Ricotta and Spinach “Meatballs”

Ricotta and Spinach “Meatballs”

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Vegetarian, light, fluffy little meatless “meatballs”. These are wonderful for a weeknight dinner if you use store bought pasta and sauce. Serve them with just the sauce or over pasta. I adapted this from http://www.notquitenigella.com

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Serves 8

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

1 package 15 oz part skim ricotta
4 eggs – if using Jumbo reduce to 3
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 package frozen spinach, thawed (or  kale)
3/4 cup plain all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For sauce
1 jar of pasta sauce, or homemade red sauce

Preheat oven to 350F and take a large baking dish or a overproof skillet with high sides. Mix the sauce ingredients in the dish together and set aside.

 In a food processor mix the ricotta, eggs, onion, two cheeses and spinach and blend. Empty into a large bowl and then mix in the flour until just combined (do not overmix). Then using a small ice cream scoop, make balls and place them in the sauce. Bake for 35 minutes (longer if you use a regular sized ice cream scoop).

Garnish parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve as is with crusty bread or on top of pasta.

Orzo, Butternut Squash & Chicken Soup

Orzo, Butternut Squash & Chicken Soup

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This is a great soup for a cold, wet day. It has become one of my favorites. To save time I used some cooked, shredded chicken. You could make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth. This is adapted from Williams-Sonoma, “Soup of the Day”.

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Ingredients

1 medium Butternut Squash, Peeled, seeded and cubed
3 T olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 package of shredded Chicken (or Rotisserie Chicken, shredded)
1 Onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Orzo
3 T butter
1/4 cup dried sage leaves (or 5 fresh leaves torn into pieces)
4 cups chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 400. Place the squash in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out squash on a non-stick pan and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Cook orzo about 7 to 10 minutes, drain  and set aside.

In a large stockpot melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and beginning to caramelize. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo, shredded chicken, squash and sage. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with a salad and crusty bread.

 

Serves 4

 

 

 

Flatbread Dough

Flatbread Dough

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I have been so busy that this blog is very overdue. I have been experimenting for a while with pizza and flatbread dough and I love this. You can also make it ahead of time. Halve the kneaded dough, place each half in a zip-top plastic bag, and freeze for up to one month. Be sure to let the dough thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter
for 1 1/2 hours before shaping. 

Yield
2 personal size pizza crusts
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Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 10 ounces)
  • Dash of sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 6 tablespoons warm water (100° to 110°) 
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray (for bowl)
  • Cornmeal (for dusting pizza peel)
  • olive oil fro drizzling on crust

Directions

Step 1
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

 

Step 2
Dissolve sugar and yeast in 6 tablespoons warm water in a large bowl; stir in 1/4 cup flour. Let stand 30 minutes or until bubbly. Add 1 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup warm water, and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Step 3
Pre heat oven to 450. Divide dough in half, roll out or stretch by hand to about 10″. Place on a pizza peel that has been dusted with cornmeal (If using a pizza stone). Or place on a pizza pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil or tomato sauce.  Top with your favorite toppings – be sure not to make too heavy!! Slide onto the pizza stone – if using and bake at 450 for about 10 minutes. Check crust to make sure it is good and crispy.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

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My mother taught me how to cook, and how to love cooking. She had a lot of wonderful cookbooks and I loved to look through them. Several stand out. Cooks Illustrated was one. This recipe is adapted from that.

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Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon
cloves garlic, minced
skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 4 pounds)
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons honey
large or 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick coins
1/2 cup green or Kalamata olives, pitted and halved 

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside. Zest the lemon. Combine 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest with 1 minced garlic clove; set aside.

Season both sides of chicken pieces with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pan over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown the chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 minutes; using tongs, flip the chicken pieces over and brown the other side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a large plate; Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have browned at the edges but still retain their shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add a few tablespoons of water now and then if the pan gets too dark). Add the remaining minced garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spices and flour and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, honey, remaining lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the chicken (with any accumulated juices) back in, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the carrots, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes more.

Stir in the olives, reserved lemon zest-garlic mixture, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice; taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Serve with couscous and homemade pita bread.

Lentil and Tofu Red Curry

Lentil and Tofu Red Curry

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This is a wonderful vegetarian weeknight dish. It warms up well for leftovers. I used Trader Joe’s Pressed tofu which saves time on the draining and pressing. I am not a big fan of lentils but my husband loves them so I try new things out and I have to say this was very good. I think this would also be good with carrots added or other vegetables.

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INGREDIENTS

1 package extra firm Tofu drained, pressed and cut into large cubes
2+ Tbsp Olive Oil, for frying onion and tofu
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Red Curry paste (or to taste)
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce (optional)
1 cup french green lentils, rinsed
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a  large saucepan and saute onion until translucent. Add red pepper and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook 1 minute. Stir in stock, fish sauce and lentils and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally until lentils are tender and two-thirds of the liquid is absorbed, about 30-35 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk until well combined, simmer. While this simmers heat oil in a large frying pan and add the tofu. Season with salt and pepper and keep stirring, gently, until tofu is nice and brown on all sides. Add tofu to curry mixture and serve.

 

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus Risotto

It might not be spring yet but I can just about see spring in the distance… and things are starting to bud with all the rain. So much rain. But they had some beautiful, thin Asparagus stalks in the market yesterday and that called for this dish! This recipe was adapted from a great Williams Sonoma cookbook that I got for Christmas back in 1996. My parents gave me a love for food, and cooking and most of my kitchen implements came from them over the years.

Serves 6 as a side dish

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Ingredients

5 1/2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 1/4 pound asparagus, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
3/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio or medium grain rice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon or 1 tsp dried
salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

In a medium sauce pan over high heat, bring stock to a boil. Add the asparagus and boil until just tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the wine to the stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and keep the liquid hot.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onion, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add the rice to the onion and stir until a white spot appears in the center of the grain, about 1 minute.

Add 3/4 cup of stock, adjusting the heat to simmer, so that the liquid bubbles and the stock is absorbed slowly. Stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking, adding the stock 3/4 of a cup at a time, stirring almost constantly, until the rice starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking until the rice is tender but slightly firm in the center and the mixture is creamy, about 10 minutes longer. You can add more stock or liquid if needed.

Add the asparagus, parmesan cheese, chopped tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in shallow bowls

 

Valentine Ginger Heart Cookies

Valentine Ginger Heart Cookies

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Happy Valentine’s Day. My husband loves ginger cookies so I like to try new recipes that I think he will like. I knew he was the ONE on our first date when we (over dinner) began talking about meals we had eaten in the past, meals we wanted to eat in the future and foods we loved. We also loved other things and running – which initially brought us together – has been great to offset the love of eating… We are still running (and eating) together after 15 years!

These are a sweet and wonderful treat to share (or not) with someone you love. They can be cut into any shape but they lend themselves to this holiday as they are a little sweet, a little spicy and nothing says love like a warm cookie!

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Ingredients

3/4 C butter
1 C packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 C molasses
4 C All Purpose flour
2 tsp roasted ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground roasted cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp Cardamon
1/4 tsp salt
Sanding Sugar

Directions

In a large bowl of standing mixer use the paddle beater and cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Add egg and molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices and gradually add to the creamed mixture.

On lightly floured board turn dough out and cut into quarters. Roll out dough to an 1/8 thickness and cut with heart shaped cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake at 350 for 10 min until firm.