Friday, September 30, 2011

Gnocchi with Sage-Butter Sauce

While my husband was away, two of my dear friends from Seattle sent me an awesome care package filled to the brim with goods from Trader Joes!!  Knowing that I love this dish, they included a package of gnocchi.  I decided it was time to test out another use for the tasty little balls of dough.  This was fantastic and my family finished off every last bite.

2 (12 ounce) packaged potato gnocchi (I only used one, but made enough butter sauce as if I were using two packages.  There was a lot of sauce, but I like butter!)
1/4 cup butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried sage (I used 5 fresh leaves finely chopped)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the gnocchi pasta, and cook until the float to the surface, 2 to 3 minutes; drain.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic has softened and is beginning to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the sage and salt for a few seconds, then add the cooked gnocchi.  Toss gently with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and the pepper.  Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese to serve.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tiramisu Bundt Cake

I'm glad I shared this with other people before posting the recipe.  After my first bites, I thought it was moist and delicious, but not much more flavorful than a regular white cake with white frosting.  I think my pregnancy taste buds were messing with me because everyone else raved about the cake and said they could definitely taste the coffee flavors.  My husband loved it.  So I'll let you decide for yourself.  It certainly doesn't get much easier than this (although I will say that frosting a bundt cake was not my favorite thing to do).

1 box white cake mix
1 pint coffee ice cream, melted
3 eggs
1 container, 12 oz., whipped vanilla frosting (next time I would use a 14oz. container and make the teaspoon of coffee granules a heaping teaspoon.  I could have used more frosting)
1 tsp. instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water
cinnamon sugar for dusting, optional    

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 10-cup bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray and lightly dust with flour.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs and ice cream on low speed for 1 minute.  Beat 2 minutes on medium speed.  Scrape into prepared pan.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Cook on wire rack in pan for 20 minutes.  Invert cake on to wire rack to cool completely.

In large bowl, beat frosting and instant coffee mixture until thoroughly blended.

Place cake on stand and spread with frosting.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Dust with cinnamon sugar if desired.

Make ahead tip:  Bake cake up to 2 weeks in advance.  Cool completely on wire rack, then wrap unfrosted and freeze.  Remove from freezer the day of serving and thaw for 3 hours before frosting.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Favorite Gingersnaps

We interrupt your regularly scheduled recipe post to bring you this more personal note . . .

The British call a person with red hair a "ginger".  Since I have not one, but two gingers, we get a lot of comments about the kids' hair.  On top of that, neither my husband nor I have red hair.  Or even slightly red hair.  I love it.  And I loved my friend's suggestion that I refer to my kids as "gingersnaps" on this blog.  Perfect!  So while I do really enjoy these cookies, the two cuties pictured above are my favorite gingersnaps! =)

And . . . on the topic of my children . . . coming this March, we'll be adding a third little, uh, "snap" to our mix!  Someone do the math and tell me what the odds are that #3 will be a ginger.  I'd say the odds go up after having two in a row, right?!

So that's my main reason/excuse for the infrequent, less-than-exciting recipes posted over the summer.  I was happy to eat.  I just didn't want to be anywhere near the preparation part.  And my pregnancy tastebuds/cravings went bazerk.  I mean, we're talking Ramen and Kraft Mac-n-Cheese bazerk!  Help me!  Plus my husband was gone.  For most of my first trimester.  So that's the other reason why there weren't a lot of posts here.  Without the hubby to encourage me and share in the goodness, cooking wasn't as much fun.  PBJs were just too easy.  And after I made myself try this recipe, and then threw the entire thing out because it was a total FAIL (still not sure why), I took a break.

But we're back together now, I'm feeling great, and I don't mind cooking again.  And there are plenty of yummy things I've been wanting to make.  Plus, I found what will be my first pumpkin recipe of the season.  I'm making myself wait until October!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spinach Salad with Warm Salami

We really enjoyed this salad that Jessie posted.  My husband and I put our gingersnaps to bed and enjoyed a nice quiet dinner by ourselves.  Next time, I'll omit the salt from the dressing as the meat was salty enough on its own.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 pound hard salami (such as Genoa), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (I'll leave this out next time)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced into rings
6 cups (about 9 ounces) spinach, cleaned and stemmed
4 eggs, hard-boiled

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the salami and cook until sizzling and browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside the salami, leaving the rendered fat. 

Add the mustard, honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to pan and whisk together to form a thin emulsion. Add the onion and salami and return to medium heat. Cook just until the onion wilts, about 1 minute. Divide the spinach among serving plates. Pour the hot salami dressing over the greens. Serve with the eggs, chopped, if desired.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I would never have thought to put these ingredients together, but it worked.  And the results were super

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 (10-oz) cans green chili enchilada sauce (I used mild)
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce (I used medium)
1 can large black olives, cut in half
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
16-20 oz. penne pasta (Depending on how “saucy” you want the pasta)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender. 

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, until pepper is barely tender. Add the cooked chicken, green chilies, spices, enchilada sauces and olives. Let the sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes. 

Add the sour cream and cheese and heat through, until the cheese is melted (but don’t boil!). Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Garnish with extra sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions or crushed tortilla chips.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Honey Garlic Chicken

My crock pot has been working overtime the past couple of days.  After a batch of yogurt, and a pot of white chicken chili for a work potluck, I tried out this recipe for dinner.  It was good.  It didn't blow me away, but definitely an easy and flavorful way to serve chicken.

1.5 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 garlic colves, smashed and chopped
1 tsp dried basil (didn't use this because I didn't have any.  Who doesn't have dried basil??  Apparently me)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup honey

Use a 4-quart slow cooker (it will cook faster if using a 6-quart).  Put the chicken into the slow cooker.  In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, then pour evenly over the top.  Cook on low for 6 hours. Shred or carefully remove thighs from crock pot and serve over rice.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quick Vegetable and Navy-Bean Stew

I've made this stew for so long, I can't believe I haven't posted it until now.  The simple recipe is a photocopy from somewhere!  It makes for a great lunch on a chilly day and keeps well for leftovers.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 small red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt to taste
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water
10 ounces spinach
1 can nay beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp red-wine vinegar, optional

In a large nonstick skillet or heavy pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and potatoes; cook until onion is lightly crowned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add mushrooms, thyme, and salt; cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, and 2 cups water; cover, and cook until potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  

Add half the spinach; cover, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.  Add remaining spinach and beans; cook (covered) until heated through.  Stir in 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar if desired.  Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Molasses Bran Muffins

photo found here

I love molasses and had some bran flakes that were too stale to enjoy.  This was the perfect way to use them up.  Although they started to seriously dry out after the second day.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups bran flakes cereal
  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan.

  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.

  • In a separate medium bowl, mix skim milk, molasses, egg, and vegetable oil. Mix in the bran cereal. Thoroughly stir in the flour mixture. Transfer to the prepared muffin pan.

  • Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Easy Quiche

This is my go-to quiche.  Simple.  Easy.  Consistently good.

8 slices bacon
4 ounces cheese, grated (monteray jack or colby jack are my favs)
2 Tbsp butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cups milk

Cook bacon until crispy.  Crumble and set aside, leaving grease in pan.  Cook onions 2-3 minutes in grease from bacon.  Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.  Line bottom of plate with cheese and crumbled bacon.

Combine eggs, butter, onion, salt, flour and milk; whisk together until smooth.  Pour into pie plate.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, until set.  Serve hot or cold.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Korean-style Beef and Broccoli

I adapted this from a recipe I saw in a magazine a while back.  It was delicious!  The result reminded me of something I've made before, but I couldn't place it.  We enjoyed it over brown rice.

1 pound beef top sirloin or rib-eye, thinly sliced (I put my meat in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours before slicing.  It's easier to get thinner slices when the meat is squishing all over the place)
1 heaping Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp grated onion
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
pinch freshly ground black pepper
one good squirt of Sriracha (red pepper flakes would work too)
4 cups broccoli florets, halved lengthwise
one red pepper, thinly sliced

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the beef, garlic, onion, soy sauce, sugar, honey, sesame oil, sesame seeds, pepper, and sriracha.  Seal, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Stem or boil the broccoli until cooked but still firm.  Set aside to cool.  Place sliced pepper on top of broccoli as it cools so the pepper begins to soften.

Heat a wok or saute pan over mediu-high heat.  Add the beef, shaking off any marinade, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 6 minutes, or until done.

Add the broccoli and pepper during the last two minutes of cooking, to heat and coat with the cooking juices.  If the pan gets too dry, add a little water.  Garnish with extra sesame seeds and serve.
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