Bacon, Red Pepper and Onion Tart


This was a easy meal to put together. Sauteed sliced onion and pepper. Cut up pre-cooked bacon. I love bacon but hate the smell of the house after cooking it, the onion and peppers are bad enough. I had left over ricotta from the calzones so I seasoned that with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Rolled out some pie dough and put the ricotta in the center and topped it with the peppers, onions and bacon. Folded the crust up and baked it. Quite good indeed. Fixed a salad to go along with it. Nice mid week meal.

Pappardella with a Ragu of Tiny Meatballs

This was based on a recipe from the Jamie Oliver book, Cook With Jamie. I decided to use my own recipe for the meatballs and sauce. I do not have the measurements for the meatballs, I do it by eye and they always taste good. I used ground beef and pork and added an egg, some Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper... I think that's it. Usually I will broil or bake the meatballs but the recipe in the book said to fry them so I did!  Then I added them to my tomatoes, the tomatoes I canned with my Dad this summer, and let them simmer for about 20 minutes. I seasoned the sauce with basil, salt and pepper. I was going to make the Pappardella but I am not Super Person so store bought noodles worked out nicely.
To quote Chris, "This is a delicious sauce." And it really was. The flavor of the tomatoes was better than any canned tomato I have ever used. I hope my Dad will be ready to can twice as many tomatoes next year!
And as a bonus I found out the I Heart Cooking Clubs is now featuring Jamie Oliver! If I had know I would have waited to make the Roast Chicken Breast Wrapped in Pancetta with Leeks and Thyme!

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie

When Chris saw tonight's dinner he said that Chicken Pot Pie season will soon end. Well it was 22 degrees out when I got up this morning so...
This was my usual recipe, well RealSimple.com's recipe. I do make a couple of slight changes in the recipe. I saute onions and carrots then added the chicken. And I use mixed vegetable instead of just frozen peas. It was so good. I will miss Chicken Pot Pie season. Hopefully grilling season will start soon!
Oh there was a photo but it came out too dark!
  : (

Meatball and Pepper Calzones

Combine the pizza recipe from Jim Lahey's book with Mini Meatballs and Red Peppers and we ended up with a delicious meal. Really delicious. Like I wish I had some leftovers!

Fried Chickpeas and Sausage and Ice Cube Tray Cookies

This is my new favorite Sunday night dinners. I love fried chickpeas. Tonight instead of spinach I used escarole and kale... I think I liked it better than the spinach. Need to see the recipe? Click Here.


So these Ice Cube Tray Cookies... My Aunt Marie use to make these all the time. While  I was making these cookies I was thinking about how fortunate I was to grow up in a family were there were always amazing baked goods.

To start off you take an Ice Cube Tray... Yeah I found these in my Dad's basement... Mom use to make these cookies too!
Ingredients
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts
3/4 vegetable oil
1/1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder

Method
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat eggs, add sugar, oil, flour, vanilla and nuts. Grease ice cube trays. Fill 1/2 full, bake for 30 mins. Slice on an angle when cooled.
Now I added chocolate shots, coconut and Rice Krispies. I also put them back in the oven after slicing them, like a biscotti. They tasted exactly as I remember my Aunt Marie's. Amazing how a simple cookie and bring back such happy memories.

Oh and one more thing... for lunch this week I made Greens with Carrots, Feta Cheese and Brown Rice.
It was Saturday's recipe of the day from Whole Foods. I am planning on adding some chicken to it tomorrow, and perhaps some tofu later in the week.

Roasted Chicken Breast Wrapped in Pancetta with Leeks and Thyme

Lets just start by saying this was delicious. The recipe was from Cook With Jamie. Borrowed the book from the library. The pancetta was crisp and the chicken was super moist. I made mashed sweet potatoes as a side dish.
Left room for popcorn... Mildred Pierce, the original with Joan Crawford is on!



And tomorrow night the HBO's Mildred Pierce starts...

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Sand

First, my dad is home and doing better. He just has to follow the doctor's orders!

We did eat dinner this week, just not homemade stuff. Tuesday we had take out from Zhang's, always good. Wednesday I picked up a Rotisserie Chicken from Stop and Shop which had just came out of the oven! And if you bought a chicken you got free mashed potatoes! Thursday night we went to Lowrie's Grill and Pub. I had a lobster roll that was perfect.
And that brings us to tonight's dinner. Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Sand. The Sand is toasted bread crumbs. I was looking for the recipe for Pasta with Peppers and Sand and found this one. The last time I made it I used Orrechiatta pasta. 

Ingredients - 
1 lb. Angel Hair pasta
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and deveined

2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste


Directions -

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile heat 2 tbsp. olive oil until hot and add bread crumbs and crushed red pepper. Saute until bread crumbs are lightly browned. Remove from pan. In same pan heat 2 tbsp. olive oil until hot. Add shrimp and saute until cooked. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the breadcrumbs to shrimp mixture.

Drain pasta and mix with 2 tbsp. butter. Add shrimp mixture to the pasta. and serve.

 
Also grabbed some seafood cakes that I had in the freezer, I didn't have lunch so I was pretty hungry. 

It was nice to have a home cooked meal. 

Meatloaf, Zucchini and Mashed Potatoes

Crazy day today. Anyway we had Meatloaf, Zucchini and Mashed Potatoes for dinner. To the meatloaf I added Bleu Cheese and I used Chicken Broth instead of milk in the Mashed Potatoes. All three dishes were very good.
My dad is in the hospital and will be home tomorrow so this will be a week of take out. Stay tuned....

Pasta with Meat Sauce and Zeppole


Happy St Joseph's Day. I gave up sweets for Lent. Now I don't know if it was just something my mom made up or if it is really true but if you give up sweets for Lent on the Feast of St. Joseph you can have Zeppole! I picked up my dad and we went to Whole Foods, chicken breast on sale, and I first went to the Bakery and asked if they had any Zeppole. They just sold the last two... Uh oh... Next stop, which should have been the first stop, was Peschell's Pastry Shop in West Haven. They had a filling that I have never encountered in a Zeppole, Cannoli. Sold. And I picked up a couple of vanilla. Well I thought the Cannoli filling was a little over the top. I'm just a basic vanilla or chocolate filling girl. And the vanilla was amazing!
 
For dinner we had Pasta with Meat Sauce. And if I do say so it was delicious. We had some Gnarly Head Zinfandel. Great licorice and vanilla flavors.
Speaking of wine, last night we went to Wine and Whiskers Wine Tasting which was a fund raiser for Forgotten Felines. Forgotten Felines is a no-kill cat shelter where we adopted Lucy. It was at Woodwinds which is owned and operated by... Chef Silvio! Fantastic food. A salmon which was so flaky and the tortellini were perfect. Salads, vegetable, potatoes and rice, it was a very nice buffet. We tasted some nice wine. And sponsored a couple of cats, Finnegan and Kasey, both who were at the shelter when we adopted Lucy.

Corned Beef Sandwiches

Tonight we went down to LL Lowries Pub & Grille for dinner. The Corned Beef was sliced amazingly thin. A little mustard, yes Dijon, and I was set. Happy St. Patrick's Day. If today is St. Patrick's Day than the Feast of St. Joseph is up next!

Baked Ham-and-Cheese Rice Casserole

Baked Ham-and-Cheese Rice Casserole, Piso Al Forno. The recipe came from Every Night Italian by Giuliano Hazan. I use to make this quite often but this is the first time since I have been blogging.

Ingredients
Salt
1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
4 tbsp butter, plus more for the rice and the baking dish
2 cups milk
1/4  cup all-purpose flour
Freshly ground pepper
6 oz. boiled ham, sliced fairly thin and chopped
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
6 oz. fresh mozzarella

Method
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill a pot with at least 3 quarts water and bring to a boil. Add 2 tsp salt and the rice and stir well. Cook covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked but still firm to the bite. Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl. Toss the rice with a bit of butter to prevent the grains from sticking together.
While the rice is cooking, make a béchamel sauce. Heat the milk until you can see steam rising, being careful not to let it come to a boil. Melt the 4 tbsp butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the hot milk, a few tablespoons at a time at first, whisking until the mixture is smooth before adding more milk. Do not be alarmed if the béchamel becomes very thick at first. It will get thinner as you whisk in more milk. Once it has become quite thin, you can pour the milk in more rapidly. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until the sauce thickly coats the whisk. Season with salt and pepper before removing from the heat.
Pour the béchamel over the rice, reserving a few spoonfuls for the top of the casserole. Add the ham and all but 2 tbsp of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 2 1/2 quart baking that is about 3 inches deep. Pour in half of the rice mixture. Slice the mozzarella about 1/8 inch thick and layer the slices over the rice. Add the remaining rice mixture and smooth the surface with a spoon. Spread the remaining béchamel over the top and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Bake for 15 minutes. If after 15 minutes the top is not speckled with brown, place the casserole under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the top beings to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to settle for about 5 minutes before serving.

Pasta Fagioli

Back in December I made a batch of Pasta Fagioli and put some in the freezer. And that is what we had for dinner tonight. It was as tasty as when I first made it. Actually probably better this time.

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Capers and Olives


Oh my this was good. I received this recipe from the Tasting Table newsletter. I did not have anchovies but it was delicious without them. We both went back for seconds! The recipe is from Sara Jenkins's Manhattan restaurant, Porsena

Ingredients

2 medium heads cauliflower, cored and trimmed into florets (about 7 cups)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound pennette or penne pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup pitted mild black olives, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
1 medium dried mild chile, seeded and thinly sliced
2 anchovy fillets
1 cup bread crumbs, toasted
1 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
⅓ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


Method   

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking sheet and roast, stirring twice, until crisp-tender and golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.

3. When the cauliflower is nearly done roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.

4. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, warm the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil with the butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add the olives, capers and chile and cook, stirring, until just warm, about 1 minute. Add the anchovies and continue cooking, stirring, until the anchovies dissolve, about 2 minutes. Gently stir in the cauliflower and remove the saucepan from the heat.

5. Drain the pasta and toss immediately with the cauliflower mixture. Add the bread crumbs, cheese and parsley and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl and serve.
 

I felt like Irish Soda Bread today. I found a recipe on JoyOfBaking.com. I added raisins because my sister-in-law Ann's mother, Mrs. White, made the best Irish Soda Bread and I am pretty sure there were raisins in it. Anyway simple to make and quite tasty.

Chicken Saltimbocca & Grilled Pork Loin

No I did not cook two meals. We received a gift certificate for Elizabeth's Cafe for Christmas. I love this place. We started by sharing the Three Cheese Ravioli. The marinara sauce was very good. We also tried the Crispy BBQ Duck Confit Spring Rolls. Amazing. The duck was so smoky and the Expresso BBQ Sauce was nice and rich. I don't eat duck that often... not sure when I may have had it, but I look forward to my next encounter. And hopefully the Spring Rolls will still be on the menu the next time we eat at Elizabeth's Cafe.
For dinner Chris had the Grilled Pork Loin. It was a large piece of pork that was cooked perfectly. It was served with Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Twice-Baked Potato and Apple Cider Sauce. I had the Chicken Saltimbocca. It had all my favorite things on one plate - House-made Pappardelle, Fresh Peas, Tiny Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella and Prosciutto. I cleaned the plate!
We had a bottle of Sattobosco San Gimignano Rosso 2006. I need to try a black currant. It seems descriptions of wines use it as a reference quite often... if it tastes like the wine than I will probably like it!

Ricotta Cavatelli with Vodka Sauce

I revisited an old post this week for Ricotta Cavatelli. I made the cavatelli on Sunday and put two 1 pound bags in the freezer. After a long day at work I was very happy to grab a bag of cavatelli out of the freezer and reach for a jar, yes I said a jar, of Vodka Sauce, Paul Sorvino's Vodka Sauce. Happy Friday!

Escarole and Bean Soup

About a week ago I mentioned I picked up that Prosciutto end and froze some of it. Well I used some in this soup. I sauteed onion and carrots. Added escarole. After escarole was wilted added chopped up prosciutto. Then I added Chicken broth and cannellini beans. Seasoned with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Tonight it was pouring rain out so this soup hit the spot. Had some No Knead Bread for dunking.

Ravioli with Sauteed Zucchini

I had this meal planned for tonight but ending up getting home later than anticipated. I walked into the house and Chris had everything rolling. He even added some pancetta to the sauteed zucchini. This is always a good meal but when someone else makes the dinner it always tastes better.

Stuffed Focaccia Bread with Sausage and Onions

When I saw this recipe knew I had to make it. It is from The Italian Dish blog. If you have time you have to visit this blog. Wonderful recipes. I knew Chris would enjoy this one. Amazing bread and the filling was just perfect. I made a salad to go with this and to have for lunch tomorrow!

Chicken Breast Fillets Rolled with Pancetta, Rosemary & Sage

Tonight our dinner came from Every Night Italian by Giuliano Hazan. Chicken Breast Fillets Rolled with Pancetta, Rosemary and Sage, Petti di Pollo Arrotolati.

2 large or 3 small boneless, skinless chicken breast.
4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
12 thin slices (not paper thin) pancetta
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
 1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Trim all fat from chicken breasts. Cut them horizontally, in half in they are small or in 3 pieces if they are large to get a total of 12 thin fillets.
Lay the chicken fillets flat and sprinkle the herbs over them. Put a slice of pancetta over each fillet, then roll it up and tie it with kitchen twine. Lightly season with salt and pepper (bear in mind that the pancetta is quite salty).
Put the butter and vegetable oil in a paking pan. turn the chicken rolls in the oil to coat them, then bake for 10 minutes. Turn the rolls, add the white wine, and bake for another 10  minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, remove the twine and arrange the rolls on serving platter. If the juices in the pan are still quite runny (which they usually are), transfer them to a smill skillet and reduce over high heat. Pour over the chicken and serve.

Side dishes were steamed green beans and roasted yams and Yukon Gold potatoes.

I was home today so I did a little baking...

Beer-Braised Beef with Smashed Potatoes

One of the newsletters I receive is La Cucina Italiano. This week the featured recipe was Beer-Braised Beef with Smashed Potatoes, Bocconcini di Manzo alla Birra. I thought beef, beer and potatoes. How could it not be good. Tasty, tender but need to add more meat, at least a two more shanks. And oh I forgot to make a vegetable!


Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 pounds meaty cross-cut beef shanks (about 4 ossobuco)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 (14.9-ounce) cans dark beer such as Guinness
2 cups low-salt or homemade beef broth
2 1/4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes

Instructions
In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven or wide heavy pot with lid, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

In a large heavy skillet, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. In batches, brown shanks, 3 to 4 minutes per side, wiping pan and adding up to 1/2 tablespoon more butter, if necessary.

Transfer shanks to a cutting board. Cut meat off bones (reserve bones); cut meat into 1-inch pieces. Transfer meat and bones to pot with onions; stir in paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Add beer and 1 cup broth; bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, adding remaining cup broth to pot as necessary to keep meat covered by at least 1 inch, until meat is very tender, about 2 hours.

When meat is 30 to 40 minutes from being done, put potatoes into a medium saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring water to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes or more, depending on size of potatoes. Drain and peel potatoes; transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining 5 tablespoons butter and coarsely mash; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat, bones and onions to a large bowl. Into a second large bowl, strain braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve; put any remaining onions into bowl with meat. Remove marrow from bones and stir into meat mixture; discard bones. Adjust seasoning.

Arrange meat and potatoes on a large serving platter; moisten with a little braising liquid. Serve warm.

Also made some cookies...  9 dozen!

Pork Chops With Escarole and Balsamic Onions and Scones!

Today started with scones. From Joyofbaking.com I made Blueberry Streusel Scones. They were so light and airy. It was hard not going back for seconds.

 
Moving on to dinner I made Pork Chops with Escarole and Balsamic Onions. The recipe is from RealSimple.com. I am usually not a huge balsamic fan but this was nice. The pork chops came out perfectly tender. I served Jasmati Rice on the side.

Catching Up...

Wow what a week. I did not have time to do any posts this week. So here we have our first ever Week End Wrap Up! A couple of the meals were made a couple of weeks ago and put in the freezer. Thank God for that freezer!

Tuesday...
Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Italian Green Pepper and Prosciutto Frittatta on Pita Bread. 
The prosciutto was the star of the meal. When I was at the grocery store this week I noticed a sign at the deli counter advertising Prosciutto ends for $2.99 a pound. I got the last one. Yes it was my impulse buy. I cut it into a couple of pieces and froze some. I added a bit to the frittatta. Delicious!

Wednesday...
Lasagna.
No Boil Noodles, frozen meatballs and homemade sauce. Perfect end to a crazy day.

Thursday...


Friday...
Quarttro's! Started with a Vodka Gimlet (it was a very long week), Bruschetta, Fried Calamari. For dinner I had Fettuccini Carbonara and Chris had Veal Matesse. As always it was an amazing meal.

And a word about lunch...
 
Hearty Farro Soup. I found this recipe on Cucina Panzano. I made a pot of it and it was my lunch all week. I added lentils in place of the pinto beans. I looked forward to lunch every day. This is a highly recommended recipe.