Italian Dishes

Italian Sausage & Peppers with Cauliflower Gnocchi

Cauliflower Gnocchi at Trader Joe’s has been on my list for the past year. While I had my reservations about it, I was blown away with how good it was in this dish. I browned the sausage a bit before baking to release some of the grease. It is now a favorite recipe and so easy to prepare!

Italian Sausage & Peppers with Cauliflower Gnocchi

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 onion, yellow or sweet, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • 4 sweet Italian sausages, cut into fifths
  • Bag of Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi (or gnocchi of your choice)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Add onion, peppers to the center of the pan, drizzle with olive oil and season generously with garlic salt. Toss to coat.
  4. Spread into an even layer and roast for 10 minutes.
  5. Add Italian sausages and frozen gnocchi and roast for 20-30 minutes until sausages and vegetables are cooked through and gnocchi are golden grown. Stir halfway through the process.

Recipe from Iowagirleats

New Favorite · Cakes

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Lemon Yogurt Cake is a moist, delicious cake that can be served on its own or served with fresh berries. I must admit I messed up the recipe and it still turned out great. The recipe read in such a way that I thought the 1/3 cup lemon juice was added to the cake batter. Yikes! I quickly added another 2/3 cup flour to the batter and crossed my fingers. It turned out just fine and added more intense lemon flavor to the cake. I poked holes in the lemon cake (much like my Rum Cake) to assure that the lemon juice/sugar mixture penetrated the cake. I liked the result but that’s the reason for the holes in the cake. I added the glaze and had to take a taste! So, so good. I froze half of the bread and it was good as fresh when I pulled it out of the freezer.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided (reserve 1/3 cup for step 3)
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (reserve for step 3)

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
  4. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
  5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Adapted from Recipe of Ina Garten the kitchn.com

Appetizers · Greek

Mint and Cheese Greek Pies

Cooking with Chef Lucas during the COVID lockdown and cautionary period was a bright light in during dark days. Our family came together to cook together and enjoy a wonderful meal of unique dishes. Mint and Cheese Greek Pies did not disappoint. Thanks to Chef Lucas and InVINtions for offering such a great program and helping our family create wonderful memories.

Mint and Cheese Greek Pie

INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 to 8 z. crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten (reserve egg white, slightly beaten)
  • 1 handful chopped fresh mint
  • 1 package puff pastry sheets or phyllo dough (puff pastry is easier to handle)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine egg and cheese in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Depending on what size appetizer you desire, cut puff pastry into equal size pieces (use phyllo as directed on package). Place a spoonful of filling onto pastry, wet edges of pastry.
  4. Fold pastry and seal with tines of a fork. Cut into 12 squares.
  5. Place pastry onto lined baking sheet, brush with slightly beaten egg white.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Attribution Recipe from Lucas Migliorelli

Soups and Stews

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

Sometimes you just need a little coconut curry in your life and this recipe, with sweet potato and chick peas is delicious and so easy! My only regret is that I didn’t double the recipe and try freezing for later!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 15 ounce cans light coconut milk
  • 3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion – chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes – peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper – seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder – I love Sun brand Madras curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Put all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cook 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
  3. Carefully transfer soup to a high powered blender or food processor (you may have to do this in 2 batches depending on the size of your machine). Process until smooth and serve. Serves 4.

Recipe from VeggieChick.com

Desserts · Family Favorites · Italian Dishes

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and this recipe is heavenly.  I followed Chef Lucas during the COVID lockdown.  When I saw his Facebook Live featured Tiramisu, I was in!  I have found that Ladyfingers from Cost Plus World  Market are best, and appropriately crunchy. The ladyfingers from my local grocery store are soft, so I crisp them up in the oven before dipping into the water/Amaretto mixture.

I’d highly recommend a food scale to get the ingredients right, but I have adapted to U.S. measurements below. 

TIRASMISU

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 eggs
  • 130g sugar (4.58 ounces or .5725 cup)
  • 500g mascarpone (17.637 oz. or 2.205 cup)
  • 125g whipping cream (4.40925 oz. or .55116 cup)
  • 100g amaretti cookies (3.5274 oz. or .44 cup)
  • 30g cocoa powder (1.058 oz. or .1323 cup)
  • 1 package lady fingers
  • 1/2 cup amaretto liquor
  • 1/2 cup caffè (coffee) or water
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Using a tumbler, fill about 3/4 full with 50% Amaretto (or coffee) and 50% water.
  2. Quickly dip each ladyfinger in the glass; flip to get both sides. Place in 9×13″ glass dish.  There should be about 15 ladyfingers per layer.
  3. Crush the Amaretto cookies. Set aside.
  4. Separate the eggs.
  5. Add sugar to the egg yolks.  Mix well.  Add Mascarpone to the egg mixture. Folding in gently.
  6. Add a dash of water to the egg whites.  Beat until stiff peaks.
  7. Fold the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture.
  8. Add Amaretto cookies, crumbled, to the mixture.
  9. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
  10. Fold whipping cream into egg mixture.
  11. Spread 1/2 of the cream mixture over the first layer of lady fingers.
  12. Put cocoa powder in a sieve and sprinkle over the cream mixture.
  13. Repeat the dipping of lady fingers in Amaretto and water and place 2nd layer into the pan.
  14. Spread remaining cream on top of the lady fingers.
  15. Chill the Tiramisu.
  16. When ready to service, sift cocoa powder over the top.
  17. Cut into squares and serve.

Recipe from Chef Lucas Migliorelli

Asian Dishes · New Favorite

Vietnamese-Style Caramelized Ground Pork Bowls

Vietnamese and Thai food are a favorite of mine and I was delighted to find this recipe. The caramelized ground pork is out-of-this-world and makes the dish. I also thought the caramelized pork would be great in street tacos (ok, so now I’m on to Mexican food). The leftovers were equally as good, warmed in the microwave. For those that do not like spicy hot, I was relieved that the green curry paste from the grocery store was not at all spicy hot, it just added the right about flavor to the dish.

Vietnamese-Style Caramelized Ground Pork Bowls

INGREDIENTS:
  • For the Quick-Pickled Carrots:
    • 4oz grated carrots
    • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the Caramelized Ground Pork:
    • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    • 1lb ground pork
    • 1 shallot, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • salt and pepper
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • For the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice:
    • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    • 12oz fresh or frozen cauliflower rice
    • salt and pepper
    • squeeze fresh lime juice
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • For the Green Curry Drizzle:
    • 2 Tablespoons green curry paste (I like Thai Kitchen)
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk (I like full fat)
    • 2 Tablespoons chicken broth
    • squeeze fresh lime juice
  • For the toppings:
    • 8oz broccoli florets, steamed
    • sliced jalapeños
    • chopped cilantro
    • chopped green onion
    • kimchi
DIRECTIONS:
  1. For the Quick-Pickled Carrots: Add vinegar, water, sugar, and salt into a microwave safe dish then microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved then pour over carrots, stir to combine, and refrigerate. Can be done several days ahead of time.
  2. For the Caramelized Ground Pork: Place 2 layers of paper towel on a large plate then set aside. Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add ground pork, shallot, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper (to taste) then saute until pork is just barely cooked through, breaking it up as it cooks. Add brown sugar and fish sauce to the skillet then stir to combine. Spread pork into an even layer in the bottom of the wok or skillet then saute for 2 minutes – DO NOT DISTURB OR STIR THE PORK as it caramelizes. Stir then spread the pork into an even layer again and cook for 2 more minutes, undisturbed. Continue cooking then stirring in two minute increments – leaving the pork alone as it cooks and caramelizes – until the pork is brown and caramelized. You may need to cook in 1 minute increments near the end to prevent the sugar from burning. Scrape the caramelized pork onto prepared paper towel lined plate to drain then set aside.
  3. For the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice: Get out a serving bowl then set aside. Place wok or skillet back over high heat then add oil. Once oil is hot, add cauliflower rice, season with salt and pepper, then stir fry until cauliflower is crisp tender, 3-4 minutes. Add lime juice and chopped cilantro then stir to combine. Scrape cauliflower rice into serving bowl then set aside.
  4. For the Green Curry Drizzle: Place wok or skillet back over medium high heat. Add curry paste then saute for 30 seconds, scraping/flattening/stirring it with a spatula. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, and sugar then stir until smooth and bring sauce to a simmer. Turn heat down to medium then simmer until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced, 3-4 minutes. Squeeze in a little lime juice to taste.
  5. To assemble: Scoop the Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice into bowls then top with the Caramelized Ground Pork, Quick Pickled Carrots, toppings, and Green Curry Drizzling Sauce.

Recipe from IowaGirlsEats and RecipeTinEats

Breakfast · New Favorite

Sweet Potato Toasts with Eggs, Avocado & Spinach

Whoever heard of Sweet Potato Toasts? They are delicious! Making them in the toaster…brilliant! I love recipes from IowaGirlEats and this one did not disappoint. The only change I made was using Everything But the Bagel seasoning on the Sunny Side Up eggs and that was a game changer. I mentioned this recipe to a friend who suggested replacing the sautéed spinach with mushrooms…that is next on the list!

IowaGirlEats also suggests eating the sweet potato toasts with other toppings. I tried it with peanut butter and it was so good. I toasted several slices of sweet potato to use another day, storing them in the refrigerator. Heated up in the microwave, they were equally as good.

Sweet Potato Toasts with Eggs, Avocado & Spinach

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 small sweet potato, cut lengthwise into 1/4″ slices
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 giant handful baby spinach
  • evoo, garlic salt, seasonings (I used Everything But the Bagel Seasoning)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Add a sweet potato slice to each toaster slot then toast on high for the longest duration offered by your toaster. Flip and rotate the sweet potato slices then toast again on high and for the longest duration. If the sweet potato slices aren’t tender by this point, flip and rotate once more then toast a third time (might only need half the duration as previous rounds.) Top toasted sweet potato slices with avocado mashed with a little garlic salt then set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, place a small skillet over medium-high heat then add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Add baby spinach then season with garlic salt and saute until tender. Place on top of mashed avocado.
  3. Turn heat down to medium then cook eggs to your liking – sunny side up, fried, scrambled, etc. – seasoning with the seasoning of your choice (I used steak seasoning but garlic salt and pepper is just fine!) Place eggs on top of spinach then serve.

Recipe from IowaGirlEats

Cookies and Bars · Family · Family Favorites

Dan’s Oatmeal Cookies

Dan sent the recipe for these delicious cookies to daughter, Megan, and we loved them! They are chewy and ‘healthy’ or so we told ourselves. It’s wonderful to share our recipes with family and friends! Thanks, Dan!

Dan’s Oatmeal Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 pound margarine
  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 cups uncooked oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 oz. walnuts (optional)
  • 6 oz. dried cranberries or cherries (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture.
  4. Drop cookies onto cookie sheets and bake until golden brown.

Recipe shared by Dan Stout, a family favorite

Asian Dishes · New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Quick & Easy Won Ton Soup

Lunch time and what to eat? I had limited time and the ingredients to make this quick and easy Won Ton Soup. I first saw this recipe on the Facebook page, Favorite Trade Joe’s products. The Chicken Cilantro wontons from Costco (or Trader Joe’s) are delicious but I’ve never used them in Won Ton Soup. This soup took about 20 minutes to make, from start to finish and it was delicious. It would be easy to mix it up and use spinach and/or pea pods. It serves 2-3 for an entrée or 5-6 for an appetizer.

Easy Won Ton Soup

INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 cups chicken broth low sodium
  • 1- inch piece fresh ginger (sliced thin)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 20 mini frozen wontons (I love the Chicken Cilantro one’s Costco but may be available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms (I used baby portabella)
  • 4 baby bok choy (halved lengthwise and halved)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • scallions (sliced green parts only for garnish)
  • Optional: I added a bit of onion powder and salt
DIRECTIONS:
  • Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot.
  • Smash the sliced ginger with the side of a knife to bring out the flavor and add to the pot with the garlic, cover and cook 5 minutes.
  • Add the bok choy and partially cook 5 minutes, then add the frozen wontons and mushroom, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until the wontons are heated through and bok choy is tender and wilted.
  • Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Divide soup in four bowls. Garnish with fresh scallions.

Recipe slightly adapted from SkinnyTaste.com

Fish · New Favorite · Pastas

Tagliatelle with Swordfish

Tagliatelle with Swordfish

INGREDIENTS:
  • 11 ounces boneless Swordfish, skin removed and cubed
  • 1.3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup black olives or capers
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup Prosecco or white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian Parsley, Mint or basil (tear into pieces)
  • Olive Oil
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1-2 lemons
  • fresh pasta – Tagliatelle or similar
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil.  Add garlic, then fish.  Brown the fish.
  2. Add red pepper flakes (to taste) and Prosecco.
  3. Cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add cherry tomatoes and cook on high for 2 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add olives.
  7. Turn off heat.  Add fresh herbs.
  8. Toss sauce with cooked pasta.

Recipe from Chef Lucas Migliorelli