Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Red peppers & Spinach

I am SO over red sauce. Any idiot can buy a can of marinara (Although I don’t know why you would when we have a recipe from scratch that is healthier & tastier) and throw it on some noodles and say they made “Italian” food for the night. How about the fact that most pasta dishes aren’t even the entrée in Italy and its a small portion in the primi platti course prior to your protein and vegetables which is your actual entrée. Now, as much as I wish that we could all dine on 4 course (Read: 4 hour) dinners I know that is not always possible. So here is an easy, light and yummy pasta dish that served with some grilled chicken (because god forbid I have a vegetarian meal for once) that could count as a whole meal (starch, veggies, protein). So bust out the leftover ingredients from the pancakes and kale dish and get to cooking! (See how we always save you money by reusing stuff, you love us).

  • 12 oz. fettuccine
  • 2/3 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (also known as zest)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper
  • salt and crushed black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (increase to your taste level)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta water. While pasta is cooking, in a separate bowl, thoroughly combine ricotta, lemon juice and rind, 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper.  (I listed 1/8 tsp. of crushed red pepper, but don’t be shy, this dish is even better with a bit of a kick from the red pepper, so adjust according to your taste level). Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and garlic, sauté for 3 minutes. Add pasta, spinach, ricotta mixture and pasta water to skillet; cook about 1 minute or until spinach wilts.

Happy Eating, XO.

Advertisements

Fig, Mustard & Pear Champagne Glazed Chicken

An ode to my favorite grocery store under the Sun. Trader Joe’s. Cheap, fresh, organic, tasty, you name it…this place is THE best. Anyway, this blog is primarily easy recipes. Easy sometimes is mistakenly synonymous for quick. And while we appreciate the pace of most of the recipes, some of them such as the Sunday Simmer are best made “low and slow”. This is by far one of the easiest recipes because its mix, pour & roast however the total cooking time is 2 hrs. So if you need a quick week night dinner, keep scrolling. However, if you have some time to get laundry or other cleaning done…this recipe is clutch. Plus all ingredients are from TJ! So here you have it ladies & gents…Fig, Mustard & Pear Champagne Glazed Chicken.

  • 1 TJ’s Whole Organic Chicken (bone chicken = more scrumptious than non bone chicken, you better recognize! check out Mama Z’s whole chicken recipe too).
  • 1 jar TJ’s Fig Butter (I used the little that was remaining as a spread with goat cheese & crackers on wine night so obviously a multi faceted purchase here).
  • 1 jar TJ’s Whole Grain Dijon Mustard (this is used in dressing recipes, the crab cake recipe, etc…aren’t you happy to have to buy one less thing this time around, your welcome).
  • 1 bottle TJ’s Pear Champagne Vinaigrette (keep this around for an endive salad coming to the blog this December. We always want you to be able to use leftovers. Plus, we hope you like the dish enough that you wont have leftovers because you will re-make it at least once more!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the fig butter, 1/2 cup of the mustard and 1 cup of the vinaigrette. Rinse and thoroughly pat dry the chicken (moisture on the chicken will prevent the glaze from sticking to it). Place the chicken in a baking dish and spread 2/3 of the glaze mixture generously all over the chicken. (I did so, too generously. What I mean is that there was so much of the glaze that was on the pan surrounding the chicken that it started to burn & made my fire alarm go off. Crisis was averted by opening a window and switching to a clean pan, but it messed up the heating/cooking temp of the chicken & probably could’ve gotten an extra 20 min the oven to make up for the mid cooking swap). They say the rule of thumb is 20 min per lb. (I didn’t put much thought into that and just pulled it out when it looked done). Anyway half way through I basted the chicken with the remaining 1/3 of the glaze mixture, so moist & divine this chicken came out!

This serves 4 people and I served it with the roasted potatoes recipe under sidekicks.

photo

Happy Eating, XO.

Call it what you will

May you call it marinara sauce, red sauce, or gravy (shout out to South Philly Italians). Guaranteed that you will call out Damn that was Delish!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic (check out the tip for minced garlic on our Instagram, like that shameless plug?) 
  • 1 cup good red wine (I hate when food snobs say “good” like you would use something crappy, but I will say cheaper wine has a different alcohol content/flavor than more expensive or better quality wine so ya, hate to say it but “good” wine it is).
  • 2 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes in puree, chopped (san marzano tomatoes dude, go real Gambino on this. Cento if you are looking for a brand name, its a yellow can, become friends with it).
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (I know Paisanos will say fresh only but for the rest of us non Italians, dried will be fine, just lessen it to 1 tbsp.)
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper & 1tsp of red chili flakes

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until clear, that’s about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper. Cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.

You can always add anchovy, black olives, and capers to give it a puttanesca feel. Bottom line, this simple sauce has been the “gravy” for meatballs, the starter for many sauces, the binder for lasagnas, basically it is used for any and all things Italian. This is a staple.
Homemade-Marinara-Sauce-1
Happy Eating, XO.

Frank’s Red Hot Wings

Seeing that we’re deep in to football season, what kind of blog (or fan) would we be if we didn’t make some wings?! Now, I don’t always make wings, but when I do…I use Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (and yes, I do drink Dos Equis with them). This is a quick and easy recipe to throw together during half time.

  • 1 lb of chicken wings (I use the little winglets)
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce – Buffalo (If you want super spicy, use the Original flavor)
  • 1/3 cup butter

Cook wings at 500 degrees for 20-25 minutes. While those are cooking, nuke the sauce and butter together until the butter is melted. When the wings are done, smother them with the sauce, grab a cold one and you’re all set for the 3rd quarter. Go Steelers or [insert your teams’ name here] !

Happy eating, XO.

Franks Red Hot Wings

Crabby Cakes

For most of us (ok, maybe I’m just speaking about myself here) but I never dare dreamed I could make a crab cake. That was what the yearly vacation to Philips Seafood and Steak house in Ocean City, MD was for. Well, I recently faced my fear and tried it out. And guess what? It wasn’t that hard at all! Most of the ingredients were already on my shelves. I picked up a few extras from the store and I was ready to go.

  • 1 egg (this is a must since you need glue for the crab cake)
  • ¾ cup Panko bread crumbs (if doing Italian breadcrumbs cut down to ½ cup since they are denser)
  • 1lb lump crab meat (make sure there are no remaining shells)
  • 1 large or 2 small stalk of celery finely chopped (make sure they are tiny, the celery is great for the added crunch but you don’t want chunks to overpower the crab)
  • 1 teaspoon old bay (or seasoned salt or tony Caceres seasoning, you get the point)
  • A pinch of crushed chili flakes, if you like more heat do cayenne pepper
  • A pinch of paprika for color is optional
  • Splash or teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (you could technically use ground or yellow but I think Dijon adds a specific tang that I wouldn’t mess with)
  • 2 ½ tablespoon mayo
  • 2 or 2 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (can’t be substitute for dried, if you don’t have or like just leave it out)

Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hr. (this is so they don’t fall apart when pan searing, realize this is a legit crab cake. Crab being the star of the show with minimal filler so when cold they won’t crumble in pan or when you have to flip them) and then pan sear for 4 min on each side (makes 4 large or 6 appetizer portion crab cakes) serve w parsley leaves & lemon wedges to class it up.

Oh and check out Sauce Boss for an easy, fridge friendly dipping sauce.

Happy eating, XO.

Crab-Cakes