Thursday, December 22, 2011

Easy But Hearty

I've made something else that is really similar to this recipe but that one was a tad more involved. This one only took about 15-20 minutes total with prep and everything. Even with few ingredients, it's pretty heavy. I enjoyed but couldn't even finish my whole serving!

Hearty Pesto Fettuccine


1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 whole clove of garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
8-9 oz. of fresh egg fettuccine
1 cup ricotta cheese


Using a blender or food processor, puree the first seven ingredients.  Set aside for later.

In a non-reactive bowl, combine tomatoes with olive oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well.

In a large bowl, put ricotta cheese in first. Then, pile hot pasta over the cheese. Pour the pesto over the pasta, stir and then garnish with tomato mixture.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tequila in My Salad?

So I made another awesome soup. And this one definitely had a kick to it so I was glad I made the pepper salad. I think the zestiness of the salad complimented the spice factor nicely. It was an unusual salad but excited me for the use of tequila alone!

"Cool Nights" Chili with Chicken, Corn, and Chipotles
Source: Sunday Soup


5 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or 5 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups chopped onions

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon grd cumin

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups chicken stock

1 (28 ounce) can italian-style plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped

3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped

3 1/2-4 cups fresh corn kernels (or frozen corn kernels, thawed)

2 (19 ounce) cans dark  kidney beans, rinsed and drained 

1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
lime wedges

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large, deep-sided pot (with a lid) set over med-high heat. When hot, add the chicken and saute until light golden, for 4-5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and drain on paper towels.

Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to the pan; when the oil is very hot, add onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, for 3-4 minutes. Return sauteed chicken to the pan.
Stir together the flour, chili powder, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; sprinkle the mixture over the onions and chicken, and cook, stirring 1 minute. Add in stock, tomatoes, and chipotles; bring mixture to a simmer. Decrease heat, cover, and cook until chicken is fork-tender and mixture has thickened slightly, for 25-30 minutes. Add in corn and beans; cook for 10 minutes. Taste chili and season with salt, if needed.
Garnish each serving with a generous dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Squeeze lime over the top.
Red, Yellow, and Orange Pepper Salad with Tequila-Lime Dressing
Source: Sunday Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 1/2 tablespoons tequila
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium yellow bell pepper
1 medium orange bell pepper
mixed greens
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and zest, tequila, salt and red pepper flakes in a small, non-reactive bowl. Add the smashed garlic clov.
Stem the peppers and halve them lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds and membranes. Cut halves into 1/4 inch thick julienne strips. Put peppers in a large nonreactive bowl and toss with the dressing. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

When ready to serve, remove and discard the smashed garlic clove from the marinated peppers. Add the lettuce and cilantro to the bowl and toss to combine. Season salad generously with salt and pepper.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Classic!

I don't normally blog on weekends because I tend to dine out which was my intention last night. I was all excited about going out for some Indian food when my husband suggested staying in and making spaghetti and meatballs. Something clicked and all the sudden I had to have it too. So off we went to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon. And boy am I glad we did because this sauce (and meatballs) was SO GOOD! I followed the original recipe to a T so I'll just link it up for you and include my messy picture.

Recipe found here. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Decadent Soup

If you don't love blue cheese, you can stop reading right here. Seriously, don't waste your time on this post because yes it is a good recipe but only for those cheese lovers. I suppose you could always substitute a different cheese more to your liking if you so desired. Some people may have noticed that I tag things as vegetarian even when they contain chicken broth. I'm going with the assumption that a vegetarian would just use vegetable broth instead. Though, I could be totally wrong on this line of thought.

Creamy Cheese Soup with Apple Slices
Makes 3-4 servings

I promise it doesn't look greenish in real life. Don't forget that I take my pictures with a cell phone and don't edit them. I realize that most bloggers edit their photos to make them prettier or more appealing. But I kind of think that's cheating. Besides, do people really have that much time on their hands?!


3 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cup leeks, chopped (only the white and light green parts)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp dried rosemary or 3/4 tsp fresh rosemary
5 oz. blue-veined cheese (Stilton would work)
1/4 cup half-and-half
kosher salt
1 granny smith apple or bartlett pear, peeled, cored, and cut into slices
a pinch of sugar


In a large pot, cook 2 1/2 Tbsp of butter over medium-high heat. Next, throw in the leeks and celery. Cook until soft about 4 minutes.  Throw in the potatoes with the chicken stock and rosemary.  Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and cook 25 more minutes (uncovered.)

Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup and then return to the pot. Whisk in the cheese until fully combined. Then whisk in the half and half until smooth. Salt to taste.

For the garnish:
Heat remaining butter over medium heat and add the apple or pear slices. Cook for 3 minutes and sprinkle sugar over the top. Flip the slices and cook another 3-4 minutes and finish off with another small pinch of sugar. Serve over the soup.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pork Marsala

I'll probably be back to soups in another day but I made another delicious recipe! We were supposed to have a spinach side with it to balance out the meal but someone ate the spinach in his salad for lunch...

Pork Chop Marsala with Buttered Noodles
Serves 2

All purpose flour
2 thick center-cut pork loin chops, sliced to make 4 thinner chops
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 Tbsp butter, unsalted (divided)
1 tsp garlic
1/8 cup shallots, minced
1 8-oz. package of mushrooms (your favorite variety), sliced
1/4 cup dry marsala wine
1 tsp lemon juice
1/8 cup chicken broth
1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
no yolk egg noodles, dry
Parmesan, grated


Season pork chops and dredge through flour. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat and then add the chops. Brown chops about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.

Add about 1 Tbsp of butter to the pan. Throw the garlic and shallots in the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook for around 4-5 minutes or until they start to brown.

Deglaze the pan with the wine and then add the lemon juice. Next add the broth and stir in the sage. Bring to a boil for about 1 minute. Then reduce heat to low until the liquid reduces about 75%.

Remove from heat and stir butter in the sauce. Add the chops back to the pan and garnish with parsley.  Serve alongside the noodles.

Noodles can be cooked while you are preparing the marsala sauce. They should be cooked according to package directions and drained. Then gently stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp butter and sprinkle with parmesan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kung Pao

I loved this recipe! It looked like it might be a bit involved at first but it really wasn't at all and the payoff in flavor is big. It was only a tad spicy so next time, I would try using some fresh serrano chiles in the stir fry to heat things up. For added health benefit, I might also add in some red bell peppers and bok choy.

Portobello Kung Pao with Sesame Noodles
Source: based on a recipe found in Cuisine at Home
Makes 4 cups


2/3 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil

2 tablespoons fresh ginger , minced

1 tablespoon garlic , minced

1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups portobello mushrooms, gilled and sliced into 3-inch pieces

2 cups asparagus tips , cut into 2-inch pieces

1 cup scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup peanut halves


Whisk first 5 ingredients together. Next whisk in cornstarch until it dissolves. Set aside. 

Heat oil in a large pan or wok over high heat. Add ginger, garlic, red pepper; stir fry for 20 seconds. Add veggies and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add water, cover and steam for 2 minutes. Uncover and stir in the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute until the sauce thickens. 

Add scallions and serve over sesame noodles. Garnish with peanuts.

Sesame Noodles (same recipe as above)
makes 3 cups 


1 package of Udon noodles
3 Tbsp of peanut or canola oil
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped


Cook noodles according to package directions and drain well. Heat oil in a large pan over high. Stir fry noodles for one minute. Finish with sesame oil. Toss with cilantro and add salt and pepper to taste. 


Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Cookies

I usually go for the tried and true chocolate chip cookies whenever I need to bring a baked good to a get together. But I felt like experimenting with something a little more festive without the stress of decorating a cake/cookie. Each recipe made a few dozen. So I give you my experiments...

I played around with measurements on this one as you can too.

Mint Chocolate Chunk

For the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, etc.), use your favorite sugar cookie recipe. These are basically dressed up sugar cookies.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 drops of green food coloring
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 egg
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, beat dry ingredients with butter, food coloring, peppermint extract, and egg until dough forms. Next, stir in chocolate pieces.  Using a teaspoon, scoop dough and drop onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Eggnog Cookies

1 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cream sugar and butter until light. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks; beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake 20 to 23 minutes until bottoms turn light brown.

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Soup

You can expect to see a lot of soups this season on my blog. I'm quite excited to try all the recipes in my soup cookbooks. I'd like to say I keep making soup "because it's the perfect weather for it." But, that's not exactly true as it's 70 degrees in December here. However, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some yummy soup and this one was indeed yummy. It's not difficult to make if you buy the squash pre-cut and cubed instead of taking that task upon yourself. I served it with a simple salad and croissants with honey.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Cider Cream
Source: Sunday Soup
Serves 6


5 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed (about 6 cups)
2 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage 

5 cups chicken stock 
1 1/2 cups apple cider, divided
2/3 cup sour cream

kosher salt
5 crisp bacon slices, crumbled


Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, leeks, carrot and celery; sauté until  softened, about 12 minutes. Add in apples, thyme and sage. Add stock and 1 cup cider and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. 

 Puree the soup in batches using either a blender, food processor (or immersion blender.) Return soup to pot and season with salt.

Boil remaining 1/2 cup cider in heavy small saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Cool. Place sour cream in small bowl. Whisk in reduced cider. (Soup and cider cream can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.) 

For garnish, thinly slice remaining apple and place over ladled soup in bowl. Drizzle the cider cream over the top and add the bacon. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

French Lentil Soup with Garlic Sausage plus Salad

Sometimes the best dinners are the simple ones. One of my favorite things to have for dinner is a simple (or fancy) grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of tomato bisque. While we didn't have that last night, we did have a pretty simple meal consisting of soup, salad and a Black Pepper Parmesan roll from the Whole Foods bakery (yum.) Somehow I clicked delete when transferring my pictures over so I don't have any today. And my salad looked so pretty but for whatever reason my soup didn't look like the picture in the cookbook. There's had a black base which I couldn't quite figure out. Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

French Lentil Soup with Sausage 
Makes 6 full cups
taken from Sunday Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup carrots diced (1/4" dice)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery diced 1/4" dice)
3 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
6 ounces kielbasa or garlic sausage -- cut into 1/4" dice
2 teaspoons thyme dried
9 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 pound Puy lentils (these are green lentils that can be found in the bulk section of WF)
kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Heat oil in a large pot (with a lid) over medium heat. When hot, add the carrots, onion, and celery. Cook stirring often, until the vegetables are just softened, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, sausage, and thyme, and cook 1 minute more.

Add the stock and bay leaves, and bring mixture to a simmer over high heat. Stir in the lentils, then reduce heat, cover and cook at a gentle simmer until tender, for about 50 minutes.

Remove and discard the bay leaves. Remove the garlic pieces and transfer to food processor. Using a slotted spoon, strain 1/2 cup solids (vegetables and sausage) from the soup and puree them with garlic pieces in a food processor or combine them with garlic pieces in a small bowl and smash with the back of a fork. Stir the pureed mixture into the pot; this will thicken the soup slightly. Taste the soup and season with salt, as needed.

To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls and sprinkle with some parsley over each serving. 

Simple Salad Dressing Recipe for Mixed Greens

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine vinegar,  mustard, salt and several grinds of pepper in a bowl. Whisk to blend. Next whisk in the olive oil. Cover and refrigerate or serve right away.