Cheesy Stuffed Shells by Scott

Not only has my boyfriend been learning to speak Italian, but he has also been cooking the most amazing Italian food. This is one of his recipes and is easy to make along with being delizioso.

Ingredients:

For the marinara:

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole

24 oz tomato puree

salt and pepper to taste

basil leaves, fresh and torn

1 tsp red chili pepper flakes

1 tsp sugar

For the shells:

1 box jumbo pasta shells

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

10 oz spinach (boiled and diced)

Pepper to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients for the marinara together and simmer for 1 hour. Once marinara is done, heat oven to 350F and boil pasta shells. Mix cheeses with spinach and pepper. Once shells are done, rinse with cold water to make them easier to handle. Place shells on paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb water. Take a baking sheet and place a portion of the marinara on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. Stuff each shell with the cheese mixture and place in baking pan until the pan is full of shells in a single layer. Top with the remaining marinara and sprinkle some Parmigiano Reggiano on top, bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Rice with Tomato Sauce – Risotto al Pomodoro

Scott and I in Napoli

Happy Saturday! I hope you are all having a great weekend.

Something about rice with tomato sauce, I just love it. Spanish rice….yummmm; and now Italian rice. My boyfriend made this delicious meal for me the other night and this rice was on the menu.

The recipe comes from a website named cookingwithnonna.com. It has lots of great recipes but way too many advertisements. I do not blame anyone for making a living but it is sometimes hard to navigate. Sorry Nonna!

Ingredients:

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

3 cups passata or tomato puree

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

Grated Parmigiano cheese

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add in the tomato puree and salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

In a separate saucepan bring 4 cups of water to boil. Add the rice and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add cooked rice to the sauce and combine over heat for 1-2 minutes.

Grate Parmigiano cheese to garnish.

Damn that is easy!

Buon apetito!

Panzanella Salad

 

I had my first online cooking class experience yesterday. It was a lot of fun. I went through the cooking school named Cozymeal. They have cooking schools throughout North America and, due to the pandemic, the classes have moved online. I have been wanting to try one for awhile.

I choose an Italian cooking class. The chef, Chris, was very informative and taught the group many great techniques as well as the history of the food.  He even had an Italian opera singer Zoom in from his home whereas he sang a wonderful song.

This is the first of the three recipes we cooked. It is very simple and delicious. It comes from Tuscany.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 loaf of Italian crusty bread
  • 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced and quartered
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil (10-15 leaves) rough chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425F. Chop slices of bread into large crouton shape. Toss with olive oil (enough to lightly coat). Lay out the croutons on baking sheet in single layer with appropriate spacing between each piece to vent. Place in oven and toast until they appear toasted on all sides (10-15 minutes).

Place tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, 2 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS red wine vinegar in a bowl, mix and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

Once croutons have cooled, mix with marinade.

Other two recipes to follow (Tiramisu and fresh pasta dough with lemon cream sauce.

Buon appetito.

Squash & Gorgonzola Risotto

 

I posted this recipe last week, but while trying to make some modifications on this site yesterday I erased part of the post. Thus, I will post it again because this recipe is that good.

My boyfriend found this gem of a website named:

http://www.pastagrammar.com

Also, check out their You Tube channel, they have many entertaining videos that will teach you a lot of Italian cooking tips:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1tKrA3PQlDzKzmhgq7wPPQ

I reap the benefits from his find and his new found love of cooking Italian. Often, I come home to freshly cooked pasta and other delicious Italian intricacies.

This is one of my favorite dishes from the site so far, it is a northern Italian risotto. It calls for an easy to make homemade vegetable broth.

Ingredients:

  • 1 russet potato, quartered
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 carrot, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tomato
  • Sprig of fresh parsley
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, cubed
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh black pepper

Directions:

Begin by making the vegetable broth. Place potato, celery, carrot, tomato, parsley, half of the onion, a splash of olive oil, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan with water and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Dice the other half of the onion. Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil into a sauté pan and sauté diced onion until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the cubed squash, stir frequently for 2-3 minutes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a ladle of the vegetable broth and allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add more broth if necessary to prevent burning.

Toast the rice by melting 1 TBS of butter into a saucepan and stir frequently for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook the alcohol off for a couple minutes.

Add the toasted rice into the squash pan and combine. Begin adding simmering vegetable broth in increments to maintain the ability to cook the rice and to achieve a certain consistency. Desired consistency is soft and not crunchy but not overcooked. This will take at least 15-18 minutes and will require your attention.

Once desired consistency has been reached take the pan off the heat and add 1 TBS butter, gorgonzola cheese, a generous grating of Parmigiano and combine. 

Allow to sit for 3 minutes then serve with another grating of Parmigiano to top the master piece off.

Godere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Fajitas

 

This is the second Hello Fresh meal kit I received. I wanted one to be vegetarian and I was not disappointed. I am a sweet potato fan and mixing them with the spices cut through the sweetness perfectly. With the meal kit came the ingredients and directions to include pickled jalapeño, fresh salsa and lime sour cream. Everything was super yummy but needed more heat so add some jalapeños to everything if you like the heat. I forgot to take a picture of the finished meal because everyone was so hungry. Above is a picture of my daughter, son, mom, and me at our tea spot in Vancouver Island; Milner’s Garden.

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes (the amount depends on how many people you are cooking for)
  • 2 jalapenos (1 to pickle and 1 for the salsa)
  • 2 red onions (1 for fajitas and 1 for the salsa)
  • 2 long green peppers, core and thinly sliced
  • 2 tomotoes
  • Pepper jack cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
  • 3 limes
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Tortillas (flour or corn, whichever you prefer)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp white sugar + 1/2 tsp for pickled jalapeno
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

Make the fajitas first: Adjust your oven rack to top position and heat to 425 degrees. Cut sweet potato into 1/2 inch thick wedges, place in a bowl and drizzle with oil and all spices listed. Roast until tender and lightly crisped 30-40 minutes.

Make the pickled jalapeños: Thinly slice the jalapeños into rounds, place in small bowl and add juice of 1 lime and 1/2 tsp sugar with a pinch of salt, set aside.

Make the veggies: Heat some oil in a pan and add 1 onion and green pepper, both thinly sliced. Cook until softened and lightly charred. Season with salt and pepper

Make the salsa: chop the tomatoes, cilantro, 1 diced onion, juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper and chopped jalapeño for heat.

Add the zest of a lime and squeeze some lime juice into sour cream

Heat your tortillas and enjoy.

 

 

Salsa Verde Cruda

 

This recipe is from Gabriela Camara teaches Mexican cooking on Master Class. From the Master Class cookbook “different salsas serve different purposes and speak to different traditions. Each region has its own specialty salsa based on the local ingredients and local palates. This raw, creamy salsa is simple to make. It packs medium heat and a lot of fragrance. You can use hearts of romaine instead of little gem lettuce here, the idea is to add freshness and crispiness to the mix. Seek out a very ripe avocado. It should offer no resistance when touched lightly from the outside and be soft enough to press a spoon into.” Ingredients are all in grams, I just eyed everything and added to taste.

Ingredients:

  • 860g small tomatillos
  • 20g white onion, roughly chopped
  • 35g cilantro leaves
  • 2g garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 20g chiles serranos, de-stemmed
  • 20g little gem lettuce
  • 165g avocado
  • 140ml water
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

 

 

 

Spanish Rice

 

I need to get this recipe on the site before I lose the tiny slip of paper with the directions. This recipe comes from my friend Nathaniel. I came home from work one night and my boyfriend and Nathaniel were making fajitas. Homemade Pico de gallo and Spanish rice included. I’ve tried to replicate it a couple times but I do need to invest in rice cooker. For now, I make it the old-fashioned way with a pot on the stove. Note to self: do not use sushi rice for this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chicken broth (I used 1 cup because I but it n cartons)
  • 1 can water (again, I used 1 cup)
  • 11/2 cups rice
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce (1/2 of a 14.5 oz can)
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a pot, bring to simmer and cover until rice is tender (20-25 minutes); garnish with cilantro.

Quinoa & Sweet Potato Skillet Meal

 

Happy Saturday! I made this dish last night and my daughter, her friend and myself really liked it; it has incredible flavor profiles. The recipe is from a cookbook my boss gifted me for Christmas. It is written by the Canadian Chef, Greta Podleski. Fun fact you may not know, my mom is Canadian and lives in Canada, however, I was born and raised a California girl. The book is titled Yum & Yummer and focuses on healthy recipes. I have made several recipes from this book but this is the one that truly stands out. It is vegan but we made it vegetarian by adding a dollop of sour cream as a garnish. There is a lot of spices. If you want to make it less spicy do not add the jalapeno and cayenne pepper. Its really easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions (I used yellow)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 cups peeled, cubed sweet potato, uncooked
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-14 oz can diced tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup whole-kernel corn (thaw first is using frozen, I used fresh and cooked prior to measuring and adding)
  • 2 to 3 TBS minced fresh cilantro
  • Sliced avocados for garnish

Directions:

Use a 10 inch skillet, non-stick with a lid. Heat oil in skillet and add onions, garlic and jalapeno. Cook until tender. Add sweet potatoes and all the spices. Mix well.

Stir in tomatoes with their liquid, broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir in beans and corn, cover and let mixture stand off heat for 10 minutes (do not omit this step). Stir in cilantro just before serving. Garnish with avocado and sour cream if using.

 

 

Thai-Spiced Rice Bowls

Asian food is one of my favorites. Thai and Japanese are at the top of my list. I have made this rice bowl twice and each time added more spice to the broth. Still, not spicy enough for my mom…she likes it super spicy. Next time I will knock it out of the park. The original recipe was found on cookieandkate.com, but as usual, I have altered it to my taste buds. The original recipe called for no proteins. I have added chicken and a poached egg. Shrimp would be a good addition as well. If you are a vegetarian, you can use vegetable broth and tofu. The choices are abundant.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
  • salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Fresh ginger, thumb tip sized, peeled and minced
  • 1 TBS Thai red curry paste (or more, if you want it spicier, start tasting once its all mixed)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can, 14 oz, light coconut milk
  • generous squeeze of honey

Garnishes to your liking:

  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced and seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Rotisserie chicken, shredded or chopped
  • Poached egg
  • Shrimp, sauteed

Directions:

Cook the rice as directed. Make the broth by heating the oil, garlic and ginger in a saucepan over medium for about 30 seconds. Add the red curry paste, soy sauce, peanut butter, broth, coconut milk and honey. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce and simmer while you prep the garnishes. Chop all your garnishes. To serve, place rice in a bowl, top with broth and garnishes.