Tag Archives: keto-friendly

Grilled Pesto Chicken Breasts

This pesto chicken recipe takes a three-pronged approach, compliments of Cook’s Country. Starting with a batch of homemade pesto, a portion is thickened with extra Parmesan cheese to make a stuffing for the bone-in, skin-on breasts. A cheese-less portion of the pesto functions as a marinade, flavoring the outside of the meat. Finally, cheesy pesto, thinned out to sauce consistency, is served with the chicken for one final hit of fresh basil flavor.

I am a white meat fan when it comes to chicken, while The Hubs prefers the dark meat which he believes to be juicier. While I can’t always argue with that logic, I do know that with the skin and bones of the breast pieces intact, the more succulent the meat will be.

Our poultry breasts weighed in at 15 ounces or so, a bit more than the 12-ounce pieces listed in the ingredients. In fact, one of them was larger than the other three and actually took an additional 7 minutes to come to temperature, so keep a close eyeball on the internal temps with an instant-read thermometer, especially if they are varying sizes.

Brimming with fresh basil, this recipe was a perfect opportunity to cut it back mid-season from our herb garden, encouraging robustness for the remainder of the season. And while the directions indicate to marinate the breasts in the pesto sauce in a bowl for one hour, I let them get happy in a large glass baking dish for three hours in the refrigerator wrapped tightly with saran wrap.

Results? The Hubs LOVED them! That’s big praise coming from a guy who steadfastly prefers the dark meat of the thighs and legs. He couldn’t believe how moist the white meat remained and how flavorful the overall pesto approach was. “Let’s make this for company” he sang, and I thought yes, let’s!

Note: that the pesto base is divided into three separate mixtures for marinating, stuffing, and saucing the grilled chicken.

Grilled Pesto Chicken Breasts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice, about 1/2 large lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • 4 (12-oz.) split bone-in chicken breasts, trimmed

Directions

  1. Process basil, ½ cup oil, garlic, lemon juice, and ¾ teaspoon salt in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Remove ¼ cup pesto from processor and reserve for marinating chicken.
  2. Add Parmesan to pesto in processor and pulse until incorporated, about 3 pulses. Remove ¼ cup Parmesan pesto from processor and reserve for stuffing chicken.
  3. Add remaining ¼ cup oil to Parmesan pesto in processor and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses; set aside for saucing cooked chicken.
  4. Starting on thick side of breast, closest to breastbone, cut horizontal pocket in each breast, stopping ½ inch from edge so halves remain attached. Season chicken, inside and out, with salt and pepper.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of Parmesan pesto reserved for stuffing in pocket of each breast. Evenly space 2 pieces of kitchen twine (each 12 inches long) beneath each breast and tie to secure breast, trimming any excess twine.
  6. Place stuffed breasts in bowl and add pesto reserved for marinating. Rub pesto all over chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
    FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-low. (Adjust burners as needed to maintain grill temperature of 350 degrees.)
  8. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken, skin side up, on grill (over cool side if using charcoal). Cover and cook until chicken registers 155 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes.
  9. Flip chicken skin side down. If using charcoal, slide chicken to hot part of grill. If using gas, turn all burners to medium-high. (Our grill is very hot, so I only turned up the heat to medium.) Cover and cook until well browned and chicken registers 160 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Transfer chicken to platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove twine from chicken and carve meat from bone. Serve, passing Parmesan pesto sauce separately.

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Adapted from a recipe for Cook’s Country

Leftover chicken salad enjoyed poolside.

BTW, if you are lucky enough to have some leftover breasts, make a chicken pesto salad. When cooled, remove the cooked meat from the skin and bones. Either shred it, or cut it up in small chunks (it will still contain the pesto stuffing).

In a mixing bowl, add the chunked chicken, small diced celery, thinly sliced scallions, mayonnaise and more of the pesto topping. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. We served ours the next day for lunch over Bibb lettuce and topped with sliced yellow and red bell peppers and more sliced scallions.

Grilled Tarragon Mustard Flank Steak

Our vegetable garden was brimming with an assortment of aromatic herbs and one of them that exploded recently was the tarragon. We often pair tarragon with chicken but thought perhaps steak might make a good companion for a change.

Never used tarragon? It is a leafy green herb that is highly aromatic with a subtle licorice flavor. It adds a fresh, spring taste and a bit of elegance to a variety of recipes, including salad dressings, sauces, fish, chicken, and in this case, a steak dish. In France, it is referred to as “the king of herbs” because of its ability to elevate a dish, and is one of the four herbs in the French mixture fines herbes, a combination of parsley, tarragon, chervil, and chives.

While the cooking time for this recipe is minimal, you want to make sure you leave ample time to marinate the meat so that it gets all happy in those flavors of mustard, white wine, scallions and of course, tarragon.

From mid- to late-summer we often pair our grilled entrées with fresh picked corn and locally grown tomatoes, and this was no exception. The basil was just plucked from our herb garden for the caprese salad, which is also where the tarragon came from.

Grilled Tarragon Mustard Flank Steak

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 2-lb. flank steak
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup mustard (Dijon or grainy Dijon mustard work really well for this)
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra for garnish
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

  1. Combine oil, wine, mustard, scallions and chopped tarragon in a zipper plastic bag. Add steak, seal bag and rotate until steak is coated.
  2. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours and up to overnight, turning the bag over occasionally.
  3. Heat grill to high. Reserve some marinade for basting, discard the rest. Grill steak for 5 minutes per side for medium rare, 125° on an instant-read thermometer.
  4. Rest steak on a moated carving board under foil for 10 minutes (don’t skip this step) and then thinly slice at an angle and against the grain. Arrange on a platter and drizzle any accumulated juices over meat. Serve at once.

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Adapted from recipe for FramedCooks.com

Marinated Beef Kebabs and Veggie Skewers

The beauty of this marinade recipe is that it is used for both the meat and vegetable skewers. We almost always thread the meat on separate skewers from the vegetables because the cooking times are so drastically different. The veggies will take about 20 minutes, while the beef is done in 5-8 minutes, depending on your preference.

And while you can get away with only marinating the meat for one hour (that’s the time limit for your veggies), the flavor penetrates the beef at a much more satisfying taste if you leave it in a ziploc overnight—or say, at least 8 hours.

If you’re not counting carbs, tri-colored couscous makes a fine dining companion for the skewers of meat and vegetables. Make it with beef bullion instead of water for an even beefier taste!

Marinated Beef Kebabs and Veggie Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. top sirloin beef, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper (or 1/2 of each), cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled with root intact, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″-thick rounds
  • 12 large button mushrooms, stems removed

MARINADE

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Sriracha, a few dashes to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl, then divide into two ziploc gallon-sized bags.
  2. Add the chunks of beef to one bag, seal and refrigerate overnight. Reserve the other bagged marinade for the veggies, store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. One hour before preheating grill, put cut vegetables into remaining marinade. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for one hour.
  4. Preheat grill to high on all burners.
  5. Thread beef chunks onto 3-4 skewers. Alternate the vegetables on 4 skewers. Place all skewers on a large rimmed baking sheet. Reserve leftover marinade for basting purposes.
  6. Grill the veggie skewers for 15 minutes, turning and basting occasionally with leftover marinade. Leave on grill until meat is done, continuing to baste with marinade.
  7. Now place beef kebabs on grill, turning and basting occasionally. With an instant-read thermometer, check after 4 minutes for doneness. Ours were perfectly medium-rare after only 4 1/2 minutes!
  8. Remove skewers from grill to baking sheet and cover loosely with foil for 5 minutes allowing the juices to redistribute.
  9. The meat can be removed from skewers onto a platter and passed around the table, while each diner gets one skewer of vegetables.

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Grilled Tuna Steaks with Lemon-Caper Mustard Sauce

There’s just something about grilled tuna steaks that screams summer to me. This super-easy, no-fuss, dinner is perfect for a couple—but if doubled or tripled, fancy enough for company. Because it’s ready in 30 minutes from start-to-finish, you have ample time leftover to chill with a glass of wine, and/or enjoy your guests.

Then, how about a grilled romaine salad as a side dish? Slice a head in half, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place the cut-side down over high heat for two minutes. Dress with grape tomatoes, radish and cucumber slices, sliced scallions and your favorite dressing. I think ranch or blue cheese adds a nice counterpoint to the salty tartness of the butter sauce. Serve immediately.

Completing the meal was some grilled asparagus, making the meal healthy, low-carb, with added fiber and protein—not to mention great taste!

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Lemon-Caper Mustard Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz. tuna steaks, 3/4 inch thick
  • 2 Tbsp. tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon fresh juice, divided  
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest, grated  
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. capers, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil for tuna
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Vegetable oil for grill grates
  • Fresh parsley for garnish, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat gas grill to high.
  2. Mix together butter, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, capers and a pinch of white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Brush tuna steaks with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and white pepper. Drizzle remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice over fish.
  4. Brush vegetable oil on grates and place tuna steaks over the heat.
  5. Grill, turning once, until firm and opaque at center, about 10 to 12 minutes total for medium.
  6. Remove from heat and divide lemon-caper butter over top of each steak.
  7. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and leftover lemon wedges if you have them.

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Salmon with Sweet Peppers and Chorizo

The rich flavor and firm texture of salmon, one of our favorite fish, pair perfectly with sweet peppers made into pipérade, a Basque relish-like stew of peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic. Piment d’esplette is the authentic seasoning for pipérade, but instead a combination of sweet paprika and cayenne is used, both of which are probably already in your pantry.

And for smoky, meaty flavor, sauté slices of Spanish chorizo; the rendered fat helps cook the vegetables and the browned chorizo simmers with peppers for a few minutes at the end. We prefer salmon at medium-well doneness—that is, cooked until the center is no longer translucent. To cook the fish until opaque throughout, simmer the fillets for a few minutes longer, or until the center reaches 130°F to 135°F. Serve with warm, crusty bread if desired.

Tip: Don’t forget to place the salmon skin side up in the pan. This way, while the fillets cook gently in the pepper mixture, the skin, which we remove before serving, protects the surface from drying out. Also, don’t allow the pepper mixture to simmer vigorously while the fish is in the skillet. Medium heat should ensure a gentle simmer, but adjust the burner as needed.

Salmon with Sweet Peppers and Chorizo

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 6-oz. center-cut salmon fillets
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 2 oz. Spanish chorizo, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium red or orange bell peppers (or 1 of each), stemmed, quartered lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth or white wine
  • 14½ oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3 large thyme sprigs

Directions

  1. Season the salmon on both sides with salt. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, combine the oil and chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil has taken on a reddish hue and the chorizo begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a small plate and set aside.
  2. Set the skillet over medium-high and heat the fat until shimmering. Add the bell peppers, onion, paprika, cayenne and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are wilted and tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add the vermouth and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the wine has evaporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes with juices along with the thyme, then bring to a simmer. Nestle the salmon fillets, skin-side up, in the mixture. Reduce to medium, cover and simmer, until the thickest parts of the fillets reach 115°F to 120°F, 6 to 8 minutes. If you want your salmon opaque throughout, cook a few minutes longer.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat. Using tongs, carefully peel off and discard the skin from each fillet. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the salmon to serving plates, flipping each piece so the skinned side faces down.
  6. Bring the pepper mixture to a simmer over medium-high, add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove and discard the thyme, then spoon the mixture over and around the salmon and drizzle with additional oil.

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Asparagus with Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

Adding fresh allium notes as well as bright green color to any dish, Vietnamese scallion oil, called mỡ hành, is used as a garnish or condiment on a number of different foods, here we are adding it to cooked asparagus.

This version from Milk Street includes savory fish sauce (or soy sauce), pungent ginger and a little sugar to build complexity. Try it on shrimp, steak, grilled pork chops, corn on the cob or steamed dumplings. Leftover scallion oil can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days; return it to room temperature before serving.

For proper texture and flavor, the scallions should be chopped. Slice them first, then run the knife blade over them a few times to further break them down.

Asparagus with Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ½ cup chopped scallions (5 or 6 scallions)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup peanut or other neutral oil
  • 1½ Tbsp. fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed and halved on the diagonal
  • 3 Tbsp. water

Directions

  1. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the scallions, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using your fingers, gently rub the salt and pepper into the scallions until the scallions begin to wilt.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering, then pour the hot oil over the scallions; the scallions will sizzle. Stir, then stir in the fish sauce, ginger and sugar. Cool to room temperature.
  3. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until barely smoking. Add asparagus and cook, stirring only a few times, until charred. Add 3 tablespoons water, then immediately cover. Reduce to low and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with scallion oil spooned over.

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Recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

OMG, The BEST Moroccan Chicken Skewers

WOWSER, these were so friggin’ good! While the original Milk Street recipe broiled the skewers, we decided to grill them for a more enhanced char. The skewers are then finished with the juice of charred lemon halves that have been drizzled with honey, along with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint are good choices, alone or, as we did, in combination.

As a perfect accompaniment we also grilled vegetables tossed in EVOO, salt and pepper. Some skewers were laced with red and green bell pepper along with onion wedges; while others consisted of cherry tomatoes and mushroom caps. We purposely arranged them separately because the onion and pepper pieces took longer to cook. And if you’re not restricting carbs or gluten, tricolored couscous can round out the meal nicely.

Some reviewers commented that they used pomegranate molasses as a finishing drizzle with the herbs because it’s not as sweet as honey but still adds another interesting texture and taste. I think that’s worth a try!

Grilled Moroccan Chicken Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 lemons, halved
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1½ lbs. halved boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Chopped fresh herbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill for direct high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the lemon zest and juice, oil, honey, ginger, spices, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside 2 tablespoons.
  3. Toss the chicken with the remaining mixture. Scrunch the chicken onto metal skewers, then place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Add the 4 lemon halves.
  4. Oil the grates and grill chicken and lemon halves until charred, about 12 minutes, flipping the chicken skewers halfway through.
  5. Spoon the reserved lemon-oil mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle with herbs.
  6. Drizzle the lemon halves with honey and serve alongside for squeezing over the chicken.

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Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa

Looking for a vibrant fish dinner combination? This Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa from Better Homes & Gardens caught our attention immediately. And if you lean toward low-carb, keto-friendly dishes, you may want to put this meal in your rotation.

Choose a firm whitefish option like cod, grouper, or hake. These varieties hold up well to oven-roasting—and topping with a tangy, refreshing fruit salsa. Our original intention was to purchase hake, but the local supermarket didn’t have it and we were to lazy to drive to the other side of town to the Asian fish market and get it, so cod it was.

The recipe calls for four fish fillets, but with only the two of us at the dinner table, we simply bought a one-pounder fillet and split it. As far as the fennel, once roasted, it not only dissipates the licorice flavor (which deters some people from eating it), but it takes on a subtle, sweet flavor, which makes a great counterpoint to the grapefruit salsa.

Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, halved, cored, and cut into thin wedges, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fronds
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1-inch thick firm white fish fillets, such as cod, grouper, or hake
  • 1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Add fennel wedges. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 12 to 15 minutes or until starting to brown.
  2. Turn fennel and push to sides. Add fish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine chopped fennel fronds, grapefruit, parsley, shallot, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Serve fish with roasted fennel and the salsa.

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Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Ginger-Miso Filet Mignon

You will adore this lickety-split sauce of butter, green onion, and ginger, which adds an Asian-style final touch to this steak recipe. With its crisp pan-seared exterior and succulent juicy center, and quick cooking time, you’ll find you’ll want to make this recipe often. And you can mix it up by using filet tips like we did.

In the original version from Better Homes & Gardens, the recipe calls for four filet mignon steaks. But we had 14 ounces worth of filet tips in our freezer, which had thick and thin areas, so cooking them was a little tricky. Once the meat was medium-rare, they were plated and covered while the sauce was made; then thinly sliced and laid over a bed of steamed rice. This actually stretched the portions to three with less than a pound of meat!

The most-time consuming portion of this recipe is the wait. The meat has to be seasoned and refrigerated for 2 hours, then taken out to room temperature for another 30 minutes. The actual cooking time is only about 15 minutes. If you are serving rice too, make sure to time it correctly so that is ready when the sauce is.

Omitting any rice keeps the dish low-carb and keto-friendly.

Ginger-Miso Filet Mignon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 beef tenderloin steaks (filet mignon), cut 1- to 1 1/4-inches thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
  • ⅔ cup rice wine
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions (optional)

Directions

  1. Season beef generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate. Chill, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove and let stand 30 minutes. Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. To check when hot enough, add a large drop of water (1/8 teaspoon) to the skillet. When it rolls around the pan like a bead of mercury it is ready. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat; add oil. Swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Return to medium-high heat. Add beef. Cook for 5 minutes or until a crust forms (be patient; the beef will release when it’s ready to be turned). Turn and cook for 2 to 4 minutes more or until done at 135°F.
  3. Remove beef from skillet to a clean plate; cover loosely. Remove skillet from heat. Carefully add wine, miso, and soy sauce (mixture will spatter).
  4. Return to heat. Bring to boiling, stirring to scrape up browned bits and whisking to incorporate miso. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, green onions, and ginger.
  5. Spoon sauce over beef to serve. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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Adapted from a recipe By Colleen Weeden for Better Homes & Gardens

Mustard-Shallot Bone-In Pork Chop for Two

One chop, two diners. That’s all you need when your two-inch thick pork chop weighs in at 1 1⁄4 pounds. For a thick, bone-in pork chop, pan-searing is a great cooking method. The high heat seals in the pork’s juices so you don’t have to suffer over dry, chewy meat. Then 10 minutes in a hot oven to render your chop perfectly cooked and succulent.

For a final touch, the mustard-shallot sauce is made in the same pan while the pork chop rests. We tend to like saucy, so if you prefer less of an embellishment, just cut the ingredients in half.

Mustard-Shallot Bone-In Pork Chop for Two

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1, 1 to 1¼ lb. bone-in pork loin chop, 2-inches thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallot
  • 2 Tbsp. butter 
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

  • Season pork generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate. Chill, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove and let stand 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Heat a heavy, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. To check when hot enough, add a large drop of water (1/8 teaspoon) to the skillet. When it rolls around the pan like a bead of mercury it is ready. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; add oil. Swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Return to medium-high heat. Add pork chop. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until a crust forms (be patient; the pork will release when it’s ready to be turned). Turn and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Sear the end caps for a minute or two each.
  • Place pan directly into oven for 10 minutes or until pork reaches 145°F when tested with a instant-read thermometer.
  • Place meat on a plate; cover loosely and keep warm.
  • Carefully add wine and shallots to skillet. Return to heat. Bring to boiling, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until reduced by about half and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and mustard.
  • Spoon sauce over pork to serve. Sprinkle with parsley.

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Loosely adapted from a recipe by Colleen Weeden for Better Homes & Gardens

Korean Barbecue Ribs with Asian Slaw

As you may have surmised over the years through posts on this blog, The Hubs loves baby back ribs. You’ll find numerous recipes for different approaches to seasoning and cooking them—both adaptations and our own creations—but this one we hadn’t yet tried. If, like us, you embrace bold flavors, then these ribs are speaking to you.

Korean dwaeji kalbi are pork ribs seasoned with gochujang (a fermented chili paste), garlic, sugar and a few other high-impact ingredients. The ribs typically are grilled for only enough time to cook the pork through, not for hours on end to render the meat American-barbecue tender. However, this version from Milk Street, is a riff on Sohui Kim’s recipe from “Korean Home Cooking,” where they use the oven for convenience and cook the ribs to that ultra-tender state.

Our ribs were served with a side of Asian Slaw and roasted acorn squash rings.

As luck would have it, we had one package of baby backs in the freezer, which would suffice in feeding just the two of us, so we cut the recipe in half. To accompany the ribs, we paired them with roasted acorn squash slices and an adaptation of an Asian Slaw recipe found in Men’s Health, details below.

Look for gochujang in the international aisle of the supermarket or in Asian grocery stores. When shopping for baby back ribs, try to select meaty racks of equal size so they cook at the same rate.

Tip: Don’t use regular foil, as it’s too thin and narrow to securely wrap the racks of ribs. Be sure to use extra-wide (18-inch) heavy-duty foil. When wrapping the ribs in foil, be sure to position the racks meaty side down and keep them that way when placing them on the rack before baking. This allows the meat to braise in the pork juices that collect in the foil.

Korean Barbecue Ribs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ¾ cup gochujang
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 3- to 3½-pound racks baby back ribs, patted dry
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 300°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with extra-wide, heavy-duty foil, then set a wire rack in the baking sheet. In a medium bowl, whisk together the gochujang, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture, cover and refrigerate to use for glazing. Cut two 20-inch lengths of foil; set aside.
  2. Turn each rack of ribs meaty side down. Using a paring knife, cut a slit about 1 inch long in the membrane between the bones without cutting through meat. Lay one foil sheet on the countertop and set one rib rack on top. Coat the ribs on all sides with half of the remaining gochujang mixture, rubbing it into the meat and into the cuts in the membrane. Turn the ribs meaty side down on the foil. Draw the long sides of the foil together to cover the ribs and fold to seal tightly, then fold up and seal the short sides, creating a well-sealed packet. Repeat with the remaining foil sheet, rib rack and gochujang mixture. Place the packets seam side up on the prepared rack and bake until a skewer inserted into the meaty area between the bones meets no resistance, 2½ to 2¾ hours.
  3. Remove the ribs from the oven and let rest, still wrapped, for about 10 minutes. One packet at a time, carefully open one end of one of the foil and pour the liquid inside the packet into a 1-quart liquid measuring cup or medium bowl; you should have at least 2 cups. Unwrap the ribs and set them meaty side up directly on the rack; set aside while you prepare the glaze.
  4. Heat the broiler. Using a spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the liquid, then pour the liquid into a 12-inch skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Whisk in the reserved ¾ cup gochujang mixture, return to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick enough that a spatula drawn through it leaves a trail, 5 to 7 minutes. Brush the surface and sides of the ribs with about half of the glaze.
  5. Broil the ribs until the glaze begins to char, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush on the remaining glaze, then continue to broil until lightly charred, another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the sesame seeds (if using). Let rest for about 15 minutes. Transfer the rib racks to a cutting board. Separate the ribs by cutting between the bones, then transfer to a platter.

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Adapted by Diane Unger for Milk Street

Asian Slaw

Asian Slaw

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1⁄4 cup peanut or canola oil
  • Juice of 2 limes + zest of 1⁄2 lime
  • 1 Tbsp. sriracha
  • 1⁄2 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1⁄4 cup toasted peanuts
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1⁄4 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, zest and sriracha.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing to coat.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

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Sautéed Snapper with Green Beans and Tomatoes

Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than a meal that is not only good for you, but is art to the eyes and music to the taste buds—plus, comes together quickly with a short list of ingredients. Here, Milk Street riffs on Laura Calder’s recipe for a simple yet elegant one-skillet, six-ingredient (not counting the salt and pepper) sautéed fish supper from “French Food at Home.”

This version yields a slightly more substantial vegetable accompaniment to serve with the fillets but is equally easy to prepare. Green beans are used, but if you prefer, use pencil-thin asparagus instead. However, Milk Street notes it serves four, and while we halved the amount of snapper for the two of us, the full amount of green beans and tomatoes was kept intact, yet we consumed all of them between the two of us. If serving a starch such as rice or potatoes, it probably won’t be much of an issue.

Red snapper is a mild, firm-textured white fish that holds up nicely to sautéing. Flounder is a good alternative, as it typically is of the same thickness as snapper. Halibut works nicely, too, but the fillets are thicker (and more expensive!) and therefore require a few more minutes in the pan. One misstep on our end was forgetting to remove the fish skin which caused the fillets to curl in the pan.

Tip: Don’t fuss with the fish once it’s in the skillet. Allowing the fillets to cook undisturbed for a few minutes gives them a chance to develop a well-browned crust. To flip each one, slide a metal spatula underneath and, as you turn it, support the fillet your free hand. Gentle handling helps prevent the flaky flesh from breaking.

Sautéed Snapper with Green Beans and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 6-oz. skinless red snapper fillets (½ to 1 inch thick)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the beans and cook, stirring only once or twice, until spottily browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to char and burst and the beans are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter.
  2. In the same skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the fillets skinned side up and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip each fillet, then add the butter while swirling the pan. Cook over medium-high, occasionally basting the fish with the fat, until the fillets are opaque throughout, about another 3 minutes. Using the spatula, place the fillets on top of the vegetables.
  3. Set the skillet over medium, add the vinegar and cook, stirring to combine with the fat, just until heated through, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour the mixture over the fish.

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Adapted the recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Scallop Nirvana!

At nearly $30 per pound for sea scallops, you want to ensure that the end result is going to be worth your hard-earned dollars. On top of being quick-cooking and easy, there’s little more than a handful of ingredients. Plus, you’ll enjoy a crisp sear on the outside and tender, juicy insides with this Lemon Scallops recipe. And trust us, you’ll be wanting for more—we bought one pound and ate them all!

Make sure to cook in at least two batches so that you don’t crowd the pan and risk not getting that golden crisp sear on the exteriors. The recipe indicates this should take about 2 minutes per side, but in our case it was closer to 1 1/2 minutes per side. For the smoothest, velvety sauce, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to eliminate blackened bits and/or garlic chunks before adding the butter.

Paired with a Citrus Couscous Salad, it was a perfect dinner to kick off the Spring season. We both agreed, they were among the BEST scallops we’ve ever eaten—even taking into account upscale seafood restaurants!

Lemon Scallops

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs. sea scallops
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter 
  • Chopped fresh mint

Directions

  1. Pat scallops dry. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate. Chill, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove and let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. To check when hot enough, add a large drop of water (1/8 teaspoon) to the skillet. When it rolls around the pan like a bead of mercury, it is ready. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove skillet from heat; add oil. Swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Return to medium-high heat. Add scallops, half at a time (don’t crowd the pan). Cook for 2 minutes or until a crust forms (be patient; the scallops will release when they’re ready to be turned). Turn and cook for 2 minutes more or until scallops are crusted on the second side and turn opaque.
  4. Remove scallops from skillet to a plate; cover loosely. Remove skillet from heat. Carefully add wine, broth, lemon juice, and garlic (mixture will spatter). Return to heat. Bring to boiling, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Boil gently, uncovered, 5 minutes or until reduced by about half. Remove from heat.
  5. Strain over a fine mesh sieve to remove any blackened bits and garlic chunks, then whisk in the butter for a velvety sauce.
  6. Spoon sauce over scallops to serve. Sprinkle with mint.

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Adapted from a recipe by Colleen Weeden for Better Homes & Gardens

Mediterranean-Inspired One Pan Wonder

Treat yourself like company with this Mediterranean-inspired Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives recipe. In less than an hour, this one pan wonder works well for a weeknight dinner. It’s a mash-up from America’s Test Kitchen and Molly Stevens cookbooks. The revised recipe noted below serves six, but we halved it for just the two of us.

Cooking the tenderloins until buttery-smooth is key, and roasting them atop a bed of vegetables buffers the heat to ensure juicy meat all the way through. Rather than searing the meat, it is rubbed with a spice mixture. The Mediterranean seasoning inspires the selection of vegetables: sweet, delicately flavored fennel, earthy artichoke hearts, and briny olives.

After softening the fennel in the microwave, toss it with the other vegetables and olive oil, and spread the mixture into the roasting pan, placing the tenderloins on top. The vegetables are nearly cooked when the pork was done, so remove the meat, add in juicy halved cherry tomatoes and orange zest, and let the vegetables finish in the oven while the meat rests.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • (12- to 16-oz.) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest, divided in 3
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulbs halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick strips
  • 12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry; or 6 oz. jarred packed in brine
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 18 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450°. Pat pork dry with paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, combine thyme, 2 teaspoons of the orange zest, cumin, pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Combine thoroughly and rub all over both tenderloins.
  3. Combine fennel and 2 tablespoons water in bowl, cover, and microwave until softened, about 5 minutes; drain well. Toss drained fennel, artichokes, olives, and oil together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread vegetables into 16 by 12-inch roasting pan and lay pork on top. Roast until pork registers 140 to 145 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, turning tenderloins over halfway through roasting.
  5. Remove pan from oven. Transfer pork to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, stir cherry tomatoes and remaining teaspoon orange zest into vegetables and continue to roast until fennel is tender and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes more.
  7. Remove pan from oven. Stir parsley into roasted vegetables. Slice pork into ½-inch-thick slices and serve with vegetables.

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Sautéed Flounder Fillets and Lemony Green Beans

Here’s a speedy and uncomplicated method for cooking mild-tasting fish. From Molly Steven’s latest cookbook “All About Dinner” comes Sautéed Flounder Fillet with Wine Sauce along with a side dish of Green Beans with Shallots, Herbs and Lemon. All you need to complete this light and quick meal is a simple side salad.

Both dishes take approximately 20 minutes total from prep through the cooking process.

Sautéed Flounder Fillet with Wine Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2-4 skinless flounder fillets, about 6 oz. each
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, divided into 1 1/2 Tbsp. each
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 tsp. chopped capers
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Set a heavy-bottomed skillet large enough to hold the fillets (or cook in two batches) over medium-low heat. As the skillet warms up, dredge the fish in the rice flour on a plate, flipping so both sides are lightly dusted, shaking to remove any excess.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the oil to the skillet (use only half if cooking in two batches). When the oil shimmers, lower in the flounder. Drop the pieces of butter around the edges of the skillet, and as soon as it melts, tilt the pan to pool the butter and use a spoon to baste the fish. The butter will turn golden.
  4. In 30-60 seconds, when the fillets turn golden, flip them and repeat.
  5. Transfer the fish to a serving platter, flipping the fish so that the browner side is up. Cover tightly with foil while you make the wine sauce.
  6. Give the skillet a cursory wipe to remove any excess fat, but don’t wash it.
  7. Return the pan to medium heat, add half of the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and the minced shallot, and cook stirring frequently, until the shallot is tender, about 1 minute.
  8. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and cook until reduced to a glaze, another 30 seconds or so.
  9. Add the capers, parley and remaining butter. Swirl the pan to incorporate the butter and heat through. Spoon over the fish and serve immediately.

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Green Beans with Shallots, Herbs and Lemon

This side dish is a great model in how a little technique and a few choice seasonings can transform basic ingredients. As Molly says in her cookbook “There is a sort of Goldilocks zone when they loose their raw taste and relax enough to offer a pleasant bite before turning limp and sad.”

At home, you can store green beans in a loose produce bag for a couple of days, but any longer, they start loosing their flavor.

Green Beans with Shallots, Herbs and Lemon

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
  • Salt
  • 1 /2 to 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Flaky salt such as Maldon

Directions

  • Bring 2-3 quarts of well-salted water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Set a colander in the sink.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, 4-6 minutes. Add the herbs and keep warm over low heat.
  • Once the water reaches a rollicking boil, add the beans in big handfuls, and boil until the color deepens and a bean bends a bit when you lift it out with tongs. For best flavor, stop the cooking when they are tender with only a bit of resistance, 3-5 minutes.
  • As soon as the beans are done, dump them in the colander, giving it a couple of good shakes to remove excess moisture. Quickly wipe out and dry the pan, and return it to the stove. Return the beans to the pan over medium-high heat. Use the tongs to toss briskly until the beans are nice and dry, about 30 seconds.
  • Remove from the heat, add the shallot butter and lemon, scraping the skillet with a silicone spatula, and toss to coat. Garnish with flaky sea salt and serve immediately.

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