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 

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

 

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 

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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

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

The Classics: Escarole Pie

I love escarole.  Mostly, the way my friend Delia (aka "Nonna" to my boys) prepares it.  She "massages" the leaves with lemon, salt & pepper.   She says to do the massaging (with clean hands,  of course) in the kitchen so that your guests don't see you up to your elbows in their dinner!  For some reason, her method makes the most refreshing, delicious simple salad.

Onto this recipe, which is more suitable for this non-Spring Spring that we're having.  Here the escarole becomes hearty, sweet and savory in a warm flaky pie.  Its our take on a classic Italian side dish that's perfect for any gathering, but especially brunch.  Don't be afraid of the anchovies, they melt into wonderful nutty-ness, plus they are a must-have ingredient in this pie.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3 heads escarole
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp.
  • 3-4 anchovies
  • 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Nutmeg, a pinch
  • 2 eggs(one egg is for egg wash)
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • Pie crust, prepared or pizza dough
  • Salt & pepper

Here's what you'll do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In skillet over medium high heat, heat oil & anchovies, red pepper flakes and garlic.  Once anchovies are melted, add chopped escarole, salt,  pepper & nutmeg.  Once escarole is wilted, let cool.

2.  In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine cheeses, egg, olives & raisins.  Season with salt & pepper.



3.  Combine escarole with cheese mixture and pour into pie crust. Top with second crust, crimp and brush with egg wash.  Bake 35-40 minutes until golden.


Mangia!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 

Baked Potato Soup

Ok, so its cauliflower.  You know I love skinny-food trickery and cauliflower is my best partner in crime.  I promise, when you're eating this, you'll think its potato soup.  Its creamy, hearty and when its topped with the usual baked potato bits, you'll find yourself high-fiving "I can eat this whole thing?!"  Yes.  Its cauliflower.  Ok, there's one potato in there.

Here's what you'll need:

  • potatoes, 2 small or 1 large, roughly chopped
  • cauliflower, 1 large head, chopped
  • vegetable or chicken broth, 1 cup, but you may use less
  • salt & pepper
  • cheddar, shredded for topping
  • bacon, cooked & chopped for topping
  • chives or scallions, chopped for topping
  • sour cream, dollop for topping, if you wish

1.  In a large pot over high heat, add the cauliflower & potato. Cover with water and add about a tsp of salt.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.  Drain in a colander and return to the pot. 

2.  If you are using a blender or food processor, let the cauliflower cool completely.  Then, in batches, blend mixture until smooth.   If using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or your desired consistency.  Return the pureed cauliflower to the large pot.

3.  Over medium heat, stir while adding broth until you get your desired consistency.   Season with salt & pepper.

4.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with bacon, cheese & scallions.

 What's your favorite cauliflower recipe?

xo & a pinch,
Kelly

Easy Fish Chowder

So, its March and its snowing here on the Jersey Shore.   I'm not mad, but come on!    I hate to be one of those weather-talkers, but spring has been peeking its little head out here and there and ... what a tease!

Anyway, I love this dinner on days like this because it too, is kind of a tease.  A good briny clam will always bring the summer into your kitchen, while the tomato-y broth is cozy and warm.  

  • 4 cod fillets, about 1 lb in total
  • 8-10 clams, scrubbed
  • Canned tomatoes, 28 oz
  • Chicken broth, about 1 cup
  • White wine, about 1 cup
  • garlic, 4-5 cloves, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6-8 small potatoes
  • Old Bay seasoning, 1 tbsp
  • Hot sauce, 2-3 shakes
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • salt & pepper
  • Crusty bread or garlic bread for dipping (optional, but not really optional)

1.  In a large pot over medium high heat, swirl olive oil.  Add potatoes, carrots, celery and onion.  Season with salt & pepper.  Cook for 8-10 minutes.

2.   Add garlic, Old Bay and hot sauce and cook another 3-5 minutes.  Add wine, cook for another 3 minutes.

3.  Add tomatoes, broth and heat to boiling then reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5-8 minutes.  Add salt & pepper to season.  Taste!

4.  Add cod fillets to the pot and cook 4-5 minutes until opaque.   Add clams to the pot and cover.  Let cook 5-8 minutes until clams are open. 

5. Stir pot, removing any clams that did not open. 

6.  Add chopped parsley and serve.  

** don't forget the crusty bread.

Stay cozy!

xo & a pinch

Kelly  

Pepperoni Red Pepper Penne

Pepperoni Red Pepper Penne.  Say it three times fast!

My boys love pepperoni and red peppers are one of their few "permissible" vegetables.  This recipe wasn't created, rather born from necessity.  Weeknight, after work, tired, hungry kids-  Done!  

They ask for it all the time.  Even on easy Sundays.

  • 1 lb penne
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, sliced into half moons
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • grated parmesan, for topping
  • basil, for garnish
pepper pepperoni pasta middle.JPG

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Boil pasta in salted water, to al dente (7-8 minutes)

3.  Meantime, over medium-high heat, swirl olive oil.   Saute red pepper strips until tender.  Add pepperoni slices and heat through for about 5-8 minutes.

4.  Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water.   Return pasta to the pot.  Add pepper -pepperoni mixture including all juices and that yummy orange oil!  Season with salt & pepper.  Add about half of the pasta water to create sauciness. Add half of the shredded cheese.  Combine all ingredients.  Taste and adjust salt & pepper as you wish.  Top with remaining shredded cheese. 

5.  Pour pasta into the skillet and heat in the oven for 5-8 minutes.  Change the oven over to broil to crisp the top a bit. 

6.  Top with torn basil, grated parmesan and serve.

7. Watch your children pull the basil off and try to feed it to the dog, but then enjoy!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly


  

The Classics: Fried Chicken Cutlets (with a little zest)

Now I'm not about to suggest that fried chicken cutlets are the key to a healthy marriage, but they certainly help to keep husbands happy.  Well mine, at least.  Pete loves breaded, fried anything, but chicken cutlets are his favorite.  He loves them and they make him happy.  I think they bring back childhood memories or something. The love is real and true.

Me on the other hand, I try my very best to eat light and healthy.  Really, I do!   Being over 40 and carrying around a post-baby/no-time-to-work-out body will do that to a girl. But diet-bending a bit for love is worth extra calories, painful splatter, greasy paper towels and pan and entire kitchen...

I have to admit, pan fried chicken cutlets are truly delicious.  To these,  I add fresh parsley and lemon zest to the bread crumb mixture to take them to a zippy new level.   At the end, when they are resting, I add a lemon spritz and parsley garnish. They taste so fresh & light, it makes you completely forget that you're eating something that's been dredged in breading and FRIED IN OIL!!!!   

Make a big batch because you'll use them later in the week when your husband is mad about your AMEX bill, or use them for sandwiches, salads, etc.  They're magically zesty & delicious.

What you'll need:

  • 6 chicken cutlets, pounded out under clear wrap or in a large plastic food bag
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked with a splash of water
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice for seasoning
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

What you'll do:

Add oil to large, stainless skillet and heat on medium-high.  Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, add eggs and splash of water, salt and pepper, whisk.  In a second shallow bowl or rimmed plate, add bread crumbs, cheese, 1/2 of the parsley and lemon zest.

Salt and pepper your chicken cutlets, then dredge each cutlet in the egg and then into the bread crumbs and place in the hot skillet.

Don't crowd your pan, it will reduce the heat. Rather, brown the chicken in batches.  Once browned on each side, set on a plate with sheets of paper towel to absorb the excess oil.    Once all of the chicken is browned, place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Then, sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley and lemon.

How do you make your chicken cutlets?  Do they inspire your other half to do dishes?

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 

 

 

Quickie Weeknight Shrimp

 Quickie shrimp for two

Quickie shrimp for two

There's something so very satisfying about a delicious meal that can be made in less than 15 minutes. Yup!  15 minutes. It turns out there there are 30 minute meals and then there's this super speedy, yummy, good for you week night shrimp dish!  

(That was probably too many adjectives..) 

Here's what you need:

  • One bag (approx. 20) peeled and deveined, shrimp, defrosted
  • 1 cup of sun dried tomato, cut into strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed (or minced)
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 cup of olives (I used green but, you can also use pitted Kalamata) 
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss in garlic, artichoke hearts and sundried tomato and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add olives and thyme, stir for another 2 minutes and then, add the wine.  Let simmer and turn your oven on tobroil.

Toss the shrimp into the pan,  cook for about 2 minutes then turn it over for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. 

Transfer the pan to the oven and broil for 2 minutes.  Keep an eye on it!  

Serve over pasta or zoodles (spiralized zucchini).   We zoodle! . 

PS I don't add grated cheese to anything with seafood but, if you really really like grated parmesan I suppose you can add it. 

Enjoy, xo Measure! 

Cauliflower Cream of Mushroom Soup

Its no secret, I love cauliflower.   To me, cauliflower is the most magical vegetable in my kitchen.  Its versatility is endless and adding lots of cauliflower to your diet does wonders to your waistline.  Sometimes when I'm eating mashed cauliflower, I find myself trying to resist eating the entire plate.  I forget what I'm eating and think its potatoes!  No offense, potatoes, I love you too.   We go way back, but ... muffin top.

So, I introduce my newest cauliflobsession*- cream of mushroom soup.   Like I said in my post on our Cauliflower Broccoli Cheddar soup** (also fantastic), I would never eat the true versions of these soups; made with cream, flour and butter to get the "cream of ---" consistency.   To me, soups shouldn't be laden with fat and carbs.  Soup should not be a guilty pleasure.   It should be healthy, satisfying and cozy-inducing.  This soup is all of the good things and its so delicious and creamy, you'll forget what you're eating!

  • I small onion, chopped
  • garlic, 2-3 cloves, chopped
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • cauliflower, 1 large head, chopped
  • beef or vegetable broth, 32 oz.
  • 8-10 mushrooms, chopped
  • Worchestershire, a small splash
  • thyme, fresh (a few sprigs, plus more for garnish)
  • salt & pepper

1.    In a large pot over high heat, add the cauliflower. Cover with water and add about a tsp of salt & pepper.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the cauliflower is fork tender.  Drain in a colander and return to the pot. 

2.  If you are using a blender or food processor, let the cauliflower cool completely.  Then, in batches, blend mixture until smooth.   If using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or your desired consistency.   Return the pureed cauliflower to the large pot.

2.  Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium high heat, swirl olive oil.  Add garlic, mushrooms & onion.  Cook for 10-12 minutes until softened.  Add thyme and splash of Worchestershire.   Season with salt & pepper.

3.  Put the pot of pureed cauliflower over medium heat.   Stir in broth until you achieve your desired consistency and let heat through.  Once you have the consistency that you like, stir in the cooked mushrooms & onions. (remove the thyme stems beforehand)  Taste for proper seasoning, adding salt & pepper as needed.  Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

So good.

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

*they say that people who create their own words are geniuses, just saying.

**for the Cauliflower Broccoli Cheddar soup recipe, search out site.  It'll pop right up!

Hasselback Spicy Sweet Potatoes

sweet potato top.JPG

Besides their interesting looks, there are two other reasons that I love these potatoes. 

1.  I love, love, love sweet & spicy food.  

2.  I love a side dish that gets into the oven early and takes care of itself until your ready to eat.

We recently had a little dinner party that looked a lot like early Thanksgiving with a big, golden bird in the oven and delicious, fall inspired side dishes.  These potatoes were a hit with an unexpected spicy bite!   

Here's what you'll need:

  • 4 sweet potatoes, similar in size and scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. chopped pecans
  • 1-3 shakes of hot sauce (we love Outer Limits Jalepeno Lime)
  • butter, about 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the potatoes:

1. Scrub well. 

2.  Create a "foot" on your potato for better control while cutting.

3.  Slice using pencils as a base on each side to prevent cutting completely through.

sweet potato cutting with pencil.JPG

4.  Make slices. Do your best with keeping each slice the same width, but don't make yourself crazy. Perfection is overrated.

5.  Place the potatoes in a medium roasting pan.

To make the topping:

sweet potato sauce ingredients.JPG

6. Combine honey, Dijon, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper flakes, rosemary, chopped pecans and hot sauce in a medium bowl.

7.  Spoon over the potatoes, pushing some of the sauce into the slices.

8. Add 2 pinches of butter to each potato.

9.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven for one hour at 350 degrees.  Then, remove foil and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.

When to potatoes are tender, they are done.  Top with pomegranate seeds.

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Enjoy with your favorite sweet & spicy friends!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 



Sausage & Cannellini Stuffed Eggplant

During these gorgeous golden days of early fall, we are still enjoying summer's harvest and eating outside.  Every last minute cherished before it becomes completely Siberian and we are under blankets, eating carbs. 

This weekend I noticed that our basil is still full of green leaves and eggplants at the market are gorgeous and abundant through October.   I love stuffing eggplant this way. I've featured it here before with tomatoes, basil & cheese.  I love eating a half an eggplant as my dinner... and then the other half for lunch the next day.   

Here's what you'll need for two halves:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper or 3-4 baby peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • olive oil, 3-5 tbsp
  • 3 links of Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 16 oz can of cannellini beans
  • red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp
  • salt & pepper
  • mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup, shredded
  • parmesan, 1/4 cup, grated
  • basil, a bunch chopped or torn (some for cooking, some for garnish)

Here's what you'll do:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

2.  Prepare the eggplant:  Cut the eggplant in half.  Scoop the meat from the halves and chop.  Coat the eggplant shells with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Place on a baking sheet, cut-side up and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes; until the eggplant shells are tender.  Remove from the oven and reserve.

3.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the sausage, crumbling the meat at it cooks.  Once completely browned, remove the sausage from the pan and reserve.

4.  In the same skillet over medium high heat, add 3 tbsp. oil, garlic, cubed eggplant, chopped peppers, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.   

5.  Cook on the stovetop until the vegetables become tender.  Add the tomatoes and beans.  Return sausage to pan.  Stir in most of your chopped basil, combine and simmer about 15 minutes.  Taste to adjust seasoning. Add salt & pepper if needed.

6.  Scoop the eggplant/sausage mixture into the eggplant halves.

7.  Top each half with mozzarella and parmesan.  Return to the oven for 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted.

8.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with torn basil leaves and more grated parmesan.

Mangia!

xo & a pinch

Kelly