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

New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Cauliflower is a vegetable I has grown to enjoy, raw and roasted.  I’ve roasted cauliflower with or without broccoli and other vegetables dozens of time, drizzled with olive oil and kosher salt.  Adding toasted pine nuts and raisins was a delicious treat! I chose to roast flowerettes vs. cauliflower steaks.  Either way, it’s delicious!

The recipe could easily be adapted to Vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter.  I used traditional raisins and dried parsley and, in the future, I plan to try the recipe with Craisins or dried cherries instead of raisins.  Play with it…Make it your own… Enjoy!

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PINE NUTS & RAISINS

2 heads cauliflower
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley, torn

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut off the cauliflower stems, then place the heads cut-side down and slice into 1/2-inch-thick steaks. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping after the first 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the pine nuts to a dry medium sauté pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the raisins and butter and season with salt. Cook, tossing, until the butter has melted and coats the pine nuts and raisins. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.
  • Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving platter. Pour the pine nut-raisin mixture over the top. Season with salt.

Recipe from Valerie Bertinelli/Food Network 

Health · New Favorite · Poultry

Change Your Life Chicken

I’ve listened to the podcast ‘The Lazy Genius’ for a while and especially enjoyed the episode talking about her recipe ‘Change Your Life Chicken’.  It sounded so easy and I love roasted vegetables.  Never in my life have I set my oven for 500 degrees F, but I was up for the experiment.  I chopped carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions.

My oven must run extra hot so I only needed to roast the chicken and vegetables for 35 minutes.  The chicken skin was crispy, the vegetables were cooked through and some were crispy.  It was a delicious dish and a quick meal.  I would have especially loved this recipe when I was working full-time, needing to get dinner on the table quickly.

The instructions below are taken word for word from Thelazygeniuscollective.com website.  She does a great job of explaining the process.

CHANGE YOUR LIFE CHICKEN

What You Need

  • chicken thighs with the bone and the skin
    Yes. I said thighs. That have the bone and the skin. Trust me on this. You can do breasts if you want, but we’re a thigh family to the bone. (I love chicken humor.) Adults eat one, hungry adults eat two, and weird picky tiny kids eat a half.

  • two handfuls of vegetables per person
    You can use whatever you have. Options: onion, carrot, potato, green bean, asparagus, leek, sweet potato, and cauliflower. (Avoid mushrooms, zucchini, squash, and broccoli with this method.) I’ll share some favorite combinations at the end.

  • olive oil, salt, and pepper

How You Make It

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Not a typo. Five hundred.

2. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Your pan needs to hold your vegetables comfortably – not too close together, not too far apart. Heavy duty is less likely to tear, i.e. to get dirty from chicken grease. Do not use glass. It will shatter. I’d recommend not using any kind of baking dish with high sides because you won’t get the same kind of crisp. Baking sheet… like you use for cookies.

3. Cut your vegetables, and toss with olive oil, more salt than you think you need, and black pepper. These are the sizes to go for: large bite-sized. Carrots take the longest, so make those thinner than the rest. Consider cooking speeds with the vegetables you choose.

Green beans don’t need cutting, so those get tossed with the rest. Notice how cozy the vegetables are with each other but that there isn’t more than one layer.

4. Peel the skin back from the chicken. Don’t wig out. It’s cool. You want to generously season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, but you want to season under the skin. So pull back the skin, season, and fold the skin back over.

5. Pat the chicken skin dry with a wad of paper towels. This is how you get magic crusty chicken skin, i.e. the state fair craze somebody needs to start. The best order is to place the chicken skin side down on the vegetables, season, flip, pull back the skin, season, put the skin back, and pat dry. The worst is drying the skin and then realizing you forgot to season the bottom.

6. Place the chicken skin side up directly on top of the vegetables. Here’s what happens: the fat from the chicken skin will seep into the vegetables underneath, imparting flavor and moisture while the exposed vegetables get a tiny bit charred. It’s a perfect marriage of texture and flavor. I’m not showing you a photo of raw chicken because raw chicken.

Ew.

7. Bake at 500 degrees for 50 minutes. Don’t worry if the chicken will be done; it will be. And we don’t have to be concerned about the vegetables burning at such a high temperature because they’re nestled closely together. The most you’ll get will be a few crusty edges, and those are delightful.

And since blog posts don’t have sound effects yet, trust me on the crispiness of the crust. In the Instagram story, I tapped it, and it sounded like a little magic chicken woodpecker. You’re allowed to invent bird species when dinner is this easy.

And that’s it! Then you eat. Bonus: any leftover vegetables are a great snack/lunch straight from the fridge for busy days. (Except for potatoes. Leftover potatoes have a weird texture and are a little depressing. See: old French fries.)

Variations

Start with what’s above, but once you feel comfortable with how it works, feel free to change it up.

  1. Add fresh rosemary or thyme to the vegetables.

  2. Rub the chicken (not the skin) with lemon or orange zest. (Rosemary and orange are a heavenly match.)

  3. Reinvent the meal with different vegetable combinations: onion, potato, carrot; leek and asparagus; onion and sweet potato, green bean and cauliflower. If you love it, try it. The worst that can happen is it’s not great and you won’t make it again.

  4. Same goes for exotic spices. Go nuts with curry powder, a taco seasoning blend, or whatever you want to try. You won’t know if it works until you try.

  5. Use chicken breasts with the bone and skin if you must; be sure to bump the time to an hour. I can’t vouch that it’ll be as good, but I’m not your chicken boss.

Meh, yes I am. Make this chicken, y’all, and change your life.

If you run into any Change Your Life Chicken issues, I dedicated an entire episode of The Lazy Genius Podcast to it. Listen to it here.

My Roots · New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Cabbage Roll Soup

Cabbage Rolls were not a part of my childhood but I enjoyed them as an adult at Hungarian restaurants. I’ve never made cabbage rolls but I loved the idea of soup, my go-to meal in winter.

This is a simple and wonderful soup.  The rice absorbs much of the broth, but you could easily add more broth or vegetable juice.  Yummy!

CABBAGE ROLL SOUP

1 large onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 pound lean ground beef
½ pound lean ground pork
¾ cup uncooked long grain rice
1 medium head cabbage chopped (core removed)
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
1 ½ cups V8 or other vegetable juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

  • In a large pot, brown onion, garlic, pork and beef. Drain any fat.
  • Stir in chopped cabbage and let cook until slightly softened (about 3 minutes).
  • Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and reduced heat to medium low. Cover and simmer on low until rice is fully cooked (about 25-30 minutes)
  • Remove bay leaf and serve.
If you prefer a thinner soup, add more beef broth to reach desired consistency once rice is cooked.
Italian Dishes · New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Italian Wedding Soup

Welcome to 2022! Italian Wedding Soup was on the menu after seeing this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, IowaGirlEats. I had the ingredients on hand and needed to take a meal to my daughter after giving birth to my 5th grandbaby. Be careful that you don’t eat all for the tiny meatballs when they come out of the oven. They are delicious! Next time I would make a double or triple batch of the meatballs, so I would have them in the freezer when I want to make the soup. Serve with a hearty Italian bread.

Italian Wedding Soup

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (~1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (~1 cup)
  • 1 large shallot or small onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 1 parmesan cheese wedge rind (optional)
  • 3/4 cup dry gluten free orzo
  • 3oz fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • For the Pork Meatballs (makes ~75 meatballs):
    • 1/2 cup small-torn pieces of soft gluten free white bread (crusts removed first)
    • 1/4 cup finely grated onion + juices
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 egg, whisked
    • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned, pressed, or finely minced
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Pepper, to taste
    • 1lb ground pork (I used Italian Sausage)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. For the Meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or non stick sprayed foil. To a large bowl add torn bread and grated onion then mix to combine and let sit for 1 minute. Add parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper then stir to combine. Crumble ground pork over the top then use your hands to mix until just combined.
  2. Use a teaspoon to portion meatballs out then gently roll in your hands and place on prepared baking sheet – meatballs can be very close together but not touching. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Set meatballs aside – can be done a few days ahead of time.
  3. Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and shallot/onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes. If the vegetables are taking too long to soften, I like to add a glug of extra chicken broth to the pot then place a lid on top and let them steam for a few minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock and parmesan cheese rind (if using) then turn heat up to high to bring liquid to a boil. Add pasta then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until pasta is al dente, 20 minutes or so. Add cooked meatballs then stir to combine. Bring soup back up to a bubble (may need to turn heat up a touch) then add spinach and cook until wilted and tender, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Whisk egg and parmesan cheese together very well in a small dish. Give the soup a couple of big stirs to get the liquid swirling in one direction then slowly stream in egg mixture. Continue to stir to create small threads of egg (NOTE: the eggs are NOT curdled, they are COOKED – like egg drop soup!) Taste then add more salt and/or pepper if desired. Let soup sit and thicken for 10-15 minutes before removing parmesan cheese rind, scooping into bowls, and serving.

Recipe from Iowagirleats

Desserts · Family Favorites · Holidays · Italian Dishes · New Favorite · New Traditions

Pears in Red Wine Sauce

During the Pandemic lockdown, the girls and I joined our local winery, InVINtions, for their Zoom Italian Cooking classes with Chef Lucas.  We made many wonderful dishes with Chef Lucas, and Pears in Red Wine Sauce was a delicious surprise.  We didn’t have great expectations for this recipe, but trust me, it was one of many fantastic dishes!

When the holidays are upon us and we are tired of dishes that are too sweet or too rich, this is the perfect answer.  It is a beautiful dish to serve your guests or to enjoy all by yourself!

PEARS IN RED WINE SAUCE

6-8 Pears
1 Bottle Red Wine
8 Ounces (1 cup) of Sugar
3 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Cloves

  • In a pan, combine all the ingredients.
  • Cook over low heat for about 1 hour.
  • If you desire a thicker sauce, remove the pears after
    cooked and mix one teaspoon of corn starch with a 1/4
    cup water and mix with the wine.
  • Serve hot or cold. They are delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! You can store in the fridge for about a month.

Recipe from Lucas Migliorelli

Cookies and Bars · Czech Heritage and Dishes · Holidays · New Favorite

Slovak Honey Cookies

Czech and Slovak heritage is of great interest to me, given my Father’s family roots.  Late 2020, I participated in ‘Czech & Slovak Christmas’ offered through Global Slovakia Academy.  It was a wonderful class, offering education of the Slovak advent and holidays, celebrations and food.

The Slovak Honey Cookies are traditional Christmas treats and I had to try them.  They are very similar to our traditional Gingerbread cookies, using honey instead of Molasses.  They are absolutely delicious and a new favorite for the holidays.

SLOVAK HONEY COOKIES

3 cups (400 g) plain flour
1 cup (140 g) icing sugar
4 tbsp (60 g) butter softened
3 eggs
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tsp of gingerbread spice mix
3 tbsp clear honey
  • Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Line a baking tray with paper.
  • Sift together the flour, icing sugar, soda bicarbonate and spices.
  • Add butter and honey to the dry ingredients along with the eggs, and mix well to form a soft dough.
  • Wrap in a cling film and leave overnight in the refrigerator to chill.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of half a centimeter.
  • Cut out with your desired cookie cutter and place well apart on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Decorate with icing if you wish.

ICING

1 egg white
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice.

  • Whisk the ingredients together until stiff peaks form.
  • Add more sugar if needed and have patience.
  • Spoon your icing into a sandwich bag, twist the bag tightly until the icing wedges into one corner, and then poke or cut a tiny hole into the corner. Make sure your cookies are completely cool before beginning to decorate.
GINGERBREAD SPICE MIX

10g ground cinnamon
4g whole cloves
3g fresh ground nutmeg
3g cardamom pods
3g star anise

  • Crush the cardamom pods, star anise and cloves using a pestle and mortar. Ground in a coffee grinder and add to the ground cinnamon.
New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup

Butternut Squash is a fall favorite. Roasting the squash for this delicious soup sounded amazing, and it was. I did not roast the Squash with bacon but chose to keep it a bit healthier, only adding bacon bits to the final product. It is delicious with goat cheese but I also tried it with shredded Monterey Jack (shown below) and it was equally as good. Think of this soup as a spoonful of autumn in your mouth. Yum!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, diced (I did not add bacon to the roasted squash)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Place butternut squash, onion, bell pepper and bacon in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine.
  3. Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender, stirring at halftime.*
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add butternut squash mixture and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in chicken stock and puree with an immersion blender.
  6. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon, goat cheese and chives, if desired.

Recipe from Damndelicious.net

Family Favorites · New Favorite · Salads · Vegetarian

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad is a favorite salad, especially when I had fresh kale from my garden but it is wonderful with kale from the grocery store, as well. My good friend, Maribeth, introduced this recipe to me a few years ago and it continues to be a favorite.

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups almond slices, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon Juice (2-4 lemons)
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife, peeled and left whole
  • 10 to 12 ounces washed and dried kale leaves, thick stems removed
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a toaster oven or oven, toast almonds until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt.
  3. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
  4. Add garlic cloves and set aside to steep.
  5. Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons: gather a large handful of leaves, bunch together tightly, and use the other hand to slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. This need not be done very precisely or neatly; the idea is to end up with a kind of slaw. (Recipe can be made up to this point 1 day ahead. Keep kale and dressing refrigerated separately.)
  6. Place chopped kale in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with almonds and then cheese.
  7. Remove and discard garlic cloves from dressing. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for dressin and salt and add more as needed, tossing to coat thoroughly. Serve within 1 hour.

NOTE: I typically make a much smaller salad. The dressing keeps well in the refrigerator. I have also minced the garlic and added to the dressing.

New York Times Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

Czech Heritage and Dishes · New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Kettle Goulash

Over the past year, I have tried several versions of Hungarian/Slovak/Czech Goulash.  This recipe used pork and a lot of paprika and marjoram.  At first I was hesitant to use that much spice but, trust me, it’s worth it.  This flavorful Goulash soup is wonderful paired with a crusty bread.  

KETTLE GOULASH

1 ¼ lb. pork shoulder (you may substitute with beef or use half pork and half beef)  into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp. lard or cooking oil
2 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tbsp. ground caraway seeds
1 tbsp. marjoram
12 oz. potatoes
1 medium carrot diced
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 medium parsley root diced (I substituted 1 chopped red pepper)
1 large tomato chopped (I substituted a 16 oz. can diced tomatoes)
1.5 liter (or 4.2 cups) water
Salt and pepper
  • Heat oil or lard in a large pot and cook the onions until translucent.
  • Add the meat and fry until it is pale brown and sealed.
  • Add parsley, carrot, celeriac, paprika, marjoram tomato and simmer over low heat until the meat is half cooked. (I added garlic at this point vs. later
  • Add water and simmer gently for another 30-40 minutes.
  • Add potatoes and cook for further 10-20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.
  • At the very end, add the crushed garlic and cook for another minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve hot.

Recipe slightly adapted from Global Slovakia course Slovakia: Beyond the Known