Zucchini Rollatini

Zucchini Rollatini
2 large-sized zucchini, washed and sliced thin lengthwise
16 ounces ricotta cheese
6 Crimini Mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin (baby bella mushrooms)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Romano/pecorino, and three tbsp for sprinkling on top
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Need: 3 cups marinara/tomato sauce, a couple parchment paper covered baking sheets, 1 plate, and a 9×13 baking pan.

Pre-heat oven to 400F.

Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin slices.  Place on parchment covered baking sheets.

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Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over zucchini slices. Sprinkle with salt. Roast till the veggies are pliable/slightly under fork tender, around 15 minutes.

Remove slices and allow to cool.. you may turn off the oven, or set it to 375F for the next cook.

In a large bowl, beat egg then mix the ricotta, parsley, Romano cheese, nutmeg, and salt/pepper .

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In the 9×13 pan-drizzle a tablespoon of oil then add a 1/2 cup of sauce, stir together. Set aside for the next step.

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Add the mushrooms to the remaining sauce, then set aside for next step.

*Preheat oven to 375F if you turned it off.

Grab a plate to start filling the zucchini slices.  Be gentle with the cooked zucchini; they can be fragile and tear easily.

Lay a zucchini slice across the plate, then smear a spoon of the cheese mixture across then roll up firmly.

Place the roll into baking pan, atop sauce, seam side down. Continue with remaining zucchini lining them up tightly in the pan.

Use toothpick if needed to keep rolled (then remove before next step).

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Evenly distribute the mushroom marinara sauce on top of the rollatini.

Cover with grated cheese and mozzarella.

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Bake for 35 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly, slightly browned and the zucchini are absolutely fork tender.

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DONE!   Zucchini Rollatini!
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Poblano Roasted Tomato Salsa

Ingredients
  • 4 medium-sized vine ripe tomatoes, seeds removed
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and root end trimmed
  • 1 large poblano chili pepper, roasted (instructions below)
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Freshly ground pink Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Roast Poblano Peppers
  1. Preheat oven on LOW broil.
  2. Place whole poblano pepper on a baking sheet lined with tin foil into the oven.
  3. Cook till the skin is blistering.  Flip the pepper on all sides until completely blistered/charred.  Watch the poblano carefully so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Remove from the oven, let cool wrapped in foil.
  5. Remove skin.
  6. Cut in half, remove the top and all of the seeds.  Set aside

 

Making the salsa

  1. In a food processor, add all the ingredients: pepper, tomatoes, onions and garlic.
  2. Pulsate a handful of times to incorporate the ingredients together.  Add cumin and lime juice and let the processor run a minute to mix fully.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Refrigerate.

Pasta with Cauliflower and White Beans

Pasta with Cauliflower and White Beans
1 large cauliflower, washed and cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can white beans/cannelini beans
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup room temp water
a pinch of salt and pepper for taste

1 lb pasta, cooked

 

Instructions

1. Before starting, bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.

2. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, let heat through.

3. Add cauliflower. Stir, coating with the oil and garlic.  

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4. Add a 1/4 cup water, then add beans.

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5. Cook through till cauliflower is soft when poked with a fork, adding salt and pepper to taste.

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6. Toss with cooked pasta and Romano cheese.

DONE!

Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

Ingredients

    • 3 Italian sausage links, removed from casings
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2/3 cup of fresh baby spinach, torn by hand (or a rustic chop)
    • 1/4 cup room temperature water
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Grated Romano Pecorino cheese
    • 1 lb of your favorite pasta

 

Instructions

1. Before starting, bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.

2. Remove casings from sausage, crumble by hand onto a dish.  Set aside.

3. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, let heat through. Add crumbled sausage.  Cook sausage, crumbling it more with a wooden spoon, until it is cooked through. Turn heat down to a simmer. (at this point you should be close to an al dente cook to your pasta)

4. Add water, simmer until you see a yellowish hue to the sauce.

5. Add spinach, salt and pepper to taste.

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6. Add pasta to mixture; mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes, until pasta is tender, and sauce is absorbed.  Toss with cheese, then top for presentation.

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Done!

Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks organic celery, chopped 
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup room temperature water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2  28oz cans kitchen ready plum tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, fresh from mill

 

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Instructions

1 . Heat oil on medium in a large stock pot. Add minced garlic, stir, then add chopped onion, carrot and celery to the pot.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat well.

2. Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Crumble the meat, stir well and cook until the beef is no longer red in appearance.img_4525

3. Stir in nutmeg.

4. Add wine, let simmer until evaporated.

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5. Add tomatoes, stir thoroughly. As it starts to bubble, add water, stir until incorporated into the sauce, turn the heat down to a low simmer. Stir often until the heat comes down to simmer.

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6. Cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste to check salt and pepper preference, add if necessary.

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DONE!

How to… Roast Beets

I was given a nice bunch of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) veggies from my sister over 4th of July weekend.  Her friend is a member with a local farmer’s CSA and was going to be away, so she gave my sister her share this time.  LUCKY!  The amount of vegetables one can get through a CSA is overwhelming, and sometimes not exactly what you like or even recognize, but I love veggies and am happy with it all!  So, I was stoked when she told me she was bringing veggies over for me, and part of the lot contained beets!

MY FAVORITE!

But most people buy them already roasted or canned ready to eat…I usually only buy one brand, that is the Love Beets organic brand beets.  I highly recommend them, but if you can, I definitively recommend doing it yourself!  Everything is better when you do it yourself!  And this is too easy to not do yourself.

So here’s a quick walk through on how to roast your own beets.

 

How to… Roast Beets

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Clean beats by removing the stems and washing with cold water, scrubbing the rough dirty spots.
Lay a large rectangle cut of aluminum foil over a baking pan (I used a 9×13, my rectangle was 2/3 longer.).
Wrap beets each in a layer of foil. Then lay on top of the baking pan, covering with the overlap of the rectangle of foil.
Roast until beets are soft when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. These beets took 1 hour.
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Cool beets in the packets they were cooked in; trapping the moisture inside the foil will help with removing the skin.
Once cooled, rub off skins (use a paring knife for tough spots).
Done!  Enjoy right away or place in plastic bag in the fridge for later.
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I love beets!

Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and Barley Soup
2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
8 cups low sodium or no salt beef stock
2.5 cups tepid water
1 cup fast cook barley
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp low sodium soy
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 bay leaf

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

 

Over medium-high heat, heat up a large stock pot.  Add beef to pan; cook until browned, stirring frequently.

Remove beef from pan. Spoon out any left fat juices.

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In same pan, heat olive oil.  Add garlic, let sweat for one minute.  Add in carrot, celery, onion.  Let sweat while scraping the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Then add in 1/2 cup of water, and continue to stir scraping the bottom.  Cook until liquid almost evaporates.

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Add beef, remaining water, beef broth, herbs and bay leaf.

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Bring to a boil then add in tomato paste.  Add in soy. And add in mushrooms.

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Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally.

 

In a separate sauce pan, bring salted water to a boil; add barley.  Partially cook barley. Drain. Add to the beef soup.

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Cover and simmer until barley is tender. 

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Discard bay leaf.

Ready to serve!

Pulled Pork

Finally, I have an easy recipe for pulled pork that anyone can handle!

Pulled Pork
4 lb pork butt or picnic cut (For this I used picnic cut)
4 cups water
2 cups orange juice
3 tsp salt

Cut the pork into large strips. About 3 inches long and 1 inch or more thick.

*Do not remove the fat!  This is essential in keeping the pork moist during this long cooking process.

Add pork strips to large stock pot, turning the heat on high.

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Add in liquids and salt.

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Bring to a rolling boil, then turn heat down to medium heat.

Allow to simmer for approx. 2 hours.

Do not touch the pot, let the meat cook without interruption.

After two hours, the juices/fats will have reduced dramatically.

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Turn heat a touch higher to continue cooking the pork through; stirring the meat till browned all around.  The pieces will start to fall apart on their own as you stir.

This process can take up to forty -five minutes.  All the meat will be browned, and the fat pieces that are no longer breaking down further can be removed.  All the liquid will be gone.

Pulled Pork

Closer up.

Pulled Pork

Pasta with Swiss Chards

Pasta with Swiss Chards
1 lb swiss chards, stems removed, washed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 cup grated Romano cheese
a pinch of salt and pepper for taste

1 lb pasta

Swiss Chards
Swiss chards whole. Remove stems. Wash to remove debris. Then roll a few leaves at a time, and slice into strips

 

In a large stock pot, start boiling water for pasta.

Then proceed with the recipe while working on the pasta –Add in a pinch of salt when the water comes to a boil. Add pasta. Cook till al dente during this recipe process.

In a separate stock pot, heat up olive oil over medium heat.

Add garlic and onion.  Cook till translucent.

Add in the swiss chards.

Sprinkle with the vinegar  Stir.

Wilt Swish Chard

Cook until the chards have wilted and the inner stems of the leaves are tender.

Toss with cooked pasta and cheese…  Voila!!

Pasta with Swiss Chards

Peppermint Chocolate Graham Cracker Dessert

Tomorrow I plan on making a slew of cookies and a cake from scratch..two dozen butterscotch chocolate cookies, three dozen or more spritz cookies, 24 whip cream filled chocolate cupcakes and an oreo cheesecake. I just didn’t feel like this holiday was complete for me without a minty treat.  Here is what I found to be the quickest and tastiest treat for everyone with a ‘minty’ tooth like yours truly. (I love mint!)

Peppermint Chocolate Graham Cracker Dessert
11 Graham crackers (full sheets)
1 cup Chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 stick of unsalted butter
3 large candy canes, crushed into bits

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

On a tin foil or parchment paper covered cookie sheet, line up the graham crackers.

 

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In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the brown sugar and butter.

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Pour sugar mixture over the graham crackers and spread across till all covered.

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Place in oven and let bake for 6 minutes.  The mixture will be bubbling and rising a touch above the rim of the sheet.

Add chocolate chips, and spread as they melt.

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Add the smashed candy canes (or any topping you’d prefer–if I was in an allergy free home, I would use salted almonds!)

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Once the chocolate is set, cut and serve!

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