Monday, November 6, 2017

Macaroni Milanese

I spent some time at my sister's house this weekend while she's recovering from surgery. It's been like a retreat with my sisters and mom. We don't leave the house and the only activity is eating. We plan lunch while we are eating breakfast, and dinner while eating lunch. I have been getting New York Times recipes in my email every day -- and decided to take some time to investigate options when we were discussing dinner yesterday, and we landed on Macaroni Milanese. Universally rated a thumbs-up -- I do think this could be a keeper for my family as well (as long as they are open to mushrooms). I doubled the recipe to feed all 5 of us.

Macaroni Milense

1 lb. gemelli pasta
4 T. tomato puree
1 lb. mushrooms
8 slices of ham (can also use prosciutto)
4T. Madiera (we used dry sherry -- I'm sure red wine would work too)
4T. unsalted butter
6 T. Gruyere cheese
6 T. parmesan

  1. Cook pasta in heavily salted water
  2. In a separate saute pan, cook mushrooms, tomato puree, ham and wine over medium high heat (until liquids cook down to a glaze)
  3. When pasta is done, reserve a cup of pasta water, and then drain the pasta
  4. Return pasta to the pot, mix with cheese, butter and enough pasta water to get the cheese to melt
  5. Add the mushroom/ham combination and mix well

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pasta e Ceci

We were cleaning out the DVR yesterday, and came across an episode of America's Test Kitchen that I must have recorded (weird) -- I had the time and watched it -- and it had a recipe for Pasta e Ceci -- which sounded absolutely delicious. So my husband and I cooked to together last night. Yes, we are now at the point in our relationship where cooking together on a Saturday night is as about as exciting as it gets. This was great, by the way -- I'll eat the leftovers this week.

Pasta e Ceci (with garbanzo beans)

4oz pancetta
1 carrot (chopped)
1 celery rib (chopped)
4 garlic cloves
1 onion, chopped
1 anchovy fillet (rinsed, patted dry, minced)
2 t. chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 c. olive oil
2 cans garbanzo beans
1 14 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 t. salt
2 c. water
 8 oz. small pasta (ditalini)
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. lemon juice
salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese to taste.

In the food processor combine pancetta, carrot, celery, and garlic. Pulse several times to chop and combine. Add onion, pulse several times to incorporate. Add anchovy, rosemary and red pepper flakes, pulse again several times. Turn mixture into dutch oven, add olive oil and saute approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently

While cooking pancetta combination, put whole tomatoes into the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (not pureed).

After cooking pancetta combination, add garbanzo beans (with canning liquid), tomatoes, salt and water to the dutch oven. Heat to boil then reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.

Once the sauce has cooked for about 10 minutes, add the pasta, and continue simmering for 10 minutes.

Before serving, stir in parsley and lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mason Jar Lunches

When things are going well, I'm writing in my diary, exercising regularly, sleeping well and night and packing my lunch. I recently went through a period where I made myself lunch salads in mason jars on Sunday and had lunch ready every single day. It was FABULOUS. As a result I found a great new food blog Foxes Loves Lemons. She had some real cool combinations on her site. The recipe below I found on The Seasoned Mom.

Spinach and Bacon Mason Jar Salad

For the dressing:

½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

For the salad:

4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 red onion, diced
8 slices bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Lemon Garlic Pork with Bulgur Wheat

I cannot recall a time when my youngest child (now the only one left at home) said, "That was good Mom," when he left the dinner table. But this dish made that happen. Needless to say, I want to make it every week for the rest of the year. Poor thing, he once told me he liked a turkey sandwich and it's the only thing he gets for lunch every weekday. At the very least, this dish is going into heavy rotation.

1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked bulgur
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Bring water, bulgur, and 1/4 t. salt to boil in a saucepan, reduce heat cover, and cook for 12 minutes

Heat a bit of oil in a saute pan and cook the broccoli, remove from the pan (about 3 minutes)
Combine pork and cornstarch in a bowl, toss well
Add 1T of butter to the pan, and cook pork until browned on all sides.
Add garlic, 1/4 t. salt, chicken stock, lemon juice and honey to the pork
Heat until the sauce thickens
Stir in remaining salt, pork and basil
Top bulgur with pork mixture and serve.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Honey Soy Salmon

Easy and fast to make. Perfect week night dinner. Not everyone was a fan, but in the spirit of getting my children to eat more fish, I'm putting this on the blog for future reference.

2 Salmon Steaks
Olive Oil
2 T. Butter
3 T. Honey
3 T. Soy Sauce
2 limes

Heat the oil over medium/high heat, when oil is hot, put the salmon skin side down in pan for 5 minutes. Flip over and cook for an additional 2 minutes. When salmon is done cooking, remove to a clean plate.

Add butter, honey, juice from two limes, and soy sauce to the pan and simmer until the glaze begins to thicken. When the glaze gets to the desired consistency return the salmon to the pan and spoon glaze over the fish.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Peppery Napa Cabbage Slaw

The neighbors invited us over for a Memorial Day picnic and I wanted to make a side dish that would feed a crowd. I found the recipe for Napa Cabbage Slaw on the Simply Recipes site. I've never used Napa Cabbage before, but this is great -- I especially like the peppery flavors, and the dressing was delicious. I think the fact that I had "hot" sesame oil added to the heat -- next time I might try it with just regular...

1/3 cup slivered almonds
4 cups (1/2 lb) coarsely shredded napa cabbage
6 ounces snow peas, sliced into half-inch slices on the diagonal
2/3 cup thinly sliced radishes
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (including greens)
2/3 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro

1 Tbsp plus 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 clove peeled and minced garlic (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise


Pad Thai

Everyone is home from college and all of a sudden it's hard to feed everyone again. I have no idea who suggested we try to make Pad Thai (or why, we never eat Thai food as a family) -- but I did, and it worked out really well. This recipe was adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook. This was such a hit that we didn't even have leftovers!

4T. Oyster Sauce
7 oz dried flat rice noodles
2 T. vegetable oil
2 large egg, lightly beaten
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 small shallots, coarsely chopped
1 chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 package of baked tofu (rinsed, patted dry and cut into cubes)
1 bunch scallions chopped
4 T crushed roasted peanuts
1 1/2 t. red pepper flakes

Boil a big pot of water, add the noodles, remove from heat and let soak for 8 minutes
Meanwhile, add oil to a wok and heat, then scramble the eggs, remove from wok
Add more oil to the wok and cook garlic and shallots, add chicken and cook through. When chicken is cooked, add tofu for about 1 minute. Transfer everything to the bowl with the eggs.
Put noodles in the wok, add oyster sauce, add eggs and chicken, toss in scallions, peanuts and red pepper flakes, toss to combine. Serve with lime wedges.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Surprise! You are hosting dinner for 9 in three hours

All the kids were home from college and we had big plans to go ice skating and meet friends for dinner. It was Kate's last night at home,so we wanted to be sure we went someplace she liked. Long story short ... Plans changed on a dime and it was decided that we'd have dinner at home.

We ran to the grocery store and threw together a shopping list on the fly. Tenderloin was on sale, so I purchased that, Kate loves a red wine reduction sauce, and goat cheese mashed potatoes are becoming kind a traditional last-night-before-returning-to-college side dish.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
Rub roast with live oil
Place in roasting pan over heavy baking sheet
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
Cook for 30 minutes or until themometer reads 135 or so
Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving

Red Wine Reduction Sauce
1/2 diced shallot
1/2 c red wine
1/2 c beef stock
1T cold butter
1T Dijon mustard
1T parsley

Sautée shallots in olive oil, be careful not to burn them. Add red wine and reduce by half. Add beef stock and reduce by half. Add butter and mustard, mix well to incorporate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with the tenderloin.

Goat cheese mashed potatoes

Yukon gold potatoes (I usually do one per guest)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
8 oz goat cheese
4 T. Butter
1/2 c. Milk
1 1/2 c. Sour cream
Parmesan cheese, grated

Boil potatoes and garlic for 25 minutes. When they are soft, drain and rice potatoes and garlic into a large bowl. Add goat cheese, butter, milk, and sour cream. Turn that mixture into abating dish and sprinkle. With Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.