smoked sausage, butternut squash & wild rice stew

INGREDIENTS

2 medium butternut squash, about 3 to 4 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and Pepper, to taste

12 cups chicken stock

2 1/2 cups chopped onions

1 cup wild rice

3/4 pound smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 cups fresh corn kernels (I actually used frozen since corn isn’t it season and it still tasted great)

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Season the squash with 1 tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little. In a blender or food processor, puree the squash with 2 cups of the chicken stock. Puree until smooth and set aside.

In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring 4 cups of the stock and 1/2 cup of the chopped onions to a simmer. Stir in the rice and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally with a fork. Remove the rice from the pan and cool. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the sausage and brown for 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of onions and corn. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the remaining 6 cups of stock and squash puree. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the rice and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the half-and-half and reason with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and serve.

gnocchi bolognese

INGREDIENTS:

2 oz. pancetta, chopped 
1 tsp. unsalted butter 
1 medium onion, chopped 
2/3 cup chopped celery 
2/3 cup chopped carrot 
1 garlic clove, minced 
1 lb. 93% lean ground beef 
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio 
1/2 cup fat-free milk 
1 lb. dried potato gnocchi
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg 
2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf 
6 tbsp. part-skim ricotta cheese ( I actually ended up using whole milk… you need to treat yourself every once in a while)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a dutch oven on medium high heat and add pancetta. Cook until the fat is rendered, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the butter, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ground beef,] and salt and pepper to taste.

Brown the meat, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces as it cooks, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it reduces, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the milk, gnocchi, and nutmeg. Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then cook, covered, over medium low heat for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the gnocchi separately according to package directions and add to the bolognese sauce to heat everything through.

Serve with dollops of ricotta, grated parmesan cheese and basil.

skillet roasted lemon chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/3 cup good olive oil

  • 1 lemon, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick

  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick

  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)

  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

  • Juice of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the thyme, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a mini food processor and process until ground. Pour the olive oil into a small glass measuring cup, stir in the herb mixture, and set aside.

Distribute the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and distribute the onion and garlic on top. Place the chicken, skin side down, on top of the onion and brush with about half the oil and herb mixture. Turn the chicken skin side up, pat it dry with paper towels (very important!), and brush it all over with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan (not on the chicken!) and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 to 160 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle it with the lemon juice, cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the chicken into quarters or eighths, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices, cooked lemon, and onion.

Read original recipe here.

chicken & cauliflower gnocchi

Serves 2

 

 INGREDIENTS:

1 bag Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup green peas

1/2 bag Trader Joe’s rainbow carrots

3/4 cup to 1 cup Trader Joe’s Kale Cashew Basil Pesto

3-4 chicken thighs

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, for topping

Salt and Pepper, to taste

extra virgin olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS:

Season both sides of chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add a few teaspoons of olive oil to a nonstick pan and heat on medium high heat. Saute  the chicken for 6-7 minutes a side until cooked through. Set aside and when cool enough, shred chicken with two forks.

 

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cut carrots in oblique chunks (or however you want). Once water is boiling, add carrots and blanch for 3-4 minutes. Once carrots are tender, shock them in an ice bath. (This helps brighten and set the color, and they become super tender!)

 

In the same pan as you cooked your chicken, add a few teaspoons of EVOO. Add frozen cauliflower gnocchi and saute for about 5 minutes until almost defrosted. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Steam until all the water is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add a few more teaspoons of olive oil and saute gnocchi until they are browned.

 

 

Once gnocchi is cooked through, add peas, carrots and shredded chicken. Stir together for a few minutes until all ingredients are heated through. Mix in your kale pesto, you can add more or less as needed. Season with salt and pepper and divide into two bowls. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Yum!

turkey burgers with goat cheese, caramelized onions & cranberry relish

serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 lbs 93% lean ground turkey

4 oz log garlic & herb goat cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 lbs sweet onion (2 large), sliced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

6 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS:

Mix mustard, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, ground turkey and goat cheese in a medium bowl. Divide into 6 equal portions and form into patties. Cover and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until rich caramel brown, about 30-40 minutes. Add dried cranberries and reduce heat to low. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for another few minutes.

Prepare your grill- whether you’re using charcoal, gas, or an indoor grill pan. Oil grates to prevent any sticking. (You can also cook these in a saute pan.) Cook burgers 5 minutes a side. Toast buns on grill until lightly browned. To serve, set a burger on each bun, top with caramelized onion mixture, and whatever condiments you like! Mustard, mayo, ketchup etc. Enjoy!

butternut squash with chile yogurt sauce

serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large butternut squash, about 3 lbs.

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves and stems, plus extra leaves for garnish

  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pepitas

  • 1 cup non-fat greek yogurt

  • 1 1/2 tsp. sriracha 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat an oven to 425°F.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds, and then cut into wedges 3/4 inch wide and about 2 3/4 inches long, leaving the skin on. Place in a large bowl with the cinnamon, 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, 3/4 tsp. salt, and a good grind of pepper. Mix well so that the squash is evenly coated.

Arrange the squash, skin side down, in a single layer on 2 baking sheets and roast until soft and starting to color, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.


To make the herb paste, combine the cilantro, garlic, the remaining 4 T olive oil and a generous pinch of salt in the bowl of a small food processor. Puree to form a fine paste and set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until the outer skin pops open and the seeds become light and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

When you are ready to serve, swirl together the yogurt and sriracha sauce. Arrange the squash wedges on a platter and drizzle the spicy yogurt sauce and then the herb paste over the top (you can also swirl the yogurt sauce and herb paste together, if you like). Scatter the pumpkin seeds on top, followed by the extra cilantro leaves, and serve immediately. 

read original recipe here.

my favorite shrimp tacos

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp (I like the jumbo kind)

  • spices! I usually just use whatever is in my pantry- ground cumin, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, pepper… customize this to your liking!

  • olive oil

  • corn tortillas

  • shredded red cabbage

  • 1-2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

  • 1 avocado

  • fresh cilantro

  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced

  • 1 mango, cut into large chunks

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • fresh lime wedges

DIRECTIONS:

Lay shrimp out in single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Dust with spices of your liking on both sides and set aside until ready to saute. (I promise this recipe will be more legit with actual measurements one day soon…)

Shred your cabbage, or use pre-shredded cabbage and mix with 1-2 tablespoon sweet chili sauce. I like my cabbage pretty thin for these tacos.

Mash avocado and add some chopped cilantro, diced jalapeno, salt and pepper, and freshly squeezed lime juice.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet on high heat. Add shrimp and cook through, for about 5 minutes total.

To heat your corn tortillas, either toast them in a dry skillet or wrap them in damp paper towels and microwave for 1-2 minutes.

To assemble tacos, lay out corn tortillas. Add mashed avocado, 3-4 shrimp, red cabbage, mango, and fresh leaves of cilantro. Finish it off with a squeeze of lime. Pour yourself a margarita and enjoy the delicious tacos you just whipped up!

scallop tostadas

INGREDIENTS:

Guacamole:

  • 1 small avocado

  • 1/4 cup diced tomato

  • 2 tablespoon diced red onion

  • 2 teaspoon lime juice

  • 2 teaspoon chopped cilantro

  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tostadas:

  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream, thinned with 1 teaspoon fat-free milk

  • 6 large sea scallops, (8 ounces total) side muscle removed, rinsed and pat dry

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • black pepper, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 2 large corn tostada shells

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mash the avocado in a small bowl with the tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper to taste.

  2. Season scallops with salt and black pepper. Add the butter and oil to a 12-inch skillet on high heat.  Once the butter begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.

  3. Spoon the guacamole onto the tostada, top with scallops and drizzle with sour cream.

NOTES:

  • Gina’s recipe only served two. I doubled this recipe so it would serve 4.

  • Instead of corn tostada shells, I just used regular corn tortillas and crisped them up in the oven.


read original recipe here.

tuna poke bowls

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups short-grain sushi rice

  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more

  • 2 tablespoons dried hijiki (seaweed)

  • 3 tablespoons mirin, divided

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

  • ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, plus more for serving

  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • ¼ English hothouse cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, sliced crosswise into half-moons

  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup mixed fresh citrus juice (such as lime, lemon, and grapefruit)

  • 2 tablespoons white soy sauce or soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)

  • ¾ pound highest-quality fresh tuna, cut into ½-inch pieces

  • 1 avocado, chopped

  • Tobiko (for serving; optional)


DIRECTIONS

  • Rinse and drain rice in a fine-mesh sieve several times until water runs clear. Let sit 30 minutes.

  • Combine rice and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan, season lightly with salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover saucepan, and simmer until rice is tender, 18–22 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork; keep warm.

  • Meanwhile, soak hijiki in ½ cup cold water in a small bowl until rehydrated and softened, 30–35 minutes. Drain and mix in a clean small bowl with 1 Tbsp. mirin, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, and ½ tsp. sesame seeds; let sit 5 minutes. Drain.

  • Whisk vinegar, sugar, 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, and 2 Tbsp. water in another small bowl. Toss cucumber with a pinch of salt in another bowl and squeeze to expel excess water. Add cucumber and jalapeño to brine and let sit at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour to pickle.

  • Soak scallions in a medium bowl of cold water until they begin to curl, about 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry.

  • Combine citrus juice, white soy sauce, oil, remaining 2 Tbsp. mirin, and remaining 2 Tbsp. soy sauce in another small bowl; set ponzu aside.

  • Whisk mayonnaise and chili paste in a final small bowl to combine; set spicy mayo aside.

  • Toss tuna, hijiki, drained pickles, scallions, and ponzu in a large bowl; season with salt.

  • Just before serving, toss avocado into tuna mixture. Divide rice among bowls and top with tuna mixture, a dollop of spicy mayo, more sesame seeds, and some tobiko, if using.

Serves 4

  • NOTES:

    • Mare and I couldn’t find sushi rice, so we just ended up using Arborio- still worked great.

    • We also didn’t end up using Tobiko, but I’m sure it would have been great if we had it!

    • We only used regular soy sauce, no white soy sauce around.

    • For the hijiki, we just cut up strips of regular nori sheets. A few modifications but the recipe still turned out great!

    read original recipe here.

grilled shrimp salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 2 ears corn, husked

  • 6 cups chopped romaine

  • 2 large tomatoes, diced

  • 1 avocado, diced

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • salt and pepper

Honey Lime Cumin Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

directions:

Sprinkle shrimp evenly with chili powder. Skewer on metal skewers and set aside until ready to grill. Season corn with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Prepare your grill- whether you’re using charcoal, gas, or an indoor grill pan. Brush grill with oil to prevent anything from sticking. Grill corn for 12 minutes, turning occasionally until nicely charred. Add shrimp, and cook 3 minutes a side.

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients in small bowl until combined.

Cut kernels off of your ears of corn and add to your salad bowl with chopped romaine, diced tomato, avocado and grilled shrimp. Toss everything together with the dressing and enjoy!

Serves 4

marilyn's pizza

Serves 3

Makes 3 individual pizzas or 1 large pizza

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

  • 1 cup self-rising flour

  • 1 cup nonfat Greek Yogurt

 

  • Pizza:

  • ¾ cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 2 cups red onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced

  • 1 T EVOO

  • 1 T unsalted butter

  • 3 oz prosciutto

  • ½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese

  • 2 T pine nuts

  • 2 T parmesan cheese

  • ¼ cup basil leaves, torn

  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

DIRECTIONS:

Dough:

In a mixing bowl, add self-rising flour and greek yogurt. Mix until combined and turn out on a floured surface. Knead for a few minutes until the dough comes together. Refrigerate for a few hours until ready to use. (I find the dough sets up the best when you let it sit for a while.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide pizza dough into 3 equal portions and shape into a 8 inch rounds. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.

 

Caramelized Red Onions:

Melt the butter and EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced red onions, salt and pepper, and cook until deep golden brown, stirring frequently, 20-30 minutes.

 

Prosciutto and Pine Nuts:

Meanwhile, bump oven up to 400 degrees and place prosciutto on parchment lined sheet tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until almost crispy. (This will finish getting crispy in the oven.)

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Be sure to watch them!

 

Pizza:

Brush each individual pizza with a little bit of EVOO, and a hint of minced garlic. Divide the mozzarella evenly, and top with red onions, torn prosciutto, pine nuts and big dollops of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with a little bit of parm on top, just for good measure. :)  

Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes. Turn the oven to broil for the last 2 minutes and watch that top get nice and golden.

Top with freshly torn basil leaves. Pour up a glass of Cab and ENJOY!