Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stuffed Focaccia

Tonight’s dinner was pretty awesome, and took about 20 minutes. It was almost a faux calzone, a focaccia stuffed with spinach, pepperoni, mushrooms, mozzarella, cheddar cheese and with a crust sprinkled with parmesan cheese and garlic powder sprinkle. I got the idea from a recipe for a “Spinach and Feta-Stuffed Focaccia” suggested on myrecipes.com. It uses a much different filling, which also sounds good, but this time around I wanted to build off of some ingredients I had on hand. Admittedly, it looks kind of funny whole in the photo below and we were so busy getting to the eating part, I forgot to take a picture after I cut into it. Oops. Anyway, following was the result of my adjustments.

½ Tbsp olive oil
6 oz fresh spinach
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
About ½ cup pizza sauce, or more as desired
Around 3oz fresh mozzarella
Handful grated cheddar cheese
1 can refrigerated pizza crust, like Pillsbury
Cooking spray
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp water
Grated parmesan
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring periodically, until mushrooms are nearly soft. Add spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until spinach is completely wilted and mushrooms are thoroughly tender. Remove from heat.

Open pizza dough and spread out in a rectangle on a non-stick baking sheet or one coated lightly with cooking spray. Spoon pizza sauce over half of the dough, taking care to leave a border. Top with spinach and mushroom mixture, dot mozzarella cheese, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, and finally lay pepperoni slices on top. Fold other half of dough over filling. Crimp the edges together with a fork, and even fold over the edges and press again with fork to seal. Poke the top with a fork in 4-5 places.

Combine milk and water together and brush across the top of the dough. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Bake at 450 degrees for about 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lemon Pepper Chicken Noodle Soup

Chris’ favorite soup is also just about the easiest soup possible. Take the following ingredients:
Chicken broth
Cooked chicken, diced
Wide egg noodles
Carrots, chopped
Celery, chopped
Lemon juice
Lemon pepper seasoning

Bring chicken broth, carrots, and celery to a simmer. Simmer until vegetables are beginning to soften. Add egg noodles and cook until tender. Add lemon juice, lemon pepper, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to ensure the lemon juice is warm. Add the chicken and stir until hot throughout. Taste again and add more lemon juice or seasonings to taste.

Or substitute:
Rice, dumpling, or other preferred noodle for wide egg noodle
Chicken bouillon and water for chicken broth
Turkey for chicken

Add, if desired:
Other veggies

Basically, I do everything in this soup to taste. I usually use around 32 oz of broth, but if I want it to be “more soupy,” I add more. I most often use about 6 oz of noodles. I usually end up adding more lemon pepper at the end. It is a most forgiving soup… enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seattle Chef and Shrimp Rolls

I pulled the ingredients for this recipe from an article in Food & Wine’s July issue featuring a Seattle chef. Then, I made it very differently.

¼ cup small salted capers – rinsed, soaked while other ingredients are prepared, and drained
¼ cup oregano leaves
1 small garlic clove, minced
¼ cup olive oil, plus 1 tbsp
1 ½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
freshly ground pepper
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
French bread, slit and cut into about 5in sections
Olive oil
Garlic powder

Brush the inside of the garlic bread with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Wrap bread in foil and place in the oven at around 250 degrees until warmed thoroughly. Open 1 section of bread on plates and set aside.

Combine capers, oregano, garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, and lemon juice in a mini food processor until mixture is combined and capers and oregano or coarsely chopped.

Warm remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in large skillet. Toss shrimp with caper mixture and add to skillet. Cook over medium heat until shrimp are cooked through.

Spoon shrimp mixture atop French bread and season with salt and pepper. Fold as sandwich and serve.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

This morning I made muffins. Penzey’s Spices included, in their Thanksgiving catalog (http://www.penzeys.com/images/G11.pdf), a recipe from a reader named Kathy Ness for Pumpkin Streusel Muffins that I thought sounded very tasty. I tried them out and they were so good. The muffins are fluffy, pleasantly sweet, with the hints of pumpkin pie in a breakfast treat.  

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
¼ cup fat free evaporated milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp powdered ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 2/3 cups flour

2 Tbsp flour
2 ½ Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place muffin cups in a 12-cup muffin pan. Cream together brown sugar and butter. Whisk in the egg. In a separate bowl, mix together the pumpkin and evaporated milk. Add pumpkin mixture to the butter and sugar, stirring thoroughly. Add the spices and baking soda and stir. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated, taking care not to over-stir. Divide into muffin cups. Blend together the streusel topping ingredients (simply using your fingers works well). Sprinkle over the muffins and bake around 20 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pasta Alla Carbonara

Do you want to know a wonderful and easy recipe for a Friday night? I found an amazing recipe for Pasta Alla Carbonara in a Williams-Sonoma catalog. It’s such an easy dish, but serve it up on a cozy night, light a candle, and pour a couple glasses of red wine (we had a 2008 Ruffino Aziano Chianti) and it becomes a lovely, romantic evening in.

Pasta Alla Carbonara
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz diced pancetta
Kosher salt
1 lb dried thin spaghetti
Freshly ground pepper

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and the 1 ½ cups of cheese and set aside. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet. Add pancetta and cook until sizzling, browned, and fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. Set off heat.

Meanwhile, boil pasta at high heat in lightly salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water. Slowly whisk ¾ cup of the reserved cooking water into the egg-cheese mixture.

Return skillet with pancetta to medium heat and rewarm. Add pasta and the rest of the pasta liquid to the skillet and toss to combine. Turn down heat and pour in egg-cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Serve immediately, seasoning each serving generously with freshly ground pepper. Pass extra cheese for sprinkling. (recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma)