Friday, June 28, 2013

Mediterranean Braised Garlic & Herb Potatoes - Low Fat

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I know, I know!!  You wouldn't believe that these little beauties are actually low fat, I'm serious. Totally!  I had not even thought about these for a very long time to be honest.  They are an old family favorite.  I grew up eating these at least 3-4 times a month.  We all would gather around the kitchen table and the moment we would see that these potatoes were being served, well, we would just shriek with delight!

I remembered them the other afternoon when my two youngest skyped me from the island of Samos.  They were eating their dinner at a Taverna Ala Fresko with the Aegean sea directly behind them and I could just see the beginning of the gorgeous violet/orange sunset.  After showing me the scenery, they continued eating.  These potatoes were what they were eating along with meatballs and a salad.  They said to me; "Mom, these are the potatoes you make for us"! I just giggled and then made them for hubby the very next day!  That man of mine is so spoiled!

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I cannot tell you if these potatoes are strictly regional to my island, or there is a version of them all over Greece.  I can tell you though, they are so very easy to make, less than 20 minutes.  They are crispy, bursting with Mediterranean flavor and so very, very easy!! Did I mention low fat?  Ah yes... The "Mediterranean diet" the best in the world!

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: 4-5 side servings

3 large potatoes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp lemon juice (I used bottled)
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cups water
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped or herbs of choice ( or 3/4 tsp dried)
Salt & pepper to taste

-Wash and scrub your potatoes.  I leave the skin on for extra potassium, however you can definitely peel them if you prefer.
Slice them into rounds and set aside.

-Crush your garlic, set aside, chop your fresh herbs, set aside.

-Using a large skillet with cover, add your water and oil and bring to a simmer.  

-Add your potato rounds one layer at a time.  At the end of each layer, salt & pepper to season.  Add the next potato layer etc.

-When all potatoes have been layered, add your crushed garlic, lemon juice and finally your fresh herbs.  I used fresh mint.  There is just something about lemon, garlic and mint combined.  Those flavor combinations are just perfect!!  Well maybe I'm biased...
Use your own favorite, even though I do seriously promote mint!

*batting eyelashes profusely*
Cover, reduce heat to low and let potatoes braise.

-After about 10 minutes or so, check the status of the potatoes, they should be perfectly tender and the water should be absorbed.  I personally taste one at this point... *what*  How else am I supposed to taste for seasonings?  See??

-Now is when the magic starts to happen.  Leaving the cover off the skillet, let these beauties start to crisp up.  It should only take a couple of minutes.  Flip the potatoes, and then let crisp now on the other side.  Again, just a few minutes.  

How easy right?  I know!  Remove from heat and enjoy! 

I remember my mother made these without cheese, and my grandmother would sprinkle a little bit of "Kefalograviera Cheese", once they were cooked.  The heat of the potatoes would melt the cheese and just make them ultra yummy!  I can't tell you which one I liked better to be very honest with you.  All I can tell you is they are absolutely delicious and I enjoyed every bite!! The good news is I have now shared this recipe with you, so you can also duplicate and add your own touch if you want!

Notes: The key to this recipe is 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of lemon juice per potato.  My mother always taught me to use 1/2 cups water per 3 potatoes.  You can double the recipe if so desired. Just make sure you have a large "Walton Family" size skillet for more potatoes to ensure they all crisp up.

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Crispy, succulent and bursting with Mediterranean flavor!!

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grilled Corn - The Sweetest Corn Ever! (2 ingredients)

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The juiciest and sweetest corn you will ever have...

So for the longest time every time I had a get together or function of any kind that involved grilling, the first question I was always asked was if I was going to make my grilled corn on the cob?

For the life of me I couldn't figure out why everyone loved my grilled corn on the cob so much.  I mean it wasn't rocket science or anything... just 2 simple ingredients and then the corn.
That is till I attended a picnic a few weeks ago.  I know now why everyone gets just downright giddy when I tell them I will be grilling corn on the cob. The corn we had at the picnic was nicely charred, (much better than what hubby produced to be honest).  However, the taste was bland.  Even with the unsalted butter and salt, it was "eh, ok" corn...
Not the BLOW YOUR MIND I WANT ANOTHER EAR kind of corn that I make.  This corn is seasoned beautifully.  You start it off that way, so the end result my friends is literally, a masterpiece!  Well, at least that is what my friends and family tell me!!  It's sweet and crunchy and just bursting with grilled flavor, did I mention it is seasoned perfectly?  But it doesn't stop there. Then, we slather those babies with some butter... well it's literally an explosion in your mouth. Sweet, buttery goodness!!

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 grill time (low)
Yield: *depending on the cobs*

Corn on the cob, husked
Aluminum foil (heavy duty)
Honey (your favorite kind)

-Tear off a small strip of aluminum foil, enough to be able to completely cover your corn, and lay it flat.

-Drizzle about 1-1/2 tsp of your favorite honey right down the middle of the strip.  A shake of salt, or a pinch goes right after that, for each ear of corn.

-Lay your corn cob right on top of the honey and salt and roll it so almost all of the cob has some honey on it.  If you have some places that don't have that much honey, don't panic, it will taste perfect, trust me!!  I mean you can always have me over and I can be the taste tester and all... just sayin!!

-Wrap thoroughly, place on grill over indirect heat and grill for about 25 minutes.  If you want them more charred, a little longer.

-Remove from grill, have the butter handy and get ready for the compliments!!!

I told you it was super easy yes?  I would never steer you wrong!! ♥  So where is that aluminum foil...

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Best Mexican Style Shredded Beef (Slow Cooker)

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I know... trust me!!

My good foodie friend Dan hooked me up with this recipe that he wanted to do over the weekend.  He shared the link with us and upon first review of the recipe it sounded really good.  Dan shared that the reviews were mixed and he was going to make this certain "reviewers" version of the recipe.  So I waited with abated breath for my friend Dan's review.  He said it was "very good", but he could not feel his lips for the lack of a better word, and that it was quite fatty.  

"Hmmmm, what to do, what to do"?  I asked myself, since I had purchased a nice chuck roast to make for hubby on his special day! Well, there is only one thing to do here I told myself, "revamp it girl".  So I did!  *grinning from ear to ear*  I kept to the original recipe but I altered the *heat index* for the sake of a better word.  An "atomic explosion in your mouth without any flavor", just didn't seem to appeal to me...  

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What I ended up with was an absolutely mouth watering, delectable  best ever Mexican shredded beef ever!  It's succulent, moist, spicy without being overwhelming and seasoned just beautifully...
This freezes beautifully for up to 3 months as well, so you can make 2 or more meals from one very easy recipe.  Did I mention a delicious recipe?  I didn't?  

Ready for this very ultra simple recipe?

Here we go;

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time: 8-9 hours (slow cooker)

Serves: 8-10

3.5 - 4lb Chuck Beef Roast
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used green)
4 Oz can of diced green chilies (undrained)
1 jalapeno sliced, with seeds
1-1/2 to 2 tsp Adobo with pepper seasoning, or salt
3 Oz Hot sauce (I used Cholula)
1 heaping tsp of beef base (or 2-3 beef bouillon cubes)
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
2-1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
Water *enough to cover the roast*

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-Season beef roast with 1/2 tsp Adobo (or salt) along with 1/2 tsp of black pepper, on one side only, set aside.

-In a large saute pan add the olive oil, let heat to high and add the chuck roast seasoned side down, sear till nicely brown.

-As chuck roast is searing, season the top side with the other half of black pepper and another 1/2 tsp of Adobo.  Once the chuck roast has been browned nicely place in slow cooker.

-Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to just cover the chuck roast and cook on HIGH for 6 to 6-1/2 hours.

-Remove chuck roast from slow cooker and place on plate to cool.  Take the entire inside liner of your slow cooker (or if you have a non-removable pan, pour into a large bowl) of the sauce and refrigerate for 30 - 40 minutes.

-While the sauce is in the refrigerator, shred the meat using two forks and remove any excess fat.  Set aside.

-Check on the sauce, making sure it's cool, then freeze the entire pan/bowl for 15 minutes.  This will ensure that a nice "fat layer" develops so you can literally pull it out like this.  By the way, this is the hot sauce I used as well...

-A lot of fat right?  I know... that's why we remove it!  Fish out the   bay leaves at this point, wave to them, blow them kisses they have done a wonderful job, discard. 

-Add the now shredded beef back into the de-fatted broth and turn it on low for 1.5 hours.  This will make that shredded beef moist and succulent and just full of flavor!  Trust me, you will not be able to keep your fork out of the slow cooker... "Oh wait, that's me"!  *what*?

-At the end of 1.5 hours, using tongs, take a good portion of the meat and add to a medium saute pan.  Add a few ladle fulls of the sauce along with the vegetables into it.  Simmer till almost all the broth has evaporated.  Turn off heat.

Now we are ready to serve onto your favorite flour tortillas as tacos, burritos, or over rice.  Your family will thank you, your friends will thank you, heck I will be over your house in just two shakes as well.  You know, friends support friends and all...

The best ever shredded and easy Mexican style meat you will ever taste!!

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I told you it was easy...
This recipe was shared with Kitchen Dreaming, Slow Cooker Linky Party.

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, June 17, 2013

Greek Baked Beans - Gigantes

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Trust me, even  your non-dried bean liking family will love these beans.  I have received so many requests for these beans it totally amazed me.
The beans are just bursting with vegetables, onions and herbs, then we add in that amazingly healthy olive oil, the Mediterranean diet at its best...

They are literally a meal on their own, they really are!  I actually prefer them as a meal to be honest.  With a nice hunk of Feta cheese and a couple of slices of crusty bread?  I'm good to go!  

These would be perfect to bring to a picnic or potluck as well, since there is no dairy or meat in them.  They can be served warm, or at room temperature.  In other words, they're delicious!

One of the traditional ways these beans are served in Greece is to pair it with fish.  Which is what I paired it with for this night's dinner. I served them with a lightly pan fried Tilapia filet to which I then drizzled with an herb chimchurri sauce.  In Greece the sauce is called "Plaki".  I know right, see I told you I adopted you as Greeks!

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Ready for this very easy and delicious recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 35 minutes *see notes for beans*
Cook time: 60 -70 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

1lb (454 g) Large Lima beans
20 Oz (794 g) crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced (or 4-5 green onions diced)
1 cup carrots, sliced or diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
2/3 cup olive oil
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2-3/4 tsp black pepper
4-5 cups water

*Notes: I personally always forget to soak the beans overnight, I have to confess.  So I usually use the quick soak method.  I pick through the beans, rinse them and place them in a medium stockpot.  To which I add enough water to cover the beans by about 2 inches. I then bring it to a nice boil, let it go for a few minutes.  Turn off heat and cover.  The beans should be ready in a few hours.

-Drain and rinse your beans and set aside.

-Pre-spray a 13 x 9 baking pan and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350F.

-In a large saute pan, add your olive and heat.  Add your onions and saute for a few minutes till they start to soften.  Add in your carrots and celery, saute for a couple more minutes.    

-Add the beans.  Stir to incorporate the vegetables and then add the crushed tomatoes.  Finally add your parsley, stir.

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-Pour your bean mixture into your baking pan and add 4 cups of water, mix gently to ensure all the beans have water.  You want the beans to have enough water to plump up and become absolutely delectable!!  

-Place the baking pan on a larger baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes uncovered, stirring every 30 minutes.  This should be the exact of amount of water needed.  However, oven's vary so, if you see that all the water has evaporated, taste a bean.  If it is plump and delicious the beans are ready.  If they still need to be cooked a little more, then add about 1/2-1 cup more water and bake for a little longer.   

That is it, how easy was that right?  I know.  The oven is doing all the work for you!!  I have not made these beans in the crock pot, maybe that should be my next experiment.  I would love to make them over the summer without heating up the house.
Served with a nice beef, lamb or chicken shish ke bob?  Oh yeah... Summer time at its best!

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Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, June 10, 2013

Smokey Bacon, Cheese & Potato Stuffed Chicken Breasts

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I know...

Sometimes you feel like some splurging, yes?  I know... but if you're anything like me you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen to make something spectacular!!  This was seriously so easy to put together, and it was out of this world delicious!!

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You have the bacon (you know, entirely in its own food group), then add in the Smokey Gouda cheese plus potatoes...
And then just because we can, we rub them with Smokey Paprika and then wrap it with even more bacon!!  Yes, yes, trust me - delicious!  The chicken is so moist and flavorful, I think it's because it's nestled in that magical bacon.  Then you take your first bite of the stuffing?  Oh heaven's to Betsy!  Smokey, cheesy goodness!!

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Your entire family will love you, no seriously I am not joking, they will crown you, they will buy you jewelry, allow you to watch TV or read a book uninterrupted or even present you with a bowl of ice cream... 
Okay, let's be realistic, hopefully they will do the dishes!!

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 55-65 minutes
Yield: 6 adult servings

2 medium potatoes cooked
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (still slightly frozen, makes for easier cutting)
1 lb bacon
1 cup Smoked Gouda cheese, grated (or cheese of your choice)
2 tsp. Dried minced onion
1/4 tsp. Smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. Salt
Good cranks of pepper

2 tsp. Smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. Salt

-Open your package of bacon and reserve 6 slices and set aside.  Dice the remaining bacon and fry till crisp.

-As bacon is frying, grate your cheese and add to the bowl of cooked, mashed down potatoes.

-Add your bacon and spices, mix well till incorporated, set aside.

-Rinse and dry your chicken breasts.  Using the larger part of the side of the chicken breasts, make a 2 to 2-1/2" deep slit, forming a pocket.  Do not go all the way through the chicken.

-Preheat your oven to 375F.  Pre-spray a 13 X 9 baking pan, set aside.

-Stuff your chicken breasts with 2-3 good tablespoons to start.  You want to make sure all the chicken has some stuffing.  Then you can always go back and stuff them evenly some more. Use it all up, the stuffing will not leak out, trust me... I wouldn't steer you wrong.

-Once the breasts have been stuffed, rub them on all sides with the Smoked rub.  Is it just me or did that really read funny strange...
*Didi looking around the room*

-Okay, let's take 1 strip of that amazing bacon and wrap around the stuffed chicken breast.  You want to concentrate on the stuffing part, that is what will prevent the stuffing from leaking out without using toothpicks or skewers.  I know!!  I surprise myself sometimes too!!

-Lay the first stuffed chicken breast into the pan, continue with the rest.

-You want them snug and touching each other if possible.  Again, this will ensure the stuffing stays in place.

-Bake for 55-65 minutes covered for the first 30 minutes.  If there are juices in the pan when you uncover them after 30 minutes, drain most of it and return pan to oven for the remainder of the cooking time.  Chicken is cooked when the internal temperature is 165F.

-Let rest for a few minutes so the chicken remains nice and moist, and then serve with your favorite side.  I love a nice salad and crusty bread... 

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Of course I do!!  Easy right?  I know, trust me! I also have to tell you, it's seriously delicious!!

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi