Thursday, June 10, 2010

Turkey Italian Sausage Sandwiches

Yikes. So, it's been a week since my last post. In my defense, I have been out of town for several days. And before I went out of town, I wanted to get my house cleaned and our laundry washed because no one likes coming home to a messy house! I cleaned this place from top to bottom, inside and out! I love when my house is clean! I'd much rather Mr. Z clean it than me, but you know, sometimes you gotta' do what you gotta' do!

Anyway, since I've been back in town, I haven't been cooking that much because we have had so much going on (two evening meetings this week so far and Mr. Z working late one night). So, that has left us with one home cooked meal for this week so far- last night.

I have been wanting to try to make Italian sausage for a while. I Googled a recipe and found this one, which I made with turkey instead of pork. I didn't feel like messing with the casings last night, so I decided to make them into patties and eat them like you would a burger. Mr. Z really liked these; I just thought they were okay. I thought it had way too much fennel. I will probably try these again, but next time I think I'll follow the recipe and use pork. Also, I'll play around with the spices a little.

Turkey Italian Sausage Sandwiches
from, written as I made it

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 tbsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. ground fennel seeds
3/4 tbsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tbsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients together well. Divide into four equal pieces and press into patties. Over medium-high heat, cook patties for about 7 minutes on each side, or until done in the middle. Serve on buns with cheese.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Delights

These little things are nothing short of amazing. I found this blog, We Are Not Martha, the other day and started browsing through it. When I found this recipe, I decided that I had to make them right quick I had to use red candy melts because that's all I had in my pantry, and I definitely was not going to wait until I could go to the store!

I had something similar to this while on our honeymoon, and have craved them ever since. These took that craving right away. They are certainly not as pretty as the ones I bought on our honeymoon, but they taste just as good. I was just anxious to get them done so I could eat them!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Delights
from We Are Not Martha, written as I made it

1 sleeve Ritz crackers
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. jelly
1 bag of candy melts or chocolate

Spread peanut butter on half of the crackers. Spread jelly on the other half. Put a peanut butter and a jelly cracker together. Melt candy melts according to package directions. Dip each sandwich into chocolate and coat completely. Put on a wax paper lined cookie sheet; refrigerate for about 10 minutes to harden chocolate.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steaks with Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette

I've never been a big tuna fan. Growing up, my parents tried to get me to eat canned tuna from time to time, but were never successful. I tasted it once, and thought it was disgusting. Since then, I've "hated" it. I'd always associated tuna with canned tuna, and had no desire to try sushi with tuna in it or seared tuna, despite everyone else telling me it was delicious.

One night at a sports bar on our honeymoon, however, I decided I was going to live life on the edge, and ordered an ahi tuna sandwich. Holy cow! That was the cheapest, absolute best meal of our entire honeymoon. For the rest of our honeymoon, I could not stop talking about that sandwich. I loved it- so much so that I practically begged Mr. Z to go back there for lunch on our last day (he gave in and we went!). Since then, I have become a little tuna-obsessed. I love sushi with tuna now. I've found several restaurants around town that serve ahi tuna, which I order all the time. And, what do you know? I even like canned tuna every once in a while! It just goes to remind me that peoples' tastes can change over the years, and just because I didn't like something 15 years ago, it doesn't mean I won't like it now. I now proudly give foods second and third chances!

I've made this tuna several times now, and cannot get enough of it. It's great plain, or served on top of a salad with the vinaigrette as the dressing.

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steaks with Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette
from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes, written as I made it

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steaks
4-4 oz. sushi grade ahi tuna steaks
1 tbsp. sesame oil
4 tsp. white sesame seeds
4 tsp. black sesame seeds
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Pat tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Rub sesame oil on steaks. In a shallow bowl, mix black and white sesame seeds. Dip each steak into the sesame seeds, covering entire surface. Place in a hot pan over high heat. Sear about 2 minutes on each side.

Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. red wine
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. ground mustard

Mix all ingredients together. Serve as is over salad, or heat in the microwave for 30 seconds if just dipping tuna.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Potstickers with Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce

I've never actually tried potstickers until about a year ago. Actually, I think what I first tried was a dumpling (I always get them steamed from restaurants). Whatever they were...when I finally did try them, I was disappointed that I waited so long! They have quickly become one of my favorite foods. About 6 months ago, I got curious and decided to try my hand at making them. I was pretty impressed with myself, I must say. These are so much better than the ones I've tried from restaurants.

These would be great for an appetizer (that's what we order them as from Chinese restaurants), but usually Mr. Z and I eat about a million of them as a meal by themselves. These are pretty simple to make, but extremely time consuming, compared to most meals I make. I have made them several times since the first time I tried them, but every time, Mr. Z helped me. I wouldn't dare try them by myself! I usually prepare the mixture and make the potstickers, and Mr. Z cooks them in the pan. These should definitely be on everyone's "must try" list! I read through at least 10 different recipes and mixed and matched them to come up with my own recipe.

Potstickers with Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce
Original Recipe, adapted from several recipes

1 lb. ground pork or chicken (I used chicken)
4 Napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced
1/2 c. bamboo shoots, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. corn starch
1 pkg. wonton wrappers (~48)
oil (vegetable or canola) for frying

Mix all ingredients except wonton wrappers in a large bowl. Place a heaping teaspoon of mixture in the center of wonton wrapper. Brush edges of the wrapper with water and pinch closed. Heat 2-3 tbsp. of oil on medium high heat. Place potstickers in oil, fry 8 minutes (flipping halfway through), or until golden brown. Add 1/2 c. water and cover. Turn burner on high and cook until water has boiled away. Uncover, reduce heat to medium, flip potstickers, and cook for 2 more minutes.

Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce
4 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
a few drops of sesame oil

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Heat in microwave for about 1 minute.