Found: Some porcini mushrooms bought in optimism, about to go; apple juice
Risotto may seem like it takes a long time to make, but to me, it's really not, and any time spent making this dish will reap tremendous taste bud rewards, not to mention a fabulous smelling kitchen. I used Tyler Florence's recipe (link HERE) but replaced the wine with apple juice, and used porcini mushrooms instead of the crimini and portobello mushrooms. Result? De-lish!
It's Kids Clothes Week, so family and house will be de-prioritized for seven days. Sorry, sweeties! Fortunately, I have a stash of yummies in the freezer for family dinners. This is one of our favorites, and when I make it fresh, I always freeze half of the meatballs and sauce for another time. This is how they come out of the freezer:
You can find the recipe here.
Instead of pasta, I like to serve these with zucchini noodles. I have a new toy, the Spriralizer.
It produces wonderful noodles from any vegetable.
If you're not a fan of slimy zucchini (who is, I wonder?) try this trick: Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and let sit for an hour or so. It draws a bunch of the water out for a firmer "noodle." See how much water I was extracted by the salt (below)? For you smoothie lovers, don't throw away the zucchini water -- save it as a boost in your breakfast treat.
To cook, simply sauté in a little butter, olive oil, or pesto. Serve with meatballs.
8 c. peeled, chopped apples
4 c. fresh or frozen strawberries
½ c. water
½ c. Stevia or sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until fruit is soft enough to mash with a fork. Remove from heat and cool. Use a blender or a food processor to blend until smooth.
1 lb. green beans, washed and trimmed
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 egg whites
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir together the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place in a shallow bowl or plate. Whisk together the egg whites until frothy.
Dip the green beans into the egg white and then roll in the bread crumbs. Place on the parchment paper in a single layer. Repeat until all the green beans are coated in bread crumbs.
Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes until green beans are nice and crispy, shaking the baking sheet once during cooking.
I just love cabbage, but not the usual salads made with cabbage, especially cole slaw. I found this recipe and altered it slightly. It is crisp, balanced and delicious. Give me your feedback if you try it!
¼ large head red cabbage, cored and shredded
1 to 2 ounces gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
⅓ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Instructions: Put the cabbage, cheese, walnuts, cranberries, oil, and vinegar in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Toss, taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately.
Grown Up Mac and Cheese
This is a recipe from the Neely's on Food Network. I just love them!
Gina: Pat, can you give me a little sugar for these peaches?
Pat: Honey, I'll give you sugar any time you want it.
Gina: (giggling) That's my man!
The only ingredient change I've made is to substitute gouda cheese for the blue cheese, as it tends to aggravate my allergies. But here is the original ingredient list:
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
2 cups favorite shaped pasta: elbow macaroni, cavatappi, conchiglie, lumaconi, etc.
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
Cook the bacon until crisp but not overdone. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth.
Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes, or as I have done, a 8x10 casserole dish. Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle
the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups crushed potato chips
lollipop sticks from a craft or party store, or wooden skewers
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
2. Crush potato chips onto a plate. In a large bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Dip the chicken cubes into the egg mixture, then coat well with potato chips. Spread the nuggets onto the baking sheet.
3. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn nuggets over, and bake for 10 minutes more, until golden brown. Remove baking sheet from oven, and insert a lollipop stick into each nugget.
It's a big week for country music celebrity birthdays! On Oct 22, Shelby Lynne (remember her from Walk the Line movie?) turned 44. If you haven't heard her music, and you need a good cry, check out her song Telephone. On Oct 23, Dwight Yoakam turned 56. On Oct 25 singer Jeanne Black turned 75 and Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown turned 54. And today, Oct 26, Keith Urban turns 45.
In honor of these musicians, I've offered up some southern recipes for you: pinto bean cakes and cheese grits.
Pinto Bean Cakes
1 cup dried pinto beans
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup celery
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup scallion, thinly sliced (whites only)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon tabasco
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Flour for dredging
Pick through the beans to remove damaged beans, clumps of dirt and pebbles. Soak dried beans in a large pot of water overnight. After the overnight soak, any beans that have floated to the top should also be discarded.
Drain and rinse beans. In a medium saucepan, cover them with water. Bring to
a boil and cook, over medium high heat until tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside 1/4 of the beans.
In a food processor, combine the rest of the beans with eggs, cheese, celery,
parsley, scallions, lemon zest. Pulse to make a rough paste. Remove to a medium
bowl. Mix in bread crumbs, olive oil, Tabasco, salt, pepper and reserved whole
beans. Stir lightly to combine all ingredients.
Divide the mixture into 12 even patties.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, pat the
cakes with flour and brown the cakes in the pan, cooking until they are browned,
about 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining
Serve with sour cream or relish, if desired.
4 T. butter
5 c. milk
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1 garlic clove, pressed1 1/2 cups uncooked stone-ground white grits
1 (10-oz.) block sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated
Bring 2 Tbsp. butter, the next 4 ingredients, and 5 cups water to a boil in a medium-size Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours or until thickened. Stir in cheese and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter until melted. Serve immediately.
Oh, blueberries and raspberries are abundant and beautiful right now. Time to break out one of my favorite salads!
1 (10 ounce) package mixed salad greens
1 pint fresh blueberries
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
Instructions: In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the blueberries, walnuts, and raspberry vinaigrette. Top with feta cheese to serve.
I make this side dish with Yukon gold potatoes, but I think you could use any potato and it would be fabulous. How pretty sweet potatoes would be!
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme (leaves from 4 sprigs)
2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
Cut the potatoes in 1/8 inch intervals, but not all the way through, as shown above. Put potatoes in shallow baking dish. Mix garlic and thyme together and stuff between potato slices. Melt butter and combine with olive oil; pour over potatoes. Bake 400 degrees F for 1 hour. Monitor closely -- potatoes should be crisp on outside, but done on inside.
One 15.5-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 T. chopped parsley
1/4 cup diced shallot
2 T. olive oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups (lightly packed) baby spinach leaves
1 T. chopped basil
In a medium bowl combine the chickpeas, parsley and shallot. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the chickpea mixture and toss to combine. Serve the chickpea salad over a bed of spinach leaves. Top with the yogurt sauce and a sprinkle of basil.
Yogurt with Orange Essence:
In a small bowl, stir together 3 T. plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 tsp. orange zest, 1 T. orange juice and 1/2 tsp. honey. Yield: about 1/2 cup