Thursday, March 24, 2011

Baked Penne with Corn, Zuchinni and Basil

These past couple of nights I have done
absolutely nothing to make dinner, except,
plan out the menu for the week.

I have come home from work exhausted
partly because I seem to be suffering
from allergies. Itchy eyes, congestion
and sore throat just like all the other

I am so lucky though, because my husband
has been making dinner! Eating all the
fresh food we bought at the market is
so much better than ordering out.

This recipe from William Sonoma
is a keeper even though there
are many steps. Trust me when I
say the end result is worth it.

Baked Penne with Corn, Zuchinni and Basil

Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. penne
6 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 cup corn or 2 ears of fresh corn
6 zucchini, cut into half-moons
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
1 Tbs. sliced garlic
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Preheat an oven to 400ºF.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Generously salt the water, add the pasta and cook,
stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes.
Drain the pasta and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.

In a 12-inch nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat,
warm 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the corn,
season with salt and black pepper and cook,
stirring occasionally, until the corn is lightly golden,
6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and warm
the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Working in batches,
add the zucchini, season with salt and cook,
stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is
tender and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add to the bowl with the corn. Repeat with
remaining zucchini, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Set the pan over medium-low heat.
Add the onion, 1 tsp. salt and black pepper, to taste.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent,
about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, oregano
and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally,
until the tomatoes soften and begin to form a sauce,
about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook
for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until the wine
has reduced and the sauce is fairly thick,
about 3 minutes more.

Add the pasta, tomato sauce, basil,
mozzarella and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano
to the bowl with the vegetables and stir to combine.
Transfer to the fry pan and sprinkle the remaining
Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Transfer the pan to the
oven and bake until golden brown on top,
20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

This was very good!
You can't see all the good stuff that it is inside
trust me ~ it is in there!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Rainbow of Carrots

These carrots are so beautiful!
Aren't they?
I mean look at their colors.

They get major points for being colorful however
they taste the same as regular carrots to me.

I cooked them with a little butter and some
fresh thyme.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chocolate Spiced Pork Chops

I came across this recipe by Paula Deen
a few weeks ago and thought it sounded
interesting. I have made a lot of
different things with chocolate
but chocolate and pork?
My love for chocolate made me think
we should give it a try.

Chocolate Spiced Pork Chops

2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 (1 1/2-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar,
Italian seasoning, onion powder, cocoa powder,
garlic powder, paprika, red pepper, cumin, salt,
and black pepper. Rub the mixture evenly over pork chops.

Add the oil to a large cast iron skillet
over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops
and cook for 3 minutes per side.
Put the skillet in oven and bake the
pork chops until cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven,
transfer the chops to a serving platter and serve.

I thought this dry rub was very good. It is
packed full of flavor so be careful not to
put too much on your chops.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Green Beans with Tomato and Feta

I was at the Dekalb Farmer's Market
this past weekend and scooped up
a couple of handfuls of these
good looking green beans.

This green bean side dish
is healthy and good. It would
a nice compliment to chicken or pork.

Green Beans with Tomato and Feta

Wash and cut your green beans.
Toss them with a little olive oil,
salt and pepper.
Roast them in the oven for about 7 -10
until they are the texture you like.
I left mine a little bit crunchy.

Cut about a half cup to one cup of feta
cheese in cubes.
Chop two tomatoes.

Mix the feta and tomatoes with the green beans.
Sprinkle a little balsamic vinegar over
the beans and give them one last toss.

YUM! I am pretty sure you will like this recipe.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pasta with Radicchio and Leeks

Pasta, Pasta and more Pasta!
I can't help myself when I come
across a new pasta recipe I just
have to give it a try.

This recipe intrigued me
because of the radicchio.
I don't cook with radicchio
very often and so I wasn't
sure how this dish would
turn out.

It very different and
I really liked it.
I enjoyed the mix of
flavors and really
liked the hazelnuts on top.

Leek-Radicchio Pasta
by Food Network

Slice 3 leeks and cook in olive oil.
Season the leeks with a little salt
and a little sugar. Cook them
for about 10 minutes or until tender.

Boil noodles ( Rigatoni).
Drain noodles and put back in pot.

Add 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp of sugar,
2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar,
1 small head of sliced radicchio,
the cooked leeks, 6 ounces of fontina
cheese cut in small cups and a 1/2
to 1 cup of the pasta water.
I would start with a half cup of the
pasta water and then decide if you
want to add more.

Mix on low heat until the cheese
begins to melt.

Serve with chopped hazelnuts.

Ahh, Dinner!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mini Cupcakes Galore

I had some time off recently and
decided to do some experimenting
with different types of cupcakes.

I made mini cupcakes this time
because my goal was to have enough
to bring to work and share
with my colleagues.

My first cupcake was
Strawberry with a Cream Cheese
and Mixed Berry Icing.

The next cupcake was a Samoas Cupcake
which is perfect since it is Girl Scout
cookie time.

The Samoas Cupcake is made with a
chocolate base, caramel buttercream
icing and toasted coconut on top.
I made some with the coconut and
some with out it.

The last cupcake I made was a lemon cupcake
with lemon glaze and lemon frosting.

How cute are these?