Monthly Archives: September 2016

Italian Wedding Soup

italianweddingsoup

The term “wedding soup” is a mistranslated phrase of the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata (“married soup”),” which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together. The minestra maritata recipe was long popular in Toledo, Spain, before pasta became an affordable commodity to most Spaniards. The modern wedding soup is quite a bit lighter than the old Spanish form, which contained more meats than just the meatballs of modern Italian-American versions. This version uses sausage for the meatballs, but you could use beef or even ground turkey. I used the ever popular kale as the green, but it could be spinach or other hearty greens.

Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound italian sausage
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 4 ounces ditalini pasta
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  3. Combine the sausage, ricotta, pesto, parmesan, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp of pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Mix with your hands until just combined.
  5. Form into 24 small meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each.
  6. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Broil until lightly browned.
  8. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat.
  9. Add the onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and ½ tsp salt.
  10. Cook, stirring, until the onion is softened.
  11. Stir in the chicken broth, 2 cups water, kale, and ditalini.
  12. Cover and bring to a boil, then partially uncover and reduce the heat to simmer.
  13. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.
  14. Add the meatballs and simmer, uncovered, until warmed through.
  15. Season with salt and pepper.
  16. Drizzle each serving with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan and parsley.

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Arroz Con Pollo

arrozconpollo

This is a very nice comfort dish, and a one skillet meal.

Arroz con Pollo

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp annatto seeds
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, medium dice
  • 1 roma tomato, medium dice
  • 1 jalapeno, stems and seeds removed, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, medium dice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 4 chicken thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock, room temperature
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 lime. cut into wedges

Instructions:

  1. Heat the annatto seeds in the oil over medium-low heat until just starting to sizzle.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to steep until the oil cools to room temperature.
  3. Strain the seeds from the oil and discard the seeds.
  4. While the oil cools, make the sofrito.
  5. Combine onion, tomato, jalapeno,garlic, half bell pepper, and spices in a food processor.
  6. Process until uniform, but not smooth.
  7. Warm the annatto oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  8. Place the chicken thighs in the oil, skin-side-down; cook until brown and crispy.
  9. Turn and brown the other side.
  10. Remove from the skillet and set aside; reduce heat to medium.
  11. Add 1 cup of the sofrito to the pan.
  12. Saute, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sofrito takes on an oily texture.
  13. Add the rice and stock, stir to combine, then bring to a simmer while stirring constantly.
  14. Add the chicken pieces and any accumulated juices, then scatter the peas and bell pepper over the top.
  15. Cover (leave a little space for air to escape), reduce heat to low.
  16. Simmer until the chicken is tender and the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, about 20 minutes.
  17. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  18. Serve with cilantro and lime wedges.

 

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BLT Chopped Salad with Corn and Feta

bltcornfetasalad

This is one of our favorite salads, quick, easy, and delicious!

BLT chopped salad with corn & feta

Ingredients:

  • 2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 slices thick cut bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 cob corn, roasted
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, and corn.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, olive oil, honey, and lime juice.
  3. Whisk vigorously.
  4. Pour over salad and toss.
  5. Fold in bacon and feta.
  6. Serve!

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Pork Ramen Noodle Bowls

porkramennoodlebowls

You can either start this in the morning in the slow cooker or, if you forgot, cook it in the oven in the evening. Either way it is rich, delicious, hearty, and comforting.

Pork Ramen Noodle Bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pound pork tenderloin, excess fat trimmed
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs. miso paste
  • 4 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 packages ramen noodles (save seasoning packets for another use)
  • 4 cups baby spinach

garnishes:

  • thinly sliced radishes
  • julienned carrots
  • hardboiled eggs
  • sliced scallions
  • lime wedges
  • sambal oelek or sriracha
  • crushed peanuts or cashews
  • sesame oil drizzle at the very end

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet.
  3. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper.
  4. Sear the pork in the pan, until browned on all sides.
  5. Then slide the pan into the hot oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Flip the meat at the 7-10 minute mark.

Or:

  1. Add the chicken stock to a slow cooker.
  2. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper.
  3. Add pork to the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low about 6-8 hours.
  5. Remove pork and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Shred and chop into bite-sized pieces.
  7. To a large pot or slow cooker, add the chicken stock, miso paste, soy sauce, fish sauce and lime juice.
  8. Bring to a simmer.
  9. Add the noodles and cook until al dente, just a few minutes.
  10. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about a minute.
  11. Using tongs, divide the noodles among 4 bowls, then ladle the broth over them.
  12. Nestle the shredded pork right on top of the soup.
  13. Garnish with as much or as little of the toppings as you what.
  14. Finish with a tiny drizzle of sesame oil.

 

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Easy Beef Lo Mein

beeflomein

After you get all the chopping completed, this dish cooks really fast. I did not have a red pepper, so I used a green pepper. I missed the splash of red color. I did not have flank steak, but used sirloin instead. It worked just fine. I would have used a little corn starch in the sauce to thicken it a bit, as it was a little thin. Other than that, this is a great quick weekenight dish.

Easy Beef Lo Mein

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces lo mein noodles or spaghetti
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/2 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, chilled
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
  • 8 ounces snow peas
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4″ thick strips
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced

Instructions:

  1. Cook noodles in a medium pot of boiling salted water according to package directions.
  2. Drain and rinse with cool water, set aside.
  3. Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and honey together in a medium bowl.
  4. Slice beef against the grain as thinly as possible.
  5. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  6. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large wok or skillet over high.
  7. Add beef and cook, until medium-rare, and transfer to a plate.
  8. Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in same skillet over high.
  9. Add garlic, ginger,carrots, mushrooms, and half of the scallions, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  10. Add peas and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are softened, about 1 minute.
  11. Add oyster sauce mixture and reserved noodles.
  12. Toss with tongs, until everything is coated and sauce thickens slightly, 1–2 minutes more.
  13. Add beef and stir to combine.
  14. Divide among plates and top with remaining scallions and black pepper.

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Swordfish Cacciatore

SwordfishCacciatore

This is an excellent fish dish made on a sheet pan in the oven. Easily cut in half or multiplied. Other steaky fish would work with this recipe as well. Since it comes with a hearty vegetable mixture, serve with pasta or rice if you are hungry. Or, with some warm bread.

Swordfish Cacciatore

Ingredients:

  • Medium size yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced ¼” thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, ¼” wide strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup capers, drained
  • 4 swordfish steaks
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine the onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil on sheet pan.
  3. Toss well, and arrange in a single layer.
  4. Roast until softened and slightly brown, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from oven.
  6. In a large bowl, stir together tomatoes, wine, pinch of salt and pepper.
  7. Pour this mixture over the roasted vegetables, stir to combine.
  8. Pat the swordfish steaks dry and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Place on top of vegetable mixture in pan.
  10. Drizzle remaining olive oil on top of fish, and top with capers.
  11. Return pan to the oven.
  12. Bake until sauce thickens and fish is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven, sprinkle parsley on top and serve immediately.
  14. Serve fish on plate with vegetable mixture.
  15. You could always serve with rice or pasta.

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Chipotle Candied Bacon Pizza

CandiedChipotleBaconPizza

We love sweet spicy bacon, especially on pizza. But it works just eating the strips on their own. A local restaurant calls then piggy sticks. My wife likes blue cheese, but I do not care for it that much. So half of this pizza has blue cheese, the other half has feta. Whatever you like. You could also sprinkle arugula after it comes out of the oven and top with olive and lemon juice. But whatever fresh herbs you like is perfect. For the crust, you can make your own pizza dough, buy pizza dough, or use one of those ready made crusts. To be lazy, we like Stone Fire Pizza Crusts or their Naan as a base. We topped this pizza with fresh basil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Yum! And the I added sun dried tomatoes and then at the end, I sprinkled smoked sea salt on it.

Chipotle Candied Bacon Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
  • 8 ounces smoked blue cheese or 8 ounces feta
  • fresh herbs for topping
  • balsamic vinegar
  • pizza dough or crust

Instructions:

  1. Place a pizza stone inside your oven on the middle rack.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  3. You most definitely need a pizza peel for this.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the bacon.
  5. Cook until some of the fat has rendered but the bacon is NOT crispy yet.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and chili powder.
  7. Sprinkle it over the bacon and toss and stir.
  8. Cook until the bacon is just starting to get crispy.
  9. You do not want it very crispy or else it will burn in the oven, but you do want the fat released.
  10. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.
  11. Place it on a paper towel to drain any excess grease and slightly cool.
  12. Prepare your pizza dough or use a ready to go pizza crust.
  13. Brush the dough with olive oil.
  14. Sprinkle the fontina cheese on the dough to help everything stick.
  15. Add the bacon and the blue cheese( or feta) crumbles evenly.
  16. Open the oven and gently slip the pizza from the peel to the stone.
  17. Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes.
  18. Keep and eye on it since the oven is so hot and stones can differ.
  19. It will be done when the crust is crispy and cheese is golden.
  20. Remove the pizza by sliding it back onto the pizza peel.
  21. Top with fresh herbs and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
  22. Slice and serve immediately!

 

 

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