Lamb Kofta

Inspiration: When it comes to Indian food, I can truly never get enough. I have just a handful of curries that I make over and over again at home, but I’d love to have many more recipes stashed away in my back pocket. So here’s to that goal.

What We Loved: This was a nice mild curry that was different than many of the other curries that we’ve eaten or made. A lot of times I’ve found that curries are very spicy, complex, and heavy (which I love), but this one had a nice mellow flavor that was a good chance of pace. I feel like the meaty, earthy flavor of lamb always goes so perfectly in curries, and we both really loved that the lamb was in the form of meatballs in this curry (meatballs are the best!). The lamb paired very well with the creamy sauce and the slightly understated flavor of the turmeric and other seasonings. We ate this curry alongside some simply buttered and salted green beans for a lovely meal.

Tips: The coconut milk definitely added just a touch of sweetness to this dish. If you want to avoid that, you could use cream or half and half instead. I also mistakenly added twice as much turmeric as needed (1 teaspoon instead of 1/2), so my dish might look a little more yellow than yours. I listed the correct amount in the recipe below.

Lamb Kofta
Source: Adapted from The Essential Asian Cookbook (Jane Bowring, Editor) 
Serves: 2-3

For the Meatballs
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 small onion, very finely diced
1 jalapeno, very finely diced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Sauce
1/2 small onion, finely sliced
1 jalapeno, very finely diced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt, to taste
1 tablespoon vinegar
Scant 3/4 cup water
5 oz coconut milk
3 oz Greek yogurt (I use Fage 0%)
Cilantro, to garnish

1. To form the meatballs, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Roll into small meatballs (I was able to make 20) and place on a plate.

2. Heat a good pat of butter in a saute pan. Add the meatballs, and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Heat another pat of butter in the pan if necessary. Add the onion, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Stir to combine, and cook until the onions are softened.

4. Add the coriander, cumin, chili powder, Kosher salt, vinegar, and water to the pan. Gently return the meatballs to the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Mix in the coconut milk and yogurt, and simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes more, until the sauce is nice and thickened.

6. Serve garnished with cilantro.

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Ham Stacks with Colby Slices- Avocado- and Cilantro

Ham Breakfast Stacks

Inspiration: Brandon and I struggle with breakfast sometimes. It seems that all of the traditional breakfast foods are just laden with carbohydrates and sugars that we don’t eat. So we eat a lot of eggs – frittatas, omelets, scrambled eggs – but after a while, nothing but eggs sure can get old. We love these breakfast bars, but again – you can only do so much of the same thing (I think we ate these guys for about a year straight!). These breakfast stacks were Brandon’s idea to get out of our breakfast rut, and we had a lot of fun experimenting with them.

What We Loved: We really enjoyed these because they were so versatile. Ham is always a great savory breakfast option, and when you add all kinds of cheeses, eggs, vegetables, and herbs, there’s really a lot of flavor in every bite. Of the different combinations shown, our favorite was the ham combined with the colby, avocado, and cilantro. The salty ham with the slightly sharp cheese, super creamy avocado, and fresh herbal cilantro just offered a great range of tastes and texures. Second place for both of us was the fried egg and cheddar combination, which is really a great classic breakfast pairing. Really, though, every option was tasty and provided us with some great variety on our week day mornings.

Tips: The options with these are pretty much endless – whatever toppings that you like would probably work. You could also stack these up a few layers tall for a more substantial breakfast, as these are pretty light. They work great as is for a weekday lunch for us, though. On a weekend for a larger meal, I might stack them up taller and and be more generous with the ingredients (or serve them alongside a nice fruit salad).

Ham Breakfast Stacks
Source: Original Recipe to Serve Two

2 breakfast ham slices
Butter
Desired toppings

1. Saute your ham slices in a bit of butter until they are beginning to brown and are nice and hot. Stack with your desired toppings. We used the following ingredients (each pictured in this post):

- sliced colby cheese, avocado slices, and cilantro

- ricotta cheese, tomato slices, pesto, fresh black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil

- fried egg, grated cheddar cheese, and cilantro

- tomato slices, scrambled eggs, shredded gruyere, and fresh black pepper

Southwest-Style Chopped Chicken Salad

Inspiration: I created this dish as a meal that would be a good on-the-go dinner when Brandon and I were taking childbirth education classes at the hospital. The classes ran from 6:30 t0 9:00 at night, right through dinner time, so I was looking for something that we could pack up into a cooler and eat a few hours later during class. When the occasion arises where we need to eat a quick dinner away from home like that, I would much rather pack a meal from home than be forced to grab something from a fast food place. There’s nothing worse to me than gobbling down some food that I’d rather not be eating while I’m busy and in a rush. To a couple of people who  love food as much as we do, we always feel like meal times should be enjoyed, no matter what.

What We Loved: This salad was really good for just what I intended – an easy throw-together meal that was great eaten cold and on-the-go. We really enjoyed the combination of flavors – moist chicken, creamy avocado, bright tomatoes, earthy black beans, and awesome little cubes of spicy pepper jack. We both thought that the pepper jack cubes were the best part! And to top if off, everything was coated in some lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, and salt, which really tied everything together.

Tips: I served this with some fresh blueberries alongside, and that was a good pairing. I think that mixing some blueberries right into the salad would be delicious! Or, it would be great to serve all of the ingredients over a bed of salad greens, with the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper whisked together to form a dressing instead of just added into the salad separately.

Southwest-Style Chopped Chicken Salad
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2-3

2 chicken breasts
Butter
Kosher salt and black pepper
2-3 oz pepper jack cheese, cubed
Half pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small avocado, diced
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1 lime
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a pat of butter in a saute pan, and saute the chicken until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan, let it cool, and then cut into cubes. Cool in the refrigerator until nice and cold.

2. Add the chicken, pepper jack cheese cubes, grape tomatoes, black beans, avocado, and cilantro to a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over everything, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.

Rosemary Truffle Burgers

Inspiration: I think Brandon could eat truffles/truffle salt/truffle oil at every meal and never tire of it. He just loves it (…and I certainly won’t turn it away, either). We bought a nice little bottle about a year ago that has lasted us a good long time, and it’s always fun experimenting and trying to come up with new uses for it. We love to cook fries or sweet potato fries in goose/duck fat, and then sprinkle them with plenty of Kosher salt and drizzle them with truffle oil. That’s our absolute favorite use of the truffle oil for sure. But it sure is great in a lot of different applications – it adds such a super flavorful and fancy flair to so many dishes.

What We Loved: There were a lot of earthy flavors in this burger that all complemented each other very well. Both rosemary and truffles have a very rich, earthy, almost primal flavor, and the smoky, nutty gruyere cheese played off of those flavors so well. There’s nothing like a really great smoked cheese to top off a burger (and this particular cheese was just fantastic – so rich, smoky, nutty, and creamy). Brandon and I both love grilled onion slices on burgers, too – something about grilling the onion lends an awesome charred flavor that is just fantastic. We used Vidalia onions here, so there was also a nice hint of sweetness to contrast with all of the other richer, deeper flavors.

Tips: Rosemary has a pretty potent flavor, so use as much or as little as you’d like, depending on how strong you want that flavor to be. The same goes for truffle oil. Truffle oil is pricey, but you really never need too much when you’re using it. Just a few drizzles will impart loads of flavor.

Rosemary Truffle Burgers
Source: Original Recipe to Serve 2

1 lb ground beef
Handful rosemary, minced
Truffle oil
Seasoning salt
Garlic powder
Applewood smoked gruyere cheese, shredded
2 thick slices Vidalia onion

1. Place the ground beef in a bowl. Add the rosemary, and drizzle with truffle oil. Season to taste with seasoning salt and garlic powder. Mix well with your hands, and form into two burgers.

2. Place the onion slices on the grill, and grill until they are nice and browned. Meanwhile, grill the burgers until they’re cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. A few minutes before you take the burgers off of the grill, top with the gruyere cheese.

3. Serve the burgers topped with the onion slices and drizzled generously with more truffle oil.

Simple Lemon Rosemary Chicken Breasts

Simple Lemon Rosemary Chicken Breasts

Inspiration: I’ve been meeting Brandon at his work for lunch every now and then this summer. His work has some nice picnic tables outside where we sit and enjoy a lunch hour together, which is a pretty nice mid-day treat. I’m always trying to think of new lunches to pack, and the thought occurred to me recently to saute up some chicken breasts to take as the main part of our lunches. The great thing about chicken breasts is that they’re great hot, warm, or cold, so they really work perfectly for a packed lunch.

What We Loved: These are so simple to make and have a nice, refreshing flavor. As the title suggests, the two main flavors are the tart lemon and the earthy rosemary, which are really a couple of great complementary ingredients. I just loved how the lemon really cut through and added such a refreshing taste. With some added garlic, some olive oil, and plenty of salt and pepper, there couldn’t be a simpler recipe for a nutritious and filling lunch.

Tips: For an even simpler chicken breast lunch, I’ve also been digging through my pantry and coating some chicken breasts in whatever seasoning mixes that I happen to have (jerk rub, Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, etc.). You can’t get much simpler than throwing some seasoning on a piece of chicken, cooking it, and packing it up for lunch.

Simple Lemon Rosemary Chicken Breasts
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2

2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful fresh rosemary, minced
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Few tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

1. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish. Add the garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together well with your hands, cover, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

2. Saute or grill the chicken until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Chicken, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad

Chicken, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad

Inspiration: I whipped this salad up for lunch one day using just about the only odds and ends that I had left in the refrigerator. It was a day when grocery shopping was desperately needed, and I wasn’t really expecting to much enjoy whatever I threw together. It turned out that I loved this salad so much, that I tossed it onto our dinner menu for the next week. We’re not big salad eaters, and I know that Brandon is usually less-than-excited when a salad appears on the menu for dinner, but I think this one deserved a spot.

What We Loved: I just love how the ingredients in this salad play so well off of each other. The flavors and textures of browned chicken, creamy avocado, tart blueberries, and nice chunks of Colby cheese really complement each other so well. I added a good glug of olive oil over top and plenty of Kosher salt, which really helped to bring everything together and make the flavors pop. As always, the avocado especially benefits from a nice sprinkling of salt. We also love how this is such a substantial and filling salad. Believe it or not, there is a good deal of Romaine lettuce hiding underneath all of the other goodies – you just can’t see it because the salad is so packed full of delicious.

Tips: I think that the chicken on this salad is best at room temperature or cold. If it were hot, it would wilt the lettuce, melt the cheese, warm up the nice cold blueberries, etc. So I would leave enough time to cook your chicken beforehand and let it cool for a while before assembling the salad.

Chicken, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2

2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half
Kosher salt and black pepper
Butter
About 3 cups chopped Romaine hearts
2-3 oz Colby cheese, cubed
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup blueberries
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Heat a pat of butter in saute pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and saute until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Let cool to room temperature, and then chop into cubes.

2. Divide the lettuce between two salad bowls.  Top with the chicken, Colby cheese, avocado, and blueberries. Drizzle generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper.

Bacon Burgers with Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam

Bacon Burgers with Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam

Inspiration: I’ve always been a burger kind of girl – you know, the person who will opt for a burger over a steak nine times out of ten. That’s definitely me. And when it’s summer time and we can have homemade burgers grilled on the charcoal grill, well…there’s just no beating that. In my opinion, it’s almost not a proper summer week without a burger thrown on the menu. And so we’ve got another burger recipe to bring you this week (….and probably a few more to come before the summer weather is over).

What We Loved: This burger is really all about the bacon onion balsamic jam. The burger itself is quite tasty – smoky rich and topped with a gooey gruyere – but the jam is what makes the burger so special. I really let the onions caramelize and let all of the vinegar reduce down until the result was a syrupy sweet yet smoky bacon-y topping. A little bit of the rich burger, gooey cheese, and sweet bacon jam on my fork was just such a wonderful myriad of flavors and textures.

Tips: The recipe calls for the bacon that is mixed into the burgers to be finally minced, but I’d almost recommend throwing it into the food processor to get a nice ground texture, instead. I chopped the bacon pretty small, but there were still pieces throughout the burger that I thought were a little large and had a tough texture. I think if the bacon had more of a ground bacon texture instead, it might mix into the burger a little bit better.

Bacon Burgers with Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam
Source: Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Fine Cooking
Serves: 3

For the Topping
4 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup water

For the Burgers
2 slices bacon, minced
1 lb ground beef (85% lean)
Good dash Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper
Freshly shredded gruyere cheese

1. To make the topping, heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon until lightly browned, and remove to paper towels to drain. Drain all but about a tablespoon of the bacon grease from the pan. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cover the pan for two minutes. Uncover the pan, add a splash of water, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Cover again and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and beginning to get nice and browned.

2.Stir in the vinegar, mustard, and water. Return the bacon to the pan, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until thickened. Remove from the heat.

3. To make the burgers, add the bacon, ground beef, Worcestershire, and a good pinch of salt and pepper to a bowl. Mix well to combine, and form into patties (I was able to make three). Make a good indentation in the middle of the patties with your thumb to allow for even cooking.

4. Cook on a charcoal grill for about 5 minutes per side, until the burgers are cooked through. About two minutes before removing the burgers from the grill, top with the gruyere cheese.

5. Serve the burgers topped with the onion jam.