Archive for September, 2016

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Fig and Pepper Bread

September 28, 2016

I love baking bread. There isĀ  something very satisfying about mixing all the ingredients, kneading them into a smooth dough, and then allowing the bread to slowly fill your house with all sorts of comforting scents. I always have difficulty waiting until fresh bread cools enough to eat. This recipe is no exception. I recommend it warm with some creamy goat cheese, prosciutto and a little honey.

20160816-fig-bread-01

You will need:

  • 2 1/4 t (1 packet) dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 c warm water
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t pepper
  • 2 c coarsely chopped figs (I used a package of dried, but fresh figs would be a light and fresh option)

Then you will…

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Allow to proof for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in the olive oil, flours, salt and pepper until the dough starts to come away from the sides.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Oil a large bowl, place the dough inside and turn to coat lightly.
  5. Cover the bowl with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, roughly 1 hour.
  6. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
  7. Gently knead the figs into the dough, a handful at a time to get an even distribution.
  8. Form the dough into a loaf (roughly 10 inches long by 4 inches wide).
  9. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Slice three lines diagonally into the top.
  11. Allow to rise in a warm place, another 15-30 minutes.
  12. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  13. Bake the bread for 45-55 minutes, or until it is lightly golden and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
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Slow Cooked Chicken Enchilada Casserole

September 20, 2016

As fall kicks off, who else is reminded of all the deliciousness you can make with your crockpot? I am starting my transition back to work full time after 5 glorious months of maternity leave, and my husband and I plan to put our slow cooker to good use. After all, what beats extra cuddle time earned by having dinner ready to go when you get home from work?

This is an enchilada-inspired casserole that is a hearty dinner option. It is chock full of chicken, black beans and mushrooms, but you could swap or add other veggies to suit your fancy.

You will need:

  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 can (14 oz) low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 32 oz enchilada sauce
  • 12-16 soft corn tortillas, cut into 4 strips each
  • 4 c shredded cheese (recommended: Mexican blend, cheddar, or Monterey Jack)
  • 2 c sour cream

Then you will…

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Saute the chicken breastĀ  until cooked through and golden, about 5-7 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  4. Shred with two forks and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss with the cumin.
  5. In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Add the onion and mushrooms to the skillet. Saute until the mushrooms give off their liquids and start to turn golden.
  7. Stir in the scallions and black beans. Remove from heat.
  8. Pour enough enchilada sauce in the crockpot to lightly cover the bottom (~ 1/2 cup).
  9. Layer 1/4 of the tortilla strips, the remaining sauce, and the sour cream.
  10. Layer 1/3 of the veggie mixture and the chicken.
  11. Layer 1/4 of the shredded cheese.
  12. Repeat steps 9 through 11 two more times.
  13. Then repeat step 9 one final time to finish the casserole.
  14. Cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours.
  15. Serve by scooping down to get some of all the layers. Recommend having some extra sour cream and salsa on the side for those who want it!

20160907 Enchilada 01.JPG

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Parmesan Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas

September 14, 2016

20160903 Parmesan Pasta 03

This quadruple “p” dinner is a luscious comfort dish: the Parmesan adds creaminess, the prosciutto adds a yummy saltiness, the peas add a hint of sunshine and spring, and pasta is a favorite of D’s.

You will need:

  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 4-6 oz prosciutto, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 16 oz frozen peas
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 T fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 T fresh basil, chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 c Parmesan, grated

Then you will…

  1. Salt a large pot of water. Bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions, stopping 1-2 minutes shy of al dente. Save 1 cup of the cooking water when you drain the pasta.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium low heat.
  3. Add the prosciutto and onion and saute until starting to turn golden and crispy, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the frozen peas and allow to saute another 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cream, mint, basil, and red pepper.
  6. Mix in the cooked pasta.
  7. Stir in the lemon zest and season with the pepper.
  8. Mix in the Parmesan, thinning the sauce with some of the reserved pasta cooking water as needed.
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Baked Ricotta Parmesan Dip

September 6, 2016

This is an easy to pull together appetizer or party snack. It is deliciously cheesy, and the lemon and herbs help lighten it as a dish. We served it with some grilled bread, but it would just as good with some crackers. Be creative!

You will need:

  • 16 oz ricotta
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/3 c grated Parmesan
  • 2 T fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • 2 t fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
  3. Spread into a small baking dish, ideally about 9-inches wide.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
  5. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

20160817 Ricotta 01

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