Friday, May 30, 2014

5/30/14 ChefElla's Quinoa Burgers

Some of my friends at school told me they do not eat meat.  I was a little surprised by this because I have never met a vegetarian before.  I was even more surprised to find out that there are different kinds of vegetarians.  Some vegetarians do not eat anything but fruits, grains and vegetables.  While others eat fruit, grains, vegetables and dairy products.  My friends explained that there are many different kinds of vegetarians and they can all eat different foods.  I wanted to have my friends over for a bbq this weekend so I came up with this quinoa burger.  I normally do not eat foods like this, but I have to admit these quinoa burgers were really good.  So enjoy your quinoa burgers, and now you can have your vegetarian friends over for a bbq.

For this recipe you will need to use a knife and the stove.  If you are not allowed to use a knife and stove by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a knife, a rubber spatula or wooden spoon,
    sauté pan,  small sauce pot with lid, a strainer, a blender, a cutting board and a medium
    mixing bowl.

ChefElla's Quinoa Burgers (This recipe will make 6-8 servings)
1 Cup        Quinoa, Red, White or Mixed
                   -Quinoa is a grain high in protein.
1 Can         Pinto Beans, Drained and Rinsed (15 oz Can)
1/4 Cup     Onion, Chopped
                  -Chop the onion first and then measure in your cup.
1 Cup         Mushrooms, Chopped
1 tsp           Garlic, Fresh Minced
2 ea.           Eggs
1 1/2 Cup  Panko Bread Crumbs
                  -Panko bread crumbs are a Japanese bread crumb.  It does not have any crust it is just
                  the white part of the bread.
                  -If you are making a gluten free recipe, substitute a par cooked steel cut oatmeal.
2 Tbl.         Walnuts, Chopped
2 Tbl.         Olive Oil
1 tsp           Browning Liquid
                  -I use a brand called Kitchen Bouquet.  I use this one because it does not have MSG in it.
1 Tbl.         Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp       BlackPepper

3. Rinse quinoa in a strainer with cold water.  Heat 1 cup of water in your small sauce pot.  When the
    water comes to a boil add the quinoa.  Turn heat down to medium low cover the pot and cook for
    10 - 15 minutes.  When it is done remove from the heat and pour quinoa in your medium bowl.
4. Heat sauté pan on high.  Add olive oil.  Add onions, mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 3-5
    minutes stirring frequently.  Turn off heat and let vegetables cool in the pan.
5. Add 2 eggs to the blender.  Add drained and rinsed beans, salt, pepper and browning liquid.
    Add sautéed vegetables and blend until the mixture is a puree.
6. Add the mixture to the quinoa and mix well.  Add panko bread crumbs and mix well.
7. Line a plate or cookie sheet with foil.  Spray foil with pan spray.
8. Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop out some of the quinoa mix.  Form into a patty and put on foil.
    The mixture will be sticky.  You may need to wet your hands.  If the mixture is not firm enough
     to make into a patty add another 1/4 cup of bread crumbs.
9. Scoop out the remaining mixture and make into patties.
10.  Pre-heat the grill to medium.
11.  Put patties on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side not over direct heat.

Top each patty with ketchup, mustard, onions, tomatoes, avocado, cheese or any of your favorite burger toppings.


- ChefElla

Friday, May 23, 2014

5/23/14 ChefElla's Ratatouille with Italian Sausage

It is hard to mention ratatouille without thinking of the cute little rat from the movie with the same name.  The truth is, there really is a dish called ratatouille.  It is a French stew of vegetables, sometimes served with pasta and meat.  For my dish we will use the traditional zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant and a few other vegetables that are not so traditional but taste good.  Sometimes we think that just because a dish has a fancy name it is hard to make.  Ratatouille sounds hard to make but it is not.  The hardest part  of the dish is the amount of vegetables you will have to cut up, but in the end it is worth it.  So impress your friends and tell them you know how to make Ratatouille.

For this recipe you will need to use a knife and the stove.  If you are not allowed to use a knife and stove by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons, a knife, a rubber spatula or wooden spoon,
    sauté pan,  medium stock pot with lid, a strainer, a sauce pan, a cutting board and  2 medium
    mixing bowl.

ChefElla's Ratatouille with Italian Sausage (This recipe will make 10-12 servings)
16 oz         Italian Turkey Sausage, ground
                  -You can use any kind of italian sausage you want, but I like turkey sausage.  It has less
                 calories and fat.  If you cannot find ground turkey sausage, just buy the links.  Cut through
                 the outer casing of the sausage links and remove.  You will be left with the ground meat.
16 oz.        Orecchiette Pasta, Dried
                  -Orecchiette is Italian for little ear.
1 ea.          Red Onion, Medium Diced, (1 Medium Sized Onion)
1 ea.          Zucchini, Medium Diced (1 Medium Sized Zucchini)
1 ea.          Yellow Squash, Medium Diced (1 Medium Sized Yellow Squash)
1 ea.          Eggplant, Medium Diced (1 Small Eggplant)
1 ea.          Red Bell Pepper, Medium Diced (1 Large Pepper)
1 ea.          Portobello Mushroom Cap, Medium Diced (1 Large Cap)
                 -Remove stem before cutting and discard.
4 ea.          Roma Tomatoes, Medium Diced
1 tsp          Garlic, Minced, Fresh
1 Tbl         Tomato Paste
4 oz.          Red Wine, Any Flavor
1 tsp          Kosher Salt
1 tsp          Black Pepper
1/4 tsp       Oregano or Marjoram, Dried
2 Tbl.        Olive Oil
8 ea.          Basil Leaves, Fresh, Chopped
                 -Layer the leaves of basil one on top of the other.  Cut into thin strips and then chop.

3. Pre-heat sauté pan.  Cook ground sausage.  Make sure to mix and break the meat into little pieces
    while it cooks.  Put ground sausage in your strainer to remove the excess fat when it is thoroughly
4. Cut up onions, peppers and garlic and set aside in a bowl.
5. Dice up remaining vegetables and mix together in a bowl.
6. Pre-heat stock pot on high.  Add olive oil.  Add peppers, onion and garlic.  Turn pot to medium high
    heat.  Cook 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
7. Add remaining vegetables, spices, wine and half of the chopped basil.
8. Simmer on medium to low heat for 15 minutes covered.
9. Cook pasta following the directions on the box and drain
10.  When ratatouille is done mix in cooked sausage and cooked pasta.
11.  Garnish with basil.

This is a great recipe to make for all of your friends and family.


- ChefElla

Saturday, May 17, 2014

5/16/14 ChefElla's Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza

When it gets warm outside cooking can be a challenge.  You want to eat good food, but you do not want use your oven our stove because it can warm up the house.  At my house we grill a lot in the summer so that the house does not get warm.  Because I do not want to give up any of my favorite foods when the temperature is high, I decided to use the grill to make one of my favorite foods, pizza.
Using the grill like the oven is a great way to keep the heat out of your kitchen and the grill gives your food a great flavor.  Using the grill for foods other than hot dogs, steak or hamburgers can be different at first but with a little practice I know you will be able to do it.

For this recipe you will need to use a knife, the stove and the grill.  If you are not allowed to use a knife, the stove or grill by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a knife, a spatula or wooden spoon,
    tongs, a sauté pan, a large spoon, a cutting board and a small mixing bowl.

ChefElla's Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza (This recipe will make 4-6 servings)
   Grilled BBQ Chicken
8 oz           Chicken Breast (One Large Chicken Breast)
1/8 Cup     BBQ Sauce (To Marinate Chicken), Use your favorite kind of tomato based BBQ sauce.
   Caramelized Onions
1 ea.          Red Onion, Cut Into Strips (1 Medium Onion)
                  -To cut an onion into strips, first take the dry paper like skin off of your onion.
                  Then cut off the root and plant ends.  Onions are round and they can roll so
                   be very careful.  Place the onion on one of the flat sides and then cut it in half (2 half
                   moons).  Put the onion on cutting board flat side down.  If you cut the onion into strips with
                   the curve you will have half moon strips.  If you cut against the curve you will have strips.
1 tsp           Butter or Margarine
1 Tbl.         Olive Oil
1 tsp          Boullion Base, Chicken Flavor
                 -I choose base over powder because I do not like to use products with MSG, and dried
                 boullion usually has MSG in it.
1/4 tsp      Kosher Salt
Pinch        Black Pepper
2 Tbl.        Sherry or Port Wine
                 -Cooking the wine will remove the alcohol from the wine.  If you do not want to cook with
                 alcohol you can leave it out.
    Other Ingredients
1 ea            Pizza Crust
1/4 Cup     BBQ Sauce
3/4 Cup     Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
1/4 Cup     Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola

3. Pre-heat grill.  If you are using charcoal pile the briquettes on one side of the grill.
4. Coat your chicken in BBQ sauce.  Put chicken on the grill close to the heat but not directly over
    the flame.  If you put the chicken directly over the fire it will burn the sugar in the BBQ sauce and
    turn your chicken black.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Turn chicken 90 degrees to the right and cook
    for 3 more minutes.  Flip the chicken over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes depending
    on the thickness of the chicken.  If you are checking with a thermometer the chicken should be
    cooked to 165F.  Remove the chicken from the grill and let cool.
5. Pre-heat your sauté pan on medium high heat.  Add butter and olive oil to the pan.  When the butter
    melts add the onions.  Stir the onions so that they do not burn 2-3 minutes.  When the onions begin to
    brown and start to turn translucent (a little see through) add the salt, pepper and base, and mix well.
    Cook for another 2 minutes stirring frequently.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the Sherry.
    Mix well.  Cook on low for an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit.
6. Cut up chicken into strips.
7. Put pizza crust on a large plate or cutting board.  Spread 1/4 cup BBQ sauce on the crust using the
    back of a spoon.  Spread the caramelized onions over the crust.  Add sliced chicken to the crust.
    Top with both kinds of cheese.
8. Slide pizza off of your plate or cutting board onto the grill.  Do not put over direct heat or flame.
    Cover the grill while cooking the pizza.  Turn the pizza about every 5 minutes to heat evenly.  Cook
    for about 20 minutes or until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted.  Using your spatula lift up
    one end of the pizza and slide it back onto your plate or cutting board.


- ChefElla

Thursday, May 8, 2014

5/8/14 ChefElla's Mediterranean Quiche With Feta Cheese

Mother's Day is this week, and one of the nicest things you can do for your mom other than cleaning your room, is cook for her.  A lot of people eat brunch on Mother's Day.  Brunch is a meal that falls between breakfast and lunch.  You eat brunch on the days that you sleep late and do not eat breakfast, and you are too hungry to wait until lunch.  Brunch is fun because you get to eat breakfast and lunch foods at the same meal.  Quiche, an egg bake in a pie shell, is something that people traditionally make for brunch.  Quiche is a good recipe for Mother's Day because it's so easy to make that even your dad can help you.  Enjoy your quiche and have a happy Mother's Day!

For this recipe you will need to use a knife and the oven.  If you are not allowed to use a knife
or the oven by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a whisk, a knife, a cutting board, a
    large mixing bowl, a medium sized bowl, and a cookie sheet.

ChefElla's Mediterranean Quiche With Feta Cheese (This recipe will make 4-6 servings)
1 ea.           Frozen 9 inch Pie Shell
4 ea.           Eggs
1 Cup        Milk
3/4 Cup     Fresh Spinach Leaves, Julienne (about 20 leaves)
                  -Julienne is when you cut the spinach into thin strips.  To cut the spinach into strips,
                  place one leaf on your cutting board, and then lay each leaf on top of the other leaves
                  until you have a pile.  Then cut your spinach into strips.
1/3 Cup     Roasted Red Pepper, cut into thin strips
                  -If you know how to roast peppers you can do that otherwise you can buy them in a
                  jar at the store.
1/4 Cup     Sun Dried Tomatoes, cut into thin strips
                  -You can buy them at the store.  If you buy the kind that is in oil, drain off the oil before
                  cutting.  Do not buy dehydrated sun dried tomatoes.
1/2 Cup    White Onion, Small Diced (about 1/4 of a medium onion)
6 oz.         Feta Cheese, Crumbled
                 -I prefer the reduced fat kind.
1/2 tsp      Kosher Salt
1 tsp         Oregano Leaves, dried
1 tsp         Hot Sauce
                 -The hot sauce is not for heat, it adds a nice flavor.  You can use any brand of hot sauce,
                 but I would recommend Tabasco Sauce or Franks Hot Sauce.

3. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
4. In your medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, salt, oregano and hot sauce.
5. In your large bowl, with your hands, mix spinach, onion, sun dried tomato, feta and roasted red
6. Take your quiche shell out of the freezer.  Add vegetable mix to your shell and spread evenly over
    the bottom.  Slowly pour the egg mix over the vegetables.  Push any vegetables sticking out of the
    egg into the egg mixture so that they get coated with the egg mix.
7. Put quiche on a cookie sheet place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.  After 50 minutes poke
    a toothpick into the center of the quiche. If the toothpick comes out clean then the quiche
    is done.  If it is not ready, bake for 5 more minutes and check again.
8. When done remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

If you like you can add 1/2 cup cooked bacon to your quiche.

You can make your quiche ahead of time and reheat in the oven when you are ready to eat it.
Have fun with mom on Mother's Day and remember to do nice things for her on her special day.


- ChefElla

Thursday, May 1, 2014

5/1/2014 ChefElla's Southwestern Fried Chicken Pasta Salad

Yesterday I saw my Mom's garden starting to peek out of the ground.  The green plants reminded me that no matter how cold and rainy it may be now it will be warm soon.  All I could think about was eating outside with my friends.  Picnics, parks, pools, and parties all summer.  In the spirit of the warm weather and sun coming back soon I wanted to share an easy salad recipe that you can share with your friends.  So think warm and enjoy this easy to make southwestern fried chicken pasta salad.

For this recipe you will need to use the stove and a knife.  If you are not allowed to use the stove or a knife by yourself you can have a grown up help.

1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a pot to prepare your pasta, a large
    spoon, a strainer, a really big bowl, a whisk, a knife and a cutting board.

ChefElla's Southwestern Fried Chicken Pasta Salad
Ingredients: (This recipe will make 10-12 servings.)
12oz         Tri-Color Rotini Pasta, Dried (one box).
                 -You could also use whole wheat, or vegetable fortified pasta 
12 oz        Chicken Strips or Nuggets (about 4-5 large chicken strips)
                 -If you do not want to use fried chicken in your salad you could substitute grilled chicken.
2 ea.         Roma Tomatoes, Medium Dice
1 can        Black Beans (15oz can), Drain and Rinse
1 can        Black Olives, (2.25 oz can) Drained
1/2 Cup    Scallions (Green Onion), Thin Sliced, (2-3 green onions)
                -Wash the green onion and cut off the small root end.  Slice the green onion into thin circles.
                 Be careful because the green onion can roll while cutting it.
1 Cup       Corn, (Either fresh or frozen corn will work.)
3/4 Cup   Ranch Dressing (Use your favorite kind)
1/2 Cup    Salsa, Mild (If you like things spicy you can use medium or spicy salsa for your recipe.)
1 tsp          Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp      Cumin, ground
Garnish:    Tortilla Chips (crushed) or Tortilla Strips.

3. Cook chicken strips following the direction on the package.  When done put the chicken on a plate
    uncovered and put in the refrigerator to cool.
4. Prepare noodles following the directions on the package.  When the noodles are done, drain and
    run cold water over the noodles.  This will stop the noodles from cooking any further and they will
    be cooled down for the salad.  Let the noodles sit in the strainer and drain until you need them.
5. In your large bowl add ranch dressing, salsa, cumin and salt and mix well with your whisk.
6. Add pasta to your mixing bowl, and mix the pasta with the dressing, using your large spoon.
    Be careful not to mix to hard so that you do not break the noodles.
7. Add black beans, diced roma tomatoes, olives, corn and sliced green onions to your pasta salad.
    Mix well.
8. Take cooled chicken strips out of the refrigerator, and cut into strips.  Do not cut them too thin or
    they will break apart when you mix them into the salad.
9. Mix chicken into pasta salad.
10. Garnish the salad with tortilla chips or tortilla strips.

This salad is easy to make and it will be the hit of any pool party, picnic, or summer party.


- ChefElla