Author Archives: jazzcatcassie

Summer Eats: Papaya-Avocado Seared Ahi

Hello friends! First of all, may we offer our most sincere apologies for our lack of posts in the past month and a half!  We don’t have much of an excuse for the lack of updates besides our own laziness.  However, each of us have been undoubtedly busy with our demanding jobs, along with vacations to Austin, San Francisco/Marin County,  Ventura/Santa Barbara, Colorado (for Fletch, who went to both Boulder and Vail), and most recently San Diego.  We’ve had a large amount of awesome food in the past month and a half, and to begin to catch you up, here’s one dish that really set the bar high.

I mean, how can you not want to eat this?  It’s fresh, healthy, summery…. incredible.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sushi-grade Ahi steaks
  • Fresh, ripe Papaya (should be orange on the outside and not too firm)
  • Ripe Avocados
  • Baby salad greens
  • Sweet, fruity salad dressing (we used pear champagne vinaigrette)
  • Side of your choice, if desired (couscous is pictured above)

Season the ahi steaks to your liking – liberal salt, pepper, and anything else you may choose to compliment the flavors.  Sear the steaks on high until the top and bottom are white, yet the middle is still pink – usually about one minute per side, depending on the thickness of the steak.

Slice the papaya and avocados lengthwise, and toss the salad greens with the dressing. Arrange and plate the dish, and just take it all in –  the sweetness of the salad with the papaya mixes with the saltiness of the fish and avocado and creates a unique and delicious flavor.  Enjoy!

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Filed under Grilling, Homemade

Meal Idea: Costco Salmon Fillets with Herb Butter

This is a great healthy, quick and easy meal if you happen to be at a Costco.  Pick up their Salmon Fillets with herb butter and a “Grand Parisian” salad.  You can spread the herb butter on top of the fillets, also using some salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Bake the fillets at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Couscous makes a great accompaniment to this dish, as well as the salad. Fast and delicious!

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Filed under Homemade, Pre-Prepped @ Home

Turkey or Chicken Spanakopita Burgers

Here’s a great summer meal that is tasty, quick, easy, healthy and affordable – what could be better?  You can use either ground turkey or chicken.  We’ve tried this with both and they are equally delicious.  Here’s what you’ll need (this recipe yields 4 servings):

  • About 1.25 lbs ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 pound feta crumbles
  • About 1 and a half cups frozen (defrosted) spinach
  • grill seasoning (for poultry)
  • salt, pepper
  • dried oregano
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Buns, and burger fixings

Dice one-half of the red onion and sauté in a pan with salt and pepper on medium in olive oil (about 5 minutes).  Add the three cloves of garlic, crushed or minced.  In a large bowl, mix the defrosted spinach with the feta crumbles.  Add in the browned onion and garlic, mix well and let cool a couple minutes.  Add in a teaspoon of oregano, and a teaspoon of grill seasoning.  Add ground meat and mix together with your hands.  Form into four patties.

Grill on medium (you can use a gas or charcoal grill or the stovetop) for about 6 minutes a side, or until thoroughly cooked.  Toast your burger buns, and build the burgers with fresh sliced tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, and anything else you think would be tasty.  A side of salad or fries makes a great accompaniment.

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Ashley’s Dynamite Minestrone Soup

Sorry for our apathetic approach toward blogging recently – we’ve been too busy eating lots of good food and getting too full to write.  We promise to update more often – but tonight I have a wonderful recipe I’d like to share.  Our good friend Ashley showed us how to make this last Sunday, and we enjoyed it so much that we had to repeat it tonight.

This is a good one for when you’re craving just a light dinner.  In today’s case it was Mother’s Day and I went out to Joan’s on Third with my parents for lunch (I had a half roast beef sandwich, mac and cheese, salad, and a piece of crown cake).  When dinner time came around, I felt myself not wanting something decadent, but light and healthy.  Here is Ashley’s tasty recipe for minestrone soup:

  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 cans seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 2 large carrots (sliced)
  • 2 large celery stalks (sliced)
  • 1 russet potato (chopped)
  • About a box and a half of chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Fresh basil leaves (chopped finely in food processor)
  • 1 small can of corn
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • Salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings to taste
  • 2 bay leaves

Start by chopping the onion and mincing the garlic.  Put a large pot on the stove and coat the bottom with olive oil.  Sauté onions in the pot until they become translucent, then add the minced garlic.  Slice the carrots, celery, and chop the peeled potato.  Throw the veggies into the pot as well, and top with salt and pepper.  Stir for a minute or two, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.  Add in the tomatoes, corn, and kidney beans, then add the chicken stock.  Put about two handfuls of fresh basil into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the basil to the soup, along with two bay leaves and some dried Italian seasonings.  

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on med-low until vegetables are fully cooked (could be about 45 minutes, so keep an eye on it).  Serve with freshly grated parmesan, and if desired, a dollop of sour cream and balsamic vinegar.  Yummy!

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Library Alehouse, Santa Monica

One of my favorite places to go within the LA area when it comes to good beer and good food in an energetic atmosphere is Library Alehouse on Main Street, Santa Monica.  We discovered this small yet stylish restaurant and pub about a year ago, and we have witnessed the crowds grow in numbers, flocking to the unique beers, quality food, and laid back (but active) environment.  The Library boasts 29 beers on draft, along with a wine list and a menu ripe with California-style pub food.

We were happy to stop in on Friday night before hitting the bowling lanes nearby, ordering a pitcher of North Coast’s PranQster golden ale for the table.  I got an order of the buffalo wings – the best in town in my opinion.  They serve them drums-only with ample amounts of celery and carrot sticks with a chunky bleu cheese dressing – delicious!  Fletch ordered the alehouse burger (medium rare), with sauteed onions and cheddar cheese.  You have multiple choices for building your burger (i.e. cheeses or meats), so you can be sure to quench your burger craving.  Dana got the Cajun chicken sandwich, which she also claimed was very good.  Honestly, I’ve never had anything here I didn’t like, but it’s tough to break away from either the wings or the burgers which are absolutely mouthwatering.

Go here to check out their website and get yourself excited to experience Library’s glory for yourself.

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Filed under Bars / Happy Hour, Restaurants

Italian Baked Chicken Pastina

chicken pastina

In true foodie form, I absolutely love the Food Network.  We first saw this recipe together while watching Giada’s show on demand late one night.  This baked pasta dish looked so amazing that we had to try it out the next day.  The pastina was such a success that we have made it a regular meal in our dinner rotation.  Click here to see its page on the Food Network website, but I will give the recipe below as well:

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

 

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. 

 

I love this recipe because it’s delicious, comforting, and a crowd pleaser.  If you’re only cooking for one, two, or three, you will definitely have leftovers, which heat up great for lunch the next day.  I encourage you to make this heavenly pasta and enjoy – you will not be disappointed.

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Filed under Pastas @ Home

Grilled Chicken with Soyaki Marinade

This beautiful sight was tonight’s cheap, easy, and delicious weeknight dinner.  The key ingredient here is Trader Joe’s “Soyaki” sauce.  However, if you are so unfortunate to not live near a Trader Joes, you may purchase a similar product called “Soy Vey,” which is equally delicious.  Our meal included the following:  grilled chicken, couscous with peas and parsley, and baby green salad with asian vinaigrette dressing.  

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts (one per person – Organic if you can find it)
  • Soyaki or Soy Vey marinade
  • Instant couscous (I use a cup of dry couscous for three servings)
  • Frozen Peas
  • Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • Mixed baby green salad (or salad of your choice)
  • Salad dressing (something to compliment the marinade flavors, which is why I chose the asian vinaigrette)

For the chicken:

Marinate the breasts in the sauce and let sit in the fridge (on a plate, covered with plastic wrap) for about an hour.  After marinating, grill chicken on medium heat, drizzling the leftover sauce over the breasts.  Grill about five minutes per side until cooked through, being cautious not to overcook to the point that it is no longer tender.  Remove from heat and let rest for several minutes before cutting into.

For the couscous:

Couscous is a wonderful, easy side dish.  It only takes about ten minutes to prepare, and any store-bought box will give you directions.  I like to spice it up a bit by adding some frozen peas into the water before boiling, and chopping some Italian parsley to stir in after the couscous has set.  I also add a dash of garlic powder to taste, if you so desire.

Toss some salad with your dressing of choice and you have yourself a quick, healthy, affordable and amazing dinner!  We enjoyed this with a bottle of Pepperwood Grove merlot – a great value wine that usually runs about five dollars.

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