Archive for January, 2014


Southwestern Chicken Salad in Avocado Bowls Recipe courtesy George Stella’s “Real Food Real Easy” Cookbook Prep Time 15 mins / Serves 4 Shopping List 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded 2⁄3 cup sour cream 3 tablespoons chunky salsa 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro 1 teaspoon lime juice 2 avocados 1. Fold chicken, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, and lime juice together in a large bowl, shredding chicken with a fork until your desired consistency is reached. 2. Cover and refrigerate chicken salad for 30 minutes for the ingredients and flavors to mingle, or skip to the next step to serve immediately. 3. When you are ready to serve, slice the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Use each half as a serving bowl for 1 person, stuffing chicken salad into the empty pit cavity and then mounding heaping spoonfuls over top of the entire surface of the avocado half. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro. George’s Tips | When shopping, look for a chunky salsa without any added sugar or corn syrup in the ingredients list. I’ve found that Pace’s Chunky Salsa does not add sugar and they should be readily available in any grocery store. Variation | Give the salad more texture by adding 2 tablespoons of diced green bell pepper or a few teaspoons of diced jalapeño pepper, if you like spice. You can also serve topped with shredded Cheddar jack cheese and chopped bacon for even more great flavors! calories:395 | fat: 15g |protein: 55g| fiber:3g |net carbs:3g


Spinach & Mushroom Enchilada

Spinach and mushroom enchiladas



2 cups sauteed spinach and mushroom*
2 cups roasted tomato salas with chipotle and habanero chiles *
chicken stock or water (to keep the dish vegetarian), if necessary
2 to 4 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas, homemade or store bought

For the Garnish

1/4 cup Mexican crema; crème fraîche; or sour cream, thinned slightly with water; if necessary; for drizzling
1/4 cup grated queso fresco or ricotta salata
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

*For the Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms

1//4 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
3/4 pound mixed or button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 to 2 fresh jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced; including seeds
1/4 teaspoon fine salt or 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds spinach (2 large bunches), stems discarded; and leaves well rinsed and spun dry
Freshly squeezed lime juice to taste

*Roasted Tomato Salsa With Chipotle and Habanero Chiles

3 pounds tomatoes (about 10 medium)
2 chipotle mora chiles (purplish-red color), wiped clean and stemmed
1/2 fresh habanero chile, stemmed; including seeds
3 small garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon fine salt or 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 (1/2-inch) piece canela (Mexican cinnamon) or 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water

For the Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms

  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat until it is almost smoking.
  2. Add the onion, mushrooms and chiles, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms and onion are softened and any liquid the mushrooms have given off has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add the salt, and add the spinach by the handful, stirring or tossing to wilt it until it all fits in the skillet.
  4. Then cover and cook until all the spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste with lime juice and additional salt.
  5. This dish keeps in the refrigerator for up to two days.

For the Roasted Tomato Salsa

  1. Set the oven to broil and preheat. Alternatively, you can preheat the oven to 500°F. If you’re using the oven broiler, position the rack 8 inches from the heat source. Have ready a large bowl to hold the ingredients that you’ll remove from the oven as they finish roasting.
  2. Core the tomatoes and cut a small “X” through the skin on the opposite ends. Put the tomatoes, cored sides up, and the chipotle and habanero chiles on a foil-lined baking pan, and roast, turning the chiles over once, until the chipotles have puffed up and are blistered in spots, 3 to 5 minutes, and the habanero is browned in spots and softened, 8 to 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the chiles from the pan and continue cooking the tomatoes, without turning, until their tops have blackened and the tomatoes are cooked to the core, 20 to 30 minutes total.
  4. Slip the skins from the tomatoes, then put the tomatoes in the blender jar with the chiles, garlic, salt, and sugar and blend until smooth. Be careful when you’re blending hot ingredients: Cover the top with a kitchen towel, and hold the top firmly in place with your hand. Work in batches to avoid blending with a full jar.
  5. Heat the oil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion and the cinnamon, stirring, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  6. Strain the blended tomato mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into the saucepan with the onions. Add the cup of water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt or sugar.
  7. This salsa keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to one month.

For the Enchiladas

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Warm the sautéed spinach and mushrooms, if necessary, in a small baking dish, covered with foil, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the salsa in a saucepan over medium-low heat until heated through, adding some chicken stock or water, if necessary, to maintain a velvety consistency that is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, but not gloppy.
  4. Soften the tortillas in oil, then fill them with the spinach and mushrooms. Arrange them next to each other in a baking pan or a heatproof serving dish, and reheat them in the oven for 10 minutes. Transfer two rolled, filled tortillas to each of four plates (or keep them in the serving dish) and spoon the salsa generously over them. Drizzle with the crema, and top with the cheese, onion and cilantro.
  5. Serve them with rice, beans, or any other side you like.
  6. These enchiladas can be assembled in a baking dish (before you top them with the sauce) up to four hours ahead and kept covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator once they’re cool.
  7. Cover the enchiladas with foil and reheat them in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes, and then spoon the warm sauce over them before garnishing and serving.
Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
1 hour
Cooking Time: 

2 hours and 15 minutes

Stuffed Meatloaf

1 cup ketchup 
1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar 
1 teaspoon hot sauce

16 saltines 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 onion, chopped fine 
4 garlic cloves, minced 
1 pound ground pork 
1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef 
2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
2 teaspoons dry mustard 
Salt and pepper 
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup) 
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
3 ounces thinly sliced deli ham

  1. FOR THE GLAZE: Whisk ketchup, sugar, vinegar, and hot sauce together in small saucepan until combined; reserve 1/4 cup. Bring remaining glaze to simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes; set aside. 
  2. FOR THE MEATLOAF: Adjust oven racks to upper (about 6 inches away from broiler element) and middle positions and heat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat lightly with vegetable oil spray. Process saltines in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds; transfer to large bowl.
  3. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with saltines and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Add pork, beef, eggs, Worcestershire, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon pepper to saltine mixture and knead gently to combine.
  4. Combine cheese and cornstarch in medium bowl. Spread half of meat mixture on preparedbaking sheet in 10 by 6-inch rectangle. Layer half of ham on meat, leaving 1-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle half of cheese mixture over ham. Repeat with remaining ham and remaining cheese mixture. Form remaining meatloaf mixture into 9 by 5-inch rectangle and place on top of prepared meatloaf bottom, leaving border exposed. Fold bottom edge of meatloaf up over top layer and pinch edges together tightly to seal. 
  5. Broil meatloaf on upper rack until spotty brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Brush 2 tablespoons uncooked glaze evenly over top and sides of meatloaf and continue to broil until glaze begins to brown, about 1 minute. Move meatloaf to middle rack and brush with remaining 2 tablespoons uncooked glaze. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until meatloaf registers 160 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to carving board, tent with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes. Warm reserved glaze. Slice meatloaf and serve, passing warm glaze at table.


Celery Salad

This Nov. 11, 2013 photo shows have-it-your-way celery salad in Concord, N.H. The humble celery stalk - high in fiber and low in calories - provides the foundation for this crunchy salad. Add a lemon vinaigrette, thin ribbons of real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and the add-ins of your choice to tailor the dish to your taste. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

A food processor is the fastest way to thinly slice large amounts of celery, but a mandoline does a better job of getting the slices as thin as possible. The trouble is that it is almost impossible to use the hand guard of the mandoline when slicing celery. Some kitchen shops sell safety gloves for slicing, which can help. Another way to make it easier is to hold several celery stalks together (nestled into one another) when slicing.

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 2

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

8 ribs celery, very thinly sliced crosswise

2-ounce chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Additional salad ingredients, as desired, fancy it up with mushrooms, fennel, apples, pears, beets — all thinly sliced — and/or walnuts, even pomegranate seeds.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper, then add the sliced celery. Toss well to coat, then divide the celery between 2 serving plates.

Use a vegetable peeler to shave some of the cheese over each serving, then add additional salad ingredients as desired. Mushrooms, pluots and fennel make an excellent combination with this celery base.

Nutrition information per serving: 280 calories; 190 calories from fat (68 percent of total calories); 22 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 12 g protein; 920 mg sodium.