Monday, June 11, 2012

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

This is so lovely. Light but very flavorful. I love how nutty the balsamic reduction made the dish. Though I do wonder how much more amazing it could have been with some toasted pine nuts. The only thing that was lacking, really though, was the wine that this dish was screaming for. Next time.

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter
Courtesy of Food & Wine

1 pound asparagus 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
2 teaspoons salt 
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper 
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar 
1 pound penne 
1/4 pound butter, cut into pieces 
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving 

Heat the oven to 400°F. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer until 3 tablespoons remain. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat.

Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the butter, vinegar, asparagus, Parmesan, and the remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

These take some time to put together, but they're worth the work. Very tasty, perfect for a party.

Stuffed Pizza Rolls
Courtesy of Our Best Bites

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough (or make your own)
Mozzerella cheese
Pizza toppings of your choice: ie, ham and pineapple, pepperoni slices, sausage, etc.

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Marinara/pizza sauce

Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package. Usually it’s 400°F. If you make your own dough, 400°F is usually a good heat as well.

Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it’s about 12″ by 8″. You’re going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it if you need to. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 squares.

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square. Just eyeball how much. You just need to be able to enclose the toppings in the dough so keep that in mind.

When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings. Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish).

Brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil or melted butter and then sprinkle with the garlic and Italian seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese. (In lieu of the Parmesan, garlic, and Italian seasoning you could substitute this garlic bread seasoning.)

Cook them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Keep an eye on them! Doughs vary, so I’d check them after even 10 minutes.

Serve warm with warmed marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

Southwestern Egg Rolls with Avocado Ranch

Mine came out a little on the flat side, but they were still very good. And the leftover innards that I had made for some tasty quesadillas a couple days later.

I decided to use the whole avocado in the dip rather than the half that was called for since I didn't want it to go bad. To make it, just mix all of the ingredients together.

Southwestern Egg Rolls with Avocado Ranch
A variation on this recipe from Budget Savvy Diva

Egg rolls:
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ounces baby spinach, chopped
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
teaspoon chili powder
teaspoon salt
teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 package of egg roll or wonton wrappers

Avocado Ranch:
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing 
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and mashed 
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro 
Juice and zest of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl mix all the egg roll ingredients together ( except the egg roll wrappers).

There should be instructions in the back of the wrappers about how to roll them.

Once they are all wrapped place egg rolls onto parchment paper on a baking sheet

Brush a small amount of olive oil onto each roll and cook for 20 minutes. You will have to turn them once. They are ready once they are golden brown.

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

Totally delicious.

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf
Courtesy of Sweet Pea's Kitchen

For the Loaf:
1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed
For the Lemon Syrup:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
For the Lemon Glaze: 
1 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of one 9 x 5-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing loaf to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
While the loaf is cooling, make the lemon syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside.
Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Let the cake cool completely.
To make the lemon glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of the lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. Add up to another tablespoon of lemon juice if the mixture is too stiff. Pour the lemon glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.

Perfect Salmon Burgers

Perfect, indeed.

Perfect Salmon Burgers
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

1 1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing 4 brioche buns, split 
Tartar sauce and arugula, for topping

Cut three-quarters of the salmon into 1/4-inch pieces. Put in a large bowl. Cut the rest of the salmon into chunks; transfer the chunks to a food processor along with the mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest and cayenne. Pulse to make a paste. 

Add the pureed salmon mixture to the bowl with the diced salmon. Add the scallions, 2 tablespoons panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Gently mix until just combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Divide the salmon mixture into 4 mounds on the parchment paper. With damp hands, pat into 4-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-thick patties. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Spread the remaining 1 cup panko on a plate. Press both sides of the salmon patties in the panko. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties (in batches if necessary) and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary. Turn and cook until the other side is browned and the patties feel springy in the center, 3 to 4 more minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with salt.

Meanwhile, arrange the buns, cut-side up, on a broiler pan and broil until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the patties on the buns; top with tartar sauce and arugula.

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Another scrumptious warmer weather recipe. It was especially tasty using grilled chicken.

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese
Courtesy of Cooking Light

1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta) 
3 cups chopped grilled chicken breast strips 
1 1/2 cups trimmed arugula 
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper  
1/4 cup chopped red onion  
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano 
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar  
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil  
1/8 teaspoon salt  
1/8 teaspoon black pepper 
6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Mushrooms and Prosciutto

I love me a twice-baked potato. And this is a splendid version.

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Mushrooms and Prosciutto
Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

4 russet potatoes 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 small onion, chopped
8 ounces small mushrooms, such as cremini or button, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp cheddar
4 thin slices prosciutto, halved
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using the tines of a fork, prick the skins of the potatoes all over and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until tender and cooked through. Remove from the oven and let cool until warm enough to handle, about 20 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooling, in a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are golden and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Put the mixture into a medium bowl. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and, using a small spoon, scoop out all but 1/4-inch of the flesh. Add the potato flesh to the mushroom mixture. Add the butter, oregano, and 1 cup of the cheese. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Arrange the potato halves, cut side up on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of the potatoes with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season the inside with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the mushroom mixture into each potato half. Arrange 1 half-piece of prosciutto on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and the prosciutto is crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving platter, garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Sweet and Sassy Turkey Burgers

These are named appropriately. And doing them on the grill added a bit more depth of flavor, which nicely cut the sweetness.

Sweet and Sassy Turkey Burgers
A variation on this recipe from Taste of Home

6 bacon strips, diced and cooked
1/4 cup dried cranberries 
1 tablespoon maple syrup 
1 teaspoon rubbed sage 
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
1-1/4 pounds extra-lean ground turkey 
1 Italian turkey sausage link (4 ounces), casing removed 
3 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut in half 
6 onion rolls, split 
6 tablespoons jellied cranberry sauce 
6 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise 
6 lettuce leaves
In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Crumble turkey and sausage over mixture and mix well. Shape into six burgers. 

Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F and juices run clear. Top with cheese; cook 1-2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. 

Toast the rolls; spread warm rolls with cranberry sauce and mayonnaise. Serve burgers on rolls with lettuce.

Springtime Spaghetti with Artichokes and Herbs

I really enjoyed this. It was very fresh and light and tasty. I used canned artichokes because I couldn't find the baby artichokes that the original recipe called for. I have actually also never processed a fresh artichoke before, as I'm a bit intimidated. The canned version worked just fine.  

Springtime Spaghetti with Artichokes and Herbs 
A variation on this recipe from Rachael Ray


1 can quartered artichokes, drained 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1/4 pound pancetta, cut into fine dice (optional, omit for a vegetarian version of recipe) 
4 large shallots, finely chopped 
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated 
Black pepper 
1 cup dry white wine 
Salt, to taste 
1 pound spaghetti 
A generous handful mint leaves 
A generous handful flat-leaf parsley 
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves 
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a generous handful for tossing plus some to pass at the table

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.

Heat 1/4 cup oil, 4 turns of the pan, in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta, if using, and brown a couple of minutes. Add shallots and garlic, and cook 3-4 minutes more.

Add drained artichokes to pan. Season with pepper. Raise heat a bit and sauté until light golden at edges, 6-7 minutes. Add wine, stir and reduce by half. Cover pan, reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered, 5-6 minutes more. Season with salt to taste.

Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and cook pasta to al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining pasta.

While pasta cooks, finely chop the mint with parsley. Stack up the basil leaves, roll them into a log and thinly slice the logs of leaves across. Uncover the artichokes and stir in the reserved starchy water. Bring sauce to a bubble, add drained pasta, mint and parsley. Toss to combine, 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat. Add a handful of cheese and basil to pasta and toss again to combine, serve immediately.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Meh. This just wasn't my cup of tea. And it made a TON, which always seems to happen when I make a treat for which I don't particularly care. Bummer.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Courtesy of Framed Cooks

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups jam (your choice of flavor)
1/2 cups salted peanuts, chopped into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray, line it with parchment paper, and then spray the parchment with cooking spray and flour it.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and add the eggs, vanilla and peanut butter and mix until combined.

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Turn the mixer back on to low speed and add the flour mixture until just combined.

Spread 2/3 of the dough into the baking pan, spreading to the edges (use your hands, it's easiest that way!) Spread the jam evenly over the dough.

Drop small chunks of the remaining dough over the jam. You'll have some spots where the jam shows through, but don't worry about that. Scatter the peanuts over the top and bake for 45 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.

Cool completely and then cut into squares.

Mini Oreo Brownies

Ummm, yum.

Mini Oreo Brownies
A variation on this recipe from My Baking Addiction


For the Brownies:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped 3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
12 Oreos, chopped

For the Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
8 Oreos, chopped

For the Brownies: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a mini muffin pan with liners.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl at medium (50% power) for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted. Or melt over a double-boiler on the stovetop.

Whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour and stir until just combined. Fold in 12 chopped Oreo cookies.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes; do not over bake.

Remove to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting or frosting.

For the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.

Add salt, vanilla, and milk. Blend on low speed until moistened. If frosting is too stiff, slowly add in more milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Spread or pipe frosting onto the brownies and top with chopped Oreo cookies.