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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Look, I know I’m a few days late on the Valentine’s Day blog posts.

Every other blogger seems to get it together a week ahead of time so that their blog readers have all sorts of recipes and ideas for the upcoming holiday.

The fact is that Nate and I can only eat so much dessert and I only have so much time…and I want the Valentine’s Day dessert I make for him to be eaten on Valentines day, and not a week ahead of time. If I posted this a week ago then I’d have to bake up something new for Valentine’s day.

But you know what’s great? These can be made any day of the year.

There doesn’t have to be a special holiday to share some chocolate goodness, or to tell someone you love them.

Nate showed me he loved me by walking all the way across the city to Trader Joes to pick me up some sea salt for the top of these bars ūüôā

These are EXTREMELY rich…only for true chocolate lovers. I thought the hot chocolate from the other day was rich, but these were even too much for me. Luckily, Nate was a fan.

From my¬†‚ô•¬†to your stomach ūüôā


Dark Chocolate-Cherry Ganache Bars

From The NYTimes

You can print this recipe from the original link

Makes 18 bars

150 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
90 grams confectioners’ sugar (about 3/4 cup)
26 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
52 grams cherry jam (about 2 tablespoons)
340 grams bittersweet chocolate, at least 62 percent, chopped (12 ounces)
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons kirsch, rum, brandy or other spirit
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, for sprinkling.

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and fine sea salt. Pulse in the butter and vanilla until the mixture just comes together into a smooth mass. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment or wax paper. Press the dough into the pan. Prick all over with a fork. Chill for at least 20 minutes and up to 3 days.

 Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the shortbread until firm to the touch and just beginning to pull away from the sides, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Brush jam over shortbread’s surface and let cool thoroughly.

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl.

In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the kirsch. Spread over shortbread. Sprinkle fleur de sel on. Cool to room temperature; cover and chill until firm. Slice and serve.

*Note: I chilled these overnight and I think it was too long. Only chill for an hour or if chilling overnight, let it come to almost room temp before serving. I found the shortbread part to be too dry and crumbly when straight from the fridge.

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As I mentioned in my recent post, Nate needs carbs to fuel his long Sunday runs during his marathon training. Since I was kind of sick of making pasta, and you’re probably sick of seeing pasta recipes, I chose another tasty carbohydrate: rice.

I realized that I had leftover arborio rice, from when I made rissoto a while back, that was just dying to be cooked up. I wanted something different. It seems that all risotto recipes have mushrooms in them, but finally I stumbled across a Tomato, Oregano, and Feta Risotto that sounded amazing.

It called for Greek flavors and ended up being one of the most delicious meals I think I’ve ever made. The lemon zest made it really fresh tasting (luckily I didn’t have any zester accidents this time) and I loved the tomato base. It’s a completley vegetarian meal.

The only change I made to the recipe below was substituting Vermouth for the ouzo, since I didn’t have any. As with all risottos, it took over an hour to make and involved constant attention and stirring, but it was absolutely worth it!


Tomato, Oregano, and Feta Risotto

From The NY Times Diner’s Journal

Print this recipe!

serves 4-6

Time 1 hour and 15 minutes

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Carnarolli or Arborio rice
1/3 cup ouzo (or vermouth)
1 1/3 cups grated ripe tomato (see Note *)
2/3 cup creamy feta, such as Dodoni or Cephalonia, or a French feta
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
Finely grated zest of a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add onion and a little salt and stir until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and stir until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Place broth in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Raise heat to medium, and add rice to skillet. Stir until well-coated with olive oil and starting to soften slightly, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of the simmering broth. Keep stirring gently until the rice absorbs all the broth. Add ouzo and stir until absorbed.

Add grated tomato and stir gently until the mixture is dense. Add remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring until each addition is absorbed, until the rice is creamy but al dente, 25 to 30 minutes.

Add feta and stir until melted and risotto is creamy and thick. Stir in oregano and lemon zest, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

*Note: To grate a tomato, halve crosswise and grate the cut side with a coarse grater over a strainer set over a bowl. Grate as close to the skin as possible, but discard the skin.

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Have you been looking for a way to use up the leftover buffalo sauce from the wings you made for Superbowl Sunday?

What! You bought¬†wings?? If that’s the case, I’m honestly not sure why you’re reading a cooking blog. Homemade wings are one of THE easiest things to make.

I know, I didn’t used to think so either, but I have the BEST recipe for baked wings that will rival the fried ones at your favorite wings spot. I’ll have to share it sometime soon…

But, if you do have some leftover sauce (or just think this recipe looks so tasty that you want to go out and buy some), then this is the recipe for you.

I never really eat chicken wings but I made buffalo-style chicken thighs the other day and was reminded of how much I love buffalo sauce. Like, I could eat straight spoonfuls of it. Yum.

But even with my wing-making and straight-sauce-eating, there was still a bit left at the bottom of the bottle. So when I saw this recipe the other day, I knew I had to make it.

I wanted to healthify it a bit, so I added some chopped broccoli. And I shredded the chicken because I hate giant chunks of chicken in pasta.

It has the basic delicious, creamy mac n’ cheese taste with a hint of an undiscernable kick to it. You definitely should pour drizzle some more buffalo sauce on top when it comes out of the oven if you like it as much as I do. Nate just ate it as-is which is totally fine too.

Make this tonight!


Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Print here!

serves 4-6

1 pound pasta
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast (about 2.5 large boneless breasts)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 + 1/3 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese + more for topping
10 oz. package of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)+ more for topping
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

for garnish: 3/4 cup chopped green onions, 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, additional buffalo wing sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare water for pasta and cook according to directions. Put drained pasta back in pot.

While pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, and once it’s melted and bubbly add the flour. Whisk together to create a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes until mixture gets a bit golden in color.

Add milk. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly until it thickens. Continue stirring until milk thickens. Add in grated cheese and continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in buffalo wing sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Spray a baking dish (9 x 13 is fine) with non-stick spray.

Add chicken and broccoli into pot with pasta, then pour cheese sauce over and mix throughly until everything is coated. Pour mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately top with gorgonzola and green onions. Drizzle with buffalo wing sauce.

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For Christmas, Nate surprised me with a quick long-weekend trip to San Francisco over MLK weekend. He considers SF his “hometown” because he was born there- never mind that his parents moved to the east coast when he was 3 months old.

If you try to tell him that he’s from Delaware, he will vehemently deny it. I used to ask him why it was so important for him to be “from” San Francisco, but now that I’ve been there I can see why he’s so adamant about it being his birth place. It’s a beautiful city with equal parts beach, mountains, forests, suburbs, city. It has a little bit of everything.

view of SF from the Rock.

On Saturday we went to Alcatraz. The audio tour was beyond cool. If you haven’t been, you must go! We also visited the ferry building with its amazing food, the gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts, the Wharf where dozens of sea lions come to sunbathe, and the picturesque Land’s End walking path with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sunday morning we ventured out to Muir Woods, hoping to get there before the crowds. I think it could be one of the prettiest, most serene places I’ve ever been. There’s something about a damp, shady forest that I find so relaxing…not to mention how amazingly fresh it smells!

I don’t know about you, but my sense of smell is my strongest sense and I find myself smelling everything. It’s a little weird, actually, the way I smell any new thing I encounter. For some reason I feel the need to assess a smell even if I know it’s going to be a bad one. Maybe I’m part dog.

Though nothing will even come close to the smell of that cool damp forest, odors emanating from the kitchen come a close second ūüėČ While this soup isn’t the most fragrant thing I’ve ever cooked, it smells pretty darn delicious on a cold winter’s day, warming the room (and your belly!) right up.

It’s a very light soup, lighter than I’d imagined. I served it with some Cheddar Dill biscuits (recipe on Friday), but perhaps it would be best as a first course or a very light meal with some crusty bread.



Winter Vegetable Soup with Lentils

Slightly Adapted from Real Simple

Print this recipe!

serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco) or more to taste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce; optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, breaking them up with a spoon, for 5 minutes.

Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Stir in the sweet potatoes, kale, lentils, thyme, 1 ¬Ĺ teaspoons salt, and ¬ľ teaspoon pepper.

Simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread, biscuits, or as an appetizer.

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Ok, ok, I know I just posted a pasta recipe, but I promise this one is way different. Maybe as opposite as can be.

The other pasta was creamy but this one is buttery.

The other pasta had ham but this one is vegetarian!

The other one had a little escarole but this one is chock full of tasty mushrooms.

I used some crazy long spiral noodles for the other one, but this one uses rotini. Yum.

See, I told you, they’re completely different.

I’m always trying to stay semi-healthy around here. I’m also always looking for recipes that I can make and get on the table at a reasonable hour after I get home from work. This recipe fits the bill on both accounts!

And because I’m sure you all just got finished gorging yourselves on holiday foods, and have all made your new years resolutions, I’m hoping this recipe will be much appreciated.

The flour in the recipe is what thickens it, and there is enough butter to give it a richness without adding tons of calories.

Also, just to continue with the wedding updates that some of you enjoy…Nate and I had engagement pictures taken back in November and the photographer Jodi Miller did an AMAZING job. If you guys wanna check them out, head on over to her blog! After seeing how great these turned out, I am SO excited to see the shots she gets of the wedding ūüôā


Pasta with No-Cream Mushroom Sauce

From TheKitchn

You can print this recipe from the original link

Makes enough sauce for almost one 1-lb box pasta, depending on how saucy you like it

1 1/2 ounce package wild mushrooms
1 cup chicken, vegetable or beef broth, boiling
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter, divided
3 8-ounce packages of white button or portobello mushrooms, washed and chopped
4 large shallots, minced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped sage
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 lb pasta, cooked according to package directions

Crumble the dried mushrooms into a glass bowl or measuring cup and pour the boiling broth over them. Let steep for at least 20 minutes. Drain and reserve the drained liquid. Mix the drained liquid with the white wine.

Heat a tablespoon of butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped button or portobello mushrooms and let sit, without stirring, for about four minutes or until they have thoroughly browned on one side. Stir and let them cook on the other side – again, without stirring – for about four minutes. Add the shallots, garlic, sage and steeped wild mushrooms. Turn the heat to low, and cook until they are all fragrant and soft.

Add the second tablespoon of butter and, when melted, add the flour. Stir rapidly, letting the flour thicken with the butter into a paste. Have a whisk ready! Slowly pour in the mushroom broth and white wine, whisking rapidly. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking, until the mixture thickens. It should thicken to the consistency of a thick gravy.

Add the chopped parsley, stirring until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately over pasta with plenty of fresh Parmesan.

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It’s January and I finally had a moment free so I joined up with my favorite bloghop group for a new ingredient/flavor of the month…January is #citruslove¬†month!

This month’s recipe comes with a nice little story attached…let’s just say Thursday was not my day:

I woke up with vertigo. As soon as I rolled over to get out of bed, the room was spinning. It happens to me now and then so I wasnt too concerned, but there was no way I could get out of bed and to work so I called in sick. I tried to go back to sleep to get the spinning to subside. By midafternoon I was feeling a bit better.

I knew the date for posting my #citruslove recipe was this weekend and since it was early afternoon I figured today was the perfect day to cook up some citrusy dinner since I normally wouldn’t get home from work for another few hours. I had an idea in mind for a lemony pasta. I also had leftover sour cream and ham that Nate’s mom sent me home with after New Years. I thought they could all combine into a tasty dish.

Nate came with me and we did some grocery shopping and after catching up on my Teen Mom 2 (oh come on, you know you watch it too), I got started on dinner.

Things were going well until I started zesting the lemon. I had a brand new zester, but as any of you who have used one know, you have to apply a lot of pressure to the fruit to scrape the peel off.

*this is where you might want to skip to the end if you’re not good dealing with blood…

I was just about to finish zesting the lemon when I pulled a little too hard and the zester decided to zest the side of my palm instead. At first I just felt pain but then I looked down and it was a deep slice gushing blood. I get lightheaded when I see blood, especially if it’s my own. I screamed for Nate while running cold water over it. I then applied pressure with a paper towel while I sat down and attempted not to faint.

Nate desperately wanted to help and asked me what to do but I was too light-headed to answer. I finally laid on the bed with my feet up and managed to instruct Nate where I *luckily had butterfly bandages in the linen closet. I would never have bought these but, being the pack rat that I am, I saved them from when my parents were moving out of their condo. Since Nate was unsure and I was too freaked out to think, I did what I do in any emergency, I called up my mom ūüôā

My mom calmly talked me through what Nate should do and Nate very adeptly sealed up my wound. I don’t know what I¬†would have done if I had been alone!

After laying down for a while and making sure the wound was bound enough to stop bleeding, I was determined to finish this meal. I sat on a chair in the kitchen while instructing Nate how to make the rest of the pasta since there was no recipe. Luckily most of the chopping was done since Nate isn’t a fan of using knives. Mind you, Nate has never cooked a meal from scratch.

All-in-all he did an awesome job and dinner was delicious! So that just goes to show you how easy this meal really is ;)…and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful, helpful and sweet fianc√© (and a mom who remains cool and collected in a state of emergency!).

Don’t worry, no blood got onto the pasta ūüėČ

Be aware that this pasta is very lemony, so steer clear if you’re not a lemon person. ¬†That being said, Nate and I both thought this may be the most delicious pasta I’ve ever made! Yep, I’m willing to make a statement that¬†bold!

The tart lemon perfectly complements the richness of the sour cream and makes the whole dish seem “light.” Neither Nate nor I are usually a fan of creamy sauces but this one was perfect!

This month’s #citruslove is brought to you by the following lovely hosts:

Astig Vegan ~ Richgail
Baker Street ~ Anuradha ~ @bakerstreet29
BigFatBaker ~ Erin ~ @BigFatBaker
CafeTerraBlog ~ Terra ~ @CafeTerraBlog
Cake Duchess ~ Lora ~ @cakeduchess
Georgiecakes ~ Georgie ~ @georgiecakes
Hobby And More ~ Richa ~ @betit19
Mike’s Baking¬†~ Mike ~¬†@mikesbaking
Mis Pensamientos ~ Junia ~ @juniakk
Oh Cake ~ Jessica ~ @jesshose
Simply Reem ~ Reem ~ @simplyreem
You Made That? ~  Suzanne ~ @YouMadeThatblog

Please join in on the #citruslove¬†fun by linking up¬†any¬†citrus¬†recipe¬†from the¬†month of January 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #citruslove¬†event! The twitter hashtag is #citruslove¬†:).

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…(Powered by Linky Tools)

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Ham and Escarole
Recipe by me

Print this recipe!

serves 5-6

1 medium head of escarole< roughly chopped
1 lb pasta
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp miced garlic
zest and juice of one lemon
8 oz. sour cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups diced cooked ham
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta as directed. When pasta is al dente, add escarole and cook one minute. Reserve 2 cups pasta water (for thinning sauce out later) and drain pasta/escarole.

While water is boiling, melt butter in a large saucepan. When butter is melted, add onions and cook til soft, 5ish min. Add garlic and cook until garlic begins to brown.

Add lemon juice to pan and stir to get any stuck bits off bottom. Add sour cream and parmesan and stir to combine. Add ham and continue to cook until it’s warmed through. Salt and pepper.

Add pasta/escarole to saucepan and stir to combine with sauce.  If necessary, thin sauce out with some of reserved pasta water to help pasta get coated.

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Have you been feeling these cooler temperatures? I guess it depends where you live, huh. Well I gotta say that I much prefer the colder weather even with some rain drops than that awful heat and humidity. I was definitely ready for fall.

And nothing quite screams fall like squash: pumpkin, acorn, butternut. There are so many things you can make with this versatile ingredient, from sweet treats to savory suppers.

So when my blogger friend Junia at Mis Pensamientos organized a #squashlove bloghop for the month of November, you better believe I was in!

As I mentioned in my other post, I made a delightful stew to go along with that awesome cilantro flatbread last month. When I was deciding what I should make, I knew it would have to be something with some Indian spices to complement the flatbread.

I had made a great cauliflower/potato mixture with Garam Masala a few nights before for myself. Nate would’t dare touch cauliflower. All the more for me.

Anyway, that dish turned out so well that I wanted to make something with the same flavors that he could enjoy as well.

I settled on using chicken but thought that some butternut squash, diced tomatoes and yogurt would be amazing together. So that’s what I did. This whole dish really didn’t take too long to make.

I call for chicken thighs because I personally believe they stay extremely moist to the point that you can’t really overcook them. If you like dry meat, then go for the breast, but that’s not my thing. And for those calorie-counters out there, there are 110 calories in boneless skinless chicken breast vs 130 calores for boneless skinless thighs, ¬†for the same 4 ounces. I really don’t think 20 calories are worth sacrificing moisture and flavor. But that’s just me ūüėČ

The link below is powered by Linky Tools.
Click here to enter your link and view this the recipes that are part of #squashlove!

I am co-hosting this #squashlove! bloghop with the following fine chefs:

Baker Street | Anuradha : @bakerstreet29
Bloc De Recetas | Salomé : @blocderecetas
Bon à croquer | Valerie : @valouth
Cake Duchess | Lora: @cakeduchess
Cafe Terra Blog | Terra : @cafeterrablog
Food Wanderings | Shulie : @foodwanderings
Hobby and More | Richa : @betit19
Mike’s Baking¬†| Mike :¬†@mikesbaking
Mis Pensamientos | Junia : @juniakk
My Twisted Recipes | Dudut : @mytwistedrecipe
No One Like Crumbley Cookies | T.R : @TRCrumbley
Queens Notebook | Elizabeth : @mango_queen
Simply Reem | Reem : @simplyreem
Skip To Malou | Malou : @malou_nievera
Teaspoon Of Spice | Serena : @tspcurry
The Daily Palette | Annapet : @thedailypalette
The Professional Palette | Regan : @profpalate
The Spicy RD | EA : @thespicyrd
Vegan Miam | Rika : @veganmiam

Indian-Spiced Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew

Recipe by me!

Print this recipe!

Serves 4-6

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1.5 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp tumeric
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt (not greek style)
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 3/4″ cubes (weight after chopping)
2 cups onions, thinly sliced
1 Tsbp vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

 Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl and let marinate 30 min.

Heat the oil over med-hi heat. Add onions and saute 5 min or until soft. Add ginger and garlic and saute 1-2 minutes.

Add butternut squash to pan and saute 1-2 min. Add chopped tomatoes with juice. Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Add chicken. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 10 min, covered. Uncover and cook an additional 5 min.

Take 2 Tbsp or so of cooking liquid and put in a cup. Mix with the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Add cornstarch mixture back into chicken mixture and stir. Cook another few minutes until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir cilantro in and serve.

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