Happy Friday to you all. We have been enjoying a couple of wonderfully warm days here in Western Washington. Of course today is back to rain, but when we have those days we cherish them and spend as much time outside as possible. I knew I needed a recipe for Food Star Friday but didn’t want to spend much time cooking, I just wanted to sit outside and relax. The evening went on and on until I knew I had to get something cooking. I had a few things I wanted to make, but this recipe had been screaming at me for quite sometime. I am a huge fan of Pasta Carbonara so when I ran across a recipe on the Martha Stewart website by Chef Alfred Portale of The Gotham Bar and Grill in NY I knew I had to make it. He had come up with a dish that was a cross between Pasta Carbonara and Cacia E Pepe (spaghetti with cheese and black pepper). Everything about it sounded wonderful to me so I was game to give it a shot!
Normally on Food Star Friday I make the recipes exactly as written and then just give you all my review of it. How it tasted, how easy it was, etc. Well not so much this time. I got into the kitchen and got into the mind set of if I was coming home late at night and what I would do. I would have a go to recipe like this, but I would also try to utilize many of the items I had in my fridge as well. That is where this recipe was born, between my mind and the contents of my refrigerator. I swear I am getting so bad about changing recipes up but I just can’t help it!!
It was funny because Kevin was chopping and dropping for me as I was rummaging through the fridge digging things out. It went a little like this…
Me – (mumbling in the fridge and clanging jars around)
Kevin – What in the heck are you doing? You look like you are trying to crawl into the fridge!
Me – I am looking for ingredients for the pasta
Kevin – I though you already grabbed everything the recipe called for.
Me – I did.
Kevin – Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay then again, what in the heck are you doing?
Me – It just needs a little extra OOMF, you know what I mean?
Kevin – I have no clue so I am going to just shut up and stir.
Sometimes they just don’t get me here. But that’s OK. After this dish Kevin said he is going to call me the Mad Foodie instead of the Mad Scientist. I can go with that. Many people in my life have thought I was a bit crazy!!
Anyway, this dish is anything but crazy! It came out so incredibly good that Mr Skeptical (Kevin) ate a huge plate of it and then proceeded to finish what I had left in my bowl. Which was OK because I think I would have eaten myself into a coma if given the opportunity. Seth and Heather tried it the next day for breakfast and both wished there was more!
This recipe does call for quite a bit of black pepper and I knew my family loves anything with heat, but Heather loved it so that was a good sign. If you are still leery about using as much pepper as the recipe calls for, just cut it down to 2 teaspoons.
1/2 pound spaghetti
5 slices smoked bacon, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon black pepper
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter, plus some for frying the eggs
2 cups baby arugala or spinach
1 1/2 cup grated parmesian cheese
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 large eggs
Bring a large post of water to boil, salt well and add pasta. Cook till al dente, approx 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking liquid.
Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium high heat, add bacon and cook until it begin to crisp and fat renders. Add the onions and cook an addition 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes then add the pepper. Stir until well combined and add the arugala and cooked pasta. Add the 3 tablespoons butter, stir until butter has melted and is well incorporated into the pasta. Add the parmesian cheese and stir. Add some of the pasta water to thin the sauce out as needed.
In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Carefully crack eggs into pan, 1 at a time and cook just until the whites set up. Divide pasta into 4 bowls and top each with a fried eggs. Top each with a sprinkling of pepper and chopped parsley.
I know today is supposed to be Food Star Friday, and well, it kinda is. I started out with a recipe. I saw Kelsey Nixon, from Kelsey’s Essentials, making this mac and cheese with bacon. OK well ya know my head swiveled around to see how she was doing it! I love bacon, bacon anything, OK well maybe I chickened out in trying the bacon milkshake, so I will say I love bacon in almost anything.
Last night I did not have an idea what I was going to make for dinner. It was again another day that I had no idea how many people were going to be here and what I had planned only fed 4. With a possibility of there being 5 people eating I had to quickly switch gears and come up with something on the fly. I found a chicken recipe for the slow cooker that only took 4 hours to cook frozen (yes FROZEN) chicken thighs and I will post that next week. But now I am stumped. I have my main dish but what do I serve it with. I can’t just throw the chicken on the platter and say TADAAA dinner is served.
So into my pantry I go, thanking the Lord I chose last weekend to clean it out and organize it. Do you have any idea how messy 4 20 year olds can get a pantry? But I digress. Yes, pantry, side dish, on the fly. Oh I am back now.
I knew I had some frozen peas and I was thinking about a pea side dish my mother used to make with them but that would take a while because you had to let the peas slowly defrost in the salad. Hhmmm, OK peas, pasta, bacon, green onions, yessss I am on to something. The result was a great pasta salad that everyone loved. This is on my must make again list!
Would be great for a Memorial Day Weekend side dish!!
Hello and welcome to another edition of Food Star Friday here at Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen. I know, it is about time right? I can’t remember when the last FSF was. I really hate it when life gets in the way of my cooking and blogging! I would much rather be here with you all instead of deal with all of these pesky issues I have had to deal with!!
Yesterday I was bouncing around the grocery store picking up all of the items I needed for this meal. I was just so excited to be doing another FSF I couldn’t contain myself!!! Unfortunately the other shoppers and store employees did not share my enthusiasm. I was dancing in the produce isles and singing little tunes to myself. I was waiting for someone to say “straight jacket on isle 5” but hey, that is who I am. I admit I am a bit ummmm quirky. It is all part of my charm (at least it sounds good when I say that right?). Oops, I was supposed to talk about the recipe right? Ok I will get back to business.
This is a Tyler Florence recipe from the episode Ultimate Rainy Day Menu. Every single thing he made looked so scrumptious and with it raining here (of course it was raining I live in Washington!) I thought yesssss what a fabulous idea for Food Star Friday! I loved that it had the twist of cheese tortellini for the noodles and meatballs instead of chunks of chicken.
This recipe was fairly easy to put together. I usually follow the recipes on Food Star Friday word for word because it is about reporting my feelings on a Food Star’s recipe. I have to admit that I subbed a cup of white wine for one of the cups of chicken stock. I just add white wine to all of my chicken soups so I couldn’t help myself. Other than that I stuck strictly to the recipe.
Now, how did we feel about this soup? It was met with mixed reviews. Everyone loved the broth and thought the cheese tortellini was a nice twist. As for the meatballs….hmmmmmm. OK 1 vote was 100% loved them, another was about 80%. Kevin and I? Two thumbs down. We did not like them at all. As I was making them I was thinking in my head “this is not going to work” but I watched Tyler make them the very same way on the show so……I did it his way.
I will tell you why I feel they didn’t work and how I will do them different the next time (Yes there will be a next time because the rest of it was terrific). The recipe called for you to add 6 links of chicken/apple sausage to a food processor with the other ingredients for the meatballs. I just kept thinking “this is going to make the meatballs mealy and grainy” and my dear friends, I was right. Awful texture and they just fell apart. The next time I will just get the Jenny-O turkey sausage that is ground in a package, and mix my meatballs the regular way, adding a little bit of bread crumbs to help bind them. I would also bake them at 350 F for about 40 to 45 minutes VS frying them. Just my preference to save on fat. Also, keep the wine in there. Everyone LOVED the broth.
So in conclusion, I love Tyler Florence and this recipe is a jumping of point for me. But I will do it my way next time.
For the soup:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
- 5 parsley stems, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for
- 4 black peppercorns
- Kosher salt
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
For the meatballs:
- 1 medium onion, diced
- Olive oil
- 6 links organic chicken-apple sausage meat
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 handful fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
For the soup:Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, half the garlic, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and gently saute until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, add parsley stems, black peppercorns and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer while you work on meatballs and tortellini.For the meatballs:Caramelize the diced onion in a saute pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, egg, onion, thyme, parsley, remaining garlic, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they all come together. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil until just smoking. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop meatballs onto skillet. Cook, turning, until golden brown.Drop tortellini straight from freezer into soup. Cook until they float. Once meatballs are browned, add to pot of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Give soup a final seasoning and serve in shallow bowls with a small shower of Parmesan, olive oil, and parsley.
- 2 pounds frozen cheese tortellini, store bought
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hello and happy Friday everyone! I know it has been quite a while since I posted. I have been under the weather for the last week and didn’t do any cooking, so I was so happy to finally cook!! I have been wanting to make this soup for so long but for some reason I just never got around to it. But since I have been under the weather soup sounded soooo good!!
Trust me I was so glad I made that decision. This soup is so good and is going to become one of my favorite comfort foods now. If you like soup and/or Italian flavors you have got to make this. I put crushed red pepper flakes in mine and it just gives it a little heat, but if you don’t like that you can omit them and it would be just as good.
Make sure to have some nice crusty bread to sop up all of that tasty broth, and have your appetite with you too!!
- 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
- 2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
- 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
- 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1 rib celery, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- Coarse salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups ditalini
- 1 generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
- Crusty bread, for mopping
Last week was Kevin’s daughter’s 18th birthday. Ever since my kids were young they knew that on their birthday they got to request anything they wanted for dinner. What is funny (or somewhat annoying) is that with all of the meals I cook and the variety of food I work with doesn’t seem to matter to them. You would think they would request something extravagant or gourmet. Nope, not my kids, you know what they request more often than not? Chili Mac! Yup good old chili with some mac and cheese thrown in. They can’t get enough of it! When they were little, before I started this culinary voyage of mine, I would actually make a box of mac and cheese and throw in a can of chili and BOOM that was dinner. Once I started experimenting and trying to make things healthier I decided to change it up by making my own cheese sauce and chili. Ummm that was a mistake. They took one look at it and asked me what it was. I told them it was what they had requested. Their reply? No it’s not. *sigh* I give up!!
So you can imagine my surprise when I asked Dakota what she wanted for her birthday dinner and her reply was “I don’t know, something with broccoli in it”. WOW you mean I actually get to cook something? Her only other request was no mushrooms. OK, I can work with that. So I set my mind to work thinking of what she might enjoy. I though about making my Chicken Divan but was afraid it wouldn’t be enough for everyone. Then I remembered she liked Italian food. Hhhmmm something with pasta. I already had chicken and broccoli on the brain so it seemed a logical choice to add my garlic Alfredo sauce to it and put it over some fettuccine. The original Alfredo recipe I came up with included mushrooms so of course I omitted those. I also doubled the sauce recipe because I was making a whole pound of pasta and the last time I made it I used it as a sauce to just cover my Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups.
I was a bit nervous because I rarely get to cook for her. She doesn’t live with us, so pretty much the only time I get to cook for her is at the holidays. I really wanted her meal to be something special and memorable. I guess I was silly to worry because she, along with the rest of us, loved this dish! I would suggest a small side salad to go along with it but that wasn’t on the requested menu plan so we had some garlic bread on the side.
This recipe is super simple and full of flavor. I hope you will give it a try. Maybe for a special family meal?
This casserole has seriously become one of my favorite casseroles of all time. It is inexpensive (hello, canned tuna) and sooooo very tasty!
It came from my desire to revamp some of the recipes from my childhood. Everyone’s Mom used Cream of Mushroom soup for just about every casserole they made right? You know I have an issue with that just because you lose control of the sodium and fat content of your dish. No I am not a control freak, OK well maybe just a little, but mostly I don’t like hidden anything in my meals. By using fresh mushrooms and making a bechamel sauce you have a “cream of mushroom” feel but it is so much healthier.
The other thing I love about this recipe is you can pretty much throw any veggies at it you like. Have some leftover broccoli or red bell pepper? Go for it! Artichoke hearts would be awesome in this as well. You can also change up the cheese you use. Also, I used panko bread crumbs for the topping of mine but I know many people use crushed up potato chips. I read a little blurb in one of my food magazines about using salt and vinegar chips on top. I didn’t do it but it sure sounds good!
Other great things about this recipe, you can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge until the night you want to make it. Take it out to warm up at room temp while you are preheating your oven, pop it in and away you go. The only thing I would change if you make it ahead is do your bread crumbs the night you bake the casserole so they stay nice and crunchy. Also this reheats wonderfully and tastes just as good the next day!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a casserole dish with non stick spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and the noodles. Cook as package directs for al dente. Drain and return the noodles to the pot.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add butter. Once the butter is melted, add your onions, celery, and garlic, cook until soft, about 5 mins. Raise the heat to medium-high and add your mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms begin to brown and release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add mixture to the pot with the noodles
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to cook about 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth. Add some freshly ground nutmeg (just a bit) and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the tuna and peas. Pour into pot with the noodles and mushroom mixture. Stir to combine and pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the shredded cheese
In a small sauce pan or skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the bread crumbs and cook just till they begin to brown. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the top of the casserole.
Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.