Posts filed under DINNER

A HEALTHY THANKSGIVING....

WHEN MY FRIENDS AT O2X HUMAN PERFORMANCE ASKED ME TO PUT SOME HEALTHY RECIPES TOGETHER FOR THANKSGIVING, I KNEW I HAD TO ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE. I MEAN, IT IS A CHALLENGE RIGHT? HEALTHY AND HOLIDAY ARE TWO WORDS THAT NEVER APPEAR ON THE SAME MENU IN THE FIREHOUSE. WE ALWAYS USE IT AS AN EXCUSE TO OVERINDULGE NOT MATTER WHAT WE ARE CELEBRATING. AND IN ORDER TO MAKE THANKSGIVING A HEALTHY ONE, I KNEW I HAD TO APPROACH IT WITH CAUTION.

I DECIDED TO TAKE SOME OF THE '“CLASSICS” AND PUT A SLIGHTLY HEALTHIER TWIST ON THEM BY OMITTING SOME DAIRY, FAT AND PROCESSED INGREDIENTS. FIGURING OUT HOW TO KEEP THE FLAVORS OF THOSE RECIPES WE LOOK FORWARD TO WHILE MAKING THEM HEALTHIER WAS CERTAINLY NOT EASY, BUT IT WAS DEFINITELY FUN! I EVEN USED IT AS AN EXCUSE TO “EXPERIMENT” WITH BRINING TURKEY BREAST…BUT FOR NOW, WE FEAST!

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DRY BRINE OR WET BRINE…THAT IS THE QUESTION!

I used this opportunity to test out something I have been thinking about for quite some time, is it better to wet or dry brine turkey? But before I proceed let’s define briefly what the hell it even means…simply put, dry brine is the use of salt (and other spices) with NO water to add flavor to an ingredient. And wet brining is the use of a salt and water solution to do the same, although some add sugar and other spices to this as well.

In short, here I took two boneless turkey breast and dry brined one with just kosher salt overnight in the fridge. I left it uncovered and on a rack to allow the circulating air to dry out the skin, in hopes of achieving a crispier skin. The other breast I wet brined in a salt/sugar/water solution in a ziplock bag. Both were brined for 10 hours. I removed them both from fridge, drained the wet brined breast and allowed them to come up to temperature on the counter for 1 .5 hours. I then cooked them the same…325* for about an hour until 140* internal and then under the broiler to crisp up the skin and continue cooking until the breast reached 150* (FDA recommends 165* but read this article about turkey breast temp)

The general consensus was that the wet brined breast was juicier but the dry brined yielded a crispier skin. The flavors were very similar from a seasoning perspective, so I guess it comes down to what you are looking for. But I will say this, with both brines I used less gravy because neither breast was dry! See what works for you…

 Left: Dry Brine Right: Wet Brine

Left: Dry Brine Right: Wet Brine

 Left: Dry Brine Right: Wet Brine

Left: Dry Brine Right: Wet Brine

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MASHED SWEET POTATO WITH BACON, MAPLE AND PECAN GLAZE

 Instead of dairy and fat ladened traditional mashed potatoes, give these a shot!

Instead of dairy and fat ladened traditional mashed potatoes, give these a shot!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 2” cubes

3 Slices of Bacon, chopped

1 C Pecans, toasted and chopped

1 C Maple Syrup

2 Tbs. Chile Powder

Pinch of Cinnamon

Dash of Vanilla Extract

Salt, to taste

Procedure:

  • Steam cut sweet potatoes until tender, set aside.

  • In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned and the fat has rendered.  Add the chile powder, pecans and maple syrup. Cook over low heat until reduced by ½ and bubbling.  Set aside.

  • While the bacon mixture cooks, mash the sweet potato in a large bowl.  Add the cinnamon, vanilla and salt to taste, combine well. Place the sweet potato mix into small serving bowl and drizzle the bacon-maple mixture over top.  Serve

SLOW COOKED GREEN BEANS WITH MUSHROOM AND SHALLOTS

 The green beans, mushrooms and shallots…..without the fat, preservatives and calories!

The green beans, mushrooms and shallots…..without the fat, preservatives and calories!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

24 oz. Green Beans

2 Shallots, peeled and sliced thin

6 Garlic Cloves, peeled and smashed

10 oz. Package of Button Mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 Tbs. Paprika

1 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt, to taste

Sherry or Cider Vinegar, to taste


Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350*

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the vinegar.  Put the mixture in a 6”x12” oven-safe casserole dish or deep baking pan.  Place the dish in the oven and bake for 1 hour, turning the beans every 10 minutes to cook evenly.  Remove from oven and add a dash of vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning.

SPROUTED GRAIN BREAD-TURKEY SAUSAGE STUFFING WITH APPLE

 Instead of using highly processed white bread, this sprouted grain bread packs fiber and protein. And the use of turkey sausage also lowers calories too!

Instead of using highly processed white bread, this sprouted grain bread packs fiber and protein. And the use of turkey sausage also lowers calories too!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

6 Slices Day Old Sprouted Grain Bread (i.e. Ezikiel’s), torn into bite size pieces

2 C Onion, chopped

2 C Carrots, chopped

2 C Celery, chopped

1 Apple, chopped

1 Garlic Clove, chopped

16 oz. Turkey Sausage, loose or out of casing

2 Eggs, room temperature

1 C Turkey, Chicken or Vegetable Stock

1 Tbs. Each of Fresh Sage, Thyme and Parsley, chopped

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper, to taste


Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350*

  • In a medium cast iron pan or skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.  Add turkey sausage and brown, remove and set aside.

  • In the same skillet, add the onion, carrot and celery mixture.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until lightly browned. Add the reserved sausage, fresh herbs and bread and continue to cook for a minute or two.

  • While the vegetable and sausage mix cooks, combine the eggs, stock and a pinch of salt in a bowl.

  • Take the pan/skillet off heat and let cool for a few minutes before adding the egg/stock mixture.  Stir to combine. If using a skillet, transfer the mixture to a greased 10”x10” baking pan. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil.  Place the stuffing in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is browned.

Posted on November 19, 2018 and filed under DINNER.

STUFFED PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE

IT SEEMS AS IF NOW, MORE THAN EVER, PUMPKIN FLAVORED ANYTHING IS ACCEPTABLE. AND WHILE THE PUMPKIN SPICED LATTE IS MY NEMESIS, BECAUSE I LIKE COFFEE FLAVORED COFFEE, I CAN UNDERSTAND IT’S APPEAL. I TRULY BELIEVE THE PUMPKIN PHENOMENON HAS ALOT MORE TO IT THAN THE ACTUAL FLAVORS OF CINNAMON, NUTMEG, CLOVES, ETC, ETC. WHEN WE TASTE THESE FLAVORS, THERE IS SOME DEGREE OF NOSTALGIA THAT COMES ALONG WITH IT. IT’S AS THOUGH THE LEAVES WON’T START CHANGING, THE JACK O’ LANTERNS WON’T GET CARVED AND THE HOODIES WON’T LEAVE THE CLOSET IF THE PUMPKIN SPICED EVERYTHING’S AREN’T IN STORES. AND FOR THOSE REASONS I AM NOT MAD AT THIS WHOLE CRAZY SCENE, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE HALLOWEEN IS MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR. BUT ANYWAYS, BACK TO THE FOOD…

PUMPKINS, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, ARE FRUITS. AND THERE ARE MANY VARIETIES, BOTH EDIBLE AND INEDIBLE BUT FOR THIS RECIPE WE USE THE SMALL “SUGAR PUMPKIN” BECAUSE OF NOT ONLY IS THE FLESH EDIBLE, BUT THE SKIN AS WELL. THEY ARE A PART OF THE WINTER SQUASH FAMILY, ALONG WITH BUTTERNUT, HONEYNUT, DELICATA AND ACORN SQUASHES. AND THESE ARE JUST A FEW EXAMPLES, NEXT TIME YOU GO TO THE FARMERS MARKET IN LATE SEPTEMBER - EARLY OCTOBER, ASK THE FARMERS WHAT VARIETIES THEY HAVE ON HAND BECAUSE YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED HOW MANY ARE AVAILABLE. PUMPKINS ARE GREAT SOURCES OF VITAMIN A AND BETA CAROTENE, AND BECAUSE THEY HAVE MILD FLAVOR, THINK OF THEM AS A BLANK CANVAS OR IN THE CASE OF THIS RECIPE, AN EDIBLE BOWL TO PUT MAC AND CHEESE IN!

STUFFED PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE

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Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

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1 Sugar Pumpkin

1 lb. Pasta, shells preferred

1 lb. Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1/2 lb. Gruyere, shredded

16 oz. Heavy Cream

8 oz. Canned Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree

Salt, to taste and for pasta water

Optional Garnish:

Caramelized Onions (recipe below)

Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (recipe below)

Chives

Crumbled Bacon would be crazy good with this!

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350*

  • Cut out top of pumpkin and scoop out the stringy flesh and seeds. Rinse seeds and reserve of making toasted seeds.

  • Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle salt inside the pumpkin. Place top of pumpkin back on and wrap stem with foil. Put on a sheet pan and place in oven for about 45 minutes or until a fork can pierce flesh.

  • While the pumpkin cooks, cook pasta in very well salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside while you prepare the cheese sauce.

  • Combine heavy cream and pumpkin puree in a large skillet. Bring to a low boil and reduce for about 2-3 minutes. Set aside 1 cup of the shredded cheeses. Add the remaining cheese a handful at a time, stirring until the all the cheese is melted and incorporated. Add the cooked pasta, stirring to combine until the sauce coats all of the pasta. If using caramelized onion, add it at this time and stir in.

  • Shut off the heat, spoon the mac and cheese into the pumpkin, top with the reserved shredded cheese and place back in the oven to melt the cheese or place under the broiler. Remove, let cool for 5-10 minutes to allow for easier slicing. Garnish with spiced seeds and chives.

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Caramelized Onions:

Cook one thin sliced onion with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt over very low heat, until caramelized to your liking. Deglaze with water or beer if the onions start to get dry.

Spiced Roasted Pepitas (pumpkin seeds):

After rinsing seeds, place in a small pot of well salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool. Toss with a little olive oil, pinch of salt and spices of your choice, such as Garam Masala or Chili Powder. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast in oven until crisp.

Posted on September 30, 2018 and filed under DINNER.

GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN. CHARRED KALE SALAD. PESTO-YOGURT DRESSING

THE SUMMERS END IS DRAWING NEAR, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE SHOULD JUST GO AND GIVE UP ON HER!  BASIL IS ON IT'S LAST LEG IN THE GARDEN SO I THINK IT IS RIGHT THAT WE USE ALL THAT WE CAN.  AND ONE SURE FIRE WAY TO DO THIS IS MAKE PESTO!  BUT PESTO, WHICH TRANSLATES TO PASTE IN ITALIAN, DOES NOT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE USED STRICTLY FOR PASTA.  IT MAKES A GREAT BASE FOR DRESSINGS AS WELL.  AND DON'T THINK FOR A SECOND YOU HAVE TO USE BASIL, PESTOS CAN PRETTY MUCH BE MADE WITH ANYTHING SO AS LONG AS THE TEXTURE IS PASTE-LIKE, SO GO AHEAD AND USE KALE, ARUGULA, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES OR WHATEVER NEEDS TO GET USED IN THE FRIDGE.  

AND YOU ARE PROBABLY SAYING TO YOURSELF, WHY THE HELL WOULD SOMEONE CHAR THEIR KALE?!  THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE, BECAUSE I WANTED TO!  THAT IS THE BEAUTY OF COOKING, TRYING NEW THINGS AND SEEING IF THEY WORK, AND THIS TOTALLY WORKED.  THE CHAR ADDS ANOTHER LAYER OF FLAVOR TO ENHANCE THE GRILLED PORK AND STANDS UP TO THE PUNCHY YOGURT DRESSING, WHICH ADDS JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FAT NEEDED FOR THE WHOLE DISH.  I LOVE USING TECHNIQUES WHICH ADD FLAVOR WITHOUT THE NEED TO ADD ADDITIONAL FAT OR CALORIES AND THIS IS ONE DOESN'T DISAPPOINT.

 SO DON'T JUST GO THROWING THE COVER ON THE GRILLS JUST YET AND GIVE THIS RECIPE A TRY!

GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN.  CHARRED KALE SALAD. 

PESTO-YOGURT DRESSING

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

Pork:

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1 Pork Tenderloin (Approximately 1 lb.)

1 tsp. Kosher Salt

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Paprika

Salad:

1 Bunch of Kale, washed and torn into small pieces

Olive Oil

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1 Lemon, cut in half

¼ Red Onion, thin sliced and soaked in cold water while preparing ingredients

¼ cup Pepperoncini, thin sliced

¼ cup Toasted Pistachio, chopped (sub any nut of choice)

Pesto-Yogurt Dressing

1 Large Bunch of Fresh Basil (reserve a few leaves for garnish)

¼ cup Parmesan

1 Garlic Clove, chopped

¼ cup Pistachio, (sub any nut of choice)

¼ cup Plain Greek Yogurt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt, to tase

Procedure:

Preheat grill on medium-high heat

Place pork tenderloin in a ziplock bag with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, garlic powder and paprika and marinate while grill is preheating.

Toss kale in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, massage with hands to soften kale.  

If you have a baking rack, place on grill. Place the lemon and kale on the grill.  When the kale starts to char in some spots, remove from heat and place back in the bowl.  Squeeze the lemon onto the kale and toss. Taste and season with salt.

Remove rack if used, oil grates and grill pork for 12-15 minutes or until internal temp reaches 140*, turning every minute.  Remove and rest for 10 minutes, slice thin.

While the pork cooks, make the pesto by combining the basil, parmesan, garlic, pistachio in a food processor or blender.  Add the yogurt and pinch of salt, pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle just enough olive oil to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning

Assemble the salad, garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!

Posted on August 27, 2018 and filed under LUNCH, DINNER.

CHICKEN SAUSAGE STUFFED PEPPERS WITH MUSHROOM RAGU

Stuffed peppers are the quintessential firehouse meal.  It is essentially a one pan dish that is easy to assemble which means less dishes for the crew to clean.  It is also infinitely customizable and I could probably say I have never made them the same way twice but this recipe is definitely up there with my favorites.  I wanted to lighten it up a little so I decided on using chicken sausage and making a ragu with mushrooms.  The chicken sausage tricks us into thinking we are eating traditional pork sausage while keeping the calories and fat lower.  Typically pork sausage has 290-455 calories and 23-38 grams of fat per link, while chicken and turkey sausage have 140-160 calories and 7-10 grams of fat for the same amount.  The mushroom ragu provides the added factor of umami to the dish and also helps keep the calories low.  This ragu is also great over pasta, which is exactly what I did when I competed on Food Network's Guy's Grocery Games!

 This dish is proof that a firehouse classic can be turned into something healthy AND delicious!

CHICKEN SAUSAGE STUFFED PEPPERS WITH MUSHROOM RAGU

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Serves 3

STUFFED PEPPER INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Cooked Rice, White or Brown
  • 4 Bell Peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, ribs removed
  • 1 lb. Chicken Sausage
  • 1 Yellow Onion, sliced thin
  • 1 Cubanelle Pepper, seeded and sliced thin
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese

STUFFED PEPPER PROCEDURE:

  • Preheat oven to 400*
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add a little olive oil and the chicken sausage.  Brown and cook through. Remove and set aside.

  • Add the Cubanelle pepper and onions, saute until onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and stir to prevent burning. Remove and place in a bowl with the rice.

  • Chop the sausage into bite size pieces and add to the rice/pepper/onion bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

  • In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

  • Pour the mushroom ragu (recipe below) into a baking pan.  Place the halved peppers on top and stuff with the rice mixture.  Top each pepper with the breadcrumb mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

 

QUICK MUSHROOM RAGU INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 oz. Package of Mushrooms, chopped
  • 28 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tsp. Dry Basil
  • 1 Tsp. Chili Flakes

PROCEDURE:

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to just cover bottom.  Add the chopped mushrooms and stir until all the water is out of them and they start to brown.  Lower the heat to low, add the chili flake, garlic and dried basil. When the garlic just starts to color, add the tomatoes.  Cook at a simmer while you assemble the peppers.
Posted on May 1, 2018 and filed under DINNER.

SWEET POTATO-TURKEY SHEPHERD'S PIE

THE IRISH HAVE BEEN IN THE FIRE SERVICE FOR A VERY LONG TIME, WITH DEEP ROOTED TRADITIONS THAT EVEN THE NON-IRISH PARTICIPATE IN, MYSELF INCLUDED.  THE PIPES AND DRUMS HAVE BECOME SYNONYMOUS WITH CELEBRATORY OCCASIONS AND FUNERALS.  EVERY YEAR THOUSANDS OF FIREFIGHTERS TRAVEL ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO MARCH IN PARADES.  ACROSS FIREHOUSE TABLES ON ST. PATRICK'S DAY, THERE WILL BE CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE, SHEPHERD'S PIE AND PROBABLY A GOOD OL' FASHIONED FRY UP FOR BREAKFAST. 
ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO IS TAKE TRADITIONAL DISHES AND PUT A HEALTHY SPIN ON IT....SO SWEET POTATO-TURKEY SHEPHERD'S PIE IT IS!!  SWAPPING IN SWEET POTATOES ADDS MORE FIBER, WHILE  USING TURKEY INSTEAD OF BEEF OR LAMB ADDS PROTEIN WITH LESS FAT.  GIVE IT A TRY!!

SWEET POTATO-TURKEY SHEPHERD'S PIE

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Ingredients:

1.5 Lb. Ground Turkey
6 Sweet Potatoes
½ Yellow Onion, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, diced
4 Medium Carrots, peeled and diced
8 oz. Mushrooms, quartered
10 oz. Frozen Peas
10 oz. Frozen Corn
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary- leaves removed and finely chopped
14.5 Can of Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp Paprika
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp. Flour
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 500*

In a large pot, place sweet potatoes with enough cold water to cover.  Salt the water like you would pasta water.  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until soft, approximately 30 minutes.  Remove and set aside to cool.

While the potatoes are cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add a couple glugs of olive oil.  When the oil is shimmering add the ground turkey, seasoning with a little salt and pepper.  When the turkey starts to brown, stir it until cooked through and set aside.  In the same pan add a little more olive oil and the onions and carrots.  When the onions are translucent add the mushrooms and saute until nicely browned and no moisture is left in the pan.  Add the garlic and rosemary, stirring often.  

Now add the turkey back to the pan with the peas and corn.  Sprinkle the flour in, stir and cook for a minute or so.  Add in the broth, bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for a few minutes until thickened.  Place mixture in an oven-proof baking dish or tray.

Now that the potatoes have cooled, peel the skin (you could chop the skin and add to turkey mixture for extra nutrients).  In a large bowl add the potato flesh, a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt and the spices.  Mash with a fork, taste and adjust seasoning.  Spread on top of the turkey mixture.  For a nicer presentation place the potato in a ziploc bag, cut one corner tip of the bag and squeeze the mixture on top of turkey like a pastry bag.

Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the top has browned.  You can also use the broiler if you have one.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Posted on March 16, 2018 and filed under DINNER.

TUSCAN WHITE CHICKEN CHILI

ONE OF THE REASONS I STARTED F&H CO. WAS TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT FIREFIGHTERS COOK MORE THAN JUST CHILI.  BUT SOMETIMES A BOWL OF THIS FIREHOUSE STAPLE IS JUST WHAT YOU NEED ON A CHILLY DAY.  AS WITH MOST TIMES I COOK, I LIKE TO EXPERIMENT WITH FLAVORS, TAKING INFLUENCE FROM MY TRAVELS.
THIS RECIPE IS INSPIRED BY MY FAVORITE REGION IN ITALY, TUSCANY.  I CAN STILL HEAR THE CHURCH BELLS RINGING AND SMELL THE WOOD BURNING STOVES AS WE WALKED THE COBBLESTONE STREETS ON MY HONEYMOON.  WHEN THERE IS A CHILL IN THE AIR AND I SMELL ROSEMARY AND GARLIC FRYING IN OLIVE OIL, IT TAKES ME BACK TO THAT WONDERFUL PLACE.  
AND SO HERE IS MY WAY OF PUTTING ALL THOSE TUSCAN FLAVORS INTO A FAMILIAR FIREHOUSE DISH!
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Tuscan White Chicken Chili

with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Fennel

Smoked Mozzarella

INGREDIENTS:

1 SMALL ONION, chopped

 The "Battuto", which is what turns into the "Soffritto" once it is cooked

The "Battuto", which is what turns into the "Soffritto" once it is cooked

2 GARLIC CLOVES, chopped

2 CUBANELLE a.k.a ITALIAN FRYING PEPPERS, seeded and chopped (sub green bell peppers)

1 CELERY STALK, chopped

1 SPRIG OF FRESH ROSEMARY, minced

2 FRESH SAGE LEAVES, minced

1 TBSP. CHILI FLAKES

2.5 # BONELESS, SKINLESS CHICKEN THIGHS

4 THICK SLICES OF PANCETTA, chopped (sub bacon)

2 -19 oz. CANS OF CANNELLINI BEANS

16 oz. LOW SODIUM CHICKEN BROTH

2 tsp. FLOUR

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

1 tsp. CUMIN

1 tsp. GARLIC POWDER

 Smoked Mozzarella but you can substitute shredded mozzarella.  Pro tip:  Put ball of Smoked Mozzarella in freezer until firm, it will be easier to slice!

Smoked Mozzarella but you can substitute shredded mozzarella.  Pro tip:  Put ball of Smoked Mozzarella in freezer until firm, it will be easier to slice!

SALT AND PEPPER, to taste

OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED GARNISHES:

BALSAMIC CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND FENNEL - Recipe Follows

SMOKED MOZZARELLA - cover chili with slices and broil until brown and bubbly

 

PROCEDURE:

In a large bowl, combine minced sage and rosemary with half of the chopped garlic, chili flakes, a pinch of salt, black pepper and a glug of olive oil.  Stir to combine and set aside.

Dice the chicken thighs and put into the bowl containing the rosemary-sage mixture.  Stir to combine and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed deep pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta until the fat has rendered.  Once the pancetta is cooked, add a glug of olive oil and the onion, remaining garlic, peppers and celery.  Add a pinch of salt, cumin and garlic powder and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions just start to color.  Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine.

Add the chicken to the pot and enough chicken broth to cover.  Add water if needed. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, stirring occasionally. 

After about an hour, remove about a 1/2 cup of the broth to a blender or bowl if you have a stick-blender.  Add one can of the beans to the broth and blend well.  BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN BLENDING HOT LIQUIDS!  Add water if you need to.  Place the bean puree back into the pot and continue to cook for another hour or so at a gentle simmer.  Taste and check for seasoning and consistency.

Lay slices of Smoked Mozzarella on top and broil until brown and bubbly.  Garnish with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Fennel

 

Note* - This recipe can be adapted for slow-cooker.  Render the pancetta in a saute pan.  Add the garlic, onion, peppers and celery and saute until light brown.  Place this mixture along with the rest of the ingredients into slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

 

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BALSAMIC CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND FENNEL

INGREDIENTS:

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1 ONION, thin sliced

1 SMALL HEAD OF FENNEL, white part only, thin sliced, reserve the fronds

2 TBSP. BUTTER

1 tsp. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

2 TBSP. BALSAMIC VINEGAR

SALT, to taste

 

PROCEDURE:

In a large skillet, over low heat, add the butter and olive oil.  When the butter has melted, add the onion and fennel with a pinch of salt. 

Cook the onions and fennel, stirring often, for about 1 hour.  Add a few drops of water if the mixture looks a little dry.  When they start to color a nice golden brown, add the balsamic vinegar.  Stir and cook for a few minutes.  Taste and adjust for seasoning. 

 

 

 

 

Posted on December 17, 2017 and filed under LUNCH, DINNER.

ESCAROLE, SAUSAGE AND BEANS SOUP

THE BASIL IS STARTING TO TURN YELLOW, TOMATOES ARE STARTING TO SHOW SIGNS OF ROT AND CILANTRO HAS ALL BUT GIVEN UP ON LIFE.  THE ABUNDANCE OF SUMMER PRODUCE IS STARTING TO FADE.  BUT NO NEED TO WORRY, THE FALL DISHES WE LOVE ARE STARTING TO SHOW THEIR DELICIOUS FACES.  
WHEN THE TEMPERATURES DROP, NOTHING IS BETTER THAN THE KITCHEN SMELLS OF A SLOW SIMMERING SOUP.  AND WHY NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PRODUCE AVAILABLE THIS TIME OF YEAR?!?!  THIS RECIPE FOR ESCAROLE AND BEANS SOUP NOT ONLY BRINGS ME BACK TO A DISH OF MY CHILDHOOD BUT IT ALSO USES FRESH SEASONAL INGREDIENTS.  ESCAROLE, A MEMBER OF THE CHICORY FAMILY, IS A SLIGHTLY BITTER GREEN THAT PAIRS WELL WITH THE SWEETNESS OF THE CARROTS AND ONIONS AND RICHNESS OF THE CANNELLINI BEANS. THIS DISH CAN PREPARED IN SO MANY WAYS SO USE YOUR IMAGINATION AND WHAT IS ON HAND.  THIS RECIPE CALLS FOR SAUSAGE BUT YOU CAN ALSO SUBSTITUTE HAM, PANCETTA OR NO MEAT AT ALL, TOTALLY UP TO YOU!  ANOTHER DELICIOUS OPTION IS TO ADD SOME FRESH CHOPPED TOMATOES, MIGHT AS WELL USE THE LAST OF YOUR HARVEST BEFORE THEY GO BAD!

ESCAROLE, SAUSAGE AND BEANS SOUP

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Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
1 Onion, peeled and chopped

1 Carrot, peeled and chopped

3 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin

½ Head of Escarole, thoroughly cleaned and rough chopped

1 lb. Hot or Sweet Italian Sausage, removed from the casings

2 - 15 oz. Cans of Cannellini Beans, drained

4 Cups of Chicken Stock (more may be needed)

Red Chili Flake

Parmesan Cheese

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt, to taste

PROCEDURE:

In a deep pot over medium heat, add a glug of olive oil and then the sausage.  Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage and brown.  Remove the sausage and set aside.

In the same pan, add a little more oil if needed and add the onions and carrots.  When the onions are translucent, add the sliced garlic and a pinch of chili flakes.  When the garlic is just starting to brown, add ONE can of the beans and saute for a minute or so.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

Add the other can of cannellini beans to a medium saucepan with enough water to cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Add to a blender and puree the beans (be careful as hot liquid in a blender can be messy and dangerous!)  Add this puree to the soup pot along with the escarole and reserved sausage.  

Cook the soup for about 1 hour partially covered.  Taste for seasoning and serve with grated parmesan.

SOME OTHER OPTIONS YOU ADD TO THE SOUP THAT WOULD BE GREAT:

  • Put a parmesan rind into the soup while it cooks to add a rich, cheesy flavor to the stock
  • Garnish with chopped parsley
  • Substitute pork sausage with chicken or turkey sausage for a healthier option
  • A squeeze of lemon right before serving add a bright acidity to the soup
  • Substitute kale or swiss chard....or just add all of them!
Posted on October 10, 2017 and filed under DINNER.

ROPA VIEJA

ROPA VIEJA IS ONE OF CUBA'S NATIONAL DISHES AND ALSO ONE OF THE FIRST MEALS I EVER MADE AT THE FIREHOUSE.  WHEN I STARTED COOKING THIS EARLY IN MY CAREER I WOULD USE JARRED SOFRITO WHICH IS THE BASE OF THE DISH CONSISTING OF ONIONS, GARLIC, PEPPERS AND TOMATOES.  BUT NOTHING BEATS MAKING IT FROM SCRATCH AS IT ALLOWS ALL THE FLAVORS TO DEVELOP ON THEIR OWN.  AND IN CASE YOU ARE WONDERING WHAT ROPA VIEJA MEANS, IT TRANSLATES TO "OLD CLOTHES" BECAUSE AS THE BEEF SHREDS IT RESEMBLES TORN OLD CLOTHES.  BUT DON'T LET THE NAME FOOL YOU....IT'S DELICIOUS!
THIS DISH IS PERFECT FOR THE FIREHOUSE AS IT CAN SIT ON THE STOVE OR IN THE SLOW-COOKER WITHOUT FEAR OF IT OVER COOKING IF THE BELL HITS!

ROPA VIEJA

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Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 - 2 LB. FLANK STEAK

1 YELLOW ONION, sliced

2 BELL PEPPERS, seeded / sliced

1 CUBANELLE PEPPER, seeded / sliced

1 JALAPENO, seeded / sliced

2 GARLIC CLOVES, thin sliced

3 SMALL CARROTS, peeled / diced (optional)

28oz. CAN OF DICED TOMATO

1 CUP BEEF BROTH

1 TBS. DRIED OREGANO

1 Tsp. CUMIN

2 LIMES

HANDFUL OF FRESH CILANTRO, rough chopped

OLIVE OIL

KOSHER SALT, to taste

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PROCEDURE:

In a large Dutch oven or deep saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Pat the steak dry and season liberally with salt.  Place the steak in the pan, searing both sides until nicely browned.  Remove and set aside.  

Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and a small pinch of salt.  Cook the onions until soft and just starting to brown.  Add the peppers, garlic, cumin and oregano, cooking until the garlic just starts to turn pale brown.  Add the diced tomatoes with the juice, stir and cook until most of the juice has reduced.  Add the beef stock, bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, slice the flank steak across the grain into 1 1/2" slices and place into the simmering pan.  Cover and cook for about 1.5 hours.  When the steak is fork tender, remove and set aside.  Add the carrots (if using) to the pan and reduce the sauce uncovered until it is thickened, approximately 15 minutes.  While the sauce is reducing, shred the steak and add back to the pan.  

When the sauce is the right consistency, squeeze in the limes and add the chopped cilantro.  Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with rice and beans.

*NOTE: Traditionally this dish is usually made with green olives and sometimes capers.  Feel free to add these as well.  

 

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Posted on September 20, 2017 and filed under DINNER.

PEACH-GRILLED CORN SALAD

IT'S THE MIDDLE OF JULY AND WE ARE SMACK DAB IN PEACH AND CORN SEASON.  THERE IS NO BETTER TIME FOR PRODUCE AND ANY CHANCE I GET I TRY TO USE SEASONAL INGREDIENTS AT THE FIREHOUSE.  FOR "TACO TUESDAY" I DECIDED TO MAKE A SALSA USING FRESH LOCAL PEACHES AND CORN, WITH SOME PICKLED ONIONS AND FRESH JALAPENOS TO BALANCE IT OUT WITH ACIDITY AND HEAT.  THIS SALSA WOULD BE GREAT OVER FISH, GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN, FLANK STEAK....PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING THAT NEEDS A FRESH KICK IN THE ASS!

PEACH-GRILLED CORN SALSA

Makes about 2 cups

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 RIPE PEACHES, pitted and chopped
  • 1 SMALL RED ONION, pickled (see recipe below)
  • 1/2-1 JALAPENO, seeded and diced (adjust to liking)
  • 3 EARS OF CORN, grill and cut off kernels 
  • 2 LIMES, zest and juice
  • 1/2 BUNCH OF CILANTRO, rough chopped
  • 1 TBS. EVOO
  • SALT, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, taste and adjust seasoning

Pickled Red Onions

  • ½ Cup of Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Sugar
  • 1 Tbs. Salt
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 1 Red Onion, sliced thin

Dissolve sugar and salt in water and vinegar.  Place onions in a jar or bowl, cover with pickling liquid and place in fridge until cool.

 

 

Posted on July 18, 2017 and filed under DINNER, LUNCH, SIDE.

TACO TIME!

WHEN DAVE FROM THE BATTALION TV ASKED IF I WAS INTERESTED IN GETTING TOGETHER AT FDIC WITH MY BUDDIES CHIEF MILLER AND PIP FROM 555 FITNESS TO FILM AT A FIRE DEPARTMENT, I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT.  AND THEN "FIRE. FITNESS. FOOD" WAS BORN....
THE OBJECTIVE WAS SIMPLE.  GO TO A LOCAL DEPARTMENT IN INDY AND SHOW THEM THE IMPORTANCE OF FUNCTIONAL FITNESS AND HEALTHY EATING IN THE FIRE SERVICE....ALL WHILE HAVING A GREAT TIME!
I DECIDED ON HEALTHY TACOS USING INGREDIENTS THEY MAY NOT NORMALLY USE IN THE KITCHEN.  TACOS ARE A GREAT WAY TO INTRODUCE HEALTHY INGREDIENTS BECAUSE IT IS A RELATABLE DISH IN THE FIREHOUSE AND ALLOWS YOU THE ABILITY TO TAILOR IT INDIVIDUAL TASTES.  CHECK OUT THE RECIPES I MADE AT DECATUR TOWNSHIP FIRE DEPARTMENT BELOW!
 TOP: Shrimp and Chorizo BOTTOM: Chicken with Grilled Pineapple 

TOP: Shrimp and Chorizo BOTTOM: Chicken with Grilled Pineapple 

Shrimp Chorizo Tacos with Cotija Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 Lb. Chorizo, casing removed
  • ½ Onion, diced
  • 2 Garlic, cloves
  • ½ Cup Mint, chopped
  • 4 Limes, cut 2 into wedges for garnish
  • 10 oz. Package of Cotija Cheese
  • 1 Jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro, chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Package of corn tortillas, lightly grilled or warmed in oven, covered until ready to serve.

Procedure:

In a deep dish or bowl, combine shrimp with zest and juice from 2 limes, chopped mint, a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil.  Set aside in refrigerator while preparing the rest of the dish.

In a large saute pan, add a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chorizo, brown and cook through while breaking up the meat.  When chorizo is cooked through, add the garlic and onion and cook until onion is translucent.  Add the shrimp to the pan, stir and cook until pink.  Remove from heat.  Serve with tortillas, cilantro, jalapeno and cotija cheese.

 

Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Tacos with Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb. Chicken Breast
  • 1 Tsp. Cumin
  • 1 Tsp. Chile Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Paprika
  • 1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 Pineapple, trimmed and cut into slices
  • 2 Tbs. Chile Powder
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro, chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pickled Red Onions, recipe follows
  • 10 oz. Package of Cotija Cheese
  • Package of Corn Tortillas, grilled or warmed through in the oven, covered until ready to serve.

Procedure:

In a large bowl, combine all the spices and oil.  Stir to combine and add the chicken.  Marinate 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile, light a grill to medium heat.  Coat the pineapple lightly in oil, salt and chile powder.  Grill pineapple, turning frequently until caramelized.  While the pineapple is cooking, grill the jalapenos until charred.  Remove the jalapeno, seed and chop.  Remove the pineapple and chop.  In a bowl combine, the pineapple, jalapeno, juice and zest of limes, ½ of the cilantro.  Season with salt to taste.

Grill the chicken until cooked through, remove and chop.

Assemble tacos with the chicken, pineapple salsa, pickled red onion, cilantro and Cotija cheese

Pickled Red Onions

  • ½ Cup of Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Sugar
  • 1 Tbs. Salt
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 1 Red Onion, sliced thin

Combine all ingredients except the onion in a saucepan.  Over low heat, stir just to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Pour over onions in a jar or glass bowl.  Refrigerate until cool.  These can be kept in fridge up to 2 weeks.

Posted on July 10, 2017 and filed under LUNCH, DINNER.

GUMBO

ONE GREAT THING ABOUT RUNNING F&H CO. IS HOW MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF REGIONAL DISHES I GET TO SEE EVERY DAY, TOO BAD I CAN'T TASTE ALL OF THEM!  THIS GUMBO RECIPE COMES FROM FIREFIGHTER MARK OF THE SHREVEPORT FD IN LOUISIANA SO YOU KNOW IT'S GOING TO BE GOOD!  FOLLOW HIS INSTAGRAM PAGE @REMARKABLE_FOOD FOR SOME DELICIOUS FOOD INSPIRATION!

GUMBO

Gumbo.jpg

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 ONION, chopped
1 CUP CELERY, chopped
1 CUP BELL PEPPER, chopped
1 LB. SMOKED SAUSAGE, sliced
1 LB. COOKED CHICKEN, shredded
3 BAY LEAVES
1/2 CUP GREEN ONION, chopped
PARSLEY, chopped
3 BAY LEAVES
CHICKEN STOCK
CREOLE SEASONING
1 TBS. GUMBO FILE (a natural thickener made from dried ground Sassafras leaves)
1 CUP FLOUR
1 CUP VEGETABLE OIL

PROCEDURE:

  • Combine oil and flour in a large cast iron pan or pot over low-medium heat to make a roux, stirring frequently so as not to burn it.  Cook the roux until it is a deep brown color,  this is very important to creating the rich flavor and color of the dish. 
  • Add the onion, celery and bell pepper to the roux until the onion is translucent.  
  • Add the sausage, chicken and bay leaves, cook 5 minutes.
  • Add enough chicken stock to cover and seasoning, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 2 hours.
  • Serve and garnish with green onion and parsley.
  • *Suggested to serve over rice
Posted on December 22, 2016 and filed under LUNCH, DINNER.

CHICKEN - QUINOA BAKE WITH ROASTED GARLIC GRAVY

THIS DISH IS GOING TO BE A FIREHOUSE FAVORITE.....BELIEVE ME.  NOT ONLY IS IT DELICIOUS, IT IS ALSO PACKED WITH PROTEIN AND FIBER SO THE CREW IS DEFINITELY GOING TO BE SATISFIED!
I RECENTLY MADE A VERSION OF THIS ON ANOTHER EPISODE OF FIREHOUSE KITCHEN TV SHOW, BUT THIS TIME AROUND I OMITTED THE BACON, TWEAKED THE CHICKEN AND ADDED A LITTLE GRAVY.  SO LET'S JUST SAY IT IS A LITTLE MORE REFINED BUT BY ALL MEANS....DO ADD THE BACON!

CHICKEN - QUINOA BAKE WITH ROASTED GARLIC GRAVY

INGREDIENTS:
2 BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS (SUB CHICKEN THIGHS FOR MORE FLAVOR)
2 CARROTS, peeled and rough chopped
1 ONION, peeled and rough chopped
1 SMALL PACKAGE MUSHROOMS, rough chopped
1 HEAD OF GARLIC
1 BUNCH BROCCOLI RABE
1/2 C HOT CHERRY PEPPERS (SUB SWEET IF NEEDED), chopped
10 oz. QUINOA
2 - 32. oz LOW SODIUM CHICKEN STOCK
2 BALLS OF FRESH MOZZARELLA
FRESH BASIL
OLIVE OIL
SALT
1 TBS. FLOUR
1 TBS. BUTTER

PROCEDURE:

- PREHEAT OVEN TO 350*

- CUT JUST THE TOP OFF THE HEAD OF GARLIC, PLACE ON TINFOIL AND DRIZZLE WITH A LITTLE OLIVE OIL.  MAKE A POUCH WITH THE FOIL AND BAKE IN THE OVEN FOR 45-60 MIN.  REMOVE AND SET ASIDE.

- WHILE GARLIC IS ROASTING,  PUT CHICKEN STOCK IN A SMALL POT, BRING TO A BOIL AND ADD THE CHICKEN.  BRING THE STOCK UP TILL BARELY SIMMERING.  POACH UNTIL INTERNAL TEMP ON CHICKEN IS 160*, ABOUT 10-15 MIN.   REMOVE, SET ASIDE AND LET COOL.  RESERVE THE STOCK.

- WHILE THE CHICKEN IS POACHING, SAUTE THE ONION AND CARROTS WITH OLIVE AND SALT IN A LARGE CAST IRON OR OVEN-SAFE PAN.  WHEN THE ONION IS TRANSLUCENT, ADD THE MUSHROOMS AND SAUTE OVER MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT.  WHEN ALL THE MOISTURE HAS EVAPORATED, TASTE AND SEASON THE MIXTURE AS NEEDED.  REMOVE FROM THE HEAT AND SET ASIDE.

- WHILE THE ONIONS/CARROTS ARE WORKING, BRING WATER TO BOIL IN A LARGE POT AND ADD THE BROCCOLI RABE.  COOK FOR 3-5 MINUTES UNTIL JUST TENDER, REMOVE AND PLACE IN AN ICE BATH.  WHEN COOL, PUT IN A TOWEL AND SQUEEZE OUT ALL THE WATER.  THIS WILL HELP REMOVE SOME BITTERNESS.  CHOP THE BROCCOLI RABE AND ADD TO THE ONION AND CARROTS.

- ADD THE AMOUNT OF STOCK NEEDED FOR THE QUINOA TO A LARGE SAUCE PAN AND COOK THE QUINOA ACCORDING TO THE PACKAGE.  ONCE COOKED, ADD IT TO THE ONION/CARROT/BROCCOLI RABE MIXTURE ALONG WITH THE CHOPPED CHERRY PEPPERS.

- WHEN THE CHICKEN IS COOL, SHRED IT AND ADD TO THE VEGETABLE - QUINOA MIXTURE.  TOP THE MIXTURE WITH SLICED FRESH MOZZARELLA (PLACING MOZZARELLA IN FREEZER FOR A LITTLE WILL MAKE SLICING EASIER).  PLACE THE WHOLE PAN IN THE OVEN AND BAKE UNTIL CHEESE IS MELTED AND BROWNED.  YOU CAN ALSO USE THE BROILER TO BROWN THE CHEESE.

- WHILE THE DISH IS BAKING, IN A SMALL PAN MAKE A ROUX BY MELTING 1 TBS. BUTTER AND ADDING 1 TBS. FLOUR. STIR FOR A FEW SECONDS TO COOK, BE CAREFUL  NOT TO BURN.  ADD ABOUT 1 CUP OF RESERVED CHICKEN STOCK, STIR AND BRING TO A BOIL.  LOWER TO SIMMER.  SQUEEZE OUT COOLED ROASTED GARLIC AND USING FLAT PART OF YOUR KNIFE MAKE A PASTE.  ADD THE ROASTED GARLIC PASTE TO THE GRAVY AND TURN 

- OFF HEAT WHEN THE DESIRED CONSISTENCY.

- REMOVE THE QUINOA BAKE FROM THE OVEN AND LET COOL FOR A FEW MINUTES BEFORE SERVING.  GARNISH WITH SOME FRESH BASIL AND ROASTED GARLIC GRAVY.

Posted on December 17, 2016 and filed under LUNCH, DINNER.

555 EATS - HANGAR STEAK WITH SHALLOT PAN-SAUCE

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON'T KNOW WHAT #555EATS IS, PLAIN AND SIMPLY PUT.....IT IS A JOINT EFFORT BETWEEN F&H CO. AND 555 FITNESS TO PROMOTE HEALTHIER EATING IN THE FIREHOUSE.  IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE FOCUS NOT JUST ON THE FITNESS SIDE OF THE EQUATION BUT THE NUTRITIONAL SIDE AS WELL.  BUT WE DON'T WANT TO BORE YOU WITH CALORIE NUMBERS OR CARB STATS.....#555EATS IS ALL ABOUT SHARING RECIPES FEATURING WHOLE FOODS WITH LESS PROCESSED CRAP!
OH, AND ABOUT THAT EQUATION THING I MENTIONED EARLIER....HAVE YOU SEEN THE FORK AND HOSE CO./555 FITNESS COLLABORATION T-SHIRT CALLED, YOU GUESSED IT, "THE EQUATION"?  IF YOU EAT WELL AND TRAIN HARD, YOU WILL SURVIVE.  CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS TODAY! ALL THE PROCEEDS GO TO THE 555 FITNESS MISSION!

HANGAR STEAK WITH SHALLOT PAN-SAUCE

This recipe is based off of one from Bon Appetit, where I frequently look for recipe inspirations.  You can definitely substitute skirt steak or even flank steak here.  Hangar was cheaper than those two so that's what I went with, we all know the importance of keeping firehouse meals as cheap as possible.  The ingredients in this recipe cover all the important bases

Serves 4
INGREDIENTS:
2 1/2-3 LBS. HANGAR STEAKS
CANOLA OIL (lf using olive oil, just be careful of the lower smoking point of Olive oil)
2 GARLIC CLOVES, whole with skin on
4 SPRIGS FRESH THYME
2 SHALLOTS, finely diced
2 TSP. MUSTARD SEEDS, Any color (Substitute with 1 Tsp. Whole Grain Mustard)
3/4 CUP CHICKEN BROTH (Or white wine if you have it available)
ZEST AND JUICE OF 1/2 LEMON
2 TBS. UNSALTED BUTTER
SALT/PEPPER TO TASTE


PROCEDURE:
Season steaks generously with salt.

Get a large saute/cast iron pan screaming hot.  Right before adding steaks to the pan, drizzle in just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the steaks and half of the thyme and both garlic cloves.  Cook the steaks over high heat for about 8 minutes total for medium rare, flip them halfway through.  You want a nice golden brown crust so don't move them around too much.

Remove the steaks and place on a wire rack to rest for at least 10 minutes.  

While the steaks rest, pour off most of the oil from the pan.  Add the shallots and mustard seeds, saute over medium heat for a couple minutes.  Add the chicken broth, lemon zest/juice, and thyme leaves, scraping any brown bits off the bottom.  Reduce this mixture by about half, about 5 minutes.  

Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and swirl the pan.  It is important to do this off heat because if the sauce gets too hot it will break, which means the butter will not emulsify with the sauce and it will become very "greasy".  Taste and adjust your seasonings.
 

By reducing the pan-sauce, we are fortifying it with flavor and "thickening" it at the same time without the need for flour.  The touch of butter at the end adds body to the sauce and gives it that shiny look great sauces are known for. 
If you have a healthy firehouse recipe you would like featured, email us at forkandhoseco@gmail.com.  Stay safe, eat well!
Posted on August 29, 2016 and filed under DINNER.

THROWBACK THURSDAY WITH 555 FITNESS

SO IF YOU HAVE NOT HEARD BY NOW......ON AUGUST 14TH, 2016 I WILL BE COMPETING ON FOOD NETWORK'S GUY'S GROCERY GAMES!!!! WHEN FOOD NETWORK APPROACHED ME ABOUT WHAT CHARITY I WOULD BE COMPETING FOR IT WAS NOT EVEN A QUESTION.....555 FITNESS!  IF YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THEM, THEY ARE A FIREFIGHTER RUN CHARITY WHOSE MISSION IS TO REDUCE FIREFIGHTER LODD'S (LINE OF DUTY DEATHS) DUE TO CARDIAC RELATED INCIDENTS.  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR MISSION AND HOW THEY ARE CHANGING LIVES EVERYDAY!

BACK IN FEBRUARY OF 2015, THE 555 FITNESS CREW AND MYSELF WERE ON A COUPLE EPISODES OF THE FIREHOUSE KITCHEN TV SHOW PROMOTING HEALTHY EATING AND FITNESS IN THE FIREHOUSE. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE EPISODES OR GO TO OUR MEDIA PAGE....

HERE IS THE CHICKEN CACCIATORE RECIPE PIP AND I MADE!

 MYSELF, RAY AND PIP SITTING ON THE BACK-STEP ENJOYING OUR CHICKEN CACCIATORE!

MYSELF, RAY AND PIP SITTING ON THE BACK-STEP ENJOYING OUR CHICKEN CACCIATORE!


Serves: 3-4
INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs SKINLESS-BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS(or mix of chicken parts)
2 CHICKEN SAUSAGE LINKS (remove casing)
2 GARLIC CLOVES, peeled
1 ONION,peeled and sliced
3 BELL PEPPERS, seeded and sliced
1 PACKAGE OF SLICED MUSHROOMS
1 CAN OF GREEN OLIVES, sliced
8 oz. TOMATO PASTE
32 oz. TOMATO SAUCE
RED PEPPER FLAKES
FRESH ROSEMARY
OLIVE OIL
SALT AND PEPPER, to taste

PROCEDURE:

  • Season chicken parts with salt, pepper and any herbs such as thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano
  • Heat a skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat, when hot drizzle in some olive oil
  • Add sausage, breaking up as it cooks. Remove, set aside 
  • Add the chicken and brown in batches as to not overcrowd the pan. When all the chicken is browned, set aside.
  • Lower heat to medium-low and add onions, garlic and a pinch of pepper flake.  When onions to starts to brown add the bell peppers, whole sprig of rosemary and a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, stir frequently to prevent past from burning
  • Add the tomato sauce, mushrooms and olives
  • Bring to a simmer and return chicken and sausage to pot.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, uncover and cook for another 15-20 minutes
  • Serve
     
Posted on July 14, 2016 and filed under DINNER.

555 EATS - GARLIC AND CHEESE STUFFED CHICKEN

   555 FITNESS  IS OUR FRIEND....A GOOD FRIEND IN FACT.  SO GOOD THAT WE LOVE SHARING HEALTHY RECIPES WITH THEM. THESE RECIPES WILL FUEL YOU THROUGH ONE OF THEIR FREE FUNCTIONAL FITNESS WORKOUTS THEY PROVIDE DAILY!  AND NOT ONLY DO THEY PROVIDE WORKOUTS, THEY GIVE FITNESS EQUIPMENT GRANTS TO FIREHOUSES THAT NEED IT, SO MAKE SURE YOU CLICK  HERE  TO LEARN MORE!

 555 FITNESS IS OUR FRIEND....A GOOD FRIEND IN FACT.  SO GOOD THAT WE LOVE SHARING HEALTHY RECIPES WITH THEM. THESE RECIPES WILL FUEL YOU THROUGH ONE OF THEIR FREE FUNCTIONAL FITNESS WORKOUTS THEY PROVIDE DAILY!  AND NOT ONLY DO THEY PROVIDE WORKOUTS, THEY GIVE FITNESS EQUIPMENT GRANTS TO FIREHOUSES THAT NEED IT, SO MAKE SURE YOU CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!

WE AT F&H CO. LOVE THE IDEA OF STUFFING INGREDIENTS INTO ANOTHER.  ITS A CONVENIENT WAY TO GET MORE VEGETABLES INTO THE MEAL WITHOUT TAKING UP TOO MUCH SPACE ON THE PLATE,  ITS ALSO AN EXCUSE TO USE CHEESE WHICH WE LOOOOOOVE!  THIS RECIPE FOR GARLIC AND CHEESE STUFFED CHICKEN COMES FROM ROB MEYER OF THE MONROE TWP. FD IN NEW JERSEY.  ROB ALSO HAS A LEATHERSHOP FOR ALL THINGS LEATHER AND FIREFIGHTER RELATED, YOU CAN CHECK IT OUT AT WWW.ETSY.COM/SHOP/RIDGEWAYLEATHERWORKS !

GARLIC AND CHEESE STUFFED CHICKEN

Garliccheesechicken.jpg


Ingredients:
3-4 LBS. BONELESS, SKINLESS CHICKEN BREAST (the thicker, larger breasts work well for this)
4-6 TBSP OLIVE OIL
3-4 CLOVES OF GARLIC, minced
BAG/BUNDLE OF FRESH SPINACH, washed/dried (more if you are serving 4+)
1/2 LB SMOKED GOUDA, shredded(or other cheese of choice)
SALT/PEPPER
ADOBO SEASONING
Tooth picks
SERVING SUGGESTION:
SIDE OF RICE (We used Long Grain Wild Rice)
SIDE OF VEGETABLE (We used Sugar Snap Peas)

OPTIONAL:Get the rice going first as per instructions. It should take 25 mins for non instant rice to cook. 


-Preheat oven to 350*
-In a separate pan, sautee garlic in a tbsp of olive oil. Add spinach on low and sautee spinach until soft. (Dont be fooled by fresh spinach. The quantity will halve as it cooks down. We used 1 bag of spinach and found ourselves a little short for 4 firefighters (portions are slightly larger)

-Filet chicken breasts in half and pound them flat

-Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and Adobo on both sides. 

-Take both the shredded (or cubed) cheese and sauteed spinach and place on top of the chicken breast. (Leave about an inch on either side of stuffed ingredients to prevent it from spilling out the end)

-Roll the stuffed chicken breast lengthwise and secure with toothpicks. I usually use about 3-4, but every now and then a monster breast requires 5. (Please remind your men/women about the approximate number of toothpicks in the chicken so they may cut it and search accordingly. 

-Add some more olive oil to pan and place chicken breasts in pan. Rotate for about 5 mins to brown the outside. 

-In a pyrex dish, place rice on the bottom, and then the chicken on top. Insert into a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30-35 mins. 

OPTIONAL: Cook vegetables within the last 10 minutes.

-In the last 5-10 minutes, add additional cheese on the top of the chicken breast to melt. If you are using smoked gouda, make sure it is shredded. As its melt characteristics are a little less desirable. Most other cheeses will melt fine as shredded or cubed, but the gouda will give you both a distinct smell in the kitchen, and taste on the plate. 
 

 
Posted on May 2, 2016 and filed under DINNER.

THROWDOWN THURSDAY - BROCCOLI TOTS

THE 2016 FIREFIGHTER THROWDOWN AT FDIC WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!  AND WHILE F&H CO. WAS NOT ABLE TO MAKE IT DOWN TO THE ATL, WE KNOW EVERYONE HAD A GOOD TIME COMPETING AND PROMOTING A HEALTHIER FIRE SERVICE.  SO TO PREPARE FOR THE NEXT ONE, LET'S KEEP ON ROLLING WITH SOME HEALTHY EATS.....

THIS RECIPE FOR BROCCOLI TOTS COMES FROM BRYAN HERMANN OF THE JERSEY CITY F.D. IN NEW JERSEY.  THEY ARE A GREAT FOR A SIDE OR SNACK, AND WILL DEFINITELY IMPRESS THE CREW!

BROCCOLI TOTS

INGREDIENTS:
4 CUPS UNCOOKED OR FROZEN BROCCOLI FLORETS
1 GARLIC CLOVE, diced
1 SMALL ONION, diced
1 SMALL SHALLOT, diced
SMALL BUNCH OF FRESH CILANTRO, diced
2 LARGE EGGS OR 3 SMALL, beaten
1/2 CUP BREAD CRUMBS
1/4 CUP SHREDDED CHEDDAR
2 TSP. SRIRACHA


PROCEDURE:
Preheat oven to 400*

Place a large pot of water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes, remove and drain.  When cool, dice and set aside.

 In a large bowl combine the cilantro, onion, shallot and broccoli.  Add the eggs, breadcrumbs, Sriracha and cheddar cheese. Mix until combined.

Scoop out spoonful size of the mixture and form into small balls or tator tot shape.  Place on a lightly oiled sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Serve as a side or snack!



 

Posted on April 28, 2016 and filed under SIDE, LUNCH, DINNER.

THROWDOWN THURSDAY - GARLIC SHRIMP PASTA WITH VEGGIES

THE FIREFIGHTER THROWDOWN IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN AT FDIC. AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO GET READY THAN SOME HEALTHY EATS LIKE THIS PASTA FROM DB AND MARLO BOYLES! TO EVERYONE AT FDIC AND THE THROWDOWN, HAVE FUN AND KICK SOME ASS!

GARLIC SHRIMP PASTA WITH VEGGIES

Garlicshrimppasta.jpg


Serves 4
INGREDIENTS:
8oz. WHOLE WHEAT PASTA
STEAMED ZUCCHINI
1.5 - 2 cups STEAMED SHRIMP
STEAMED BROCCOLI
PEAS, lightly steamed or cool (we like cool)
CORN, lightly steamed or cool (we like cool)
2 TBS. MINCED GARLIC
PINCH OF OREGANO
PINCH OF PARSLEY
1/4 C PARMESAN CHEESE
2 TBS. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
BLACK PEPPER

PROCEDURE:
Cook whole wheat pasta, COOL, add garlic and olive oil

Steam vegetables separately, combine in a bowl when all vegetables are cooked along with the parsley and oregano, season to taste

Top the pasta with the vegetables and shrimp, serve.

409cal 80.3 carbs
Calories and carbs done on single serving
 

Posted on April 21, 2016 and filed under DINNER.

THROWDOWN THURSDAY - GLUTEN-FREE SLOW COOKER PORK CHOPS

THE FIREFIGHTER THROWDOWN IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER SO WE KNOW YOU ARE TOO BUSY TO SPEND HOURS IN THE KITCHEN....FEAR NOT!  THIS SLOW-COOKER RECIPE WILL SATISFY THE HUNGRIEST ATHLETE, FIREFIGHTER....ANYONE FOR THAT MATTER!  THANKS TO MY GOOD FRIEND KELLY KAHLE OF ST. PETE FIRE AND RESCUE FOR THIS GREAT RECIPE!

SLOW-COOKER PORK CHOPS WITH CARAMELIZED ONION AND COCONUT MILK

INGREDIENTS:
6 THICK-CUT BONELESS PORK CHOPS
1/2 C GRASS-FED BUTTER (SUBSTITUTE WITH GHEE OR COCONUT MILK)
1 MEDIUM YELLOW ONION, finely diced
1/3 C ARROWROOT FLOUR
1 1/2 TSP. SEA SALT
1 T ONION POWDER
1 T GARLIC POWDER
1/4 TSP. CAYENNE PEPPER
1/4 TSP. FRESH GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1 CAN FULL-FAT COCONUT MILK
2 CUPS CHICKEN OR BEEF BROTH

PROCEDURE:
In a large saute pan, melt 1/4 cup of the butter.  Add the onion and a small pinch of sea salt.  Cook until the onion is translucent and just starting to brown.  Remove the onion and set aside, leaving the butter in the pan.

In a large bowl, whisk the arrowroot flour, remaining salt, onion powder, garlic pepper, cayenne and black pepper for dredging the pork chops.  Lay each chop in the flour and coat each side well, place the chops in the buttered pan.  Reserve the remaining flour. Brown for 5-10 minutes each side.  Remove the chops and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.  

For the gravy, add the remaining butter to the same saute pan that the chops were cooked in.  Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the reserved seasoned flour until it forms a roux (a paste that will thicken sauce).  Whisk in the whole can of coconut milk followed by the chicken broth until the gravy is smooth.  If the sauce is very thin, whisk in a little more flour, be careful as the sauce will thicken in the slow cooker.  

Pour the gravy over the chops, topped with half of the onions.  Cook in the slow cooker on low/medium for 4-6 hours.  

Carefully remove the chops, serve with extra gravy and top with the remaining onions.
 

Posted on April 14, 2016 and filed under DINNER.

555 EATS - PASTA PRIMAVERA

 TIME FOR SOME #555EATS WITH OUR FRIENDS AT  555 FITNESS!

TIME FOR SOME #555EATS WITH OUR FRIENDS AT 555 FITNESS!

SPRING IS HERE! ALTHOUGH IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE IT, CONSIDERING IT IS SNOWING HERE IN NEW YORK.  THIS PASTA PRIMAVERA (SPRING IN ITALIAN) COMES FROM CHARLES HOPKINS OF CONCORD MA FIRE DEPT.....AND GUESS WHAT.....IT HAS BACON! TRAIN HARD, DO WORK, EAT WELL!

CONCORD PASTA PRIMAVERA

INGREDIENTS:

3 BONESLESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREAST

1 BAG OF FRESH SPINACH

1/2 LB. BACON

1 BOX OF CHERRY TOMATOES

1 HEAD OF GARLIC

SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

McCormick ITALIAN BLEND SEASONING

OLIVE OIL

1/2 PINT HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM

2 C. SHREDDED PARMESAN CHEESE

1 BOX FARFALLE

PROCEDURE:

Cook bacon in pan until crispy, chop and set aside. Wipe out most of the bacon grease, add olive oil to help coat the bottom of the pan, put pan over medium/medium-high heat.

Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise, place in pan, season top of breast with salt, pepper and McCormick seasoning. Cook until browned on one side, flip, season top of breast and cook until no longer pink in middle. Set cooked chicken aside, wipe out most of the grease.

Bring a pot with water to a boil, cook farfalle according to directions, about 10 minutes, drain and set aside.

In same pan chicken was cooked in, over medium heat, add spinach, cherry tomatoes cut in half and garlic. Sauté until garlic starts to brown and half of spinach has wilted. Add the chicken, bacon and heavy whipping cream, bring to a boil.  

Once boiling, add half of the parmesan cheese, reduce to simmer. Simmer until spinach is wilted and sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

Place farfalle in serving dish, pour contents of pan over farfalle, sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Posted on April 4, 2016 and filed under DINNER, BACON.

THROWDOWN THURSDAY - STUFFED CABBAGE

THROWIN' DOWN A GREAT RECIPE WITH OUR FRIENDS FROM THE FIREFIGHTER THROWDOWN TODAY!  FDIC IS COMING UP REAL QUICK AND THAT MEANS THE BIGGEST AND BEST THROWDOWN TO DATE IS ALMOST UPON US.....NOW LET'S EAT!

This week's recipe for stuffed cabbage comes from FF Rob Meyer of Monroe Twp. FD in New Jersey.  When Rob sent me the email, it not only had the recipe but a great story to go with it.  So let's have Rob tell it in his own words....

"This recipe is a family tradition. Everyone loved my grandfather's stuffed cabbage. With that years ago I took it upon myself to learn how to make it with him. He passed away the day after Christmas this past year. I'm forever grateful for having the ability to continue on a family dish. It never hurts to ask Moms, Dads, Grandmas or Grandpas for family recipes. Spend time with them cooking it. They will be grateful for every moment and you will have a dish that always reminds you of them when you cook it. "

PREKOP'S STUFFED CABBAGE

"This recipe is a family tradition. Everyone loved my grandfather's stuffed cabbage. With that years ago I took it upon myself to learn how to make it with him. He passed away the day after Christmas this past year. I'm forever grateful for having the ability to continue on a family dish. It never hurts to ask Moms, Dads, Grandmas or Grandpas for family recipes. Spend time with them cooking it. They will be grateful for every moment and you will have a dish that always reminds you of them when you cook it."


INGREDIENTS:
1 8qt pressure cooker
2 medium sized heads of cabbage
1 lb ground pork
2 lbs ground beef
4 cloves minced garlic
1 small/medium sized onion diced small
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
3/4 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp butter

PROCEDURE:
Boil both heads of cabbage together, or separately if you do not have a large enough pot. After 20 minutes, remove and let cool (outside leaves are dark dark green). Cut out the stalk of the cabbages about 2-3 inches deep to ease the removal of cabbage leaves. There will be plenty of cabbage to use, so do not get dismayed if the outer leaves aren't usable to roll (split, torn, etc)

Cook Jasmine rice according to directions, however remove them about 10 minutes prior to their finish time. They will finish cooking in the cabbage. Instant Rice will not be favorable for this dish. While rice is cooking, melt butter in frying pan and saute onions until slightly translucent. When onions are about done, add garlic and continue for 60-90 seconds. Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl add beef, pork, salt, pepper, onions, garlic, cooked rice, and 2/3rd the jar of crushed tomatoes. You may add a few shots of Worcestershire for added flavor, however the flavors of the ingredients are pretty delectable as is.

Something my Grandfather taught me which aided in the rolling of the cabbage, was to reduce the thickness of the stem of the cabbage leaves by taking a sharp knife and trimming down the stem of each of the leaves. It makes the cabbage a little easier to work with. When finished, take a cabbage leaf stem closest to you and place a big spoonful of the meat mixture into it. Roll it from the stem side and tuck in the edges when done. Since no cabbage leaf is the same size it will take a little getting used to how much meat you put in each leaf, but it gets easier as time progresses. 

Line bottom of pressure cooker with a little sauce and place cabbage on bottom of cooker. As you layer the cabbages you can add the remaining sauce and crushed tomatoes to the pressure cooker (add a 1/2 small can of water to help produce steam and prevent burning at the bottom of the cooker). Seal pressure cooker and cook on medium heat (enough to see the steam purge from cooker) Do not use high heat settings as the bottom will start to burn the sauce and cake onto the cooker (RIP pressure cooker). After about 20-25 minutes the cabbage rolls will be done. You can opt to remove the cabbage and thicken the remaining liquids in the cooker with tomato paste and top off the rolls with the thickened sauce. We had a hard time thinking of any other sides than rye bread. The dish is a meat, starch, and vegetable all rolled into one. This recipe yields about 20-25 cabbages depending on size.  
 

Posted on March 31, 2016 and filed under DINNER.