Archive for December, 2011

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Sausage and Spinach Baked Manicotti

December 23, 2011

This recipe is loosely based on a sausage and peas stuffed manicotti recipe by Giadi De Laurentiis. I made a few tweaks and served this up pre-15 k race for some friends. It was a hearty dinner that got us through the race!

You will need:

  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 c cream
  • 3 c grated Italian hard cheese (ex. Pecorino Romano, Asiago etc.)
  • 1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken sausage, casings removed and broken into chunks
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • 3/4 c frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained and squeezed of excess water
  • 1/2 c skim ricotta
  • 12 manicotti shells
  • 1 jar (26 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 c shredded mozzarella

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium non-stick saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in the hard Italian cheese until melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onions and garlic. Cook until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. As you cook, continue to break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Increase the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cook until the wine has just about evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the spinach, ricotta and 1 cup of the cheese sauce to the sausage mixture. Stir to mix evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the manicotti and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  9. Spread half of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  10. Using a small spoon or your fingers, fill the manicotti with the sausage and cheese mixture. Arrange in a single layer in the baking dish.
  11. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top of the filled shells.
  12. Drizzle the remaining cheese sauce over the top of the tomato sauce.
  13. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 30-40 minutes.
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Shrimp & Sweet Potato Curry

December 20, 2011

I made this while visiting my brother before Thanksgiving, because we wanted something far removed from the traditional feast we would be enjoying the next day. This dish comes together relatively quickly and has lots of flavor.

You will need…

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 can (14 oz) light coconut milk
  • 4 T curry powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 lb of uncooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to tate

Then you will…

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the sweet potato cubes and saute for about 5 minutes until starting to turn golden.
  3. Add the coconut milk to the skillet and the curry powder. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potato is soft and tender.
  5. Add the shrimp and asparagus, stirring to coat evenly.
  6. Allow to simmer until the shrimp is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with your favorite rice.

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Red Wine Pot Roast

December 17, 2011

This is slow cook recipe, which means you can throw it all together in the morning and come home to a delicious dinner with relatively little effort. It is great served with mashed potatoes and carrots.

You will need:

  • 4-lb roast, trimmed of as much fat as possible
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t cracked pepper
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1/2 t basil
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1 c red wine
  • 2/3 c ketchup
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 T butter (optional)
  • 3 T flour (optional)

Then you will…

  1. Pat the roast dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the salt, pepper, oregano, basil and garlic powder. Rub the spice mixture onto both sides of the roast.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Brown both sides of the roast, about 4-5 minutes each side.
  5. Transfer to a slow cooker.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the red wine, ketchup, soy, mustard, garlic and brown sugar.
  7. Top the roast with the sliced onion and pour the sauce over the top.
  8. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Remove the roast for serving.
  9. If you prefer a thicker sauce, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan. Mix in 3 tablespoons of flour. Add the sauce from the cooker and whisk together. Allow to simmer until thickened.
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Herb Paprika Roast Turkey

December 11, 2011

This is a relatively straightforward way to make a turkey. Enjoy!

You will need:

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature + 1/4 c butter, melted
  • 1/4 c fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 3 T fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 lemons, zested and halved
  • 1 t paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 turkey

Then you will…

  1. Mix together the room temperature stick of butter with the sage, zest and paprika. Allow to chill until slightly hardened and easy to work with.
  2. Clean your turkey, rinsing with cold water. Pat dry.
  3. Rub half of the compound sage butter under the turkey’s skin. Rub the other half on top.
  4. Season the bird liberally with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the lemon halves in the cavity and any extra fresh herbs.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and add 1/4-inch of hot water to your roasting pan.
  7. Bake the turkey for one hour, basting every 20-25 minutes.
  8. Turn the heat down to 325 degrees and continue baking. Add the remaining butter to the bottom of the pan to assist in the basting.
  9. Your turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. For an 18 lb bird, that would be roughly another 2 1/2 hours longer.
  10. Allow your turkey to rest out of the oven for 15 minutes before carving.

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Sherried Mushrooms and Green Beans

December 6, 2011

This is a slightly different way to use green beans that adds a bunch of flavor and keeps them crisp all the way till they get to your plate.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 3 T butter, divided
  • 1/3 c Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 lb mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 c dry sherry
  • 3 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 t fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Then you will…

  1. Steam the beans for 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove from the heat and strain.
  2. Melt 2 T butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the onion and saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and allow to cook until the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sherry and bring to a boil. Cook until the sherry almost evaporates, roughly 2 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the beans.
  6. Cook 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated, tossing to coat.
  7. Remove from heat and mix in the herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
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Mini Crab Cakes

December 3, 2011

These little guys make a great party appetizer. They look pretty fancy, but they are relatively simple to put together. They are good warm and at room temperature. So versatile! The only thing special you will need to make these is a mini muffin tin.

You will need:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c Parmesan, shredded and divided
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1 t zested orange peel
  • 1/2 t zested lemon peel
  • 4 t + 2 T fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/4 t salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 6 oz lump crab, picked over for shell and patted dry
  • 1 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c butter, melted

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and the egg. Beat to blend.
  4. Beat in the sour cream, citrus zest, 4 t of the chives, salt and cayenne.
  5. Fold in the crab.
  6. In a small bowl, toss together the panko, remaining 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and remaining 2 T of chives.
  7. Drizzle in the melted butter and toss with a fork until evenly moistened.
  8. Press 1 round tablespoon of the crumb mixture into each muffin cup.
  9. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the crab mixture on top.
  10. Sprinkle another teaspoon or so of the crumb mixture on top.
  11. Bake until golden and set, about 30 minutes.
  12. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before gently running a knife around the sides and lifting out the mini crab cakes.
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