Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies


 While I'm not a huge sweets person, sometimes I need a cookie (I'm sure you know exactly what I mean). These cookies hit all the right flavor notes - a perfect combo of sweet and salty goodness. And the chewy cookie + crunchy almonds and chocolate chips provides a great texture combo as well. I keep my cookies in the freezer so it takes me longer to eat them - otherwise these would be gone much more quickly!


1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs and cream again until well blended. 




3. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter until just combined. Mix in the almonds and chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. 







4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  
 



Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies
Makes 2 dozen

All you need:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda 
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt 
1 cup coarsely chopped whole raw almonds 
1 cup dark chocolate chips 

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs and cream again until well blended. 
3. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter until just combined. Mix in the almonds and chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. 
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Herbed Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Cherry Tomato Sauce


 As summer approaches, I start to plan my garden and two of my favorite things to grow are tomatoes and basil. Obviously these items are available year round, but there's something about picking them fresh out in the hot sun that makes the flavor so much better. This recipe celebrates those flavors - basil and parsley amplify the creamy ricotta filling and the sweet pan-roasted tomatoes add the perfect pop of freshness on top! This is definitely a recipe you will be hanging onto to use during the hot summer months.


1. Cook shells according to package instructions. Drain and run under cold water to cool. 

2. Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 13x9 pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, milk, egg, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stuff each shell with 2 tablespoons of the mixture and place in the baking dish. 



3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, basil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has reduced and the tomatoes start to break down, about 5-7 minutes longer. Pour the sauce over the shells, cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. 






4. Let the shells sit for 5 minutes, then scoop onto plates and serve. 



Herbed Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Cherry Tomato Sauce
Serves 4

All you need:
16 jumbo shells, uncooked
15 oz. ricotta cheese 
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced 
2 tablespoons chopped parsley 
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cherry tomatoes (I used a combo of red and orange ones)
1/2 cup white wine
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch crushed red pepper
Pinch sugar

All you do:
1. Cook shells according to package instructions. Drain and run under cold water to cool. 
2. Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 13x9 pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, milk, egg, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stuff each shell with 2 tablespoons of the mixture and place in the baking dish. 
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, basil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has reduced and the tomatoes start to break down, about 5-7 minutes longer. Pour the sauce over the shells, cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. 
4. Let the shells sit for 5 minutes, then scoop onto plates and serve. 
 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Honey-Orange Pheasant Breasts


 This past weekend I was staying with one of my best friends and her dad asked if I wanted some pheasant he had hunted back in January. Without hesitation, I agreed (I love a good challenge!). I hadn't cooked pheasant since culinary school, but I really do like it since it's so lean. Because it's lean, you have to make sure you use some fat in your recipe to keep in moist (in this case, butter). Serve this with green beans or a green salad for a fresh, light meal.


1. Preheat oven to 300. 
2. Place pheasant breasts in a large bowl. Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle over the pheasant; toss until the breasts are well coated. 



3. Dredge the breasts lightly in flour. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Brown the pheasant for 2 minutes per side, then transfer to a baking dish. 




4. Turn the heat off, then add the honey and orange zest/juice to the butter and whisk to combine; pour over the pheasant. Wrap the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the pheasant is cooked through.



5. Let the pheasant rest for 5 minutes, then slice. Spoon honey-orange butter from the pan over the top.



Honey-Orange Pheasant Breasts
Serves 4

All you need:
1 pound pheasant breasts 
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder 
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
Flour, for dredging 
1 stick unsalted butter 
1/4 cup honey 
Zest and juice of 1 orange 

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 300. 
2. Place pheasant breasts in a large bowl. Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle over the pheasant; toss until the breasts are well coated. 
3. Dredge the breasts lightly in flour. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Brown the pheasant for 2 minutes per side, then transfer to a baking dish. 
4. Turn the heat off, then add the honey and orange zest/juice to the butter and whisk to combine; pour over the pheasant. Wrap the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the pheasant is cooked through.
5. Let the pheasant rest for 5 minutes, then slice. Spoon honey-orange butter from the pan over the top.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stir-Fried Beef Tenderloin with Asparagus, Carrots and Leeks


My philosophy is the more colorful the meal, the better. This meal is on the table faster than you can order takeout and tastes so much fresher. Paired with a sparkling wine, this spicy, citrus-y stir-fry is truly one of my absolute favorites!


1. Combine sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth. Set aside. 


2. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan. Cook for 1 minute per side, then transfer to a bowl. 




3. Add the leeks and carrots to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until they're lightly softened. Add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes longer. 



4. Add the beef back to the pan along with the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. 


5. Scoop quinoa into serving bowls and top with stir-fry. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.




Stir-Fried Beef Tenderloin with Asparagus, Carrots & Leeks
Serves 4

All you need:
Sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch 
1 teaspoon honey 
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari 
1 tablespoon sesame oil 
1 tablespoon sambal (or chili garlic sauce)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Zest and juice of 1 lime 
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 (8 oz.) beef tenderloin filets, sliced thin 
2 leeks (white and green part only), trimmed and sliced thin 
1 pound carrots, peeled and diced 
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and diced 
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Quinoa, for serving
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish 

All you do:
1. Combine sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth. Set aside. 
2. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan. Cook for 1 minute per side, then transfer to a bowl. 
3. Add the leeks and carrots to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until they're lightly softened. Add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes longer. 
4. Add the beef back to the pan along with the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. 
5. Scoop quinoa into serving bowls and top with stir-fry. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.