Tag Archives: Cooking

Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

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Bonjour!

I wanted to share with all of you a fabulously delicious recipe that I came across (here) the other day. It’s an amped up and slightly healthier version of the Italian classic: stuffed shells. However, instead of simply stuffing these shells with a cheese concoction, they are filled with ricotta, Parmesan, ground turkey, artichoke hearts and a few other tasty ingredients. I also whipped up an arrabbiata sauce to drench them with; it is divine.

Stuffed Shells w/ Arrabbiata Sauce

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

For The Shells

Ingredients
– 1 (12-oz) box jumbo pasta shells
– 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 pound ground turkey
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
– 1 (8 to 10-oz) can artichokes hearts
– 1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese
– 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
– 5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce (recipe follows)
– 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally (check the package instructions for times).  Drain the shells and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper.

4. Cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of the Arrabbiata sauce.  Take a shell in your hand and stuff it with the turkey/artichoke mixture, about 2 tablespoons per shell.  Place the shell in the baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining shells until the baking dish is full.  Drizzle the remaining 4 cups of Arrabbiata sauce over the shells and then top with the mozzarella.  At this point, you can freeze the shells for up to a month by covering the baking pan with plastic wrap then aluminum foil and placing it in the freezer.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes for frozen shells or 20 minutes if you bake them immediately after prepping.

For The Sauce (makes about 6 cups)

Ingredients
– 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
– 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 5 cups jarred or homemade marinara sauce

Directions
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.

2. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

Mmmmmm

Pretty yummy looking, right? Happy cooking, friends! 🙂

Colorful, Healthy, Seasonal Risotto

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Hello my beautiful people.

Christmas is soon upon us… I hope everyone is ready to take the Holidays in stride and enjoy themselves! All my presents are wrapped (in the Wall Street Journal in an effort to save trees and cash money) and under the tree, plus I’ve been baking up a storm! Stay tuned for all my cookie pictures and recipes, I’ll get those up at some point after Christmas is over.

In the meantime, I have another recipe I would like to share avec vous that I snagged from EdibleRhody. I haven’t made this yet, but I figured maybe some of you would like to use it this coming week with all the festivities. Basically, all the ingredients in the title are amazing so in my mind it is sure to be a win.

Beet & Barley Risotto with Goat Cheese & Apples
Serves 6 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (dice small)
  • 2 gloves garlic (mince)
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • 1/2 cup beet juice (1 large)*
  • 1/2 cup diced apple (1 whole)
  • grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 sprigs thyme (stemmed and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese (crumbled)
  • kosher or sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

*If you aren’t lucky enough to have a juicer (though I highly recommend you buy one… they’re getting cheaper by the day!), simply puree 1-2 roasted beets in blender until smooth as can be. Add water if needed.

Directions:

  1. Bring stock to a simmer in saucepan. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add onion, cooking until translucent (5 minutes), don’t brown! Add garlic and barley and saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Add white wine and allow to evaporate (2-4 minutes). Add stock, 1 ladle at a time, letting liquid fully absorb before next ladle, and still constantly until barley is tender (approx 20 minutes).
  3. Add beet juice and apples. Stir until liquid is reduced and risotto is thickening up.
  4. Remove from heat and add lemon zest, lemon juice, half of the thyme, butter and 1/4 cup goat cheese. Stir until combined. Season to taste.
  5. Serve warm, garnish with remaining goat cheese and chopped thyme.

Sounds pretty fabulous, right? I have to do some work today, but I think afterwards I may try this out. Or make more cookies. I’m on a pretty severe cookie making binge, and if anyone has any stellar recipes, I would love to be brought into the loop!

Well, I must start being productive now. Have a great day everyone, don’t let the Monday blues get you down. Turn on some festive music and do a little dance if you start to feel stressed, or even better, throw on an ugly sweater. Preferably one with twinkling lights.

Quinoa-tastic

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Starting to keep the trend going as far as consistent posting is concerned! I have to jet off to work soon, but thought I would let you in on a little quinoa deliciousness that I chef-ed up yesterday thanks to this bloggess’ recipe. Instead of red quinoa I used tri-colored quinoa, mostly because that was what we already had in our pantry; it came out just as fuego and I will definitely be making this again! It took about 15 minutes and the taste was divine, a nice kick to amp us this awesome little grain. So browse the link and try the recipe out for yourself! Let me know your thoughts 🙂

It has also been brought to my attention that not too many people are familiar with Quinoa, so in case it is alien to you, here’s a few things to know:

  • it is quite high in anti-oxidants
  • aids with anti-inflammatory issues
  • naturally low in fat
  • gluten-free
  • it boasts being a complete protein containing 9 essential amino acids; 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 8.14 grams protein!
  • Quinoa is a great source of iron and fiber; 1 cup of cooked quinoa provides 15% of the recommended daily intake of iron, and 21% the recommended amount of fiber.
    … and it just tastes so good! Instead of using rice the next time, give quinoa a try instead. Laters, babes.

Cooking In A Winter Wonderland

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I know I still haven’t finished re-capping from France, but I felt like doing some up-to-date stuff, plus now that I finally get to cook I wanted to share some of the nomnoms I’m making with you!

BrekkieThis one isn’t very exciting, but it was the first meal I made myself after coming home. There you see a bagel with with spicy hummus on one side, and an egg with cheese on the other, with a random siding of Mexican corn and Chinese lo-mien.

CRACKThis masterpiece, is what I like to call “crack”. Here’s the recipe I used; I totally encourage everyone to make this. Not only is it super easy, but it is absolutely delicious! Usually you use saltine crackers, but I wanted to use what I had in my pantry, so Ritz Buttery Crackers were the winners.
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Chocolate Saltine Toffee
30 to 40 saltine crackers
1 c butter (2 sticks)
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 to 2 c chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a 9 x 11 pan or similar with aluminum foil and spray it very well with cooking spray.  (Do not try to make this without using foil; you will hate yourself).  Place saltine crackers in a single layer on the bottom of the pan.

In a saucepan on the stovetop, combine butter and sugar and bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Once a boil is reached, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened some.  Take care not that your simmer is not too fast/too high because it will be prone to bubbling over or scorching.  Stir mixture frequently while it simmers to avoid bubbling over or scorching.

After mixture has thickened a bit, remove it from the heat, wait 30 seconds, add the vanilla extract and stir.

Pour mixture over the prepared pan with the saltine crackers.  Bake this in the preheated 350F oven for 5- 7 minutes, or until toffee/liquid becomes bubbly.

After removing the pan from the oven, let it sit for 3-5 minutes.

Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and wait for 3-5 minutes, letting them soften and melt a bit, and then spread and smooth them into an even layer with a spatula.

Optional:  After smoothing the chocolate, add nuts, seeds, graham cracker crumbs, toffee bits, dried fruit, candy bits, or swirl in some peanut butter or other nut butter.

Optional: Use other types of chips, such as butterscotch, white, peanut butter, etc. either in addition to or in a half-and-half  combination with the dark chocolate chips for your top layer.

Let cool very well and if desired for expediting purposes, refrigerate or freeze until hardened.  Break into pieces the size of your choice.

Store in an airtight container on the counter-top.  Or, for longer term storage, freeze it.
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Mexican Hot ChocolateThis beauty, although it doesn’t look too dangerous, packs a punch. It’s called Mexican Hot Chocolate and I made way too much of it, but oh well. Here‘s where the recipe came from, and all the directions are below.
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Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: About 5 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder (or the cocoa powder of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch (optional thickener)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle powder or chili powder
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne
  • optional toppings: whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and/or chocolate shavings

Method

Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until simmering, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and serve with optional toppings.
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Bagel IssuesJust another bagel invention, this time with bacon, egg, provolone and American cheese, tomatoes, salsa and onions. Yumm.

Baked ZitiThis bad boy I made today when the storm starting brewing, it’s called Skillet Baked Ziti With Sausage and had a little bit of a bite to it, which I enjoyed.
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Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage

1 (28-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 lb Italian sausage (hot or sweet), casings removed
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
12 oz ziti
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 475 F.

Add the tomatoes to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until there aren’t any large pieces left, about 12 pulses.

Set a 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add the sausage. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break the sausage up and stir occasionally. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and the salt (if you’re not using a nonstick pan, now is a good time to scrape the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits). Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes don’t taste raw anymore.

Add the water and pasta to the pan (the pan will probably be quite full, just stir gently to prevent overflow). Cover the pan and turn the heat up to medium to medium-high (adjust as necessary to maintain a vigorous simmer). Cook, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan, for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. The pasta will not have absorbed all the liquid in the pan.

Add the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and parsley to the pan. Stir to incorporate, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the pasta with the mozzarella cheese then transfer the pan to the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and browned.
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Well, that’s all the fun things I’ve made so far. It looks like I’m stuck at home tonight due to the snow, so I’ll probably have more to share with y’all tomorrow. Enjoy this lovely white fluff!

Ho ho ho

Fly hat and glasses

Supa Hot Fire

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Look at me guys, blogging two days in a row! On fiiiiire.

Note: To understand the title of this blog, watch the below video. If you have a similar type of humor, you should find this amusing. My roommate and boyfriend think these people are the funniest ever to live it seems. I can’t say I feel that way… but it’s a good giggle-inducer.

Well, I hope that brightened your day a little! It’s rainy and cruddy over here today, again. Mer. So I’m here eating a delicious brownie somebody in my family made (chocolate with chocolate chips and peanut butter chips, yeah…) and making some strawberry lemonade. Actually, Kiley and I finished the lemonade so now I’m sitting here enjoying it. Soak in with your eyes.

Le-mon-aide

It’s pretty good if I do say so myself. The only thing I would change about it is that I couldn’t find one of those mesh strainer things in my kitchen, so there’s kind of a plethora of seeds in the drink. It doesn’t change the flavor or anything though, just adds a little crunch to the mix. I even went so far as to try and pour the strawberry sauce in those coffee strainers or whatever they’re called but the mix was too thick :/ .. I get an A for effort at least. Take a peep at the recipe below if you so desire.

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Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
Yields: about 6.5 cups of lemonade

Fresh Strawberry Sauce Ingredients:
1 dry pint fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled (or maybe a little more)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cold water

Lemonade Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup very hot water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4-1/2 cups cold seltzer or sparkling water

Optional Accoutrements:
lemon juice and sugar for glass rims
sprigs of fresh mint
fresh strawberries
slices of lemon
crushed ice
bendy straws!

Directions:
Make strawberry sauce: In a food processor or blender, puree the berries, sugar, lemon juice and water until smooth. Strain the berry mixture into a clean bowl and discard the seeds. Stir in additional sugar, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until used.

Make lemonade: In a pitcher, combine the sugar and hot water and stir until the sugar has dissolved into a syrup. Stir in the lemon juice and cold seltzer water. Add the strawberry sauce and stir to combine. Pour over ice into tall glasses rimmed with sugar (dip rims into lemon juice and then sugar). Garnish with fresh strawberries and other accoutrements, if using. Strawberry lemonade keeps at least 3 days in the refrigerator.
(credit given)

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So, here’s a random decision I have made. I have been craving to have my own house in the last year or so. Living with my roommates this year was nice and all, but I want a real house that I can decorate and make my own and such, yah know? Obviously, I am aware that this can’t happen until after I graduate college – most likely years after that, considering the shit economy we have currently. Oh well. Either way I am constantly storing cool house ideas in my brain, and my newest one is goats! And of course chickens.

I’ve had the idea in my head that I want chickens since the beginning of this year. I was house sitting for a woman who had about 8 chickens (all females) and they were so easy to take care of! Literally all I had to do was make sure they were safe in the barn at night, collect their eggs daily, and let them out in the morning when I went to take care of the horses. I didn’t even have to give them food or water since it was done for the week. So I mean, why should anyone not have chickens? Think about it.. they aren’t very expensive to purchase and upkeep is cheap as well. Chicken food is dirt cheap, and I also read today that chickens eat chicken egg shells! How convenient is that?! The chickens lay the eggs, you eat them, save the shells and feed it back to the chickens for the extra protein that is necessary for their diet. You can tell if a chicken needs more protein if the shell is super fragile or altogether missing. It’s a self-sustaining system and I think it’s awesome. Other than food and water, all you need to do is have a yard (it doesn’t even have to be big) and build a shed for them to sleep in at night save from hungry mouths. Just make sure they have the proper diet, or you won’t really get too many eggs to eat on the daily. I know eggs aren’t too expensive or anything, but think of the money you could save over a long period of time if you are solely using the eggs your pets lay. Pretty cool, eh?

** just beware though: if you have all girls, the eggs will be edible, but if you have a rooster who is fertilizing the eggs, you will be eating baby chicks, which in my book is not cool. So stick to having all ladies, or keep the babies to increase your flock. **

So, besides chickens I also want at least one goat. Preferably two, because if I were a goat I would want a friend to keep me company. At my house right now, we have two pet goats: Deianira and Samson, and they’re kind of hilarious. We’re pretty sure Deianira has a brain tick or something, she’s a bit special. We love her though, so it’s all good. They’re called Pigmy goats so they’re smaller than usual, but they still get darn fat. Anyway, while reading about how you should feed eggshells to chickens, I read about what you can feed goats… and they eat everything! Sometimes they can be dumb enough to eat non-edible things (Deianira chews on shoe strings and anything she can get her mouth around), but you can feed them all food scraps besides eggshells. They’ll even eat orange peels and lemon rinds. It may be just me and those who like being eco-friendly and sustainable and stuff, but it’s so cool that all my food scraps can be used to feed pet goats! Less money for goat food, and less nonsense that goes into the garbage disposal (= saving energy) and the landfills. I’m not saying that I like goats immensely or anything, but they can be cool and it just is my cup of tea to have a house that doesn’t add to the destruction of the earth.

Deianira

Samson & Deianira

Totes McGoats

Now, aren’t they precious? They are much fatter and bigger now, but I mean… that’s what happens when things aren’t babies anymore. Boo.

Well, I’m going to go do something now. I have my first day of my internship tomorrow! Stay tuned. Eeeeee.