Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Cheeseburgers!

It’s officially summer in NYC, time for backyard BBQs, walks in the park and sweating it out in the subway stations.  

It also means that the fleet is in for Fleet Week….well hello sailor!

Photo via NY Daily News

Photo via Gothamist

In honor of Memorial Day this year, I salute our devoted servicemen and women with the most American thing I can think of.....a cheeseburger!  NYC loves you and thanks you for your devoted service. So up kick your feet, grab a beer and enjoy the guilty pleasure of a greasy burger because, baby, you've earned it.

1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp BBQ rub seasoning
1 tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
1 tsp dried parsley
1 avocado, sliced
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
4 slices pepperjack cheese
4 hamburger buns
cooking spray

  1. Mix together ground beef, BBQ rub, Worchestershire sauce and parsley. Form into 4 flat patties (about 1/4 inch each). Note: try not to overwork the meat because that will result in tough burgers.
  2. Heat a frying pan coated with cooking spray over high heat. Add burgers and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Flip burgers and add cheese. Cover and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Assemble burgers on buns with avocado and tomato slices. Enjoy!

Memorial Day Cheeseburgers

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Broccoli, Pea and Prosciutto Pasta Bake - recipe help needed!

I have a confession to make….I made a terrible dinner the other night.  It didn’t taste like feet or anything, it was just kind of lame.
I was in the mood for a baked pasta dish but we’ve been trying to eat healthy. I figured it would be easy to whip up something good and low-fat. Wrong. Somehow in my zeal for low-fat deliciousness, I made a very boring dish. What can I say; sometimes the man of the house gets stuck with a big, steaming bowl of bland for dinner. Big bummer though, I was really hoping this one would work out because I wanted to love it.

Photo via
Now, dear readers, I need your help because I still want this one to work. Take a look and let me know if you have any ideas on where this might have gone so wrong! The person that can tell me how to renovate it into something healthy, lowfat and satisfying gets a big, gold star.
Broccoli, Pea and Prosciutto Pasta Bake

1 10 oz bag frozen broccoli
¼ c frozen peas
8 oz large pasta shells
3 pieces prosciutto, chopped
1 15 oz container non-fat ricotta cheese
2 egg whites
½ c low-fat Italian cheese mix
½ c low-fat milk
¼ c grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried parsley

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Start a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta per the package directions.

2. Microwave the broccoli on high for 3 minutes, add the peas and microwave an additional 30 seconds.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Add the broccoli, peas and cooked pasta.

4. Pour the entire mixture into a 2 quart square baking dish and bake covered for 45 minutes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oven Fried Chicken

Recently I’ve been trying to reduce our weekly grocery bill while finding ways to continue making tasty and healthy meals. My goal is to get our bill down to $60/week, but let me tell you folks it’s not so easy in NYC. Especially since I love, love, love shopping at the fancy grocery store. For some ridiculous reason it’s just relaxing to me… there are free samples of fancy cheese and the milk comes in pretty glass bottles. Speaking of which, big PSA for any readers in the NY metro area; I just found out that you can get $1.50 back for returning your Ronnybrook glass bottles to the grocery store. So there you have it, I’ve officially found an excuse to keep on buying fancy milk and sampling expensive cheese. What?! I get money back, it’s cost cutting!

Photo via: Ronnybrook Dairy
But back to the issue at hand, last week I swapped my usual boneless skinless chicken breasts for more budget friendly skin-on chicken legs. Originally I was going to make regular baked chicken, but I was feeling kind of meh about that as a dinner option so I decided to go for some oven fried chicken instead.
I’m not sure that this really classifies as “healthy” per se, but considering that it isn’t fried in three inches of oil, I’m okay with dubbing it a healthy alternative. However, I will caution you that if you are craving traditional fried chicken with a thick crust, this probably won’t do it for you but it is delicious and makes the house smell A-MA-ZING! Also it goes great with a little bourbon spiked iced tea…..go on with your bad self, I won’t tell J

Oven Fried Chicken
2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp  hot sauce
3 tbsp shortening
1 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks
2/3 cup Bisquick
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
cooking spray
1. Place chicken, buttermilk and hot sauce in a large bowl and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

2. Put the shortening in a glass baking dish, place the dish in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

3. Mix together the Bisquick, poultry seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper. Dredge the chicken in the Bisquick mixture.

4. Place the chicken skin side down in the melted shortening coated baking dish, spritz with cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes. Flip chicken, spritz with cooking spray and bake for another 30 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Be sure to let the chicken rest for at least ten minutes so that the skin adheres to the meat.

*note: I didn't have any actual buttermilk at the time so I did the milk & lemon juice trick (1 tbsp lemon juice per cup of milk will give you buttermilk)

**second note: I live in Brooklyn and therefore everything takes forever to cook in my oven. If you have an oven that hasn't been around since the mid 70s, be sure to watch your chicken carefully.

***third note: lots of notes on this one, but a note about Bisquick. I happen to really like the slightly sweet, waffley taste that the Bisquick gives the chicken, but if this isn't your thing and you're more of a purest, feel free to substitute regular old flour.

Hey look! An actual picture of the finished product:
Just um, don’t mind the terrible lighting in our kitchen…..or the huge mayo finger smear in the tomato bowl.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bourbon Maple Braised Sausage & Pierogies

A few days ago I was really in a cooking mood.  It’s been a stressful few weeks and I was feeling really excited to get in the kitchen and whip up something delicious.  Only one hitch in the plan though….I was too lazy to go to the grocery store.  So instead, I decided to challenge myself to come up with something new and tasty by “shopping” in my kitchen.  Think of it as embracing the freegan lifestyle, but without the part that involves dumpster diving for expired hot dogs.
photo via Bloomberg Business Week
At any rate, I scrounged around for a while and eventually found a package of chicken sausage and frozen pierogies. Score! I love pierogies and had completely forgotten about them….until now.  The resulting dinner was delicious and gave me warm, fuzzy memories of my Pittsburgh days (Hail to Pitt!).
Now I’m feeling really proud of myself for making a new recipe and saving money by using forgotten freezer food.  What do you say readers? Have you ever shopped in your own kitchen for dinner? How did it turn out?

Bourbon Maple Braised Sausage & Pierogies
1 12 oz package chicken and apple sausage, sliced
1 16 oz package pierogies
1 onion, sliced
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Cook pierogies according to package directions.
  2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and saute sausage and onions in a frying pan until the onions soften and the sausage browns (about 2-3 minutes).
  3. Turn off heat and add the bourbon to the pan to deglaze. Turn on the heat and cook off the alcohol. Add the maple syrup and chicken broth to the pan and simmer until reduced by half (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add the pierogies to the pan and heat through.