Good Friday

We end the Season of Lent with a dish I could easily eat once a week year round. My Mom's Baked Macaroni. Pasta, cheese, egg, and milk. The best part is the edges. And I just realized I have a brownie pan with the insert that gives each piece 4 edges. Hmmm, maybe next time.



The recipe -
Boil 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
Grease Pyrex loaf pan.
Alternate layers of macaroni and American cheese starting with the macaroni.
Break 2 eggs and pour over macaroni. Fill baking dish with milk to almost cover macaroni.
Top with bread crumbs, and parsley. Bake 350 degrees until set, usually about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Honestly, that is the way the recipe was given to me.
It is pretty forgiving. Just boil macaroni and add cheese. I have used whatever cheese I have in the house. Mom used American. It is a good basic recipe you can build to fit your taste.

Greens and Beans with Fried Bread

This recipe had me on Greens and then Fried Bread. This is from the new Bon Appetit. Page 64 if you have it in front of you. Gosh, this was so good. Chris liked it except for the green stuff. Of course, I did add pancetta to the recipe. It was screaming for it. The aroma of the wine, water, and oregano was intoxicating. And did I mention the Fried Bread?


Here is the link- Click here!!!

And the recipe is also here -

Ingredients-
½ cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp. finely chopped oregano
¾ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed
1 15.5-oz. can white beans (such as butter or cannellini), rinsed
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil; plus more for serving
2 1"-thick slices crusty bread
White wine vinegar (for serving)


Method-
Bring wine, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a large skillet. Add kale, cover pan (a baking sheet works great if you don’t have a big lid), and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are wilted, about 4 minutes. Mix in beans and ½ cup oil and cook, uncovered until beans are warmed through, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in another large skillet over medium. Fry bread in skillet until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (If you don’t have 2 large skillets, cook the bread first and keep it warm in a low oven while you use the same skillet to make the kale and beans.)

To serve, place fried bread on plates and spoon kale mixture and sauce over, dividing evenly. Drizzle with a little oil and vinegar.

Parmesan Bread Pudding with Swiss Chard and Bacon


Tonight's dinner was a take on a Bon Appetit recipe from the April 2013 issue. The original recipe was Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta. Chris is not a fan of Broccoli in any form and I had the bacon already in the fridge.


This was tasty. It was like a deconstructed Bacon and Egg Sandwich. I cut the recipe in half. Below is the original recipe from Bon Appetit.

Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta

Ingredients-
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or swiss chard or escarole)
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 pound country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups) (I used Italian Bread)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

6 thin slices pancetta (Italian bacon)

Method-
Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until garlic is softened, about 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes; let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoons pepper in a large bowl to blend. Add broccoli rabe mixture, bread, and 1/2 cup Parmesan; toss to combine. Transfer to a 1-1/2-Qt. baking dish. Top with pancetta and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Bake pudding until puffed, browned in spots, and set in the center, 45-55 minutes.


Slow-Cooker Sausage and Peppers

Today I was out of here. I had places to go and people to meet. Chris volunteered to fix dinner. You don't have to ask me twice. I showed him the recipe and got all the ingredients on the counter and he took over. I can get use to this. He made Slow-Cooker Sausage and Peppers. The recipe was from Delish.

I like Sausage and Peppers. It is a versatile dish that can go on pasta or in grinder. Leftovers can find their way onto a pizza or in a calzone. What's not to like about this. The flavors were perfect. I might use this recipe alot.

Slow-Cooker Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients-

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes 1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes

1 large onion, sliced into half moons 
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 lb. Italian sausage
kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp. basil, thinly sliced
6 hoagie rolls, toasted 


Method-

Combine crushed tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes and olive oil in the bowl of a slow cooker. Stir in onion, bell peppers and Italian sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low 6 hours.
Stir basil into the cooked sausage and peppers. Serve warm on toasted hoagie rolls.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Carrots

Yup. Not a fan of cabbage. I found this recipe for the slow cooker and the results were not bad. Still, I personally am not crazy about corned beef. Seriously Osso Bucco up against Corned Beef and the winner is... Anyway, this was an easy meal, if you like Corned Beef.


Ingredients-
3 lb corned beef
One medium yellow onion, sliced thick
Around 25 large baby carrots (or cut up 4 whole carrots)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth + 2 cups water (or use all water)
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
Spice packet from the corned beef (wow this is salty!!)

Method-
Place corned beef on top (fatty side down).
Spread beef with mustard and sprinkle on the contents of the spice packet.
Pour the broth + water carefully around the beef (so as not to wash off the spices).
Cook on high for 7 hours, slice (discarding fatty layer).

The Fifth Friday of Lent

Crazy day, or should I say week, at work. 15 minute lunch break. Dinner need to be from the pantry. Enter Every Night Italian Cookbook by Giuliano Hazan. Yes, his mom was Marcella. I have made her Tomato, Onion and Butter Sauce so many times. Tonight we tried her son's version. Delicious. That is what Chris said about tonight's dinner. I started the sauce at 5:15 and we sat down at 6:30. The flavors were perfect. The bread in the photo was also homemade. I love having bread in the freezer!



From Every Night Italian, Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Onions

Ingredients-
3 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
1 medium sweet yellow onion
5 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Method-
Put the tomatoes, onion, butter, and salt in a 4- to 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, lower the heat to a slow but steady simmer. Cook, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, and the sauce has reduced, about 45 minutes. The sauce is done when the butter has separated from the tomatoes and there is no remaining liquid.

When you toss pasta with the sauce, add about 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Spicy Creamy Chickpeas with Runny Eggs and Prosciutto

This was so darn good. The recipe is from Bon Appetit. I did make some changes. No heavy cream and I did not have fresh rosemay.

This is my take on the recipe which got rave reviews!!

Ingredients-
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
4 thin slices of prosciutto
Flaky sea salt
Focaccia

Method-
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium. Add chickpeas, tomato paste, and paprika to skillet and cook, stirring often, until coated, about 1 minute. Season with kosher salt and lots of pepper, and bring to a simmer.

Crack eggs into chickpea mixture and season them with kosher salt. Cover (a baking sheet works great if you don’t have a matching lid) and cook until white parts of eggs are set but yolks are still runny, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and drape prosciutto around eggs. Sprinkle with parsley, and sea salt, if desired, and more pepper. Serve with Focaccia.

Pasta with Onions, Leeks, Zucchini, and Pancetta


Tonight's recipe was inspired by a recipe by Marcella Hazan. She has a recipe for Smothered Onion Sauce. I made a couple of changes to fit my pantry.

I used red onion and leeks. I added the zucchini because, unlike our God Daughter Elenora, we like zucchini. And the pancetta was added because it was in the fridge. I was going to use white wine in the sauce but I had no white wine. I know I was as shocked as you are. I had cooking sherry. So in the recipe feel free to use sherry where wine is listed.

Ingredients-
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, sliced very thin
1 leek, sliced thin
1 zucchini, sliced thin
4 oz. diced pancetta
salt
black pepper
1⁄2 cup dry white wine (I did not have white wine, what the heck!!! I used cooking sherry)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1⁄3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 lb. linguine

Method-
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan Add the pancetta. Cook the pancetta until it begins to crisp. Add the onions to the pan. Cook until the onions become soft. 

Add the leeks and zucchini. Saute until the zucchini begins to soften. Add liberal grindings of pepper. Taste and correct for salt. 

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package and save the pasta water!

Add the wine, turn the heat up, and stir frequently while the wine bubbles away. Add the parsley, stir thoroughly. Add the cooked drained pasta to the saute pan along with some of the grated Parmesan. Add pasta water to the pan to make a sauce. Add a 1/4 cup at a time as needed. Add the rest of the cheese. As you toss, separate the onion strands somewhat to distribute them as much as possible throughout the pasta. Serve immediately.


The Third Friday of Lent

I think we may have a winner for favorite Lenten dinner. Ricotta-Spinach Polenta with Tomato Salad.
Today's weather was stormy to say the least. This dinner was so comforting. Polenta is one of my favorite things but even Chris commented that the meal was delicious.

The polenta was made in the slow cooker. Thank goodness for those slow cooker liners! Clean up was easy.
I added a couple of ingredients to the Tomato Salad. Some sliced celery with the green tops, radishes, and chopped parsley. Nice!

The recipe comes from Adventures in Slow Cooking.

Ingredients-
1 1/2 cups polenta (not instant or quick-cooking)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
5 ounces baby spinach (about 5 loosely packed cups)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the eggs
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black  pepper
4 large eggs (optional)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup whole or part-skim milk ricotta

Method-
Combine the polenta with 6 1/2 cups water in a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker.
Add the butter and salt.
Cover and cook on LOW until the polenta is thick and tender, about 6 hours.


With the slow cooker on LOW, stir the polenta well and then stir the spinach into the polenta in 2 batches, covering the cooker and letting the first batch wilt before adding the second, about 5 minutes per batch.


Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, oil, and vinegar.
Season the tomato salad with salt and pepper.


Optional: Pour a thin layer of oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat and crack 4 eggs into the pan. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and cook until the whites are golden brown, lacy on the
edges, and just set in the middle, and the yolks are still a little jiggly, about 3 minutes.


Fold the Parmesan and ricotta into the polenta.
Taste and season the polenta with salt if necessary.
Stir in warm water by the tablespoon if the polenta is looking too thick for your taste—keep in mind it will continue to thicken as it cools.
Top bowls of the polenta with the tomato salad and, if you like, the fried eggs.