Tasty Tuesday: Arni Giouvetsi

I was really excited to write today’s Tasty Tuesday post because today I’m sharing one of our favorite meals.  We don’t have it that often (mostly because ground lamb is $10.00/lb and that just seems ridiculous), but when we do, we’re reminded exactly why we love it so much.

As with most Greek dishes, the flavors are simple and comforting.  Arni Giouvetsi (also spelled Arni Youvetsi) reminds me of something you’d have at a large family dinner on a Sunday afternoon … It’s not particularly fancy, but it is delicious!

I don’t make this dish in the traditional way (with a shoulder or leg of lamb) for two reasons: I like the way the ground lamb mixes in completely with the dish (you basically get a bite of meat with every bite of orzo, tomatoes, and onions) and, to be perfectly honest, ground lamb is easier for me to find.  If you want to try making a more traditional Arni Giouvetsi, I’d recommend clicking over to Elly Says Opa (the link to this meal can be found below the recipe title) and following her instructions.  If you’re like me, though, and prefer using ground lamb, you can use the recipe below.  I didn’t make that many changes from the original recipe, but some of the cook/bake times are different, so make sure you follow the instructions that correspond with the type of lamb you’re using!

ArniGiouvetsi

Looking at this picture makes me sad that we don’t have any more leftovers.

Arni Giouvetsi

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Elly Says Opa.

Ingredient List:

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs ground lamb (I used a 1.07 lb package of ground lamb last time)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt (plus additional to taste)
  • 2 tsp black pepper (plus additional to taste)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic (or, if you’re lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups water or broth (I always use water in this recipe because I like the flavor of the lamb to shine through, but I’m sure it would also be great with chicken broth)
  • 1 16 oz. package orzo

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add the ground lamb and season the meat with the salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the lamb until just brown, breaking it up as it cooks.  (This shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes or so.)
  5. Once the lamb is cooked through, add it to the 9×13 inch pan.  (Make sure you retain at least some of the juices in the skillet for the next step!)
  6. In the same skillet, add the diced onion and cook until tender.
  7. Add the garlic and tomato paste to the onions and cook for 30-60 seconds, or until the garlic is fragrant and the tomato paste has started to cook off and become incorporated with the onions.
  8. Pour in the diced tomatoes (with their juices) and the water (or broth).  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste with additional sea salt and pepper.
  9. Cook the tomato mixture for about 3-5 minutes at a boil, then pour the liquid around the lamb in the pan.
  10. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes before adding the orzo.  (I used the full 30 minutes.)
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and increase the heat to 350 degrees.
  12. Add the orzo to the lamb and tomato mixture in the pan, stirring several times to ensure the orzo is completely covered with liquid.
  13. Bake uncovered for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.  (I only baked mine for 20 minutes.)

The ingredient list is pretty short and simple, but it does take some time to prepare.  It’s well worth the effort, though!  As for sides, I think this meal is best served with a steamed green vegetable (I made green beans the last time we had this).

Tasty Tuesday: Dijon-Crusted Tilapia

I made Dijon-Crusted Tilapia for the first time about a year ago.  (I actually even posted it on my old blog, along with a horrible picture.  Trust me when I say it’s embarrassing that I once believed a picture like that actually looked good!)  I initially came across the recipe when I was searching for some new ways to prepare fish, and decided to make it one evening when I realized we had all of the ingredients on hand.

If I’m being completely honest, I only tried this recipe for that reason.  It wasn’t that I thought it would be bad, but I didn’t expect it to be great.  I assumed it would be one of those things that was just “okay” … You know, the kind of recipe you only make once because it’s nothing special.

Fortunately, I was wrong!

This meal has so many things going for it: it’s healthy, flavorful, and easy to make.  It’s a great option for a quick weeknight meal, especially if you’re trying to stick with a more wholesome diet.  Yes, it contains mayonnaise, but it’s light mayonnaise and only a small quantity is used.  (I don’t even like mayonnaise, so don’t worry if you’re not a fan … You can’t taste it at all.  You can, however, taste the Dijon mustard, so this may not be the recipe for you if you don’t like that particular flavor.)

If you’re looking for a new way to prepare fish that doesn’t require much effort (and you like the taste of Dijon mustard, of course!), I’d definitely recommend trying this recipe.  I just made it last week, and I’m pretty sure it will be making an appearance again either this week or next week.  It’s really that good (and that simple!).

Dijon-CrustedTilapia

I wish I’d gotten a slightly better photo of this dish, but this is still a million times better than the picture I used on my old blog!

Dijon-Crusted Tilapia

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Taste of Home.

Ingredient List:

  • 2-4 tilapia fillets (I used 2 large fillets, but the recipe would work just as well with 4 smaller pieces of fish)
  • 3 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp low fat margarine or butter (I used low fat margarine)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a small bowl then add the mayonnaise, half of the Parmesan cheese, and Dijon mustard.  Stir to combine thoroughly.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
  4. Place the fish fillets on the baking sheet and spread the mayonnaise/mustard mixture as evenly as possible over both sides of the fish.
  5. In a second small microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.  (This should only take about 10-15 seconds.)
  6. Mix the Panko breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese in with the melted butter, and sprinkle the mixture over the top of each fish fillet.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  (I usually let my fish bake for the full 20 minutes.)

As you can probably see from the picture, I most recently served this meal with a side of seasoned rice.  (Okay, it’s Rice-A-Roni, one of my food guilty pleasures … Don’t judge!)  I also made simple green salads for each of us, but forgot to include them in the picture.

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Pepper Beef Goulash

I love the simplicity of a dinner that can be made in the crockpot.  It’s just so nice to be able to toss everything in and then go about your day, knowing that in just a few hours you’ll have a perfectly cooked delicious meal waiting for you.

I know I’ve mentioned several times that we’ve been trying to use more beef because we bought 100 lbs of beef from Eric’s cousins who own a farm in western Nebraska.  While it’s not impossible to come up with meals using beef, I occasionally find it difficult to come up with new and interesting ways to use it.  I mean, sure we could have pasta with meat sauce and shredded beef burritos multiple times a week, but, as much as I enjoy those things, I need variety.

Enter today’s recipe.  It uses beef, and it’s made in the crockpot … So basically it’s the perfect lazy day meal for us.  It’s seriously so easy to make, and the flavors are rich and a little tangy.  While it isn’t a traditional goulash, it’s worth a try if you’re looking for a new way to use beef in your cooking.

PepperBeefGoulash

This is definitely one of the better crockpot meals I’ve made!

Crockpot Pepper Beef Goulash

Adapted from a recipe on Taste of Home.

Ingredient List:

  • 1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp dry ground mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 cups cooked rice (I used long grain white rice)

Instructions:

  1. Spray the inside of the crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. Add the beef stew meat, tomato paste, diced white onion, diced green bell pepper, water, white vinegar, garlic salt, cornstarch, dry ground mustard, chili powder, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to the crockpot.  Stir a few times to make sure the meat and vegetables are well coated with the sauce.
  3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6 hours.  (I wouldn’t recommend cooking this for longer than 6 hours because you want the meat to be tender, but not falling apart.)

And that’s seriously all you have to do.  I served this over long grain white rice with a side of Steamfresh green beans.

Tasty Tuesday: Stir Fry Spaghetti

Today’s recipe is something I threw together after searching Pinterest for meal ideas featuring ground beef.  I couldn’t find anything that sounded good, but I did see a recipe for an Asian style beef and noodle dish (even though it didn’t use ground beef).  After looking over the recipe, I decided I could easily change it to fit our tastes (and what we had on hand) … And “Stir Fry Spaghetti” was born.

StirFrySpaghetti1

It may not look like much, but this meal is packed with flavor.

I decided to call this meal “Stir Fry Spaghetti” because it’s not a traditional stir fry, lo mein, or spaghetti.  It combines elements of all three types of dishes (along with flavors similar to those found in this Spicy Thai Beef Rice Bowl), to make a delicious, slightly spicy meal.

This is a great all-in-one meal, and, as an added bonus, it’s super quick and easy to prepare.  If you’re looking for a great dinner for a busy weeknight, give this a try!

StirFrySpaghetti2

It’s really hard for me to plate long noodles, but at least the colors make it look a little nicer.

Stir Fry Spaghetti

Adapted from a recipe on KitchMe.

Ingredient List:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 16 oz. box linguine noodles
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 12 oz. package frozen sugar snap peas
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic paste

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks.
  3. While the meat is cooking, add the linguine to the boiling water.  Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente and drain.
  4. Stir the garlic salt, curry powder, black pepper, Sriracha, and chili garlic paste into the meat.
  5. Add the sliced white onion, sliced red bell pepper, and sugar snap peas.  Cook with the meat until just tender.
  6. Mix in the drained linguine and soy sauce, stirring several times to combine everything thoroughly.
  7. Allow everything to cook together for about 2-3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Since this dish includes meat, vegetables, and starch, I didn’t make any sides to go along with it.  It doesn’t really need anything else, but you could always serve it with a side of steamed broccoli (or another steamed vegetable if broccoli isn’t your thing) if you think you’ll need something else for a more filling dinner.

Tasty Tuesday: Grilled Steaks with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce and Red Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Eric and I really aren’t Valentine’s Day people, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the fact that for many couples, the month of February is associated with love and romance.  (Or, if not the entire month, at least February 14th is associated with those things.)

Because of this, I’m going to be writing more posts that fall under the “Love and Relationships” category this month.  Not all of my posts will be related to this topic (I mean, yesterday’s post obviously wasn’t), but there will probably be a few more posts than usual on those subjects.

Today’s post is no different.  While I’m sticking with my usual “Tasty Tuesday” post, I’m going to be sharing a couple of recipes that are ideal for a romantic night in.  (Assuming, of course, that you want to avoid the crowds and the inflated Valentine’s Day menu prices.)

Eric and I made this meal together a couple of weeks ago, though it wasn’t for a special occasion.  After eating it, though, we were both impressed with ourselves and agreed that it was almost like we were eating at a nice restaurant at a fraction of the cost.

At that moment, I decided I’d save it to post around Valentine’s Day.  It’s perfect because while it seems fancy, it’s really easy to make.  It also comes together fairly quickly, so you won’t find yourself slaving away in the kitchen for hours.

GorgonzolaSauce1

I wish the lighting had been better when I took these pictures, but you can at least get the idea.

I don’t think I’ve ever shared two recipes in one Tasty Tuesday post before, but since both of these are so simple and they pair so well, I figured what the hell.  It seemed like a good idea, and hopefully it will help at least a few people who are struggling with ideas for a home cooked Valentine’s Day dinner.  (Or, if you’re like us, maybe it will just inspire you to do something a little different with the usual “steak and potatoes” dinner.)

Grilled Steaks with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Tasty Kitchen.

Ingredient List:

  • 2-4 steaks (We only used 2, but this recipe will definitely make enough sauce to cover 4 steaks.  We used sirloin steaks, but you can use whatever type of steak you like for this recipe.)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Grill the steaks to your desired level of doneness.  I won’t detail how to grill a steak in this post because it’s one of those things that most people already know how to do (and everyone has their preferred method).  We simply used our little George Foreman grill and they turned out beautifully.  I will say, though, that Eric lightly rubbed our steaks with a little garlic salt and black pepper before throwing them on the grill.  Please note that gorgonzola cheese is very salty, so make sure you don’t use too much salt in your rub!
  2. Add the heavy cream, gorgonzola cheese, Parmesan cheese, dried parsley, and ground nutmeg to a small saucepan.
  3. Allow the ingredients to simmer over medium heat, whisking continuously until the cheeses are mostly melted.  (It took about 5 minutes for the cheese to melt in my sauce, and, as you can see from my pictures, there were still a few lumps of gorgonzola.  I was worried about that at first, but the picture from the original recipe I used showed sauce with a few lumps as well, so it’s obviously normal.)
  4. Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve warm.
GorgonzolaSauce2

I mixed some of the sauce into my potatoes after I took these pictures, and it was a fantastic combination!

Red Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Allrecipes.

Ingredient List:

  • 8-10 medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves (or, if you’re lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Garlic salt to taste (I used quite a bit, but I didn’t measure it out.  I basically just added some, tasted, added more, tasted, and so on until it was to my liking.)
  • Black pepper to taste (Again, I used quite a bit, but I didn’t measure it out.  I also just added/tasted until the potatoes had the flavor I wanted.)

Instructions:

  1. Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot and fill the pot with enough water to completely cover all of the potatoes.  Bring the water to a boil and allow the potatoes to cook until fork tender (about 10 minutes).
  2. Drain the potatoes, then place them in a large bowl.  You can use a hand mixer if you like, but I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer (I used the flat beater attachment.)
  3. Add the butter, then gently beat to combine.
  4. Stir in the minced garlic and gently beat to combine.
  5. Pour in the heavy cream, gently beating to combine.  (As you can see, you’ll want to mix the ingredients with each addition.)
  6. Add garlic salt and black pepper to taste.  (I beat the potatoes gently after each addition here as well to ensure everything was well blended.  Again, make sure you taste after adding the spices to determine how much you need.)

Pair these two things with a salad or vegetable (I made steamed broccoli, as you can see from the pictures) and a glass of wine, and you’ve got a delicious, flavorful, restaurant quality meal.  This was seriously one of the best things I’ve ever made at home, and, as I said earlier, it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day (or any other day when you want to wow your significant other with an amazing dinner)!

New Restaurant 1/12 in 2015: Asian Dragon House

I don’t always do the whole weekend recap thing (mostly because the majority of my weekends are pretty low key), but this week I wanted to talk about the dinner Eric and I had out since it was a new (to us) restaurant and the first of 12 for the year.  (If you haven’t read my New Year’s resolutions post, I talk about that in a little more detail there.)

Dragon1

Clearly not the best picture, but I’m posting it anyway.

On Saturday we went to Asian Dragon House, which serves sushi, Korean, and Chinese food.  I would describe it as a small restaurant with a casual atmosphere … It’s a good place to go if you want some delicious food and a relaxed evening out, but not if you’re looking for a romantic or “special occasion” sort of ambience.  I also wouldn’t recommend it if you’re in a hurry because it did take a little while to get our food (and our check).  They seemed to be understaffed (one woman was in charge of seating, taking orders, serving patrons, taking care of the checks, and cleaning the tables), and though there weren’t a ton of people there when we went, there were definitely enough to keep her pretty busy.  I thought she did a great job handling everything and the food was worth the wait, but, like I said, we won’t be going there if we’re planning to catch a movie afterward at a specific time.

Asian Dragon House has been on my list of restaurants to try for a quite a while, so I was really excited to finally get to try it out.  I definitely wasn’t disappointed!  Even though it took a little while to get our food, everything we ordered was delicious and we left with our bellies full and happy.

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I ordered hot tea (which was only $1.00 for this pot!), and it was perfect for a cold, snowy evening.

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Eric tried sake for the first time.  (I’d never had it either, so I had a few sips as well.  It wasn’t bad, but it was definitely strong … Not something I’d ever order for myself.)

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Instead of an appetizer, we ordered a sushi roll to share.  This was the Yam Yam Crunch Roll, and it was delicious!  It was crispy, fresh, and a little spicy, and I’d definitely order it again.

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A view of the side dishes that came with Eric’s meal.  He was nice enough to share.

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Eric’s hot stone bibimbap.  I had a bite and it was really good!

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My kimchi fried rice.  It was spicy and flavorful and everything I’d hoped it would be!

This weekend we also got our first big snow of the season.  We’ve had insanely awesome weather this winter (it was between 50-60+ degrees most days during the last couple of weeks!), but I guess it had to end sometime.

It was snowing when we left for dinner, and it was still snowing when we got home.  I decided to take advantage of the fact that we were already out, and asked Eric to take a couple of pictures for me.  I edited the first one, but I thought the lighting was so cool in the second one that I didn’t do anything to it (besides add the words “Divulge and Indulge,” of course):

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My “wannabe fashion blogger” pose.  When I look at pictures like this, I remember why I’m not a fashion blogger.

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Once again, my coat appears to have swallowed my hand.  I also just realized that my hand looks deformed since 2 of my fingers are pressed together making it look as though I have 3 fingers and a thumb.  (I actually have 4 fingers and a thumb on both hands, in case you were wondering.)  Try to ignore that, though, and instead focus on how awesome the lighting is!

On Sunday we stayed in all day since it was still a snowy mess outside.  Eric watched the Super Bowl in our guest bedroom since I had no interest in that whatsoever, and I worked on blog posts, binge watched Netflix (I’m on a Law & Order: SVU kick right now), played Trivia Crack (I’m so fucking addicted to this game that it’s not even funny), did some laundry, made a crockpot meal (I’ll share it soon!), and basically just enjoyed a fairly lazy end to the weekend.

Tasty Tuesday: Zesty One Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Artichokes

I feel like I haven’t shared a pasta recipe on my blog in a really long time, which is insane considering how much I love pasta.  When I say love, I mean love … I could literally eat it every day for the rest of my life and be happy.

One of the main reasons I love pasta so much is the fact that you can pair almost anything with it and it will taste amazing … And the stuff added to the pasta dish I’m sharing today is no exception.

This is another “one pot wonder” that’s perfect for hectic weeknights.  Though, if I’m being honest, I didn’t have high hopes when I stumbled across the original recipe.  It didn’t sound bad or anything, but I made something kind of similar several months ago, and it was just “meh.”  Not bad, but not good.  (Hence why it hasn’t made an appearance on the blog.)

I’m so glad I decided to try it anyway, though, because it was awesome!  Out of all of the dishes I’ve made recently, this is one of my absolute favorites.  And even though Eric isn’t quite the pasta lover I am, this got his stamp of approval as well … So it’s definitely a keeper!

LemonChickenOnePot1

My only issue with this dish is that it doesn’t photograph that well.  That’s what I get for using wheat pasta, I guess … Everything looks brown.

Zesty One Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Artichokes

Adapted from a recipe on Yellow Bliss Road.

Ingredient List:

  • 1 box short pasta (I used whole wheat rotini.)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced (I didn’t use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil for this, but you probably could as long as all of the oil is drained from the tomatoes you’re adding to the meal.)
  • 1 6.5 oz. jar marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained of all liquid
  • 2 lemons (You could reduce this to 1 lemon if you want the sauce a little less tangy/zesty.)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic (or, if you’re lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 2 tsp black pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
LemonChickenOnePot2

Cheesy and tangy with a little kick … This meal is awesome!

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (or until fragrant).
  2. Add the cubed chicken, onion powder, oregano, 1 tsp sea salt, and 1 tsp black pepper to the skillet.  Turn the heat up slightly to medium high and cook the meat until browned.
  3. Add the uncooked pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, chicken broth, water, and white wine.  Stir to combine, then squeeze in the juice from the lemons.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium high and allow the mixture to cook uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 7-9 minutes).  (Make sure you continue to stir regularly!)
  6. Once the liquid has evaporated and the pasta has completely cooked through, turn the heat to low and add the mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Stir well to blend the cheeses into the sauce.
  7. Remove the skillet from heat, and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over the top.  Cover and allow to sit until the cheese has melted.

As you can see from the second picture, I served this dish with a simple green salad and a glass of white wine.  (I highly recommend pairing it with white wine because it really brings out the tangy flavor of the sauce!)

As I said earlier, I’m so glad I decided to try this.  The original recipe kept popping up on Pinterest every time I searched for one pot meals, and after about the 100th time I saw it, I figured I might as well give it a try.  I feel like with the changes I made, it turned into the perfect quick and easy pasta dinner for us.  I can’t wait to make it again!