Slow Cooked Asian Spiced Pork Lettuce Wraps

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We're not "paleo" but dinners like this remind me of the paleo concept... meat and greens in a big bowl.  Dig in Caveladies!

This one has an Asian twist, so you can feel a bit more sophisticated when you pile that luscious pork into a lettuce wrap and bite.   However you see it, you'll feel great eating it!

  • 22-3 lb. pork shoulder, cut into large chunks
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • soy sauce, 1/2 cup
  • rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup
  • chicken stock, 3 cups
  • fish sauce, 1 cup
  • brown sugar, 1/2 cup
  • chili paste, 1/4 cup
  • vegetable oil, about 4 tbsp
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 scallion, chopped (for garnish)
  • lime (for garnish)
  • butter lettuce, used as shells

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Pat pork dry and season with salt & pepper.  In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, cover the bottom with vegetable oil and brown the pork on all sides.  Do it in batches if needed. Don't overcrowd the pot.   Remove the browned pork and reserve.

Discard any excess fat from the pot and add fresh oil.   Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.   Add soy sauce and vinegar.  Let simmer and reduce by half.  Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar, chili paste and clementine zest and juice.  Let simmer 5 minutes.

Return the pork to the pot, cover and place in the oven for two hours.  After one hour, turn the pork pieces over.  After another 30 minutes, remove the lid and let cook uncovered for the last 30 minutes.    Remove the pork from the pot and shred, using forks.  Garnish with lime and scallions.  Serve with lettuce to be eaten as lettuce wraps. 

Eat beautifully,

xo Measure & Pinch

 

 

Chilled Corn & Basil Summer Soup

I never believe it when people say "I'm too hot to eat!"  How could that be true?  Ok, maybe some days are too hot for meatballs and Chianti but... well, is that even true?   

Now, "I'm too hot to cook"  I get.  Hanging over the grill or the stovetop is not ideal during a heat wave.  This little chiller resolves that issue.  It also answers the old summer time question of "what do I do with all of this corn and basil?"  Its delicious and satisfying too.

Heres what you'll need for 4 small bowls:

  • 4 ears of corn, cooked (we roasted ours, but boiled is just fine)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk (fat content, your choice... we use whole organic milk)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil, for garnish

Equipment:  Standard Blender or Immersion Blender

Here's what you'll do:

1.   In a large bowl, combine the kernels from THREE ears of corn, (reserve the kernels from one ear for later), lime juice, minced garlic, milk, chopped basil, salt & pepper (about 1/4 tsp each).

2.  Blend everything together until you achieve your desired consistency.   Add more milk if you wish.   Taste for proper seasoning.

3.  Once youre finished blending, stir in the kernels from the last ear of corn.   Chill for at least an hour before serving.   Ladle into bowls and garnish with basil and olive oil.

Stay cool.

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 


Cooking Light: Caribbean Grilled Pork with Pineapple Salsa

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Cooking LIght magazine is a favorite of Measure & Pinch.  It is always chock full of recipes and our favorite part- great pictures along with almost every recipe.   We get a ton of inspiration from it (when we have a chance to read it!).  On my recent vacation with my husband, I didn't bring a "beach read", rather I couldn't wait to get back into my favorite magazines.  I brought Cooking Light April and May editions.  I read them cover to cover on the flights and came home fresh and ready to make... Caribbean Pork!   The funny part is, I was so tired from traveling, that Pam made this for me & the boys while I watched and sipped a Painkiller! (see our last post)

Pam & I always let you know where we are coming from; some recipes are "adapted from.." or "inspired by."  This one, we call an "inspired lift".  We changed a few things, like the salsa ingredients and method, but we lifted the pork recipe to the letter.  Ultimately, we love Cooking Light's idea of serving the jerk spiced pork on a bed of tropical sweetness.  It's really wonderful.

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut in half crosswise
  • 4-5 slices of fresh pineapple, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • McCormick's Caribbean Jerk Seasoning, 1 tbsp
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • lime, zest and juice
  • 1 red pepper, sliced

For the salsa:

Combine the pineapple, pepper, tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime (zest and juice) in a bowl.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Let rest while you cook the pork.  When the pork is ready and rested,  pour salsa onto serving platter to create a bed for the sliced meat.

For the pork:

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat.  Rub jerk seasoning, salt & pepper over the pork.   Grill 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally.  Take off of the grill and cover with foil.  Let rest for 5 minutes.   Slice and serve on top of salsa.   Do a final season with salt (if you wish) and lime juice.  

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Thank you Cooking Light for your endless inspiration for healthy meals.  Thank you Pam for executing this great dinner and thank YOU for reading!

Enjoy your weekend!

Measure & Pinch

Pam & Kelly

 

 

WW Rainbow Slaw

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Rainbow Slaw-  2 PP per 1 cup serving.

I am not always on a diet, but when I am, I'm on Weight Watchers.

After having my kids, I needed to do something to get myself back in shape.  Being eternally gluttonous, but also pretty active, I'd never really been on a diet -diet.  In the past, I'd skip the third slice of pizza or put in some extra time at the gym if I felt squeezed in my jeans.   Now, being 40+, having two kids and a very full-time, sedentary job, my old plans were.. in a word, hilarious.

So, I went hard-core... well, not exactly.  I joined Weight Watchers on-line and (cue the angel music... aaaaaahhh)  my world changed.   I lost 30 lbs in about 4 months.  I was back into my pre-baby jeans and feeling great.   I've kept it off with a few slips here and there (wine weight).  The wonderful lesson from WW is that you know what you need to do to get back on "track" (see what I did there?)

My husband and I are taking a long-awaited, very necessary, island vacation this spring.  We planned it months in advance so that we can have time to dream about it (and get beach-ready).  Of course, I'm relying on my old friend, Weight Watchers  to get me there and I'm tracking my points as we speak.   

Today I'm sharing a great recipe from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.  Its a slaw with lots of color and extra flavors.  I love to make a big batch and munch on it all week.  It goes with almost everything.  I love the WW cookbook for its ideas, options and points value per serving, but I tweek everything like crazy.   I'm a tweeker, what can I say?  

Heres what you'll need:

  • 3 tbsp. reduced fat mayonnaise (I like Hellmann's Low Fat)
  • 3 tbsp. light sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups sliced red cabbage
  • 3 cups sliced green cabbage
  • 3 large carrots, spiralized (or grated)
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped into sticks
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, juice and finely grated rind

For the dressing:

1. In a large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lemon rind and juice, salt and pepper until combined.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss until evenly coated.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.   You can also make this a day ahead and keep overnight.  Let stand for 20-30 minutes and toss again before serving.   Add additional dill sprigs to garnish, if you wish.

How do you get yourself "beach ready?"

xo & a pinch

Kelly

 

 

Shepherds Pie, the good for you version

Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie

I love it when I try something for the first time and it turns out "blog worthy!" 

This one is not only blog worthy but, with St Patty's Day around the corner, the timing couldn't be more perfect! 

As you know, "McSweeney" is not only how I reference my husband but, his name is his heritage (& Kelly's too!) Being 100% Italian I become Irish once a year like most of us on St Patty's Day but, this year I'm trying to stay Irish all month! 

Hence the pie... 

Shepherd's Pie is a classic Irish dish and fortunately for me, in its truest form, is made with braised short ribs! A measure & pinch favorite! (see recipe here or search "short ribs" on this site)

Since Kelly & I are leading the diet charges in our respective homes, for the topping (traditionally buttery mashed potatoes)  I decided to use less potato and add chopped cauliflower. 

Ingredients

  • Leftover braised short ribs with its sauce
  • One cup frozen peas
  • One cup frozen carrots
  • Two Idaho potatoes (baked) 
  • One head cauliflower (ground up in your Cuisinart)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup non fat milk
  • Kosher salt 
  • Pepper 

Equipment:

  • One glass or ceramic pie plate
  • Food processor 
  • hand mixer or potato masher

Preheat your oven to 400 

In a big mixing bowl add the meat from 4-5 ribs and 1 and 1/2 cups of sauce. Add your peas and carrots & stir together so everyone is covered in sauce.

Take one tablespoon of butter & use to grease the pie plate. Once all buttered, pour in the mixture. 

Uncovered (or what I call, now you see me..) 

Uncovered (or what I call, now you see me..) 

Rinse the bowl & add the contents of your baked potato (scoop them out) and 1 and 1/2 cup of the food processed cauliflower. In your microwave add two tablespoons of butter to your skim milk until hot (1 minute 15 seconds should do it) Add at least one teaspoon of kosher salt and some pepper to taste. Now, pour into potato and cauliflower mixture & mash! I used my hand mixer, instead of a mashing myself. 

When good & mixed, place a top your beautiful pie, voila!

Topped! (or, now you don't!) :) 

Topped! (or, now you don't!) :) 

If you've prepared this ahead and you're putting it in from your fridge (very cold) it will cook 40 minutes foil cover on, last 20 uncovered. If baking right away, 30/15.

I hope you love it as much as we did! And, please let me reiterate, this is the "good for you version.."  Let us know what you think & how you're being Irish this month! 

Enjoy, xo measure

Cauliflower Leek Soup

Any good Irishman knows that potatoes and leeks just go together, much like peas & carrots!   As an Irish-Italian woman getting ready for a beach vacation, I think cauliflower and leeks are even better friends.  (Ok, I added 2 small yukon golds.  The Irish made me do it!)  The small amount of potato added to this giant pot of cauliflower soup adds the creaminess and satisfying texture that you're looking for with no added cream, milk or butter.  

All I can say about this soup is my ever picky, carnivorous, veg-adverse husband said  "Its surprisingly really delicious!"

Here's what you'll need:

  • leeks, 4-5 stalks, cut, soaked and rinsed well
  • garlic, 2-3 cloves, chopped
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • potatos, 2 small or 1 large, peeled and roughly chopped
  • cauliflower, 1 large head, chopped
  • vegetable broth, 32 oz.
  • salt & pepper
  • cheddar, (we used vintage Irish Cheddar "KerryGold"), shredded for topping
  • chives or scallions, chopped for topping

1.   Over medium high heat, add olive oil to a Dutch oven or large soup pot.  Add garlic and leeks.  Cook for 8-10 minutes or until leeks are softened.

2.  Add potatoes, cauliflower, vegetable stock to pot. Season with salt & pepper.  Let pot come to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 25 minutes, when all vegetables are softened.    Taste to adjust salt & pepper.

3.  If you are using a blender, let the soup cool completely.  Then, in batches, blend mixture until smooth with some small chunks (if desired).  Then re-heat to serve.

4.  Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or your desired consistency.

5.  Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheddar and chopped chives.

"For each petal on the shamrock this brings a wish your way. Good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day." 

xo & a pinch

Kelly


Herb Roasted Vegetables with Feta

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"Eating Clean" what does it really mean? 

Everyone has their way of eating, their diet, their lifestyle.  Lately, there seems to be a label for every type.  Personally, I've always loved vegetables, felt so-so about meat, loved local farm fresh produce and fish, fish, fish.  I'll eat anything that swims, crawls or burrows in any body of water.  Also, I'll also eat any cookie, any type, any time, always.  It turns out, I'm an "80/20, wanna-be vegetarian, locavorte, pescatarian cookie monster."   By the way, I learned all of these labels from Instagram, so please don't quote me.

Anyway, this type of "recipe" has been part of my diet since birth.  Turns out my mom was also an 80/20, wanna-be vegetarian, locavorte, pescatarian, cookie monster!   (giggles from Heaven)   Ultimately, I think the goal is a nice balanced  healthy "clean" diet that also includes wine & treats.

This is a roasted vegetable dish that's eating clean without even knowing it.  (is cheese unclean?)  Fresh vegetables, naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber.. all the good stuff.   I toss in the salty, feta for richness and some dill to brighten it up.   Its perfect on its own or as a perfect accompaniment to any pesca-loca-carnivore meal!

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3-4 peppers, mixed colors, chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1-2 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • rosemary, small bunch, stems removed
  • dill, small bunch, chopped
  • thyme, small bunch, stems removed
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled or cubed 
  • salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you chop your vegetables and herbs.  Add all vegetables and herbs to a large shallow sheet pan.  Toss with olive oil, salt & pepper.  Roast for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables soften and brown.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

Toss roasted vegetables with feta cheese.  Garnish with extra herbs.

Vegan, Vegetarian,  Carnivore, Carb-phobe, Paelo, etc....So, what type of eater are you?

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

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Italian Wedding Soup

How perfect is Italian Wedding Soup on Valentines?  It says it all; comfort, home, warmth, love, Italian-ness... best of all, its easy.  My little boy Valentines like it too!

Here's what you'll need for the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 5 links Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 white onion, grated or minced
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • fresh parsley, small handful, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Gently combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Create 1 inch balls and set aside until ready to brown. 

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.   Brown meatballs on all sides 8-10 minutes total, set aside.   Brown in batches.

For the soup:

  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 32 oz box of chicken stock
  • White wine, a splash
  • 1 cup of small cut pasta.  We used Stelline
  • baby spinach or escarole, a small bunch, washed and roughly chopped

Heat the olive oil pn medium-high heat in the (unwashed) Dutch oven, (the brown bits from the meatballs adds delicious flavor).  Add the chopped onion, carrots and celery, season with salt & pepper,  and cook for about 5-8 minutes.  Add wine and cook for a 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, meatballs and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, add the greens and cover for 1 minute until wilted.   Salt & pepper until you love it. 

Cook the pasta in a separate pot according to package instructions and add desired amount of cooked pasta to each serving of soup.  OR Stir in the pasta and cook for 8 minutes, until pasta is cooked.  

*When heating left-over soup, the pasta gets too soft and I cringe. To avoid this, I cook the pasta separate.   If you don't mind, or you don't care for left-overs, feel free to just cook the pasta to the soup pot.

be sure to put your heart in it!

be sure to put your heart in it!

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Garnish each bowl with extra grated parmesan and enjoy.

A glass of wine and a kiss makes it a perfect meal!

What special dinner will you make for your Valentine?

xo and pinch,

Kelly

 



No-Pasta Butternut Squash Lasagna

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There is no pasta in this lasagna. Is that against all rules of lasagna?  Probably.

I'm not really a resolution person, but after the holidays,  I like to detox a bit and get back to healthier food with vegetables taking center stage.  This is a perfect prep-ahead dinner for a weeknight.   It freezes and re-heats nicely and makes a great meal with a salad.   I purposely kept this on the light side, but adding browned crumbled chicken sausage or lean beef to the layers would make this dish sing!  

Once again, those carb-perfect lasagna noodles are sitting, waiting, patiently on the pantry shelf.  We will reunite soon, I promise, but until then... the butternuts.

Heres what you'll need:

  • 1 large butternut squash, sliced with a vegetable peeler or mandoline into ribbons.
  • 2 cups simple marinara sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup low fat ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • nutmeg, a pinch
  • 1/2 cup shredded low fat mozzarella
  • dried oregano
  • salt & pepper
  • grated parmesan cheese

For a quick and simple marinara:

  • 1  28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • red pepper flakes, a pinch
  • fresh basil, 4-5 leaves ripped (optional)
  • salt & pepper

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add butter, olive oil, garlic and pinch of red pepper flake.  Heat until garlic is tender (but not brown), add tomatoes and oregano.  Season with salt & pepper.   Let simmer approximately 30 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add basil in the last 5 minutes.

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare your ricotta cheese:

Combine ricotta with egg, parsley, salt & pepper, parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

Assemble your lasagna :

In medium baking dish, ladle marinara and spread on the bottom of the dish.  lay and even layer of squash noodles, layer ricotta, layer sauce, repeat until the dish is full. Top with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella.  Sprinkle with extra oregano if you wish.

 

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Cover with foil, place on a sheet tray to avoid spills in your oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbling.   Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.   Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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Mangia!

xo & a pinch

Kelly


Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

                            Muy verde! 

                            Muy verde! 

I have this fascination with all things Mexican; the gorgeous people, the rich culture, the melodic language and of course, the food!   It all started on my first business trip to Mexico City.  I was covering Deloitte Globally for Sun Microsystems at the time and our team in Mexico treated me like gold, always. They nicknamed me "Pamelita" and entertained my horridly elementary Spanish whenever I came to visit. Anyway, so began my love for all things Mexican. 

Kelly loves it when I make these. It's one of her favorite Pamelita recipes. I've made them two ways because we're trying to lose a bit of blog-induced weight! One is traditional, with corn tortillas and the other is slightly better for us; no carbs.  We rolled the enchiladas in cabbage rather than tortillas.   Both were delicious! The cabbage-rolled enchilada was surprisingly fantastic!  The cabbage gave it a tasty tang that the corn tortilla didn't have.

In my humble Italian-girl opinion, the most important part of the enchilada is the salsa verde.  The sauce is a refreshing, yet spicy addition and it's very easy to make. 

What you'll need: 

  • 6 large tomatillos (husked) 
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 white onion, lightly chopped
  • 1/2 cup, chopped cilantro, not packed
  • 1 Serrano chile pepper, whole
  • 1 teaspoon Outerlimits hot sauce   
  • Food processor or blender  

In a large pot over high heat, cover the tomatillos with water and let come to a boil.  Lower to medium high heat and simmer 5-6 minutes. When they're done, their color changes to army or olive green.  Reserve  1/2 cup of the water they boiled in and toss all the ingredients into your food processor.

Voila! It's that easy.. 

The enchilada preparation is simple, as well. The chicken can me made any way you'd like but, the traditional preparation is boiled. In this recipe, you simply boil 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a pot. (You can also use chicken breasts or chicken with the skin on).  In the pot I usually add 1/2 a white onion and 3 cloves of garlic. Boil until cooked but, keep in mind, these do bake afterwards so, be careful not to overcook them. When they're done, you can start your tortilla preparation while they cool. Take a fork to each thigh and pull them a part into strips for the enchilada.

The next step is in the tortilla preparation. You'll need a big frying pan or a small frying pan and a lot of patience! I use a big frying pan and fry the corn tortillas 3 at a time. You'll need corn oil in the pan, let it get hot and place the corn tortillas in the pan. This process is not to get them crispy, it's just to get them nimble. Place in the oil for about 15 seconds each side. You can lay them on paper towels until you're ready to use them and make sure you sprinkle them with kosher salt. 

To assemble the enchiladas,  pour 1 cup of the salsa verde on the bottom of the glass 9 x 13 baking dish.   Put some chicken and shredded cheddar into each enchilada and drag it through the dish, catching some salsa.  Repeat this process until your dish is full.  

Once the pan is full, sprinkle more salsa on top and top with cheese. I bake them at 400 uncovered for 20 minutes, this gets them a little brown on the outside and allows the cheese to melt. 

Let rest for 5 minutes and garnish by sprinkling 1/4 cup white onion on top and some fresh cilantro.

And, again, for the cabbage.. same drill as the tortillas in terms of filling them but, slightly different preparation. Place the full head of cabbage into a pot, bring to a boil and let boil for 15 minutes. Take the head out of the pot and let the cabbage cool completely. Peel pieces gently off the cabbage to form your healthy "tortillas." You'll still drag the tortilla through the salsa but, you definitely don't need to fry them in oil :) 

The process for stuffing them and lining them up in the baking dish is the same as the corn tortillas. 

Let us know what you think and enjoy! xo Measure

Braised Pork Shoulder with Asian Aromatics over Stir Fried Veggie Spirals

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Our Boston bean Pam, moved to San Francisco to invest in her tech career when she hadn't yet decided on settling down.  Many amazing things happened in her life during that time, but when you ask her about it, she mostly just talks about the food!  Asian-Fusion, her absolute favorite.

A few months ago, Pam literally hopped with happiness when I told her that I was going to start focusing on her favorite cuisine.   After a few tries and tweaks, lo and behold, Pam has a new favorite dinner!  Here it is and I have to admit, it is really fantastic.  The pork comes out fall-apart-tender with sweet and spicy flavors.   The recipe is inspired by Chef Anne Burrell, also one of Pam's favorites.

We served the pork over a tri-color spiralized vegetable stir-fry using some of the sauce from the pork.  We sent some carrots, zucchini and a large daikon through the spiralizer before stir-frying in a wok.  If you don't have a spiralizer, slicing with a vegetable peeler will give you ribbons rather than spirals- just as good.  If you don't have a wok, a large fry pan will work just as well.  For those of you saying "daikon?", its a winter radish with a mild flavor that looks like a large white carrot.  Its perfect for this dish.  Take a look for daikon in your produce department near the root vegetables.

To me, these ingredients are strong and exciting.  I could spread chili paste on toast for breakfast!  I love it.   Also, adding brown sugar to any savory dish makes be so happy.  

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  • 2  2-3 lb. pork shoulders, each cut into 4-5 large chunks
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • soy sauce, 1/2 cup
  • rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup
  • chicken stock, 3 cups
  • fish sauce, 1 cup
  • brown sugar, 1/2 cup
  • chili paste, 1/4 cup
  • 3 clementines, zest and juice
  • vegetable oil, about 4 tbsp
  • salt & pepper
  • cilantro leaves (for garnish)
  • 1 scallion, chopped (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Pat pork dry and season with salt & pepper.  In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, cover the bottom with vegetable oil and brown the pork on all sides.  Do it in batches if needed. Don't overcrowd the pot.   Remove the browned pork and reserve.

Discard any excess fat from the pot and add fresh oil.   Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.   Add soy sauce and vinegar.  Let simmer and reduce by half.  Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar, chili paste and clementine zest and juice.  Let simmer 5 minutes.

Return the pork to the pot, cover and place in the oven for two hours.  After one hour, turn the pork pieces over.  After another 30 minutes, remove the lid and let cook uncovered for the last 30 minutes.    Remove the (very tender) pork from the pot and reserve.   Place the pot on the stove top over medium heat and simmer the sauce until it thickens.   Serve the pork with the sauce.

For the veggie spirals, you'll need:

  • 2 zucchini (spiralized)
  • 1 daikon (spiralized)
  • 3 large carrots (spiralized)
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • waterchestnuts, 1 small can, sliced
  • ladleful of sauce with garlic and ginger from the pork pot
  • cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tbsp. hoison sauce

In a wok or large fry pan, add a bit of vegetable oil and the sliced onion.  Saute  the onion until browned.   Add a ladleful of sauce from the pork pot, making sure to scoop bits of garlic and ginger.   Stir in hoison and teriyaki sauces.   Add carrots, daikon, zucchini, waterchestnuts and saute for 3-5 minutes until the vegetable soften a bit, but not completely. (al dente)

Pour into a serving dish and top with cilantro, if you wish. 

For each serving, we piled the veggie spirals onto the plate and topped with one or two pieces of pork. 

Enjoy!
xo & a pinch,

Kelly

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

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Here in New Jersey its frigid.  Its 100% winter.  Sometimes when its this cold, I like to ignore it.   Not completely, I mean shorts & flip flops would be evidence of insanity, but a little mid-week, melt-me fiesta...? extremely sane.

This soup is perfect for my mood right now.  Its warm, spicy and creamy with a hint of the sunny, bright tropics.  Lime & cilantro will do that.   Margaritas will too.

Here's what you'll need:

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  • 2  13 oz cans of black beans, rinsed
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 
  • 2  white onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • cilantro, 3 tbsp. chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Lime, juiced
  • Hot sauce, 3-4 shakes (we like Outerlimits Jalepeno Lime)
  • salt & pepper

For Garnish:

  • fat free sour cream
  • lime slices
  • cilantro
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Here's what you'll do:

1.  In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, add the olive oil and chopped onion.  Cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes until translucent and slightly browned.  Stir often.

2.  Add the garlic and all spices including salt & pepper, stir to combine.   Add broth, beans and sweet potato.  Add water or extra broth to cover, approximately 2 cups.   Heat until it reaches a boil.

3.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until sweet potatoes are fork tender.   

4. If you are using a blender, let the soup cool.  Then ladle 3/4 of the soup into the blender in batches.  Blend until smooth and reserve in a separate large bowl.   Return the blended soup to the remaining unblended soup into the pot and stir.  Store or reheat at this point.

5.  If you are using a emulsion blender, blend leaving some chunks of potato and whole beans. 

6.  Once blended to your preference, stir in lime juice.  Taste for deliciousness and season with salt & pepper as needed.   Ladle into serving bowls and top with lime slices, sour cream and cilantro leaves.

Stay cozy, my friends.

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

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Minestrone with Great Northern Beans & Pesto

I love Christmas but for me, winter weather isn't ideal.  The cold, the early darkness, the dreary skies...I'm more of a flip-flop & margarita person!  Rather than just wish it all away, I make an effort to look out for the great things about the season.  Third to flannel shirts and red wine, soup is on the list of "a few of my favorite things."  (yes, I sang that part)

When you come home from work to a dark & chilly house, its so nice to set a pot of soup on the stove while you get yourself settled.   I make soup on the weekends when I'm cooking other things.  Its so easy to chop a few extra carrots & celery, a bit more garlic and throw together something satisfying, warm and healthy for mid-week.  

On the other hand, overcooked pasta is on my list of least favorite things.  When you re-heat soup, the pasta just softens... (I cringe).  For this reason, I boil the pasta separate.  

For this batch, I soaked and Great Northern Beans, which is a nice thing to do when time allows.  You get a bit more texture from the beans and you control the sodium, but a can of cannellini works just as well.

Heres what you'll need:

  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1  28 oz. can crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 28 oz. can of chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Great Northern Beans, soaked OR 1 large can cannellini or other white beans
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • spinach, medium bunch
  • salt & pepper
  • Pesto to top, if desired
  • Parmesan cheese, grated on top, if desired
  • Ditalini, cooked

Heres what you'll do:

For the beans:

Inspect beans while rinsing under cold water. Cover beans with water and soak overnight.   Drain. 

For the Soup:

1.  In a large pot on medium heat, add olive oil, carrots, onions, celery and garlic and cook until tender. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt & pepper.  Let simmer on low heat until tomatoes cook, stirring occastionally, about 30 minutes.

For the pesto:

In a food processor, add 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 1 garlic clove, chopped, 1/4 cup of pine nuts (or walnuts), 1/4 cup grated parmesan and pulse until chopped.  Drizzle in about 1/4 cup of olive oil and continue processing until smooth.   (Or try "Pistachio Pesto" using our Search feature.) 

To serve:

In a shallow serving bowl, add cooked pasta, the soup and top with pesto and more parmesan cheese. 

Stay Cozy!

xo & a pinch!

Kelly

 

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Spicy Sweet Potato Bean Burritos

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My writing talents, or lack thereof, limit my ability to express my affection for these burritos.  I don't know if I'm just hard-wired for sweet potatoes & spices or whether I'm just obsessed with these little pockets of wonderful.  The only words that come to mind are creamy, spicy and splendiferous-ness.  They're also a good place to stuff your left over sweet potatoes.

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

  • 2 sweet potatoes, baked or microwaved until fork tender
  • Flour tortillas, 4 - warmed in the oven or microwave
  • cilantro, small bunch
  • black beans, 1 can
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Cumin 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder 1/2 tsp
  • Hot sauce, 2-3 shakes.  (We love Outerlimits Jalepeno & Lime)
  • olive oil, approx. 2 tbsp
  • salt & pepper
  • Lime, slices for squeeze & garnish
  • salsa or pico de gallo (see our "Not so Naughty Nachos" post for perfect, but easy pico)

For the beans:  Heat a skillet over medium heat, add a swirl of olive oil.  Add beans and 1 glove of crushed garlic.  Add cumin, chili powder, hot sauce,  salt and pepper.  Mush with a potato masher (or just your fork) until chunky.  Add water to gain a creamy consistency.  Heat for 5-8 minutes.

To assemble the burritos:

Spread about 2 tbsp. of sweet potato on each tortilla.  Add about 2 tbsp. of bean mixture. Top with cilantro, squeeze of lime and salsa or pico, if you'd like.

xo & a pinch

Kelly

 

 

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Caramelized Shallot and Apple Brussels Sprouts

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Brussels sprouts. Perhaps the most underrated vegetable of all time. Well, at least the ones from Belgium. Love them. And, this little number is a delicious way to serve them. You can totally use this as a Thanksgiving side dish, too. It’s really just one giant slicing exercise. Slicing the shallots, slicing the Brussels sprouts. In terms of a tip on slicing, you should make your first slice lengthwise in both, then turn them flat and slice them up! 

 Once all those lovelies are sliced up, you’re good to go.

 Start with ½ the butter in the saucepan with the shallots. This is a lot like caramelizing onions, you take it low and slow after the initial medium high jolt. As they become good and soft, about 10-15 minutes you add the sugar and the cider vinegar, stir another 3-5 minutes and they will brown for you.

In a separate pan, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your fabulous little sliced sprouts. Sauté until the edges get a little brown, maybe 7/8 minutes. Add one full cup of apple juice and 4 tablespoons butter then, keep on the stove until the liquid evaporates. They get yummy but, stay pretty green, another 2-3 minutes.

Now, add the caramelized shallots. Before you serve it, give it a little salt & pepper love, stir, serve and enjoy! 

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • ¾-1 pound shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup apple cider or juice
  • Salt & pepper

Enjoy, Measure! xox 

PS Happy Thanksgiving from our families to yours.

Turkey Bolognese over "Zoodles"

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Poor pasta!  Once a star staple on our weekly dinner menu is now sitting quietly on the pantry shelf.  Our efforts to eat more vegetables have lead us to allowing zucchini, of all things,  to be the star.  I mean really, who truly loves zucchini?  Lets be honest, it has virtually no flavor.  Its pretty much the tofu of vegetables.; desperately needing flavorful company or breading and a deep fry bath!

That being said, the lack of significant flavor and its shape is what makes zucchini the perfect faux pasta!  Slice it with a vegetable peeler and you get perfect ribbons resembling pappardelle.

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Here's what you'll need for Turkey Mushroom Bolognese:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 6-8  mushrooms, chopped  (we used baby bellas)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1.    Swirl olive oil into a dutch oven or large sauce pan and cook onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms and carrot over medium heat.  Let the vegetables soften and the onion become translucent, about 8-10 minutes. 

2.  Remove the cooked vegetables with a slotted spoon and reserve in a bowl.   Add more olive oil to the pot and add the ground turkey.  Season with salt and pepper and brown the meat, break apart the meat as it cooks, about 5-8 minutes.

3.   Once the turkey is browned and crumbled,  return the cooked vegetables to the pot.   Stir in the crushed tomatoes and season again with salt, pepper.  Add oregano and red pepper flakes.  Cook on medium-low heat allowing to gently simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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For the "Zoodles":

  • 3-4 medium zucchini
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Using a potato peeler, simply peel zucchini into thin ribbons.  Once you have all of your zucchini ribbons, toss into a saute pan with olive oil salt & pepper.  Saute for about 3 minutes until slightly softened.

To serve, pour sauce over zucchini ribbons.  Top with grated cheese or here, we topped with a bit of fresh ricotta.

We'll see you soon Pasta!  Until then, zoodles!

xo & a pinch

Kelly

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Forbidden Shrimp

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Black is the new rice.   Shrimp & rice is an easy quick dinner, but why not add some spicy drama to your table?  Substituting forbidden rice for the usual white or brown is an easy swap with big results.   There are no special cooking instructions, so as you're cooking it like regular rice, you can enjoy its deep black color and nutty aroma.   Couple with spicy, hot sautéed shrimp and you've got a knock-out of a dinner! 

Black rice has some added nutritional benefits too, like iron, vitamin E and more antioxidants than blueberries.  We used some coconut milk to prepare this rice, but fish stock or plain water would be just fine.  

To make the Rice:

  • Black rice, 2 cups
  • Coconut milk, 2 cups,  Water 2 cups  
  • salt

Bring ingredients to a boil in a large covered saucepan.   Lower heat and let simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.

For the spicy shrimp:

  • 1 lb peeled, tail-on Shrimp
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Outer Limits Jalepeno Lime Sauce 
  • thyme leaves, for garnish
  • salt & pepper

In a large skillet, heat olive oil, butter, garlic and red pepper over medium heat.   Add hot sauce and sauté until shrimp is pink and opaque, 5-8 minutes for medium-sized shrimp.

We love to use Outer Limits Hot Sauce not only for its zesty and complex flavors made with fresh, all natural ingredients but also because its crafted by a local father & son team!  Pick up a bottle and give it try!  outerlimitshotsauce.com.

 

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To serve, place rice on a large serving platter or bowl and pour shrimp with juices over the rice.   Garnish with thyme leaves or lime slices.

xo & a pinch

Kelly

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*

 

 

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

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This chicken is such a staple in my house that I can practically make it in my sleep!   Its truly one of those "pinch" aka no-recipe recipes.  My husband thinks its blogworthy (a new word in our house) because its always really juicy.  It also goes with just about anything and keeps well in the fridge for mid-week throw togethers.

Its really easy and turns out super juicy, fragrant and delicious.   Its no wonder.  You just take some chicken and add a bunch of the following:

garlic...  lemon.... herbs.

The holy trinity of delicious things.

The divine secret is ...rest.

Yes. Once you combine all of your ingredients, leave it alone.  Let it rest quietly nestled in a large food storage bag for as long as overnight.  The longer you wait, the juicer the chicken will be.   (I think its the lemon doing all of the hard work)

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 lbs of chicken drums and thighs (about 8-10 pieces)
  • 1 lemon, juice and rind
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Herbs, small bunch of each, chopped:
    • Rosemary
    • Thyme
    • Sage
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil, about 1/4 cup
Heavenly

Heavenly

Here's what you'll do:

1.  Except for the chicken, whisk all of the above ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

2.  Place chicken parts into a large food storage zip-lock bag.

3.  Pour the lemon, herb, oil mixture over the chicken into the bag.   Roll the chicken in the bag, pound with your fists, if that's your thing.

4.  Rest......30 minutes, 1 hour, overnight.  The longer the better.

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5.      When you're ready to cook.  Heat a large skillet on medium- high heat.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove chicken from the bag and place in the pan.  Discard the marinade & bag.   Don't overcrowd your pan.  Cook in batches, if necessary.   Let the chicken carmalize on the bottom before you turn it over, about 8-10 minutes each side.

6.     Once all chicken is browned, transfer to the oven for 15 minutes until juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

7.     Once fully cooked.  Let the chichen rest for 5-8 minutes.

Amen

What's your favorite weekly staple?

xo and a pinch,
Kelly

 

 

 

Ala Vodka

Yes, it's Ziti 

Yes, it's Ziti 

Who doesn't love ala vodka!? Tomatoes & cream?! Hello.. Yum...

Here's my take on this one. You probably should use penne or something that soaks up that fabulous sauce or like me, accidentally grab ziti and make it a new trend!

This one was in honor of my mother in law, "McMom." She requested Vodka sauce, of course! I can make pretty much any other Italian sauce being Italian and all but, I'd never made it before.
What could be so hard, really? It seemed like the only difference between it and any other marinara type red sauce is vodka & cream. 

The good news!? I made it!

Kelly and I agreed, it's really quite something & it was totally blog worthy!

Here's what you need:

  • one medium onion, chopped finely (I always use spanish onions, no idea why)
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed not chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, yup, butter!
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil,
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes,
  • 1 cup of vodka (doesn't have to be good vodka)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Basil leaves (fresh, optional)
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 baby can of tomato paste
  • 1 lb of ziti (lol)
  • Grated parmesan to taste

Start this sauce much like a risotto. Take a heavy medium sauce pan or if you want to use mid sized le Crusette pot that's ok, too.

Butter and oil into a medium high heated pan, add the onion. Stir until they start to get clear in color and then, add the garlic & red pepper flakes (totally optional), one pinch of salt, three turns of pepper in your grinder (or say, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper)

Another 1-2 minutes or so, then add the vodka. Let it burn off roughly 3-4 minutes. Add both tomato sauces, lower heat to medium & cover for about 10 minutes, take cover off, another 5 minutes or so.

Add the cream but, be sure the sauce isn't boiling (it shouldn't be anyway but, just in case that wasn't clear, definitely don't want it to boil) Stir, taste, yum. You can serve within about 5 minutes of the creamy yumminess going in, how about that!?

Keep a 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining just in case you need it pending the thickness of the sauce.

After draining the pasta, put it back into the big empty pasta pot you used to boil the water. Pour the vodka sauce on it, stir and stir in the parmesan to taste. That's it! Just put it into a serving bowl top with a little basil garnish.

  • Personally, I didn't add the cream until I was close to serving time. I started the sauce before I  started the pasta. No idea why but, I think it's because I'm used to making other sauces which cook for hours and hours and they longer they cook the better they are but, this one is different. That said, that's not how this sauce rolls, it's quick. You could absolutely start your sauce at the same time you start boiling the water, no problem.

Enjoy!  xoxo Measure

 

Grilled Pizza Party!

Come on over!  Its a party!

Come on over!  Its a party!

Measure rolling out our dough! 

love this picture of me (measure) I feel like an Italian grandmother! 

love this picture of me (measure) I feel like an Italian grandmother! 

How wonderful is it that you can grab pizza dough from the grocery store and quickly transform yourself into a pizza Chef in your own kitchen?!   You can go from calling-it-in to Pizza Rock Star, so why not?   Grab some dough from your dairy section and get rolling.

We love Pizza night at the M&P kitchens.  Christmas, three years ago, Kelly & Pete bought us the greatest gift!  - a "pizza kit!"   It was awesome;  the stone, the giant wood spatula, the rolling cutter... all things pizza in a big basket.  Needless to say, we made pizza for months!  You don't really need all the bells & whistles, we just love them.   All you really need is a sheet pan and your grill.

As summer ends and our grilling days become numbered, we decided to take it outside.  Grilled Pizza...as if pizza needed to get more delicious.

All the crusts are rolled out into a large rectangle shape, only because that's the shape of the aluminum pan we had for the grill!  We grilled the dough for 8-10 minutes on medium-high heat and then began "dressing" each pizza to our hearts content.  The results were personalized pizza perfection!   Here are our four creations:

Roasted Tomato Basil Pizza

On a sheet pan, we tossed tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and roasted in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  We topped the grilled crust with the roasted tomatoes and fontina cheese and grilled again for 5-8 minutes to melt the cheese.  Close the grill top or tent with aluminum foil to melt the cheese.   Once off the grill, top with fresh basil leaves.

  • Three large tomatoes
  • And, if you want, some baby grape tomatoes (halved)
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of fontina cheese
  • Fresh basil
Tomato, Fontina, Basil 

Tomato, Fontina, Basil 

Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Pizza

Top the grilled crust with fresh ricotta, sliced roasted pepper and artichoke pieces and placed under the covered grill for 5 minutes.  We topped with salt, cracked peppercorns and torn basil leaves.

  • Marinated artichoke hearts
  • Marinated Roasted Red Peppers
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke 

Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke 

Mushroom, Thyme & Goat Cheese Pizza

  • 10-13 Mushrooms (we used Baby Bellas) sliced.
  • 1 Shallot, sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 bunch fresh Thyme
  • Goat Cheese 3 oz. log
  • Secret ingredients:
    • Brown Sugar (a generous sprinkle)
    • Worcestershire Sauce (a generous shake or 2)

Swirl olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers,  add shallot & 1/2 bunch of thyme (you can leave the stems on, let the leave fall off and pull the stems out later). Add mushrooms and reduce, probably about 5-10 minutes, then add the secret ingredients. The longer they cook on low heat, the better.  Add water (or red wine) to the mushrooms if you see the ingredients stiffening up.

Top grilled crust with generous sprinkle of crumbed goat cheese and mushroom topping.   Heat under covered grill for 5 minutes to warm cheese.   Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

Mushroom, Thyme & Goat Cheese Pizza

Mushroom, Thyme & Goat Cheese Pizza

Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza

  • 1 cup fontina cheese,
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/4 lb prosciutto
  • Olive oil drizzle (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeeze

Sprinkle the fontina across the grilled crust, top with slices of prosciutto and arugula. Drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and voila!

Prosciutto & Arugula Salad

Prosciutto & Arugula Salad

All were scrumptious!   But THE WINNER IS....

Mushroom, Thyme & Goat Cheese 

Mushroom, Thyme & Goat Cheese 

Mushroom, Thyme & Goat Cheese Pizza!

What a surprise!  Kelly's husband doesn't even like mushrooms!   We think it was the secret ingredients.... brown sugar for the win!

What is your favorite type of pizza?

Happy Pizza Grilling!

Mangia! Mangia! Mangia! ..y Bevi  !

Measure & Pinch xo