Thursday, June 6, 2013

Baked Lemon Pasta

I have been seeing lots of recipes for variations on lemon pasta.  Some have shrimp or chicken added, while others have spring veggies.  I thought I'd try out a basic version.  My kids love lemons and pasta so I thought that they'd enjoy this.  This was simple enough to put together.  The kids enjoyed it.  I'm not the biggest fan of citrus so this wasn't my favorite.  But I was happy that they enjoyed it! I think adding some grilled chicken would be a great addition.

Baked Lemon Pasta
recipe from The Pioneer Woman

1 pound Thin Spaghetti
4 Tablespoons Salted Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Lemon, Juiced And Zested
2 cups Sour Cream
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt, Or More To Taste
Plenty Of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Extra Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti according to package.

In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.

Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt to taste.  Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)

When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley. Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.
  Family Rating: 1 thumb up.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Spinach Pesto and Sausage Strata

I enjoy pesto but don't make or eat it very often.  I saw this recipe called for jarred pesto and knew jarred would be much easier than making my own.  I wasn't sure if the kids had ever tried pesto before.  Let's just say that they're not fans of the stuff!  Please note, there's a "Mommy & Daddy Rating" below, rather than a "Family Rating!" This dish was tasty.  The pesto added a nice flavor with the sausage, bread, and cheeses.  However, this dish does have a decent amount of prep work involved AND 45 minutes of cooking.  Definitely not a quick and easy meal.  Plus, when I have to use the food processor, mixing bowls, and fry much as a fan I am of cooking, I'm not really a fan of doing dishes.  My husband will tell me to "leave the dishes, I'll do them when I get home."  But really, after working all day I'm NOT going to have him wash all of the dishes.  Plus, I'm a clean as you cook type of person.  So while this dish was cooking, the pots and pans got washed.  Needless to say, if you like pesto AND you have some time, definitely give this recipe a try. It was tasty!  I'm sure homemade peso would taste even better!  However, I do not recommend this meal if you are short on time!

Spinach Pesto and Sausage Strata
recipe adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray, April 2013

6 ounces fresh spinach (6 cups packed)
1/3cup jarred pesto
Salt and pepper
3 eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1/2cup grated parmesan
3/4cup sliced scallions
9 ounces italian sausage, casings removed
1 10 ounce loaf Italian bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2/3 cup ricotta
2 cups grated swiss cheese

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . In a food processor, puree 2 cups spinach with the pesto; season with salt and pepper.

2.In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, parmesan cheese, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper.

3.In a nonstick skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up, until cooked, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Reduce heat to medium and cook the remaining spinach until wilted, about 1 minute; chop.

4.Using half of the ingredients: Arrange bread in a 7-by-11-inch baking dish, spread on pesto, then ricotta; pour in egg mixture and top with spinach, sausage and swiss. Repeat. Let stand for 10 minutes, pressing to soak.

5.Bake the strata until puffed and browned, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Mommy & Daddy Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.

Monday, June 3, 2013

SRC Reveal: Root Beer Chicken with BBQ Sauce

It's reveal day for Group A of The Secret Recipe Club.  This month I was assigned the blog Everyday Mom.  Kim is an avid baker and has lots of tasty looking dessert recipes on her blog!  I ended up opting for a savory choice though.  With the weather turning warmer I thought that this Root Beer Chicken looked like a perfect weekend dinner.  This means that my husband, "The Weekend Chef" helped prepare and cook this.  We've cooked chicken like this before but used a beer can.  This is the "non-alcoholic" version! The chicken rub is tasty and it is cooked on the grill.  The sauce was different with an interesting flavor from the root beer, molasses, and orange and lemon juice.  We all enjoyed this dish.  The chicken turned out moist and my kids are big "sauce" lovers.  So they enjoyed this a lot.

Root Beer Chicken with BBQ Sauce

recipe from Everyday Mom

1 whole chicken
Chicken Seasoning (see below)
1 can root beer
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup orange juice
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. molasses
½ tsp. ginger powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder

Prepare grill, for indirect cooking.

Wash and pat dry chicken. Generously sprinkle entire chicken with chicken seasoning. Pour out and reserve, 1 cup of root beer. Place chicken on top of open can, so chicken is standing upright. Place chicken on back half of grill, use the legs and can as a tripod to help the chicken stand. Close cover and let chicken cook for at least an hour or until thermometer, placed in thickest part, reads 160°-165°. Remove from heat, let chicken rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve.

While the chicken cooks, combine the 1 cup of root beer set aside and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Place over medium high heat, stirring continuously bring to a boil. Once mixture has reached a boil reduce temperature to medium low and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly then serve with roasted chicken.

Chicken Seasoning
(slightly adapted)

2 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Lemon Pepper (can use plain pepper and lemon zest)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in small bowl, stir until combined.

Family Rating: 1 thumb up.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Corn and Spring Onion Pancakes

This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs  is "Pattycake, Pattycake...."  Participants were asked to make a Yota Ottolenghi recipe that was a fritter, latke, vegetable pancake, patty, burger, fishcake, etc.  I've already made Turkey & Zucchini Burgers, Sweet Potato Cakes, and Leek Fritters for previous themes.  I ended up searching online and found this recipe for a corn pancake.  It sounded very promising and not too difficult.  I halved the recipe, since I wasn't sure that the kids would like it.  I didn't end up smoking/grilling one of the cobs like the original recipe called for.  I ended up forgetting midway through that I was halving the recipe and ended up putting the one egg into the food processor.  I should have only put the yolk in and then whipped the white separately to fold in later.  I ended up with dense pancakes and unfortunately, I wasn't really impressed with the flavor.  Using the jalapeno didn't make the pancakes too spicy so the kids tried them.  But they too didn't like them very much.  Overall, this just wasn't one of our favorite Ottolenghi recipes.

Corn and Spring Onion Pancakes
recipe adapted from The Guardian, October 12, 2012

3 corn cobs
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1tsp soft brown sugar
1 egg
Salt and pepper
1 cup flour
1 limes, cut into wedges

With a sharp knife, separate the kernels from two corn cobs and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Add half the spring onion, the jalapeno, cumin, sugar, one egg, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper, blitz for 45 seconds until fairly smooth, then transfer to a bowl. Separate the last egg and add the yolk to the mix, followed by the flour and remaining spring onion.

Heat a large frying pan and add butter to coat. Add 1/4 cup of batter and fry on medium heat for two minutes a side until golden brown. Remove and keep warm while you cook the rest, adding butter as necessary. Serve warm with the lime wedges.

Family Rating: So-so.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Strawberry Cream Bread

I've been seeing strawberries on sale a lot recently at the grocery store.  My family never tires of eating them fresh out of the container, but I'm always on the lookout for other ways to use them.  I thought this recipe was interesting since I had never seen or thought of using strawberries in a bread.  This was really easy to make and was really tasty.  The original recipe at One Perfect Bite also includes a recipe for a Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread.  However, we already had an open strawberry cream cheese that I wanted to use up.  The cream cheese on the bread was an awesome idea!  This was a great breakfast for the kids served with some yogurt and fruit.

Strawberry Cream Bread
recipe from One Perfect Bite

Yield: 1 loaf

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strawberries, cut in pieces

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

2) Place butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix to blend. Stir in sour cream, blending well.

3) Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix to incorporate. Do not over beat.

4) Stir strawberry pieces into batter. Spread in prepared loaf pan. Let mixture sit in pan for 20 minutes prior to baking. Bake for 50 – 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire cooling rack. Let sit for 10 minutes before before before removing from pan. Slice and serve.

Family Rating: 2 thumbs up.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper and Italian Sausage Frittata

I had a bunch of eggs in the fridge and was looking for a recipe to use some of them up.  I recently rediscovered the blog Closet Cooking and was busy bookmarking tons of recipes.  This one was perfect since I  already had sausage in the freezer.  Of course, I roasted my own red pepper for this recipe.  You do NOT need to roast your own pepper.  Since the pepper is mixed in with the a lot of other ingredients I felt that the effort was unnecessary.  However, this dish is totally worth making!  It's really tasty and besides me roasting the pepper, was quick and easy too!  We all enjoyed this. 

Roasted Red Pepper and Italian Sausage Frittata
recipe from Closet Cooking

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 large eggs
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
1 large roasted red pepper, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup marinara sauce
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1 handful parsley, chopped, optional

1.Heat the oil in an oven proof pan over medium heat.

2.Add the sausage and cook until it has just browned all over, breaking it apart as you go.

3.Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

4.Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.

5.Mix the eggs, parmigiano reggiano, roasted red pepper, sausage, onions, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

6.Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook until the eggs are almost set, about 10-15 minutes.

7.Transfer the pan into a preheated 400F oven and let the eggs finish cooking, about 10 minutes.

8.Pour the marinara sauce over the frittata, sprinkle on the cheese and broil until the cheese has melted, about 2-4 minutes.

9.Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley.

Family Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Giada's Macaroni and Cheese

This week is the May Potluck at I Heart Cooking Clubs.  Participants can choose any of the former featured chefs and cook any of his or her recipes.  Since Ottolenghi is the first chef that I'm cooking with, I had a lot of chefs to choose from.  In the April Potluck I made a Jamie Oliver recipe.  This month I decided to cook one of Giada De Laurentiis' recipes.  I'm not sure that I've ever cooked any of her dishes before, though I have watched many of her shows on the foodnetwork.  I had some leftover ham in the freezer and I knew I couldn't go wrong with mac and cheese.  My kids LOVE the boxed mac and cheese.  I have tried many different homemade versions of the dish since they love it so much.  But I always get the same response, "I like the boxed one better!"  This version of mac and cheese has no cheddar.  So it's really different than what my kids are used to. Although they ate it and my daughter requested some for lunch the next day, the boxed stuff still rules for them.  This dish is really cheesy.  I substituted swiss cheese for fontina, added ham, which was optional in the original recipe, and left out the Italian parsley. Definitely not cooking "light" with this one.  But with the recent rainy and chilly weather we've been having it was actually quite the comfort food.

Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe slightly adapted from, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Butter, for greasing dish
12 ounces wide egg noodles
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Swiss
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
3/4 cup grated mozzarella
4 ounces cooked ham, diced
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.

Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Swiss, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and ham. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Swiss, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Family Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.