Monday, April 18, 2011

Revived Risotto

Revived Risotto
OBJ: TCW be able to take her left over risotto and successfully re-use it for a classic Italian appetizer

Any amount leftover Shrimp & Zucchini Risotto (or any risotto you’ve made, seafood removed)
2 C Italian style breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 C quick marinara sauce (see below) or your favorite red sauce
½ C shredded mozzarella
3 C canola oil
S & P (salt & pepper)

1.      Set up two shallow dishes, place breadcrumbs in one and beaten eggs in the other
2.      Measure about ¼ C risotto, use your hands to shape into ball
3.      Press your pinky into top of risotto ball and push in to make a well, sprinkle about 2 tsp shredded mozz into well, reshape ball
4.      Roll ball in egg, drip off excess, then roll well in breadcrumbs,  shake off excess
5.      Place pre-fried breaded ball on a plate, repeat steps 2 -5 with remaining risotto
6.      Place pre-fried rice balls in refrigerator for at least an hour to set
7.      Heat oil on high flame in a deep pan for about 5-8 minutes, make sure oil is read y to fry before placing rice balls in it (to check- then end of a wooden spoon will bubble when immersed in oil or if you drop some bits of breadcrumbs they will immediately fry)
8.      Place about 4 -5 rice balls in oil to fry, do not crowd though- if only 4 fit, so be it!
9.      Fry until deep golden brown, about 4-5 minutes
10.  Take out of oil, place on paper towel and immediate sprinkle with salt and pepper
11.  Continue frying the rice balls
12.  Serve with marinara

For Quick Marinara:
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can whole plum tomatoes
¼  C extra virgin olive oil
½ small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp dried parsley
¼ dry red wine (I used merlot, but use what you drink)
S & P

1.      In a large sauce pot or deep sauté dish, place 2 TBS of olive oil in pan, heat over medium- low flame
2.      Add onions, garlic, parsley flakes, a pinch S & P and let heat through for about 10 minutes, or until onions become translucent
3.      Add whole can of diced tomatoes with the juice, then use hands to tear whole tomatoes into pieces. Add tomatoes to pan and only ½ of the juice from that can
4.      Clean diced tomato can out with red wine and pour into pot/pan
5.      Add S & P ( about 1 tsp each)
6.      Up the flame and bring to boil, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes
7.      Uncover and leave over low flame for about 30-45 minutes, for the sauce to thicken. Stir frequently throughout

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bacon Cheddar Turkey Burgers

Bacon Cheddar Turkey Burgers
Serves: 4

OBJ: TCW be able to make healthy burgers by combing turkey meat, bacon, cheddar & spinach

1 package lean ground turkey meat (20 ounces)
2 C baby spinach
1 egg
½ C red bell pepper, diced
8 slices extra sharp cheddar cheese from block
4 slices bacon, cooked to a crisp
8 thin slices  tomato
4 ciabatta rolls
S &P, salt and pepper
Mayonnaise, optional

1.      In a large bowl, mix the turkey meat, egg, baby spinach, red pepper, about 1 tsp each of S & P well
2.      Divide the mixture into 4 equal amounts, shape into patties, pushing each center in a little
3.       Place patties on a plate. Then heat grill, indoor grill, or grill pan,  (indoor grill turn to high setting, other grills- medium flame) using olive oil to slightly grease grill to prevent sticking
4.      Cook burgers for 8 minutes on each side, covered on the grill or with foil for other grilling options, when there is 1 minute left on the second side, place 2 slices of cheddar on each burger to melt
5.      Make sure to check for doneness after a total of 16 minutes (cut open, meat should be white), place each burger on a bottom ½ of roll, top each burger with 1 broken up piece of bacon, 2 slices of tomato and top of ciabatta roll spread with mayo, if using
6.      Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Risotto with Jumbo Shrimp & Zucchini

Risotto with Jumbo Shrimp & Zucchini Squash
Serves: 4-6 people

OBJ: TCW will be able to serve risotto as her main dish rather than on the side

4 Cups reduced sodium chicken broth, or 2 cans
3 TBS unsalted butter
½ C diced red onion
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ C Arborio rice
¾  C dry white wine ( I use Pinot Grigio, but use what you booze)
½ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 medium-sized green zucchini squash, cut into ¼ inch circles then halved
2 slices of bacon, cut into ½ inch cubes
16 jumbo shrimp, cleaned and deveined
S & P, salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes

1.      Pour chicken broth in a small sauce pot, bring to simmer, lower heat and cover to keep hot
2.      In a large, deep sauté pan, heat 2 TBS butter over medium flame
3.      Add onion, shallot, garlic, and a pinch S & P, cook until vegetables are soft, about 5-8 minutes
4.      Add the rice and stir to coat in butter
5.      Add ½ C of wine and bring to boil, lower heat and let simmer to reduce, about 4 minutes
6.      Add ½ C of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 4 minutes
7.      Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth ½ C at a time, stirring the whole time, making sure you only add the next ½ C after the previous ½ C  has absorbed
8.      Continue until all the broth has been absorbed and rice is tender and has a creamy consistency, about 35 minutes total
9.      Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat 2 TBS olive oil over medium heat
10.  Add bacon, garlic, shallots, and a pinch S & P and allow bacon to brown, about 8 minutes
11.  Drain about 2 TBS of oil from pan. Add ¼ C wine and bring to boil, lower and let reduce, about 5 minutes
12.  Add zucchini, keep heat on low, cover and let vegetables cook, about 10-15 minutes
13.  When risotto has about 5 more minutes (right before last addition of broth) add shrimp to zucchini sauté, up the flame to medium, stir, let cook and get pink
14.  Remove the risotto from heat after last ½ C has absorbed, stir in the parmesan cheese, 1 TBS butter, about ½ tsp pepper
15.  Add in the entire zucchini/bacon sauté, stir well and serve

****This recipe was truly outstanding; I couldn’t get over how delicious it was. The risotto was so creamy I had trouble refraining myself from eating one too many servings. The zucchini still had crispiness which paired well with the creamy consistency of the rice. The bacon flavor was in the background but still provided a great depth of flavor.  Just amazing, you must try!*

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Italian Smothered Chicken

Italian Smothered Chicken
Serves: 2-3 people
OBJ: TCW be able to combine two of her favorites- chicken parmesan and lasagna, into one main course dish

2 chicken breasts (cutlets), pounded thin
1 ½ C Italian style bread cups
2 eggs, beaten
½ C extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 TBS
1 can diced tomatoes
¼ C diced red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium sized shallot, diced
1 tsp dried parsley
¼ C dry red wine (I use Merlot but use what you booze)
1 C whole milk ricotta cheese
8-12 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
½ C shredded mozzarella cheese
S & P, salt and pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

1.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2.      In a large sauté pan or sauce pot, heat 3 TBS olive oil over medium flame
3.      Add onions, shallots, garlic, pinch S & P, and parsley, lower heat to medium-low and let vegetables cook and soften, about 5-8 minutes (until onions are pale)
4.      Add diced tomatoes with their juices, pour the red wine into the can from tomatoes to “clean out” the can and pour into sauce
5.      Add another pinch S & P, bring to boil, cover, turn heat to low and let simmer (covered) for about 15- twenty minutes
6.      After 20 minutes, turn flame off and stir in 3 – 4 fresh torn basil leaves
7.       Place ¾ of sauce in a medium-sized casserole baking dish or 8 X 8 pan, set aside
8.      Set up two shallow dishes, one with beaten eggs, one with bread crumbs
9.      In a large frying pan, heat ½ olive oil over medium-high heat ( oil should come up ¼ of pan, adjust accordingly if need be)
10.  Dredge chicken in egg, drip off excess, then coat with breadcrumbs, shake off excess
11.  When oil is hot and ready (either put a few breadcrumbs in it and they will fry up or the end of your wooden spoon will create bubbles when put in oil), put in chicken and leave to fry on one side for 4-5 minutes, turn over (make sure its light golden brown) and let other side fry for 4- 5 minutes
12.  Place lightly browned chicken in casserole dish or 8 X 8 pan on top of  the sauce
13.  Divide the remaining sauce on top of each chicken breast
14.  In a small bowl, mix ricotta with remaining basil, and a pinch S & P, divide ricotta mixture equally on top of each chicken breast, spread to cover most of chicken breast
15.  Cover each breast with mozzarella
16.  Sprinkle with parmesan
17.  Bake for 20 minutes covered with foil, then 5 minutes uncovered for the top to brown, use broiler at end if needed
18.  Serve with pasta tossed with olive oil, S & P and parmesan cheese or just some good Italian bread

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sausage & Red Pepper Bread

Sausage & Red Pepper Bread
Adapted from: Diana Albanese, Classic Thyme Cooking School, Westfield, NJ
Makes 2 Loaves
OBJ: TCW be able to apply her bread-making skills to her home
1 cup hot water (105-115º)
1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
8 oz. sweet sausage, taken out of casing
1 cup thinly diced pieces of red bell pepper
1 cup cool water
4-5 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. crushed anise seeds
3-4 tbsp. freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil for oiling bowl
Cornmeal for dusting pans


1.      To make starter, use bowl of an electric mixer and warm it with hot water. Wipe and place 1 cup of warm water in bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of flour until combined.
2.      Set aside covered with a towel/plastic wrap for 30 minutes- or until you need it
3.      While starter is resting, place sausage in a sauté pan set over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to break
up meat as it is cooking
4.      When cooked, transfer to a food processor. Pulse several times to chop to fine.
5.      Add cool water to starter in the bowl of the electric mixer with paddle attachment. Set on slow speed.
Add flour 1 cup at a time, stopping at the fourth cup.
6.      Add salt and anise seeds. Dough will be rough looking and feel wet. Switch to dough hook and add 3-4 tablespoons of flour at a time. Knead dough with dough hook, adding a few more tablespoons of flour until it feels slightly firm.
7.      Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and shape into a rectangle. Cover with towel and rest for 15 minutes.
8.      Stretch dough to make a large rectangle. Cover with sausage, pepper slices, and cheese. Roll up into a loose roll and gently knead sausage and peppers into dough. You are basically working the sausage, peppers, and cheese into the dough. Knead for about 5 minutes.
9.   Shape into a loose ball and transfer to oiled bowl. Turn dough to coat in oil. Cover with towel/plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about an hour, up to 2 hours.
10.  Cover a sheet pan with parchment. Sprinkle 2 strips of cornmeal down the paper to lay the bread dough
on. Take dough from bowl and divide it in half on a lightly floured surface.
11.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees
12.  Shape dough into logs and lengthen them to fit on sheet pan. Dust loaves with flour. Cover with a towel
while oven is preheating.
13.  When loaves have doubled in size, about 30 minutes,  score tops several times with a sharp knife (make slits)
14.  Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Lower heat to 425 degrees and continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown
15.  Transfer to a rack to cool
© Diana Albanese

*** Serve with Liquid Gold, next recipeJ***

Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold
OBJ: TCW be able to make a dipping oil that makes you regret ever eating bread without it

1 Cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 TBS
1 whole head of garlic
¼ C fresh basil, sliced thin
2 TBS freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 TBS fresh ground pepper
4 tsp kosher salt

1.      Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2.      Cut the top off the head off garlic leaving skin on
3.      Place garlic on top of a large, 11 x 16, piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with 3 TBS of oil, 1 TBS pepper, and 2 tsp salt
4.      Wrap garlic up in foil, leaving room inside foil for garlic to “steam roast”
5.      Roast for 40 minutes, take out of oven and let cool in foil for about 20 minutes
6.      In a shallow bowl, add the 1 Cup olive oil, basil, parmesan cheese, 1 TBS pepper, 2 tsp salt
7.      Squeeze out all of the garlic from each clove into the mixture above, mix well, being sure to break up the garlic
8.      Serve with crusty bread

** You can always add more olive oil if the dish is running low when serving to guestJ Also, this can easily be doubled or tripled if need be!**

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sugar Cookie Pizza

Sugar Cookie Pizza

Serves: 12-15
OBJ: TCW be able to create a sweet & satisfying non-chocolate dessert so that she can indulge without cheating on her Lent sacrifice

2 (16 ounce) refrigerated cookie dough packages
1 C powdered sugar
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 C fresh sliced strawberries
1 C fresh blueberries
1 C sliced cantaloupe
Mint for garnish

1.      Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
2.      Combine your 2 packages of cookie dough so that you have one large ball
3.      On a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet, roll out the dough so that it eventually measures to about 12-14 round circle, about ½ thick
4.      Back for about 20-25 minutes or until the entire cookie is golden brown (I didn’t want the edges to brown and burn while the center was baking so I crumbled foil and shaped it into long logs to surround my cookie)
5.      Take out of oven and let cool on sheet for about 15 minutes, take off sheet and let entirely cool on rack
6.      In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until well blended
7.      Spread cream cheese/sugar mixture on pizza as the “sauce”, top with prepared fruit
8.      Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour before serving
9.      Slice into “slices” and garnish with mint, serveJ

*** Other options can be to use raspberries, sliced bananas, and slivered almonds on top.***