Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pancetta & Leek Pasta

There is not one thing that I don't love about this recipe and when you find these prediced little packets of heaven, you must make this pasta! 

12 ounces pasta - any shape that you fancy
1/2 cup reserved Pasta Water
3 or 4 ounces, weight Chopped Pancetta
3 whole Leeks, Sliced Thin (Slice length wise to rinse any sand away before slicing)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 cup Dry White Wine or chicken stock
1/2 cup Heavy Cream (or use a touch more if you're feeling indulgent)
Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
Parmesan Cheese, Shaved

Cook pasta and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.  Saute chopped pancetta until fat is rendered and it starts to brown. Add sliced leeks and cook for 8 minutes. When you add the leeks and once the pancetta is browned, add a pat of butter to help deglaze the pan but be careful not to burn butter in hot pan.  After 8 to 10 minutes, pour in wine or stock, then cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until reduced. Reduce heat to low, then pour in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in Parmesan cheese and toss. You can add a little pasta water to thin as needed. Serve with Parmesan on top. 

Recipe from Pioneer Woman, my idol. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Quinoa Cakes

Next Saturday I leave for a week-long business trip in Germany so this weekend (thus far) has been spent running errands, organizing around the house, laundry, car wash - you know the Saturday drill.  I've also had the urge to cook some healthy home cooked meals since who knows what my crew will eat when I'm away.  This morning we started off with these quinoa cakes with over easy eggs on top.  They came together quickly because I had quinoa left over from last night's dinner.  Certainly the way to go on this dish, especially if you don't want to get up even earlier to prepare breakfast.  My skeptical husband - who really wanted bagels and bacon - approved and happily cleaned his plate!   

2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature ( cooked mine the night before using chicken stock in place of water for more flavor!)
2 large eggs, beaten
½ tsp. coarse salt
1/3 cup minced fresh chives, plus more for garnish
2 large green onions, finely sliced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup whole grain bread crumbs or panko crumbs, plus more if needed
Olive oil, for frying patties
In a medium bowl, combine the quinoa, eggs, salt, chives, green onion and Parmesan. Stir to blend. Mix in the bread crumbs and stir gently until evenly incorporated. Form the mixture into evenly sized patties, about 3-4 inches in diameter. 
Heat 2 glugs (that's a technical term so enough to lightly coat your pan) of olive oil in a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat and swirl to coat. Add the patties to the pan so that they are not touching. Let cook about 4 minutes or until the first side is lightly browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and let the second side cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes more. The are delicate but if they break they still taste great!  Repeat with the remaining patties, using additional olive oil if needed.

You can serve warm and plain but we topped them with an over easy egg for breakfast and they were fantastic!! 

Recipe slightly adapated from Annies Eats

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Joy the Baker's Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

If you'd like to lose weight this summer don't buy this book.
because then you'll have to make these...

And then you'll have to do this...
But before you do that, be sure to copy the recipe for the divine buttercream frosting.  The Ovaltine is genius because it helps give it a smooth texture and great flavor.  Once we tested this last night, I had to hide it in the vegetable drawer in my fridge for fear my kids would eat it by the spoonful.  Trust me, you may consider eating your cat if it has this on top! 

1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Ovaltine

Cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt. Butter mixture will be very thick. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low and mix in powdered sugar while adding milk and vanilla extract. As the sugar incorporates, raise the speed of the mixer to beat the frosting. Beat until smooth. In a 2 cup measuring glass, stir together heavy cream and Ovaltine. Turn mixer speed to medium and pour cream mixture into frosting in a slow, steady stream, until you’ve reached your desired consistency. I did not need the full amount of Ovaltine and cream so add a little at a time. 

Note: This will cover about 4 dozen cupcakes.  I only made half this recipe which is plenty for an 8-in round layer cake or 2 dozen cupcakes. 

Recipe from Joy the Baker

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sour Cream Rice Bake

This is a simple recipe that I'm almost embarrassed to blog about but my family went absolutely gaga for this easy casserole.  Warning - it's mild so feel free to spice it up with red pepper flakes or add some diced & cooked veggies to give it more heft.  I won't win any cooking awards for this one but on a rainy Monday night when I'm tired and my husband cooks, it's award-winning to me! 

1 pound ground beef
15 ounces canned tomato sauce (For more flavor we used a good quality jarred marinara instead)
1 1/2 cups long grain, white rice
3 cups water (or beef broth)
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste
green onions - optional
Add the rice and water to a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover the pan. Cook for 15-18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed. Allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, brown the ground beef in a skillet until cooked through. Remove from the heat, drain the grease, and add the tomato sauce to the pan. Add the rice to a large mixing bowl and dump in the sour cream and cottage cheese. Stir to combine. Add sliced green onions if using.  (I'll do this next time) Add salt and pepper, to taste.  In a 2 quart baking dish place half of the rice on the bottom of the dish. Top with half of the meat and tomato sauce mixture. Sprinkle on half of the cheese. Repeat the layers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Recipe adapted from Buns in My Oven

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Southwest Chicken Chili Mac

I'm trying to get my kids interested in cooking.  My little loves it but she cannot exactly prepare a meal like this.  She's mastering the basics of toast and stirring but we're getting there.  Now I'm working on my 12-yr. old because I'd love for her to better appreciate the satisfaction of home cooking and understanding how to prepare healthy and delicious recipes.  And I'd love to come home from work to a large skillet of this!  In full disclosure, it's not working and she generally thinks dinner magically appears on the table and elves clean everything up afterwards.  Sigh.  Someday....

8 ounces wagon wheel pasta noodles (or other small fun shape)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red or yellow peppers
2 -3 minced garlic cloves
2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast (I use a rotisserie chicken)
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes, mild (or plan diced tomatoes if you want less heat)
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup corn, fresh, canned or frozen
1/2 cup white beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry Ranch seasoning from packet
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cool water to stop cooking. Heat oil in 9 inch deep cast iron skillet. Add onions and peppers, cook stirring until softened about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute. Add chicken, tomatoes, broth, corn, beans, 1 cup wagon wheel pasta, chili powder, cumin, Ranch seasoning and cilantro. Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Picky Palate