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Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

The Best Tamale Pie

The Best Tamale Pie // Karista's Kitchen

 

Sometimes all we need is good ole comfort food like Tamale Pie. I often made tamale pie for my girls when they were little. It was a sure method for getting everyone to the table. 

I loved hearing my girls squeals of happiness when they came into the kitchen and I announced we were having tamale pie for dinner.  My tamale pie is filled with tender ground beef, savory aromatics, fresh corn, black beans and loads of flavorful spices. Then it’s topped with a corn and cheddar laced cornbread that is slightly sweet. I serve it with sour cream, sliced avocados and a tossed green salad for good measure.

So, I have to admit, I kind of liked tamale pie night myself. It’s such a great way to use ground beef and the cornbread topping makes it feel a bit playful. Back in the day when I was making this dish often, it was a delicious way to serve a gluten-free meal for my gluten sensitive daughter. I also had a freezer full of grass-fed ground beef and needed inventive ways to prepare it.

The Best Tamale Pie // Karista's Kitchen

Today, my girls still love this Tamale Pie. They continue to crack me up as they are mostly grown up now and yet, still little kids at heart. They both love ground beef recipes, especially when it’s Tamale Pie.

I made this last week and both my daughters were completely delighted. Then the oldest daughter decided to take home the leftovers – for her lunch the next day. Much to the disappointment of my youngest daughter who I found rummaging through the refrigerator looking for it. 🙂 I guess I’ll be making another batch next week.

This is an easy recipe to pull together and pop in the oven. It just screams happiness and everything that makes dinner delicious. 

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

The Best Tamale Pie

Serving Size: 4-6

The Best Tamale Pie

Ingredients

    For the cornbread topping
  • 1 1/2 cups Masa Harina (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup corn (either fresh or frozen)
    For the filling
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, extra virgin olive oil or flavorless coconut oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 10.75 ounce can of tomato puree
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup of corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, lightly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lime juice

Instructions

Prepare the cornbread topping
  • Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  • Whisk together the masa marina, melted butter, sugar, salt, baking powder and water. When the consistency feels good, like a cornbread batter, fold in the cheddar cheese and the corn. Set aside.
  • Prepare the filling
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a little oil to the pan. When the oil is hot add the onions and saute just until wilted. Then stir in the ground beef. When the ground beef is almost cooked through, add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, coriander and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute longer and then take the skillet off the heat.
  • Gently stir in the tomato puree, the corn, black beans and fresh cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the filling into an 8x8 square baking dish or an 8x10 rectangular baking pan. You can use a large baking pan but you may need to use 1 1/2lbs of ground beef if using a larger pan. You will have plenty of cornbread topping for the larger pan.
  • Once you've add the filling to the bottom of the baking pan, spread the cornbread filling over the top. Place it in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the cornbread is done and the sides are bubbly.
  • When the tamale pie is done, take it out of the oven and let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve with sliced avocado, sour cream, extra cheese, diced tomatoes, salsa and anything else you think would be delicious.
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    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

    Pan Cooked Chicken Breasts with Sweet Mini Pepper Relish

    pan cooked chicken with sweet mini pepper relish from Karista's Kitchen

    A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend a most delicious afternoon with the O Organics® team from Albertsons and Safeway, including their RD Annessa Chumbley.

    Shortly after arriving to my home, the team began unpacking several bags of beautiful produce, meat and chicken and Annessa chatted with me about the O Organics® line of products – available exclusively at Albertsons and Safeway stores here in Salem, Oregon.

    While we were busy talking all things food, Annessa began prepping ingredients to make a delicious recipe – Pineapple Burger Stacks with Avocado Salsa.

    I must admit, I couldn’t stop eating them. The Pineapple Burger Stack included the tender and juicy O Organics® grass-fed ground beef, grilled fresh pineapple rings, grilled red onion, O Organics® butter lettuce and of course the avocado salsa to top it off was divine. The combination of flavors was amazing and the burger was visually enticing.

    Pineapple Burger Stacks from Albertsons and Safeway O Organics brand of products

    I know you want that burger so you can find the recipe HERE.

    What could be more fun or more delicious than lovely people and beautiful food? It was a delightful afternoon hosting the Albertsons and Safeway O Organics® team – and they left me with a kitchen full of O Organics® products. So of course, I couldn’t wait to do some cooking.

    It’s not the first time I’ve used Albertsons and Safeway O Organics® products. I discovered the products years ago and started stocking them in my pantry and refrigerator. I began using them for specific family health issues, but I continued to purchase them because they are affordable. It didn’t break my food budget to purchase the O Organics® brand of products.

    I couldn’t love the Albertsons and Safeway O Organics® motto more. It states, “organic for all.”  Albertsons and Safeway believe that high-quality organic food should be available for everyone. You can find a large selection of produce, meat, chicken, rice, snacks, cereals and even baby food in the O Organics® product line. Albertsons and Safeway make purchasing organic food achievable.

    After browsing my stash of O Organics® ingredients, I knew exactly what I was going to prepare.

    Because I am over the moon in love with mini peppers, I decided a Roasted Mini Pepper Relish would be tasty paired with O Organics® Chicken Breasts and a mushroom and herbed quick rice.

    making pan cooked chicken breasts with sweet mini pepper relish from Karista's Kitchen

    Roasting mini peppers is beyond simple and can elevate the humblest of chicken dishes.

    roasted sweet mini peppers from O Organics

    While the peppers were roasting in the oven, I sautéed the mushrooms with fresh herbs and garlic and then combined them with the cooked O Organics® Quick Rice.

    making pan cooked chicken breasts with sweet mini pepper relish and mushroom quick rice

    making pan cooked chicken breasts with sweet mini pepper relish from Karista's Kitchen

    Once the peppers were done and cooled, I gave them a quick dice and combined them with O Organics® fresh basil, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar reduction, minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste – all of which are in the O Organics® line of products.

    With the relish and rice done, I pan seared the chicken breasts and then finished them off in the oven.

    pan cooked chicken breasts with sweet mini pepper relish from Karista's Kitchen

    To plate this easy chicken dish, I topped the chicken breasts with the roasted mini pepper relish, additional fresh basil and crumbled feta cheese. How simple and healthy is this?

    pan cooked chicken breasts with sweet mini pepper relish from Karista's Kitchen

    Huge thanks to the Albertsons and Safeway O Organics® Team for stopping by my home and sharing these quality products with me. I’m a huge fan of this brand. It’s been a staple in my home for many years and allowed me the opportunity to feed my family high-quality organic food without breaking my budget.

    Delicious Wishes!

    Karista

    ***“This post was sponsored by Albertsons and Safeway. Although I was compensated to write this post, all opinions are my own.”

    Pan Cooked Chicken Breasts with Sweet Mini Pepper Relish

    Serving Size: 4

    Pan Cooked Chicken Breasts with Sweet Mini Pepper Relish

    Ingredients

    • 1 - 16 ounce package O Organics Sweet Mini Peppers
    • 1-2 tablespoons – O Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Pinch of sea salt and O Organics Black Pepper
    • ½ cup O Organics Balsamic Vinegar
    • 1 package of O Organics fresh basil, chopped chiffonade
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 cup O Organics Quick Cook Rice Blend, prepared according to package directions
    • 1 cup sliced O Organics Baby Bella Cremini Mushrooms
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon O Organics fresh Thyme leaves, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon chopped O Organics fresh chive
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    • Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 - O Organics Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts
    • 2-3 tablespoons - O Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • ½ cup crumbles Feta cheese to garnish

    Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  • Toss the mini peppers with 1-2 tablespoons of the olive oil and then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and then place the baking sheet in the oven. Roast for about 10-15 minutes or until the peppers look toasty and slightly soft.
  • Once the peppers are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool. While the peppers are cooling, place the balsamic vinegar in a small pot and heat to a very low simmer. Reduce the vinegar by half. This will make the vinegar more of a syrup and slightly sweet to taste.
  • While the vinegar is reducing, chop the peppers and place them in a bowl with the minced garlic and basil chiffonade. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then drizzle with a little extra olive oil and a splash of the balsamic reduction. The rest of the balsamic reduction will go over the entire dish when it’s done.
  • To make the rice dish
  • Add olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot sauté the mushroom slices until they are slightly golden and wilted. Add the garlic and fresh herbs to the mushrooms and sauté about 30 seconds longer just to allow the garlic and herbs to release their oils.
  • Mix the mushrooms and herbs with the cooked quick rice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To prepare the chicken
  • Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  • Add olive oil to an oven safe skillet over medium high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and then add them to the skillet. Brown one side and then flip the chicken breasts. Take them off the heat and place them in the oven to finish cooking, about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
  • When the chicken is done, you can serve this dish right in the pan. Let the chicken rest in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. To serve, scatter the Roasted Mini Pepper Relish over the chicken and then drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Then garnish with the crumbled feta and additional basil leaves if desired. Serve this with the Mushroom and Herbed Quick Rice for a complete and delicious meal.
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    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

    Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Rice Bowl with Avocado Lime Dressing

    Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Rice Bowl with Avocado Lime Dressing // Food Fresh and Simple from Karista's Kitchen

    Bowl food is all the rage at the moment and for good reason.  It’s easy to assemble and typically filled with the most delicious ingredients like this spicy chicken and vegetable rice bowl.

    This recipe is a lovely twist on the traditional chicken and vegetable bowl as I’ve used Harissa powder or paste to add a little flair, spice and flavor to the chicken.  Harissa is an aromatic and spicy chili paste or powder that is traditionally used in African or Middle Eastern cooking.  It’s become quite popular in the U.S. in the last few years and it’s now easily found in most markets.  I think Harissa makes a nice change in flavor to curry or sriracha.

    I’ve paired this Harissa seared chicken with carrots, zucchini, red peppers and I’ve included diced pineapple to balance the flavors.  To finish off the dish, I’ve topped this recipe with sunflower seeds, fresh cilantro and then a drizzle of avocado lime dressing. On occasion, I’ll substitute some of the ingredients with wilted greens, spinach, tomatoes, green onions, radishes and mandarin oranges.

    This spicy chicken and vegetable rice bowl definitely nourishes the body and delights the senses. Which is what good food is all about, right?

    It’s been a busy winter and I haven’t posted here as often as I’d like. It’ll be another few weeks before I post again because I’m moving! Yep, again. We’re moving just up the road a few miles to a new house, but we’re still located in the lovely Willamette Valley. When I’m in and settled, I hope to tape some cooking videos in the new kitchen! I’m not terribly tech savvy so we shall se how it goes. 😉 In the meantime, I’ll be posting on Instagram and Facebook so you can keep up with all the deliciousness on my social media.

    I wish you all a very happy, healthy and delicious spring!

    Love,

    Karista

    Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Rice Bowl with Avocado Lime Dressing

    Serving Size: Makes Two Bowls

    Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Rice Bowl with Avocado Lime Dressing

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 cup diced chicken, either breast or dark meat
    • 1 teaspoon Harissa powder or Harissa paste (easily found in most markets)
    • 1 Avocado
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 small clove garlic
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1-2 tablespoons water, optional
    • 2 cups cooked white or brown rice, warm
    • ½ cup shredded or diced carrots
    • ½ cup diced zucchini, not cooked
    • ¼ cup diced red pepper
    • ¼ cup diced pineapple
    • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

    Instructions

  • In a sauté pan over medium high heat add the 2 tablespoons of oil. Season the diced chicken with salt and pepper and then toss with the harissa paste or powder.
  • Add the seasoned diced chicken to the sauté pan and cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a platter.
  • In a small food processer or blender, add the avocado, lime juice, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, garlic clove, olive oil and white wine vinegar. Pulse until the dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you’d like the dressing a bit thinner in consistency, add 1-2 tablespoons of water until you’ve reached desired consistency.
  • To assemble, place one cup of warm rice into each bowl. Top with cooked chicken, carrots, zucchini, red pepper, pineapple, sunflower seeds and fresh cilantro. Drizzle with the avocado lime dressing and serve immediately.
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    Karista's Kitchen Life Around My Table Seafood

    Miso Sake Glazed Cod with Jasmine Rice

    Miso Sake Glazed Cod

    Miso and Sake seem to be made for each other.  Although not as a cocktail, but as two lush ingredients that pair sublimely together in this Miso Sake Glazed Cod.

    I’ve been preparing this glaze for years and because it was so popular among blog readers, as well as my family, I added it to the menu of one of my culinary classes.  Today this glaze continues to garner all sorts of food love.

    I completely fell in love with the Moonstone Coconut Lemongrass Nigori Sake I sipped at a sake tasting tour last month. I was in Forest Grove, Oregon, just outside Portland, attending the Pacific Northwest Food Blogger Conference with some of the most amazing food bloggers.  We were treated to the loveliest and most interesting sake tour at SakeOne in Forest Grove. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted so much exquisite sake in one evening – every sip was divine.

    Miso Sake Glazed Cod // Karista's Kitchen

    The coconut lemongrass Nigori sake is roughly filtered which gives it a cloudy appearance – the result of leaving sediment in the sake. This sake is lovely for sipping chilled or for using in this Miso Sake Glazed Cod recipe. I’m also thinking a coconut and lemongrass sakétini is in my future.

    Among the incredible sake tour, we dined on luscious food and cocktails from the talented chefs, mixologists and kitchen staff at McMenamins Grand Lodge Hotel and at the most glorious Korean fusion restaurant in Forest Grove called Bites Restaurant. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I wanted to lick my plate after eating almost all the chicken wings on the table. And I’m not typically a chicken wings kind of gal.  Along with delicious food, excellent class sessions, information and brainstorming, I met the most wonderful group of women.

    McMenamins Chefs and Me // PNW Food Blogger Retreat 2017

    Chef Mary, Chef Andreas and Me at McMenamins for the PNW Food Blogger Retreat

    Amazing food from McMenamins Grand Lodge Hotel // PNW Food Blogger Retreat 2017

    I don’t think I could ever say enough kind things about these ladies. Intelligent, savvy, thoughtful, impressive, funny as heck and now my forever friends. It was such a lovely few days connecting with like minds and loads of girl power.  Each blogger brought something unique to the table and I want to introduce you to this impressive group of food bloggers.

    Alyssa from Everyday Maven is a total rock star and I’m proud to say we’ve been friends for several years. I first met Alyssa in 2012 at another food blog conference in Seattle, when I lived in Washington state. I’ve adored her since the beginning. Alyssa was one of the co-hosts and coordinators of the Pacific Northwest Food Blog Conference this year, along with the very talented Carolyn of All Day I Dream About Food.  Honestly, every time I browse Carolyn’s blog I always end up dreaming about her food… all day long. Big thanks to these two ladies for coordinating the event!

    Mary's Harvest Fresh Foods // Sponsor of PNW Food Retreat 2017

    Along with Alyssa and Carolyn, talented food bloggers, Meghan from Fox and Briar, Dara from Cookin Canuck, Fabiola (I love to say her name!) from Not Just Baked, Deseree from Life’s Ambrosia, Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen, Dani from The Adventure Bite, Taylor from Food, Faith, Fitness and Heather from Farmgirl Gourmet and the brilliant mind behind the divine Spiceologist Spices line also attended.

    Spiceologist Spices // PNW Food Blog Retreat 2017

    Jcoco Chocolates // PNW Food Retreat 2017

    San Juan treats from VisitSanJuanIslands.com // PNW Food Retreat 2017

    I want to thank our local sponsors Organic Valley, Bob’s Red Mill, New Season’s Market, Mary’s Harvest and Pacific Foods for their gift of quality and delicious fresh food and food products that fueled our mornings and afternoons.  Also a huge thanks to Tualitin Valley Travel and the Washington County Visitors Association, San Juan Islands Travel and Jcoco Chocolates for all the delicious treats and leather-bound notebook in our blogger swag bags. Not only did I enjoy the treats, but my family did as well.

    Visit the Tualitin Valley in Washington County Oregon // PNW Food Blogger Retreat 2017

    Enjoy this fun and delightful recipe and let me know how you like it!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Miso Sake Glazed Cod

    Serving Size: 4

    Miso Sake Glazed Cod

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 lbs cod, cut into four pieces (true cod, black cod, halibut or any other firm white fish)
    • 1/3 cup white miso paste
    • 1-2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (start with 1 tblsp and add more to taste)
    • ¼-1/3 cup sake (add more to thin the sauce if you like) Use a good quality sake. I used Moonstone's Coconut Lemongrass Nigori Sake from SakeOne in Forest Grove, Oregon
    • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • ½ teaspoon Thai Kitchen Chili paste
    • Fresh ground black pepper
    • Sliced green onion (garnish optional)
    • Serve with Jasmine rice or brown rice and steamed broccolini

    Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 350F.
  • In a food processor or blender add the miso, brown sugar, sake, ginger, garlic and Thai chili paste. Process until it's a smooth, somewhat thick sauce.
  • Place the fish in a buttered or oiled baking dish and season lightly with cracked black pepper. Spread the miso sake glaze over the top of each piece of fish and then place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes. However, the rule of thumb for baking fish is to bake it for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. So if it's a thicker piece of fish you'll bake longer and if it's a thinner piece of fish you'll bake a shorter amount of time.
  • When the fish is done, transfer to plates or a platter and garnish with sliced green onions and serve with white or brown rice.
  • Notes

    This Miso Sake Glaze is lovely over grilled or pan seared scallops as well.

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    Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

    Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy

    Deliciously simple Old Fashioned Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy // Karista's Kitchen

     

    There’s nothing that says simple delicious goodness like an Old Fashioned Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy.

    Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy was a regular dish on our family table and it was truly loved by my bright-eyed, character of a grandfather. Grandpa was born in the Southwest in 1901 and he loved to tell tall tales of how he’d been a cowboy in his younger days. Of course, grandpa had never been a cowboy, however, when he was very young, his family drove a covered meat wagon through Arizona and Southern California. My grandfather and his family hunted the wild game and then cleaned, packaged and sold it from their covered wagon.

    My grandfather was a meat and veggie kind of guy and nothing made him happier than my grandmother’s pan-fried ground beef patties with beef broth gravy. Grandma would mix ground beef with onion, garlic and herbs and then form patties to pan fry and then serve them with a simple pan gravy. Sitting on the table alongside those ground beef patties were several large bowls of assorted vegetables. Green beans with bacon, creamed corn, honeyed carrots and always lima beans. When the food was done, the table was set and everyone was seated, my grandfather, with a knowing smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, would give thanks for his delicious “steak and gravy”.

    Today I’ve re-created that steak and gravy dinner with my version of an old-fashioned Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy. 

    I decided the creamed corn needed a little revision so it became a decadent Corn Gratin and who am I to disturb good ole Southern green beans and bacon so I left those just as grandma made them.  The honeyed carrots get a splash of spice and brown butter and the lima beans typically don’t make it to the table.  Sadly, I’m not a fan. Of course, now that we’re all grown-ups, there is nothing like following up grandpa’s cowboy meal with a “yippee-yo-ki-yay” Cowboy Bourbon Sour.

    So, giddy on up to the table and chow down on this delicious meal and celebrate a season of food, flavor and of course, twinkly-eyed grandfathers. 😉

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy

    Serving Size: 4

    Ingredients

      Salisbury Steak
    • 1lb ground beef 
    • ½ cup diced yellow onion
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • ¼ cup fresh bread crumbs, or your favorite brand of bread crumbs (skip the bread crumbs for wheat free or use GF bread crumbs)
    • ¼ cup warm milk
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 egg, lightly whisked
    • ½ - 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon oil, beef tallow or ghee
      Beef Broth Gravy
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 cup organic beef broth
    • Dash of red wine (optional)
    • ½ cup sliced sautéed mushrooms (optional)
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Combine the bread crumbs and warm milk.  If you are preparing a wheat free meal, skip this step.
  • Mix together the ground beef, onion, garlic, bread crumb mixture, Worcestershire, egg, fresh Italian parsley, salt and pepper. 
  • Form the ground beef mixture into 4-6 round patties, pressing slightly thinner in the center of each patty for even plumping during cooking. 
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat.  Place the patties in the skillet and pan fry on each side until the beef is done to your preference. 
  • Transfer the patties to a platter.
  • Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter to the skillet.  Just as the butter melts whisk in the tablespoon of flour. 
  • Add the beef broth and a dash of red wine if desired.  I like about ¼ cup red wine.  Continue to whisk the gravy, pulling up all the yummy brown bits (called fond) off the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the gravy has thickened slightly, taste for salt and pepper.  If using mushrooms, add them to the sauce.  If the gravy is too thick add additional beef broth until it’s the desired consistency. For more sauce, the recipe is easily doubled. 
  • Pour the gravy over the patties and garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve with corn gratin, garlic mashed potatoes and fresh green salad, or roasted veggies.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Pork

    Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi

    Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi // Karista's Kitchen

    I adore a a simple and flavorful meal that comes together easily like my family’s favorite Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi.

    This rustic and uncomplicated recipe uses fresh ingredients with a few pantry staples to make dinner nearly fuss-free and satisfying.

    This Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi uses ground sausage or ground chicken sausage but you can use whatever you like, or keep it vegetarian.  We have a fabulous sausage house in our little town that makes the most incredible and creative sausages from locally sourced ingredients. So it’s a treat for me to scoot-on-down (my Southernism for the day) to the sausage house and pick up some unique sausages for this recipe.

    I’ve used the traditional Italian sausage, Swedish potato, andouille, cheddar and jalapeño, sun-dried tomato and feta and probably a few more. It’s ridiculously difficult for me to make a decision when I visit our local sausage house – and it doesn’t help if I’m hungry when I’m shopping for the sausages.

    This recipe is paired with one of my favorite types of pastas, Cavatappi. Cavatappi, meaning corkscrew in Italian, feels heartier and a little fancier than macaroni but with a delightful texture that holds up to broccoli, cauliflower, ground meats and sauces.  When I can’t find broccolini or what some call broccoli rabe, I use the garden variety of broccoli.

    I’ve been known to throw other veggies into the pot as well, especially if I have vegetables that are on their last days of shelf life.  I’ve used collard greens, mushrooms, Swiss chard, kale, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant; leftover cooked veggies that easily pair with this cozy recipe.

    Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi works beautifully as a quick weeknight meal but it’s also ideal for a cozy fall or winter weekend meal paired with a glass of Chianti.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Karista

    Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Broccolini and Sausage Cavatappi

    Ingredients

    • 12 ounces Cavatappi pasta
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1-2 lbs Broccolini (broccoli rabe), chopped
    • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
    • ½ cup chopped red onion
    • 1 lb ground sweet or spicy Italian sausage
    • 1 cup of prepared basil pesto
    • Squeeze of fresh lemon
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • ½ cup grated parmesan

    Instructions

  • Fill a pasta pot with water and heat over high heat. When the water boils, salt the water with one tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. About five minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccolini to the pasta. Continue to cook and when the pasta is done, the broccolini should be done as well.
  • While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the sausage. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium or large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the onion until wilted and then add the Italian sausage and cook until done.
  • When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and broccolini and place it back into the pasta pot. Toss the pasta and broccolini with the pesto and then fold in the sausage and onions. Stir in the squeeze of fresh lemon and then season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Pour the pasta into a serving dish or individual dishes and garnish with grated parmesan and serve.
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    Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

    Spring Pea and Mint Pesto with Grilled Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

    Is it me or is the summer sailing by at mach speed? It’s been a busy summer so far, which I don’t mind but posting recipes here on the blog seem to take a back seat.  I did promise Facebook readers I’d get this lovely Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto posted as a few readers have some fresh fish in their kitchens and they wanted some new ideas for preparing it.  I’ve always got an idea about food and recipes so feel free to ask for recommendations! I love to make meal time delicious. 🙂

    I realize I say this often but seafood is one of the easiest, most delicious meals to prepare, especially when paired with a sauce, salsa or pesto.

    I serve fish at least three nights a week and pairing seafood with a simple pan sauce, a beurre blanc (which I know sounds fancy and complicated but it’s truly very simple) a fresh salsa or pesto makes the weeknight meal fuss free and delicious.  If you’re not a seafood fan, this pea and mint pesto is just as tasty paired with grilled chicken or lamb.

    Grilled Salmon with Spring Pea and Mint Pesto // Karista's Kitchen

    Fresh mint seems to be making its way into many of my meals this season – due to my exploding mint plant.  I cut it back but it still took over the herb garden so I transplanted it in it’s very own container.  It still grew back in the herb box and now it’s fighting with the oregano.  I’ll probably dig it up once again and find another spot in the garden to re-plant it.

    Mint is a pretty little plant that is usually bright green in color (depending on which type of mint plant it is) and stays fairly healthy during our Pacific Northwest winters.  It makes a nice shrub in the yard but as I learned the hard way, mint needs its own space.  Much like an emerging teenager.  😉

    So today it’s a Pea and Mint Pesto.  Tomorrow it’ll probably be this Mediterranean Couscous Salad with fresh mint and maybe grilled lamb chops with mint, rosemary and garlic on Sunday.  Mint is definitely in the Bennett Crew’s culinary future.

    Happy Weekend!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

     

    Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

    Makes about 1 1/2 cups

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

    Ingredients

    • 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I begin with 1/3 cup and then add as needed)
    • 1 cup fresh peas that have been blanched, or frozen peas that have been thawed
    • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
    • 1-2 cloves garlic
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or toasted pine nuts if you prefer
    • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
    • Squeeze of lemon
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Place the olive oil, peas, mint, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, nuts and cheese into a food processor. Pulse until the pesto is smooth.
  • Add the lemon and pulse once more and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grilled or roasted salmon, lamb or chicken.
  • This is also tasty on crostini with shaved, aged provolone and grilled asparagus tips.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad Sassy Side dishes

    Italian Chopped Salad

    Italian Chopped Salad // the perfect spring and summer salad // Karista's Kitchen

    It feels so good to write today.  It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve missed writing and posting recipes and all the deliciousness that comes with blogging.  I miss reading the comments and responding – and feeling like I have my very own secret food club of sorts. 😉

    So, today I’m back on the blog sharing one of the many salads I make for my family.  The Italian Chopped Salad.

    I first developed this Italian Chopped Salad for the lovely professionals at Home By Design Magazine.  It was published last year and although I’ve always meant to post it here, I think I forgot about it.  Until I made it just last week for the Bennett Crew.

    This salad is everything a salad wants to be.  Crunchy, crispy, spicy and flavorful, loaded with fresh romaine and radicchio for a lovely blend of greens and tossed with Italian salami, pepperocini’s, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and mozzarella or  smoked provolone.  If I’ve got a few extra ingredients hanging around in the fridge just waiting to be used, I’ll toss those in too.

    Italian Chopped Salad // Karista's Kitchen

    A chopped salad is a salad in which all ingredients are fairly uniformly chopped.  Which makes the salad easy to dress and easy to eat.  There’s no need to use a knife to cut smaller bite sized pieces of lettuce greens or other veggies.  Just a lovely dish of evenly chopped vegetables dressed and ready to eat.  Chopped salads were über trendy a few years ago.  However, in my salad book, chopped salads have been in style for a very long time and I don’t see them trending down anytime soon.

    This Italian Chopped Salad is the perfect spring or summer entrée and it makes a festive side dish to homemade pizza or an Italian pork roast.  It’s one of those salads that is so completely lovely on a warm evening when dinner is served al fresco and the wine flows freely.   Can you tell I’m in summer mode? Even though the temps are back down to the high 60’s here, my summer heart (and palate) moves on.

    Cheers to the approaching warm weather, dinners on the patio, sunsets, chilled wine and Italian Chopped Salad!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Italian Chopped Salad

    Serving Size: 4-6 as an entree

    Italian Chopped Salad

    Ingredients

    • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
    • 1 head radicchio, chopped
    • 6-8 ounces Italian dry salami, chopped or sliced
    • 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella, diced or the small bite sized Mozzarella balls called Ciliegine (you can also use 8 ounces smoked provolone, diced)
    • ½ cup pepperoncini peppers, stemmed and chopped
    • ½ - ¾ cup seedless kalamata olives, halved
    • ½ - 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
    • ½ cup diced or thinly sliced red onion
    • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced chiffonade
    • ½ cup diced cucumber (optional)
    • ½ cup diced marinated artichokes (optional)

    Instructions

  • Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl gently toss together all the remaining ingredients. Just before serving, dress the salad with half of the vinaigrette, using more if needed. Lastly, season with a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    The Best Broccoli Mac and Cheese

    The Best Broccoli Mac and Cheese // Karista's Kitchen

    Well this has been an interesting day.

    I tested a muffin recipe for the fourth time this morning and Horray! It worked. I was sweating this one. I burnt the first set of brown sugar bacon because I wasn’t paying attention and then I added way too much vodka to the bloody mary’s that I was supposed to shoot.  I had to run back to the market for more tomato juice, which of course is more than just a little hike from where I live.

    I’m still in my yoga pants and ball cap (because Tank and I went on our run this morning) the kitchen looks like a meal exploded and my daughter has friends coming over in an hour. Hmm…  I will not be sipping bloody mary’s today. 🙁

    What did happen was my absolute favorite Broccoli Mac and Cheese recipe.  

    I’m out tonight with the youngest sassy gal and I thought I’d make it to leave in the fridge for the rest of my Bennett Crew.  It’s hands down one of the best Broccoli Mac and Cheese recipes I’ve tasted.  Not because I make it ALL the time, but because it’s the most delicious, creamy and lush sauce that will make you want to pour it in a pretty glass and sip.

    The Best Broccoli Mac and Cheese // Karista's Kitchen

    Laced with garlic, dry mustard and paprika, this cheese sauce is everything you expect in a macaroni and cheese sauce.

    A silky texture that gently blankets the broccoli and macaroni with robust flavor that keeps one coming back for seconds.  Every type and brand of cheddar is a little different and will change the flavor profile a bit.  So be sure to use your favorite cheddar cheese or a quality local cheddar is always a good choice.

    After posting this Broccoli Mac and Cheese recipe I’m off to clean up the disaster downstairs and apply a little make-up, so I won’t scare people. Hope your day is a happy one!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

    Karista

    The Best Broccoli Mac and Cheese

    Serving Size: 4-6

    The Best Broccoli Mac and Cheese

    Ingredients

    • 12 ounces to 1 lb macaroni pasta or gluten free macaroni
    • 1 lb fresh broccoli, cut into bite sized florets or one 10-12 ounce package frozen broccoli florets
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 large or 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
    • 2-3 cups warm half n half, depending on how thin or thick you like the sauce
    • 1 teaspoon of dry-yellow mustard
    • 1/2 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 cups shredded good quality cheddar cheese (I love an aged Irish cheddar)
    • ¼ cup bread crumbs or panko
    • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1-2 tablespoons butter

    Instructions

  • Butter 4-6 individual serving dishes or one 9x11 baking dish.
  • Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, however, 5-8 minutes prior to the pasta being done, add the broccoli florets to the pasta and continue to cook until the pasta is done and broccoli is crisp tender.
  • While the pasta and broccoli are simmering, make the sauce.
  • Add the butter to a large sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the minced garlic and stir for one minute. Then whisk in the flour and let it cook another minute.
  • Next slowly whisk in 2 cups of the warm half n half. Once the mixture begins to thicken, add ¼ cup more milk at a time, as needed for the desired consistency
  • Stir the dry-yellow mustard and paprika into the cheese sauce. Then take the sauce off the heat and season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Toss the drained pasta and broccoli with the cheese sauce and then place in the individual baking dishes or one larger baking dish.
  • Mix together the ¼ cup shredded cheddar, the panko or breadcrumbs and the olive oil. Sprinkle it over the Broccoli Mac and Cheese and pop it under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the topping is toasty.
  • Remove from the oven and serve.
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    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta

    Isernio’s Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera

    Isernio's Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera with red and green peppers, peas, asparagus fresh basil and light cream sauce // Karista's Kitchen

    We had only been in our new home in Washington state for a few weeks when we were invited to our neighbors home for dinner.  Mr. Neighbor was an excellent home chef and prepared the most divine slow cooked tomato sauce with locally produced Italian sausages.  I’m sure we had other dishes of food that night, but all I can remember are the sausages.

    As we were chatting about food, Mrs. Neighbor mentioned the sausages were from Isernio’s Sausage Company in Seattle.  Well that was all she had to say because the next day I was on the hunt for Isernio’s sausages.  Thirteen years later… I’m still cooking with Isernio’s products.

    If there is one thing that will completely grab my attention, it’s a great story.  The Isernio story is one of timeless traditions shared with friends and family, combined with hard work and passion that led to the making of a great sausage company.  Flavor, quality, product selection and value are just a few reasons I’ve been a long time fan of Isernio’s products.  From traditional mild and hot Italian sausages to fresh ground meats and chicken sausages, Isernio’s has a product to make every meal inviting and delicious.

    Isernio's Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera prepared with fresh garden product and laced with a light cream sauce // Karista's Kitchen

    Over the years I’ve created dozens of tasty recipes with Isernio’s products. These Chile Lime Chicken Burgers were one of the first recipes I created with Isernio’s Ground Chicken, making a flavorful and healthy alternative for burger season.  Isernio’s Ground Chicken is perfect for most any recipe you would use ground beef.  I use the ground chicken in tacos and enchiladas and of course I use it in all sorts of Italian pasta recipes.

    This beautiful pasta primavera, prepared with linguine, is perfect for the spring and summer season.  It’s filled with fresh garden produce, beautifully balanced with Isernio’s Ground Chicken and laced with a light cream sauce.  Loads of flavor that make a healthy and hearty meal for any occasion.

    Here’s wishing you a most delicious week!

    Loads of Love,

    Karista

    Isernio’s Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Isernio’s Ground Chicken Pasta Primavera

    Ingredients

    • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 small yellow onion, diced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 lb Isernio's ground chicken
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
    • 1/2 cup white wine
    • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
    • 1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
    • 1 yellow pepper, sliced into thin strips
    • 1 cup chopped asparagus or asparagus tips
    • 1 cup sweet peas
    • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or chopped
    • 12 oz to 1 lb linguine
    • Splash of lemon juice
    • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Add water to a large pasta pot, add a generous pinch or two of salt and heat to a boil over high heat. When the water boils add the linguine and boil according to package directions. About five minutes before the pasta is done, add the bell pepper and asparagus to the pasta. The veggies will cook crisp tender in the pasta water. When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and veggies in a colander and place it in a large bowl.
  • While the pasta water is heating, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onions. Sauté until the onions are soft. Then add the garlic, Italian parsley and oregano and sauté a minute longer. Then add the ground chicken and a dash of salt and pepper and cook until the ground chicken is browned. If it's not cooked through, that's ok because it will finish cooking in the sauce.
  • Next add the 1/2 cup of white wine to the ground chicken mixture and reduce until almost all the liquid is gone.
  • Then stir in the heavy cream and simmer until the cream has reduced a bit and slightly thickened. Stir in the sweet peas and grated parmesan. Add a splash of lemon juice to the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the the sauce over the pasta and veggies, add the fresh basil and toss to combine. Serve with extra grated parmesan and warm, fresh Italian bread.
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