Category Archives: Mains

Sunday Dinner in July

Last night’s meal was the perfect example of an easy, somewhat healthy, satisfying plan ahead dinner.   It was so good that the goons kept eating and drinking and eating, and I finally had to kick them out at 10:30pm.  It was a school night!

First, I made the Blueberry Buckle on Saturday afternoon.  It’s kind of like a lemony blueberry coffee cake.  Add a little extra salt and lemon zest to the recipe below.

Then we looted our garden and hit the farmer’s market to make a Mediterranean salad with lemon dill dressing.  Butter lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, peppers, red onion (sliced thin and rinsed under cold water), basil, chickpeas and feta.  The dressing is lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon, fresh dill, salt & pepper.

Butter Rice is a great goon filler staple.  Rice, chicken stock, saffron, butter and lots of salt to taste.

Top it off with sweet corn on the cob.

And perfectly grilled flatiron steak marinated in olive oil, onion, oregano, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Loosen the belt buckle for the Blueberry Buckle.

Link to Blueberry Buckle Recipe: http://linboblueberries.com/recipes/CIBlueberryBuckle.html

 

 

Egg White Oatmeal

I’ve decided that I need to give more attention to my blog.  Life has gotten in the way of my food, and that is never a good thing.  So even if I don’t think my creations are interesting or exciting, I’m going to post em anyway.

In keeping with the goon theme, I understand that gym goons like to work egg whites into their meals any way that they can get them.  I have a trip to Vegas in two weeks, so I’m trying out new (not exciting) clean meals so that I won’t look like a sausage squeezed into my lame-o one piece.

This recipe is actually better than it sounds.  I’ve read that some people puree the mix and make it into pancakes.  You might think this is a little weird, but I promise that it keeps you full all morning so that you’re not tempted to eat treats at the office.  Try it!

 
Egg White Oatmeal for One

1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of cinnamon

Mix oatmeal and water in a microwave safe bowl and nuke for one minute on high.  Mix in egg whites until well combined.  Nuke for one more minute.  Whisk in remaining ingredients and top with fruit, nuts and seeds.  I added a little unsweetened coconut, chia, almonds, banana and blueberries.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Cutlets

This might be the best weeknight chicken ever.

It’s fast and super flavorful. It’s like a combination between juicy pan seared chicken and naughty Greek Saganaki.  Mmmmm flaming cheese. This is going to be my new go-to summer dish because it cooks up in about 7-8 minutes and you do not have to use the oven.  Serve it with lemon wedges, a salad, and a glass of your favorite white wine.

Weeknight heaven!

PARMESAN CRUSTED CHICKEN CUTLETS

2 large chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced horizontally
2 tablespoons of flour
2 egg whites, beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
Olive oil

Pat chicken dry and season with S&P.  Sprinkle evenly with flour on both sides.  Whisk egg whites, water, mustard and hot sauce in one bowl.  In another bowl, mix parm and breadcrumbs.  Dredge each piece of seasoned chicken in the egg mixture and then into the parm mixture, pressing the cheese into a thick coating.  Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on high for a few minutes, add chicken to the pan and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook three minutes, being careful not to burn the chicken.  Flip the chicken and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves 4 Goonettes or 2 Goons.  If there are any leftovers cutlets, they’re great the next day on a sando with some crisp lettuce and a little mayo.

Spinach Pie (to slim the thighs)

All the juicing and the salads and the plant based dieting haven’t been effective in dropping a few LBs before my beach trip (which is less than two weeks away). This goonette needs results! A friend recently reminded me of a trick I did to lose a few pounds before my wedding. Spinach Pie is basically a crustless quiche that you can eat any time of day. It’s tasty, healthy, filling and low carb. Add a little ketchup or hot sauce to change it up if you’re eating it more than once a day. I’m going to try to down this for breakfast and lunch over the next week (as tolerated). If it doesn’t work, at least there are cover ups and shape-wear, right?

One piece closer to a two piece?

Spinach Pie

– 1/2 large bag frozen chopped spinach (thaw and squeeze out excess water)
– 1/2 onion, minced
– 6 whole eggs, 2 egg whites
– 1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
– 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
– salt/pepper/hot sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk all ingredients until combined. Spray a non stick pan with cooking spray. Add ingredients and bake 30-35 minutes or until center is cooked through. Cool, cut into squares and refrigerate.  Reheat it in the microwave for 30-40 seconds on high heat.  Yum!

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin Tacos

The first time my good friend made this with a pork butt for a party, my head almost exploded – it was that good.  The problem with pork butt is what it does to the size of my butt.  She told me that for weeknights she makes it with pork tenderloin to keep the calorie count down.

In honor of the new year, diet resolutions, and just feeling bad about all of the calories we’ve consumed over the holidays, we made this for the first time tonight.  It’s my new favorite way to make pork, and might be the easiest way yet.  To be honest, you can even leave out the spices, cook it in chicken stock, and cover it with red or green enchilada sauce when it’s finished.  We served it tonight with blue corn tortillas, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo, and guacamole.

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin Tacos

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • Copious amounts of your favorite spice rub (salt, pepper, cumin, brown sugar, cayenne, chipotle, etc.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 small can of green chilies
  • 1 can of green enchilada sauce
  • hot sauce to taste

Cover the pork in the spice rub of your choice.  Add it to a slow cooker and cover with the chilies, garlic, onions and enchilada sauce.  Cook for 4-5 hours on high heat.  Remove it from the slow cooker and pull it apart with two forks,  Take the pan drippings and strain off the fat and solids.  Pour strained sauce over the pork and toss to coat.  Serve over warm tortillas with salsa, sour cream, cheese, cabbage, etc.  Enjoy!

Fresh Pasta and Sunday Sugo

When I think about goonettes, Lidia Bastianich has to be on the list.  She is large, loves food and definitely tosses back a few glasses of vino.  My kind of gal!  She is never concerned about calories – in fact, a “drizzle” of olive oil could be 1-2 cups.  A “sprinkling” of cheese could be two giant handfuls.  Speaking of hands, have you seen her enormous mits?  When she does her cooking shows on PBS, I love it when they zoom in on those man hands, kneading pasta dough into submission. 

Tonight we made her fresh pasta recipe and it came out great!  We topped it with a Sunday gravy that had been simmering away all afternoon.  It’s much easier to tackle the week with a belly full of satisfying Italian comfort food.

The pasta attachment for the Kitchen Aid makes it so easy!

I'm almost in carb heaven.

Man hands?

Man hands!

I need a long nap.

Finished product

Thai Punk-in Curry

First, let me apologize for going dark on the goons for a few weeks.  My waistline was getting seriously GOONED-OUT and I needed to take a break.  Now I’m back, a few pounds lighter, able to run a few more miles on the treadmill and ready to eat my way through the holidays!

This recipe was inspired by a terrific pumpkin curry dish that we enjoyed a few weeks ago at Thai X-ing (http://thaix-ing.com/).  Thai X-ing definitely qualifies as a goon friendly establishment because of its large quantities and the fact that it’s BYOB (we should have brought a box o’ wine just cuz we could).

My version has a little less sugar, much more spice, and uses several types of squash.  I recommend that you make this ahead and let it sit for a few hours before serving so that the flavors meld.  Enjoy!

 

 

Serves 8-10 goons!

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 small pie pumpkin, 1 butternut squash, 1 kabocha squash – peeled and cubed (or any other orange squash except spaghetti)
  • 2-3 small red or sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • ½ red onion, cut into thick ½ moons
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can chick peas

Curry Sauce:

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 fresh Thai chilies
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (possibly more as needed)
  • 2-3 TBSP tamarind paste
  • 4-5 TBSP soy sauce
  • 3-4 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • ½ orange – juiced
  • 1 TSP tumeric
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 TBSP ground coriander seeds, 1 TBSP ground cumin, 1 TSP fennel seed
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 TBSP red curry paste

Garnish:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Thai basil

To make the vegetables, heat the canola oil over medium high heat and cook the squash, potatoes, carrots and onions until they start to get some color.  While they’re cooking, combine all of the ingredients for the curry sauce in a blender and puree until smooth.  Add the curry sauce to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer to thicken.  Add the rest of the vegetables (except the chick peas) and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.  At this point, check the seasoning!  Add more chili sauce, coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce as needed.  Add the chick peas at the very end until just heated through.  Garnish with cilantro and basil, and serve over warm sticky rice.

 

Tomato Pies

Someone told me that this blog should be called “How to Feed a Guido” because I make so much Italian food, but then I’d have to talk about roids, extreme sports, and GTL. Goon is a much more inclusive term, and I’d hate to leave out all other goon ethnicities.

So these tomato pies are a Gallo (yes, I married a Guido) home staple. Since we have tomatoes coming out the wah-zoo from the garden, we used fresh tomatoes in the sauce.  In the winter, canned diced tomatoes are fine.

Dough (for one pizza):

1/2 cup luke warm water

1/2 tsp honey

1/2 tsp yeast (get the quick rising kind if possible)

Pinch of salt

1 cup flour (plus more for kneading)

Olive oil

Mix honey in the water, whisk in the yeast and let stand for approx. five minutes until frothy. Put the flour and salt in the food processor. While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the water/yeast mixture. A dough ball should form. You may need to add a little more water to get the right consistency. Flour the counter and knead the dough for a minute or so and form the dough into a ball. Coat bowl with some olive oil, coat the dough in oil, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for at least one hour. Set oven to 500 degrees for an hour before baking.

Simple Pizza Sauce

1  cup diced tomatoes

1-2 cloves garlic, minced (cook in olive oil first if you do not like the taste of raw garlic)

Black pepper

1 tbsp olive olive oil

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs

Cheese/Toppings:

I like to use fresh mozzarella (squeeze out some of the moisture first), Italian fontina, Parmesan Regginano, ricotta, and/or Pecorino Romano.  Other toppings may include sliced onions, mushrooms, peppers, sausage, pepperoni, olives, and fresh herbs.

Baking Process:

Once the dough rises, punch it down and put it on a floured surface. Use your finger tips to flatten the ball into a pizza shape about 12 inches in diameter. Put the dough on a floured paddle or on parchment paper. Add the toppings (with a light hand) and slide the pizza on stone or move the parchment onto cookie sheet. Bake 6-12 minutes.

Jersey Shore's Finest!

Burger Redemption

Call me burger obsessed, but I plan my next burger weeks in advance.  It gives me time to eat lots of salads and to hit the treadmill, just knowing that on one special night, all of my burger dreams will come true.  This week, I had serious visions of my Saturday night filled with oozy cheese, juicy meat, and the perfect bun…but my burger reality was not the perfection I had envisioned.  It was actually such a disappointment that as soon as I left the table, I started plotting my burger redemption.

Redemption started with the prime meat mix (50% sirloin, 50% chuck) straight from Pam the Butcher at Wagshalls in Spring Valley.  With a light hand, the meat  was shaped into 1/2 pound patties, seasoned simply with S&P, cooked perfectly to 140 degrees and smothered in Brie.  Seriously, Brie might be the best burger topping ever.  We dressed them simply with lettuce, mayo and a little ketchup.  Sweet redemption success!

Does it get any better?

Oh yes...it does

Three Meat Meatballs

What is more American than Italian meatballs on July 4th?  Ok, if you’re rained out like we are, and unable to grill hot dogs and burgers, meatballs are an excellent back up plan.  Meatballs are one of the most versatile food groups, and the perfect freezer staple to be ready at a moment’s notice for goons-a-plenty.  I love them with pasta and sauce (of course), with spaghetti squash (for low carb evenings),  sliced on fresh baked bread or crumbled on a pizza.  I also like to sleep with a meatball or two under my pillow before a big day at the office.

This version is a kick ass combo of three recipes courtesy of Frankie Spuntino, A-16, and Lidia Bastianich.

Three Meat Meatballs

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 T olive oil

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

1 lb ground veal

4 eggs, beaten

6 slices white bread – cubed

1/2 cup milk (just enough to soak the bread)

3 T fennel seed

6 T parsley, chopped

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1 T crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 T black pepper

1+ cups dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400.   Heat oil in a saute pan, and cook onion and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Set aside to cool.  Using a very large mixing bowl, add the three meats.  Soak cubed white bread in milk, just enough to moisten.  Wring out the bread and add it to the meat mixture.  Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl, mix with hands until just combined, adding more dried bread crumbs as needed.  Do not over mix the meat.  The mixture should be somewhat wet, but firm.  Form mixture into balls, and place balls on cookie sheets (there should be enough for two trays).  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Serve with your favorite Sunday gravy or cool and freeze.