Category Archives: Recipes

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos

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Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos - Colleen's Kitchen

Sometimes the best recipes come out of necessity. I mean, there I was, rummaging in the fridge, trying to decide what to make for dinner. I have a tomato that’s just starting to pucker, a carrot that’s beginning to dry out, a bit of onion left over from a previous meal, some parsley that’s looking a little ragged, and a couple of portobello mushrooms left over from some grilling I did last week. And let’s not forget the hot Italian chicken sausage in the freezer.

Sounds like the beginnings of a fantastic meal, right?

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos - Colleen's Kitchen

Of course you’re right. And, it’s easy too.

After a quick saute of the carrot and onion, I added some garlic and the chicken sausage until the sausage was browned and crumbled. Then I added in the tomato and let it cook until the tomato got soft and saucy. No need to add herbs because the sausage is already full of Italian seasonings.

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos - Colleen's Kitchen

I then simply removed the mixture from the heat, mixed in a little parmesan cheese, and stuffed the portobello mushrooms, mounding the meat mixture generously. Once topped with another sprinkle of parmesan cheese, I baked them in the oven for 30 minutes.

The result? Perfection. At once tender, hearty, and spicy, it’s a gourmet quality dish that’s ready in almost no time. It’s also perfectly adaptable to baby portobello mushrooms for a superb appetizer.

What are you making with your fridge finds tonight?

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 349.3
  • Fat: 15.7
  • Saturated fat: 6.0
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.7
  • Carbohydrates: 19.3
  • Sugar: 2.1
  • Sodium: 1208.2
  • Fiber: 4.5
  • Protein: 35.2
  • Cholesterol: 101.8
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Poultry
At once tender, hearty, and spicy, these Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos make a gourmet quality meal that is ready in almost no time.
Ingredients
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ lb. raw, bulk hot Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • ¼ cup minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 oz. shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and caps cleaned
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the carrot and red onion and cook for 5 minutes on medium.
  4. Stir in the garlic and chicken sausage and continue to cook until the sausage is browned and crumbled, stirring frequently.
  5. Add in the tomato and continue to cook until the tomato is soft and a sauce begins to form in the pan.
  6. Remove from heat and mix in the parsley and 1.5 oz. of the parmesan cheese.
  7. Place the mushroom caps on a baking sheet so that the tops are down and the stem side of the mushrooms are facing up.
  8. Stuff the mushroom caps with the sausage mixture, mounding it high above the mushroom caps.
  9. Top the mushrooms with the remaining parmesan cheese.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls

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Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls - Colleen's Kitchen

If you haven’t been living in a cave these past few months, then you know the new rage of the food world is cauliflower rice. It’s not really rice, it’s just cauliflower minced up finely and sauteed to the texture of rice. It packs a nice nutritious punch without all the carbs of rice, which makes for a very smart substitution.

I love the idea of cauliflower rice, but the reality is that I have a very small kitchen and my appliances are put away in cupboards to make the most of the limited counter-space that I have. Call me lazy, but I don’t want to get all the pieces of my food processor out to chop the cauliflower down into rice-sized pieces and then have to clean said pieces.

But I do love the idea of cauliflower rice.

So I decided to use my favorite chef’s knife and chop up the cauliflower head into small pieces. I don’t have the patience to get it to rice-sized pieces, but it does chop quickly and easily into pieces almost that size.

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls - Colleen's Kitchen

 

A quick saute with some carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger then creates the base of the dish. Adding in curry powder and bit of turmeric turns the cauliflower from a dull white to a golden, glowing yellow. Then to add some protein and heft to the meal, I mix in some organic tri-color quinoa. Easy peasy, right?

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls - Colleen's Kitchen

Oh but I’m not quite done. The absolute essential finish to the dish adds the final flavor punch: a handful of chopped fresh cilantro, a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Oh my deliciousness!

Does Meatless Monday get any better?

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 364.0
  • Fat: 12.8
  • Saturated fat: 1.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 3.3
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.9
  • Carbohydrates: 55.5
  • Sugar: 4.8
  • Sodium: 724.4
  • Fiber: 12.9
  • Protein: 13.0
  • Cholesterol: 0.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Meatless Monday isn't complete without these easy, golden Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls finished with cilantro, Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of lime.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger root
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1 medium (5-6" in diameter) head of cauliflower, diced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • ½ cup dry tri-color quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • ¼ cup cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir to coat with the oil. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are slightly transparent, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in the salt and cauliflower pieces, stirring to combine. Cook for 5 minutes more or until the cauliflower is slightly soft, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  4. Mix in the curry powder, turmeric and curry paste. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the quinoa and cilantro.
  6. Serve topped with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice (optional).

 

Spring Pea Farro Salad

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Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette - Colleen's Kitchen

This past week my pear trees finished blooming, all that remains of them is a snowstorm of white petals blanketing the front yard. My local farmer’s market also re-opened for the season, bringing with it a bounty of fresh, local vegetables. As much as I love asparagus this time of year, I also look forward to the first snap peas of spring.

My mother is an avid gardener, I always say I inherited my green thumb from her, and I can remember as a child being sent to pick peas from the garden for dinner. I’d head out with my little silver bucket and disappear between the tall rows of peas, it was like my own little green world in there. I’d pick the peas, nestle them in my pail, and then sit down between the rows, hidden from the world. One by one I would open up the pods, scoop out the bright little peas, and stuff them in my mouth, crunching happily on those sweet morsels of spring.

Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Once my child’s tummy was content, I’d hide the shells someplace and then casually saunter back into the house, proclaiming to my mother that none of the peas were ripe. To this day, I’m not sure if she knows of my deception or if she truly thought that her peas never produced much.

I still love fresh snap peas, although the wisdom of age has taught me that the crunchy shell is just as good as the sweet peas inside. I love to eat a handful as a pick-me-up snack in the afternoon or throw some on top of a salad. But for this recipe, spring peas are the star of the show.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s not only easy to throw together, it also makes for a very large salad with little calorie impact. Filling and magically delicious? That’s right up my alley.

Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

I start by combining chopped fresh sugar snap peas with nutty farro, crunchy fennel, a bit of chopped preserved lemon, and some reduced fat feta. I like using reduced fat feta because it still has a lot of flavor like it’s bigger, fattier sister, but it’s made from skim milk so isn’t full of chemicals like it’s non-fat bastard brother.

I finish the salad off with a vinaigrette made from the juice of a meyer lemon, which are also in season right now. A true vinaigrette calls for more oil, however I prefer to keep the dressing lean and let the flavor of the meyer lemon stand out.

What’s your favorite spring vegetable?

Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 468.4
  • Fat: 10.6
  • Saturated fat: 2.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.1
  • Carbohydrates: 69.9
  • Sugar: 14.9
  • Sodium: 712.2
  • Fiber: 20.0
  • Protein: 23.5
  • Cholesterol: 5.0
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Hearty and filling, yet lean and packing a nutritional punch, this Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette is a welcome harbinger of the season.
Ingredients
  • 16 oz. fresh peas, chopped
  • ⅓ cup dry farro, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed in cold water
  • 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
  • 2 oz. reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Combine the peas, farro, fennel, preserved lemon, and feta in a medium salad bowl.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, thyme and salt.
  3. Toss the pea and farro mixture with the dressing. Serve and enjoy!

 

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

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Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches - Colleen's Kitchen

This may be the easiest recipe I’ve ever published on my blog. I mean, a total of 6 ingredients with minimal fuss in the prep? It truly doesn’t get much easier.

It all started with my typical weekly browse of the “What’s New” shelf at my local Trader Joe’s. My eyes lit upon a bottle of Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic Barbecue Sauce and I knew that baby was going home with me for dinner. The entire ride home my mind was swimming with ideas of how to use it.

In the end, though, the simplest idea is generally best. And so these Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches were born.

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches - Colleen's Kitchen

In the morning before I leave for work I simply toss some lean chicken breast, this sriracha barbecue sauce, and some slices of red onion into the slow cooker. Heck, I’ve even taken the chicken straight out of the freezer and thrown it into the slow cooker. That’s right, no dethawing.

At the end of the day, when I come home from work the house smells like someone’s been barbecuing all day in my kitchen. I then whip up a simple slaw of a store-bought coleslaw mix, lowfat blue cheese dressing, and a bit of crumbled blue cheese. Now all that’s left to do is shred up the chicken breast and slap my sandwich together.

Seriously, does it get any easier than that?

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4 servings
  • Calories: 267.7
  • Fat: 8.6
  • Saturated fat: 3.8
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.6
  • Carbohydrates: 16.9
  • Sugar: 13.0
  • Sodium: 464.3
  • Fiber: 0.7
  • Protein: 29.2
  • Cholesterol: 75.3
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Poultry
At just six ingredients and minimal prep, these scrumptious Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches are the dinner savior of busy working families!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. raw boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Trader Joe's Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce
  • 8 oz. (about 3 cups) store-bought coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • ½ cup Bolthouse Farms Blue Cheese dressing (yogurt based)
  • 1 oz. crumbled blue cheese
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken, onion, and BBQ sauce in a slow cooker, cover and cook for 10 hours on low.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coleslaw mix, blue cheese dressing, and blue cheese crumbles. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the chicken pieces from the slow cooker and use 2 forks to shred the chicken.
  4. Stir the shredded chicken back into the barbecue sauce in the slow cooker.
  5. Serve the chicken on a bun, topped with the coleslaw, and bite into a little piece of heaven!
Notes
Because the brands and types of buns vary widely, the nutritional value of the bun is not included in this recipe. Make sure to read the label and factor that into your nutritional count.

 

 

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops

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Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

I often hear from people that they just don’t have the time to cook. I tell them about some of the meals I make and they look at me quizzically and say “You cook like that all the time?”

Like you, I have my leftover or takeout nights. Heck, this past week I had a chips and salsa night. But good, gourmet quality meals don’t need to take forever to cook. They can be simple and effortless, yet still restaurant quality that will leave your friends wondering how in the world you do it all.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

Like this recipe. It starts by marinating boneless pork chops in a mixture of bourbon, molasses and brown sugar overnight. An absolute must is to use a quality bourbon with a recipe like this. The marinating process allows the bourbon to impart a ton of flavor to the pork, so use a bourbon that you would also drink straight with no mixers. I’m partial to the Burnside Bourbon from Eastside Distilling, a local to me distillery. It’s smooth with notes of cinnamon and oak that infuse the pork chops in this dish with a wonderful flavor.

Once marinated, when I come home from work the next day, it only takes me about 20 minutes to turn those pork chops into an unforgettable meal. That’s right 20 minutes.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

One of the key ingredients to this recipe is coconut oil. Cooking the pork chops in coconut oil adds a depth of flavor to the bourbon and molasses that simply makes the dish. Using a thick cut pork chop results in a nice amount of renderings left in the pan that makes for a nice base to then saute up a mixture of cut fresh carrots, apples, and rosemary. Of course the bonus is that I only use one pan which also makes for easy cleanup.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

The rosemary is also an essential ingredient to this dish. First, just the smell of it cooking in the remnants of bourbon, molasses, coconut oil, and pork renderings leaves my mouth watering at the prospect of the food to come. But mostly the aromatic flavor adds yet another layer flavor of complexity to the bourbon, molasses, and coconut oil that completes the meal.

So you tell me. Why avoid cooking when it’s this easy?

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 320.5
  • Fat: 13.3
  • Saturated fat: 8.6
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0/4
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Carbohydrates: 21.5
  • Sugar: 14.6
  • Sodium: 517.3
  • Fiber: 5.0
  • Protein: 21.9
  • Cholesterol: 45.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Thick cut pork chops are marinated in bourbon and molasses then cooked to perfection and served on a bed of carrots and apples in this 20 minute wonder.
Ingredients
  • 2 4-oz. boneless pork chops, thick cut
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 2 tbsp black strap, unsulphured molasses
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp organic, virgin coconut oil
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 granny smith apple, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the bourbon, molasses, and brown sugar. Cover the pork chops with the bourbon mixture in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate overnight, turning in the morning to ensure the chops are evenly marinated on both sides.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet on medium high.
  3. Remove the pork chops from the marinade, shaking off the excess and discarding the marinade. Add the pork chops to the skillet, reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cook the pork chops for about 4 minutes on each side or until the pork is just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook or the pork will be too tough.
  5. Remove the pork chops from the pan and place on a plate to let the juices set.
  6. Add the carrots, apple, rosemary, and salt to the same pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Serve each pork chop on a bed of the carrot and apple mixture. Cut into that beautiful piece of meat and savor every bite!
Notes
The nutritional value of the marinade has been reduced by ¾ since the bulk of it is discarded.

 

Tuna and Asparagus ala Niçoise

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Tuna and Asparagus ala Niçoise - Colleen's Kitchen

One of my favorite things about spring? My neighborhood farmer’s market opens back up for the season and it’s bursting with fresh, local produce like asparagus. I adore these tender spears – lightly steamed and served with an aioli, roasted with lemon and parmesan cheese, or sauteed al dente with herbs and spices.

Tuna and Asparagus ala Niçoise - Colleen's Kitchen

For this recipe, I used the latter technique. My inspiration was the Salade Niçoise, a traditional dish from the southeast of France. I love the tangy dressing and so I decided to recreate the flavors of the dressing as a marinade and dressing for the tuna and asparagus in this dish.

Tuna and Asparagus ala Niçoise - Colleen's Kitchen

The dressing for the Salade Niçoise is flavored heavily by dijon mustard and lemon juice with a hint of worcestershire sauce that makes all the difference. I use half of the dressing as a marinade for a couple of albacore tuna steaks and the other half I toss with the asparagus and a sliced up shallot.

Tuna and Asparagus ala Niçoise - Colleen's Kitchen

Now I hate doing dishes, so in the interest of containing the kitchen action to a single pan, I cook up the tuna first then, while it is resting, I saute the asparagus and shallots in the same pan. The secret to good asparagus is to not overcook it, I’m not sure there’s anything worse than stringy, mushy, overcooked asparagus. A mere 5 minutes or so in the pan is enough to cook the asparagus so that it still retains a bit of it’s crunch but is also cooked through.

Perhaps the best part of this recipe is that it cooks up in about 15 minutes, making it perfect for a busy weeknight. But then did I mention that the whole dish has less than 300 calories? That’s right, it’s not only delicious but it’s also good for the waistline. That’s just how I roll here in my kitchen!

 

Tuna and Asparagus ala Niçoise
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 262.9
  • Fat: 9.2
  • Saturated fat: 1.1
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.0
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.0
  • Carbohydrates: 17.3
  • Sugar: 1.5
  • Sodium: 480.8
  • Fiber: 4.9
  • Protein: 31.8
  • Cholesterol: 50.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Seafood
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Albacore tuna steaks and fresh asparagus are cooked in a Salade Niçoise inspired dressing for an easy spring dish that is delicious and good for you.
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 - 4 oz. raw albacore tuna steaks
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh tarragon
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
  2. Pour half of the mixture over the tuna steaks in a shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Reserve the remaining dressing for later.
  3. Heat a 10" skillet on medium heat.
  4. Add the tuna steaks and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through. The tuna should be light, moist, and flaky, not dense and dry.
  5. Remove the tuna from the pan and set aside. Turn the heat up to medium-high on the pan.
  6. Toss the asparagus and shallots with the remaining dressing.
  7. Cook the asparagus and shallots in the pan for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots are transparent and the asparagus is al dente.
  8. Remove from heat and toss the asparagus with the parsley and tarragon.
  9. Serve each tuna steak on a bed of the cooked asparagus. Drizzle with a little lemon juice (optional) and serve immediately.
Notes
On the advice of my nutritionist, the nutritional value of the dressing has been halved since most of it is discarded.

 

Slow Cooker Tangerine Stout Beef Stew

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Slow Cooker Tangerine Stout Beef Stew - Colleen's Kitchen

After Juneuary and Febuly here in the Pacific Northwest, March has  returned us to the normalcy of rain. I love waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of raindrops plopping on the roof, splattering against my window. I snuggle down into my blankets and the noise lulls me back to sleep.

There’s something about a rich, thick stew on a cool, rainy day that makes me feel warm and happy from the inside out. I love to dunk hot crusty bread in the broth, soaking the bread through with the flavor of the broth, and slowly savor it in my mouth.

Slow Cooker Tangerine Stout Beef Stew - Colleen's Kitchen

I’m particularly fond of this recipe that combines the dark, chocolate flavor of a rich stout beer with sweet winter tangerines. I slow cook some chopped up beef bottom round roast with tender sweet potatoes, carrots, and chewy dried tomatoes for a bowl of deliciousness that is out of this world. It makes my mouth happy just thinking about the goodness to come from each bite.

Slow Cooker Tangerine Stout Beef Stew - Colleen's Kitchen

The best part? This is truely a fix-it-and-forget-it meal. I simply marinate the beef overnight in the stout then throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning before I leave from work. When I come home from the office, all I have to do is mix in the tangerine juice and dig into a bowl. Home-cooking does not get any easier than this.

 

Slow Cooker Tangerine Stout Beef Stew
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6 servings
  • Serving size: 1½ cups
  • Calories: 304.8
  • Fat: 7.7
  • Saturated fat: 3.1
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.0
  • Carbohydrates: 34.6
  • Sugar: 6.7
  • Sodium: 488.4
  • Fiber: 5.1
  • Protein: 19.5
  • Cholesterol: 36.7
Recipe type: Soup or Stew
Cuisine: Beef
Tender beef, sweet potatoes, and carrots are slow cooked in a broth of chocolatey stout beer and sweet tangerines for a hearty bowl of winter deliciousness.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. beef bottom round roast, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • ½ cup chopped dried tomatoes
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • zest and juice of 2 tangerines (divided)
Instructions
  1. Place the beef and stout beer in a shallow dish or resealable gallon-size plastic bag and let marinate in the refrigerator over night.
  2. Combine the beef, beer, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, broth, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and tangerine zest in a slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low for 10 hours.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and sprig of thyme.
  5. Stir in the tangerine juice.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy a bowl of your slow-cooked deliciousness!

 

Shrimp Stuffed Artichokes

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Shrimp Stuffed Artichokes - Colleen's Kitchen

Spring has sprung with a vengeance in the Pacific Northwest. Here it is early March in Portland and temperatures are in the mid-to-high 60’s. Crazy!

And of course there’s me, with my leg still healing, unable to get out and hike my favorite trails in this beautiful weather. I am slowly getting mobile again, though, venturing out on my own for short strolls of the market. I always love to see the seasonal produce rolling in, and this time of year that means artichokes.

Shrimp Stuffed Artichokes - Colleen's Kitchen

I love artichokes. My mom tells me they were my first food, so maybe that’s where my love affair with these meaty, leafy thistles began. I love them grilled, steamed, and stuffed, like I have here.

For this recipe, I made a stuffing of  tender Oregon bay shrimp meat  with some nutty whole wheat orzo, spinach, creamy ricotta and parmesan cheeses, and a touch of lemon zest to bring out some tang in the dish. I then stuffed the mixture into small globe artichokes, topped them with a little more parmesan cheese, and then baked them.

Shrimp Stuffed Artichokes - Colleen's Kitchen

My favorite way to eat them? I like to use the leaves to scoop out bits of the stuffing into my waiting mouth. With a glass of chilled Pinot Gris on the side, of course. It’s absolute heaven on a warm, sunny spring day.

 

Shrimp Stuffed Artichokes
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 2 artichoke halves
  • Calories: 259.9
  • Fat: 9.1
  • Saturated fat: 4.5
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.0
  • Carbohydrates: 26.2
  • Sugar: 2.5
  • Sodium: 895.3
  • Fiber: 7.5
  • Protein: 20.0
  • Cholesterol: 48.8
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Seafood
Fresh spring artichokes are stuffed with a mixture of tender baby shrimp, spinach, orzo and cheese for a delicious, seasonal meal.
Ingredients
  • 4 small globe artichokes
  • ¼ lb. baby shrimp meat
  • ¼ dry whole wheat orzo, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup plain, nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz. shredded parmesan cheese, divided
Instructions
  1. Trim the top and stems from the artichokes. Place top down in a steamer basket and place the steamer basket in a pot of boiling water so that it sits about 1” above the water. Cover and steam for 20 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the artichokes. Remove the steamer basket with the artichokes and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the baby shrimp, orzo, spinach, lemon zest, ricotta cheese, yogurt, thyme, basil, salt, pepper, and 1 oz. of the parmesan cheese.
  4. Halve each of the artichokes lengthwise and use a spoon to gently scoop out the fuzzy interior of the artichoke and the very inner leaves, creating a hollow space in the artichoke half. Place the artichoke halves in a shallow baking dish, cut side up.
  5. Scoop the shrimp mixture into the hollow of the artichoke half, evenly distributing the stuffing in each of the artichoke halves.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1 oz. shredded parmesan cheese evenly over the stuffed artichoke halves.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is golden. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Slow Cooker Rioja Red Potato and Chicken Chorizo Stew

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Slow Cooker Rioja Red Potato and Chicken Chorizo Stew - Colleen's Kitchen

Getting back into the kitchen after my injury has not been so easy. I find that even minimal effort leaves me with an aching ankle and as exhausted as if I had just completed a hard workout.

Thank goodness for my slow cooker.

I use my slow cooker this time of year for many a dish, but I’ve found myself using it more since I’ve been slowly getting back into the kitchen. I can set it in the morning, dinner is ready for me at the end of the day, and I have leftovers to keep me fed for at least a few more days.

Slow Cooker Rioja Red Potato and Chorizo Stew - Colleen's Kitchen

This Rioja Red Potato and Chicken Chorizo Stew makes some of my favorite leftovers. Rich red Rioja wine makes for a complex and tasty broth that swims with creamy red potatoes and spicy chorizo sausage. Chorizo sausage made from chicken lowers the fat and calorie content, making a great stew also good for you.

Bonus? The stew also freezes well. I like to ladle it into containers in individual serving sizes. Then it’s just a matter of popping the container into the microwave for a satisfying lunch or dinner.

What are you making in your slow cooker?

 

Slow Cooker Rioja Red Potato and Chicken Chorizo Stew
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 5 servings
  • Serving size: 1½ cups
  • Calories: 304.6
  • Fat: 8.5
  • Saturated fat: 2.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.0
  • Carbohydrates: 32.7
  • Sugar: 6.2
  • Sodium: 499.4
  • Fiber: 4.1
  • Protein: 16.3
  • Cholesterol: 120.0
Recipe type: Soup or Stew
Cuisine: Poultry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Rich Rioja wine makes for a tasty broth swimming with creamy red potatoes and spicy chorizo in this Slow Cooker Rioja Red Potato and Chicken Chorizo Stew.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt crystals
  • ½ lb. bulk chicken chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup Rioja red wine
  • 1½ lbs red potatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups homemade, salt free chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and salt and cook until the onions are transparent.
  3. Stir in the sausage and continue cooking until the sausage is cooked and crumbly and the onions are browned.
  4. Add the red wine and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan, getting all the cooked bits off the bottom of the pan.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the contents into the slow cooker.
  6. Stir the potatoes, tomatoes, broth and paprika into the chorizo mixture in the slow cooker.
  7. Submerge the bay leaf in the stew, cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  8. Stir in the fresh cilantro and ladle yourself up a bowl of steaming deliciousness.
Notes
Rioja wine comes from the Rioja appellation in Spain and is made primarily from tempranillo grapes. The wines from this region are beautiful and worth seeking out. If you're looking for a domestic wine, though, seek out a tempranillo for this recipe.

 

Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous

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Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous - Colleen's Kitchen

A couple of weeks ago, my local grocery store was hosting a tasting of many of Aidells sausages. Now I’ve had Aidells before, in fact I used their Andouille Chicken Sausage in two of my recipes previously: 3 Pepper Potato and Sausage Skillet and, one of my favorites, Slow Cooker Red Lentil, Sausage and Kale Stew.

And then I tasted their Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage. Wow!

Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous - Colleen's Kitchen

The smoky bacon and sweet pineapple combine in perfect harmony. I knew I had to create something with this deliciousness, so I grabbed a package (or two) and headed home to my kitchen.

I start by dicing up the sausage and sauteing it with thin slices of red onion. I only use a little bit of olive oil in the pan as the sausage will release some fat when it cooks that helps keep everything from sticking.

Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous - Colleen's Kitchen

Then I add in some chopped, dried cherries and crushed pineapple, toss it with whole wheat couscous and fresh arugula, and that’s it! The entire dish takes about 15 minutes to prep and cook, making it perfect for those busy weeknights.

What’s your favorite Aidells product?

 

Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 445.5
  • Fat: 11.9
  • Saturated fat: 3.0
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.5
  • Carbohydrates: 71.3
  • Sugar: 32.8
  • Sodium: 419.1
  • Fiber: 8.4
  • Protein: 14.8
  • Cholesterol: 42.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Sweet and smoky Aidells PIneapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage combines with red onion, fruit, arugula and whole wheat couscous for an easy, delicious dinner.
Ingredients
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 link Aidells Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage, halve lengthwise and diced
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice
  • ½ cup dry whole wheat couscous, cooked according to package directions
  • 1.5 oz. fresh baby arugula
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the sausage and onion and cook until the onion is slightly transparent.
  3. Stir in the dried cherries and continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until the onions are starting to brown up.
  4. Add the entire can of crushed pineapple, including juice, and cook for just 1 minute to let the pineapple heat through.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked couscous and arugula.
  6. Serve and enjoy!