Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Open Faced Egg Ricotta Sandwiches with Spinach Salad and Crispy Shallots

This sandwich needs a snazzy name!  Add a comment below if you have any suggestions.

I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light.  I love it because it's fast, easy, pretty healthy, and delicious.  You can get it on the table in under twenty minutes if you have all your ingredients out and prepped.

It's definitely a knife and fork meal.  Don't expect everything to lay perfectly on top of the bread.  

Yield:  3 sandwiches

1/4 c. and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided (you could use your Chile-Garlic infused oil if you made it!)
1 large shallot sliced thin, rings separated
1 c. ricotta cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
Zest and juice of one lemon, separated
3 slices hearty white/country bread, 3/4-1" thick, toasted
3 c. baby spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil (or Chile-Garlic infused oil mentioned above.)
3 eggs

1.  Heat the 1/4  c.oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and fry, stirring occasionally until golden-brown.  Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt.
2.  In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. 

3.  Heat the 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Fry the eggs until the yolks are just set, but slightly runny. 

4.  3.  In a medium bowl, toss the spinach with the lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

5.  Spread the ricotta mixture on the toasted bread.  Mound it on there, like the cheese is shaving cream, and the bread is your face (or legs, depending on gender.)

6.  Place 1/3 of the spinach on top of the ricotta.

7.  Top with an egg and  sprinkle of shallots.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

5 Steps to Chile-Garlic Infused Olive Oil

It's really easy to create infused oils; so easy that you can do it in five steps.  This chile-garlic infused olive oil is great for sautees, salads, and anytime you use olive oil in a savory dish. 

1 c. olive oil
5 garlic cloves peeled,
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes


1.  Heat the olive oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.  You should start to see an occasional bubble rise to the surface.

2.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.

3.  Simmer (small bubbles around the edge of the pan) for 15 minutes, until the garlic cloves turn light golden brown.

4.  Strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer.  Those browned garlic cloves taste great spread on some toast!

5.  Store the oil in the refrigerator for up to a month. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grape Tomatoes - Cook 'em Until They Pop!

I have a confession....I hate raw tomatoes.  I've tried them over and over again and just don't like the flavor or texture.  It could be because I was traumatized once when  my sister shoved a tomato wedge in my mouth as a kid....

However, if tomatoes are cooked, roasted, or sauteed, I absolutely love them.  One of my favorite ways to cook grape tomatoes is to saute them until they burst.  They start to break down, and the flavor intensifies.

In the recipe below, adapted from Cooking Light, pork chops are browned, then shallots, garlic, and tomatoes are cooked with some balsamic vinegar, just until the tomatoes begin to burst.  The combination of flavors is incredible.

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided 
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut loin pork chops, (about 1/2 inch thick) 
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 c. thinly sliced shallots
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 c. grape tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil.
  2.  Sprinkle chops evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add pork to pan and cook 5 minutes on each side. Remove pork from pan. 
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, shallots, vinegar (don't stand directly over the pan when you add the vinegar!), and garlic to pan; saute 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. 
  4. Combine tomatoes, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl; toss gently to coat. 
  5. Add tomato mixture to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tomatoes start to burst. Sprinkle with basil. Serve tomato mixture with pork.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Skillet Shrimp with Orzo - Fast, Easy, and Delicious

This recipe is from Everyday Food Magazine, and it was AMAZING!  It's pretty quick; only about 25 minutes, and extremely flavorful.  You start off browning garlic (always a good beginning!), saute tomatoes, then add orzo and chicken broth and place in the oven.  While baking, the orzo soaks up all of the flavor from the garlic, tomatoes, and broth.  Next, you add shrimp on top add place the skillet under the broiler for a few minutes, then top with basil.  A great one pot meal!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chicken Alfredo with Roasted Broccoli

There are two things I love about this recipe.  One is the roasted broccoli.   Roasting completely changes its flavor, and makes the broccoli sweet and nutty.  The other thing I love is that it's quick.  I'd love to make a meal from scratch every night, but that's just not practical.  Taking an occasional short cut, like using jarred sauce, helps to make a tasty and quick dinner that is perfect for a weeknight.

1 bunch of broccoli
2 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 thin sliced chicken cutlets
1/4 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. alfredo sauce
3/4 lb. short tubular pasta (rigatoni, cavatappi, ziti, etc.)
Zest of one lemon

1.  Preheat the oven to 450F.  Cut the florets off the broccoli.  Peel the stem (yes, it's edible!) and cut it in 1/4 inch slices.  Slice the garlic cloves into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Place broccoli and garlic on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli and garlic begin to brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

2.  While the broccoli is roasting, bring a pot of large water to a boil.  Add a handful of salt, then cook the past according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

3.  Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add to skillet.  Cook the chicken, stirring frequently, until browned on both sides, and cooked through.  Place the chicken in a large bowl, return the pan to the heat, and add the chicken broth.  Scrape up any brown bits (fond=flavor!) then add to the bowl with the chicken.

4.  Add the roasted broccoli and garlic to the bowl, then the pasta.  Stir in the alfredo sauce and lemon zest.

5.  Savor your dinner with a glass of wine and enjoy the rest of your evening!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fruit Smoothie with Ricotta

I know that it sounds weird, but I put ricotta cheese in my smoothie this morning.  I was out of milk and wanted to add something to make it more substantial.  I figured I'd give the ricotta a try.  It gets very smooth in the blender, and adds a little sweetness.

1 medium, very ripe, banana
1 c. chopped pineapple
1/2 c. blueberries
1/4 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
2 c. ice
1/2 c. cold water

Place all ingredients in blender.  Blend on medium speed for 2-4 minutes until smooth.  Enjoy!