thegingerchef

Recipes from My Kitchen

Martha Stewart is Never Wrong

Soooo, here I am again!  I was asked – twice last week, believe it or not – whatever happened to my food blog.  Well, as most people can relate, life happened.  I still cook; I still find unusual, or re-imagined, or comforting recipes; and I still experiment on my friends with new recipes (not all of them are winners, for certain).  But usually I get so wrapped up in the cooking, enjoying the process, or teaching my chickadee how to measure and pour that I forget to take photos, or write down what worked and what didn’t.   I truly am living in the moment, and I’m very unapologetic for that 😊.  But then some nights, I make something so good that tomorrow’s leftovers are in jeopardy.  That is tonight.  I made a lasagna – which of course brings to mind lots of richness, and heavy sauces – perfect for a cold evening, so I intenionally made about half a batch to deter eating a gigantic pan all by my lonesome.  Cause, let’s be honest…girl can eat.

Anyway, I have saved and bookmarked about two thousand recipes (that’s a very conservative estimate), and a lot of those come from a tried-and-true favorite, Martha Stewart.  Years ago, I subscribed to her “Everyday Food” magazine (also available at most grocery store checkouts).  This is great for a beginner in the kitchen – the recipes are fairly simple, no real unusual ingredients.  But her “Living” magazine is more creative, the recipes are a little tougher, and can be very involved (yet delicious).  Both sources also culminate at her website – a great resource for any kitchen questions you might have (I reference it frequently; and in fairness, my other go-to resource is Food Network).  I also follow Martha on Facebook, and that’s where some random ideas live; it’s a virtual grab bag of culinary suggestions, and I love that they organize it by category:  10 one-pot meals, 25 shrimp recipes, 85 things you can do with chicken!  Be careful, you can lose yourself in there 😊 (www.marthastewart.com).

This randomness is how I found tonight’s recipe: Rich artichoke and mushroom lasagna.  I picked it because I had most of the ingredients on hand, and really, I can’t turn down anything with artichokes in it.  I made some slight changes – I didn’t roast the mushrooms (I tossed them in at the end with the mix in the skillet), I figured they’d bake in the dish just fine and I was not disappointed – great flavor without being mushy; I used regular lasagna noodles instead of no-boil.

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http://www.marthastewart.com/338978/rich-artichoke-and-mushroom-lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cups drained canned artichoke hearts (two 13.75-ounce cans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 recipe Basic Bechamel Sauce
  • 8 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 3/4 cups grated Parmesan (3 1/4 ounces)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in middle and upper third. Divide mushrooms between two rimmed baking sheets. Toss each with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, 20 minutes, stirring mushrooms and rotating sheets halfway through. Let sheets cool on wire racks.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add artichokes and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Add lemon zest, chives, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 3 minutes. Transfer artichokes to a medium bowl.

  3. Spread 1 cup sauce in an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with 2 noodles. Layer with half the artichokes, then 1 cup sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Top with 2 more noodles, half the mushrooms, 1 cup sauce, and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients, reserving the last 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover lasagna loosely with foil and bake on top rack until sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. (Place a rimmed baking sheet on middle rack to catch any drippings.) Remove lasagna from oven and heat broiler. Sprinkle with reserved Parmesan and broil until cheese is browned and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing.

This is why I like cooking far more than baking.  Baking is so precise, and with cooking I can easily throw everything in a pot and forget about it.  With these types of recipes, feel free to tailor to your tastes and needs.  I didn’t roast the mushrooms, nor did I broil it (I was starving by then!).   But remember – good, quality recipes will always be delicious.  And if you need a good one, Martha Stewart is never a bad choice.

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Shells with Olives and Ricotta Salata

So, besides sticking to seasonal ingredients, I also occasionally try to use ingredients I already have on hand.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, the grocery store is super exciting for me – there are so many products, so many new things to try, so many possibilities.  If you check my pantry, you’ll see random things I pick up thinking about future meals.  Today’s case-in-point was anchovies (ohmygoshiloveanchovies) – and I have a great recipe that uses them, subtly, for some excellent flavors.

Side Note: I collect recipes from a variety of sources.  Sometimes from blogs I read, I subscribe to a few magazines (Rachael Ray (thanks, Amanda!!), Everyday Living, Food Network to name a few).  I try to credit the source, but a lot of the times I have no idea where the recipe hailed from, so I apologize in advance.  Since this one is a “30 minute meal” and uses the term EVOO, I’m going to guess it’s a Rachael Ray.

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Ingredients:

Box of pasta shells
Olive Oil
7-8 flat Anchovy fillets
Small Chile Pepper (or 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper)
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 C mixed green and black olives, chopped~1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp white wine
1/2 C flat-leaf parsley
1 C crumbled ricotta salata (or queso blanco, or other)

When you drain out the pasta, save a little of the water; stir it into the sauce pan.  Pour the pasta into a bowl, top it with the pan sauce, and the ricotta salata.  I didn’t have that, so I used queso blanco – the dish is very salty, so you don’t need a horribly salty cheese.

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While the pasta water is heating up, heat some oil in the skillet and add the anchovies.  Stir until melted into the oil – but fair warning, if it’s too hot, the anchovies will pop with the oil and you’ll have anchovy-grit all over your kitchen.

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 When the anchovies are melted, add in the chile pepper and garlic, stir for about 3 minutes.  Add in the olives and lemon juice.  Pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan.  I didn’t have any wine, so i used a little butter and water – turned out just fine.

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Chicken and Noodle Stir-fry

So I try to only go to the grocery store and buy enough fresh ingredients for 3 meals or so – knowing that along the way we’ll go out to eat for dinner, not be hungry, eat with friends, etc. and my fresh goodies won’t last.  And I hate throwing out food just because it spoils.  So last weekend I bought enough for three meals…and I have no idea what we did, but the chicken made it all the way to Friday night.  When I opened it up it smelled like vinegar (I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to smell…).  So out went the chicken, out went the veggies, and out went the backup meat that I had, because it smelled bad, too.   So out to dinner we went!! 🙂

Anyway, the meal I was going to make was a Pampered Chef recipe – it reminds me of something I always eat in the Manchester, NH airport (sad that I have a favorite meal in a particular airport?).  I’ll post the original recipe (from PamperedChef.com) with some of my notes on the sides…

It was really easy to make, and we had a 3rd person here to help eat all the pasta.  Definitely a keeper!!  (And yes, we totally ate with chopsticks :-))

 

Chicken and Noodle Stir-Fry
http://www.pamperedchef.com/recipe_search/recipe.jsp?id=86074

Ingredients

Stir-Fry
12 oz uncooked linguine
1 medium red bell pepper
1 small red onion
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders
1 tbsp Asian Seasoning Mix
1 bag fresh stir-fry vegetable mix
1/3 cup chopped cashews (optional)

Glaze
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup orange marmalade (more to taste, if needed)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsp grated fresh gingerroot (I used the paste in a tube)

Directions

Bring salted water to a boil in covered pan. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain in large Colander. [I used an entire box of linquine and cooked very al dente – as an Asian food it tastes better a little crunchy]

Meanwhile, using Santoku Knife, slice bell pepper into strips and onion into thin wedges. [I was lazy and bought a pack of fresh veggies already cut up, but did slice them a little thinner – definitely saved on prep time!]  Heat oil in Stir-Fry Skillet over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Slice chicken on a bias into 1/2-in. (1-cm) pieces. Combine chicken and seasoning mix in mixing bowl.

[I didn’t have any of the special Asian seasoning Pampered Chef has, so I made my own:  mixed white pepper, ground red pepper, onion flakes, garlic powder, thyme, salt, and coriander – don’t add too much red pepper or it will be overly-spicy]

Add chicken to Skillet; cook and stir 4-6 minutes or until centers of chicken are no longer pink. Add stir-fry veggie mix to Skillet; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Whisk together glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Move chicken and vegetables up sides of the Skillet, making a well in center; add glaze and bring to a boil. Add pasta to Skillet; toss with chicken, vegetables and glaze. Garnish with cashews, if desired. [I don’t use cashews – I don’t like to put nuts in my food]

[Also, I drained the pasta and put it in a bowl, then added the chicken/sauce mix over it instead of in the pan – didn’t have enough room]

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Spaghetti Bread…hit or miss?

I looooove new recipe night!!  Tonight’s recipe came from Pinterest – Spaghetti Bread.  And although it was super easy to make, I’m not sure if it’s a repeat recipe in our house.  I’ll run through it, the pictures came out great! and let you guys decide for yourself…

Thaw some frozen bread overnight in the fridge, then roll it out as flat as you can.  I used to small loaves I linked together, but I easily could have gotten away with one loaf.

While you’re waiting for the bread to settle out after rolling, cook some spaghetti (or angel hair pasta, since I had no s’ghetti).  Drain and cool, then mix with ~1C of sauce.

Cut the bread with a pizza slicer to “fringe” the ends – this will be how you braid the bread dough.  Layer the spaghetti and sauce onto the middle of the dough.  Top with mozzarella and parsley.  NOTE:  I think this is where part of the recipe went wrong.  The fresh parsley was a tad too pungent.

 

Braid the dough over the spaghetti, left-side, right-side.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.

Like I said – super easy, but just wasn’t…great.  If you have better luck than I do, please let me know!!  I might be willing to try it again, but need a second (or third!) opinion.

 

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