Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September Dinner at Amy's

Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper & Kalamata Olive Toasts (nobiggie.net)

8 oz cream cheese
8 oz goat cheese
2 TBLS fresh oregano finely chopped (more or less to taste; I like a lot!)
Combine and spread on toasted baguette slices then top with:
roasted red peppers
chopped kalamata olives (uses about 1 1/2 cups)

I prefer the bread toasted, but toasting is optional. If you do toast, it cooks quickly, so watch it!

Bruschette - Ivory Favorites

3 large tomatoes, seeded, adn chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 green onions, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
3 Tbl. fresh basil, chopped
1 thin French bread baguette
1 cup grated Mozarella Cheese (I didn't use cheese because we had other cheesy dishes).

Combine tomatoes, garlic, green onion, olive oil, and basil; set aside. Slice bread into thin slices, place on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cheese. Toast under broiler until cheese is melted and light golden brown. Remove from oven and top each slice with a little tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

Ceasar Salad:

Romaine lettuce
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Ceasar Dressing. I like Litehouse or Ken's
Homemade Croutons:

  • 1 loaf French bread, crust trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons creole or cajun seasoning
  • 1/3 cup olive oil ( I added a little extra because I kept my crusts on)
  • 1 teaspoons minced garlic
Preheat oven to 350.
To make the croutons, put the bread cubes in a medium mixing bowl and combine with seasoning. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon garlic in a blender and process on high speed for 30 seconds. Add the olive oil mixture to the bread cubes and toss with a spatula to coat evenly. Spread the bread cubes evenly on the foil lined baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Caprese Salad:
Fresh tomatoes, sliced
Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
Fresh basil, chopped
Olive oil, to taste

Balsamic vinegar, to taste

Sea salt to taste
Pepper, optional

Layer tomatoes, mozarella and either put a basil leaf the middle, or sprinkle with chopped fresh basil. Drizzle oil and vinegar on top.

Farfalle Pasta
3 T. Butter
1/2 c. Mushrooms, sliced
2 T. Garlic, minced
2 c. Spinach
1 c. Whipping Cream
1/4 c. Tomatoes (chopped or sun-dried. I prefer the latter)
1 16 oz. Package bowtie/Farfalle pasta (leave some out if you like it more saucy)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. Fresh basil, chopped
3 T. Pinenuts
Cooked Chicken. I usually bake chicken breasts or tenders and add. You could saute, broil, or grill your chicken.

Melt butter in skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic. Stir in spinach. Add cream and tomatoes. Boil, stir until thickened, approx. 5 min.

Meanwhile, cook pasta.
Add pasta and Parmesan cheese to sauce in skillet. Stir in basil and pinenuts.

Note: The original recipe calls for cheese tortellini (instead of bowtie pasta) and no chicken. It's good that way too.

Penne with Five Cheeses - Barefoot Contessa


  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup shredded imported Italian fontina (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Italian Gorgonzola (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound imported penne rigate pasta
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot.
Combine all the ingredients except the penne and butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
Drop the penne into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain well in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine.
Divide the pasta mixture among 6 shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1 1/2 to 2-cup capacity). Dot with the butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes.

Note: I don't use the ceramic gratin dishes, rather a 9 x 13" pan. Also, when I make it for my family, I skip all the fancy cheeses and throw in two bags of pre-mixed Italian cheeses. It will have 4-6 different cheeses in the package. I also add more shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. I actually might even like it better this way! You can also substitute cottage cheese for ricotta.

Swedish Almond Cake:
1 c flour
1 c sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 t. almond extract
2 eggs

Mix together. Pour into a regular pie tin. 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
3 times the recipe in a jelly roll sheet pan for a big crowd .
So good to serve warm. Top with mixed berries and whipped cream.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps

Have you heard of Bountiful Baskets? If not, you MUST check it out! I get a TON of produce every week for $15. Here's what I got this week:

8 ears of corn
6 peaches
4 plums
5 tomatoes
5 apples
1 bag of green grapes
2 heads of cabbage
1 package of mushrooms
1 honeydew
1 huge butternut squash

I love it because you never know what you're going to get, and it's fun to find new recipes for the ingredients you have. I made these last night:

Wanna-be PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Pouring sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot water
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
Chicken Stir-fry
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed to 1/2″
1 – 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, minced to the size of corn kernals
1/2 cup mushrooms, minced to the size of corn kernals
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
6 large leaves of iceberg lettuce or nappa cabbage
Stir-fry sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Begin by making the pouring sauce. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup warm water, then add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and throw in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

Combine 1 teaspoons hot water with dijon mustard and garlic and set this aside in small bowl.
Combine oils and add to wok or large frying pan. Heat oil over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add chicken and saute until cooked through, then remove from the pan and cool. Keep oil in the pan, keeping it hot over a low flame.

Prep the stir fry sauce by mixing soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl.
Take pan that you cooked the chicken in (with the still warming oil, riiiight?) and turn it up to medium-high heat. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, wait one minute, and then add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms have cooked, about four minutes, and remove to a serving dish.
Add mustard/garlic mixture to the pouring sauce, 1/2 a teaspoon at time to taste.

Serve stir-fry with iceberg lettuce or nappa cabbage leaf wraps and top with pouring sauce.

*I doubled this recipe for our family, but the pouring sauce makes a lot and I wish I hadn't doubled it......maybe I'll use it as a marinade tonight!

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Chicken Bacon Alfredo

Baked Chicken-Bacon Alfredo
Recipe by Our Best Bites

8 oz. penne or bowtie pasta
1 recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce (1 16-oz. jar would work in a pinch)
2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped (about 2 c. chopped chicken)
6 oz. (1/2 package) cooked bacon, chopped
1 14-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 c. chopped green onions (about 1 decent-sized bunch)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare pasta according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, prepare Guiltless Alfredo sauce. When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Toss with chopped chicken, bacon, artichoke hearts, green onions, and 1/2 c. mozzarella. Season to taste.
Transfer mixture to an 8x8" baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly.

*I made this for the freezer meal group I belong to. Delicious, and easy to double, triple, quadruple...... or in my case Duodecuple (x12)!

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