Sunday, October 30

Turkey Cutlets in Lemon Butter Sauce

I know I've been posting a lot of baked goods lately.  My apologies to those who are watching their girlish figures and not attempting to put on a winter hibernation coat.  For some reason, I've been completely uninterested in Halloween candy this year opting instead of treats of the baked and frosted variety!

But here is a reprieve for those of you in need of a break from the sweets.  It's one of my favorite, favorite, favorite family recipes.  One of those meals I'd request before going back to college or camp growing up, usually made in combination with my favorite mac & cheese

It's included in the cooking scrapbook my Mom made me when I was a freshman in college.  She made this out of the goodness of her heart since I was still largely uninterested in cooking at the time (take out or Gumby's pizza anyone??).  It's my most treasured gift or family heirloom... the item I grab in addition to Roy and the dog if there is ever a fire.  It's full of recipes and photos from family and friends, including some original recipes in my great grandmothers handwriting.  All our family favorites are in there along with some amusing stories and memories and the number to room service at my favorite hotel as a kid (you know, just in case this cooking thing doesn't work out).


I remember walking into the house as a kid and smelling my Mom making this.  It would make my mouth water pretty much immediately and it was one of those meals where no one was late to the table.  Making this now lets me recreate a little bit of that childhood nostalgia.  Although not without an adult beverage to go with the cooking process ;)


I made this with some roasted purple fingerling potatoes and a side salad that was supposed to include this as as a topping... except that Roy and I ate it all before dinner. Ooops!

This is perfect for all this chilly weather that seems hell bent on sticking around.  I would recommend using a 12" pan though, a 10" pan makes it really hard to get the job done!  I learned that lesson the hard way (and yes Mom, I'm picking up a new 12" pan today).  If you do use a 10" pan, place the cooked cutlets on an ovenproof plate and keep them in a 250 degree oven to stay warm while you cook the others.  Then place them back into the sauce in batches to finish cooking.


I love the lemon butter sauce that you make at the end with all the browned bits that are stuck in the bottom of the pan.  It makes my mouth so happy!!  The inclusion of water at the end might seem odd but you want it to help balance out the flavors.  Let the mixture cook down a bit and it will thicken up.



Turkey Cutlets with Lemon Butter Sauce
serves 6-8 (depends on how many cutlets your package has)

1 - 16 oz package of turkey cutlets
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
8 Tbsp butter
1 - 2 Tbsp lemon
1/4 cup water

Beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl.  Put flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  Bread the cutlets by dipping each cutlet into flour, then eggs, then back into flour.  Make sure they are coated well with flour.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet (12").  Add cutlets and cook until browned on both sides.  Remove to a platter and set aside. 

Leave the drippings in the pan and add lemon juice, water and remaining butter.  Loosen the browned bits in the pan and mix them into the sauce.  When the butter has melted, put the cutlets back in until they are fully cooked (they'll be tender).  Spoon the juices/gravy over the cutlets and serve.

Wednesday, October 26

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Fall is one of my favorite seasons for cooking.  I love all the produce, I love those cooler days that practically demand hearty comfort foods, I love making a meal out of tailgating snacks on Saturdays and Sundays, and I love lacing my baked goods (and coffee) with pumpkin. 


I stumbled on this recipe last fall and was instantly intrigued.  A Cooking Light recipe with pudding, pumpkin, and chocolate chips?  You had me at pudding! 

I was really impressed at how easy it was to make and how well the flavors came together and complimented each other.  The cinnamon gives it a bit of spice and the chocolate and pumpkin provide some sweetness.  The outside gets a little bit crunchy when it bakes but the pudding keeps the inside moist.  It tastes so rich and indulgent that I'm still a bit shocked that this comes from Cooking Light (nutrition info at the bottom of the post).

Shockingly, it was actually a bit too rich for my tastes.  So in the version below I cut the chocolate chips in half and I much prefer that version.  Warm it up, add a little butter and a cup of tea or coffee... it's perfect on a chilly fall morning!


A tip about the chocolate chips... coat them with a little bit of flour before adding to the batter.  This helps them stay in place when you pour the batter into the pan instead of sinking to the bottom.  Just toss them in a ziploc bag and add 2 big spoonfuls of flour.


Then pour into a colander or mesh sieve and shake until the excess flour falls away.  The chips will look dusty gray, they won't be completely white.


You'll note that you need 2 cups of canned pumpkin, which is about 1/8 of a cup more than you get in a 15 ounce can.  You also need 1/2 cup of fat-free vanilla pudding which is only a smidge more than you get in a single-serve Jello cup.  If you find yourself in a time crunch, just use 1 can of pumpkin and 1 single-serve Jello cup.  Although I haven't tried it this way, several reviewers said it was great. 

Since most of us don't need 2 loaves of pumpkin bread floating around the house, I suggest sharing one with a friend or wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and freezing it for a few months. 


Enjoy and stock up on pumpkin while you're at the store!  I'll be sharing a few more pumpkin recipes between now and Thanksgiving so we can all get our pumpkin fix before we're on to Christmas cookies and egg nog!


Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from Cooking Light
Makes 2 loaves (32 servings)

2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin (a little more than 1 can)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup fat-free vanilla pudding (about a single serve pudding cup)
4 large egg whites
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Put chocolate chips in a ziploc baggie, coat with flour and pour into a colander or mesh sieve and shake to remove excess flour.  Set aside.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack, and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

Amount per serving:
Calories: 152, Calories from fat: 30%, Fat: 5g, Saturated fat: 1.2g, Monounsaturated fat: 2.5g, Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g, Protein: 2g, Carbohydrate: 26.5g, Fiber: 1.1g, Cholesterol: 0.0mg, Iron: 1mg, Sodium: 137mg, Calcium: 10mg

Sunday, October 23

"Hello Lover" chocolate cakes

Do you remember that scene from Sex in the City where Carrie is standing in front of a store, enamored with a pair of Manolo Blahniks in the window and says "hello lover"?  If not, use this for a quick refresh.  Because these chocolate cakes?  These are my Manolo Blahniks.  These are the star of my "hello lover" moment. 


These cakes are a feast for your senses.  They smell wonderful, like a bakery set up shop in your kitchen.  The texture of the cakes is super moist and they fall apart if you try to pick one up with your hands.  They taste like a cross between a chocolate dessert and a Hostess cupcake... not too sweet, and not too rich... just delicious.  And the homemade frosting beats the pants off anything you've ever tasted in a can from the grocery store!  It hardens a little bit on the outside but stays gooey on the inside. 


I rarely make baked goods from scratch but this was completely worth it.  And it was surprisingly easy!  I got the recipe from (are you ready for a surprise??)  Kylie.  She was the one who originally inverted what I'm now calling the "Hello Lover" cakes.  There was a minor issue with cupcake liners and cakes getting stuck inside and coming out mangled.  So she flipped them over and drizzled the icing on top.  I actually think it's really elegant so I mimicked it when I made mine for book club (we read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle in case you're wondering).  And I used a lot of PAM spray to make sure they didn't stick.

Kylie also suggested using a good quality cocoa powder so I made sure to pick up some Ghirardelli instead of Hershey's.  I would agree with her that it gives you a really smooth chocolate flavor.  She also suggested using whole milk and since we all know that whole milk and cream make everything better, I took her advice :)

I will definitely be making these again!  Next time I think I'll try a bit less powdered sugar and a bit more milk to thin the icing out. Mine came out a bit thick so it didn't spread very well over the top of the cakes.  I would HIGHLY recommend these the next time you need a show stopper dessert.  Or the next time you're looking for a chocolate fix :)  This recipe couldn't be any easier and the personal size cakes are elegant and fun for a group!



from Simply Recipes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brewed coffee (or 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso powder or instant coffee granules)
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 Tbsp (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) olive oil

4 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray well with PAM baking spray .

In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt until there are no visible clumps (cocoa tends to clump up).

In a separate bowl, mix together the coffee (or water plus coffee granules), vinegar, vanilla extract, and olive oil.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until they just come together. The mixture should be thin and rather lumpy.

Ladle the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds of the way full. Place in oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a rack. Once cool, you can eat plain, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle or coat with frosting.

While the cupcakes are cooking, make the frosting. Melt butter in a small saucepan and remove from heat. Stir in the cocoa until smooth. Sprinkle in about a third of the powdered sugar, stir, then sprinkle in about a half of the milk. Keep alternating with the powdered sugar and either milk or vanilla, stirring after each addition, until the frosting is the consistency you want, and smooth. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar. If too stiff, add a little more milk or vanilla extract.

Check out the original recipe for tips on coffee selection and turning these cupcakes into one 8" cake.

Wednesday, October 19

Roasted Veggies with Israeli Couscous

This recipe is quickly turning into one of my favorites.  By now you probably know that I veer towards recipes with veggies.  For me, the more the better! 

This dish delivers on that and so much more.  I love it for a number of reasons... the roasted veggies make your house smell heavenly, it makes a ton of food, and it can be served warm or cold and as a main dish or a side salad.


Chopping and prepping the veggies can take 20-25 minutes, which is the only downside in my opinion.  I find that pouring a glass of wine to drink while you work helps the situation greatly ;) 


This recipe calls for Israeli couscous which is also called pearl couscous.  It's bigger than traditional North African couscous and tastes more like pasta than rice.  It's delicious too!

Think of this as the basic framework for a house that you can decorate however you want.  Use the veggies you have on hand or whatever is fresh at your grocery store or farmers market.  Chop them large or small to suit your preference.  And add the dressing to suit your taste.  I added about half the dressing the night I made it and then added a bit more the next day once it had time to blend with the veggies and couscous.  You can always add more later but you can't fix something you've overdressed.

Have fun with this, make it as a side salad with a nice steak or pack it for lunch instead of your usual sandwich! 


Roasted Veggies with Israeli Couscous

1 small eggplant, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped, seeds removed
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups dry Israeli Couscous
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/3 cup feta cheese

For the Balsamic Dressing:3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Roast the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop and arrange the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, onion, and garlic in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper. Place the pan in the oven and roast for about 30-35 minutes, stirring vegetables occasionally. Remove vegetables from the oven and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring three cups of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, stir in the Israeli couscous. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until couscous is just tender, with a slight bite, about 10 to 13 minutes. Drain into a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine couscous and roasted vegetables. Stir in the basil and feta cheese.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over couscous and vegetables and stir until well combined.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Sunday, October 16

The Eater Stands Corrected

The last 2 weekends have fallen squarely on the crazy side.  There were late nights in Wrigleyville, carb loading dinners with Chicago marathon runners, some serious fruit ninja competitions, long stretches watching football and eating bar food, and then yesterday a 1 AM reservation on court 3 at Whirly Ball. 

It also included some delicious homemade chili from friends John and Kylie.  Chili made with real ground beef and bacon.  Chili topped with ingredients that may be one of the best kept secrets in America (avocados and tomatoes, WHO KNEW!?!).  Chili so good that it makes me want to take down my yummy turkey chili recipe and call it a fraud

It's no secret I'm drawn to recipes with lots of veggies and I like to use healthier ingredients when possible.  But this weekend I lay down my healthy inclinations and worship at the altar of "please don't share the nutritional values and ruin this meal for me". 

As flavorful as I thought my turkey chili was, it pales in comparison to chili with real ground beef.   Ok, and bacon.  Throw in homemade cornbread with bacon and green chilis (makes it so moist!!) plus the chili topping options of cheese, avocados, tomatoes, scallions, sour cream and cilantro... basically trips to John and Kylie's have become like a visit to a foodie version of the Pentagon. What new national food secret am I going to learn this time?  I want to move in. 

So the Eater stands corrected.  There is a time to eat right and there is a time to eat like it's going out of style.  I'll eat my veggies tomorrow.  Tonight we throw out the ground turkey chili recipe and play Whirly Ball!


UPDATE:  Roy just woke up from a nap (despite partying like we're 20, our bodies make us acutely aware of the fact that we are not, in fact, 20 years old).  He would prefer that I not toss out all the veggies and ground white meats in favor of the artery clogging faves just yet.  So I came up with the idea of adding a bit of beef stock to the turkey chili recipe to impart some additional flavor.  Roy is on board so I'm hoping that the stock along with a stick or two of bacon will pump up the flavor.  I'll keep you posted!  xoxo

Wednesday, October 12

Yummy Turkey Chili

Few things go better with football than chili.  I make it a few times each fall and winter with the intent to save some and freeze it for later.  And yet, it always ends up disappearing into hungry bellies and I never get to stash the leftovers away.  Fortunately, it's crockpot chili so it's unbelievably easy to whip up whenever the feeling hits me (or Roy makes an impassioned request).


To me, chili is like BBQ.  It's personal.  Everyone likes it just a little bit differently.  I prefer this recipe because it's packed with veggies and I can swap in ground turkey without losing flavor. And like all good chilis, it's better on day two! 


This chili calls for corn in addition to green peppers, onions and tomatoes.  I like to serve it over corn bread to bring out the natural sweetness of the corn in the chili.  And because corn bread is delicious!  Tortilla chips, fritos or bread work just as well. 

I also don't drain all the fat when I use ground turkey.  I leave a tablespoon or two to give it a bit of flavor.  Is that gross?  Potentially, but I do the same thing with turkey tacos.  Judge me all you want.

Here's a photo of the Royfriend, Foster and I the last time I made chili.  It was so good we were still smiling even after the Hokies lost to Clemson (except Foster, who was rightfully upset with the performance of his namesake Bud Foster).  The beer may have also helped :)


Yummy Turkey Chili
From Fix It and Forget It

1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
6 oz. can tomato paste, diluted with 1 can water
2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
16 oz. can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 Tbsp. chili powder

sour cream and shredded cheese for toppings

Saute ground turkey, onions and green peppers in a deep saucepan (yes, all together, all at the same time, despite how awkward it seems).  Drain and season with salt, pepper and dried thyme.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste and corn.  Heat until corn is thawed.  Add kidney beans and chili powder. 

Pour into slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Top individual servings with dollops of sour cream or sprinkles of shredded cheese.

Friday, October 7

Cake for breakfast

It's my birthday!!! 


"Why hello cupcake, you look like a tasty breakfast treat!"  
[That's how we do birthdays here]

The older I get, the more I've learned that my birthday is less about me, and more about the people who brought me into the world. 

So today it feels appropriate to thank them for creating this love of food that lives inside me (you know, among other things I'd thank them for like loving me unconditionally and helping me grow into the woman I've become). 

Clearly, this whole love affair with delicious food started young ;)


Now if you'll excuse me, there's a breakfast of baked goods and frosting waiting for me...

The Eater

Tuesday, October 4

"Grown Up" Pork and Beans

Big doin's in these parts people!  For the first time ever tonight... I cooked pork... we ate it... and we all lived.  And it was good


Unfortunately pork falls into the same category as tilapia in these parts.  The category of "well I gave it the old college try but that's disgusting, break out the PB&J".

Last week ABC kicked off a new food show called The Chew.  It's basically a talk show, only about food and with my girl crush Carla Hall.  The first recipe cooked on the show was Michael Symon's grown up pork and beans and it looked amazing (and simple!).

This more adult version includes prosciutto wrapped pork with wilted spinach, canellini beans and an amazing lemon butter sauce.  Technically the original called for kale but I'm going through a bit of a spinach phase so I swapped it out. 

It was unbelievable!  I've broken the pork curse.  The prosciutto makes the outside of the pork crispy and a little bit salty.  The shallots get soft and the wine, butter and lemon juice combine to make the most delicious sauce.  The lemon is a really nice pop of flavor, especially with the spinach. And despite the fact that everything is cooked in the same pan, each item retains elements of it's original taste profile.  So it feels like 3 individual items, not a one pan meal. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I cut the pork to check it. 
I figured keeping my dinner companions alive trumped a pretty photo.

This got 3 out of 3 stars.  Roy, who has been the leader of the "no pork in this house" campaign, actually took a second helping and poured the last of the juices all over his food.  The serving size for this recipe don't look too big but they're super filling.  Beans and their fiber, you know.

Anyone else out their watching The Chew?  What do you think so far?


Grown Up Pork & Beans
From Michael Symon, The Chew
Takes 30 mins, serves 8

From the store...
8 Pork Cutlets
8 Slices Prosciutto
1 Shallot (Minced)
1/2 Cup Dry white wine
Juice and Zest of 1 lemon
4 cups torn Spinach
1 12 oz can white beans (canellinis) drained and rinsed

From your pantry...
Flour for Dusting
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

Using a meat mallet, pound each pork slice to about 1/8-inch thick.  Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each piece of cutlet to form a sandwich.  Pound lightly with the meat mallet to secure it to the pork.

In a 12 inch saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil over high heat until it foams and subsides.

Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  Dredge the cutlets lightly in the flour.  Add to the pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side.  (NOTE: it took me about 6-7 minutes to cook each piece of pork.  Probably because I didn't get it thin enough). Transfer cooked pork to a platter and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Add the minced shallot to the pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and cook for 1 minute.

Pour the white wine into the pan and reduce, stirring with a wooden spoon to dislodge the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the spinach and toss to wilt/combine.  Add the beans.  Add the lemon zest and juice.  Pour the extra sauce over the pork cutlets and serve immediately.