Grilled Chicken With Chipotle-Watermelon Sauce and Grilled Corn, Pepper and Cucumber Salad

27 08 2014

Tonight’s dinner is deliciously smokey and loaded with flavor, thanks to some good seasoning, the grill and gorgeous produce from Fresh Fork Market. I have been enjoying the yellow watermelon we got in our share last week as a snack. But tonight I thought it’s sweet flesh would pair beautifully in a sauce with the smokey heat of chipotle. Oh yeah, total winner! Pair it with a cool salad packed with sweet corn and cucumber for a healthy, farm-fresh meal.

Grilled Chicken with Chipotle Watermelon Sauce and Corn Salad

The following serves 2-3 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, visible fat trimmed
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 3 ears of sweet corn, shucked
  • 1-2 chipotles and adobo with some of the sauce (2 for more heat, 1 for less)
  • 1 heaping cup chopped yellow watermelon
  • 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 heaping cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 small garden cucumber, peeled and chopped (about 1 and 3/4 cup chopped)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Cilantro, chopped

Preheat grill to 300-ish degrees.

Drizzle chicken with a little olive oil and season with kosher salt, granulated garlic and chipotle chile pepper to taste on both sides. Set aside.

Drizzle corn with a little olive oil and grill covered, 3-5 per side, flipping occasionally, until charred all around. Remove from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Once the corn is grilled and removed, add the chicken, keeping the grill slightly ajar. Grill chicken to your liking, 5-7 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and tent with foil.

Meanwhile, pulse the chipotle in adobo and watermelon in a small food processor until pureed. If it seems a little too thick, add a splash of chicken stock to thin out. Transfer to a small saucepan and add the vinegar and a good pinch of salt to taste. Cook over low heat until bubbling, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Next work on the salad. Stand a small bowl upside down in a large bowl. Taking one ear of corn at a time (once cool enough to handle), stand it up on it’s bottom end and cut the kernels off the cob from top to bottom using a large kitchen knife. Continue all the way around until the cob is clean. Do this with all three cobs. Remove the small bowl. To the bowl with the corn kernels, add the peppers and cucumber. Season with salt to taste and a little dusting of the chipotle chile pepper. Add the lime juice, a good drizzle of olive oil and some chopped cilantro. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

To serve, dish out the corn salad. Top with a piece of chicken and finish with some of the sauce.

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Italian Sausage and Leek Stuffed Eggplant and Peppers

21 08 2014

This week’s CSA grab bag was a good one, loaded with all sorts of wonderful fruits and veggies! So it was no surprise that tonight I whipped up this delicious, Italian stuffed eggplant and pepper dinner using almost all Fresh Fork Market goodies! A great tip for easily making stuffed eggplant and peppers is to grill the veggies first. You can quickly soften the veggies (just as you would in the oven) while getting a good char and smokey flavor at the same time!

Italian Sausage and Leek Stuffed Eggplant

The following makes 2 stuffed eggplants and 4 stuffed peppers (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced horizontally in half
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced horizontally in half and stem and seeds removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 large candy onion, chopped (or whatever onion you like or have)
  • 1 lb bulk Italian sausage (mild or hot)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 medium-large garlic cloves, minced
  • Reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 leek, white part sliced thinly into rounds
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for topping

Sprinkle some salt on the inside of the sliced eggplant and allow to sit untouched for at least 30-45 minutes. The eggplant will start to give some of its water, which will also eliminate some of its bitterness. Blot dry using a paper towel.

Preheat grill to medium-low.

Preheat oven to 350.

Drizzle eggplant and halved peppers with a little olive oil and rub all over. Grill covered over medium-low heat for a few minutes on each side. You just want to get a decent char all over and to soften the veggies so that you can easily scoop out the center of the eggplant. Remove the veggies from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet and saute chopped onions a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add sausage and break up with the back of a wooden spoon. Saute until meat browns, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up into small pieces with the wooden spoon. Add red pepper flakes if you’d like, along with the minced garlic. Saute until fragrant, a few minutes. Deglaze the pan with a little chicken stock (good turn of the pan) and scrape up all the brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan.

The eggplant should be cool enough to handle at this point. Scoop out the center of each half and transfer to a cutting board. Just be sure to leave the outer shell of the eggplant in tact so that you can stuff it. Chop the eggplant you removed and add it to the sausage. Add the leeks as well. Season lightly with salt and saute for just a minute or two until the leeks start to wilt. Add a little more chicken stock (another good turn of the pan) and turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool, then mix in the cheeses.

Lay the eggplant and pepper halves in a casserole dish. Stuff the sausage and leek mixture into the halves – just divide the mixture among the halves, piling up high if you have too. Top with more parmesan, then transfer to the oven to bake.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until everything is hot and cheese has melted. Top with more parmesan and  serve with a side salad.





Italian Sausage With Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers

12 08 2014

Given my Italian heritage, I should be able to make you a sausage, onion and pepper dish in my sleep. And…I pretty much can! The best thing about this recipe is that you really don’t need a recipe, you can just wing it! As long as you don’t burn anything, this will turn out savory and delicious.

You’ll typically find sausage, onions and peppers on my family’s go-to party menu, but we don’t normally use as many ingredients as I have in this meal. But thanks to my CSA share from Fresh Fork Market, I had more produce to use up. So I threw in some extras like tomatoes and fennel fronds that I normally wouldn’t add. And that’s what makes this meal versatile. Add what you like, remove what you don’t – it won’t make a difference. Just get a nice caramelization on the onions and peppers, and you’re good to go!

Italian Sausage with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers

The following serves 3-4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 4 Italian sausage links
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small candy onions, or whatever onions you like, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, whatever color you like, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Granulated garlic
  • 3 small tomatoes, diced
  • Good handful of fennel fronds
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • Fresh basil ribbons

Preheat grill to medium, try to keep the grill around 300 degrees.

Preheat oven to 350.

Poke two-three holes in the sausages with a knife – don’t poke all the way through. Place sausages on the grill and close lid but keep it slightly ajar. Grill until brown all over, a few minutes on each side. Remove from the grill.

In a large non-stick oven-proof skillet, heat 3 Tbsp or so of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until beginning to soften, tossing occasionally. Add peppers and continue to saute until onions start to brown and peppers soften, tossing occasionally. At this point add the tomatoes, fennel fronds and season with salt, red pepper flakes and granulated garlic – all to taste. The salt will help the onions and peppers give off some of their natural liquid. Saute for another few minutes.

Next, deglaze the pan with some balsamic vinegar, a good turn of the pan, about 2 Tbsp or so. Let the vinegar cook down, tossing with the onions and peppers. Next, add some chicken stock, just eyeball it, about 1/4 cup, and cook for another minute or two. You’ll notice the liquid start to thicken into a sauce. Remove from the heat.

Nestle the grilled sausages into the onions and peppers and cover the skillet loosely with foil. Transfer to the oven and bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and finish baking uncovered, another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Serve sausages along with the onions, peppers and some of the sauce from the pan. Garnish with fresh basil. I like to enjoy this meal with a big salad of baby greens dressed in red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and granulated garlic.





Pretzel, Mushroom and Prosciutto Muffuletta

11 08 2014

The muffuletta sandwich is a New Orleans classic, made with a special round bread and Italian meats, cheese and an olive spread. Here’s a unique and delicious spin on the classic, made with Orlando’s pretzel buns and grilled portobella mushrooms. If you prefer a slightly less salty bite (I happen to have a strong palate), or a meatless option, simply leave off the proscuitto.

Pretzel, Mushroom and Prosciutto Muffuletta

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, you could also use a Spanish green olive instead
  • 1/4 cup drained giardiniera (jarred Italian relish)
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 large portobella mushroom caps, stems removed
  • 2 Orlando Pretzel Hamburger Buns
  • 4 thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto (optional)
  • Fontina cheese, sliced (or provolone)
  • Shredded purple cabbage

Add the olives, giardiniera and oregano to a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped and well combined. Transfer olive spread to a small bowl and add the olive oil and red pepper flakes. Mix to combine and store in the fridge for at least an hour. You can even make this spread the day before – just store covered in the fridge.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Drizzle mushrooms with a little olive oil on both sides. Grill mushrooms uncovered, until grill marks appear and mushrooms are softened, about 2-3 minutes per side. Split the hamburger buns, place the inside part of the bun on the grill and toast, just a few minutes – be careful not to burn. Remove mushrooms and buns from the grill. Place sliced cheese on the mushrooms and tent with foil and rest a few minutes, allowing the cheese to melt.

While the mushrooms are grilling, add the prosciutto to a small saute pan over medium heat and cook until browned and crisp on both sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

To build the sandwiches, spread half the olive salad evenly among all four buns (the tops and the bottoms). Save the remaining olive salad for another sandwich, would be great the next day for lunch! Next, place some of the cabbage on the two bottom buns. Top each with two mushroom caps melted with cheese, slightly overlapping each other. Top each sandwich with two pieces of the crispy prosciutto (optional) and finish by adding the top bun with the olive salad. Secure with a toothpick if needed.

More This Girl recipes featuring Orlando’s Pretzel Buns:

* Buns received courtesy of Orlando Baking Company. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.





Kale, Corn and Tomato Salad With Basil Pesto Dressing

29 07 2014

This is a tasty and easy salad to help enjoy the bounties of fresh summer produce. Here I’m featuring kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and shallots from our Fresh Fork Market CSA share. Serve with whatever protein looks good to you and dig in. I love easy meals like this that allow me to spend more time enjoying the beautiful day, and less time in the kitchen!

Kale, Corn and Tomato Salad With Basil Pesto Dressing

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 4 small to medium ears of corn, shucked
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced in half moons
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 Tbsp champagne wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Drizzle shucked corn with a little olive oil and grill until slightly charred all over, about 5-7 minutes. Remove corn from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle. I picked the following trick up from Rachel Ray and it works like a charm – place a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl. Stand the corn up on the bottom of the small bowl and using a large knife, cut corn off the cobs. The kernels will easily collect in the big bowl. When all the kernels are cut off, remove the small bowl.

Add the tomatoes, cucumber and shallots to the bowl with the corn. Add the pesto and vinegar, and mix well to combine.

Add the kale to another bowl. Squeeze in lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Massage gently with your hands for a couple of minutes, ensuring the kale is evenly coated. Massaging the kale will help it break down a little and soften, making it easier to eat and enjoy, in its raw form!

To serve, divide the kale among plates. Slightly push kale to the sides, creating a hole in the middle. Divide the corn and tomato salad among plates, filling the kale hole. Serve with a protein of your choice. Pictured above is petite sirloin steak.





Grilled Chicken and Brie Pretzel Sandwich With a Black Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce

23 07 2014

My Orlando pretzel bun recipe adventure continues with this beautiful grilled chicken sandwich, featuring their Pretzel Hamburger Bun! I think this is pretty original if I do say so myself!

The idea for this sandwich came together based on ingredients that I had and wanted to use up. I made the black raspberry syrup for brunch one Saturday after getting some gorgeous berries from Fresh Fork Market. I served the syrup on top of baked whole wheat pancakes which was absolutely delicious. I saved the leftover syrup, and waited for an idea to ferment. And of course, it did.

The sweet syrup paired with smoky chipotle makes for a perfectly tasty sauce, great for grilled chicken. You could eat that as a dinner on its own. But top it with melted brie and enjoy between a unique pretzel bun, and you’ll take this meal to a whole new level! Just don’t be dainty about eating it, OK gals? Throw your hair back, grab some napkins and just enjoy it! 🙂

Grilled Chicken and Brie Pretzel Sandwich With a Black Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1/2 cup black raspberry simple syrup, you could also use any other jam or preserves you have – see below on how to make the syrup. For the syrup you’ll need 1 pint berries, 1/2 cup water and sugar as well as the zest of 1 orange.
  • 1 whole chipotle with a little of the adobo sauce (start with 1/2 tsp of the adobo and taste, adding more to your liking)
  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ground chipotle chile pepper
  • Slices of brie, brought to room temp
  • 2 Orlando Pretzel Hamburger Buns
  • Whole cabbage or lettuce leaves
  • Sliced shallots

Preheat grill to high.

To make the black raspberry simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup water and a 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium, cooking and stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Add a pint of black raspberries (you could also use blueberries instead) and the zest of 1 orange. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook until berries start to thicken, about 15-20 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Using a strainer, strain the sauce into a jar, pushing liquid through with the back of a spoon (this will catch any seeds). Reserve 1/2 cup of the syrup for this meal, and store the rest in a tightly covered jar in the fridge. Use leftover syrup on waffles or pancakes – its delicious!

For the black raspberry-chipotle sauce, combine the 1/2 cup black raspberry syrup and the chipotle in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Season with a pinch of salt. Use an immersion blender or a small food processor to puree the sauce until smooth, and set aside.

Drizzle chicken breasts with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste, as well as a dusting of chipotle chile pepper. Grill on high heat until cooked through and juices run clear, 6-8 minutes per side. Remove chicken and top with a little of the sauce and sliced brie (use as much cheese as you like). Tent with foil to rest. This will also help the cheese melt.

Spread some of the black raspberry -chipotle sauce on the bottom and top of the pretzel buns. Add a few cabbage or lettuce leaves on top of the bottom bun. Next, add a piece of chicken that has the melted brie on it, next add the shallots and finish with the top of the pretzel bun. Add a toothpick to keep the sandwich together if needed.

This is a messy sandwich, so grab some napkins and just enjoy it! I recommend washing this deliciousness down with a Wild Blue beer!

More This Girl recipes featuring Orlando’s Pretzel Buns:

* Buns received courtesy of Orlando Baking Company. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.





Grilled Pineapple and Red Pepper Salsa

14 07 2014

This is a super tasty and refreshing salsa, perfect to enjoy with friends and fam on a hot summer day! I know my fam gobbled it up at a picnic we had this past weekend! Bobby Flay’s grilled pineapple relish was my inspiration for this appetizer, well that, and all the pretty produce in my fridge. Don’t be afraid to play around with the fruit and veggies in this….it’s great to use what you have on hand!

Grilled Pineapple and Red Pepper Salsa

The following makes around 3 cups (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 cups grilled pineapple, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and stem removed, grilled and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2-3 medium radishes, chopped
  • 1/4 bunch of green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 3-4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (use more or less to your liking)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp hot sauce (use more or less depending how spicy you want the salsa, I used a habanero hot sauce which is very spicy, so a little went a long way)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Tortilla chips, great with blue corn!

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Drizzle pineapple and red pepper with a little olive oil. Grill covered, until char marks start to form, a few minutes on all sides. Remove from the grill to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once cooled, chop pineapple and pepper. I grilled a whole cored pineapple and used what I thought would be enough in the salsa and saved the rest for another meal. You can adjust the amount of pineapple used in this salsa based on your preference.

Combine chopped pineapple, pepper, radishes, green onions and cilantro. Add the lime zest and juice, vinegar and hot sauce and stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning. I like the acid as it is, but if it’s too much you can add a little more hot sauce or add some olive oil. Season with salt to taste.

Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve. This salsa can be made a day in advance. Serve with multi-grain or blue corn tortilla chips.