Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spinach Artichoke Pasta


  • 1 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted, quartered, pat dry
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  •  3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 slightly rounded tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups white cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3-4 cups fresh baby spinach
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium to medium-high heat and add the shallots and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add the artichokes and cook until they are lightly brown. Add the wine to deglaze the pan.  Add the butter. When melted, whisk in the flour for 1 minute or so, then whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, adjust the seasonings and stir in the cheeses. Combine the sauce with the spinach and pasta.  Store for make ahead or serve immediately.
Adapted based on original recipe by Rachael Ray.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday: Ancho Chicken Tacos

  • 4 dried ancho chiles
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 can (20 oz.) sliced pineapple with its own juice (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 lbs. bone in chicken breasts
  • 1 package coleslaw mix (cabbage, carrot)
  • cilantro chopped
  • corn tortillas
  • avocado, sliced
  • cheese (feta, goat or cojita)
  1. Tear the chiles into pieces; discard the stems and seeds. Boil water in a pot.  Remove from heat, add chiles and cover.  Let soak until tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chiles and 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid to a blender. Add 2 pineapple slices, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, the orange juice, onion, brown sugar, cumin, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Blend until smooth; transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Coat chicken with marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for a least 3 hours or overnight.
  3. Transfer the chicken and marinade to a large slow cooker. Cover; cook on high until the chicken is tender, about 3 1/2 hours.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour the juices and marinade into a 1-qt. glass measuring cup; let stand until the fat rises to the top. Skim the fat from the juices. Transfer the juices to a medium saucepan; simmer until reduced to 1 cup. Using 2 forks, shred the meat. Discard the skin and bones.
  5. Add the chicken to the reduced chile juices; cook until heated through. Warm the tortillas. Place about 1/4 cup chicken on each tortilla. Top with slaw, cilantro, avocado and cheese.

Adapated based on recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Creamy Dijon Chicken with Rice Pilaf

After all of the holiday eating, I was craving something fresh and healthy.  We have green beans and spinach in the garden right now so this hit the spot.

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup broken spaghetti pieces
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1/4 pound haricots verts (thin green beans), stemmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 6-ounce pieces skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the pasta; cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice; season with salt and pepper. Stir in 2 1/4 cups stock, cover, lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat, add green beans and replace cover to steam.  Fluff with a fork.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook, turning once, until golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
To the same skillet, add the remaining butter. Cook over medium-high heat until foaming, then add the shallots and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3/4 cup stock, crème fraîche, spinach, parsley and mustard.
Slice the chicken and add to the sauce in the pan. Stir in the green beans. Serve with the pilaf.

Adapted based on recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Salmon with Lime & Avocado

salmon fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lime
1 avocado
Cilantro for garnish, if desired

Preheat broiler.  Season salmon with salt, pepper and olive oil.  Place on baking sheet and broil 7-11 minutes, depending on desired cooking level. Garnish with avocado and sprinkle with lime juice. 

Mexican Potato Gratin

  • 4 fresh poblano peppers
  • 4-5 large potatoes (russet or gold), thinly sliced using food processor or mandoline
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup monterrey jack cheese
Turn oven on broil.  Cut chiles in half and remove seeds.  Place on baking sheet skin side up and roast 15-20 minutes until skin is charred.  Use tongs to add to a zip lock bag.  Seal to steam skin off for 5-30 minutes.  Remove skin and chop.
In 9x13 baking dish, layer casserole as follows:
cooking spray
1/4 potatoes
season with s&p
1/3 chiles and cilantro
Repeat to form 3 layers and end with remaining potatoes. 
Mix together stock and cream.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour over potatoes.  Bake in oven at 425 covered for 1 hour.  Remove cover, top with cheese and bake ~20 additional minutes until cheese is bubbly. 
Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes and serve.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday: Sausage, Cheese and Basil Lasagna

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion (do not drain)

  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1 15-ounce container plus 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles from one 8-ounce package
  • 3 cups (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • Nonstick olive oil spray
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausages, onion, garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper and sauté until sausage is cooked through, mashing sausage into small pieces with back of fork, about 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes with juices. Bring sauce to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled.)
Using on/off turns, chop fresh basil leaves finely in processor. Add ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using on/off turns, process filling until just blended and texture is still chunky.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread 1 1/4 cups sauce in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles on sauce. Drop 1 1/2 cups filling over noodles, then spread evenly to cover. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering of sauce, noodles, filling and cheeses 2 more times. Top with remaining 3 noodles. Spoon remaining sauce atop noodles. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Spray large piece of foil with nonstick olive oil spray. Cover lasagna with foil, sprayed side down.
Bake lasagna 40 minutes. Carefully uncover. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Bake until noodles are tender, sauce bubbles thickly and edges of lasagna are golden and puffed, about 20 minutes. Transfer to work surface; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Source: Bon Appetit Magazine, Feb 2000

Spicy Parmesan Potatoes

4 large russed potatotoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
sea salt to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 425.  Coat potatoes with oil, salt and pepper.  Spead on roasting pan and roast 45-60 minutes until crispy, turning mid way.  Toss with cheese and basil.  Serve immediately.

Pesto Gravy for Rottiserie Chicken

2 Tbsp basil pesto
Drippings and broth from 1 rottiserie chicken (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp cornstarch

Mix all and simmer 5 minutes.  Drizzle over sliced rottiserie chicken.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thanksgiving Mantle

Supplies Needed:
Colored Cardstock
Glue & scissors
Pasta, leaves, beans, sticks, etc.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving Countdown

Last year I started a new tradition using this countdown calendar from Pottery Barn

They've changed the design, but it will still work!  Each day I have the kids write one thing they are thankful on little printables from Beth Proudfoot cut out with a scalloped hole punch and hung with raffia.

I'm also keeping a journal of all their answers!  I just bought a blank journal at Target and added this printable on the front.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday: Pork Chili Verde Enchiladas

Pork Chili Verde Enchiladas

  • 2 fresh Anaheim chilies
  • 14 1/2 -ounce can low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped onion
  • 4 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed, quartered
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 12-15 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas
  • Pork Chili Verde, see below
  • 2 1/4 cups shredded asadero cheese, jack or cheddar cheese
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
Char Anaheim chilies over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides or broil in the oven for 15-20 minutes turning . Enclose in plastic bag 10 minutes. Peel, seed and coarsely chop chilies.
Combine broth, 1/2 cup onion, tomatillos, jalapeño and garlic in medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Use hand blender to puree. Cool to room temperature. Add Anaheim chilies, cilantro and lime juice. Blend again  until smooth. Transfer to bowl. Whisk in sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)Lightly oil 15x10x2-inch baking dish. Place tortillas between 2 damp paper towels. Cook in microwave on high until warm, about 1 minute. Working with 1 warm tortilla at a time, dip tortillas into sauce; shake excess sauce back into bowl. Place tortillas on work surface. Spoon scant 1/4 cup Pork Chili Verde. Roll up tortillas. Arrange enchiladas, seam side down, in dish. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.  Cover & chill.
The night you want to serve: preheat over to 375.  Bake 30 minutes covered and 15-20 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle tomatoes and avocado over and serve.

Pork Chili Verde
  • 8 fresh Anaheim chilies
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
Char Anaheim chilies over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides or broil in the oven for 15-20 minutes turning often. Enclose in plastic bag 10 minutes. Peel, seed and chop chilies.
Season meat with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sear meat and set aside.  Add onion; sauté 7-10 minutes until soften. Return pork to pan. Add chilies and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes. Add broth. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until meat is very tender and sauce just coats meat, about 1 hour. If necessary, increase heat and continue to simmer until sauce is reduced and just coats meat. 

Adapted based on a recipe from Bon Appetit, March 2000

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Asian Coleslaw

2 cups angel hair cabbage
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cucumber, grated
Mix all with a few tablespoons of dressing.  Serve immediately.

1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
dash of honey

Ahi Tuna Sandwiches with Ginger Aioli

Tuna Sandwiches
Ahi tuna steaks
Adam's Reserve Asian Spice Rub
Olive oil
Arugula or mixed lettuce
Ginger Aioli (recipe below)

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium/high heat.  Season tuna.  Sear ~3 minutes per side until medium rare.  Toast buns.  Top with aioli, tuna and greens.

Ginger Aioli
1/2 cup mayo
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, grated
Mix all.