Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pear Gorgonzola Farfalle

8 oz boy tie pasta (farfalle)
3 ripe, firm, medium pears
2 tbsps butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 pepper
6 tbsps cream
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 dried cranberries
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
3 tbsps chopped fresh parsley
1/2 bag baby spinach
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 pine nuts
2-3 green onions, chopped.

Cook pasta al dente

Peel and core pears. Slice thinly lengthwise and then in half horizontally.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add pears and green onions. Sautee until slightly tender. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon. Set aside

Add chicken broth, salt and pepper to a pan and bring to simmer. Whisk cream and cornstarch in a separate bowl, then add to pan. Simmer until thickened. Add cranberries and simmer another minute. Remove from heat and immediately add pasta, pears & onions mixture, parsley, cheeses, pine nuts and spinach. Toss to coat and wilt spinach. Serve with additional cheese on top if desired.

Butter Chicken

If you've ever had this dish before at an Indian restaurant, you'll know why we love this recipe! If you haven't tried it, it is a lot like chicken tikka masala and it's such an easy recipe!

4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs veg oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, cut to desired size
the juice of 1 lemon
1 diced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbs curry powder
1 Tbs curry paste
2 tsp garam masala
2 cups of crushed tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup half and half
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Melt butter and oil in skillet. Add onions. Cook until translucent. Add chicken. Cook until browned. Stir in curry and garama masala. Put all other ingredients into slow cooker pot, stir. Add Chicken and onion mixture to pot. Cook for 6-8 hours. Serve over salted basmati rice.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This may seem like a strange thing to get excited about, but every time we make this, we double the recipe and then fight over the leftovers. I seriously can't get enough of it.  Here is the recipe, already doubled.

8 tbsps butter
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 mushrooms, chopped
8 tbsps flour
2 cans chicken broth
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dill
4 tsps lemon juice
4 tbsp minced fresh parsley
2 cups parmesan
16 oz. shell pasta
2 small cans of tuna
1 sleeve of ritz crackers

Preheat over to 350.

Melt 2 tbps butter in skillet. Add onion, celery and carrot and a couple tbsps of water. Cook until water is evaporated and veggies are softened. Add mushrooms. Cook 3-5 minutes more. Add a little EVOO if needed. Remove veggies from pan.

Get noodle water boiling. Cook to al dente. Drain. I do this step at the same time as the next one.

Melt remaining butter in pan. Whisk in flour. Slowly add broth and milk, whisking until smooth. Bring to a simmer. Add salt, pepper, and dill. Stir until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add lemon, parsley and 1 cup of parmesan. Whisk until smooth. Season with additional salt, pepper and lemon to taste.

Add pasta, vegetables and tuna to sauce. Stir to combine and pour into a buttered casserole dish. Crush Ritz crackers and sprinkle over the top. Sprinkle remaining parmesan over the top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

Orange-Cranberry Pork Tenderloin with Quinoa Salad

So I'm sharing a few recipes that we've loved lately. This one is from Our Best Bites' Seasonal Cookbook and it is incredible.

1-1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tsp EVOO
1 14 oz. whole berry cranberry sauce
juice of 1 orange
zest of 1 orange
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp coarse mustard
 1/2 cup chicken broth


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Rinse pork in cold water, Pat dry with paper towels Mix together garlic garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over all sides of pork.

Heat a large, oven-safe skillet to medium-high heat on the stove. Add oil and tilt pan until oil coats the bottom. Use tongs to place tenderloins in pan and sear 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

While pork is searing, whisk together cranberry sauce, orange juice, orange zest, garlic, mustard and chicken broth. When pork is seared on all sides, pour sauce into pan and bring to a simmer, scraping bottom of pan while sauce simmers 1 minute.

Place skillet in oven, uncovered and cook 20-30 minutes or until internal temp reaches 150. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Place pork on cutting board and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Return to pan and serve with extra sauce drizzled over the top.

2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup dried cranberries
zest of 1 orange

Dressing   Mix all ingredients in a blender or with an immersible blender
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
10 cracks black pepper
2 tsps coarse mustard

Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add quinoa and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to stand 5 minutes, and fluff with a fork. Chill.

Toss chilled quinoa, feta cheese, pecans, green onions, cranberries, and orange zest together. Drizzle dressing over the top and toss quickly to combine. Serve cold.

These two are just absolutely incredible together. I serve them with some broccoli on the side as well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This spinach salad recipe is a variation of Mom's, but I really love the dressing which is made from the rendered bacon fat and poured over the spinach when it's still warm. Yummy!

Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing
from Television Food Network


8 ounces young spinach
2 large eggs
8 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large white mushrooms, sliced
3 ounces red onion (1 small), very thinly sliced

Remove the stems from the spinach and wash, drain and pat dry thoroughly. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the eggs into an electric kettle and cover with cold water by at least 1-inch. Turn the kettle on. Once the water comes to a boil, the kettle will turn itself off. Leave the eggs in the water for 15 minutes. Remove and peel off the shell. Slice each egg into 8 pieces and set aside.

While the eggs are cooking, fry the bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Transfer the fat to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.

Add the mushrooms and the sliced onion to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and bacon and toss to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates or bowls and evenly divide the egg among them. Season with pepper, as desired. Serve immediately.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

I've never had a bad recipe from America's Test Kitchen, and this certainly continues that trend. We made it for dinner tonight and the broth was absolutely fabulous. If you like mushrooms, you are going to love this soup. I sauteed the veggies while the rice was cooking in the oven which saved substantial time in the end.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
From America's Test Kitchen Season 14
Serves 6 to 8
White mushrooms can be substituted for the cremini mushrooms. We use a spice grinder to process the dried shiitake mushrooms, but a blender also works.
ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed
4 1/4 
cups water
sprig fresh thyme
bay leaf
garlic clove, peeled, plus 4 cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
teaspoons baking soda
cup wild rice
tablespoons unsalted butter
pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
onion, chopped fine
teaspoon tomato paste
cup dry sherry
cups low-sodium chicken broth
tablespoon soy sauce
cup cornstarch
cup heavy cream
cup minced fresh chives
teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grind shiitake mushrooms in spice grinder until finely ground (you should have about 3 tablespoons).

2. Bring 4 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, garlic clove, ¾ teaspoon salt, and baking soda to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Add rice and return to boil. Cover saucepan, transfer to oven, and bake until rice is tender, 35 to 50 minutes. Strain rice through fine-mesh strainer set in 4-cup liquid measuring cup; discard thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Add enough water to reserved cooking liquid to measure 3 cups.

3. Melt butter in Dutch oven over high heat. Add cremini mushrooms, onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and dark fond develops on bottom of pot, 15 minutes. Add sherry, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until reduced and pot is almost dry, about 2 minutes. Add ground shiitake mushrooms, reserved rice cooking liquid, broth, and soy sauce and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until onion and mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Whisk cornstarch and remaining ¼ cup water in small bowl. Stir cornstarch slurry into soup, return to simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in cooked rice, cream, chives, and lemon zest. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.