Minestrone Soup and a Twist on Spanikopita

Minestrone Soup, very good. But the Spanikopita was an interesting dish. I was all set to make a traditional Spanikopita but I had thawed a package of Puff Pastry instead of Phyllo dough... sigh. So I put the filling in the puff pastry and wow it was quite good. No leftovers...

Sunday Night Pizza and...

 Perfect crust! Nice and thin.
For an afternoon snack I made some Rosemary Thyme Pita Chips.
 And for dessert some Brownies with Mint Chips...

Sweet Cherry Tomato and Sausage Bake

I have made this recipe a couple of times and each time I am amazed at the flavor. 
The sauce is so good. We had it with a loaf of "No Knead Bread.
The sweetness of the tomatoes and the tanginess of the balsamic vinegar,
it was a taste explosion. 

Pasta con le lenticchie

During my blog travels I came upon this recipe. Pasta con le lenticchie. Viaggi e Sapori is a great blog to visit. When you are there scroll down to the Pizza entry! Yum. Anyway I made this recipe for dinner tonight. First off I did not have onions. How could I not have onions... well that's another story. But I had carrots and celery! So I chopped them up and also decided to add some pancetta. It is not a meatless Friday yet. This was delicious. Even without the pancetta it would have been good. The only addition was that I added some of the pasta water to add to the sauce. Loved it!

Pollo Alla Cacciatora

 
Pollo Alla Cacciatora 3, Hunter-Style Chicken 3. I went back to the La Cucina The Regional Cooking of Italy for tonight's dinner. This version is from Toscana. And I made a couple of changes so this is my version of the recipe.

Ingredients
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped3 split chicken breasts, bone-in
1/2 cup white wine
1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
Salt and Crushed Red Pepper flakes

Method
Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onions. Add the chicken breasts and brown, adding salt and crushed red pepper. When the chicken begins taking on color, pour in the whine and the tomatoes. Cook at low heat to reduce the sauce and cook the chicken through. Serve hot.

My choice out of the three versions I have made of this recipe is... Number 1!

Kale, White Bean and Chicken Sausage Soup

Started by sauteing chopped onions and carrots. Added some sliced Chicken Kielbasa. Next I added the chicken broth. Cooked the kale until it was tender. Tossed in the cannellini beans and let it all simmer. Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper. We both went back for seconds!

Braciole in Marinara Sauce

 
The Braciole recipe is from Mario Batali's Simple Italian Food. Last time I made this was back in 2009. In the book Green Olives are added to the sauce. I didn't have the olives but I made a darn good marinara sauce this morning. The meal came together in less than 40 minutes, that did not include the time for the sauce.
For side dishes I made couscous and Roasted White Asparagus. It was the first time I had White Asparagus and it will not be the last time. I love the taste! Regular Asparagus... Blah. White Asparagus... Yum!

Porchetta Sandwich

Slow roasted pork. What else can I say...
Other than click here for the recipe!
Well I can say something... like it was really good.

Quick Chicken Cordon Bleu

One of the newsletters I receive is EatingWell.com. This week they featured a recipe for Quick Chicken Cordon Bleu. It was quick and very good. I used Prosciutto, of course, and added thyme to the breadcrumb mixture.
For sides I sauteed the extra vegetables I had from last night's dinner and also picked up Risotto Cakes from Whole Foods. Wow. Risotto, Peas and Goat Cheese. The man behind the counter suggested I cut them in half when heating them. Good suggestion!

Fettucine With My Favorite Things


Dinner started out being just Fettucine Alfredo. Then I went to the store and saw Broccolini and decided to add veggies to the mix. Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Red Bell Pepper and the Broccolini were sauteed along with some diced Pancetta (I did say my favorite things). I used the recipe for Fettucine Alfredo from La Cucina for the sauce. I added a little of the pasta water at the end. It was a nice looking dish and quite good.

Italian Wedding Soup

This is one of my dad's favorites.  When I was growing up my mom made a soup that looked just like this. Actually that image is what I used to make this soup. The vegetables were cut a certain way and size. The spinach and pasta was added. And the egg. Mom use to put egg in her chicken soup. I boiled some of the broth in a small pan and dropped in an egg that was slightly beaten. I stirred it around in the boiling broth until it looked like consistency I remembered from my childhood. For the broth I used my chicken broth that I made a couple of weeks ago and froze.  Wow. A wonderful meal!

Fried Chick Peas and Chicken Sauasage

Happy Valentine's Day. Did a slight twist on a Mark Bittman recipe. In the Mark Bittman recipe which I made back in March of last year, he used Chorizo. Tonight I used Chicken Sausage with Roasted Red Pepper and Asiago Cheese.
I made Mashed Potatoes as a side dish because it is Valentine's Day and I love Mashed Potatoes!

Breaded Pork Chops and some cookies...

For dinner I breaded Pork Chops. First I  browned them in a saute pan. Next I put them in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Made some rice and zucchini. Pretty simple.
I did a little baking today. After all tomorrow is Valentine's Day... From the Silver Palate Cookbook, Linzer Hearts.
 
And from Smitten Kitchen, Expresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread. Wow they are good!

Gnocchi a la Vodka and...

Did you ever wake up thinking about dinner? Well tonight we went to Quattro's for my birthday dinner with my sister and her husband.
We started off with cocktails and appetizers. Fried Calamari, Clams Casino, Crab Cake and Bruschetta.
For dinner I had the Gnocchi a la Vodka. What an amazing meal. The Gnocchi are so light it is like eating puffs of air. Chris had the Veal Matesse. Ralph had the Lamb Osso Bucco. And Lenore had a seafood soup with coconut milk
Seeing my meal was so "light" I was able to polish off a serving of Tiramsu! We had a nice bottle of Merlot, Chateau Ste Michelle Washington State with dinner.
So far this has been my favorite meal of 2011. It will be tough to top this.

Zuppa Arcidossana

 
 This recipe came from a Mark Bittman New York Times article. I made it for the first time back 2009. It is delicious and the comment tonight was that we can have this anytime!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 cup 1/2-inch-diced carrots
1 large onion, chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and black pepper
1 cup stale bread (use coarse, country-style bread), cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound spinach, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup ricotta salata, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (feta may be substituted)
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley, optional.

Method
1. Put oil in a large pot or deep skillet and brown sausage over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When sausage is cooked through and leaving brown bits in pan, add carrots, onion and garlic, and continue to cook until vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Add bread to pan and stir for a minute or 2; add spinach and continue cooking just until it wilts, a couple of minutes.
3. Add about 2 cups water and stir to loosen any remaining brown bits from pan. This is more of a stew than a soup, but there should be some broth, so add another cup of water if necessary. When broth is consistency of thin gravy, ladle stew into serving bowls and top with cheese and some freshly chopped parsley if you have it. Serve immediately.

Forgot to add the cheese for the first photo...

Happy Birthday to Me!

What a night! We went to hear Chef Silvio speak at the Guilford Library about the Compania region of Italy and the food of the region. Very interesting stuff.
We had dinner at Friend's and Company. I had Chicken "Italiano" which consisted of Chicken Breast, Broccoli Rabe, Sausage, Navy Beans and Penne Pasta. Wow it was very good. Chris had Southwest Pasta. That consisted of Chicken, red peppers, fresh smoked mozzarella in a barbecue tequila cream sauce. It was tossed with penne pasta. Another delicious dinner!

Baked Ziti

A couple of weeks ago I made Baked Ziti. I put one in the freezer and that is what we had tonight. Have I mentioned that I love that freezer!

Chicken Pot Pie with a Twist


I made Chicken Pot Pie, using the recipe from RealSimple.com and I noticed was a Pillsbury Crescent Rolls container in the refrigerator. I thought I would use that for the crust. Then came the guilt. It's processed food vs. a homemade crust. Well we used the rolls. Actually Chris did the crust portion and it looked great! And yes it was good. It definitely had a richer taste than my usual pot pie made with a Pate Brise crust.

Lentil Soup

After yesterday's feast we kept it simple tonight. Lentil soup from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything App.

Ingredients
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.1 onion, chipped
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
Fresh ground pepper
Salt

Steps
Put the oil in a large deep pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until soft, just a minute or two. Add the carrot and celery and keep cooking and stirring until brightly colored and hot about 2 minutes.
Add lentils, bay leaf and stock; sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cook stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

This soup is so simple. I sprinkled some Ricotta Salata on top and it was fantastic.

Baked Pork Ribs, Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus

Super Bowl Sunday, or Puppy Bowl Sunday!
Started with some appetizers. Nachos! This is something we use to have more often. Simple to prepare. Round nacho chips. Topped with salsa and sliced jalapeno peppers and jack cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
Next I made Cheddar Olives. The recipe is from A Nod is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse. These are always good. Only problem is they disappear so fast!
 For dinner I made my favorite Super Bowl meal, Baked Pork Ribs with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce. The recipe is from Epicurious.com. Perfect for the game because they don't require of hands on time. Of course if the Saints had been in the Super Bowl that would have mattered...

For side dishes I tried 2 new recipes. One was Smashed Potatoes. I found the recipe on Culinate. Looked like something different.
The other side was Roasted Asparagus. I am a fan of the Cake Boss. I also watch Kitchen Boss. He cooks food that my mom use to cook. One thing that I saw him make was new to me. Roasted Asparagus. Actually his wife made the dish. I love Roasted Cauliflower so I had to try it. Out of all the dishes I think this was my favorite!

Pasta alla Norma

This recipe is from Epicurious.com. I added only half of the peperoncini that the recipe called for. We ended up adding additional crushed red pepper. It was a good dinner. Lots of leftovers...
And  on another subject...
 
Peace has been achieved!