maybe meatballs, and a chicken soup?  I begin work again tomorrow (Summer School) and I need to start thinking about packing lunches again. 

Caramelized Onion and Red Chard Enchiladas

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Ingredients:

  • two large sweet onions
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 bunch red chard and 1 bunch beet greens
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • frozen corn
  • cumin and mexican oregano; salt and pepper
  • enchilada sauce (El Pato)
  • Feta
  • 8 corn tortillas
Measure two tablespoons of bacon grease into a large skillet.  Add onions. Caramelize   Add seasonings.
Add greens.  Saute until tender.  Add frozen corn.
Soften tortillas in the microwave.  Fill them with the greens, onion, and corn.   Roll and place tortillas seam side down in a casserole dish.  Spoon enchilada sauce over the filled tortillas.
Crumble feta over the enchiladas.  Bake in a 375 degree oven until they are done–melty and gooey and heated all the way through. 
Adapted from this recipe.  

Feta and Spinach Chicken Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce over Polenta

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • s & p
  • spinach (nuked; squeeze the liquid out)
  • feta (mine is from Israel.  Not super salty, but very mild and creamy.)
  • bread crumbs
  • oregano and basil (dried)

Mix it all together.  Form small balls.

Make your favorite tomato sauce.  I added crimini and oyster mushrooms to mine.

Brown meatballs; add them to your sauce and simmer for awhile.

Make your polenta.  Mine will include milk, chicken stock,  and feta cheese.

Top the polenta with sauce and meatballs.

Add some Parmesan cheese if you please.

Drink copious amounts of red wine.  And if you spill it on your carpet, remember:  White wine will take out red wine stains.