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.

 

Porchetta-Style Ragu

Porchetta-Style Ragu

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This is a really easy weeknight dinner. I made homemade pasta but will taste just fine with dried store bought! This is adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe. The next time I try this I might use the pork loin and slow cook it and make it with shredded pork. I made the sauce and kept it warm in a crockpot until ready to serve.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups large homemade breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces cold meaty pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 pound coarsely ground pork loin or packaged ground pork
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, about 1/3 palmful
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, optional, if you have one in the freezer, plus freshly grated cheese for tossing and serving
  • 1 pound mezze rigatoni, or rigatoni (I used pappardelle
  • A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a baking sheet, toss the breadcrumbs and butter; season with salt. Bake, stirring once, until toasted and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the pancetta. Cook, stirring often, until the fat begins to render, about 2 minutes. Add the ground pork. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the rosemary, garlic, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, the fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper. Stir until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine. Cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and the Parmigiano rind, if using. Reduce heat to low. Let the sauce simmer while you cook the pasta.

Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of the package directions. Scoop out about 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Discard the Parmigiano rind from the sauce. Add a generous handful of grated Parmigiano, the lemon juice, and the pasta to the sauce. Toss, adding the cooking water as needed if the pasta is too dry. Season with salt.

Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 teaspoon lemon zest, the parsley, and a bit more Parm. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls. Top with the breadcrumbs and shredded cheese.

Baked Greek Chicken

Baked Greek Chicken

This is lemony, tangy goodness. An easy weeknight dinner. Serve over rice with some homemade pita bread.

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Ingredients

  • chicken, boneless thighs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice and zest
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • smoked paprika
  • Williams-Sonoma lemon garlic seasoning

Instructions

In a bowl whisk together the plain Greek yogurt along with the olive oil, garlic, zest and juice from a lemon, the red pepper flakes, chopped fresh oregano, parsley and kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and marinate for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Use cooking spray or olive oil and coat the inside of a baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika, lemon-garlic seasoning and feta cheese.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes-1 hour or until golden brown and chicken has 165°F internal temperature

Greek Grilled Shrimp Orzo

Greek Grilled Shrimp Orzo

This is a wonderful dish to serve at a summer party. I am hosting a wedding party for friends in 2 weeks and plan on serving this as party of the menu. It is easy to double (or more) for a big party. I served this warm but it was really good as a cold salad the next day. It would also be a good vegetarian side dish just omit the shrimp. This recipe was inspired by prouditaliancook.com.

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INGREDIENTS

Grilled shrimp
Smoked Paprika
Olive oil
Cooked orzo pasta
English cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, diced
Red onion, diced
Crumbled feta
Grape tomatoes, halved and roasted
Kalamata olives
Lemon zest
Mint, parsley, oregano

Marinate the shrimp in lemon peel, lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and grill.

Heat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil. Place halved grape tomatoes on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Roast for about 20 minutes.

Heat about 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft and getting golden, add red onion and cook until just warmed and a bit soft. Add the roasted tomatoes using all the juices left after roasting.

Make a vinaigrette by whisking 3 parts good olive oil to 1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice, add 1 crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper.

Taste it to your liking, either adding more or less. Place all ingredients in a bowl, adding all the herbs, more feta, (make sure it’s in small crumbles) pour the vinaigrette over all the ingredients, taste it and make sure you have enough of everything!

Note: I used 8 oz of cooked orzo and about 20 medium shrimp, the rest of the ingredients I just judged until I thought I had enough.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Asian Lettuce Wraps

This is a super simple recipe. Comes together in a snap. I like Butter lettuce or Boston bibb but  iceberg will work, too. I like the crunchy texture of iceberg but it is a little harder to wrap. I let the chicken freeze slightly and it is very easy to cut up into small cubes. This can also be made vegetarian by using tofu or meat alternative.

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Ingredients

  • 16 Boston Bibb, butter or iceberg lettuce leaves
  • 4 chicken thighs, boneless,skinless and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (optional)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Directions

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.

Stir hoisin sauce, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger into a small bowl and set aside.

In a frying pan or wok heat the oil and add onions. Cook about 10 minutes or until soft and getting caramelized. Add chicken cubes and cook over medium heat until brown. Add water chestnuts and stir. Add sauce and stir to mix.

Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter and pile meat mixture in the center.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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I am a HUGE pizza fan. I grew up where there was a great Italian restaurant or pizzeria on just about every corner. My dad had Celiac and was diagnosed in 1996. This was before the whole world had embraced Gluten free eating so it was always a challenge to come up with recipes that tasted good. He and my mom came up with an excellent gluten free crust but we never tried a cauliflower crust. I think he might have liked this one. It is really tasty. This is firm enough to pick up a eat like a slice of “real” pizza. It is a good alternative to a flour based crust. Be creative with the toppings! I will be making this again! Adapted from the blog ifoodreal.com.

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Ingredients

1 large head of cauliflower or 5-6 cups of store bought cauliflower rice
1 egg, large
1 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded
Cooking spray
Toppings (I used mushrooms, roasted grape tomatoes, tempeh and cheese)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Rinse cauliflower, remove the outer leaves, separate into florets and chop into smaller pieces. Process in food processor in 2 batches, until “rice” texture forms (skip if using store-bought “rice”). Transfer cauliflower rice on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 mins.

Remove cooked cauliflower rice from the oven, transfer to a bowl lined with a double/triple layered cheesecloth or linen towel, and let cool for 5 minutes. Then squeeze the liquid out of the ball (cauliflower inside the cheesecloth) as hard as you can. Be patient and do this a few times until barely any liquid comes out. This is a key part of making the crust firm.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F. In bowl whisk the egg with dried herbs, salt and pepper. Add cheese and squeezed cauliflower; mix very well with spatula until combined.

Line the same baking sheet with new parchment paper or same silicone mat (just make sure to scrape off any bits of cauliflower) and spray with cooking spray. Transfer “dough” in the middle and flatten with your hands until thin pizza crust forms.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, carefully flip with spatula or invert with another baking sheet (this worked best for me) and bake about 15 minutes. Top with your favorite toppings and bake again until cheese on top turns golden brown. Slice and enjoy.

Store: Refrigerate covered for up to 2 days.

Freeze: Tightly wrapped in plastic for 1 month.

Crock Pot Lima Bean Soup

Crock Pot Lima Bean Soup

 

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I will be honest. I am not a big bean fan. Especially Lima Beans. My mother will back me up on this. But my husband loves them. I love him. SO I make things that involve beans. This is a great soup even if you are not a bean fan. And it is really great on a cold winter night. I did not have a ham hock so I used cubed ham. You will need to rinse and sort your beans and soak them overnight or at least 6 hours (follow directions on the bag). I used a 6 quart slow cooker but you could probably use a 4. I added the celery because I had some leftover and it was a nice addition but optional. This freezes well.

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  • 1 1 b bag Dried Large Lima Beans – Sorted Rinsed and Soaked
  • 2-4 cup Meaty Ham Hocks or 8 oz ham, cut in chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Onions- Chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped (optional)
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • Additional Water
You can skip this step but I find it adds some nice flavor: Add oil to large frying pan and sauté onions until tender, add celery and carrots.
Place beans in crock pot
Add ham hocks and onion/celery/carrots.
Add broth and any water needed to bring the waterline 2 inches above the beans.
Stir in seasonings.
Cook for 6 hours or until beans are tender

 

 

 

 

Ravioli Di Ricotta

Ravioli Di Ricotta

These are just plump pillows of wonderful cheesy goodness. Serve with a simple tomato basil sauce or butter with some sage leaves. I used a 3 1/4 inch cookie cutter and got about 30 ravioli. You can also used refrigerated pasta sheets if you don’t want to make your own pasta dough.

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Ravioli Dough

  • 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

Filling

  • 1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the ravioli filling:

1. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, nutmeg, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, and 1 egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir well,
and set aside.

To make the ravioli dough:

1. Mound the flour on a clean work surface and create a well in the center. Place the eggs, egg yolks, and oil (if using) in the center. Using a fork, whisk the eggs and oil together and slowly start dragging the flour into the egg mixture. Knead by hand until all the ingredients are well combined and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on medium speed, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or place it in a covered bowl and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

2. Set up a pasta machine and turn it to the largest opening. Cut off pieces of dough about the size of an egg. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into sheets about 1/8-inch thick.

3. Lay a pasta sheet flat on a lightly floured work surface. Using a 3 or 3 1/4 inch cookie cutter, cut out circles in the pasta dough and set on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Spoon mounds of the filling, about 2 teaspoons each, onto the middle of the pasta circle. Fold in half to cover the filling. Press the pasta together to seal the edges around the filling, and press out any excess air. Use a fork to crimp the edges. As you cut out the ravioli, place them on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal to keep them from sticking. Repeat with the remaining pasta and filling. You can refrigerate them until you are ready to cook.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli all at once and stir a few times to submerge and separate them. Cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil until the pasta is just tender to the bite, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain the ravioli thoroughly and serve with a desired sauce or cheese.

Red Beans & Rice

Red Beans & Rice

This is adapted from a New York Times recipe. I have been tweaking and finally got it to where my husband loves it. He likes to add a little extra hot sauce and some cider vinegar. I used brown rice this time and chicken andouille sausage to cut down on some of the fat. I assembled everything and then put in the crock pot for 6 hours.

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  • 1 pound dried red beans 
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick and cut into quarters (or Andouille chicken sausage)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 2 large rib celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  •  teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Emeril seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh green onions, chopped
  •  Cooked white long-grain rice, for serving

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, cover beans in water and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Water should cover beans by at least an inch.)
  2. In a large, heavy pot, brown sausage in 1 tablespoon of oil until slightly crisp. Add remaining oil, then the garlic and onions. Sauté over medium heat until onions become transparent and limp. Add celery and bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour soaked beans and water into the pot and bring to a simmer. Add black pepper, cayenne, salt and all herbs except parsley.
  4. Cook until beans are softened, about 11/2 to 2 hours. (Or in crockpot for 6 hours). Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Fifteen minutes before serving, remove 1 cup of beans to a bowl and, using a fork, mash them and stir back into the pot to enhance the creamy texture of the dish. Add parsley and green onions. Simmer about 15 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning, and add up to 1 cup more water if beans seem too thick. Remove bay leaves. Serve over white long-grain rice.
Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn “Grits”

Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn “Grits”

This is one of the best things I have made all year!!! It is summer in a bowl and full of all of my favorite things. This is Shrimp and Grits but with fresh corn instead of the grits. You can use all 1% milk but the cream really adds to the flavor. This was adapted from a Cooking Light recipe. 

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Ingredients

7 ears fresh shucked corn
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tbsp butter
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup halved grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 Onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock)

Directions

Heat oven to 400. Place the grape tomatoes on a baking sheet and line with foil. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with corse sea salt. Roast for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place into a bowl until ready to use

Cut kernels from corn. Set aside 1/4 cup kernels. Pulse remaining kernels in a food processor until almost creamy, 7 or 8 times. In a medium saucepan add the processed kernels, milk, cream, and cornstarch to pan. Bring to a simmer over medium, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat; cover and keep warm.

In a large skillet heat olive oil and cook onions and garlic over medium heat, stirring often. Cook about 20 minutes until golden and caramelized. Combine with roasted grape tomatoes.

Combine shrimp, Creole seasoning, paprika, and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add remaining olive oil to skillet. Add shrimp; cook about 3 minutes until opaque. Add onions, tomatoes, thyme, and garlic, stir to combine. Remove shrimp mixture with a slotted spoon and  place in a bowl. Add wine to the skillet; cook, stirring and scraping pan to loosen browned bits, 30 seconds. Serve shrimp mixture over the creamed corn. sprinkle each bowl with the reserved fresh corn kernels.