Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hearty waffles are healthy for breakfast, right?

I am pretty sure my favorite meal of the day is breakfast.... I love muffins, pancakes and waffles. I love lazy weekend mornings when you sleep in late and then lounge around and eat some waffles. I actually don't make waffles all too often and I don't have a good excuse. They are really perfect!

I use my might George Forman as my waffle iron (love that it has exchangeable plates)... it's a little tricky to tell when the waffles are done but it gets the job done. I know I should dig out the manual/ recipe book that came with it because it actually gives some hints about cook times.

Anyway, waffles! I enjoyed this recipe-- I think I'll play around more with it next time for fun. I wanted to make a fruit-maple syrup compote to go on it but Danimal nixed that one.... wouldn't that have been perfect?! Oh well, I guess I'll try that on guests instead :)

Hearty Whole Wheat Waffles
based on King Arthur Flour

1 1/2 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour, white whole wheat or traditional
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2+ tbsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and butter or oil. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, stirring just till combined.

Cook the waffles as directed in the instructions that came with your waffle iron.

Yield: about eight 8" waffles.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ricotta is better with fat in it

I've been super MIA lately! We were on vacation last week and I've been pretty busy. I just finished the Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1. I'll post about that later! I also haven't been cooking/baking a ton lately because Danimal's been traveling for work a lot.

A few weekends ago we had Danimal's best friend Matt and his fiance over for dinner and a game of Seinfeld Scene-It. As you can tell, I'm a fan of Ina Garten recipes. The few times I've made lasagna, I've used recipe from Cooking Light... I like it, but I don't love it. Ina Garten's recipe has great flavor! I think the difference is that I used real ricotta cheese instead of fat-free... major difference in the richness obviously!

Turkey Lasagna
adapted from Ina Garten

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I think I used 4)
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles (1 package whole wheat lasagna noodles)
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 packages frozen chopped spinach (or fresh!), thawed & water squeezed out

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.  Fully cook noodles according to package directions.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, spinach, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.


Monday, March 8, 2010

How to Feed a Pregnant Lady

A few weeks ago, my BFF came down to visit me for a girls weekend. Our other good friend, M, joined us and we had a lovely evening of food, laughs and catching up. Now that we are 3 old-married ladies, the days of frustrating dating stories are over... and instead, the topic turns to b.a.b.i.e.s. My BFF is pregnant and due in August and is having food cravings and adversions so our meal was based around what the baby will let her eat! This dish came out perfect and completely met baby approval.

Pesto Chicken, Artichoke, Mushroom & Artichoke Pasta
The creative minds of M, M, & K.

1 package fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

In a mini food processor, chop the garlic. Add basil leaves, pine nuts and parmesan cheese and blend until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil and combine until mixed thoroughly. Salt & pepper to taste.

Rest of the Dish
1 can artichoke hearts, drained & cut in half
1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced julienne style
1 package whole wheat rotini, cooked as directed
1 lb chicken tenders, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, diced
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Bring water to a boil and cook pasta as directed.

Combine olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper in a pan on medium heat for 30 seconds. Once fragrant, add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, until almost cooked thoroughly. Add mushrooms and cook for about 3 more minutes. Add in artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for additional 2 minutes.

Once pasta is cooked & drained, add it to a large bowl and combine with the chicken, artichoke mixture. Add in the pesto (we used all but 1 tbsp) and mix the pesto thoroughly.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Baked Shrimp Scampi

For my second recipe with the Barefoot Bloggers, Jill from Insanely Good Food chose Ina's Baked Shrimp Scampi. It's really easy to toss together and tastes amazing! Danimal said "This recipe is a 'make again'"! I served it with roasted asparagus (tossed with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper), brown rice and a baguette. I didn't love the panko/ herb/ butter topping and just ate the shrimp without it-- I felt the shrimp absorbed enough of the flavor. I halved the recipe (and cut back on the butter) since it was only the two of us.

Baked Shrimp Scampi
Ina Garten; Back to Basics

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. If you don't know how to butterfly a shrimp, Ina has a video here. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.