Thursday, June 9, 2011

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

I love Every recipe I've made from this website has been not only healthy, but fantastic! When I received some Swiss chard in our CSA box this week, I knew I would be trying a new recipe. At first, I wasn't sure that I would like the taste of gnocchi and beans together. Somehow, in this dish the beans take on a more buttery, almost cheesy taste and it just works! This was a snap to throw together and was my first time using pre-made gnocchi.

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans
Source: Eatingwell

1 T. plus 1 t. Olive oil
1 (16 oz.) pkg. shelf stable gnocchi
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. water
6 c. chopped chard leaves
1 (15 oz. can) white beans, rinsed
1 (15 oz. can) diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan
1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella

Heat 1 T. oil over medium heat in non-stick skillet. Cook gnocchi, stirring until plumped and beginning to brown. About 5-7 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Add remaining 1 t. oil and onion. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add water and garlic. Cover and cook until onion is soft, 4-6 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring until greens begin to wilt. Add rinsed beans, pepper and tomatoes. Stir. Bring to simmer and stir in gnocchi. Top with cheeses and cover. Cook until cheese is melted and sauce begins to bubble. About 3 minutes.

Greta and Miles rating: They really liked the gnocchi. Greta liked the chard and Miles liked the tomatoes. Overall, a success!

Asparagus & Goat Cheese Risotto

Have you ever made risotto? I used to be so intimidated by risotto. Eventually, my love for this dish won out and I tried a recipe. What I didn't anticipate was how much my children would love it.  Really, what's not to love about rice and cheese? Since I've conquered making risotto, we have tried mushroom risotto, roasted red pepper risotto,  and just plain old Parmesan risotto. I've made risotto so much this past year, that I now feel comfortable creating my own recipe.  Here is the result! It was so creamy and turned out just perfectly.

Asparagus & Goat Cheese Risotto
1/4 c. onion, chopped
4 T. butter
12 oz.  Arborio rice
1 qt. chicken broth
2 c. water
1 c. chopped fresh asparagus
2 oz. goat cheese
Chop asparagus and place in microwavable bowl. Cover with saran wrap and set aside. Chop onion.  Heat butter in medium sized pot over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent.  Meanwhile, combine chicken broth and water in separate pot and warm over medium-low heat.  Add Arborio and stir well, coating with melted butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 c. broth and stir well. Continue to cook, stirring, until broth is mostly absorbed. Repeat in 1/2 c. increments until rice is done, but al dente. You will not use all of the liquid. This should take about 2 1/2 c. - 3 1/2 c. total.  When rice is almost done, microwave asparagus for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until just beginning to soften.  Remove risotto from heat and stir in asparagus, cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Greta and Miles rating: The kids LOVE their risotto. Greta loves asparagus, but this was a great way to get Miles to eat asparagus as the pieces are small.

Deb's Jello Cake

We celebrated Joe's Birthday yesterday. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday meal, he said, "Steak and Mom's Strawberry Cake".  I do a lot of baking, I mean a lot of baking! This is the 2nd time in the last few years that Joe has requested this cake. The recipe itself is very simple, but it's great! My Mother-in-law has an amazing ability to make low fat and fat free meals and desserts that are AMAZING!  This is known by many as a Jello Poke Cake.  It is simple, moist and as far as cakes go, not too horrible for you.

Deb's Jello Cake
1 white cake mix, prepared as directed on box and cooled
1 (4 serving) box Strawberry or Raspberry jello
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. cold water
1 tube fat-free cool whip
Raspberries or Strawberries to garnish
Prepare white cake mix as directed on box. Cool completely. Poke holes using fork all over surface of cake. Boil 1 c. water and add gelatin. Stir and add 1/2 c. cold water. Pour jello mixture over prepared and cooled cake. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Top with cool whip and fresh berries. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I make most things from scratch. However, I'm not too proud to admit that a cake mix usually tastes much better than any cake I've made from scratch. When someone asks for a good chocolate cake recipe, I always point them to this one. It is your traditional, rich, moist chocolate cake. Tonight, I paired it with a Salted Caramel Buttercream and took my stand-by cake recipe to a new level! What a divine combination!

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake (cupcakes)
Source: Hershey's Cocoa container

2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
2 t. vanilla
1 c. boiling water

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and whisk. Add wet ingredients and stir. Add the boiling water and stir well. Batter will be runny. Pour into pans or cupcake cups. Bake cupcakes about 20 minutes or until center of cake springs back when gently pressed. If using 2) 9" pans, bake 30-35 minutes.

Salted Caramel Buttercream
Source: gimmesomeoven

1/4 c. sugar
2 T. water
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. salted butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar

Briefly stir sugar and water in saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil without stirring. Continue to boil (do not stir) for 6-7 minutes or until dark amber in color. Remove from heat and slowly add cream stirring with wooden spoon. Add vanilla and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool for at least 20 minutes. In mixer bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Pour cooled caramel mixture into butter and sugar and beat for an additional 2 minutes or until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baked French Toast

Some of my favorite recipes are those that you can make ahead, leave in the fridge overnight and then not worry about until lunch time. It was so great to come home from church to the smell of baked french toast. My husband put the topping on and threw it in the oven. This is the perfect breakfast to serve overnight guests! It is delicious, fancy and requires no preparation the day you make it!

Baked French Toast
Adapted from: Paula Deen

12-18 slices french bread
8 eggs
2 c. half and half (I used fat free)
1 c. milk
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
dash of salt

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter, cut into chunks
1 c. walnuts (or pecans)
1/2 t. cinnamon

Grease a 9x13 pan. Arrange bread slices in 2 overlapping layers in pan. In large bowl, whisk eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pour milk mixture over bread slices, spooning some of the mixture over the tops of the slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Combine topping ingredients in medium bowl and combine with pastry blender. Store in ziplock in refrigerator over night.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble topping over bread and bake for 30-40 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Baby Bella Pizza

Don't you just love recipes that are happy accidents? A few weeks ago, I gathered all the ingredients to make this recipe for Shaved Asparagus Pizza. When I went to make it, I realized that there were some nasty mold spots on my asparagus. Insert plan B--- We had some leftover baby bella mushrooms from my daughter's most requested meal, Mushroom Risotto. I substituted mushrooms for the asparagus and the result was fantastic! This is an easy, quick meal that is delicious and has mass appeal.

Baby Bella Pizza
Adapted from: Annie's Eats

1 homemade (or good quality) pizza crust
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and Pepper
5 oz. Boursin Garlic and Herb spreadable cheese
5 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2/3 c. Parmesan, shredded

Roll pizza crust out and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, crumble Boursin Cheese over top of crust (like you would with feta). Top with sliced mushrooms and Parmesan. Season again with fresh black pepper. Bake at 450 for 10-13 minutes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sauteed Radishes

CSA season is officially here, and this means it is a season of healthier eating in our home. Last CSA season in the spring we received a lot of radishes. Last year, I'm sad to say that I either gave them away or wasted them. This year, I found a great recipe for sauteed radishes. Cooking them really tames the bitterness. This is a great side dish if you have an abundance of radishes!

Sauteed Radishes
source: Epicurious

2lbs. radishes, coarsely chopped
2 T. butter
1 t. salt
1 T. minced garlic
3 T. chopped chives

Heat 1 1/2 T. butter in skillet over medium-high heat. When melted, saute radishes in salt, stirring until crisp tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer to plate and keep warm. Saute garlic in remaining 1 T. of butter for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cooked radishes and chives.