Tag Archives: Spinach

Middle Eastern Chicken with Green Harissa #SundaySupper

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken with Green Harissa

Welcome to a special April Fool’s Day edition of Sunday Supper! Seeing as my family or origin were definitely pranksters, April Fool’s Day was quite up our alley. I’ve detailed our shenanigans in this post. However, my childhood experiences didn’t really help me in coming up with a recipe to share today, because things like putting cat food under scrambled eggs, or possibly putting um, “dietary supplements” in brownies, were not what Sunday Supper had in mind.

making green harissa

My first idea was something I randomly pulled on Matt, my English-pea-hating husband, a few years ago. This one is kinda cool: you take thawed frozen, or fresh blanched peas and place them on a pizza dough round with some minced garlic and olive oil. Then cover it with shredded cheese and pepperoni slices. Bake it off, and when you take that bad boy out of the oven, no one sees the peas. It just looks like a pepperoni pizza, so it would be an awesome, perfectly edible recipe to share today! But Matt was somehow less than enthused about repeating that experience (no, I didn’t tell him the peas were there before he took his first bite), so I decided to spare him the misery and brainstorm further.

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken with Green Harissa

I came up with this gem of a recipe, and the April-Fool’s-appropriate part is the green harissa. It looks mostly like pesto, but doesn’t taste a thing like it. It really is harissa paste that happens to be green, so I thought that worked for April Fool’s Day.

And this chicken, plus that homemade harissa, is really outstanding, with those deep, sharp flavors from garlic and za’atar spice blend and the piquant spiciness of the harissa. Fairly easy to pull off, too. So I hope y’all will enjoy it, on April Fool’s or whenever the mood strikes you. And be sure you check out the April Fool’s-worthy dishes my Sunday Supper gang has brought to the table today!

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken with Green Harissa

{One Year Ago: Shaved Asparagus and Spinach Salad; Veal Oscar}
{Two Years Ago: Cajun Crab Cakes with Jalapeno Tartar Sauce; Slow Cooker Refried Beans}

Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

CHICKEN:
1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
Leaves from 1 large sprig of rosemary, minced
1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs.), spatchcocked (also called butterflied)
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Za’atar spice blend
Olive oil, for drizzling

GREEN HARISSA:
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 small bunch of spinach leaves
2 fresh serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeded and rough chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
In a small bowl, thoroughly combine the minced garlic, softened butter, lemon zest, and rosemary. Carefully loosen the skin over the chicken breasts and insert the softened butter mixture in between the breast skin and flesh. Season the skin side of the bird generously with salt and pepper, then place the chicken in a baking dish or large cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle liberally with za’atar. Drizzle with olive oil and rub it in to coat the chicken evenly.
Roast the chicken at 425 F for 15 minutes, to crisp up the skin; then lower the oven heat to 350 F and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of a breast reads 165 F, about an hour longer.
Meanwhile, make the harissa. Add the cilantro, spinach, chiles, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, plus salt and pepper to taste to the bowl of your food processor. Process until everything is minced and mostly uniform. With the machine still running, remove the feed tube and stream in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside until time to serve.
Remove the chicken from the oven and sprinkle with a dash more za’atar, then transfer to a cutting board and let rest for a good 5-10 minutes.
Carve the chicken and serve with the harissa.

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Veal Stew with Spring Greens #SundaySupper

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

Welcome to another Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Spring Fling because… it’s about time, isn’t it? Most of us, it seems, had another pretty rough winter and it’s high time the snow and freezing temperatures let us be.

Probably obvious, but of course we over at Sunday Supper are ushering in this most welcome new season with spring recipes. I chose to feature this stew, which uses veal – very reminiscent of spring – and then highlights many of the greens just now coming into season.

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

Like spinach, and watercress, and leeks, and yes – romaine. Yep, I’m going to go there and ask you to put romaine lettuce in your stew. It’s weird. And yet – it works. The romaine doesn’t wilt the way you fear it will, instead it leaves a lovely crunch, yet wilts just enough to blend in with the texture of the stew.

veal stew with spring greens

The veal becomes impossibly moist and tender, and as a bonus, it takes a much shorter time to cook than would beef. The flavors here are delicate but not precious. It’s light but still hearty.

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

So happy Spring to everyone! Summer is around the corner! Enjoy this one last stew of the colder months. And be sure you check out my Sunday Supper gang, they’ve brought some beautiful recipes for Spring!

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

{Two Years Ago: Tomato Cornbread}

Source: slightly adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, April 2010

Ingredients:
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
1 tbs olive oil, divided
3 lbs. veal stew meat, trimmed if necessary, and blotted dry with paper towels
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 large bunch of adult spinach leaves, chopped
1 large bunch of sorrel leaves, chopped
1 head of romaine, chopped
1 bunch of watercress, chopped
1 leek, white part only, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into half moons
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped fresh tarragon
¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 cup crème fraiche
Hunks of baguette, for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Melt a pat or two of the butter, plus a drizzle of olive oil, in the hot pot. Add the veal and cook until browned, turning once. Do not crowd the pan. You will probably need to do this in batches, so use a little of the butter and oil for each batch. When the last batch has been browned, add all the browned veal, plus any accumulated juices back into the pot. Add the wine, then remove from the heat. Cover the Dutch oven with a piece of parchment paper, then cover with the pot’s lid. Transfer to the oven for 1 hour.
Now add the spinach, sorrel, romaine, watercress, leek, parsley, tarragon, chives and crème fraiche to the pot. Stir well, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover again with the parchment and the lid and return to the oven for 30 minutes longer, until the greens are wilted and the veal is tender.
Ladle the stew into bowls and serve with the bread alongside for mopping.
Note: if the greens are initially overwhelming your Dutch oven and threatening to spill over, then add about half of them without the crème fraiche, re-cover the pot with the parchment and lid and cook about 15 minutes, then add the remaining greens plus crème fraiche, stir, and cook another 15 minutes.

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Mushroom Spinach Enchiladas

Mushroom Spinach Enchiladas 5267

It probably sounds a little funny and hugely un-revolutionary to many, but seeing as I grew up in two extended families of carnivores, and living in the Land of the Almighty Cow, vegetarian fare is somewhat novel to me. But I have to say, it’s grown on me more and more, to the point where I will actually seek it out. Those who knew my youthful self would never have predicted this, but it’s true – I love vegetarian cooking and I’ve even purchased several vegetarian cookbooks.

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And so it goes with these extremely tasty enchiladas. Instead of just being meat-free and cheese-filled every which way, they have actual vegetables in the filling (not that cheese isn’t there aplenty; it is). The mushrooms have something of a meaty texture. While mushrooms themselves don’t taste like beef per se, and you won’t be fooling any of your diners, the texture is quite pleasing to the chew. They give the enchiladas heft.

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The spinach provides a nice leafy background note, and its slight bitterness contrasts nicely with the bright, acidic tomatillo salsa. And of course both the filling and the enchiladas themselves are ensconced in creamy cheesiness that we all love. It’s a filling meal! Without a lot of guilt. That always works in my book. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Apple-Turnip Hash, Apple Maple Walnut Cobbler, Apple Crisp}

Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:

SALSA:
1 poblano chile
1 large jalapeno
½ lb. fresh tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
½ cup cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp lime juice
1 cup vegetable stock
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp canola oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

ENCHILADAS:
1 tsp canola oil
10 oz. white button or cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
½ medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano or small jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (16 oz.) container ricotta cheese, full-fat or low-fat, but not fat-free
1 tbs lime juice
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
12 corn tortillas
2 cups (about 8 oz.) Monterey jack cheese, shredded

Directions:
First make the salsa. Roast the poblano and jalapeno either under the broiler or on an open flame from a gas stove, until the outside skin is blackened all over. Place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let them steam for about 15 minutes. Using either your hands or a paper towel, scrape the blackened skin off. Cut off the stems and remove the seeds from inside the chiles, then add the flesh to your blender.
Meanwhile, add the tomatillos to a small pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil and cook about 5 minutes, until the tomatillos are tender but not gone to complete mush. Drain, and add the tomatillos to the blender, along with the cilantro, garlic, lime juice, vegetable stock, and cumin. Blend until smooth.
Heat the oil in the pot you used for the tomatillos and place over medium-low heat. Pour the salsa into the pot and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then turn the heat to very low and just keep it warm until you need it again.
Now make the filling. Heat the oil in a medium-to-large skillet on medium. Add the mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Add a pinch of salt and remove to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the onion to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chile and cook another minute.
Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out over the sink, until you’ve gotten most of the excess water out. Add the spinach to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes, just to remove the excess water. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Shut off the heat and add the spinach mixture to the mushrooms in the large bowl. Allow to cool about 5 minutes, then add the ricotta, lime juice, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir to combine everything. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a large casserole or baking dish. Warm the tortillas either in the microwave or on top of your gas stove. Store them in a tortilla warmer or wrapped in a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm.
Take a heated tortilla and drag it through the salsa, coating both sides. Use tongs if it’s too hot for your fingers. Shake off most of the salsa back into the pot, but make sure the tortilla is pliable. Lay the soaked tortilla on a clean work surface and add about ¼ cup of the mushroom spinach mixture to the center of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining 11 tortillas. Pour the rest of the salsa over the enchiladas and top evenly with the shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Serve immediately. Leftovers are good.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Chowder #SundaySupper

Butternut Squash and Spinach Chowder 4712

Welcome to Sunday Supper, where our theme this week is Fabulous Fall Foods! I’ve met the theme requirements – this chowder features butternut squash (a fall produce item), and it tastes amazingly fabulous. Thank goodness the theme wasn’t Fabulous Fall Food Photography, because then I would have a major problem.

butternut squash 4701

I found this recipe in one of my many cookbooks, “Slow Cooker Revolution” by America’s Test Kitchen. In the cookbook, there is no picture of this recipe. I now understand that. When you think about any kind of butternut squash chowder, you think of it being a gorgeous orange-ish color. But as you can plainly see, this chowder is rather green, thanks to the spinach. So I’m left with the problem of the pictures not entirely matching the recipe description, which is probably precisely why ATK didn’t include a photograph in their cookbook!

Butternut Squash and Spinach chowder 4734

Ah well, what are you gonna do? I promise from the bottom of my heart that it’s delicious, misleading color and all. And when I make it again, I will include the spinach again! Other than it messing up the chowder’s color, I actually do love it in there. It adds significant healthful properties, and it really cuts the squash’s sweetness.

Butternut squash and spinach chowder 4722

I have to admit, I don’t love it when winter squash soups are too sweet. I never add any brown sugar, and I love ingredients like bacon bits, bacon fat, and salty cheeses to cut the richness. The spinach only adds to that. So in the end, I really love this chowder, even if I don’t love my pictures all that much. I hope you will love it too!

Butternut Squash and spinach chowder 4724

Oh, and be sure you check out all my other Sunday Supper peeps – they’ve brought some drool-worthy perfect-for-fall recipes to the table today!

{One Year Ago: Funnel Cakes}
{Two Years Ago: Chocolate Crepes with Rum Whipped Cream, Shrimp and Grits}

Source: adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:
At least 4 oz. bacon, chopped, more if you want it
1 onion, chopped
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 bunch (roughly 8 oz.) adult spinach, stemmed
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbs minced fresh sage
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:
Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it is nice and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve for later.
Pour out all but about 2 tbs bacon fat, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened. Add the thyme, nutmeg, plus salt and pepper. Stir and cook 1 minute. Now add the flour and stir for about 1 minute to cook out the pasty, raw flour taste. Slowly add up to 2 cups of the chicken stock, stirring out any lumps and letting the whole thing thicken up nicely. Shut off the heat and add this mixture to your slow cooker insert. Also add to the slow cooker, the remaining chicken stock, vegetable stock, half the squash, and the bay leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Toss the remaining squash with the olive oil, plus salt and pepper. Lay a large piece of aluminum foil on a flat work surface and carefully transfer the squash to the center of it. Gather it in the center and fold the foil up around it to create a foil packet and lays somewhat flat. Lay the foil packet on top of the soup in the slow cooker. Close the lid and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, until the squash in the slow cooker is tender and completely cooked.
Transfer the foil packet to a plate. Open it, being cautious of steam hitting you in the face, and then pour the squash and the juices into the slow cooker. Add the spinach leaves. Stir them in, then cover the slow cooker again and cook another 30 minutes, until the spinach is nicely wilted.
Shut off the heat. Discard the bay leaves. Then hit the soup with an immersion blender. Take your time and be sure the soup is really well-pureed. Now stir in the cream and sage, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or nutmeg as needed.
Serve in bowls garnished with the bacon bits and grated parmesan.

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Sunday SupperJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Chicken Raspberry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Chicken Raspberry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette 023

At the beginning of summer, I compiled all my summer produce recipes and categorized them by produce item for you in a Summer Produce Recipe Round-Up. And that is when I realized just how much I’ve been neglecting the lovely little raspberry on this blog. Oops!

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Since raspberry season has rolled back around, I think it’s time to correct that. And thus, for the remainder of this week, I will be bringing you raspberry recipes. Starting with this scrumptious dinner salad.

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I tend to associate raspberries either with sweets, or with just snacking. But let us not forget how tart they can be, which makes them perfect for savory summer meals. Here in this salad they are featured twice: pureed as part of the salad dressing, and then left whole and tossed in as a component of the salad itself.

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I *really* loved this one. Even though my northeastern US summer hasn’t been all that hot, taken as a whole, I’ve been obsessing over light dinner salad fare the past couple months. I just haven’t wanted to turn on the stove much, I guess. This one was perfect. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Banana Pudding}
{Two Years Ago: Homemade Ranch Dressing}

Source: adapted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
2 whole chicken breasts, butterflied open
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking the chicken
1 pint of fresh raspberries, divided
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs honey
1 large head of butter or Boston lettuce, cored and torn into pieces
4 oz. baby spinach or baby arugula
¼ cup shelled pepitas, toasted and cooled

Directions:
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Preheat a grill pan, outdoor grill, or sauté pan to medium-high heat. Brush or drizzle your cooking surface with oil, then cook the chicken until nicely browned and just cooked through, about 8-10 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes while you make the dressing.
For the dressing, add ½ cup of the raspberries to a blender, along with the ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper to taste. Puree until very smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Slice the chicken thinly. Now assemble the salad. In a large bowl add the lettuce, spinach or arugula, plus the remaining raspberries. Lay the chicken on top, then drizzle dressing over all. Add the pepitas as garnish. Toss the salad to coat it with dressing, adding more as needed. Serve immediately.

Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with Spinach Queso Sauce

Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with spinach queso sauce

Welcome one and all to ……. WAFFLE WEEK!! Recently I’ve complained about mentioned that we’re redoing our apartment, and part of that redo included me updating my waffle iron. Yea!!

Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with Spinach Queso Sauce

My old waffle iron was a sweet wedding present Matt and I received well over 8 years ago, and I have completely worn it out. Matt and I adore waffles, and we try to make brunch at least once on weekends, not to mention we both love having breakfast for dinner. As you can imagine, that poor thing received a lot of abuse over the years. It was time.

crispy cornmeal waffles with spinach queso sauce

These waffles I’m sharing today were the inaugural run of the new waffle maker. I was jonesing for something savory, and if you give anything a Tex-Mex spin, then of course I’m all in. Obviously these waffles fit that bill.

crispy cornmeal waffles with Spinach Queso Sauce

Have you ever had queso on a waffle before? I’d never experienced such a thing, which I decided was just wrong on so many levels after my first bite. Clearly, I’ve been missing out. A lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. The sauce was spicy, creamy, bursting with flavor, and of course uber cheesy; we liberally doused it on waffles that were reminiscent of savory cornbread, with a crunchy exterior and a smooth, bready interior. The flavor was full of corn and the texture was pleasantly gritty. Love!

Crispy cornmeal Waffles with spinach queso sauce

Stay tuned this week, because I’m showing you what all your waffle maker can do! It’s gonna be delicious.

Source: slightly adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:
WAFFLES:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 ¾ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil

QUESO SAUCE:
½ cup salsa, homemade or a good quality store bought brand
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey jack cheese
¼ cup snipped fresh chives
1 (10 oz.) package of frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out in a clean dish towel

Directions:
To make the waffles: in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cumin, and chipotle chile powder. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk until most of the flour mixture has been incorporated into the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to combine the last little bit. This prevents over-mixing, which results in dry waffles. The batter will be very thick.
Grease your waffle iron and spoon the batter in; cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the waffles to a plate and work in batches if needed.
Meanwhile, make the queso sauce. Place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the salsa, cream cheese, and grated cheese, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Add the chives and spinach, and stir until combined.
To serve, spoon a generous amount of queso over each waffle and enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus and Spinach Salad

Shaved Asparagus and Spinach Salad

Welcome to another day in the week of ASPARAGUS!! So, I know that this post may sound a little redundant within my Asparagus Week. I mean, I’ve already posted a recipe featuring shaved asparagus, and then yesterday I posted an asparagus salad. Surely I could have found something different to do with asparagus than putting shaved asparagus in a salad? Yes, I could have, but what can I say? The heart wants what it wants, and when my heart ran across this recipe, it started to pitter-patter quite loudly and eagerly, and I felt involuntarily compelled to follow its lead.

asparagus close-up

asparagus bundle

Fortunately, my heart did not lead me astray at all – this salad is fantastic! It’s so clean and bright and healthy; and I think I could eat this once a week all year, if only supermarket asparagus tasted good all year long. As we all well know, it does not. But this salad should definitely become one of your staples during asparagus season. It’s just so perfect! Easy to throw together, too. Enjoy this one, guys!

shaved asparagus and spinach salad

Shaved asparagus and spinach salad

{One year ago: Cajun Crab Cakes with Jalapeno Tartar Sauce}

Source: lightly adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, April/May 2011

Ingredients:
3 tbs white wine vinegar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs honey
1 tbs finely minced shallot
Kosher salt and black pepper
¾ lb. thick asparagus
3-4 handfuls baby spinach
½ cup toasted, peeled and chopped hazelnuts
2 ½ oz. shaved Pecorino Romano cheese (use your vegetable peeler)

Directions:
First make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, shallot, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Do not snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Place one stalk on a cutting board, and hold it by the tough end. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus in one long motion. Repeat until you can’t shave any more of the green off; at this point, just snap the tender part from the tough end and discard the tough end. Repeat with the remaining stalks.
Toss the shaved asparagus with 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette and let sit for 10 minutes. You can let it sit longer, but just know that the longer it sits, the more it softens and the harder it is to toss with the rest of the salad ingredients.
Add the spinach and hazelnuts to a large salad bowl, then add the asparagus shavings along with the remaining dressing. Toss to combine, then shave the cheese over top. Serve immediately.

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Matt and I hosted a party a few weeks ago, and I bought too much blue cheese. Way too much. Oops.

But, it became not such a problem once I made this delicious pasta dish. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with spaghetti smothered in a rich blue cheese sauce, some crunchy salty bacon, and fresh baby spinach? Nothing. Big, fat nothing is wrong with this lovely bowl of silky, cheesy pasta.

gorgonzola and spinach spaghetti

I just have to share this one with you, it’s become one of our faves. It’s an easy weeknight meal, but special enough for a date night or a dinner party. I’m so happy to post it today! I hope y’all enjoy this one.

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Source: adapted from 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
1 lb. spaghetti
Kosher salt
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 large shallot, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs flour
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream
Black pepper
8 oz. Gorgonzola crumbles, or whatever blue cheese you prefer
2 cups fresh baby spinach or arugula, roughly torn or chopped

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon in a medium saucepot until crisped. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the butter to the bacon fat and put the pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook until softened, 1-2 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute, to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the chicken stock and bring it up to a bubble. Cook, stirring, until it thickens, 2-3 minutes. Add the cream, stir to combine, and then lower the heat to low. Stir in the blue cheese and stir to melt. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
Drain the cooked spaghetti and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach or arugula and the blue cheese sauce. Toss to combine and add the crispy bacon bits on top. Serve immediately.

Meat and Spinach Stuffed Shells

meat and spinach stuffed shells

Well, I’ve officially joined the ranks of cold and flu season with what is hopefully the last day of a bad cold. I hate getting sick. So our weekend was pretty quiet, though we did manage to get our Christmas tree up and mostly decorated. I say mostly because upon removing our box of tree ornaments from the back of the closet, we discovered that our Santa tree topper had somehow gotten himself beheaded over the last eleven months. I swear I don’t know how it happened.

making meat stuffed shells

But, the tree is up, some presents are wrapped, the cats have only tried to unwrap two of them, and I get the sinking feeling that I’m sliding down the slippery slope that is head-cold-induced blathering, so we’ll just get to the recipe now.

Meat and Spinach Stuffed Shells

meat and spinach stuffed shells

I had a half a box of jumbo shells to use up, and I was thinking of making something vegetarian, but when I asked Matt his thoughts, he said no, he wanted MEAT! And RED SAUCE! And so it came to be. I found a recipe that added spinach to the meat filling, and we both found it hearty and scrumptious. I hope you will too. Enjoy!

Meat and spinach stuffed shells

Source: adapted from 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
½ a 12 oz. box of jumbo shells
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 ½ tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
10 basil leaves, julienned
1 (10 oz.) box chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
½ cup grated fresh mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then boil the pasta shells according to package directions. Remove with a spider or other slotted spoon to a plate. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, breaking up with a spoon or potato masher, until crumbled and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook a few minutes more, until the onion has softened. Add 2 cloves of the minced garlic and cook a minute more. Lower the heat to medium, add the Italian seasoning, nutmeg, kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine and cook about 1 minute to let the flavors marry. Shut off the heat.
Make the sauce. In a small stockpot, add a small drizzle of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the remaining clove of minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the crushed pepper flakes and stir about 30 seconds, then pour in the tomato sauce. Stir to combine; let it go about a minute to heat up slightly, then stir in about 2/3 of the basil and shut off the heat.
Remove the spinach from the box and place half of it in a clean, dry kitchen towel. Vigorously wring it out over the sink until the water is squeezed out. Place it in a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining half.
When the meat mixture has cooled somewhat, add it to the spinach. Also add the beaten egg, bread crumbs, and ½ cup parmesan. Stir to combine well.
Ladle some sauce into the baking pan. You want a thin layer. Using a small cereal spoon, carefully pack the meat mixture into the each individual shell. Place each stuffed shell in the prepared baking dish, on top of the sauce. When the shells are all assembled, top them with the remaining tomato sauce, then sprinkle the mozzarella over the shells. Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan on the mozzarella.
Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
Garnish with the remaining basil and serve hot.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Happy Hump Day everyone! I’m still battling some cold virus thing that is really getting on my nerves. Matt and I are leaving for vacation Friday afternoon, and there’s still so much left to do to prepare and pack, little of which has been accomplished thus far. Oh, well, I trust it will all get done one way or another…

making strawberry salad

My dream last night is certainly an indicator I’m a bit under the weather – I dreamed I was on a “Chopped” episode and my competitors were Marcus Samuelsson, Marco Canora, and Shakira. The basket was themed “mystery meats” and the only recognizable ingredient was a bagged stir fry starter kit. And yes, I was the first one chopped…

tossing strawberry salad

I’m still a bit fatigued and fuzzy, and thus not really feelin’ it on the whole Write Creative and Articulate Blog Posts thing, so I’ll largely spare you. I had wanted to write a post about the whole Paula Deen fiasco; I do have some opinions (me? Have opinions? Never!), and I’d love for you to weigh in as well. But I think that will wait.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Instead, I’ll share this delicious, simple side salad in the hopes that strawberries are beautifully at their peak wherever you live. This was just wonderful – it would work as a side to a nice dinner or at brunch.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Source: adapted from Mr B’s Bistro Cookbook

Ingredients:
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups baby spinach
½ cup sliced and hulled strawberries

Directions:
In the bottom of your salad serving bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add spinach and strawberries, tossing to coat, and lightly season again with salt and/or black pepper if desired. Serve immediately.