Posts Categorized: Weekend Cooking

Weekend Cooking: Pasta Pomodoro

June 23, 2013 Weekend Cooking 4

This is for all of those of you out there with one tomato (Trish!).

I have this friend. We used to work together, but then she managed to bust out. The stinker. Anyway, her new job isn’t very far from me, so about once a month we meet in the middle at this little hole-in-the-wall Italian place. It is authentic Italian made by Italian peoples. Ergo, it is DELICIOUS. Seriously, butt-growingly delicious. There is a dish I have gotten every time we’ve been there except the last time we went (which was a mistake. The dish I got was good, but it wasn’t as good as my regular dish. Everyone was shocked I got it, even the waiter!). I ALWAYS get the Campellini Pomodoro.

Always.

In fact, I love it so much, I finally tried to recreate it at home. I’m getting pretty close!

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Heather’s Pasta Pomodoro

1 handful of spaghetti (I use Dreamfields because it’s low carb yet still delicious)
1 diced tomato (largish, 2 if they are smallish)
minced garlic to taste (I’m up to about 6 cloves. The dish as they make it is very garlicky)
about 2 tablespoons good olive oil
a handful of sliced fresh basil
pepper to taste
parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta to package directions. As it comes to a boil, start heating the olive oil in a big skillet, on about medium. Add the garlic and let it sit. This gives the oil a chance to get all that lovely garlic flavor infused in it. YUM. Once the oil is pretty hot, add the diced tomato. Let them cook on medium for about 5 minutes or so. Once the pasta is done, add it to the skillet and mix it all together. Let it cook another couple of minutes. Take off the heat and add the basil, stirring again to combine. Serve with parmesan cheese and lovely crusty bread and a salad. It is so seriously yum!

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Ricotta Orange Pound Cake

May 12, 2013 Weekend Cooking 19

Edit: I posted this weekend last year. I recently made it with lemons instead of oranges and WOW. YOU GUYS. It was soooooo good. So I’m reposting, to share again!

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By special request, and the fact I had nothing else ready to post today, here is the recipe for the Ricotta Orange Pound Cake I made over the weekend. This cake was SO EASY! And oh my gosh, the flavor is fantastic, the cake has just the right consistency…. You can’t ask more of cake. You can probably tell I used my springform pan and it worked beautifully.

Ricotta Orange Pound Cake
Adapted from Laura’s Sweet Spot

1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature, plus more to grease the baking pan
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 orange, zested (OR lemon)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Amaretto (or 1/2 tsp almond extract) (I used the almond extract)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine; set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, measure out sugar and rub orange zest into sugar with fingertips. Add butter and cream together until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add ricotta and continue to cream, until well incorporated and light, about 2 minutes or so.

With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing one full minute after each. Add the vanilla and Amaretto until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Using a mesh sieve, dust the cooled cake with powdered sugar.

Et voila! Enjoy!

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Weekend Cooking – Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

December 1, 2012 Weekend Cooking 9

I meant to post this about a month ago, and like a lot of things nowadays, it flew completely out of my mind.

I saw this on Pinterest, of course, and decided to give it a try. My family really liked it, except for the boy of course. He is the King of Picky Eaters. Both my husband and I agreed it needed something, something a little more spicy, so next time I’m going to try throwing in a jalapeño or two. Other than that, this was a great recipe. Very easy to make. Next time I’m going to cooking it in halves, so I can freeze some!

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
*Serves 4-6

Filling:

3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
2 (4 oz.) cans of green chiles, lightly drained
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, cubed
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained (you can really use any type of bean you prefer here) (I actually left them out because beans were created by the devil)

Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (7 ounce) green chile enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream
8 ounces (about 2 cups) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 medium (soft taco size) flour tortillas
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full (I can easily fit 8 enchiladas in one pan).

Pour the white sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top and serve.

I chose to use the make ahead directions:

Make Ahead Instructions: Follow the recipe instructions, letting the sauce cool to warm room temperature before proceeding with filling the enchiladas. Assemble the enchiladas as directed in the recipe with the cooled sauce. Cover the baking pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-12 hours before baking. Bake according to the recipe, adding an additional 5-10 minutes if needed since the enchiladas were refrigerated. Alternately, after assembling, the baking pan can be covered with a double layer of foil and put in a jumbo-sized resealable bag and frozen for up to two months. Bake from frozen by decreasing the baking temperature to 350 degrees F and baking the enchiladas covered for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour until the dish is hot and bubbly.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe (melskitchencafe.com)

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Weekend Cooking – Cranberry Shortbread Cake

November 23, 2012 Weekend Cooking 12

This cake. This. Cake. Oh my gosh, y’all. I have a new favorite cake. It’s so easy to make (don’t let the long recipe fool you!), so very tasty (especially with a lot of whipped cream on top *drool*), and did I mention it’s tasty? Because it is. This cranberry filling makes it so holidayish! I can’t wait to make it again. And I think I’m going to try it with raspberries. Like, very soon.

Cranberry Shortbread Cake

Adapted from Singleton in the Kitchen 

For the Jam Filling:
1 large navel orange
about 1/4 cup of orange juice
1 12-ounce bag cranberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed)
About 1 cup sugar

For the Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 stick plus 5 tablespoons (13 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To Make the Jam Filling:

Grate the zest of an orange into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Slice off the peel, removing the white, cottony pith that sticks to the fruit, and slice between the membranes to release the orange segments. Cut the segments into 1/4-inch wide pieces and toss these into the pan. Working over a measuring cup, squeeze the juice from the membranes — if you have 1/4 cup, great; if not, add enough additional orange juice (or water) to make 1/4 cup — and pour it into the pan.

Put the cranberries in the pan, stir in 3/4 cup of sugar, set the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the cranberries pop and your spoon leaves tracks, about 5 minutes. Scrape the jam into a bowl and taste it — if it’s too tart, add more sugar to taste. Cool to room temperature. (The filling can be made up to 2 weeks ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

To Make the Cake:

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and smooth. Add 1 cup of sugar and continue to beat until it dissolves into the butter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the egg and egg yolk and, beating until they too are absorbed. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, mixing only until it is incorporated; since this is a delicate dough, one that should not be over beaten, you might want to finish mixing in the flour by hand using a sturdy spatula. You’ll have a thick dough, one that is quite malleable.

Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface and gather it together in a ball, then divide in half and pat each half into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate them for 15 to 30 minutes. (At this point, the dough can be refrigerated overnight; set it out at room temperature for about 20 minutes before proceeding.)

Getting Ready to Bake:

While the dough is chilling, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan (preferably nonstick) and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Work with one piece of dough at a time. For the bottom layer, either roll out the dough to size between two pieces of plastic wrap — it’s an easy enough dough to roll — and lay it in the pan, or put the dough in the pan and press it lightly and evenly across the bottom with your fingertips. Spread the cranberry filling over the dough.

Unwrap the second piece of dough, but leave it on the plastic. Press and/or roll it until it is just the diameter of the pan. Carefully lift the dough and invert it on the filling, lift off the plastic and use your fingers to even it as necessary so that it covers the filling. Brush the top of the cake very lightly with water and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is lightly golden and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and cool for about 20 minutes, then run a blunt knife around the cake, remove the sides of the pan and let cool to room temperature.

This is my first post for the Holiday Pin It and Do it.

Hurrah!

See Love, Laughter and Insanity to join in. It’s always a lot of fun!

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Weekend Cooking – Sesame Noodles

October 28, 2012 Weekend Cooking 17

are the bomb, y’all.

I have been looking for a good noodle recipe for what feels like forever. And I *think* I’ve finally found it. It needs a couple of tweaks… (I’m not a huge fan of rice wine vinegar. It doesn’t call for garlic. And it can away use more soy sauce!) but we’re getting there. Here is the original recipe, as I first made it, which is pretty darn close to perfect.

Also, if you make it, lemme know!

Soba Noodles with Sweet Ginger Scallion Sauce.

by www.simplyreem.com

Recipe-

Ingredients-

  • Soba noodles – 1 9oz packet.
  • Salt and Pepper as per taste.
  • Sesame seeds – 2 Tbsp lightly toasted.
  • Cucumber thinly julienne optional.
  • Lime wedges optional.

For Sweet Ginger Scallion Sauce-

  • Scallions – 1 ½ cup finely chopped.
  • Ginger – 2 Tbsp minced.
  • Cilantro – ¼ cup chopped.
  • Sesame oil/ grape seed oil/ any neutral oil – 2-3 Tbsp.
  • Chili oil – 2 tsp.
  • Soy sauce – 1Tbsp.
  • Rice wine vinegar – 2 Tbsp.
  • Honey – 2 Tbsp.
  • Salt – 1 tsp, as soy sauce is salty too so be careful with the salt.
  • Black pepper – 1 tsp.

Method-

  • Mix all the ingredients for Sweet Ginger Scallion sauce in the bowl, check for the seasoning. Keep it aside for 10 -15 minutes for the flavors to develop.
  • Boil the soba noodles as per the instruction on the package, If you need them cold drain well with the cold water once they are cooked or just drain the water in which they boiled if you like them hot.
  • Add the sauce, sesame seeds and toss the noodles well, check for the seasoning one last time. Sprinkle lime juice if you like and also if you like add some julienne cucumber, give a final toss and Enjoy!!!

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Weekend Cooking – Slow Cooker Revolution

July 1, 2012 Weekend Cooking 8

I happened to tweet one night that I had made the best meatballs of my life. Easy Pesto Meatballs. Suddenly there was a chorus of requests for the recipe, so here I am! This is an amalgamation of a couple of recipes that I took, combined, and made into my own thing. And damn. It was good. So very very good. I don’t think I’ve ever had such tender, delicious meatballs. Melt in ya mouth, people.

The first part of the recipe comes from Slow Cooker Revolution from those marvelous guys at the America’s Test Kitchen. I love their cookbooks and this is my newest acquisition in the series (and the first recipe I’ve made from it!). We had a reason to celebrate this week and one of my daughters favorite meals is Spaghetti and Meatballs. As I was off Wednesday and had the time, I made the meatballs. However, I did not use the slow cooker. I took the ingredients and most of the recipe, but then I just cooked them in my cast iron skillet. I’m going to give you the recipe as written, then tell how I changed it.

Easy Pesto Meatballs
Adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef or ground turkey (I used the beef)
2/3 cup plain bread crumbs (I used Pepperridge Farm Herb Dressing all smooshed up)
2/3 cup fresh basil pesto (they gave a recipe, but I used my own, coming soon down there…)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (which I left out because I put it in my pesto)
1 large egg yolk (I used the whole egg)
2 (24 ounce) jars tomato sauce (5 cups) (I used some of the sauce I canned from last years tomatoes)
1/2 cup water
Salt and Pepper

1. Mix ground meat, bread crumbs, pesto, parmesan, and egg yolk in bowl using hands. Pinch off and roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs (about 12 meatballs total) (I got about 19, guess I made them smaller than they did, but they were plenty big). Microwave the meatballs on a large plate until fat renders and meatballs are firm, 5 to 7 minutes. (I didn’t do that.)

2. Stir tomato sauce and water into slow cooker (I added the sauce to my pan after I cooked the meatballs [and strained off the grease]). Nestle meatballs into slow cooker, discarding the rendered fat. Cover and cook until meatballs are tender, 4 to 6 hours. (I browned my meatballs until cooked through, added the sauce and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.)

3. Let meatballs and sauce settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using a large spoon. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Here is the pesto recipe I used:

Homemade Pesto
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Canning Magazine 2012

3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves (about 3 ounces) (I used a combination of basil and African Blue basil)
2/3 cup pine nuts and/or walnuts (I used 1/3 cups of each)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, quartered (I think I used 6) (love the garlic and I need to keep Edward away)
1/2 teaspoon salt (didn’t use)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. In a food processor or blender, combine basil, nuts, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and process or blend until nearly smooth, stopping to scrape the sides as necessary.

2. Ladle pesto into a sterilized half-pint jar, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and label. (Place any remaining pesto in an airtight storage container.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To freeze, transfer to a freezer-safe container. Seal and label. Freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

If you make this, I’d love to hear what you think!

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Pin It and Do It Challenge – Shrimp

May 25, 2012 Weekend Cooking 10


So, I tried this pin Wednesday night. And stupid me FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES.

It looked an awful lot like this:

Shrimp from Pinterest

It’s a very simple recipe too. And oh, so, yummy.

Melt a stick of butter in the pan. Slice one lemon and layer it on top of the butter. Put down fresh shrimp, then sprinkle one pack of dried Italian seasoning. Put in the oven and bake at 350 for 15 min.

That’s it!

SO SIMPLE. AND DELICIOUS. I actually changed it up a bit though. I did half of it this way. The other half, I used lime juice and chipotle seasoning. The lime/chipotle was actually much more tastier. I think next time I’m going to do it all that way. And I’m going to make more. I didn’t take into account just how much the girl loves shrimp! It was all gone! And we wanted MORE. This is a keeper. Yay!

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Weekend Cooking – Creamy, Cheesy, Potato Leek Casserole

April 8, 2012 Weekend Cooking 8

I reinstated Meatless Monday this past week and, since I knew this went over well the last time I made it, I brought out this old standby; Creamy, Cheesy, Potato Leek Casserole. I have made it before, but I got a different recipe from FOODjimoto to try out and had to basically cut in half. It makes a very VERY large casserole. Seeing as only 3 of us will eat it (I have a very picky 4 year old), it would have been way too much. Plus, it cooks a little faster! This casserole is so yummy, warm, and comforting. We will be having it again, very soon.

Also pictured, I stir-fried asparagus in my cast-iron skillet with olive oil, garlic, and mushrooms, and a ciabatta roll.

Creamy, Cheesy, Potato Leek Casserole

INGREDIENTS

4 medium-sized potatoes, sliced
1 leeks, chopped
1 grated carrot
1 cups chopped celery
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cups chopped onion
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon each, butter & oil

Sauce:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or jack cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Thoroughly wash leeks, and chop all vegetables. Saute vegetables in 1 tablespoon each, olive oil and butter, until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Slice potatoes and put into a bowl with cold water until ready to use.
  3. Soften cream cheese for about 20 seconds in the microwave and stir in sour cream and cream. Mix into vegetable mixture thoroughly.
  4. Spray non-stick cooking spray onto casserole dish and layer potatoes, vegetable/sauce mixture and cheese, ending with cheese. Sprinkle dried oregano on top.
  5. Bake, covered, for 30-40 minutes, until hot and bubbly and potatoes are tender when pierced with fork. Finish by placing the casserole under the broiler to brown the top.

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Weekend Cooking – Tomato Basil Jam

August 20, 2011 Weekend Cooking 15

You don’t know this about me, but I am addicted to recipe magazines. You know, those obscenely priced magazines they bombard you with at the register of most stores, especially of the grocery variety. A couple weeks ago, I picked up one called Ultimate Italian, a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication. It’s fantastic, full of yummy looking recipes from lasagna, to fococcia, to cannolis. But the first thing to really catch my eye was a recipe for Tomato Basil Jam. I mean, look, doesn’t this catch your eye?

I know, not the best picture, but in person, it is gorgeous.

I showed my magazine to a friend at work and, long story short, she made the jam and gave me a small jar of it on Wednesday. I finished it off last night (Friday) and promptly went to work making some for myself. It. is. delicious. I did that thing up there, in the picture, with the bread and the jam and the mozzarella and it is heavenly.

So, anyway, last night. I made the jam. And this morning it hadn’t set. After conferring with  Ms. Beth Fish Reads herself this morning over Twitter, I decided to boil it again, longer (much! longer), this morning.

Oh my goodness, but it does smell good.

Here is the end result:


And here is the recipe:

Tomato Basil Jam

Adapted from Ultimate Italian magazine 2011
Prep: 1 hour Cook: 11 minutes Process: 5 minutes (all in your dreams)

4 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and finely chopped ripe tomatoes (about 4 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup shipped fresh basil (I used African Blue Basil)
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
1 1/75 ounce package powdered fruit pectin for lower sugar recipes

1. In a 6 or 8 quart kettle or pot, bring tomatoes to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in basil, lemon juice, and salt. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar with the pectin. Stir sugar mixture into tomato mixture. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the remaining 2 3/4 cups sugar. Return mixture to a full rolling boil; boil hard for 1 minute, (Or in my case, gently boil 20 more minutes to remove some of the water. But my tomatoes had a LOT of water in them. If you wind up with 6 pints instead of 5, like me, keep boiling), stirring constantly. Remove from heat; quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon.

2. Ladle at once into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes (start timing when the water returns to boiling) (also, I processed for 10 minutes, but I’m anal like that). Remove jars; cool on wire racks. Makes 5 half-pints.

Per tablespoon: 40 cal, 0 mg fat, 0 mg chol, 11 mg sodium, 10 g carb, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Weekend Cooking : Potato-Leek Gratin and Pesto!

May 15, 2011 Weekend Cooking 7

I don’t know that I ever discussed it in length on my blog, but in mid-February, I took on a new goal. Or, rather, a dare. My husband told me if I got down to 125 pounds, he would quit smoking. That meant loosing around 20 pounds. I’m not terribly tall or big boned, so it was a reasonable amount and something I really needed to do for my health (like my grandmother before me, I tend to gain weight around the middle-which leads to diabetes, which she had). I’ve been after the hubby to quit smoking for years now, so I took the challenge. I joined Weight Watchers online, joined the WW meetings at work, and, well, I am currently sitting pretty at 126.

This last pound has been a hard one to loose.

But I feel GREAT. And I think I rather look great too! It’s not so hard to walk up stairs, to walk distances, to bend over and touch my toes…. And it is going to be SUCH a pleasure to see the hubby fight to quit smoking after this fight to loose weight, lemmetellya.

In this effort, I have really stepped up my efforts to eat more fruits and veggies. I ate no meat for three days last week! And last week, I instituted a veggie only night, one night a week. Last night was the first one. And wow was it good! I made this Potato-Leek Gratin which everyone (except the boy. He’s a hopeless I-am-against-all-veggies case. Thank God for Morningstar’s Chick’n Tenders!) loved.  It was so easy and SO delicious. I found it on my favorite haunt Tastespotting. I often go there and search for veg (figuring I’ll find vegetables, vegetarian and vegan recipes) and this one came up bright and early Friday morning. Thank you Just One Cook Book for the excellent recipe! I rounded it off with squash and onions (the first squash from the Farmer’s Market this year!), roasted asparagus (ditto!), and Asiago Peppercorn bread (also from the market) (and much loved by me) (drool). Next week we’ll be having Vegetable Pot Pie with Black Pepper Biscuits. I can’t wait!

Incidentally, the leftovers were just as good for breakfast this morning!

Potato-Leek Gratin

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 stalks of leeks
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. fresh/dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 cups Mexican style cheese
3 russet potatoes (1.5 lbs)
Chopped green onions for garnish
1 Tbsp. Panko
Directions:
1. Rinse the leeks and cut in half lengthwise. Chop into 1” pieces and carefully wash the leeks again in running water.
2. Butter a baking dish.
3. In a large skillet, heat the rest of butter on medium high heat. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and cook until leeks are soft.
4. Meanwhile, peel and slice the potatoes. Cut into ¼” pieces and soak in water until you are ready to use them (prevent from changing color).
5. When leeks are soft, add thyme, salt, pepper, and heavy whipping cream. Simmer another 5 minutes until the sauce gets thickened.
6. Preheat an oven to 400F. Divide the potato, leek mixture, and each cheese according to your baking dish size. I divided them in half as this baking dish is a shallow one.
7. Layer one portion of potatoes in the baking dish, then layer one portion of leek mixture, then another portion of each cheese. Repeat for each layer.
8. Sprinkle Panko and green onion on top.
9. Cover with the aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. To check whether the dish is done, test by inserting a skewer through the foil. If the skewer is able to go through the potato smoothly then it’s ready. Remove the cover and change oven setting to broil. Broil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on top. Be careful not to broil for too long since you don’t want to burned the dish.
10. Remove from the oven and let sit another 15 minutes before it’s ready to serve.


I also threw this lovely pesto together yesterday. One of the sellers at the market had it as a sample and I just KNEW I had to make it for my sandwiches this week. It’s so easy peasy, a drunk monkey could make it.

Spinach-Scape Pesto

1 pound spinach
8 Garlic Scapes
1 Cup Cheese (I used Parmesan)
Olive Oil

Mix in first there in food processor. Add enough oil to bring it all together. Enjoy!

It’s especially good on that Asiago Peppercorn bread with greenhouse tomatoes (not *quite* time for home grown yet, but they are in the ground!) and mozzarella toasted in the oven. *groan* I may be having it again for lunch today.

weekendcooking

Weekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

caprici2

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