Square Meal Round table
How can it be February already? It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating all things apple with our #aisforalltheapples collaboration. We were blown away by everyone's creativity and approach to the same ingredient. We had pies, tarts, salads, and even cocktails showing off their apply goodness all over instragram. Now, we have put out the call along with @whatannieseating, and our wonderful collaborators are getting crazy with the CARROT! With returning chefs and bakers like @jojoromancer, @bakingthegoods, @smartinthekitchen and @champagneandcookies and some amazing new talents like @lokokitchen, @rushyama, @dianemorrisey and @candacenelson, we bring to you #24carrotgoals. Can you believe this is our 4th ingredient based instagram collaboration? From peas to peaches to apples and now to carrots, we celebrate the bounty of nature!
We were lucky to receive a box of the most beautiful carrots from Babe Farms. We couldn't help but get excited when we saw the yellows, purples and pinks dancing before us! We have taken our love for making pies and tarts and our love of carrots and done a mashup that hits all the right notes. Carrots, with their natural sweetness, can easily swing both savory and sweet, and this tart finds itself somewhere in the middle. The savory notes of the fresh thyme we put in the dough and sprinkle on the carrots, the creaminess of the ricotta and lemon, and the nuttiness of the pine nuts contrast with the carrots sweetness to find balance. You get a faint whiff of dessert, but you still feel like you are eating lunch! We have a host of other carrot recipes on the blog, like the eight-year olds favorite cake, and a zingy Carrot and Cumin Salad with Cilantro, so be sure to check those out as well. And, be sure to find the talented chefs, bloggers and bakers we have listed below online and peruse what they are making. You will never look at the carrot the same way again! This food community is a special one and we hope you will join.
Rainbow Carrot and Ricotta Tart
Makes one 9 inch square tart
(Makes 2 9 inch shells)
1 cup chilled butter
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons ice water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme
6-8 oz ricotta
2 tablespoons milk or cream
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
24-30 baby rainbow carrots, peeled (or you could use about a dozen larger)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts and carrot top sprigs for garnish
Preheat oven to 375
Prepare dough- Put butter, shortening, 2 cups of flour, sugar, salt and herbs into food processor. Pulse until you have small pea sized pieces. Add the rest of the flour and briefly pulse. Pour mixture into a bowl and add apple cider vinegar. Add chilled water to the flour mixture and fold with a large flat spatula until dough comes together, pressing dough as you fold. Flip dough onto floured surface and push into a ball. Divide into two, and gently flatten each half into a disc. Wrap in plastic and let rest in fridge. You can freeze the dough but be sure to put in fridge the night before you want to make the tart. You will need only one disc for this recipe. Dough lasts about 5 days in the fridge and longer in the freezer.
In a large steamer working in batches of the same color carrot, steam carrots whole until just tender, about 7 minutes depending on size. Remove and place in cold water to stop cooking. Slice carrots in half and toss carrots with Olive Oil, salt, pepper, maple syrup and thyme and set aside.
Roll out your dough on a well-floured surface. Lay into a tart pan, making sure you get dough into the corners. Prick bottom with a fork a few times. Add pie weights or beans and blind bake the crust for about 20 minutes until it just starts to brown. Remove from oven. (If you don’t have a tart pan, use a shallow pie dish)
Add filling ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.
After your shell has cooled to the touch, spread your filling and then arrange the carrots on top. We did a herringbone pattern but you can just lay on top careful not to overlap too much, filling in all the holes.
Bake again for about 20 minutes until carrots have begun to caramelize, and crust is golden brown.
Remove from oven, cool for 10 minutes and remove from tart shell. Sprinkle with pine nuts and some carrot top sprigs and serve.
Here are all the wonderful collaborators!
The Cooking of Joy’s Candied Carrot Rose Tart
Figs and Flour's Thai Peanut Pizza
Cocoa and Salt's Classic Carrot Cake
Jojoromancer's Carrot Pie
Julie Jones' Mum's Carrot Cake
Lemon Thyme and Ginger's Sweet n' Spicy Herbed Carrots
Better with Biscuits’ Carrot Souffle
This Healthy Table’s Beet and Carrot Galette
Always Eat Dessert’s Carrot Cake Squares with Orange Glaze
What Annie’s Eating’s Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top/Herby Salsa Verde
Fufu’s Kitchen’s Oven Baked Carrot Fries Drizzled with a Tahini Sauce
Flours in Your Hair’s Carrot Pecan Cookies
Hola Jalapeno’s Roasted Carrots with Chipotle Honey Butter
A Worthy Pause's Paleo Thai Curry Carrot Soup
Battered n Baked's Baked Carrot Cake Donuts
Anna Jitlin's Carrot Muffins with Persimmon Topping
Lemon Thyme and Ginger's Sweet and Spicy Herbed Carrots
Something New for Dinner’s Minted Sous Vide Carrots with Balsamic Vinegar and Goat Cheese
What Great Grandma Ate’s Paleo Carrot Mug Cake
My Love at First Bite's
Rezel Kealoha's Turkish Yoghurt Dip
Cosettes Kitchen's Sumac Spiced Carrot and Feta Salad
More Icing Than Cake's Spiced Quinoa & Roasted Carrot Salad
Measuring Cups Optional's Carrot Curry Soup
Hot Dishing It Out’s Carrot Whoopie Pies with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting (vegan)
Bee and the Baker's Glazed Carrot Rosette Tart with Honey Ginger Mascarpone
Lady and Larder’s Carrot Crudite Board with Z'atar Hummus
Katie Bird Bakes’ Carrot Cake Scones
Jessie Sheehan Bakes' Chocolate Carrot Loaf Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
Marianne Cooks’ Carrot and Zucchini Mini Muffins with a Cinnamon Frosting
Baking the Good's Roasted Carrot and Herby Feta Galette
Laurel Street Kitchen's
Confetti Kitchen’s Harissa-Roasted Carrots with Lentils and Yogurt
Prickly Fresh’s Carrot Cake Blondies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Forty-nine Figs' Carrot Pie
Loko Kitchen's Miso White Carrot Pie with Black Sesame Crust
Gobble the Cook's
Butter Loves Company’s Iced Carrot Cake Cookies
Champagne and Cookies' Savory Carrot and Cauliflower Crumble with Za'atar and Herbed Feta
Easy and Delish’s Carrot Spaghetti
Suburban Pie and Treat’s Carrot Pineapple Raisin Pie
Catgrammer's Triple Ginger Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Hello Flour’s Macro-Friendly Carrot/Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese
Le Petit Eats’ Carrot Cake Breakfast Bars w/ Maple Coconut Icing
Dukkah Queen's Carrots and Friends Salad (pickled, raw and roasted)
Amanda Skrip's Rainbow Roasted Carrots with Citrus, Fennel and Arugala
Flotte Lotte's Carrot Apple Pie
Cook Til Delicious’ Mini Carrot Cake
Smart in the Kitchen’s Curried Carrot Ginger Soup (Whole30)
Candace Nelson of Pizanna’s Vegan Carrot Birthday Cake
Farm and Coast Cookery's Carrot and Herbed Ricotta Phyllo Tart
Pie Girl Bakes’ Five Spice Carrot Bundt Cakes with Bourbon Cream Cheese Glaze
Zestfulkitchen's Moroccan Stuffed Portobellos
Mom’s Kitchen Handbook’s Salad with Miso Ginger Carrot Dressing
What’s Karen Cooking’s Spiced Cornbread w/ Carrots, Pecans & Chili Butter
Diane Morrisey's Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots and Lemon
Rumbly in my Tumbly's Carrot Chai Pie
Sweet Pillar Food’s Carrot and Date Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette
Week Night Bite's
Pies and Prejudice's Carrot Pie with Maple and Cardamon
Feed The Swimmer's Air Fried Rainbow Carrot Chips with Tzatziki
Plum Lucky Pie Pi's Roasted Carrot Pot Pie
Smoothies and Sundaes’ Carrot Cake Sourdough
Blossom to Stem's Caramelized Carrots with Fennel, Ricotta, and Walnuts
Kate Aliberti's "Hop Scotch" Pie- Carrot Custard with Brown Sugar, Honey, Cinnamon and Scotch
Annie Madison's Morning Glory Muffins
The Dirty Whisk's Carrot and Herbed Ricotta Tart
Jill Salama's Carrot Latkes with Cranberry Aioli (Paleo)
Food By Mars' Paleo Carrot Walnut Loaf Cake
The Olive and Mango's Carrot Cake Roll
Easy Gourmet Living's
A Modest Feast's Pomegranate-Molasses-Glazed Carrots With Crispy Chickpeas and Feta
Seed and Mills' Carrot Cake with Tahini Caramel Frosting
Its a Vegworld Afterall's Zesty Carrot Spirals
When we get a rainy day, and trust us, it is not that often, we make soup. This was a new one for us and was inspired by the half market rotisserie chicken sitting in the fridge. Yes, it is super easy to roast a chicken, but sometimes it is even easier to buy the organic one already ready to roll at the market. When it is just us, the little family of four and not the big family of ten, it usually gets us one dinner, one lunch and then one extra something. This soup combines all the flavors that are a usual home run with the kids as they love Mexican food, and they love playing with their food and this soup lets them have and do both. The flavors of chili, cumin, and cilantro are warming, and when served with all the condiments like avocado, lime, cheese, chips and sour cream, you get the feelings of chili or taco night but the soup is a whole lot lighter. We added some heat with hot sauces and the kids loved crushing the chips into the soup. The oldest wanted it for lunch the next day, and for any mom serving a new dish to pick eaters, that is the best compliment we can receive!
Chicken Tortilla soup
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
32 ounces chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cups water
1 box strained tomatoes, about 26 ounces
1 onion, diced
4-ounce can of mild green chili
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. Ancho chili pepper
1-tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken
Tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, cheese, lime, cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and salt and cook for 2 minutes, then add garlic, green chili, and the spices and sauté for five minutes, until everything begins to soften. Add the tomato paste and sauté for 2 more minutes.
Add the water, stock and tomatoes, then the fresh cilantro and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for one hour.
Add the chicken and corn into the soup and cook for another ten minutes so both heat through.
Serve and let everyone top as they like!
We were lucky enough to get a whole lamb from the farmers in Idaho, and have cooked all the different cuts this past year. These lamb chops are simple and delicious and there is something about the fact that the kids can pick them up and eat them off the bone that they love! These spices are close to the traditional french way, thyme, rosemary, fennel, but they are easily tweaked in any direction. Add some oregano, and cumin, or try some ginger. Anything goes!
Rack of Lamb
2 racks of lamb, approximately 8-10 chops, frenched
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/3 cup of olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Remove lamb from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425. In a small sauté pan place fennel seeds and cook on medium heat until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Place in plastic zip lock with garlic, thyme, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add lamb and seal; mix so lamb is thoroughly coated with marinade. Place on a roasting rack set inside a roasting pan. Place in oven and roast meat until it reaches 145 on a meat thermometer, (about 20 minutes) Remove from oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil, (meat will continue cooking.) Slice off chops and serve.
And, don't forget to check out our Etsy store for our Thank You Notes and Greeting Cards!
Yes, we know, we post a lot of pesto recipes, but we just can't help ourselves. When one member of the family rejects most vegetables but embraces this green, iron rich sauce, you do what you have to do. This pesto gets a change up with the addition of the sunflower seeds which surprisingly give the pesto a nuttier flavor. And, the lemon zest adds a citrus punch that pairs well with the herbal flavor of the spinach. You will be thrilled when everyone asks for thirds!
Spinach Pesto with Sunflower Seeds
Makes about 2 cups
1 package or bag of baby spinach
2 cloves of garlic
5-6 ounces of Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
Zest of 1 lemon
1-cup olive oil
½ tsp. of salt
Place garlic and sunflower seeds in food processor and pulse until combined. Add cheese and pulse until almost smooth, there will be some chunks. Add spinach and pulse 5 times, or so, until spinach begins to break down. Drizzle in olive oil while running and process until smooth. Add lemon zest and salt and pulse twice.
Serve with pasta or pizza or on toast!
Hosting the falling into winter book club means soup, and this tasty lentil soup hit the spot. With the addition of the smoked paprika and pancetta, the soup took on a heartier flavor, filled with spice and that porky richness that pancetta can provide. Yes, there is a bit of dicing, but once it all goes in the pot, you can walk away and let the stove do all the work. Toast some bread for dipping and let the conversation ensue!
Red Lentil Soup with Pancetta
4 carrots peeled and diced.
1 red onion, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bulb of fennel, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces of diced pancetta
3 stalks of celery, diced
8 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 cups of red lentils
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tablespoon Zataar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. salt plus more to taste
Add olive oil into a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add pancetta and lightly brown. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions begin to soften and turn translucent. Add the rest of the vegetables and the salt. Sauté until they begin to caramelize and soften. Add thyme, zataar and smoked paprika. Stir. Add in the red lentil and stir for one to two minutes. Add in all the liquid, bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until lentils and vegetables are soft, about 40 minutes.
No Jewish holiday is complete at our house without Grandma Alice's brisket. She may not be around anymore, but her recipe lives on. The meat always comes out tender, and moist and the gravy is redolent with onions and tomato flavor. It's a simple dish, one that cooks without constant attention and always leaves the crowd satiated. It also can be made a day in advance, and then warmed before slicing.
Grandma Alice’s Chuck Brisket
1 “First Cut” Brisket (5-7 lbs.)
2-4 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
3 yellow onions, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3 cups Tomato juice (preferably organic/ no salt added)
Rinse meat, pat dry. Rub ½ of paprika on fatty side of meat. Put in hot pan to brown (each side about 5 minutes.) Rub remaining paprika on other side- crown. Remove meat once browned on both sides.
Make a bed of onions and half of the garlic in roasting pan. Place brisket on top. Scatter remaining garlic on top. Put ½ cup of water, ½ cup of tomato juice in the pan used to brown the meat. Scrape paprika and browned bits into liquid mixture. Pour over brisket.
Pour an additional 2 ½ cups of tomato juice over brisket. Cover with foil. Cook 3-4 hours until soft. Best cooled over night. (Separate sauce from meat) Slice meat cold. Put in pan, cover with sauce with fat removed. Heat covered until hot.
We are big lamb fans. Not only is it a source of high-quality protein, it is also an outstanding source of many vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. These meatballs are a super easy dinner that can be served with all sorts of dips like hummus and tzatziki, and pita. We like to make these into little pita pockets as the kids will eat anything that looks like a burrito! They are bright in flavor, a unique twist with the orange zest, and the spices give them just enough kick to keep things interesting. And, the best thing is they easily can be on the table in under thirty minutes!
Easy Lamb Meatballs
Makes about 8-10 meatballs
1 lb ground lamb
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of minced cilantro
1 tablespoon Za’atar
1 tsp. salt
zest of half an orange
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Mix all together with your hands and scoop into 1 ½ inch round balls. Place on a cookie sheet
Bake for about 20 minutes
Serve with Pita and Tzatziki
2017 has become the year of chili for the little boys of the family and any time we can get protein and vegetables into their growing bodies is a win. The smallest child hates anything that even looks like vegetable, so the fact that he downs this without hesitation is a wonderful wonder. The sweet potato addition is courtesy of goop and Gwyneth Paltrow's chili recipe and we like how it imparts a sweet and heartiness to the dish. We keep this chili mild as we don't want to jinx a good thing, but the combo of spices still brings lots of flavor and smokiness. You could certainly add a jalapeño to kick it up a notch, and that would be a tasty addition.
Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Peppers
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
1 box of diced tomatoes
1.5 lbs of ground dark meat turkey
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 gloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of turkey broth or chicken broth
1/2 cup of sweet peppers, diced (this can be a regular bell pepper)
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ancho chili pepper
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander
2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp salt
In a large soup pot or deep saucepan, add 1 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add your onions and 1 tsp of salt and cook a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add garlic, celery, carrots, peppers, and your sweet potatoes and cook over medium heat until all is beginning to brown and soften.
Push the veggies to the side and add the rest of your olive oil. Add your turkey and spread out along the half of the pan bottom without disturbing for two minutes. Them mix all together and cook until meat is cooked through. Add your spices, the rest of your salt and mix. Add in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn heat to medium low and simmer for about 40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve with cheese, cilantro, lime, avocado and sour cream, and let everyone decide!
We are very excited to share this spring recipe with you! We are doing an instagram collaboration with Annie Garcia of @whatannieseating, www.whatannieseating.com and a host of other wonderful chefs to celebrate the PEA! Spring has sprung and it is time to start coming out of hibernation. The colors are brightening, the food gets a little sweeter and a little lighter. This recipe is one of my mom's specialties. She is a brave cook who tosses caution to the wind and often embarks on bigger cooking projects than I do in the day to day. This homemade ravioli with sugar snap pea puree is a wonderful recipe that celebrates all we love about spring. The filling has just a hint of sweetness and the simple garlic sauce lets the peas shine. If you don't have time to make the ravioli, simply do the sauce with store bought, no harm no foul!
Sugar Snap Pea Puree Ravioli with Garlic Butter Sauce
5-dozen or so Ravioli
1 ½ cups of fresh sugar snap peas, shelled
¼ cup chives, minced
1/3 cup of vegetable broth
½ teaspoon of salt
3 oz. fresh mozzarella
For ravioli dough:
3 cups flour
3 tablespoons of milk
1 egg yolk, whisked
1 stick of butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup shelled peas
1/2 tsp salt
For dough, place flour, eggs and milk into stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix until dough forms. Remove from mixer and knead on counter until smooth. You can also do this in a food processor.
Let rest for half an hour.
For filling, steam peas until crisp tender, then puree in blender with vegetable broth and salt. Add mozzarella and briefly blend. Fold in Chives and set aside.
Divide dough into quarters and run through pasta machine. Start at 1, run through then fold into thirds. Rotate so seams face the machine then repeat 2 more times. Then, continue process until you reach 6 on the machine.
Lie out sheets of pasta and place 1 teaspoon of filling every inch, inch and a half. Dab egg yolk along edges and in between filling then cover with another sheet of pasta. Run over edges with your fingers and cut with a ravioli cutter or knife into a square. Place finished ravioli on a floured board. You can also use cookie cutters
In a sauté pan, place butter, and garlic. Slowly melt butter and when it is foamy, turn heat to low and add peas and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Bring water to a boil and drop in ravioli, don’t crowd the pot. When ravioli floats to the surface, they are done, about 2-3 minutes. Toss with sauce and serve immediately.
*for garnish, you can steam a few whole sugar snap peas and toss with pasta and sauce.
*Uncooked ravioli can be easily frozen. Place on a sheet tray and freeze individually, then once frozen combine into a Ziploc for future use.
*if making pasta is too time consuming, serve sauce with pre-made cheese ravioli
Be sure the check out these wonderful instagram accounts, blogs, and the hashtag, #easypeasyforspring to see what recipes they came up with to celebrate spring and the pea!
Here are their instragram names:
@Bondandtaylor, @Amandaskrip, @Thegirlfromthe3rdfloor, @Pricklyfresh , @Mindyscookingobsession, @Cocoaandsalt, @theGoodcooker, @Blackthornpublishing, @Days_of_food, @Marypardoux, @Smartinthekitchen, @Cooksandkid, @My.recipe.addiction, @Thewholeelchilada, @Gobblethecook,
@Weelicious , @Pamelasalzman, @Feedtheswimmers
@Gingeredwhisk, @Its_a_vegworld_afterall, @Blossomtostem,
@whatannieseating, @holajalapeno @somethingnewfordinner
And, here are their blogs:
We are always experimenting with different pastas that do not have a tomato base, as Mom hates cooked tomatoes. This pasta came together on a rainy night with what we had in the crisper. The little ones have been enthusiastic about eating Zucchini, so perhaps we over bought, hoping to strike while the new taste affection was hot. This was a way to use up the last lonely one! By using fresh pasta, the only thing that you are really waiting on is the zucchini to soften and brown, whereby making this a twenty minute supper. The combo of lemon, Parmesan, and garlic is classic and adding a hint of vinegar adds a layer of flavor to this quick cooking sauce. Enjoy!
*This pasta is great also with no pasta at all! Use a spiralizer or a mandoline to cut the Zucchini into noodles or ribbons. Use 3 large Zucchini if omitting the pasta. Follow recipe for sauce just omitting the Zucchini from the sauce. Blanch them in the boiling water until al dente and finish the same way.
Zucchini, Spinach, Garlic and Lemon Linguini
1 package fresh linguini
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 large zucchini, diced
½ tsp. salt plus ½ tsp. salt
½ pound baby Spinach, rinsed
zest of half a lemon
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon coconut vinegar or rice vinegar
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Begin boiling water for linguini.
In a large sauté pan add butter and Olive oil on medium high heat. When butter begins to foam, add garlic and zucchini. Add first ½ tsp salt. When the veggies begin to brown add your pasta to the water to cook.
Add spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice and vinegar along with the rest of the sale to the zucchini and stir until spinach wilts. Add two ladles of pasta water and stir until water thicken slightly.
When pasta is cooked, add to vegetables and mix, adding in the cheese. If you need a little more pasta water, add now.
Serve with extra cheese.
This gives everyone a little of what they want. The kids get their cheese and pasta fix, the adults get a little lighter version of a lasagna, and any gluten free eaters have a hearty main dish. When the kids were little this actually could pass as noodles, wink wink, but they have gotten more savvy over the years. Substituting the squash for the pasta lightens up the dish and also provides a nice sweetness.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
3 spaghetti squashes, cut in half with the seeds removed
2-3 cups tomato sauce or Bolognese sauce depending on preference
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons more for tossing
Preheat oven to 400. Using 2 tablespoons olive oil, rub cut side of squash and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake until squash are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Let cool and then using a fork, scrape flesh from skin. When all the squash resembles noodles, toss with remaining olive oil and set aside.
Drop oven temperature to 350. In a small bowl mix ricotta, salt, pepper and nutmeg. In your casserole, place a few ladles of sauce, then scatter about half of the squash. On top of squash, spread most of the ricotta leaving a few tablespoons to drop on the top, and half of the remaining sauce. Scatter half of the mozzarella then the remaining squash. Add the remaining sauce, mozzarella, and scatter over the top the parmesan, basil, and the rest of the ricotta.
Place in oven and cook until cheese and sauce is bubbly, about 30 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, loosely place tin foil over the top and continue cooking. When cooked, remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes one 11 x 13inch casserole
This dish is in heavy rotation in our house as all generations enjoy it. It can be made in under thirty minutes so makes for a great weeknight meal. Get the kids involved in separating the lettuce leaves and mixing the sauce. The grown-ups like to add a little heat in the wrapping process. We like this meal as for kids it has lots of veggies, good protein and usual the plates come back clean.
Minced Chicken in Lettuce Cups
1 lb. ground chicken meat
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 small zucchinis, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 scallions, diced
¼ tsp salt
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely minced
Lettuce leaves, either iceberg, butter, or Boston Bibb
2 tsp. plus 2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Mirin
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tsp. marmalade (orange, apricot, lemon)
½ tsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. sesame seeds
In a small bowl mix 2 tsp. sesame oil, the rice wine vinegar, Mirin, soy sauce, marmalade, and brown sugar. Set aside.
Sautee garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil, then add zucchini, carrots, and scallions. Add salt. Sautee until everything begins to brown and begins to get tender. Push all the vegetables to the side of sauté pan and add the remaining sesame oil, then the chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked all the way through then mix the veggies and chicken together. Add sauce and cook for two minutes until sauce thickens and reduces slightly.
Serve in lettuce cups with rice.
This is one of our go to proteins for any special occasion. We just made it for New Year's Eve and didn't have one slice left! It maybe a bit decadent in terms of cuts of meat, but it is a crowd pleaser everytime. So easy and simple to make, you just roast and leave to sit and finish cooking, then slice! Done! We keep the spices simple, but you could certainly take this tenderloin in any direction, using whatever dried spices are your favorite. Serve with chimichurri or a horseradish sauce.
Serves 12 or 8 with leftovers
1 3-4 lb beef tenderloin, at room temperature
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to cover about 1/4 cup
Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
Rub tenderloin with olive oil, Kosher salt & ground pepper. (Or whatever other spices you like for your meats.)
Roast 40 min at 450 F.
Let stand 20 minutes outside of oven tented with Aluminum foil before slicing.
*you MUST let the tenderloin rest, this is where the cooking finishes and all the juices return to the meat.
This dish screams fall. While it hasn't been very cold here, we were still craving a hearty dinner showcasing some fall veggies. The squash and pancetta combination gives you that ideal sweet and savory taste that makes the time it takes to make risotto in the first place, worth it. Yes, there is a lot of stirring but this is where you can enlist a child over ten or a husband to get in the game and help out. Creamy, salty, sweet, delicious.
Acorn Squash Risotto with Pancetta
1 small yellow onion, diced
5 slices of pancetta, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 ½ cups or Campanini or Arborio Rice
2 cups peeled and diced acorn squash
½ cup white wine
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt plus more salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
Place stock in a pan and warm.
In a Dutch oven or deep pot brown the pancetta then remove. Add olive oil, onions and 1 teaspoon of salt and sauté on medium heat until softened, about five minutes. Add squash and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, and then add one ladle of warm stock and cover for about 5 minutes until the bottom of the pot is dry again.
Add the rice and stir, toasting the rice for about 2minutes. Then, add the wine and stir until liquid is absorbed. Then, continue adding one or two ladles of stock in at time, stirring continuously only adding the next one when all the liquid has been absorbed.
After about 20 minutes rice should be done, there will be no more bite left in the rice, tender. If you run out of stock and rice still needs more time add a little warm water and continue stirring.
When rice is cooked stir in half of the cheese and the pancetta and then serve with the remaining cheese and parsley sprinkled on top.
My mother has never been a fan of cooked tomatoes, so marinara was never our go to sauce. While she always made meatballs to satisfy my Dad, she was and is always looking for new ways to get what she likes on the table, even if it means making two kinds of pasta for a family supper. This mushroom pasta is easy and decadent. The rich, earthy, and creamy notes eat well with a glass of chilled white wine. (Maybe just what she needs after having to satisfy such diverse and demanding palates.)
Wild Mushroom Pasta
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Butter
½ Onion, diced
3 cups of assorted Mushrooms, cleaned with a paper towel and sliced (Chanterelles, Cremini, Oyster, White)
2 tsp Salt
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Oregano, minced
½ cup Heavy Cream or Half and Half
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 ladle of pasta water
1 tablespoon flat leaf Parsley, minced
In a large sauté pan place the olive oil and the butter. Add the diced onions and sauté on medium high heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the salt. Saute on high heat, shaking the pan. When the mushroom release their water and begin to soften, add the garlic and oregano.
Add cream and on low heat, let reduce until the cream thickens a bit
Cook one package of pasta (Penne, Garganelli, Gemelli or Fettucini) and reserve one ladle of pasta water.
Toss the pasta, the mushrooms, the pasta water, and 3/4 of the Parmesan. Mix until the pasta is well coated then place in serving bowl and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and the parsley.
We are always experimenting, trying to find new ways to spice up a salad. Lately, we have been obsessed with grilling some of the vegetables and combining them with raw. It gives the salad a nice combination and texture of soft versus crunchy and the char on the grilled veggies imparts a nice smoky flavor. What really though turns this salad on in the vinaigrette. Sweet, floral, spicy, tart, and tangy. It hits all the right umami notes. Try leftovers in a rice bowl with some steamed spinach and baked salmon.
Kale, Grilled Vegetable and Grilled Chicken salad with Coconut Lime vinaigrette
3 cups kale, stemmed and sliced fine
2 cups red leaf lettuce sliced or shredded into bite sized pieces
1 small eggplant sliced into ¼ inch rings
5 scallions with tips removed
1 zucchini sliced long ways into ¼ inch thick pieces
1 yellow squash sliced long ways into ¼ inch thick pieces
1 firm stone fruit, diced (can be plums or peaches)
¼ cup radishes thinly sliced
2 Persian cucumbers, diced
1 chicken breast
½ -1 cup coconut lime vinaigrette
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
On the grill or in a grill pan, grill eggplant, squash, zucchini and scallions until tender, then dice. Set aside.
Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and grill in pan or on grill. (About 5 minutes per side.) Remove from heat and dice.
Dress kale with ½ cup dressing and massage. Let kale sit for at least five minutes.
Toss all ingredients together and add more dressing to your liking.
Coconut lime Vinaigrette
Makes about 2 cups
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 3 limes
6 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons of fresh mint, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1-cup full fat coconut milk
3 cloves garlic minced
1 Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, garlic and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until mixed.
Serve with rice bowls or as dressing for any salad including the Kale, Grilled Vegetable and Grilled Chicken salad.
The little one loves soup, so we are always trying to find new combinations. This "classic" gets a twist by the use of the bounty of late summer heirloom tomatoes. The fennel seeds add a sweet undertone and feel free to experiment with different varieties of heirlooms. When we make it for the kids, we add a gooey grilled cheese on the side for dunking and for the adults a fresh salad.
Heirloom Tomato Soup
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tablespoons of flour
1 small can tomato paste
8 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sugar
4 large heirloom tomatoes or 6 small, peeled and roughly diced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, sliced
In a large pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, shallots and celery and saute until translucent. About seven minutes. Add fennel seeds, garlic, and oregano, and cook another few minutes. Add flour and cook for two minutes, then add tomato paste. Cook for one more minute and watch the heat so bottom does not burn.
Add tomatoes, then broth and bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir, then turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 40 minutes.
Turn off heat and let soup cool. In small batches, puree in blender and then place back on stove. Adjust seasoning and serve with a sprinkle of basil on top.
*optional toppings can be shredded parmesean cheese, toasted croutons, a pinch of red pepper flakes, sour cream.
*to peel tomatoes: bring a large pot of water to boil. Make a small x on the bottom of each tomato and plunge into boiling water for 45 seconds. Remove and place in bowl of ice water. Skin should just slide off.
Every generation in our house loves take-out Orange Chicken, so that inspired us to try to make our own. This dish is lighter then your normal delivery as the only breading you have is a light coating of cornstarch and it is pan fried, not deep fried. It has a sweet and sour flavor that hits those citrus notes, with a subtle heat from the ginger and chili flakes. If you are making this for kids, you may want to skip the chili flakes and add some at the end for the grown-ups.
Make-In Orange Chicken
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. orange zest
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ tsp. red chili flakes
½ inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
Canola oil for frying
Scallions or sesame seeds for garnish( about one scallion and 1 tsp. sesame seeds)
In a small saucepan bring orange juice, zest, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, chili flakes, ginger and garlic to a boil. Then, turn heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half.
Pat chicken pieces with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
In a large bowl add salt and cornstarch and toss in chicken until all pieces are well coated.
In a large sauté pan or wok heat enough Canola oil so that the oil comes up the side of pan about ¼ of an inch. When hot, add chicken in batches, browning on all sides. About 5 minutes per batch. Remove from pan. Drain pan of excess oil. Add all of the chicken back in and pour sauce over. Heat for 1-2 minutes until all of chicken is coated. Then, sprinkle sesame seeds or diced scallions over the top and serve.
*If you want a thicker sauce add 1 tsp. of cornstarch to the sauce when you add it to the chicken.
Serve with Rice
In our family, we are always looking for ways to tweak the basic pasta sauces we always make. Everyone loves meat sauce, and this version gets a nice herby kick from the Italian sausage and dried herbs. If you are cooking for adults only, or your kids like a little bang in their bite, substitute the sweet Italian sausage with a spicy one.
Italian Sausage and Turkey Bolognese
1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage meat (uncooked)
1 pound ground Turkey meat (light or dark, your preference)
3 carrots, peeled
½ yellow onion
1 red pepper
3 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 cup red wine
1 small can tomato paste
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh basil, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 packages of your favorite pasta
In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and then add your meats. Season the meats with 1 teaspoon of salt and the dried spices. Brown meats then remove into a bowl and set aside.
Place carrots, onion, red pepper, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until pureed. In the same pan you browned the meat, add the pureed vegetables, and if pan looks a bit dry add another tablespoon of olive oil. Sautee vegetables with remaining salt until their liquid begins to evaporate, then add the meat back into the pan. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, then deglaze with wine. After 2 more minutes add your tomatoes, parsley, and basil. Stir on high heat until the mixture begins to bubble, add balsamic vinegar and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for at least and hour or up to two hours. Serve with your favorite pasta and a hearty helping of Parmesan cheese.
*This recipe makes two dinners for a family of 4 using one package of pasta per meal, if serving more people this will make one dinner.
Inspired by the bounty of peas in the garden, this simple pasta dish is a great thirty minute meal. You could easily use frozen peas, just follow the same recipe. The peas give the dish a slight sweetness which is a nice counterpoint to the cheese. The bread crumbs give the dish a toasty crunch. The kids gobbled it up!
Rigatoni with Fresh Peas and Parmesean
1 cup fresh, shelled peas
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
½ cup grated parmesean
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup basil leaves, torn
1 box rigatoni
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. When boiling, add peas and blanch for 3 minutes. Remove peas and chill in ice bath until ready. Add pasta and cook until al dente, reserving ½ cup pasta water.
In sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil. Add garlic and bread crumbs. Saute until light brown and toasty. Place in small bowl and set aside. In same pan add cream, and heat on medium until bubbling and beginning to reduce. Add peas and season with salt and pepper. Keep on low heat, stirring occasionally. You want the cream to thicken slightly. Add reserved pasta water and cheese.
Toss pasta with peas and cheese sauce and the bread crumbs. Add remaining Olive oil, basil, and lemon zest.
We have been making these meatballs for as long as we have been cooking. They are based on a Marcela Hazan recipe that has been tweaked over time. My mother prefers to cook them in a pan as the recipe below states, and I prefer to cook them in the oven as I'm usually chasing children around and not always up for babysitting the stove! Either way they turn our tender and tasty. We always make double and freeze half. Again, my mother freezes with sauce, and I freeze after baking before making sauce. A tip on freezing without sauce, place them on a sheet tray and freeze, then stack in a ziploc bag.
Meatballs and Tomatoes
A slice of good quality white bread
1/3 cup milk
1 pound ground beef, preferably chuck (can sub dark meat turkey)
1 tablespoon onion chopped very fine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, ground fresh
Panko bread crumbs
1 Cup fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped or canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, chopped up, with their juices.
Put the milk and bread in a small saucepan, and turn on the heat to low. When the bread has soaked up all the milk, mash it to a pulp with a fork. Remove from heat and cool. Put into a bowl the chopped meat, onions, parsley, basil, egg, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the grated parmesan, nutmeg, the bread and milk mush, salt, black pepper. Gently knead the mixture with your hands without squeezing it. When all the ingredients are evenly combined, shape it gently and without squeezing into balls about 1 ½ inch in diameter. You can use an ice cream scooper.
Place breadcrumbs on plate, enough to cover the plate. Roll the balls lightly in the breadcrumbs. Choose a sauté pant that can subsequently accommodate all the meatballs in a single layer. You may need to do in batches. Pour in enough vegetable oil to accommodate ¼ inch up the sides. Turn on heat to medium high, and when the oil is hot, slip in the meatballs. Brown the meatballs on all sides, turning them carefully so they won’t break.
Remove the pan from the heat, tip the pan slightly and with a spoon, remove as much of the fat as possible. Return the pan to the burner over medium heat, add the chopped tomatoes with their juice, a pinch of salt, and turn the meatballs over once or twice to coat them well. Cover the pan and adjust the heat to cook steady simmer for about 20-25 minutes,. Taste, correct for salt and serve alone or with spaghetti.
Alternative cooking method: Preheat oven to 350 F- place meatballs on cookie sheet with lip after rolling breadcrumbs and bake until cooked through about 20-30 minutes. Then, add both meatballs and tomatoes to sauté pan and heat until sauce is bubbling.
The Littlest member of our family helped put this one together as a welcome home for a Dad coming home from a business trip. Kids love getting their hands dirty. Once you have everything organized its super easy for them to help layer. Whatever veggies you have in the fridge like zucchini or mushrooms can be sautéed simply then added as a layer.
3-4 cups of tomato sauce or Bolognese
1 package of no cook lasagna noodles
16 ounces whole milk ricotta
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt plus 1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup julienned fresh basil
1 ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup finely grated parmasean cheese
1 bunch of Russian kale or swiss chard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then lightly coat a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil. Set aside. Boil a small pot of water with 1 teaspoon salt. Rip kale or chard from stems and blanch in boiling water for one minute. Strain and pat dry, then roughly chop and set aside. In a small bowl add ricotta, egg, nutmeg, garlic powder, the rest of the salt, pepper and basil. Mix well and set aside.
In baking dish, ladle enough sauce to coat the bottom and cover with uncooked noodles. Spread about one third of the ricotta mixture on top of noodles, then sauce to cover lightly. Sprinkle ½ cup mozzarella then cover with another layer of noodles. Repeat with another third of the ricotta, then add the chopped kale or chard. Top with sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. Repeat with noodles, ricotta, sauce and cheese until you run out of noodles, you should get about 3-4 layers. On top layer of noodle, pour on whatever sauce is left, make sure the lasagna is on the saucier side as you need the extra sauce to keep the noodles from drying out. Top with parmesean cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for about 40 minutes until noodles are soft and sauce is bubbling. Remove foil and cook another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
To use for pizza, pasta, or lasagna
1 large brown onion
4 cloves garlic
6-8 medium carrots, peeled
3-4 stalks celery
1 large bulb of fennel
8-10 leaves of fresh basil, torn
2 teaspoons dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, diced fine
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 boxes diced tomatoes
2 box pureed tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
Warm olive oil in saute pan. In food processor, blend onions and garlic. Add to saute pan with oil and cook on medium heat. While onions are cooking, add carrots, celery and fennel to food processor and blend. Once onions are translucent, add other vegetable and continue sautéing. Sprinkle with salt. Add basil, oregano, fennel seeds, and thyme to vegetables. Once everything is tender, add capers, anchovy paste and pepper. Stir. Add in tomatoes and vinegar and simmer on medium low heat for about one hour. Adjust seasoning.
A square meal is satisfying, nourishing, complete.
A round table includes all.