Category Archives: Dose of Veggies

Chili-Guacamole Burgers

One of the hardest parts of my job is having to thumb through endless recipes in magazines…poor, poor me. I received the America’s Test Kitchen 30-minute Suppers winter 2010 edition and the March/February 2010 issue of Cook’s Country sometime ago and after review, decided to make these Chili-Guacamole Cheeseburgers from America’s Test Kitchen and Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges from Cook’s Country.

I’ve never tested recipes from either of these so you can imagine my delight when Alex and I took a bite of the burger, looked at each other and then took another BIG bite. Yummy! What I loved most was that it was so easy, breezy to put together and the roasted sweet potatoes were done before I got home…man it’s good to have a Chef in the house!
These were SPICY but fortunately we both love heat so we didn’t mind at all and the guacamole, cheese and onions were the perfect additions. Two things we would have added to the burger, that honestly wouldn’t have added much time in prep, are some fresh diced tomatoes and a dollop (ugh I hate that word, don’t judge me) to the guacamole to cut through the spice a little bit and add a bit more freshness with the tomatoes.Overall though we really liked these. Here are both of the recipes for you to try yourself – who loves you?

Chili-Guacamole Burgers
1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef, broken into pieces
2 teaspoons of chili powder
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
4 slices deli pepper Jack Cheese
1 ripe avocado, pitted, skinned, and chopped
2 teaspoons of lime juice
4 hamburger buns
1 small red onion, sliced into thin rings

1. Place beef, chili powder, chipotle, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in bowl and gently mix until combined. Pat meat mixture into four 3/4-inch patties.

2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add patties and cook until well-browned, 3 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer burgers to plate, top with cheese, and tent with foil.

3. Using fork, mash avocado in small bowl. Stir in lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Arrange burgers on buns. Top with guacamole and onion slices. Serve.

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Bake Potatoes: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat over to 325 degrees. Cut each potato in half crosswise, then cut each half into 6 to 8 wedges. Arrange wedges on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and bake until just tender, about 30 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven and increase heat to 475 degrees. Wipe off baking sheet and return to oven. Cool potatoes on wire rack 10 minutes.

2. Brown Potatoes: Gently toss potatoes with oil, sugar, salt and pepper in large bowl. Remove baking sheet from oven. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on hot sheet and roast, flipping once, until deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Bonus! We did this and loved it!
Caribbean-Spiced Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Prepare Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges adding 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 3/4 dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper to potatoes as they are tossed in Step 2.


You want to know the one word that describes our meal tonight? You guessed it….mmmmmmmmmmmm. I don’t think I’ve ever heard two people gush over a home-cooked meal like we did with this Indian Lamb Chops with Curried Cauliflower recipe from Bon Appétit. I was telling Alex some of my favorite recipes are the most simple and straight-forward, so this dish with its short and simple ingredient list and quick preparation, knocked our socks-off.

One simple addition, and if you are going to make this dish we HIGHLY recommend serving with sweet mashed potatoes which we peeled, boiled and mashed with heavy cream, unsalted butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. The mashed potatoes with the lamb, cauliflower and fresh green onion was well…mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

This bad boy is going into our favorites and next time we are going to double the sauce used for the cauliflower to drizzle over the lamb too. Make this immediately!

Ladies’ Night

My friend and fellow blogger Ivette from Here’s to Looking at Life has been dying for me to watch the movie Amélie for quite some time, not just because it’s my name en français, she knew I would love it! Being that we are total food dorks, the idea came about to have a French-themed food night to go along with our little movie…best laid plans is all I have to say.

Joining the intimate party was my niece Alex, Ivette of course and Lindsay from Apron Adventures. We started cooking pretty late, well because there was good French wine – we loved Le Coq Rouge for $11 at Whole Foods Market – and cheese, crackers, grapes and apples to munch on while we gossiped about everything under the sun. For our main course, we chose this delicious Dijon Croque Monsieur recipe with Haricots Verts Salad from Cooking Light and for dessert Alex made these awesome Café Au Laits from Gourmet.

The Dijon Croque Monsieurs were very easy to assemble and I liked the fat-free milk/egg substitute wash for the sandwiches that gave them a nice crisp texture. This was a simple, cheesy, ham-a-licious sandwich that we all enjoyed and the haricots verts salad (we used bagged green beans and they worked just fine!) had a delicious and easy vinaigrette and we added in some toasted almonds for crunch; recipe below. Click here to see our finished dish from last night at Here’s To Looking at Life.

I didn’t make the Café Au Laits but watched Alex make them and it came together really, really, really easily and by the end of the night we inhaled them although we said we were just going to have a bite. 😉
Why best laid plans? We didn’t even watch the movie! Leave it to a group of besties to get around each other with great food, good wine, the best company and not need anything else to entertain us – I wouldn’t have it any other way. C’est si bon!
Haricots Verts Salad
Cook ¾ pound trimmed haricot verts in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge beans into ice water, drain. Place beans in a medium bowl; add ½ cup of slivered red bell pepper. Combine 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives, 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinaigrette over bean mixture; toss to coat (add almonds if you desire).

Beef and Pinto Bean Chili

The next recipe I tested for the cover recipe smackdown was Cooking Light’s Beef and Pinto Bean Chili. I literally just ate this for lunch and since there is an empty bowl sitting beside me I can confirm that it’s quite good. It has layers of great flavor and I loved the toppings of radishes, avocado, cilantro and sour cream. I removed the seeds from the jalapeños and now I wish I didn’t since I’m such a lover of heat. Regardless, this was a nice, slow-cooking dish for a holiday Monday and very easy to put together.

Now, does this beat the Spaghetti and Meatballs dish from Bon Appétit? I have to say the meatballs are still in the number one spot! To be fair, it does have bacon paste in it. Yum, bacon paste. Stay tuned though as I’ve got my dough rising for the sticky buns from Food and Wine which is the final cover recipe to test!

“My, My That Was Good!”

Those were my exact words friends as I finished my plate of Greens and Eggs Migas from the cookbook Simple Fresh Southern by the Lee Bros. who are, you guessed it brothers, hailing from South Carolina and are food/wine/travel journalists. For someone who works in the food industry I had not come across the Lee Bros. yet but if this recipe and the gentle cookbook they created is any testament to their talent then shame on me.

I wanted to test this recipe for two reasons, one they called this dish “Austin-Style” and of course anything featuring my home city I’m drawn too and two it has eggs. Well and three, I love having breakfast for dinner. Gosh, I could eat the most important meal of the day three times a day!

Lee Bros. Cherry Tomato Soybean Salad

According to the book: “migas means ‘crumbs’ in Spanish, and the roots of the dish can be traced to the Old World, specifically to Portugal and Spain.” For this dish you actually make the Collard Greens with Poblano Chiles and Chorizo first and then incorporate it into the migas. I loved this so much. It is easy, quick – even with two recipes if you think about it – and the flavors are absolutely awesome. I’m going to stop talking now and let you see for yourself with the two recipes below from the cookbook. Thanks boo for the awesome cookbook, this rocked!

Greens and Eggs Migas
Serves 4
Time: 25 minutes, preparation, 10 minutes cooking

1/2 cup canola oil
Three 6-inch corn tortillas, cut pizza-style into 8 triangles
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
8 large eggs, beaten (obviously I culled this recipe down for just moi)
4 ounces, extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
1 recipe Collard Greens with Poblano Chiles and Chorizo, warm (I saved the rest of this for breakfast tomorrow!)
Fresh or store-bought salsa, for serving

Heat the oil and one of the small tortilla triangles in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat until the tortilla sizzles vigorously. Add the remaining tortilla pieces and stir them in the hot oil until they become crispy and browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted metal spoon, transfer them to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and set aside.

Pour off the oil, and add butter to the skillet, and when it’s completely melted and frothing, add the onion and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add the eggs and the tortilla chips, and scramble until the eggs are curdy but still moist, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, cover, and cook just until the cheese melts, about 45 seconds.

Divide the collard greens with poblanos and chorizo among the 4 warm serving plates, and top each portion with eggs and spoonfuls of salsa.

Lee Bros. Brandied Plums

Collard Greens with Poblano Chiles and Chorizo
Serves 4
Time: 5 minutes preparation, 15 minutes cooking

2 teaspoons peanut or canola oil (I used canola)
8 ounces of fresh chorizo, casings removed, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces; or 4 ounces cured chorizo, kielbasa, or other smoked sausage, finely diced
3 poblano chiles, seeded and sliced into thin 2-to 3-inch strips (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 pounds collard greens (about 1 bunch), ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced (1 packed quart)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Pour the oil into a 12-inch skillet or saute pan set over high heat, and when it shimmers, add the chorizo. Cook, chopping up the (fresh) sausage with the back of a spoon, until the sausage has rendered most of its fat, about 2 minutes. Add the poblanos, and continue to cook until they have softened slightly and the chorizo is cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Add the garlic, half the collards, the salt, and 2 tablespoons water to the skillet. Cook, turning the collards with tongs and adding more greens as those in thee pan wilt, until all the collards are in the skillet. Continue to cook until the collards have softened and become dark green, about 6 minutes. Add the vinegar and continue to cook the collards, turning them occasionally, until the vinegar has completely evaporated and the pan is dry, about 3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, if necessary, and divide the collards, poblanos, and chorizo among 4 warm serving plates. Serve immediately.

Kale and White Bean Soup

Real Simple, January 2010

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 15.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1 cup small soup pasta (4 ounces; such as tubettini, ditalini, or orzo – I used orzo)
1 bunch kale, thick stems discarded and leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (8 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan (2 ounces), plus 1 piece of Parmesan rind (optional)
1 loaf of country bread, warmed

Heat the oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, celery, onion, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the beans, pasta, kale, rosemary, 8 cups of water, and the Parmesan rind (if using – I used); cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the pasta and kale are tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the Parmesan rind. Stir in the lemon juice and sprinkle with the shaved Parmesan before serving. Serve with the bread.

My Super Slow-Roasted Sunday

Austin’s weather today was soupy, cold and gray or the perfect weather to slow-roast the heck out of my entire dinner! Cooking Light did a whole slow-roasting recipe smorgasbord and you can just tell the test kitchen staff had fun with these recipes. It makes me wonder if they slow-roasted a lot of things and if so what didn’t make it to the magazine pages? I have to say whatever fun they were having translated into some amazingly delicious recipes. Let’s go through this slowly shall we lambs?

Now it has been written on Cooking Inside the Lines before that I hate salmon. Not dislike or despise, hate, so what compelled me to try this Slow-Roasted Brown Sugar and Dill Cured Salmon recipe? Well, it is in an instant favorite amongst Cooking Light staff, which I always trust, and the flavors of dill and brown sugar made me think it would cover up the salmony flavor that I’m not a fan of. Also, it mentioned that slow-roasting the fish gives it a velvety texture which is definitely what I need if I’m going to try salmon. The result? We have a winner! Now I’m not going to join the salmon cha-cha line but I might be intrigued to shake my hips with this recipe. The brown sugar and dill lended a beautiful flavor to the salmon and they were right, the texture was velvety and made it so much more enjoyable.

To accompany the salmon, I also made the Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes which, as they mention, brings out the natural sweetness of the plum tomatoes. As I was eating these on top of fresh watercress I thought these would be amazing on top of a pizza or food processed and used for a tomato sauce on top of pasta with Parmesan. I ate them on top of salad and they were delicious, delicious, delicous.

Finally, for dessert, I made the Slow-Roasted Grape and Yogurt Parfaits. Through roasting, the grapes still retained their burst-y (yes that’s a word) texture and it does sweeten them overall. With this recipe they had me at Greek yogurt and honey which is one of my favorite combinations. With the crunchy, toasted walnuts in the layers of parfait you’ve got a perfect, crunchy, creamy, sweet, good-for-you dessert.

On a cooking note if you should desire to recreate this entire meal, I started curing the salmon this morning and then cooked the grapes and tomatoes at the same time and then simply removed when they were complete. Once the salmon was ready I cooked per the time instructed and placed the tomatoes and grapes in around 20 minutes or so at the end with the salmon to warm them up.
As a final side note (sorry for the long post but hey at least it’s about food and not calculus right?), I made a delicious Thai Coconut Lime-Soup with Chicken from Bon Appetit. Now I didn’t have kaffir lime leaves (who does?) or sake (gosh, but I should have that on standby always – tee hee hee) but I made this soup anyway to enjoy for lunch today and tomorrow and it was still awesome. I couldn’t find the recipe online so here you go. Enjoy!
Thai Coconut-Lime Soup with Chicken
Bon Appetit, December 2009
8 First-Course Servings
2 stalks fresh lemongrass
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
4 red Thai chilis or 2 red jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced into rings, seeded (I used jalapenos)
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup sake
4 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (I used the low-fat version)
8 kaffir lime leaves
3 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves plus sprigs for garnish
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves cut crosswise into thin strips (y’all I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
Chopped green onions
Discard all but bottom 4 inches of lemongrass stalks. Peel off tough outer layers. Mince lemongrass. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger; cook until onion beings to soften, about 3 minutes. Add chilis and lemongrass; stir 1 minute. Add broth and sake; simmer 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime leaves, fish sauce, cilantro leaves, lime juice and sugar; simmer 30 minutes. Add chicken and simmer just until cooked through about 4 minutes.

Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with green onions and cilantro sprigs.

An Oldie But a Goodie

I’ve mentioned a few times that out of all of the cooking magazine issues I keep, it is usually the holiday issues. Not only am I a 5-year old trapped in a 29-year old body when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I love the food so much it is almost painful for me when the holidays are over. (You should see me when I have to take down my holiday decorations, there might be tears involved).
I was thumbing through my old Cooking Light 2007 and 2008 December issues last week and as if I was looking through an old photo album of loved ones, I kept sighing and pointing to certain recipes saying internally, “I remember the time I made that, how delicious and I need to retest and see if it is Cooking Inside the Lines worthy!” Now, you can imagine the grumblings that occurred internally too when I found three delicious looking recipes from the 2008 issue that I had not tried. Quel horreur!

I have to say I planned the timing out pretty well and everything came together very easily, even towards the end of cooking which can sometimes get pretty insane. The Pork Chops were pretty darn awesome. I really liked the Colonial Corn Pudding a lot. Instead of oyster crackers I used multi-grain saltine crackers and they tasted great in the dish. The baked potatoes were good but I think I used too much chipotle that overpowered the other flavors a bit.

Finally, the cobbler. I found some quince at Whole Foods Market the other day and because when cooked it can lend an apple flavor to dishes, I decided to use these instead. This was my first time working with quince and I have to say me likey. Quince is a tough little bugger so it’s best to poach or cook for long periods of time to bring the full flavors out and soften it up. I poached the cut-up quince for 45 minutes before placing in my cast-iron Dutch oven to finish the cobbler recipe. It was delicious! I loved this topping and the quince did take on an apple flavor but had a more firm texture than an apple would have.

I think this meal was a perfect comfort dinner for a rainy night here in Austin. Give them a try!

What’s for Dinner? Martha Stewart Living Recipes

All recipes from September 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living

Egg-in-the-Hole Toasts with Ricotta
Prep Time: 5 min.
Total Time: 30 min.

4 slices rustic bread (1 inch thick)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil for brushing, plus more for drizzling
8 ounces (1 cup) fresh ricotta cheese
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 ounces (1/4 cup) shave Parmesan Cheese, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear out middle of each bread slice to form a 1 1/2-inch hole, reserving torn pieces. Arrange sliced in a baking dish. Tear bread from middles into smaller pieces. Brush slices on both sides and pieces all over with oil, and sprinkle pieces around slices. Bake until toasted and golden, about 12 minutes. Leave oven on.

2. Mix ricotta with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Season with pepper, and fold in thyme. Spread mixture onto slices, avoiding the hold in each slice, and drizzle with oil.

3. Break 1 egg into each hole, and season with salt. Bake until egg whites are set, about 12 minutes. Top each slice with Parmesan, and garnish with toasted bread pieces.

Celery and Cucumber Salad with Herbs
Prep Time: 15 min.
Total Time: 15 min.

6 celery stalks, thinly sliced crosswise
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced crosswise
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Toss together celery, cucumber, parsley, mint, and oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Bacon with Citrus Glaze
Prep Time: 5 min.
Total Time: 40 min

8 slices of slab bacon (1/4 inch thick) or regular bacon
2 navel oranges
1 tablespoon or honey (I used honey)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay bacon on a baking sheet. Juice oranges into a small saucepan, and add cane syrup. Cook over medium heat until glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes.

2. Brush some glaze over the bacon, and bake for 10 minutes. Brush with more glaze. Continue to bake until golden about 15 minutes more (10 minutes if using regular bacon). Brush bacon with remaining glaze, and transfer to parchment-or-paper towel lined plate to drain before serving.

Pan Fried Chicken and Peonies!

I love fresh flowers but my budget does not allow them too often. My local H-E-B had these beautiful Peonies on sale and had to share them with you…Ok, now to my perfect little Sunday dinner. First up was Pan Fried Chicken from Cooking Light. I have tried many a fried chicken recipes from Cooking Light including an oven-fried version that just didn’t get the crispy, crunchy skin you find when pan frying. With this recipe they nailed it. Simply combining all-purpose and whole wheat flours with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika and ginger, this skin turned out perfectly and the chicken was deliciously juicy. I served with a little bit of honey because I love the combination of honey and fried chicken. If you are concerned that the ground spices might overpower the chicken, don’t be, the flavors were subtle but fantastic.

I served this with some grilled zucchini, red bell peppers and red onion with a delicious Creamy Feta Vinaigrette from Food & Wine. It was so easy to make and the vinaigrette was creamy and yummy.

I finished my meal with some simple strawberries with fresh basil and balsamic vinaigrette. What a great Sunday meal!