Friday, August 24, 2012

Tomato salad

Beautiful heirloom tomatoes really need no help to taste delicious.  Paired with an avocado and dressed with only lemon juice this salad is light, and refreshing.

Simply slice the tomatoes and the avocado squeeze the lemon over top sprinkle with salt and eat away.

Heirloom tomatoes can be expensive at the grocery store, try to find a local farmer to buy them from.  You will get a better tomato at a better price and you are helping your community.  Give it a try I think you are going to be pleased.


Tortellini soup

This recipe was given to me by my dear friend Heather, I changed it only a little to include more vegetables.  Not only do the veggies add nutritional value but it stretches the recipe as well.  By all means fell free to omit them but I think they are a great addition.

1 pound bulk italian sausage (or links with casing removed)
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 large onion - diced
1 zucchini - chopped
1 yellow squash - chopped
2 carrots - diced
2 - 15oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 - 15oz can of tomato sauce
2 Tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 Tbsp dried)
2 cups of chicken or beef stock
2 cups water
salt and pepper
Package of fresh tortellini
Parmesan cheese

In a large heavy bottomed stock pot or french oven brown sausage in 2 tsp olive oil breaking it up as it cooks.  When it is half browned add in the garlic, onion, zucchini, squash and carrots.  Continue cooking over medium heat until sausage is fully brown and vegetables have softened a bit.
Add tomatoes, oregano stock and water.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add tortellini and cook until tender.
Serve pipping hot with parmesan cheese to top

With just some garlic bread this is a wonderfully hearty meal that tastes much like a pot of pizza!


Need a french oven?  These from Le Creuset are my favorite!

Creamy chicken and noodles

Creamy chicken and noodles is chocked full of vegetables and comes together quickly for an easy weeknight supper.  If you pre-chop your veggies this skillet meal can be table ready in 25 minutes!

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
18 oz white mushrooms - sliced
2 Tbsp fresh thyme - chopped
2 leeks - thinly sliced white and light green parts
2 carrots - chopped
2 celery stalks - chopped
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup cream
3 cups cooked chicken (Rotisserie or poached) - pulled or chopped
1 bag extra wide Amish style egg noodles
3-4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add mushrooms and cook 10-12 minutes to lightly brown.
Add in the thyme, leeks, carrots, and celery.  Partially cover the pot and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle in the flour and mix well - pour in wine and stock and bring to a bubble.
Lower heat to low and stir in cream and chicken
Cook noodles according to package directions.
Add Dijon mustard and dill sauce
Once noodles are cooked add them to the sauce and serve immediately
Pairs well with a simple green salad and a crusty bread.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stuffed shells with hidden or not so hidden veggies

Finished shells

 Just before baking

Stuffed shells make a great vehicle for some hidden veggies.  Some people in our family wont eat spinach and some of us love it so I did both with and without.  But I could not just leave those other ones with no veggies.  Cauliflower to the rescue!  I chopped it up fine and cooked slightly at the end of the sausage cooking and it just disappeared!  Even the pickiest of my eaters didn't notice anything.  Give it a try.  No cauliflower?  Try shredded zucchini or squash. 
I am going to post the base recipe and you can add veggies to hide or find as you like.

Ingredients -
20 jumbo shells - cooked to package directions
1 small container skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound Italian sausage - casing removed
2 clove garlic - chopped fine
1 tbsp butter - softened
1 jar marinara pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350
Cook sausage in 1 Tbsp olive oil until fully browned.  (If you want to cook your veggies do it at the end of the cooking time in with the sausage.  Spinach will take about 2 minutes to wilt down, cauliflower needed about 3 minutes to cook.)  Once fully cooked remove from heat and allow to cool down a bit.
In a large bowl mix together ricotta, Parmesan, butter, garlic, and pepper.  Mix well and then fold in the cooled sausage and veggie mixture.  Mix well.  Stuff cooked shells evenly with mixture.
In a large baking dish pour enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan.  Arrange shells around the pan.  Top each shell with another table spoon of sauce then sprinkle the mozzarella over the top.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Pair with a green salad and garlic bread for a filling dinner.


Potato Asparagus and Artichoke salad

2 pounds baby red or blue potatoes - halved or quartered depending on size
1 pound asparagus - trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 can artichoke hears - drained and quartered
2 green onions - sliced
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot or salted water to a boil and boil potatoes for 10-15 minutes until just tender.  Add asparagus to cooking water for the last 2 minutes of potato cooking time.
Drain and allow to cool in the colander.
In a large bowl combine Dijon, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, whisk well to combine.
Add artichokes, green onions and potato and asparagus to the dressing and toss well to coat.
Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately.


Greek pasta salad

1 pound elbow noodles
1 English cucumber - chopped
1 small red onion - cut in half and sliced into thin strips
3 Roma tomatoes - seeded and chopped
2 cups baby spinach leaves
8 oz feta cheese crumbled
3-4 Tbsp Greek vinaigrette dressing

Cook noodles to package directions - drain and rinse with cold water
Add vegetables and cheese to noodles and toss to combine
Pour dressing over top and toss
Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

To make your own vinaigrette -
Whisk together in a bowl 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar add 2 tsp dried oregano or 3 Tbsp fresh oregano.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Rosemary Orange Roasted Chicken

5-7 pound roasting chicken
Salt and pepper
4 sprigs of rosemary
4-6 sprigs of thyme
2 Tbsp Complete seasoning
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup Orange juice
1/4 - 1/2 cup flour
1-2 cups of chicken stock or broth
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Remove giblets and place the chicken in the rack of a roasting pan.  Pat dry with a paper towel.  Season liberally inside and out with salt and pepper.  Stuff rosemary and thyme inside the chicken.

Sprinkle complete seasoning over top of the chicken, pour oil over breast and rub oil and seasoning over the entire chicken.
Tuck wings under so the tips don't burn and tie up legs if desired.  I didn't have any twine so I just let them hang and it came out fine.
Pour the orange juice and 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan.
Roast chicken for 25-40 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.  You want an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Remove roast to a cutting board and cover tightly with foil.
Scrape up bits in the bottom of the pan and pour all the pan drippings into a saute pan.  Add flour to form a paste with the drippings.   You want about the same amount of flour as fat in the pan, so depending on how much drippings you have you may need more or less flour.  I usually start with 2 heaping tablespoons and work up from there.  (If you don't have enough drippings in your roasting pan you can start the gravy with 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp orange juice and get a similar flavor.  )
Once you have a paste like consistency slowly add chicken stock and thin to desired consistency.  Again depending on how much fat you started with will affect how much stock you need in the end.  (You can also use plain water in place of the stock.)

Carve chicken and serve with gravy along side.

Do not toss out the bones!!!!!  These will make a great broth, simply add enough water to cover the chicken and place over low heat.  Simmer low for 2-3 hours for a delicious broth!