Category Archives: spinach

Sausage, Tomato and Spinach Pasta Bake

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This was one of those pantry/fridge clean out recipes. I hadn’t made it out to the store and Kevin was too tired to stop on the way home. When he came in the door he said he was starving and asked what was for dinner. I was quick to begin the search through my supplies to see what I could come up with. I have certain things I keep stocked so I always have them on hand. Canned tomatoes (crushed, diced, and whole), pastas, and sausage (in the freezer) are pretty much always on hand. I had some leftover baby spinach from salads a few days before. Plus of course I am never without several different types of cheeses.
After about the third time of Kevin asking was was for dinner I told him to hush, I mean I never let him go hungry right? Sheesh all the pressure! I still think it is funny when he gets nervous about what I am making. He has told me several times that I have never made a bad meal. Where is the faith and the love? I mean come on, really?
After this was all done and put on the table all he could say is “Wow that looks and smells really good” *sigh*thank you! Seriously, I think he just loves making me crazy but I keep telling him it is a quick trip and he doesn’t want to push it too far too fast!

Anyway, back to the food. This is a great quick casserole for a busy weeknight. It really takes very little time at all and tastes wonderful. Kevin took the leftovers to work for his boss and himself the next day. That always lets me know he liked it!

Sausage, Tomato and Spinach Pasta Bake
8 ounces short cut pasta (I used Penne)
8 ounces Italian sausage (sweet or hot)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup red wine
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 can 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, and set aside.
  3. Add olive oil to a large skillet and cook sausage over medium high heat, stirring to crumble. When sausage is browned add onion, cook until translucent, add the garlic and cook for an addition 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and scrape up the browned bit from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in fresh spinach. 
  4. Combine cooked pasta, sausage mixture, and basil. Place half of the pasta mixture in a small (2 quart) casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with the half of the mozzarella and Italian cheese blend. Cover with remaining pasta and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake at 350° for 25 minute.
ENJOY!

Chicken, Spinach, and Noodle Casserole

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Last night was a great night. Spur of the moment my kiddos (my son and his girlfriend) decided to pop by. It was happy for one because we needed his help moving my china hutch. But mostly because ever since we all got our own places I miss the crap out of them! It is funny, we all knew that we needed to move on and get places of our own. But dang it is so had to be away from them, at least for me.
It is funny, I spent a lot of the day on Monday unpacking boxes and putting things away in my dining room. We are having about 15 people here for Thanksgiving so I figured it might be a good idea to finally unpack the boxes that have been sitting there for a couple of months. Once I had the boxes unpacked and all of my china and crystal on my dining room table I started to look around at the room and decided I wanted to change how it was arranged. 
Now it was no surprise to my son, or would it be to anyone that has known me for a long time, but Kevin was kind of hit out of the blue with it. I move furniture all of the time. I have to get a “feel” for the room, and until it feels right I am constantly rearranging. He tried arguing with me about the need to move the hutch, but he eventually backed down. My son could have saved him the time, you will never convince me it doesn’t need to be moved if I think it does!

But due to my dining room table be covered with dishes and such, and the days getting so short that it is pitch dark by 5:30 PM here. I am having a heck of a time getting any pictures of my food. Kevin even went to Home Depot last night to pick up some under the counter lights just to help me in the kitchen. As you can see by the pictures, the lights help for cooking, but not so much for picture taking. Oh well, I will figure something out.
Now on to the dish. I found this recipe on the internet quite some time ago. I loved it because I love spinach and chicken and, well who doesn’t love a good casserole? They can be great comfort food and remind me of growing up because my Mom was the casserole Queen. But in those days it was the canned condensed soups that were used as the base. This one didn’t use the soup, but it called for whole milk and sour cream and tons of butter. I knew I could make is so much healthier!
The kids and Kevin loved it. I of course am always harder on myself than anyone else. I loved it but felt it didn’t have that “Wow” factor. Kevin pointed out to me that every dish doesn’t have to blow you off your seat, and my son said that he loved it because it was warm and creamy, it was just plain comfort food. We all agreed that if you like a bit of zing you could add some crushed red pepper to it. But it was a great meal for a cold Washington night. We sat in the living room, with the fireplace going, and enjoyed some nice comfort food together. That can never be wrong!!
Chicken, Spinach, and Noodle Casserole
Adapted from a recipe found on Real Simple
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 ounces egg noodles (I used No Yolk noodles)
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken (I used the whole rotisserie chicken)
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Butter flavored cooking spray

Heat oven to 400° F. 

In a large pot boil water for noodles, salt the water before adding the noodles and cook the noodles according to the package directions; drain and return them to the pot.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes (do not let the mixture darken). Add the white wine and whisk for a minute to cook off the alcohol, then slowly add the chicken stock, whisking as you go. 

Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the yogurt and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the sauce, chicken, and spinach to the noodles and toss to combine. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch or some other 3-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and spray the top with butter spray to dampen the crumbs.

Bake until the bread crumbs are golden and the filling is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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ENJOY!!!

Shared at The Lady 8 Home

Greek Burgers for #FathersDay #SundaySupper

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This week for #SundaySupper we are all making things that were/are our Father’s favorite. My Father passed away last November so when Isabel first announced the theme I was a bit apprehensive about how it might make me feel. I knew I was dreading the approaching Father’s Day since it will be the first one without him so I thought focusing any more attention on it would make the day much harder for me. But you know what? It actually made me happy. Instead of thinking about how much I miss him, I was thinking about the things he loved to eat, and boyyyy did he like burgers!! Wait, did I say like? I meant LOVE. They really were his favorite thing to eat. You could keep your filet or rib eye, no lobster for him, just make him a good ol’ juicy burger and he was a happy happy man!!


My Dad was my biggest supporter in everything thing I do, especially my food blog. When I told him it was what I wanted to do he was first in line to say “You can do it!”. He really was a special man. I used to love him coming downstairs when I was cooking dinner and asking, “What experiment are we having tonight?”. That was what spurred me on to make different types of burgers. I wanted to give my Dad different versions of his favorite food.

When we moved from Southern California to Western Washington there was a lot of foods I missed. Mexican of course, but I couldn’t find a good gyros anywhere near me! I used to have gyros at least a couple of times a month when I lived in California but had never experimented with the flavors at home because, well I could get it whenever I wanted and was actually a bit nervous (for some reason) to try to create those flavors at home. Well all of that fear went out the window when I moved and there were no gyros to be found anywhere.

Into the kitchen I went and 6 years later this is what came out. Now there is a great Greek place in town, but I think it might be nicer to stay home with the family, a burger, and a great glass of wine!

This one was for you Dad, I love you!!!

Greek Burgers
1 pound ground lamb
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mediterranean)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/4 (a generous handful) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
4 ounces crumbled feta
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced vine ripe tomato
Toasted burger buns (this can be made as 2 BIG burgers or 4 smaller ones)
First of f get your Tzatziki Sauce made an in the fridge to sit for a couple of hours. 
Heat the olive oil to a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Grab a medium bowl and add the lamb, all of the seasonings, cooled onions and garlic, spinach, parsley, feta cheese, and salt and pepper. Mix just until combined and form into 2 large or 4 small patties. Heat the grill to medium-high and place the burgers on the grill. Cook the burgers, flipping once, about 10 minutes for medium rare, or until desired doneness.
Top your burgers with sliced tomato and slather the top bun with Tzatziki Sauce.
ENJOY!!!

Here are all of the other wonderful #Sunday Supper tributes to Dad’s. Happy Father’s Day everyone!!

Father’s Day Brunch:
Dad’s Favorite Soup, Salads and Bread:
Father’s Day Favorite Main Dishes:
Wine Pairings for Father’s Day ENOFYLZ

Creamy Shells with Tuna and Spinach

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One of the things I really enjoy is coming up with ways to update old comfort food recipes. I can remember my Mom making tuna casserole when I was a kid. It was on of the meals we had quite often. It, of course, contained a can of cream of mushroom soup, but I can just remember loving it when she made it. Since my Mom wasn’t big on cooking, tuna casserole is one of the meals that I remember fondly and it brings back wonderful memories of my Mom for me.

Of course through the years, with my desire to make recipes a bit healthier when I can, I have realized that even though it is very tasty (I love cream of mushroom soup) it isn’t the healthiest item to add to a meal. The amount of fat and sodium it contains are really quite staggering. So when I can try a recipe without it I am excited. I know my Mom would be proud of me for making things healthier for my family. A bonus is this is a nice inexpensive recipe!

Everyone, minus Ms Picky Pants, loved this dish. Seth had a friend over and he loved it just as much as we did. They both work at a local pub/saloon and Avin is one of the cooks there. He and Seth both kept making comments about how they would make so many people happy (and so much money) if they used my recipes there. What a wonderful compliment that was and completely not expected for Tuna Casserole! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!!

Creamy Shells with Tuna and Spinach
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups milk
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3 slices white bread
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid (a clean kitchen towel works great for this)
2 cans tuna, drained and flaked
6 ounces jumbo pasta shells (approx 20 shells), cooked according to package directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium pot, over medium high heat, cook the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Whisk in the white wine and cook for a minute. Then gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for about 3 minutes, until the sauce has slightly thicken and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper and let the sauce cool slightly.

In a food processor, combine the bread and Italian seasoning. Process until fine crumbs form. Transfer half of the mixture to a large bowl and combine with half of the sauce, tuna, and spinach. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Fill each shell with a heaping tablespoon of of the spinach mixture and place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and bread crumb mixture. Bake until sauce is bubbling and bread crumbs are golden. About 25 minutes.

Italian Wedding Soup

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I know I have mentioned, on many an occasion, that I have a love of all things soup. It borders on an obsession really! If you can give me a lovely liquid to slurp up with some crusty bread I am in heaven. Meat, no meat, I don’t care. There is something calming and comforting about a nice warm bowl of soup (and I am not leaving out its brothers stew, chowder, or chili). I don’t quite know why I feel this way but I know I don’t stand alone on this one. Soup lovers of the world UNITE!!
For years now I have had one canned soup that I still crave. Well it isn’t really canned, it comes in those microwavable bowls, but it is premade and I love it. Healthy Choices Italian Wedding soup. When I was working it was my lunch of choice at least 2 or 3 out of a 5 day week. Yet I never tried to make it at home? Why you ask? Hmmmm good question! Maybe I was afraid it wouldn’t be as good, maybe it was just laziness. I mean I actually LIKED this premade soup so it was pretty easy to just have Chef Mike run the show.
Now that I have been venturing into making some healthier recipes I decide I need to give this one a shot. I mean lets face it, a lot, and I mean a LOT of the soups that are “comforting” are creamy and thick and probably NOT the healthiest they could be. I knew this one would be different.
So I gathered about 4 different recipes and started forming my plan of attack. Picking and choosing the things I liked from each one to try and make the best soup possible. WOW I was hoping it would be good but I had no idea how good it would be!! I made a comment on my Facebook page “Italian Wedding Soup is heaven in a bowl” WHO KNEW? I made about 35 meatballs and a lot of broth and 3 people were able to woof it all down and want more. Well Kevin hid some in a Tupperware container for his lunch the next day, but STILL. All you  heard was slurp slurp “WOW” slurp slurp “OhEmmGee this is good” slurp slurp “Is there any more”??
I honestly can’t wait to make it again!
Italian Wedding Soup

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For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 pound chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 2 cups fresh white bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), diced
  • 3/4 cup diced celery (2 or 3 stalks), diced
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups orzo
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 12 ounces baby spinach, washed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine. With a spoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 35 to 40 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Cover with foil and reserve
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, depending on how tender you want your vegetables. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.


Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach, Artichoke, and Brie

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With the holidays coming and going my focus, of course, has been on creating and preparing dishes that could be part of a holiday meal. I mean, yes you really could use anything you want for a holiday meal but, I tried to stay along the lines of traditional with a new twist. This dish is one that I made for Thanksgiving 5 years ago from a recipe I found on Food Network. We loved it so I put it in the “recipe bank” for future use, but for whatever reason I associated it with a holiday meal only and never thought to pull it out for another night.

This year I went back through old recipes to get some ideas and came across this one again. I knew immediately  I wanted to make it. I knew Miss Picky Pants wasn’t going to eat it because it has artichoke hearts in it (if I had gotten rid of them should would have because she loves brie) but I figured everyone else would be game for it.

I also thought it would go well with the meal because I was making standing rib roast with a garlic, rosemary crust so it fit into the slight Italian theme I had going. You know, cooking is like getting dressed, you want everything to match and compliment each other. It sounds good at least right?

The meal was a bit hectic because I hadn’t planned the times as well as I had for Thanksgiving, plus the roast took up the whole oven so I couldn’t sneak things under or along the side. But this dish really comes together well. A few steps, but well worth it, trust me!! I can guarantee I wont be saving this for the holidays anymore. Special occasions maybe, but it is too good to only pull out once in a while!

Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach, Artichoke, and Brie 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds spinach, washed (3 cups cooked and roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 (8 1/2-ounce) cans quartered artichoke hearts, tough outer leaves removed
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 12 to 14 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old French bread (about 1 loaf)
  • 1 pound Brie, rind removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, optional
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Once cool, squeeze as much water from spinach as possible then roughly chop and reserve.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Combine the eggs, cream, milk, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the bread, spinach, artichoke mixture, brie, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and parsley and stir to combine. If bread does not absorb all of liquid immediately then let rest until this happens, about 20 minutes.
Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve warm.

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Spinach & Artichoke Salad

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For the last weekend of summer I really wanted to pull out all the stops and celebrate the wonderful weather we had finally been having in Western Washington. I planned grilling burgers and corn and chicken. I wanted to  make some quick cool salads to beat the heat and accompany the grilled food.

My absolute favorite salad green is baby spinach! It could be the only green I ever eat again and I would be happy. Not that I wouldn’t miss the others, it is just my favorite. Yikes now I am afraid to open my vegetable drawer in my kitchen. I may have offended a few things that are currently residing there.

Anyway, I jumped online and started searching for a new recipe to showcase my lovely greens. I found this one by Rachael Ray (I know shocker right? Bobbi is doing Rachael Ray??). It has another of my favorite ingredients, artichokes. I prefer my artichokes fresh steamed, but I do love canned artichoke hearts on pizza so I figured “Let’s give it a try”.

My decision was a good one. Kevin and I ate this salad up like it was candy! The kids…uuhhh not so much. But we already knew that would be the outcome. I tease them about someday having an adult pallet and appreciating something other than McDonald’s and frozen burritos. Actually I can’t complain that much. They have come a longggggggggg way in the last few years.

Spinach & Artichoke Salad

  • 3/4 pound, 4 to 5 cups, baby spinach, packed
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano

Combine spinach and artichokes. Place garlic, lemon zest and juice in small dish and add vinegar. Let it stand 5 minutes then whisk in extra-virgin olive oil. Pour oil and vinegar dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season the salad with salt and pepper, to your taste. Top the salad with cheese then serve.

Grilled Lemon and Herb Chicken with Creamed Garlic Spinach

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Now that I have broken the lemon barrier I am very open to giving this little citrus treasure a try. While I was cruising through FoodBuzz I came across a recipe for Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken by one of my favorite  bloggers Cookin Canuck. It just sounded so good and I love the  fact that it uses chicken thighs vs chicken breasts. I have long been a fan of chicken thighs for many reasons. They are easier to cook without the risk of being dry like a breast, they have more flavor, and they are cheaper a HUGE plus! I substitute boneless skinless thighs for breasts whenever I can. If you are strictly watching your calories then opt for the boneless skinless breasts but try using cutlets or cutting them in half like a book and cooking them so you have less of a chance to dry them out.

One of the things I love about this recipe is the fact that you make a vinaigrette instead of a marinade. So you cook the chicken first and then into the tub it goes to soak up flavor while you finish cooking. You can also choose to eat it right away or cover it and put it in the fridge for later. It is awesome hot, especially with the creamed spinach I made to go alongside. But I can tell you that this makes a FANTASTIC sandwich or slice it and put it on a salad. Because the chicken goes into the vinaigrette after it is cooked it is safe to save the leftovers and use it on a salad the next day yummmm!

Of course I can’t leave a recipe alone and after I printed it off and was organizing my ingredients I realized I had thyme as well as rosemary, a combination I love, so out came the thyme to jump into the tub with all the other  ingredients. I also added more rosemary and garlic, boy do I love my garlic. It is a good thing that Kevin loves garlic too otherwise I would never get any kisses!

Whisk the lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, garlic, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl. Once combined slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Get your grill or grill pan going over medium-high heat and brush it with a layer of vegetable oil.
Grill the chicken until done through, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the thighs.
Remove the chicken from the heat and place in bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat the chicken. At this time you can cover and refrigerate the chicken or set it aside while you work on the creamed spinach.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add your butter. Once melted add your garlic and saute for a couple minutes before adding your spinach to wilt down. Then add your grated nutmeg.
Add the cream and stir to combine. Heat till warmed through, a minute or two, and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
Grilled Lemon and Herb Chicken

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons honey
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a large bowl whisk the lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, garlic, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl. Once combined slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush with vegetable oil.

Drizzle the chicken thighs with a bit of the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place chicken on grill and cook till chicken is done through, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Remove the chicken from the heat and place in bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat the chicken. At this time you can cover and refrigerate the chicken or set it aside.

Once you plate the chicken drizzle it with a bit of the vinaigrette.

Creamed Garlic Spinach 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
10 ounces baby spinach
Grated nutmeg to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add your butter. Once melted add your garlic and saute for a couple minutes before adding your spinach to wilt down. Then add your grated nutmeg.

Add the cream and stir to combine. Heat till warmed through, a minute or two, and remove from heat and serve.

Mini Beef Wellingtons

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I have been wanting to do Beef Wellington for quite some time now, but have been a bit nervous about trying. Maybe it is all of the times that I have listened to Chef Ramsey scream at chefs for cooking them incorrectly. I guess I am afraid he will pop out of my pantry and tell me to GET OUT!

So when I saw Claire Robinson make a version of them on her 5 Ingredient Fix I thought to myself If it can be done with 5 ingredients I have got to be able to do it. Plus they just looked so cute and tasty. I printed out the recipe and started thinking in my mind of the things I would like to add to those 5 ingredients to add some extra flavor and make it my own.

I was worried that Kevin was going to think I was crazy (well crazier than usual) when I announced that I was making an “appetizer dinner”, but when he heard that I was making the Mini Wellingtons he was right on board with me. Like I have said, he LOVES red meat.

This recipe is a bit pricey since I used beef tenderloin but I wanted to have the right texture for the meat. It was amazing! You could just take a bite and the meat melted in your mouth. I even ate one cold for breakfast the next day. It is definitely a dish I will be making again. Plus now I have the courage to try the real deal. Chef Ramsey…..LOOK OUT!!

Mini Beef Wellingtons

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 24 (1-inch) cubes
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 bag of baby spinach, chopped
4 ounces Feta cheese
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and season all sides with salt and pepper. Quickly sear the beef on two sides only until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes total, do not overcook. Transfer to a plate to cool
Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until they begin to brown and release liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and continue cooking until mushroom mixture dries out, is golden brown, and the shallots are soft, about 10 minutes.Remove from heat and cool.
On a work surface, roll 1 sheet of puff pastry to a 10 by 14-inch rectangle. Put a small pile of chopped spinach on the pastry, evenly spacing the piles in 4 rows of three. Add crumbled feta cheese to each pile and a teaspoon sized mounds of the mushroom mixture . Top the mushroom mixture with a piece of beef. With a sharp knife, cut the pastry into even squares around each mound. Working 1 at a time, pull 2 opposite sides of the pastry up and over each beef piece, then fold the ends over the top to make a packet. Invert and arrange the packets seam side down on the baking sheet and press them slightly to seal the pastry. Repeat.
Bake the Wellingtons until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven to a serving platter and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Rachael Ray Wednesday – Chinese Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Okay, I know it sounds weird. But that is really kind of what grabbed me and made me want to make this recipe! I am sure my family wasn’t sharing my curiosity though. Their faces said it all….”ummmm you are making what?”….”What is in that?”……”Oh, OK” I am sure I heard some rumblings about sneaking out to McDonalds too. But hey, they know me and what I do. They might not have signed up for this but they were definantly drafted!

I love chicken chow mien and this kind of reminds me of that. The whole wheat noodles give it a nutty taste and the meatballs….well all I can say (as I channel my inner Rachael) is YUMMMMMO!! Once the meatballs started cooking and you could smell that wonderful smell coming from the oven, people started thinking twice about the whole McDonalds thing.

When they were actually able to taste it they all had a new appreciation for my curiosity and the good things it can bring. I am thinking now I should have made a double batch of the meatballs, they are THAT good. They went so fast and then we just had a pot of naked noodles leftover, so sad. Not to say the noodles weren’t good because they were awesome too. The soy and sesame oil together made a terrific combo and the veggies were perfect, not to crisp but not too soft. Seth took some over to his girlfriend’s house to share with her for dinner and I got a comment from her on my Facebook page saying that she loved them. She also complimented my Turkey Sausage and Orzo Stuffed Peppers recipe.

I think this would actually make a good meal for a night when you are trying to find something to do with the leftover veggies in the fridge. You could use just about anything, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, onions, even thinly sliced carrots and celery could be used. So let your tummy be guided by my curiosity and give this one a try!

Chinese Spaghetti and Meatballs

Salt
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 pound ground pork or chicken (I used chicken)
1 egg
2 cups puffed rice cereal
Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder, 1/3 palm full
8 scallions, 2 finely chopped, 6 cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup tamari dark soy, divided
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 cups snow peas, thinly sliced on an angle
1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
2 inches ginger root, grated
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 pound triple washed spinach, leaves stripped of larger stems, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, available on Asian foods isle of market
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, available on Asian foods isle of market
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Place a pot of water on to boil for spaghetti. When it comes to a boil, salt the water and add pasta to cook to al dente. Heads up: reserve 1/2 cup cooking water just before draining.
Place pork (or chicken) in a mixing bowl. Add the egg to the bowl. Place rice cereal in food processor and pulse into a bread crumb like consistency. Add cereal crumbs to bowl.
Add salt, pepper, five-spice powder, 2 chopped scallions and two tablespoons soy sauce. Mix the meatballs thoroughly. Form 1 1/2 in balls and coat with 1 tablespoon oil, scatter onto a baking sheet and roast 15 minutes.
When meatballs are close to done and the pasta is in, heat a large skillet (or wok) over high heat with enough vegetable oil to coat the skillet, a couple of tablespoons. Add the snow peas, red pepper, remaining scallions, ginegr and garlic, stir fry 2 minutes add spinach and wilt, 1 minute. Add the remaining soy sauce, about 1/3 cup, and the sesame oil then drain, add in pasta cooking water and toss to combine so pasta can soak up the sauce, about 1 minute. Garnish with the sesame seeds and top with lots of meatballs.
Serves 4