Friday, October 27, 2017

Gnocchi, Pancetta, Swiss Chard, Mozzarella, and Beans

Gnocchi, Pancetta, Swiss Chard, Mozzarella, and Beans. This was a dinner without a recipe.

Wash and chop the Chard. Saute the Pancetta. Remove the Pancetta and wipe out the pan. Add some olive oil to the saute pan and then add the chard and cook until wilted. Add some wine and let that cook down. Stir in the drained and rinsed beans. I used cannellini. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi. Add the cooked gnocchi along with some of the pasta water. You might want to add a knob of butter. I did! Stir in some Parmesan cheese and add more of the pasta water until you have a sauce. Stir in the Mozzarella. I used Perlini Mozzarella. That is all there is to it.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken

I am not sure how I found this recipe. I get a number of food-related emails with lists of the best recipes, the easiest dinner recipes, slow cooker recipes, chicken recipe, to name a few.  Remember when you had to read cookbooks to find recipes?!

The recipe is from Chef Savvy. Only 3 hours in the slow cooker set on low. The aroma was amazing. The taste was as good as take-out. Take out still has the advantage of fewer dishes to wash!
Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken from Chef Savvy -

Ingredients-
3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup hoisin sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
green onions for serving, if desired 
     
Method-
Add chicken and cornstarch to a large ziplock bag. Toss to coat the chicken with the cornstarch.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok.

Saute chicken until golden brown on both sides about 2 minutes on each side. (Note the chicken will not be fully cooked and that is ok)

Add the chicken to the slow cooker.

Add hoisin sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil to a medium bowl and whisk until combined.

Pour the sauce onto the chicken and stir to coat the chicken.

Cook on low for 2-3 hours.



Serve over rice with sauteed Broccoli or Zucchini. Sprinkle with green onions.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Cheaters No Knead Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread

Another item checked off the bucket list. No, my bucket list does not have things like hang gliding or white water rafting. Macaroon Cookies,  Madeleine Cookies, Italian Rainbow Cookies (that was checked off a couple of years ago), Stuffed Breast of Veal. Making these are a few of my bucket list items. Sourdough Bread was a the top of this list. Then I found this recipe. 

 
Use the bread for breakfast or for grilled cheese. The post were I got the recipe suggested having it toasted with Apple Butter. I can imagine how good that must be.

The recipe is from Half Baked Harvest. I strongly recommend that you try this recipe.

Ingredients-
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup plain greek yogurt (any % fat will do, but I use full fat)

Directions-

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, honey, flour, salt, and yogurt. Using the dough hook, mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Alternately, you can mix the dough with a wooden spoon until it comes together. Cover the bowl with a wet towel or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 2 hours or until it doubles size.

 If time allows, punch the down, cover the bowl, and transfer the bowl of dough to the fridge and let sit overnight. This will help develop a stronger "sourdough" flavor.

Generously dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl. It should be loose and sticky. Form the dough into a ball and place in a parchment lined 4 quart or larger dutch oven. Allow to rise 1 hour or until doubled in size. 

Preheat to 475 degrees F.  Bake, covered for 20-25 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the hot lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep, golden brown, about 20-30 minutes more. Remove from the oven. Carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. Don't slice into the bread right out of the oven, the bread continues to cook as it cools. Enjoy!






Slow Cooker "Melt in Your Mouth" Pot Roast

 
We have another Slow Cooker Recipe that will be on our Top Ten List.

I found this one on Joyously Delicious Blog. It was melt in your mouth. The meat was juicy and the vegetables were cooked perfectly. The gravy was delicious. I am not usually crazy about Pot Roast. This recipe has changed my opinion. And the leftovers will be featured later in the week.

Here is the link to the recipe and I also copied it here. The only change I made was not using a packaged seasoning mix.

 Slow Cooker "Melt in Your Mouth" Pot Roast

Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Ingredients-
1 chuck roast (I used a roast that was 2 1/4 #)
Olive oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks (optional)
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon corn starch

My version of the Seasoning Mix-
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Method-


Combine together seasoning mix in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Coat both sides of meat with olive oil.  Sprinkle on a third of the seasoning mix onto each side.
Cook on low for 9 hours or on high for 6 hours.

Using a turkey baster, retrieve most of the cooking juices from the slow cooker.  Transfer juices to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat on the stovetop.  Whisk together the cornstarch with a little water.  Blend into the pan juices while whisking.  Bring back to a simmer until thickened.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Transfer the roast and vegetables to a large platter.  Ladle the gravy over.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

I have been looking for a slow cooker recipe for Chicken and Dumplings for a while. All of the recipes I have found call for canned cream of celery or cream of chicken soup. NO. That is not what I want to put in my dinner. I finally found this perfect recipe on RecipeGirl.com. It called for chicken broth. I had homemade broth in the freezer. The finished product was amazing. I went back for seconds. It reminded me of something my Mom would have made. It was just pure comfort. We will have this again. It will be a perfect winter dinner.

My version of Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling -

Ingredients-
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Method-
In the bottom of the slow cooker, layer the onions, carrot, and celery. Place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and pour the stock over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with thyme, salt Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred into bite-sized pieces with a fork. Return to the slow cooker.

Whisk the half and half together with the cornstarch. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, garlic powder and salt.  Work in the butter using your fingers until course crumbs begin to form.

Stir in the milk and combine well until a sticky dough begins to form.

Drop tablespoon sized dollops of dough over the stew in an even layer. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 1 additional hour or until dumplings are cooked through.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

I was not the only one who enjoyed this tonight. Chris is not a big Eggplant Parmesan fan. But this received high praise! I am sure it was the prosciutto that made this as good as it was.

The eggplant was peeled and sliced. The slices were placed on a paper towel lined cookie rack. Salt was sprinkled on top and the slices sat for 1 hour. After the hour the salt was wiped off and the eggplant was dipped in flour, then egg, and then breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs were seasoned with Oregano, Basil, Parmesan Cheese, and pepper.

The oven was preheated to 450˚. The breaded eggplant was baked for 25 minutes. I turned the eggplant over halfway through the baking time.

I had made tomato sauce using the tomatoes from my sister's garden. I coated the bottom of a pyrex baking dish with some sauce. Next a layer of eggplant. Then I added a small slice of prosciutto. That was topped with a couple of dollops of ricotta that had been mixed with oregano, and parsley. Some Mozzarella cheese, shredded, and some Parmesan were layered over the ricotta. More sauce and I repeated this until I ran out of the eggplant. More sauce and Parmesan on top.

That was all done on Sunday.

Tonight it went in the oven, covered with foil, at 350˚ for 35 minutes. The dish was uncovered for the last 10 minutes. The total time in the oven was 45 minutes.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mini Meatloaf Muffins

Not bad for a Monday night. I prepped these meatloaf muffins yesterday. Chris just had to put them in the oven for 25 minutes. I even made the mashed potatoes yesterday. Brilliant! Nothing but compliments for this dinner.
Ingredients-
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup ketchup, divided
1 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1/2 cup finely bread crumbs
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp horseradish sauce
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons ketchup
Method-
Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, and chopped carrot, sauté 4 minutes. Cool.

Combine onion mixture,  ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except for cooking spray and 2 tsp. ketchup, in a large bowl.

Spoon the meat mixture into 8 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Lets Bake Cookies!

Today I had a perfect Saturday morning. I baked 2 new cookie recipes.

The first recipe was for Sesame Seed Cookies. The recipe is from Cooking With Nonna. I love the way these came out. They look just like bakery cookies. Click here for the recipe. These are perfect for coffee in the morning. Or tea in the afternoon. Or when you are stuck in traffic on the way to work. Or when you are stuck in traffic on the way home from work. One note about the recipe - I made 1/2 of the recipe and ended up with 46 2 inch cookies!

The next cookie was a Confetti Biscotti. Wow! These will be on this year's Christmas cookie list. The dough was an amazing to work with. And the taste? A little salt on the top made these cookies over the top delicious. Click here for the recipe.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Linguine with Shrimp and Sausage

I opened the the freezer today and took out a 1/2 bag of frozen shrimp and a 1/2 package of al fresco Sweet Italian Style with Red and Green Peppers. Then I did some recipe searching and I found this recipe on Epicurious.com.

It was delicious. The lemon kept it light and I can not stress the importance of saving pasta water. I added quite a bit to keep the dish from becoming too dry. We both loved tonight's dinner.

This is my version of Linguine with Shrimp and Sausage-

Ingredients-
1/2 Lb Linguine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2.5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 Lb shrimp peeled & deveined
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 rounds of thinly sliced lemon
a pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 al fresco Sweet Italian Style with Red and Green Peppers links sliced 1/4 inch

Method-
Cook Linguine. While the pasta is cooking saute sausage until heated through. Remove to plate. Add butter to pan with olive oil, add shrimp and saute for about 4-5 minutes, stir to cook through. Add salt and red pepper to pan with lemon juice, lemon slices and most of the parsley. Return cooked sausage to pan with cooked linguine to finish. Add a little pasta water if the pasta looks dry*. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.

* A splash of white wine could also be added. And maybe a knob of butter.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Skillet Gnocchi with Grilled Corn and Burrata



Prep work is what made this dinner possible. I found the recipe for Skillet Gnocchi with Grilled Corn and Burrata in the PowWow newsletter. I did all the sauteing and grilling of vegetables on Sunday. Tonight it was just about heating up and cooking the Gnocchi. I did add some of the pasta water into the saute pan after adding the Gnocchi. That help makes a nice smooth sauce. Delicious!
My version of Skillet Gnocchi with Grilled Corn and Burrata -

Ingredients

2 ears corn, shucked

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound store-bought gnocchi
1 small red onion, sliced
3 ounces arugula
Crushed red-pepper flakes, grated Parmesan cheese, burrata cheese and fresh basil leaves, for serving.

Method-
Preheat the grill or set a grill pan over high heat. Brush each ear of corn with ½ tablespoon melted butter. Grill the corn until charred and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cobs and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Sauté the tomatoes until charred and blistered, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the surface, 4 to 5 minutes; drain.

In the skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the cooked gnocchi, corn and tomatoes, and sauté about 2 minutes. Add small amounts of pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time. Sprinkle with some Parmesan. Stir until smooth. Add the arugula and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and top with red pepper flakes, Parmesan, burrata and basil. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Slow Cooker French Dip

When the chef from your favorite Italian restaurants has a new Pinterest board you take note. Chef Edward Varipapa of Leon's posted on his Pinterest page the recipe for the Ultimate Slow Cooker French Dip. I knew someone in our house would love this for dinner. So I was off to Ferraro's for a Chuck Roast. The only hands-on part of the recipe was searing the meat. Okay, I also had to chop an onion.  6 hours later we had an amazing dinner. Real au jus! You will not want to waste a drop.

Here is the recipe. I cut this in half for the 2 of us and we do have leftovers.
Ingredients-
4-5 pounds chuck roast
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 can beer (I used Guinness)
1 yellow onion, diced
6 hoagie rolls
2 tablespoons butter
12 slices Provolone Cheese

Method-
In a large dutch oven, or if you have an aluminum insert for your slow cooker add the canola oil and heat on high.

Add the Kosher salt and pepper to your chuck roast. Brown on both sides aggressively (3-5 minutes on each side). Don’t move the beef before flipping (this lets the meat get a deep crust).

In a slow cooker add the meat, any meat juices from the pan, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, beer and onions.

Cook on low for 6 hours.

Remove the meat and slice thickly. To assemble, butter your hoagie rolls and toast. Top with provolone cheese. In a small bowl add a cup of the liquid from the slow cooker and dip the sandwich in the bowl.
For the side dish I made a pasta salad. I had some extra cooked pasta that I did not add to Friday night's dinner. Always nice to have some cooked pasta in the fridge. 

Ingredients-
Cooked macaroni
1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 stalk thinly sliced celery
1 thinly sliced carrot
1/2 cup chopped black olives

Method-
Combine Mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon Mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in large bowl. Stir in macaroni, celery, carrots, and olives. Serve chilled.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Pasta Martinelli

Why Martinelli? That is my sister's last name. She and her husband, Ralph, gave us the Zucchini, Tomatoes and Green Beans from their garden. This pasta dish came together very easily. I started by sauteing the sliced zucchini in butter and olive oil. When they were tender I added the green beans. There were some leftover peppers and onions from the Sausage and Peppers we had earlier in the week. Of course, they were added to the pan. Next, I diced the tomatoes that Lenore and Ralph gave us. When they started to break down I added some olives. When the pasta was almost done I saved about a cup of the water. The pasta was added to the saute pan to finish cooking. I added Parmesan Cheese and some the of pasta water until there was enough of each to make a nice sauce. Then I added some diced fresh Mozzarella. What I was actually doing with this recipe was cleaning out all the bits and pieces of things in the fridge. The result was an amazing pasta dish. It was seasoned simply with salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Chicken Alfredo

A simple recipe with delicious results. The chicken breast was cut into strips and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Then sauteed in olive oil until browned on both sides. The chicken was removed from the pan and I added 5 tablespoons of butter and let that melt. Meanwhile, I was cooking the pasta in a pot of salted water. Towards the end of the cooking time, I removed about a cup and a half of the water. The cooked pasta was added to the saute pan with the butter. Parmesan cheese was added, a 1/4 of a cup at a time, along with some of the pasta water. Stirring to melt the cheese and mix it with the water to make a sauce. A total of 3/4 cups of cheese and a cup of water was used. The chicken was added back to the pan and coated with the sauce.

It was difficult not to go back for seconds or thirds...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Musk Melon and Ice Cream

Stroll down memory lane alert! A summer memory. Sitting on the front porch on a very hot summer night and my mother hands me a bowl. In that bowl is half a Musk Melon, or cantaloupe, filled with ice cream. The flavor was usually vanilla, my Dad's favorite. After my Mom passed one of my cousins send me a note saying one of her favorite memories of staying at our house was that dish of Musk Melon and ice cream.

 
Today was the Feast of the Assumption. It was my Mom's favorite feast day. Tonight seemed an appropriate night to have a dish of Musk Melon and ice cream.



After mass this morning I peaked in the Rectory garden to see how the fig tree that my Dad had planted there was doing. It looks like it will be a good year for figs at Saint Lawrence Church.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Grilled Steak, Corn and Mom's Green Bean Salad

A perfectly grilled steak. Perfect corn on the cob. Thank you Cole's Farm Stand. And that Green Bean Salad. One of my favorite summer memories, aside from the Musk Melon with Ice Cream, more on that later this week, would be my Mom's Green Bean Salad. 
Tonight I think I hit the nail on the head. I added celery and celery leaves and my Mom's signature ingredient. Olives. Sliced olives. There was just the right amount of olive oil and vinegar. Salt, pepper, oregano. I tossed in some fresh chopped parsley too. Damn it was spot on! The dinner plate was filled with so many delicious things it was hard to pick what to eat first. Of course, I started with the Green Bean Salad.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fresh Tomato Sauce, Almost

On Saturday my Brother-In-Law, Ralph, gave us a bag of tomatoes from his garden. They were not that big but they were beautiful. I wanted to use them to make sauce. So I did. 
After peeling and seeding the tomatoes there was not as much meat to work with as I had hoped. I had to add a can of diced tomatoes. I also added some sautéed onion, fresh basil and oregano.
 What a delicious meal this was. Some homemade bread helped round out the plate. And of course a glass of red wine.






Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Better Than Take-Out Chicken Fried Rice



I thought the best way to use up leftover roasted chicken was Chicken Pot Pie. Well there is a new recipe in our rotation. Chicken Fried Rice. This one is from the Recipe Critic, Better Than Take-Out Chicken Fried Rice. I got home at 6:20. Dinner was on the table by 6:45. I did cut up the Chicken this morning and I made the rice last night but still it was an easy meal to make. And it was tasty!

Ingredients-
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
3 cups cooked rice
2 Tbs sesame oil
1 small white onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
2-3 Tablespoons soy sauce (more or less to taste)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp chopped green onions (optional)

Method-
Shred the cooked chicken.
Preheat a large skillet or wok to medium heat. Pour sesame oil in the bottom. Add white onion and peas and carrots and fry until tender.
Slide the onion, peas and carrots to the side, and pour the beaten eggs onto the other side. Using a spatula, scramble the eggs. Once cooked, mix the eggs with the vegetable mix.
Add the rice and chicken to the veggie and egg mixture. Pour the soy sauce on top. Stir and fry the rice and veggie mixture until heated through and combined. Add chopped green onions if desired.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Squash, Bacon, and Mozzarella Quiche


Yes those are cat cutouts on the top of the quiche. 
Today is Archie's 17th Birthday!

This was very, very good. The original recipe is from Cooking Light. I made a couple of modifications. I knew the original recipe would make too much custard filling for one of my pie plates. The custard came out nice and light. I think the addition of the egg whites attributed to this. This is not something I had added before. Having the crust in the freezer helped make the construction move along faster.

Ingredients (with my modifications)-
 Pate Brisee
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (1/8-inch-thick) slices yellow squash
2 cups (1/8-inch-thick) slices zucchini
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup 1% reduced-fat milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 large egg whites
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Method-
Make the Pate Brisee. Wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Slightly overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp flat surface. Unwrap and place chilled dough on plastic wrap. Cover dough with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 12-inch circle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can easily be removed. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap, and fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove remaining plastic wrap from dough. Fold edges under, and flute. Pierce bottom and sides of dough with fork. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add squash, zucchini, shallots, and thyme; saute for 5 minutes or until squash and zucchini are tender, stirring frequently. Cool the squash mixture slightly.

Combine 1 cup reduced-fat milk and the next 5 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Arrange squash mixture evenly over crust, and sprinkle with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Pour the egg mixture over cheese. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.

Happy Birthday Archie!!!