Friday, April 22, 2011

Goat Cheese, Asparagus, and Sausage Pasta

I have many recipes starred in my Google Reader and/or saved on my computer. Sometimes, I find it overwhelming as I try to do my weekly menu plans and cycle through so many choices. We strive to cook at least one new dinner every week, and I always have plenty of choices from this ever expanding recipe collection. This is a recipe from Pink Parsley that I had saved almost a year ago. It is originally from the Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast cookbook. With roasted asparagus and goat cheese, why did we wait so long? This was delicious!

You will need:
*2 bunches of asparagus (about 2 pounds), woody ends removed
*olive oil
*3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
*kosher salt
*ground black pepper
*4 links chicken sausage-I used Italian
*13 oz. of a small-shaped pasta-such as penne, shells, rotini (We like whole grain Barilla)
*4 oz. fresh goat cheese, softened
*2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
*I also added a touch of garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 450. Toss or spray asparagus with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Top with salt and pepper. Slice chicken sausage into 1-inch rounds and add to the baking sheet alongside the asparagus. Roast until tender, tossing the asparagus and turning the sausage, after about 10-15 minutes. Slice asparagus into 2-inch pieces once it is roasted.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to the boiling water, and cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water; drain the pasta.

3. Whisk together the softened goat cheese, butter pieces, Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder; whisk until smooth.

4. Return the pasta to the pot, and toss with the goat-cheese mixture, asparagus, and chicken sausage. Add pasta water a few tablespoons at a time until a thin sauce coats the pasta. You're ready to serve!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

These cookies are a light tasting treat that aren't as citrus-tasting as I thought they'd be. With extra ricotta hanging around, I was in search of a way to use it up and create a brunch sweet. I found this adapated Giada recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod, and it was perfect. I think these cookies would be a fabulous addition to any Easter themed meal. This recipe yields a lot of cookies, but after bringing them to two brunch events, I did not have many leftovers.

For the cookies, you will need:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

*1 teaspoon baking powder 

*1 teaspoon salt

*1 stick unsalted butter, softened

*2 cups sugar

*2 eggs

*1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice

*1 lemon, zested

For the glaze, you will need: 

*1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 

*3 tablespoons lemon juice 

*1 lemon, zested

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes) Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Next, mix in the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir in the dry ingredients, and beat just until combined.

4. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Using a cookie or icecream scoop, spoon the dough onto the baking sheets. Be sure to leave some space because the cookies do spread out quite a bit. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

5. To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon of the glaze onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours before storing or serving.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Baked Donuts

I finally caved and bought a donut pan. I had been saving delicious baked donut recipes, so when I needed to order some things from Crate and Barrel, I added the Wilton donut pans to my order. The first recipe I tried came from Prevention RD. These were a good, lighter donut option that I served at mom's birthday brunch. They were tasty, but they didn't scream "donut" to me. I do realize this is most likely because they weren't fried! I am going to continue to try my variety of donut recipes to find a favorite.

It should be noted that I live in the land of Dunkin Donuts. There is one almost every other mile around here. Therefore, I am going with the spelling d-o-n-u-t for the blog.

You will need:
*1 cup all-purpose flour

*1/3 cup sugar

*3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda

*1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 small-single-serving container Chobani vanilla Greek yogurt
*1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

*2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, yogurt, canola oil, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing until just combined.

4. Spray the donut pan with nonstick cooking spray; divide the chocolate morsels in the bottom of each of the donut tube pans. Divide batter among pans. Place the batter only about half full because these will rise.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire rack.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Escarole and Squash Lazy Lasagna

This Rachael Ray recipe was fabulous! With all the recent attention I've given to kale, I forgot how much I enjoy escarole in dishes. This is a recipe that uses many pots and pans, but the result is worth it. I felt like it gave us a hearty veggie serving, and I used skim milk to lighten the creamy sauce. We are planning on enjoying this again while it still feels like winter around here. This was enough food for days. We enjoyed it for dinner, a few lunches, and another leftover dinner. It would be a great dish to serve to company on a chilly night.
You will need:
*1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
*2 tablespoons olive oil with more for drizzling
*salt and pepper
*1 pound ruffle-edge lasagna noodles, broken into irregular shapes
*4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
*1 medium head escarole, chopped
*1 cup chicken stock
*1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I prefer part-skim)
*small handful of sage leaves, thinly sliced
*1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
*2 tablespoons butter
*2 tablespoons flour
*2 cups milk (I used skim)
*Freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground)
*1 1/2 cups Italian Fontina or Gruyère cheese (I used Gruyère)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet and lightly dress with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes. Squash should be golden at edges and tender.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and under-cook pasta by about 2 minutes. While the water comes to a boil, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add garlic and stir a minute then add escarole and wilt. Season with a little salt and pepper, and add stock. Keep at a gentle simmer until ready to use.

3. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta, sage, salt, pepper and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

4. In a saucepot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook a minute or so then whisk in milk. Increase the heat a bit and season sauce with salt, pepper, and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Let sauce thicken to coat the back of a spoon then taste to adjust seasonings.

5. Drain lasagna noodles and add them back to hot pot. Stir in ricotta cheese mixture, then fold in roasted squash and escarole. Transfer to a casserole dish and pour the milk sauce evenly over the top. Cover with scant layer of Fontina or Gruyère cheese, and place in the hot oven on center rack. Switch oven to broil and leave casserole in oven until lasagna is brown and bubbly all over, about 4 minutes.

*Find more Rachael Ray recipes on Saturdays with Rachael Ray hosted by Taste and Tell.