Monday, August 31, 2009

Cook's Illustrated Meat Lasagna


I was able to find the meatloaf mixture at my local butcher shop but if you can't, substitute 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, for the meatloaf mixture.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 lb. meatloaf mixture (1/3 pound ground beef chuck, 1/3 pound ground veal, 1/3 pound ground pork)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
15 ounces ricotta cheese (whole milk or part skim)
2 1/2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
16 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded

Cooking Directions
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add ground meats, salt, and pepper; cook, breaking meat into small pieces with wooden spoon, until meat loses its raw color but has not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and only fat remains, about 4 minutes. Add pureed and drained diced tomatoes and bring to simmer; reduce heat to low and simmer slowly until flavors are blended, about 3 minutes; set sauce aside. (Sauce can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days; reheat before assembling lasagna.)
Mix ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, basil, egg, salt, and pepper in medium bowl with fork until well-combined and creamy; set aside.
Smear entire bottom of 9- by 13-inch baking dish with 1/4 cup meat sauce. Place 3 noodles on top of sauce. Drop 3 tablespoons ricotta mixture down center of each noodle. Level by pressing flat with back of measuring spoon. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce evenly over cheese.
Repeat layering of noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, and sauce two more times. Place 3 remaining noodles on top of sauce, spread remaining sauce over noodles, sprinkle with remaining cup mozzarella, then with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Lightly spray a large sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake 15 minutes, then remove foil. Return lasagna to oven and continue to bake until cheese is spotty brown and sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes longer. Cool lasagna about 10 minutes; cut into pieces and serve.

Dorito Casserole


I don't know why I'm embarrassed to post this recipe...it seems slightly ghetto, but the fact is...it was pretty tasty. Next time I will half the recipe because the leftovers are too soggy to be good. I couldn't find "fiesta nacho" cheese soup so I just used Campbell's cheddar cheese soup.

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 package Taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
1 can Rotel
1 can Campbell’s Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 bag of Doritos, crushed (I used a larger one)
1 8 0z bag of shredded cheese (any kind will do)
Sour cream and salsa for topping, if desired
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Brown ground beef and onion, drain
Add taco seasoning and cook as directed on package
In a 9 X 13 casserole dish, layer bottom of dish with 1/2 bag of Doritos. Set other half aside.
In large bowl, combine taco seasoning beef and onion mixture, Rotel, Nacho Cheese Soup and Cream of Mushroom Soup. Mix well. Top layer of Doritos with beef mixture
Layer beef mixture with remaining half of Doritos Top with whole bag of shredded cheese
Bake until cheese is melted (approx. 20 minutes)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tortellini with Bacon, Greens and Brown Butter


My friend Michele says butter and bacon make everything better. This recipe is no exception.

1 pound cheese or meat tortellini (I used sausage tortellini)
4 ounces sliced bacon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups arugula (about 1 bunch)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation
Cook the tortellini according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Reserve the bacon and discard the drippings.

Wipe out skillet and return to medium heat. Add the butter and melt, swirling or stirring with a wooden spoon as it starts to foam and sputter. Remove the butter from the heat as soon as it begins to turn golden brown and smells nutty, about 1 minute.

Break the bacon into small pieces and add to skillet with the arugula, salt, pepper, and cooked tortellini. Toss well and divide among individual bowls.

Tip: If you can't find arugula, try this dish with spinach, basil, or watercress.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Slush Punch


Emilie made this punch for Saisha's baby shower and I've been looking for an excuse to make it since. It is like a Slurpee but fruity and delicious! Sign up for punch for the next shower you attend and you'll be a big hit!

1-1/4 cups white sugar
3 cups water
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin mix
1/2 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cups orange juice
1 (2 liter) bottle lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage (ex. Sprite)

DIRECTIONS
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin. Boil for 3 minutes. Stir in pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Freeze in a ziplock. (I froze mine in two ziplocks so I could add a frozen chunk halfway through the party and keep it slushy)
When ready to serve, place the frozen contents of one container in a punch bowl, and stir in 1 bottle of lemon-lime soda until slushy.

Steak Cutlets with Bistro Gravy


2 tenderloin steaks, about 2-3 inches thick
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped parsley plus additional for the sauce (I used dried)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, finely chopped (I used garlic instead)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons capers

Yields: 2 servings

Preparation
Pop the steak into the freezer for 10-15 minutes: you want it cold and firm but not frozen. Slice the semi-frozen tenderloin steak into 8 thin discs about a quarter inch thick so it’s the thickness of scaloppine. (I just had my butcher cut the steaks thin for me)

Set up three shallow dishes for breading: place 2 cups of flour in one, mix the breadcrumbs and parsley in another, then beat the eggs with some water in the last one. Season the tenderloin cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides then turn lightly into the flour. Next, coat the cutlets in egg mixture then into the breadcrumb-parsley mixture. Repeat for all 8 cutlets.

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Cook the beef cutlets in a single layer, in 2 batches if necessary, about 2-3 minutes on each side, until cutlets are is evenly browned. Remove the cutlets to a platter and tent with some foil to keep warm.

Give the skillet a quick wipe with a paper towel, place it back over the heat and melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook until tender, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and smoked paprika, cook for a minute, then add remaining tablespoon flour and cook for another minute. Whisk in the beef stock and season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in capers and remaining parsley, and reserve.

To serve, place a beef cutlet onto a platter and top with the bistro gravy and remaining chopped parsley. Serve over rice or noodles.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Garlic Chicken Fried Chicken

The best thing about the recipe was how fast it was to make! For the little effort required, the fact that you probably have all the ingredients already in your kitchen and the tasty result, it's worth making for sure! The chicken was not intended to look like Ireland- it just pounded out that way :)

2 Tablespoons garlic powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded thin
1 cup oil for frying, or as needed

DIRECTIONS
In a shallow dish, mix together the garlic powder, pepper, salt, paprika, bread crumbs and flour. In a separate dish, whisk together the milk and egg.
Heat the oil in an electric skillet set to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Dip the chicken into the egg and milk, then dredge in the dry ingredients until evenly coated.
Fry chicken in the hot oil for about 5 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Remove from the oil with a slotted spatula, and serve.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Strata


I labeled this a breakfast dish because I think it would be perfect for brunch but we thoroughly enjoyed it for dinner!

1-1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1-1/2 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham
3/4 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup half-and-half cream
6 eggs
2 cups cubed day-old bread
1-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS
This recipe's Ingredients were scaled to yield a new amount. The directions below still refer to the original recipe yield of 16 servings.
In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, zucchini, ham, onions, green peppers and garlic in oil until vegetables are tender. Drain and pat dry; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and cream until smooth. Beat in eggs. Stir in the bread, cheese, salt, pepper and vegetable mixture.
Pour into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dishes. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Leave it up to Rachael Ray to come up with ANOTHER buffalo chicken recipe. This one was as good as ever.

4 pieces, 6 ounces each, boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1 /3 palm full
1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/3 palm full
A drizzle extra-virgin olive oil

Sauce for chicken:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup, 4 ounces, cayenne pepper sauce, preferred brand Frank's Red Hot
Bib or leaf lettuce leaves
Avocado, sliced
Tomato, sliced
4 crusty rolls, split
2 cups sour cream
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder. Drizzle breast with a little extra virgin olive oil to coat. Pan grill chicken breasts 5 minutes on each side.

Heat a metal or oven safe glass bowl over low heat and melt butter in the bowl. Add hot sauce to the butter and combine. When the chicken breasts are done, remove from pan and add to the bowl and coat evenly with hot sauce mixture.

Place chicken breasts on bun bottoms and top with crisp lettuce, avocado and tomato slices. Combine sour cream, scallions and slather bun tops.

Chocolate Burritos


Thanks to my mother-in-law Jane for sending this great recipe my way! Here is the original recipe which I modified a little bit. Phyllo dough is found in the frozen aisle of your supermarket, near the frozen pie crusts. I think the box I got was 1/2 sheets so I made two smaller burritos instead of one large one like the recipe calls for. Both our cameras were out on loan, hence the ghettoness of this camera phone picture (no offense to Becky's phone camera).

Block of bittersweet chocolate, about 1 cup size (I used one large bar)
1/2 to 1 cup walnuts
3-4 T Granulated sugar
3 to 6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
Unsalted butter, melted for brushing

Directions
Note: The amounts for the ingredients are up to the user.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While oven is preheating, use a food processor to grind up the chocolate into little pieces. (A ziplock bag and meat tenderizer would also do the trick)

Using a food processor, crush the walnuts.

Spread 1 phyllo sheet on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush it with butter. Top with a last sheet, but don't butter it on top. I just use 3 sheets but if you like thicker burritos, sprinkle on sugar and add 3 more sheets after brushing on the butter.

Sprinkle on chocolate and nuts, to taste. Be sure to allow room for rolling without bursting the roll. Sugar isn't really necessary inside the roll but a little can be nice.

Roll up the dessert just like a burrito: tuck in sides toward the front then roll up. Also, a straight roll like sushi is fine.

Sprinkle phyllo with sugar, put on a baking sheet (no greasing or parchment necessary), and bake for 5 to 8 minutes until just barely browned.

Remove, wait 5 minutes, then cut into bite size pieces with a sharp knife. Serve immediately.

Philly Cheese Steak


Mark picked recipes this week and this one was my favorite of the week!

2 fresh Italian sandwich rolls or Kaiser buns, split in half crosswise
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 pound rib-eye steak, very very thinly shaved or sliced
1/3 pound thinly sliced white American cheese, or Provolone cheese OR 4 ounces melted cheese whiz
Ketchup, optional topping
Italian pickled peppers, accompaniment
Directions
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. When hot add the oil, onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Push off to 1 side of the griddle.

Add the meat to the hot pan and cook, stirring and breaking up with the back of 2 metal spatulas, until almost no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Mix in the Sauteed vegetables. Top with cheese slices and melt. Spoon the cheesy meat mixture into the warm buns and serve immediately with condiments of choice or Put the meat in the bun and dip the spatula in the cheese whiz and then wipe the spatula down the inside of the bread.

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Not quite as good as Chipotle's carnitas, but it was a decent stand-in. I did not add coriander or cinnamon.

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth

DIRECTIONS
Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a bowl. Coat pork with the spice mixture. Place the bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker and place the pork on top. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture.
Cover and cook on Low until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 10 hours. Turn the meat after it has cooked for 5 hours. When the pork is tender, remove from slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Use cooking liquid as needed to moisten the meat.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eclair Torte

Mallory originally brought this to community group and I embarrassed myself by going for THIRDS! It really is that good! Serve it to guests and you will be a rock star for the night!

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter (do not substitute)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 (3 1/2 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding
3 cups cold milk
1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip
chocolate syrup

Directions
1Boil water, butter and salt in saucepan.
2Add flour all at once; stir until smooth ball forms.
3Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.
4Add eggs one at a time.
5Beat well with a wooden spoon after each one; beat until smooth.
6Spread into a greased 9x13-inch pan.
7Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes until puffed and golden; cool completely.
8In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, pudding and milk until smooth.
9Spread over puff and refrigerate 20 minutes.
10Spread Cool Whip.
11Refrigerate.
12Drizzle with syrup just before serving.
13Keep in the fridge.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Slow Cooker pulled pork

Thank you Mark for taking this picture at work of your lunch today- we forgot to take a picture of the sandwiches last night. This was super duper simple and very tasty!

1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted

DIRECTIONS
Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. Drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cajun Chicken Pasta


The first time I made this it did NOT turn out! I used WAY too much cream (3 c), used still slightly frozen chicken breasts which added to the liquid when cooked and used old cajun seasoning. Not so good. But Angela convinced me to try it again since it is one of their favorite dishes. It was DELICIOUS! As soon as we were done eating, Mark asked if I can make it again soon. The next day he called me at 10:30am and said he was eating lunch because he was so excited to eat the pasta!

1/2 pound linguine pasta
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into thin strips
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup butter
2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
8 fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 green onion, minced
1 1/2 cups half & half
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
Meanwhile, place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, and toss to coat.
Depending on how much you are making, you may need to use two skillets for the following steps: In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers, sliced mushrooms and green onions; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat, and stir in half & half. Season the sauce with basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper, and heat through.
In a large bowl, toss linguini with sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Cheesy Rice Pilaf


This was a simple recipe that had great flavors.

1/4 cup (plus 2 tablespoons, if roasting) EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 lemons, divided
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely grated or pasted
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt
1 3- to 4-pound chicken, skin removed and cut into 8 pieces

Preheat oven to 450ºF or a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the EVOO, zest and juice of 1 lemon, garlic and black pepper. Season the chicken well with salt and toss into the bowl. Marinate the chicken for 15 minutes.

If roasting, place a large, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Sear the chicken, meat side-down until golden brown, about 5 minutes, then turn over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

If grilling, grill chicken until marked and cooked through, 8-10 minutes per side.

Squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon over the cooked chicken and serve with Cheesy Spinach Rice Pilaf alongside.

Cheesy Rice Pilaf

2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup orzo
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 cup light brown or white rice, such as Texmati brand
1 3/4 cups chicken stock or broth, regular or low-sodium
Salt and ground black pepper
2 bunches fresh spinach, chopped (about 4 cups) or 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
3/4 to 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Place a medium pot over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the orzo to the pan and toast until golden brown, 3-4 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pan and continue cooking for another 30 seconds. Add the rice, broth, salt and pepper to the pan and bring up to a bubble. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Fluff the finished rice with a fork and fold in the spinach and cheese.

Gyroll


Gyro wrapped in a roll of pizza dough? Count me in!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2/3 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 dash hot pepper sauce
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound pizza crust dough
6 ounces feta cheese
1/2 zucchini, diced
8 ounces chopped black olives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown meat with garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. When meat is almost done, add parsley and cook until the parsley wilts. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool.
Roll pizza dough out into a rectangle (about 18 inches by 12 inches), with the long side laid out left-to-right in front of you. Spread out feta cheese, zucchini and black olives evenly over the dough, leaving 3 inches from the edges of the crust uncovered. Spread the cooled meat mixture over the top, still leaving edges of dough uncovered.
Starting with the edge closest to you, roll up the whole thing until it is all rolled up. You can do this by using the uncovered edge of dough at the end as a 'strip' to stick to the roll and seal it, making sure both ends are pressed down and sealed. Sprinkle with garlic powder and bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Then, reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Snickerdoodles


Mark and I both love snickerdoodles but it has been a long time since we've made them. Mainly because the last time we made them it was a disaster. We were still living in Tucson and decided to make Christmas cookies for our neighbors who we rarely saw. When we opened our can of shortening, it had a slight discoloration but we didn't think much of it. The snickerdoodles filled the house with an amazing cinnamon smell and we could not wait to try a bite of their soft, chewy goodness. We both took a bite and immediately spit it out. The shortening must have gone bad because all though they looked and smelled delicious, they were disgusting. I think it ruined snickerdoodles for us for awhile but now we are back in love.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Zucchini Risotto


7 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice, uncooked
1/2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
10 sun-dried tomatoes, softened and chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (or mozzarella) cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves, or to taste (optional)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Bring vegetable or chicken stock to a boil in a medium stock pot, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
Melt butter in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook for 2 minutes, or until softened. Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted. Gradually ladle in simmering vegetable stock, stirring continuously. Risotto will become "creamy" and slightly sticky, yet still firm in the center, or al dente. It took like 20 min for mine to be done.
When almost finished, stir in the zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and thyme, adding stock as needed and stirring continuously. Stir in basil and 3 tablespoons cheese just before serving. Divide risotto among 6 bowls, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and season with pepper to taste.

Orange and Avocado Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing


Toss 2 cups crisp greens with 1 can drained mandarin orange slices, 1/2 chopped avocado and 2 T slivered red onion. Serve with the following dressing:

Puree 1/2 c packed fresh cilantro, 1/4 c EVOO, 2 T EACH lime and orange juice, 1/4 t EACH salt and pepper and a pinch of minced garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth.

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