Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

This could be in this year's Top 10 List. The Spaghetti Squash was cooked in the microwave. To cook the squash in a microwave cook the squash whole for three minutes. Then slice the ends, cut it in half and put it in a glass dish, cut side down, with a little water. Microwave for 10-12 minutes or until soft. The cooking time depends on the size of the squash. Let it cool slightly and scoop out the seeds. (Next time I am going to try to roast the seeds). Using a fork, pull the strands of squash away from the sides.

The cooked squash was then mixed with Marinara Sauce (homemade), Mozzarella and some Parmesan. The squash mixture was placed in a greased baking pan, keeps clean up easy.

The meatballs were a basic recipe. I started out with a pound of ground beef. To that I added 2 slices of Italian bread that had been soaked in milk, crusts removed, and then squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible and then cut into small pieces. The other ingredients are 1/4 cup of minced yellow onion, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley and a little Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoons of salt and pepper. I combined all the ingredients and shaped them into 3 inch meatballs. The meatballs went under the broiler, turning them a couple of times until they were browned.
Next I put the meatballs on top of the Spaghetti Squash mixture and topped them with some Marinara sauce. The dish went into a 375˚ oven for 30 minutes.

The meatballs were moist and delicious. The Spaghetti Squash made the dish nice and light.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup & Quinoa Salad

We got in last night from a vacation in Florida. The first thing I did when I got home was put flannel sheets on the bed. Holy cow it got cold. And you know what that means - Soup! While on vacation I actually had time to read through recipe emails. There are a lot of recently pinned recipes that I can't wait to try.

Tonight we started off with Creamy Sweet Potato Soup and Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apple and Dried Cranberries.
The Creamy Sweet Potato Soup is from Cooking Light. We loved it. The cumin and red pepper give it just enough spice. I did not have bacon so I used diced salami. This would be fine without the salami.
Click here for the recipe.

The Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apple and Dried Cranberries is from Food 52. I liked it but Chris was not a big fan. Looks like I have lunch for the week. Click here for the recipe, just give yourself some extra time because there is a lot to see at Food 52.
With the soup and salad we had some Focaccia Al Oilo that I had in the freezer. The recipe is from Foccacia by Carol Field. I love the recipe. It uses white wine in the dough. The texture of the dough is wonderful. I own the book but I found the recipe online at the LA Times if you want to give it try.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper

Confession time. I used store bought dough for this pizza. Sorry but I just ran out of time. Could I taste the difference? Hardly because with the topping I used the pizza was delicious! I sliced one roasted pepper into strips and scattered it on the top of the pizza along with the other usual toppings - Mr. Mozzarella, Mr. Parmigiana, Mr. Basil, Mr. Oregano and Mr. Olive Oil. (There is a movie reference there...) The pepper melted into the crust when you took a bite. Why have I not used those jarred peppers before now on our pizza! Love at first bite!
Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Apples, Bacon and Chicken and Delicata Squash

An apple and some bacon.... Perfect combination.
I started off by cooking the bacon and setting it aside. The chicken was dredged in flour. Then sauteed in a little olive oil. I added the sliced apple. A little wine, a knob of butter, salt and pepper. Covered the pan for about 15 minutes. At the end I added the chopped up cooked bacon. Nice. The apple was nice and soft, almost melted and the wine made a nice sauce. And the squash was the perfect side for the chicken. It was tossed with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary and oregano. Roasted it for 20 minutes at 400˚ then turned over and roasted for another 10 minutes.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gnocchi with Sausage, Peppers and Spinach

Tonight's dinner had something for everyone. I had red peppers that I wanted to use up and spinach that was suppose to be used in a meal that did not happen this week. I had the gnocchi in the pantry so I thought I was all set. Then after work I decided to run out and pick up some sweet Italian sausage to add to the pan, for the meat lovers in the house.
I sliced the sausage and cooked it in large skillet. I added the thinly sliced peppers. When the peppers were tender I added some white wine and let that cook down and scraped up little bits of sausage from the pan. Then the spinach went into the pan and that cooked until it was almost wilted. I seasoned everything with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and oregano.  I added the cooked gnocchi and a little of the pasta water.
There were no leftovers. Drats!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oreos? I Don't Think So

Can Oreos be as addictive as cocaine? Seriously? I have never been a huge Oreo fan. Oh if they on the table I might have one or two.  Addictive cookies? Christmas cookies. The day after Christmas I have the tray of my cookies that I put on the table. And I have the tray of cookies that my sister brings over. I am eating cookies for breakfast, mid morning snack, a couple with lunch, and tea in the afternoon and maybe just one more after dinner. I can not stop eating them until they are gone. Those lab rats have obviously never tasted my sister's lemon bars.
Anyone who is lucky enough to have homemade Christmas
cookies in their house knows what I am talking about.

And then there is the mother of all addictive cookies -
 Yep, my Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Escarole and Bean Soup

Is the any better way to end a day than with a bowl of soup?

I just love this soup. It screams for Italian bread. The broth was so good. Not my usual broth this time. Over the weekend I inventoried what I had in the freezer and cabinets. The only ingredient I had to buy was the escarole. I sauteed chopped onion, celery and carrots. There was some bean stock in the freezer and some Knorr Chicken Stock in the cabinet. I added the stock to the sauteed vegetables. I brought the stock to a boil and added the chicken stock. The broth was good. I did not season it other then adding thyme and crushed red pepper. I added a head of chopped escarole, let that simmer until the escarole was tender. Next I added some cooked chicken meat, had that in the freezer too, and a can of drained and rinsed Cannelini beans. Bon Appetit!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Baked Pork Ribs with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce

This is my one of my favorite rib recipes. It is from Epicurious.com, Baked Pork Ribs with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce. The hardest part of the recipe is remembering to put the ribs in the marinate the night before.

Baked Pork Ribs with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce, Epicurious.com

4 pounds baby back pork ribs
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup bottled chili sauce
1/4 cup Sherry
4 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1. Place ribs in large roasting pan. Pierce meat with fork. Sprinkle with Chinese five-spice powder and onion powder; rub mixture into meat.
2. Whisk remaining ingredients in small bowl to blend. Pour sauce over ribs, turning to coat. Turn ribs meat side down; cover pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake ribs, covered, until just tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover and turn ribs meat side up; bake until ribs are cooked through, basting occasionally, about 35 minutes. Cut meat between bones to separate ribs and serve.

For breakfast I made a loaf of Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I had the dough in the fridge from the batch I made last week, I do not think I posted the bread but it was quite good. The recipe is on Food 52. It is a fantastic recipe! Anyway I added raisins to the bread dough when I set it out to rise. When I rolled it out I sprinkled the inside with cinnamon and sugar. It went perfectly with the Apple Butter I made yesterday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Chicken, Zucchini and Prosciutto

Crispy Prosciutto! In this recipe you crisp up the Prosciutto in a skillet in a little olive oil. Talk about love at first bite, yeah the chicken and zucchini were good but the Prosciutto well fahgettaboudit!
But back to the other 2 components of this meal. Yes the chicken was super moist. And I loved the flavor of the lemon which is added at the end. It was a very light & easy meal.

Chicken, Zucchini and Prosciutto, from RealSimple.com

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound (about 8 slices) prosciutto
3 small zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 lemon

Heat oven to 400° F. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 2 minutes per side.
Transfer the chicken to the oven and roast for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a second skillet, over medium heat, heat the remaining oil. Cook the prosciutto until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the zucchini, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper to the skillet and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add the prosciutto and zucchini mixture to the skillet with the chicken, squeeze the lemon over the top, and toss. Divide among the plates.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fettuccine with Roasted Vegetables and Chorizo

Remember those Roasted Vegetables from last night? Well the photo only showed what was put on the table last night. I had a whole other tray of roasted vegetables. I was planning ahead. Tonight I sauteed up some Chorizo sausage in a little olive oil. Added some white wine. Let that simmer for a couple of minutes and added the chopped up vegetables, already seasoned when they were roasting. I added the cooked Fettuccine with some of the pasta water. Oh this was very good!

Now you may be saying to yourself, "She did not bake bread this weekend!" Well no I did not but I woke up this morning and wanted scones. Apple Scones to be exact. I found this recipe at the King Arthur Flour website. I added 1/2 cup on Old Fashion Rolled Oats the the recipe. These are absolutely delicious scones!

Ingredients -
Scones -
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice or ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
3/4 cup chopped fresh apple, in 1/2" pieces (about half a medium apple); leave the skin on, if you like
3/4 cup cinnamon chips
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred
3 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method -
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spice.
Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Gently pat and round each half into a 5" to 5 1/2" circle about 3/4" thick.
To make the topping: Stir together the coarse sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with the topping.
Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.
between them, at their outer edges.
For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they're golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the say through; the edge shouldn't look wet or unbaked.
Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they're completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Eat Lots of Veggies

I went to the doctor yesterday. The week started with a sore throat and by Wednesday I had a slight cough. My slight coughs usually turn into something bigger. The doctor said to take the weekend and just rest. Drink lots of liquids and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. After my appointment I made a quick stop at Bishop's Orchard for provisions. This is what I envisioned as the doctor was giving me my instructions -
I roasted a head of Cauliflower, an Eggplant, 2 Zucchini, Baby Carrots, Asparagus, Golden Beets and Kohlrabi (first time trying this). I tossed all the veggies except the Beets with olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and thyme before roasting. Put the Cauliflower and Kohlrabi on a foil lined sheet pan and roasted at 452˚ for 20 minutes. Stirred them and roasted them for another 20 minutes. The Eggplant, Zucchini, Baby Carrots took about 10 minutes and then another 10 after I stirred them. The Beets were coated with olive oil and thyme and wrapped in foil. They took about 50 minutes, then I peeled and sliced them. I topped them with Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and popped them in the oven for 10 minutes.

Chris did the grocery shopping today, Thank You! He picked up a rotisserie Chicken.  I also tossed in some potatoes to roast too!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rosemary Lentils with Sausage and Greens

This started off as a recipe from Eating Well. When Chris saw it he did not seem excited with the idea of lentils and kale for dinner. So when I was at the store and I picked up some Al Fresco Chicken Sausage with Pepper and Asiago Cheese to add to the ingredients.

Nice flavor. The sausage added some spice, I added crushed red pepper to my dish. It was not a heavy meal. The kale was not too much, well not sure if Chris would agree, but he did go back for seconds!

And I was able to use up slices of the Italian and Sandwich breads I had made this weekend.

Rosemary Lentils with Sausage and Greens, adapted from Eating Well recipe

Ingredients -
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 4 teaspoons, divided
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 package of Al Fresco Chicken Sausage with Pepper and Asiago Cheese, sliced into 1/2" slices
4 cups water
1 cup lentils
8 cups chopped kale (1-pound bunch)
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
4 slices stale crusty bread

Method -
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the crushed red pepper, tomato paste sausage and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 5 minute. Add water; bring to a boil. Add lentils, reduce heat to simmer, partially cover and cook for 40 minutes.
Add kale and salt; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and kale are tender, about 10 minutes more.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.
Brush bread slices with 1/2 teaspoon oil each. Bake until toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.
Serve each toast topped with about 1 cup of the lentil mixture, drizzled with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining oil.