Creamed Spinach

spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cups) Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1/2 cup Onion, Finely Diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1 cup Milk
  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces (2 bags) Baby Spinach

Method:

Melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven. Sprinkle in flour and whisk together. Cook over medium heat for five minutes or until light golden brown. Add onion and garlic and stir together, cooking for another minute. Pour in milk, whisking constantly until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Add spinach and stir to combine.  Cover and cook until wilted, stirring often.  Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and Parmesan, stirring to combine.  Continue to cook until cheese melts.

Serve!

Stuffed Shells

This is a delicious, easy, vegetarian main dish.  It’s a snap to put together, and everyone loves stuffed shells!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 (15 oz) container ricotta
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 jar pasta sauce, any variety
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

Method:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta shells according to package directions, until just al dente.  Drain shells in a large colander and run under cold water.  Drain, but don’t allow the shells to dry out too much, or they’ll stick together.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the ricotta, egg, Parmesan and spinach.  Season with a little salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with non-stick spray.    Add half of the pasta sauce to the bottom of the dish.  Fill shells with ricotta mixture, and arrange in the dish so that they’re touching but not crowded.  Top with the rest of the pasta sauce and mozzarella.

Cover dish with foil and place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and continue to cook for ten more minutes.  Cool slightly and serve with salad or steamed vegetables.

Grace’s Lemon Drop Martini

Nice and tart, but the addition of Cointreau balances out the martini with a mellow sweetness.  Using fresh lemon juice is absolutely essential.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 part/1 jigger fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part/1 jigger Cointreau
  • 1 part/1 jigger vodka
  • 1 tsp superfine sugar (or to taste)

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a martini shaker.  Add ice and shake for 60 seconds.  Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a twist.  Sugared rim optional.

Poppy Seed Dressing

This dressing is excellent on a salad of spinach, strawberries, and toasted pecans – or any other salad that could use a sweet (but not too sweet!) and tangy touch!  I find that it’s easiest to make it in a mason jar (or other sealed container) so that the jar can just be closed and shaken in between the ingredient additions or after the dressing has settled and separated.

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Ingredients:

  • scant 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons grated sweet onion and juice
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Method:

Dissolve the sugar, salt and mustard in the vinegar. Add the onion and oil. Shake until the dressing is well blended. Add the poppy seed and shake well.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Forget cornbread- you know you’ve got a well-seasoned cast iron skillet when a pineapple upside-down cake pops out of it perfectly!  No worries if you don’t have one though.  Just use a well-greased, heavy duty cake pan.

This cake is gorgeous in a retro-kind of way.  It’s delicious with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or all on its own!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 can (20 oz) pineapple rings in juice
  • 7 maraschino cherries
  • 12 pecan halves
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • Grated rind of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter in the cast iron skillet.  Cool slightly.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter.  Arrange 7 pineapple rings in the bottom of the skillet.  Cut 3 pineapple rings in half and arrange the halves around the edges of the skillet.  Place a maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple ring.  Arrange the pecan halves in the spaces between the pineapple rings.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.  Mix in the oil and milk until smooth.  Mix in the vanilla, egg, lime rind, and lime juice.  Beat just until smooth.

Pour the batter evenly over the fruit and sugar in the skillet.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove cake from the oven and cool the in the skillet for 5 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a platter and allow to cool.  Serve and enjoy!

Simple Corned Beef and Cabbage

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

corned beef

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb corned beef brisket (flat cut) with spice packet
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 10 small red potatoes
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 head green cabbage, cut into small wedges

Method:

Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water and beer. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.

Remove beef from pot and cover to keep warm.  Add whole potatoes, carrots, and cabbage to the same pot and cook until done, approximately 20-30 minutes.

Strain vegetables, reserving a little of the broth to keep them moist.  Slice meat across the grain.  Serve with mustard and horseradish.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

This is a classic for a reason.  I’m sure it would be excellent with fresh clams, but the canned version tastes great and makes this dish easy and convenient to pull together.

linguineclamsauce

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (10 oz.) whole baby clams, drained (reserve liquid)
  • 8oz dry linguine pasta
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (dried may be substituted)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook for approx. 5 minutes.  Add anchovy paste, thyme, and red pepper flakes and cook for a few more minutes.  Add wine, lemon juice, and clam juice, stirring to remove the fond from the bottom of the pan.  Lower heat and keep sauce at a constant simmer until sauce is reduced by about half (about 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add linguine and boil, stirring often, for about 7  minutes or until al dente.  Drain, and add to the sauce.  Stir to combine and continue to cook for another minute or so.  Add parsley, salt, a papper (to taste).  Serve hot.

 

 

Couscous with Pine Nuts and Saffron

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Method:

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add onions.  Cook over medium heat until translucent.  Add chicken broth, saffron, and salt, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add couscous, stir to combine, cover, and remove from heat.  Allow to sit, undisturbed, until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid/about 10 minutes.

Uncover, add pine nuts, parsley, and pepper, and fluff with a fork to combine.

Chicken Marbella

This recipe comes from one of my favorite sources: the Silver Palate.  The original recipe can be found here.  The only change I made was to cut the chicken legs apart from the thighs, rather than using true chicken quarters.  I find that, this way, the dark meat cooks faster (smaller pieces) and the white meat doesn’t get dried out.

Prunes and olives may sound like a strange combination, but I assure you, it’s truly delicious!  This is a great dish to serve a crowd: it’s easy to double or triple the recipe, and all of the prep work takes place hours before the party.  Be sure to serve this chicken with couscous etc. so that you have something to absorb all of the extra pan juices.

SP_r019a_Chicken Marabella 14

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
  • 1/3 cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large chicken, cut into six pieces (breasts, thighs, and legs)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

Method:

Combine all of the ingredients, except the brown sugar, wine, and parsley, in a large bowl or gallon zip-top bag and gently combine.  Allow to marinate for 6-8 hours in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.

Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, approx 45 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley. Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese, yogurt, and mayonnaise.  Add other ingredients and beat on low speed until combined.

Spoon dip into casserole dish, smooth out, and bake, covered, for approximately 20 minutes.  Uncover and continue to bake a few minutes more until just beginning to brown.

Serve warm with crackers, etc.