Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas Cookie Weekend




















I love when Tim gets in the mood to make Christmas cookies.  They always get me in the Holiday spirit.  Double stuff Oreo cookies dipped in white chocolate with peppermint sprinkles and Pinwheel sugar cookies.  Yum!

Cutting Board Obsession



















We have been collecting cutting boards for some time.  I love the variety out there.  Our brother-in-law makes his own from downed trees in his area.  In addition to using them for cutting vegetables, I prefer to use them to serve on for appetizers, meals and are especially good for outdoors.  They are easy to clean and as long as you treat them regularly - age beautifully.

Salmon Sheet Dinner



















With the Snowmaggedon approaching this weekend, we shopped for comfort recipes for the weekend.  Tim loves the new stove which got delivered while he was off in Sweden and the Arctic Circle.  We have been experimenting with sheet pan dinners which are easy and this one was awesome.  Unfortunately, there weren't too many leftovers.  

SALMON SHEET DINNER

  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1½ tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1½ tablespoons dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped and divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 2-pound filet steelhead or King salmon, skin on
  • 1½ pounds small new potatoes (red or white)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole and smashed with the side of a knife
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line an 18 X 13 inch sheet pan with aluminum foil. Scatter the lemon slices on the pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, grainy mustard and dijon mustard together. Season with salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of the fresh dill. Place the salmon on the sheet pan and rub with the mustard sauce. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  4. Thinly slice the potatoes (I leave the skins on) and place in a bowl with the smashed garlic cloves. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Scatter the potatoes on the sheet pan as evenly as possible. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Bake the salmon and potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until desired doneness, checking the cook time at the 10-12 minute mark.
  6. Serve with additional mustard sauce if desired and sprinkle with fresh dill and more lemon wedges if you like.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Classic Lasagna



















It is such a treat to have my Mom at the house and have her ask me to cook traditional Italian food for her and Tim.  My Mom was so territorial about her kitchen growing up.  I guess with three rambunctious boys - it would be a little challenging to have them running around you while you tried to cook.  However, as I got older, I would be slowly allowed to sit at the kitchen bar and watch her cook.   We would have these long conversations while she prepared meals and she allowed me to be her "taster."  "Does it need more mayonnaise or mustard?"  "Does it need more salt?"  The day she showed me how to make french salad dressing with just mixing ketchup and mayonnaise - was amazing to me.  It took her a long time to accept me in the kitchen and then accept Tim in there as well. Tim's cooking far exceeds my abilities and she eventually looked forward to Tim visiting and cooking in her kitchen. She had me make Eggplant parmesan when she first moved back here.  It is a laborious process to make it and I don't do it too often.  Lasagna is not as complicated but still labor intensive so I usually make a couple casserole dishes - one to eat and one to freeze.  We had it for dinner and then she asked for more for lunch the next day.  Glad to oblige.

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can water
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 16 oz box lasagna pasta

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large pan, add olive oil, chopped onions and garlic. Saute until onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add ground beef and cook until completely browned, drain fat. Return to pan.
  4. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  6. Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse and set aside (I usually add a tsp of oil to the water so the pasta doesn’t stick to each other).
  7. In a 14 x 11½ x 2¼ baking dish, or two smaller size baking dishes, put a small amount of meat mixture in the bottom of dish. Spread around.
  8. Add lasagna noodles (approximately 5-6, and they will overlap onto each other).
  9. Next, spoon half of the ricotta cheese on top of the pasta and spread covering the pasta.
  10. Spoon meat mixture on top of ricotta cheese.
  11. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  12. Next add of the mozzarella cheese.
  13. Repeat with another layer of pasta, ricotta cheese, meat mixture, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese.
  14. Final layer is pasta, topped with remaining meat mixture and remaining mozzarella cheese.
  15. Cover with foil and cook for approximately 1 hour.
  16. Serve with salad and garlic bread.

Butternut Squash Soup

























While we were experimenting with butternut squash - this was another recipe we tried.  Very healthy, Zero points and easy and awesome!

Butternut Squash Soup

4 cups vegetable broth
12 oz. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 to 11/2 inch cubes
1/2 large Vidalia onion, cut into 2 inch cubes
1/2 small apple, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
1/4 tsp table salt, to taste
1/4 black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg to taste

In a large stock pot, combine broth, squash, onion, and apple; cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Uncover pot and reduce heat to low; gently simmer until squash is very tender, about 10 minutes.
Puree soup in pot using an immersion blender ) or puree soup in a regular blender in batches; be careful not to splatter hot liquid).
Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; server.  Yields 3/4 cup per serving.










Twice Baked Butternut Squash



















It's that time of year to try out new recipes.  Experimenting with a few things.  This was a healthy new find.  So easy and healthy and the combo of squash, goat cheese and rosemary was delicious.  We doubled the ingredients based on the size of the squash.  We also put it in a baking dish vs. the skins.

Butternut Squash
Tbl non fat yogurt
Tbl goat cheese
Tbl Honey
Add cinnamon and rosemary 

1. Pre heat oven to 450
2. Slice squash into two halves
3. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray 
4. Bake for about 45 minutes (check by poking it with a fork, if it comes out easy it’s ready!)
5. Remove from the oven and lower temperature to 425
6. Scoop out the flesh and in a bowl combine the squash flesh with the other ingredients
7. Spoon back into the squash skins and top with rosemary and goat cheese
8. Bake for another 10 or so minutes or until the mixture is hot throughout




Monday, October 17, 2016

Zucchini Lasagna



















Now that we are no longer on vacation - I was really bad! - back to healthy eating.  Thanks to Tim - he continues to add more clean eating recipes to his repertoire.   I was suspicious of this one but it was delicious and although I am not a fan of bolognese combos - it was very good!

ZUCCHINI LASAGNA

Ingredients: 
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 3 medium (8 ounces each) zucchini, sliced 1/8 thick
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg
  • 16 oz (4 cups) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
In a medium sauce pan, brown meat and season with salt. When cooked drain in colander to remove any fat. Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40minutes, covered. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.

Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/8 thick slices, add lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.
Preheat a gas grill to medium high, and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, until slightly browned. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.
Preheat oven to 375°.
In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and egg. Stir well.
In a 9×12 casserole spread 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. Spread 1/2 cup of the ricotta cheese mixture, then top with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up. The last layer top with remaining zucchini and sauce, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover the foil and bake 20 minutes (to dry up the sauce) then place the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and bake until melted, 10 minutes.


Let stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.