Slow Cooked Green Chicken Chile

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My sweet young friend is about to get married. How exciting!  My husband and I are about to celebrate 10 years of marriage. So, most of our friends are in their mid-40s and we haven't been to a wedding in years! The thought of a fresh couple uniting is the sweetest thing to me and I just love it when the bride-to-be asks me for advice... any advice at all! I'm happy to offer suggestions about even the most mundane things.  We love to talk about food and from time and she'll ask me for a recipe.  This is one of them. Any little offering towards a happy, healthy (& well fed) home; I'm happy to help!  I guess its the little sister in me, always dreaming of big sister status.

Our bride-to-be Samantha joined me and Pam to our little local town Chili Cook-Off.  The winner was a green chicken chili. It was really delicious.   Sam asked me to put together a recipe similar to the winner.... like, ok...(?)  Anyway, its taken me awhile to get it, but here is my slow-cooker, very easy version:

The ingredients are simple.  With the exception of the tomatillos, you may have most of these things in your kitchen:

  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 6-8 tomatillos, husked and roughly chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3  7 oz cans of mild diced green chilis*
  • 2  15.5 oz cans of cannellini beans
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • juice of a lime

*we've roasted hatch chilis in other chili recipes, but wanted this one to be as simple as opening a can... easy enough to prep in the morning before work.

Here's what you'll do:

1. Toss all of the ingredients in your slow cooker, stir it up a bit.

2. Set the slow cooker on low for 8 hours, or high for 6 hours.

3.  When you're ready to eat, use a fork to pull the chicken apart into shreds.  Add more salt & pepper to your preference.

4.   Garnish with cilantro and lime (optional)

Enjoy!

xo & a pinch, 

Kelly

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Repost: Slow Simmered Split Pea Soup

On a freezing cold day, especially during my favorite thing in the winter (a snow storm) we like warm, hearty soup.   During our recent "blizzard", split pea soup was on our menu, and despite appearances, it is truly "blog worthy!"  

The key to the creamy texture, is the slow cooker. It started on the stove but, once all the ingredients were mixed it's moved to the slow cooler and 6 hours later, or 4 hours, whatever your preference, voila! 

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What you need: 

  • 1 lb bag of split peas
  • 2 Tbls olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped into centimeter sized pieces 
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped into centimeter sized pieces 
  • 1/2 bunch of thyme (about 8 stalks) 
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 2 pound baby ham hock, cut in half, one half stays whole, the other half gets cut up into centimeter size cubes. 
  • Large pot 
  • Slow cooker

Like most soup recipes, you'll start the pan with your olive oil, onion, celery and oregano. Let that simmer for about 5 minutes. Add your chopped garlic, your carrots and the all the ham hock, stir it up, add the thyme. and stir another 5 minutes. Things will get cozy, the onions a tiny bit brown. Add your peas and mix a bit longer, maybe 3 minutes, then add your chicken broth. 

I let it simmer for about 5 minutes. At this point, you can keep the process moving for another day or keep it rolling. If you're ready to roll the only thing you need to do is remove the one uncut ham hock (you can leave it out or chop it up, totally up to you on how much ham you'd like in your soup) Next, take the contents of your pot and pour into your slow cooker for 4 or 6 hours. 

You won't believe how beautiful this is when it's done! 

Enjoy, xo Measure 

Lump Crab Cocktail

This is an easy, but fancy thing that I make for quiet nights at home.  Usually with a nice glass of bubbly or as an appetizer before a steak dinner.  The lump crab is a little pricey, so we reserve this one for special occasions.  This recipe is quick and easy to put together, but it goes a long way.   If its more than a party of 2, you can add lettuce to the bottom on the glasses to make the crab go further or these would be gorgeous in martini glasses.

  • I lb can of LUMP crab meat (make sure it says "lump")
  • lemon wedges

Empty to crab into a bowl and gently, toss with your hands to be sure that there are no shells. Be careful not to break up the lumps.    Lightly sprinkle with juice of 1/2 a lemon.

For the quick cocktail sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2-3 splashes of hot sauce (how hot to do you like it?)
  • 2 tbsp. horseradish
  • 2-3 splashes of Worchestershire sauce
  • zest of the lemon, juice of the lemon

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To assemble:

In a glass, add lettuce leaves (optional), spoon in cocktail sauce, top with some of the crab. Add a lemon wedge for garnish. 

Enjoy!

xo & a pinch, 
Kelly 

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Repost: Oven Roasted Shrimp "Fajitas"

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I called these "fajitas" rather than just fajitas because I don't want to you to think I don't know what fajitas are, or that I've never experienced a waitress rushing to my table with a sizzling pan in one hand and clearing the way of gawking diners with the other hand.   Fajitas are almost any combination of meat and vegetables served on a HOT, SIZZLING, iron skillet... not these though.

I am not a fan of receiving still-cooking food at a restaurant.  Finish it in the kitchen and bring me a nice, normal, quiet plate of food.  

I am, however, a huge fan of the following series of week night events:

1.  Enter cozy home

2.  Get dinner started and into the oven

3.  Get comfy  (sweats, slippers, remove make-up & princess jewels)

4.  Get assorted chores started; ie Kindergarten homework, empty and refill back packs, lunch bags, unload dishwasher,  etc. etc. etc. etc. sigh   .... (start smelling delicious dinner cooking)

5.  Set the table because dinner is ready!

6.  EAT

7.  Wash ONE large pan.

8.  Finish above various chores and Good Night.

This recipe is the easiest and makes a tasty, healthy weeknight dinner.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Shrimp, 15-20 peeled and deveined.   (if frozen, defrosted)
  • 4-5 Assortment of red, yellow, green, orange peppers, chopped (smaller if you want them cooked soft, larger if you don't mind "al dente" vegetables)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • cilantro, small bunch chopped, reserve some for garnish
  • olive oil, drizzle (about 1  tbsp.)
  • salt & pepper
  • lime, juice
  • tortillas, flour or corn - or lettuce wrap.
  • cheddar cheese, shredded for topping

Heres what you'll do:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, chopped cilantro, olive oil, salt & pepper together on a large sheet pan.  Top with shrimp and  roast 20-25 minutes, until shrimp is opaque and vegetables are softened.

2.  At the very end, switch the oven to broil to brown the shrimp and veg a bit.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro garnish.

3. Serve in tortilla or lettuce wrap and if you wish, top with your favorite salsa.   (I added some spinach leaves to mine for extra bulk and fiber) 

What is your favorite, quick & easy weeknight dinner?

xo & a pinch,
Kelly

 

 

Greek Country Salad

When I was a teenager, I worked as a waitress at a small, busy coffee shop in a town called Port Jefferson, Long Island.  The owner, George spoke mostly Greek, but I went along and was a quick learner.  There are so many stories from this place and I learned so much from George and his family, but ultimately this is where I discovered Greek food (& coffee).  Waitressing at the coffee shop was hard work, but I loved it and I loved my lunch breaks! This is where this salad comes in.  On the lunch menu there was a traditional Greek Salad, but also the "Country Salad"  which was a chunky, lettuce-less salad, heavy on the feta and dill and so good. Heres my version from memory:

What you'll need to serve 4:

  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced small
  • 3-4 Persian cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese. crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper(light on the salt, the feta is salty)

This simple salad is perfect alongside grilled, lemony chicken or pork. Its a MUST when you grill lamb chops!    Its also a great lunch salad served with a toasted pita.

Enjoy Godesses!

xo & a pinch

Kelly  

 

Lemon Herb Seared Lamb Chops with Fat-Free Tzatziki

This is my step-son's favorite dinner and therefore, a favorite for all of the boys in the family.   My small boys look up to their teen-age brother like he's God, or Superman or at least, a very famous quarterback.

Anything Pete does is perfect.  Anything Pete says is gospel.  If Pete is wearing shorts in 35 degree weather, I'm wrestling pants on the pouting little ones.   (By the way, why do teens completely ignore freezing cold weather?)  If Pete is watching football, the little ones are right there yelling "Yessss!'  and "Go! Go! Go!" at the TV with no clue about why and sometimes cheering for the wrong team!  

Anyway, this is one of Pete's favorite dinners.  The scene at the dinner table resembles something you'd see around a campfire during the Cro-Magnon period. Boys, eating a lot of meat with their little hands, collecting bones on their plates and smiling.

The fat free tzatziki is my favorite part.  Usually only half of the batch actually makes it to the table!

By the way, these would be perfect for grilling.   If you're lucky enough to live  outside of the frozen, polar, artic (enough already with the 2 degree temps) region... go for it! 

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To serve 4, for the lamb:

  • 12-15 baby lamb loins
  • garlic, 3-4 cloves chopped
  • lemon, 1 juiced
  • rosemary leaves, small bunch
  • oregano leaves, small bunch
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
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In a large baking dish, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, herbs and garlic.  Place the lamb in the dish coating each piece with the marinade.  Let the lamb marinate for 15 minutes, up to an hour in your refrigerator.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Pat the loins dry before searing.  Place a cast iron or large fry pan over medium high heat.  Sear the loins, browning 2-3 minutes on each side.   Don't crowd the pan.   Brown in batches, if necessary.

Transfer the loins to the oven and roast for another 8-10 minutes or until 130 degrees in the thickest part of the meat.   Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For the fat-free Tzatziki sauce:

  • 1 cup 0% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • garlic, 2 cloves minced
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • salt & pepper

Whisk all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl and chill until ready to serve.  We served this lamb with herb roasted vegetables with feta and warm whole grain pita.   Dinner for the Gods!

These chops are perfect with our Herb Roasted Vegetables with Feta.  (recipe below)

Enjoy!

What are your family favorites?

xo & a pinch

Kelly

Asian Tuna Wraps

New Year, New You?  If so, these may lead the way to a leaner you if that's what you're looking for.    

I'm one of those people who really enjoys the season of resolutions and healthier living is always top of my list. This year, like many of you, I'm planning on cleaning up our diet by reducing sugars and adding lean protein and more vegetables.  When I say "our diet", yes I mean the whole family...  I'll let you know how it goes. 

Here's what you'll need for 4 wraps:

  • 1 can Albacore tuna, packed in water
  • 4 leaves of romaine lettuce
  • 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup of sliced water chestnuts
  • 1/4 tsp black sesame seeds, for garnish

For the dressing, whisk together the following ingredients:

  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp wasabi paste (more or less to taste)

Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter, add cucumber sticks, 1/4 of tuna into each leaf.   Top with chopped water chestnuts and sesame seeds.   Serve with dressing drizzled on the wraps or on the side. 

Happy New You!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly 

Measure & Pinch Guest Home Chef, Jessica!

As many of you know, we love home cooks and love to learn what you are all doing in your kitchens.  We recently had the great opportunity to "meet" Jessica through Instagram and Facebook.  She follows Measure & Pinch and we follow her!  She is a mom of sweet little ones who loves to post shots her favorite homemade meals and her beautiful family.  Just look at those little ones- so precious!!   Home cooks like Jessica are our inspiration; the very reason we started Measure & Pinch.  We were so thrilled when Jessica agreed to be on of our featured Guest Home Chefs and share her recipe for Buffalo Chicken Lasagna!   What a great idea, right?  Two outrageously delicious family favorites in one dinner.  Its brilliant. 

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Jessica calls herself an "eyeballer" when it comes to cooking, so she warned that her recipe may need our tweeking.   We tried it as is, and loved it... and our boys from the husbands, to the teenager, to the little ones, loved this dinner.

Jessica adds that she's a "sauce" person.  So, she uses lots for this recipe.  Also, her family doesn't like blue cheese very much, so she skipped it but thinks that adding crumbled blue cheese to the ricotta mixture would be awesome for those who are blue cheese fans.  We agree.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs shredded chicken
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 2 bottles (24oz) buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar Mild Buffalo Sauce)
  • 1/2 cup water (reserved)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Ranch dressing, plus extra for topping
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend


For the chicken, simmer 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, in just enough water to cover chicken approximately 15-20 minutes (until no longer pink).  Set the chicken aside to cool.  Then shred using two forks.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the water.

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add carrots, onion, and celery.  Sautée until tender.  Add minced garlic.  Cook about 2 more minutes.  Then add diced tomatoes, buffalo sauce, chicken, and reserved water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1/2 hour.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package.  Drain.

In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, 1 cup of mozzarella, and ranch.
 

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Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish.  Pour about 1 cup of sauce into pan and spread to coat the bottom.  Lay 4 lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping.  Spread more sauce over noodles.  Spoon about half the ricotta mixture over the sauce and spread.  Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella and 2/3 cup Italian cheese.  Layer 4 more noodles.  Add a layer of sauce.  Spoon the other half of the ricotta mixture over sauce and spread.  Sprinkle another cup of mozzarella and another 2/3 cup of shredded Italian cheese.  Layer last 4 lasagna noodles on top.  Pour remaining sauce over noodles and spread. 

Cover and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 20-25 minutes.  During the last 10 minutes of baking, add remaining shredded cheese to melt on top.  Pull lasagna out of the oven.  Top with enough ranch dressing to cover the top.  Let cool 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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Spicy and Delicious!  - Thank you Jessica!

As with all of our Guest Home Chefs, we take a page out of James Lipton's book and do a little interview ala "Inside the Actor Studio",  because afterall, we are all STARS in our own kitchen!


What is your favorite food?  I have to pick a favorite?  Hard to narrow down...  I love soup. I could eat soup everyday.  Creamy soups are my favorite.

What is your least favorite food?  "Fishy" tasting fish.  

What turns you on? GOOD FOOD.....and warm, breezy beach nights.

What turns you off?  Swearing.

What inspires you to cook?  I love to prepare good food for others.  I thrive on honest feedback.  Food makes me happy, and I love when my food makes others happy.

What is your favorite drink?  Trilogy Kombucha

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  It would be cool to own my own cafe someday.

 What profession would you not like to do?  Politician.

If Heaven exists, what do you wish to hear God say to you when you arrive at the pearly gates?  Welcome home.  :)

THANK YOU JESSICA!!!!

Truly a girl we'd love to hang out with.  If only we lived closer!  In the meantime, see you on the Internet! 

... and we will be making this dish over and over again!

                                

                                

 Thanks Jessica!

xo

Measure & Pinch

 

Spiced Pumpkin Coconut Soup

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My husband and I make bets against one another.  You know, to keep things spicy. (insert eye roll and pun intended!)  Anyway, we're betting who can lose 15 lbs by Thanksgiving. Don't tell him, but I'm not exactly in weight loss mode right now (yoga = body acceptance and ultimate bliss - try it!) So, ssshhhh! I'm letting him win.   I do find that when I am in actual weight loss mode, soup is a key element towards success.  

Like most commuters, I come home from work ready to eat the front door.  The hours between 6-8PM can be a danger zone, but soup can be a life raft to get you safely through; away from the Halloween candy.   While you are getting out of your work clothes, yelling at the kids to finish homework, getting the dog fed, emptying back packs, etc. etc., a pot of soup can be quietly simmering on the stove, waiting for you.  It can be a snack while you get the rest of your dinner ready, or your dinner on its own.

I like this one because it uses some of my favorite things; a trusty can of pumpkin, delicious spiced apple cider, Toasted Coconut Almondmilk and hot sauce.   

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup spiced apple cider (we LOVE Trader Joes)
  • 2 cups almond/coconut milk (we LOVE Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almondmilk!)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • hot sauce (optional, we LOVE OuterLimits)
  • salt & pepper
  • sour cream or crème fresh(optional, for garnish)
  • toasted walnuts (optional, for garnish)

In a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and cook shallot until soft & fragrant.

Add pumpkin, apple cider, coconut milk, cayenne, salt & pepper and whisk while heating.  Be careful to keep the heat low.  When it bubbles, you'll get tiny explosives leaping out of the pot.  Actually, when that starts happening, its done!

Taste and add more cayenne and/or hot sauce.

Top with cream and toasted walnuts.

xo & a pinch,
Kelly

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Growing up in New England, my husband and I have grown to love winter.  The crisp air, snowy days and any excuse to be cozy.   We live in beautiful New Jersey now, and while it has its amazing sights and frosty winters, I'm the crazy one who always says "I wish we had more snow!" 

With Valentine's Day approaching, I like to cook things that are cozy, warm and savory for my husband, but also superbly delicious.  Of course, I sought the guidance of my favorite chefs,  Anne Burrell and Scott Conant.  I made Anne Burrell inspired short ribs, with Scott Conant’s creamy polenta. 

Here’s your ingredient list for the ribs (serves 4or 2 with left-overs) :

Braised Ribs Ingredients

 

  • 3 large carrots, chopped  
  • 3 celery strips, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Olive oil, 5 tablespoons
  • 6 lbs beef ribs 
  • 1 ½ cups tomato paste
  • 1 Cup Red wine (something you like to drink)
  • 2 Cups Water Fresh Bay Leaves (3)
  • One bunch of thyme
  • Kosher Salt

You'll need a heavy duty Dutch oven or equivalent pot to braise & slow cook.

Short ribs are kind of, shall we say, a luxury purchase.  So, I reserve this dinner for a special night. With a bit of help from my butcher (a.k.a the guy behind the glass at meat section of my local Foodtown)  I decided on 6 lbs of ribs.  When they are sliced up into roughly 3 inch sections there were about 12 ribs.  A lot for two, but the leftovers are gold!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Generously salt the ribs, then with your Dutch oven on medium-high heat,  pour 3 tbsp of olive oil and sear the ribs in batches on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Don't crowd the pain, otherwise nothing will brown.    (Of course, me being me, I set a timer for those 2 minutes per side)

Once all the meat is browned, I let the ribs sit for a while as I prepare the rest.

In your food processor,  chop the onion, celery, garlic and carrots.  Then, place in a strainer and press with a kitchen towel to drain all the juices out. 

Add 2 tbsp olive oil to the Dutch oven over medium heat and pour the drained vegetables into the pot.  Cook until it turns brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid over browning.  Add the paste, stir and lower to medium, for about 5 minutes. Add wine, cook another 5 minutes.

Return ribs to the pot, add water until it covers the ribs.  Add bay leaves and thyme.  Place the covered pot into the oven for about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

This dish is off-the-charts delicious and special.  The meat will fall away from the rib bones and the sauce is heavenly.   I made this dinner with Caramelized Shallot and Apple Brussels Sprouts.  (click here for the recipe).  McSweeney loves it so much that he asks for this as a first course to Thanksgiving, Christmas, his birthday, any given Sunday, etc.. Prepare for supreme yumminess!  

Your sweetheart will thank you for it!

Enjoy, xo Measure 

ribs

A Dangerous Love

Strong, German, about 10 inches long and sharp as hell.   
 
Following our wedding whirlwind, like most couples do, we began using our gift cards to feather our nest.  It was so much fun and we were so grateful. In my mind, our $100 Williams Sonoma card was already spent.  I had been dreaming (on-line shopping) about my perfect kitchen tool; the one that would make all the difference.  That day,  I was surprised to see that Pete was excited about shopping.  He was expecting a shopping spree of high ball glasses, a blender and maybe a toaster!  I said nothing.

Long story short, we walked out 15 minutes later with a single item, My Knife.  We were heavy with chopping anticipation and light by about $30 cash.

I got home and immediately opened a bottle of wine and admired My Knife.  It was so shiny, strong and beautiful.   The chopping, slicing and dicing commenced.  I chopped everything that I could find; tomatoes, lemons, onions, soda cans and then back to the juicy ripe tomatoes**... and then somehow, my own fingers.  By the end of the night, a single little nick on my index finger turned into about a dozen tiny cuts all over my hands. Both hands somehow.  The wine.
 
The next day was Monday.  Work.  My boss and I were doing a mediation on a big case.   Mediations involve sitting at a table with other lawyers, a retired judge usually, insurance people, etc. talking, advocating, negotiating, and more lawyer stuff.  These are activities that, unfortunately can not be done with your hands hidden in a fur muff.   That day, my "power suit" was accented by 10 or so tiny Band-Aids placed all over my fingers ala Michael Jackson from the "Leave Me Alone" video.  My boss noticed so I put my hands up and shrugged "new knife."  He said nothing.

The hands went into my suit jacket pockets where they stayed for the day.  This is likely the most awkward of all awkward positions, try it. Its ridiculous.  But I didn't care.  I had My Knife and I loved it despite the pain and embarrassment.  I couldn't wait to get home to do more chopping.
 
About nine years later and I'm still with My Knife. These days, I crush garlic cloves like an angry cave woman, slice cucumbers while singing and dancing and carve through giant roasts with ease- like butter!  Over the years, My Knife has gradually taught me to respect its deadly sharpness, but has also made me the master of my kitchen.   My point about My Knife (pun intended) is its not about the shop from where you found it. Its not the price tag.  Its not its German-ness. Its value is in the way it makes you feel.  The weight of a good knife in your hand, can transform you from a home cook to The Chef in your own home.  Get one and fall in love. But, please be careful!


     What kitchen tool or gadget makes you feel like a Chef in your kitchen?


xo & a pinch ( & a tiny nick )

Kelly

** For you millennials, YouTube a Ginsu Knife infomercial, circa 1985

 

Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sliders

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The tropical slaw adds a great crunch and freshness to the slow cooked pork.  I also just love a recipe that uses up an entire fresh pineapple.   Ok, there were a few bites eaten during the prep phase with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt.  Cooks treat!

This recipe makes a big batch for a crowd of about 6-8.  Its great for game day and will make your house smell like a luau (if its also a pork roast!) 

For the slow-cooked pork:

  • 2 pork shoulders
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • slider buns.  We love the sweet Hawaiians!

1. Except the pork, mix all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Place pork into the slow cooker, pour combined ingredients over pork. Massage sauce into pork and cover. Slow cook for 8 hours on low.

3. When cooking is complete, use 2 forks for pull pork into shreds.

For the Tropical Slaw:

  • 1/2 red cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 green cabbage
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt & pepper

1.Whisk all ingredients together, except for the cabbage and pineapple.

2. Pour dressing over cabbage and pineapple.  Season with more salt & pepper to taste. (You may wish to add more lime juice or vinegar. Your preference.)

3. Chill for at least an hour.

Serve the sliders on buns adding pork and then slaw.

Enjoy!

xo and a pinch,

Kelly

The St~Germain Cocktail

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So, M&P has been a little quiet lately. We decided to try for a screen-free summer to focus on family, friends, fresh air and the delicious things right in front of us.  It was a pretty successful endeavor; allowing us to lift our heads from our computers and stretch our necks.  Speaking of stretching, we've been bitten by the yoga bug!  Who knew?  Kelly,  once described as "zen-phobic" and Pam, who is too busy to breathe, have both become (or trying to become) bendy, breath-y and serene.  (insert prayer hands)

Of course, none of these new things have been an impediment on our cocktail hours!  When getting back into our little website (over drinks), we realized we've never shared The St~Germain Cocktail, the most heavenly of all cocktails.   How could we do this?!   Such a huge miss!!  But see what happens when you take a little break?  Clarity. (insert more prayer hands here)

This drink is a true favorite.  Its easy to drink and goes with almost everything.  Its effervescent, light and refreshing with a bit of sparkle. 

Fill a large glass with ice, and pour:

  • 2 parts dry white wine (or Prosecco)
  • 1 1/2 parts St~Germain
  • 2 parts sparkling water

Stir, garnish with a little citrus and enjoy.

Cheers to new beginnings!

xo
Measure & Pinch

Pineapple Shrimp Ceviche

Pam's husband Paul a.k.a McSweeney, Paulie, Uncle Paul or most affectionately, U.P. sometimes travels to exotics lands for business; Brazil, China, Rio, Amsterdam, etc.   U.P. is a lucky guy, but he's modest about it.  Sometimes, if I catch it right and I get him talking, I can get a nice dose of travel (& food) inspiration.  

Most recently, we talked about his trips to Mexico and his visits to ceviche bars.  Places were you can casually belly-up to a bar that serves fresh, delectable ceviche, paired with exquisite sipping tequilas.   U.P. said "you would LOVE it!"  Yes. I would.

Here's my version of exotic Mexican, coming from my very plain, Jersey Shore kitchen.

What you'll need:

  • I lb. raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail removed
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 2 limes, plus extra for garnish
  • cilantro, 1 bunch, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • Hot sauce (we love Outer Limits Hot Sauce)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • garlic, 1 clove, minced
  • 1 light beer, optional (we love Corona)

1.  In a large pot over high heat, bring beer and about a quart of salted water to a boil.  To the water, add lime slices and cilantro to infuse flavor into the shrimp.

2.  Add the shrimp and let cook for 5-8 minutes until opaque. 

3. Strain shrimp and let cool.

4.  Meanwhile, in an large bowl whisk together ketchup, garlic, zest and juice of 1 lime, salt & pepper, hot sauce.  

5.  Stir in cucumber, tomatoes, onion and pineapple.  

6.  When the shrimp is completely cooled, roughly chop into bite-sized pieces and add to mixture.

7. Gently fold in the avocado chunks and a handful of chopped cilantro.

8.  Chill for up to an hour or overnight.

9. Serve, garnished with extra chopped cilantro and lime.

Salud!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 

Pineapple St~Germain Martini

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And just like that, its summer!  

Scroll down, our last post is about cozy, rich French onion soup.  What a difference a day (or two) makes!  

We've been revisiting our old friend, St~Germain by adding it to practically every drink we make.  Its so versatile, but also special.  Here, we're celebrating the promise of tropical weather- a little sunshine in a glass!

  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • 1 ozSt~Germain Elderflower Liquor
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled martini glass.   Garnish with pineapple or lime slice.

Feet up, deep breath, sip... & repeat!

xo

Measure & Pinch

* Thank you Red Bliss at Home for the gorgeous Gold Nexus Coaster Set. They are simply stunning!  redblissathome.com

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The Classics: French Onion Soup

I usually don't insist upon proper serviceware, but for French Onion, you need crocks.  I got these at Target years ago and they are holding up nicely.  I also use them for chowders and crumble desserts. 

I like making French Onion Soup for guests because its classic and traditional, yet unexpected from a homecooked dinner.  Its also host-friendly. Once you have it simmering, it can sit on the stove all day until you're ready for the final elements; a hunk of toasted bread and delicious creamy Gruyere (also, a must).

I don't usually insist upon a proper cheese, but Gruyere.  I'm sorry.  This dish will cost you about $8 in cheese.   The rest, however is mostly just onions (cheap) and water (free!).

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Here it goes:

  • 8-10 small - medium white onions, sliced(enjoy a good cry)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 32 oz box of reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh thyme 2-4 sprigs
  • 1-2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar(secret ingredient ALERT!)
  • 6  slices of French baguette, cut on a diagonal
  • thinly sliced Gruyere cheese, about 3 slices per crock
  • parmesan cheese, grated for topping

1.  In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook onions, butter, salt & pepper, olive oil, uncovered.  Stir frequently, until onions are very soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes.  Add brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes.  Add water throughout the cooking process as needed to prevent sticking or over browning. 

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2.  Stir in wine and let cook for 5 minutes.

3.  Stir in broth, water, bay leaves and thyme and simmer for 10 minutes.

4.  Reduce heat to low and partially cover.  Let lightly simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  The longer it simmers, the better. 

5. When ready to serve.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove thyme stems and bay leaves.  Taste soup for proper seasoning.  

6.  Place bread slices on large cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes until dried and toasted. Reserve toasts.

7.  Place crocks onto foil-lined cookie sheet.  Ladle soup into crocks.  Place one slice of bread into each crock. Top each with 3 slices of cheese to cover. Sprinkle parmesan cheese onto each bowl.

8.  Broil until cheese is melted and golden about 2 minutes.

Stay cozy & patient!  Spring will be here soon... I think.?


xo & a pinch,
Kelly

Tortilla Soup, version 112

Tortilla soup and its yummy friends to garnish! 

Tortilla soup and its yummy friends to garnish! 

Hello friends! It's been too long. I've been so buried  since my company was acquired I can't tell what day of the week it is anymore! Needless to say, I've been shirking my responsibilities with posting. That said, if there's one thing that can pull me out of being buried with work, it's Cinco de Mayo! 

It's not a secret that I love all things Mexican; the country, the people, the food, the beaches, etc. I've tried a million different versions of one of my most favorite Mexica Soups but, decided to share a new version for you on the big day! In order to ensure you got the very best version I also visited my favorite Mexican Grocery Store in Red Bank, NJ. I'm not sure what I love most about it but, I'm sure I love that everyone is speaking Spanish. 

My little cart... 

My little cart... 

My cart.... yes, there's more in there than just the ingredients for this soup! Sneak preview of more to come for Cinco de Mayo! 

The fun part is how easy this is. You can play with the recipe as much as you'd like. I threw all the ingredients (except the chicken broth)  into my cast iron skillet whole, then cut them up one after the other and dumped them into a blender, yup - beyond easy! 

Ingredients include 

  • 1 onion sliced into 3 big slices 
  • 4-5 garlic cloves 
  • 3-4 large plum tomatoes 
  • 4 cups of low sodium fat free chicken broth 
  • 1 large dried chili pepper 
  • 1 small (hot) spicy pepper 
  • 8 small corn tortillas (4 & 4) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch 
  • 1 tablespoon of cold water
  • One avocado
  • A bunch of cilantro
  • Queso fresco 
  • Lime

Fill a saucepan with the chicken broth and turn on the heat on the lowest setting just to warm it up, not to get it hot. In the other pan, the cast iron skillet toss in the garlic, plum tomatoes, the peppers, onion slices and the peppers! Once they're all a little brown take them out and put them aside. once at a time, up to 4, pop those beautiful corn tortillas into the pan, it's dry still so, let them stay in there cozy for say 1 minute on each side. When those 4 are toasty, slide up the tomatoes and toss them back in the pan. 

Next step is super easy. First cut the tops off the peppers and dump out the seeds, sliced them up into a few pieces. Then, take everything else you just cooked, including the tortillas and throw them into your blender with say, 2 cups of chicken both (Note! the chicken broth shouldn't be hot or it may explode when you cover it and blend it - make sure - if it's steaming, do not blend it until it cools) Blend everything until smooth and add in your spices; cumin, garlic powder, salt pepper and pour it back into the chicken broth . 

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Turn heat up to medium high. In a little bowl mix your corn starch and water, pour slowly into the warmed up soup and watch while it thickens.

While it warms slice up your garnishes and get ready to eat a yummy treat! Slice the avocado, sprinkle with lime juice, cut off about a 1/2 cup of Queso fresco and crumble it up, as much cilantro as you like and the tortilla strips! 

Tortilla strips drying 

Tortilla strips drying 

The strips.... slice up the 4 remaining tortillas into strips. In a shallow frying pan you'll need to put canola oil in about 1/4 deep. When you drop the strips in, they'll fry fast so, stay over them with your tongs. As they brown, take them out and let them dry on a paper towel - sprinkle with salt. 

As you pour the soup into bowls and garnish with this yumminess ( fresco, tortillas, avocado and cilantro ) get ready to love this soup! 

Looks like a lot but, it's really easy and very fast. Don't shy away! I know you'll love this. 

Enjoy, xo  Measure

Up close and personal 

Up close and personal 

Strawberry Salsa

I think there is universal agreeance (yes, its a word) that sweet & salty food are simply irresistible. The combination of juicy, sweet fruit and salt, lime and cilantro is perfection, and on a tortilla chip, totally addictive.  This time of year, we usually chop up a big batch of mango salsa as an addition to our Cinco de Mayo festivities.  To me, the mango is the sweetheart of all fruits.  I just cant say enough wonderful things about the sweet, pretty mango. But strawberries have been having a tough time lately.  They made it to the ever shameful dirty dozen list.  Poor strawberries... happens to the best of us.  Don't believe the hype and just hunt down some organic berries.  This salsa is too special to pass on.  Its kind of like a fresh strawberry daiquiri on a chip. Strawberry Fields Forever!     

Chop up the following:

  • 1 pint of strawberries, hulled   
  • 2-5 plum tomatoes, cored (discard the wet seeds with a spoon)
  • 1 (medium) red onion 
  • Bunch of cilantro 
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lime, juice

Try to chop the berries and tomatoes to be about the same size.  Combine all ingredients and enjoy with tortilla chips.

Salud!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 

 

Weeknight Skillets: Light & Easy Eggplant Parmesan

Pam's favorite Italian meal is eggplant parmesan.  So, this quick & healthy version has her in eggplant heaven!  One night, Pam was flying home from God-knows-where on a business trip.  We did our quick usual check-in texts covering her ETA (12AM), random food thoughts (weekend eating plans) and what I was eating for dinner (this eggplant). Long story short, at about 1:00 in the morning, Pam crept up onto my porch to collect a Tupperware of this delicious mess for a very late-night dinner!

Make this when you want something quick, easy, light, vegetarian and Italian, or when your travel-weary best girl needs a healthy dinner after a long flight.

Heres what you'll need:

  • 1 large eggplant, cubed  
  • olive oil, about 2 tbsp
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
  • parmesan, grated for topping
  • fresh basil, 5-6 leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, add a generous swirl of olive oil.  Add cubed eggplant. Season with salt & pepper.  Let cook for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened and browned a bit.

2.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, tomatoes and season again with salt & pepper. Let simmer for 10-12 minutes until eggplant is soft and tomatoes are cooked.

3.  Using a teaspoon, dollop ricotta around the pan, swirling slightly into the sauce.  (don't completely stir it in).  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top and put skillet into the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted. 

4.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Top with torn basil leaves and grated parmesan. 

(5. pack into a Tupperware and place in a secret, yet obvious place on your porch and go to bed, hoping for cool weather and exclusively carnivorous neighborhood wildlife!)

xo & a pinch,

Kelly  

Weeknight Skillets: Chicken & Escarole

Chicken Thighs over escarole, pam's bad photo

Chicken Thighs over escarole, pam's bad photo

When Kelly and I started our clean eating weight loss program back in December of 2014 I had no idea I had 20 lbs to lose. I was sure I could lose 10 absolutely but, not 20. Well, when 20 came off I realized maybe I did have 20 to lose.  

A few keys if you're looking to lose weight when & if you're born in 1967 (yes, I'm old.)  You simply can't eat more than 1200 calories a day and as my doctor says, "fruit is not your friend." 

Anyway, looking for new inspiration for recipes Kelly found Cooking Light Magazine so, we both asked for subscriptions for Christmas. Now, when Bon Appetit comes Cooking Light comes, too! It's a double celebration. 

Chicken Skillet Dishes were on the cover so, we both dove in head first! I made this one for us and changed it up a bit. As, always...

It's simple, and it's fast.  Its perfect for a weeknight. 

The M&P version:

  • 10 Chicken thighs (I can give up a lot of things but, the flavor in a boneless chicken thigh rules over the flavor of a boneless breast, all day long..) 
  • 2 bunches of escarole, clean and sliced into strips 
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de provence 
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper 
  • 4 cloves of garlic 
  • 3 tablespoons oil 
  • 1/2 ounce pecorino cheese (shaved with a peeler) You can use Parmesan if you don't have Pecorino. My grandfather used to say, "Pecorino is a little more sharper.." Yes, his first language was Italian :) hence the wrong use of sharp! 
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Best way to start, grab a pot of water to boil with about a tablespoon of your salt. When boiling, pop in your cleaned, sliced escarole for one minute then drain and let sit while you start your chicken.

Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.   Then dust with the herbs de provence.  Over medium high heat,  add olive oil to a large skillet.  When the oil is good and hot, put the chicken in your pan.

Let the chicken cook until you see some liquid on the top of the thigh, the bottom should be nice and brown (3-5 minutes) flip them, let them sit in the pan another 2-3 minutes then place skillet into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Take them out.  (Usea pot holder on the handle from this moment on! )

Take the chicken out of the pan, and reserve.   At this point, the pan has some FABULOUS yummy juices in it and a bit of oil so, now is the perfect time to toss in your garlic & red pepper flakes. Let those sit a few minutes but, pull out the garlic when it starts to get a little brown. Now, toss in those beautiful red onions.. yum.... let them drink up the juice and let them brown a bit. When browned, throw in the boiled, drained escarole.

What we're doing here is simply warming everything up before we serve it. When the escarole gets hot, feel free to put the chicken back on top of the bed if you're serving in the hot skillet. If you're serving on a platter like I did, put everything from the pan onto the dish and top with the chicken and the peeled pecorino cheese. 

Totally blog worthy and totally delicious!

Enjoy! xo Measure

The professional picture, and recipe

The professional picture, and recipe