Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Goodness of Hummus

My supper club's theme this month is citrus. A great theme considering its the deep cold of winter and foods with citrus are bound to invoke thoughts of warm, summery days.

What are your favorite foods with citrus? I love lemon the most and would choose a lemon dessert over a chocolate one any day, and I consider myself a chocoholic. I love key lime pie and I love eating clementines right out of the box. There is nothing better than a lemon ice from The Lemon Ice King of Corona during the summertime. I love blood orange sorbet, Asian orange beef, Greek lemon and egg soup, orange cranberry muffins. The only citrus I dislike is grapefruit...unless its juice is mixed into my favorite cocktail called The Papa Doble.

I made three dishes for supper club. The first was an appetizer - lemon artichoke hummus. I must say the word "garlic" should be in the title of the recipe as well! The original recipe I saw called for 6 cloves, but I reduced it to five and that was quite enough, thank you very much!

Other posts to come this week will be the two other dishes I made: lemon parsley mashed potatoes and an orange chocolate trifle.

If you are not in a supper club, I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful way to meet new people, talk food, and have fun sharing recipes. The women in my club are amazing, and I look forward to it each month.

Lemon Artichoke Hummus
2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of Artichoke hearts
5 cloves garlic
2 Lemons
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon White pepper
1 tablespoon parsley flakes Virgin olive oil

Juice the lemons. Combine all ingredients but the oil in the bowl of a food processor, turn on, and slowly drizzle in olive oil as the ingredients are being processed to a creamy consistency. Serve with drizzled olive oil and lemon wedges on top.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Blossoming Birthday Celebration!

Today is my actual birthday that I share with my beloved twin sister.

Life lately has been beautiful. Celebrations with friends and family have been abundant, and I am so grateful for a life rich with a close family and strong friendships.

Life has also been blessedly hectic lately between my new niece, a promotion at work, and so many great outings with friends and family. Hence, I decided to take this day off from work and spend it relaxing and enjoying rare quiet time alone. The gift to myself today is downtime and a chance to text and talk with friends and family instead of being at my desk at work on the trading floor. I woke up and went out for coffee and a bagel with a good schmear, pampered myself today at the nail salon with a manicure and pedicure, cracked open a bottle of pink prosecco, and also enjoyed this dish that was prepared in my Crockpot (no way was I making anything today that would ruin the nails!). I served this on top of white rice. I would have done brown rice if it were not my special day to make it healthier, but I wanted to indulge! Oh, and of course I read food blogs ALL day. Fellow foodie bloggers, you make my day and being able to read them leisurely today was a great gift!

I highly recommend this dish any time of year in the Crockpot. It was delicious and full of wonderful flavors and so easy to make. The next time I make this I may do half pineapple juie and half orange juice for even more great flavors, but it is truly perfect the way it is!

Orange Blossom Chicken Teriyaki (a recipe for a slow cooker)
8 chicken drumsticks (you can also do half thighs if you want, but use dark meat; I also used skinless since skin slow cooker recipes make little sense to me - it gets too soggy)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (I was fortunate to have this particular spice given to me recently by a friend who was in Ethiopia, so I cracked the outer shell and ground the pods in my mortar and pestle!)
1 thinly sliced, unpeeled orange
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water

1) Mix onion, garlic, and olive oil and place at bottom of slow cooker.
2) Place the chicken on top (sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste).
3) Whisk together orange juice, soy, honey, brown sugar, ginger, and cardamom in a mixing bowl. Pour over chicken.
4) Cover chicken with sliced oranges
5) Cook on high setting for 4 hours or low setting for 8 hours (I did low).
6) Remove chicken and oranges with slotted spoon.
7) Add cornstarch to the water and mix - then stir into the juices and whisk to thicken.
8) Place chicken and oranges back in the pot and keep on warm setting until ready to serve.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tailgating At Home!

I am a huge football fan and a die hard New York Giant's fan.

Although the Giants did not make it to the playoffs, I still love football enough to watch the playoffs and Superbowl, each game start to finish. I truly enjoy cooking on Sundays during football season and like to stick to some traditional tailgating foods. I love Buffalo wings, but rarely eat them since they are so fattening!

However, I was determined to figure out an alternative, and that came in the form of meatballs! After reading various recipes for Buffalo chicken meatballs, I came up with a recipe that combined details of a few delicious sounding ones and came up with this one. Instead of dipping them in blue cheese sauce, which you can do as a great appetizer, I decided to make blue cheese mashed potatoes and make it into a meal with carrots on the side. As far as beer, I was sipping Michelob Ultra and miserable. I don't know why I bother with that beer. The lack of flavor is just not worth the lack of calories.

The meatballs were rich tasting and nice and hot with the sauce on it. The mashed potatoes had a great sour tang to them that complimented the meatballs well. I love fresh parsley and decided to keep it coarsely chopped since I enjoy biting into pieces that have tender leaves cooked into them.

My cheers go to the New Orleans Saints! I hope they win the Superbowl! What team are you cheering for? Hopefully fellow food bloggers will have some great tailgating recipes in the next few weeks leading to the Superbowl!

  • Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) Combine chicken, onion, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs, egg, and salt and pepper to taste
3) Mix with your hands and cut into 4 equal portions - this should yield 16 meatballs
4) Arrange meatballs on a nonstick baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil
4) Bake meatballs until golden brown (about 12 minutes)
5) Heat butter and hot sauce in a saucepan and spoon over meatballs in a serving platter.

Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
5 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1/3 cup light blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup milk (or more depending on what consistency you like)
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste

1) Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, mash
2) Add milk, blue cheese dressing, butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Restaurant Review: Bourdain's Brasserie- Les Halles

I admit having a crush on Anthony Bourdain that has lasted for years and has no chance of ceasing anytime soon.

Growing up a good girl, there is something about a bad-ass chef that is extremely attractive. Though I am glad he has mellowed out over the years, he still is a wonderful chef with a wonderful voice in the culinary world. No Reservations is one of my favorite shows, and I enjoy his writing style in A Cook's Tour.

On Friday evening I met my dear cousin for dinner at Les Halles. It was the first time for the both of us at a Bourdain restaurant, and a long overdue dinner for us both together! We both stared out with glasses of red wine - a must on a cold winter's night at a brasserie! She had a Cote De Rhone and I had a lovely Malbec.

Although there were so many wonderful French brasserie appetizers on the menu (escargot, onion soup), we decided to go against the rules (Bourdain would be proud) and split a plate of macaroni and cheese with serrano ham as our first course. As you can see from above, it came right out of the oven with a crisp crust of cheese on top. Below was a melted blend of amazing cheeses and ham. I would say it actually is one of the best macaroni and cheeses I have had, and gives Artisinal's a run for its money. As much as I love American macaroni and cheese with cheddar, there is nothing like this French style with gruyere.

The main courses were steak, of course! They were so good I forgot about taking photos. I was too lost in the moment of beef bliss to even think about pulling out my camera.

Again, we were rebels and did not order the Steak Frites, the classic dish of the restaurant. My cousin had a filet mignon with bernaise sauce and I had a skirt steak with blue cheese sauce. I was confused by the sauces being there at all - the cuts of steak were tops and did not need any extra flavoring. Having a sense of this, we both ordered our sauces on the side. Instead, we used them as a nice accent to mix into our mashed potatoes (which were thick,gooey, and quite good).

I had profiteroles for dessert with a chocolate sauce that was drinkable on its own, and my cousin had a chocolate mousse that was perfectly textured and rich.

Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles is a brasserie I highly recommend.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meat and Potatoes

Tonight was meat and potatoes night!

Its been a long week and the week is not even over, so meat and potatoes for dinner is good comfort food. Many of you may not know this, but I have been without Food Network for almost a month due to New York's Cablevision being in a battle with Scripps network. Tonight it is back, and I am glad I can watch Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives once more!

I am on a Penzey's kick this week it seems. This was actually the first time I used their poultry seasoning after purchasing it around Thanksgiving. A good investment for quick chicken dishes on a weeknight, let me tell you! I found a basic recipe from Martha Stewart for buttermilk baked chicken and made it my own. I had a baked potato sprinkled with parsley and some honey glazed carrots. The wine was a lovely Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.

Buttermilk Baked Chicken
1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 cups of plain breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (I used Penzey's)
1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I used lowfat)
1 teaspoon hot sauce

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet
2) Combine bread crumbs, poultry seasoning, and cheese in a bowl.
3) Combine buttermilk, salt, pepper, and hot sauce in another bowl and whisk well.
4) Pat chicken pieces dry and dip into buttermilk, shaking excess coating off. Dip into bread crumb mixture and fully coat.
5) Bake for 25 minutes until chicken is a nice golden brown.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice!

I wanted to make something sweet for my sweet sister who brings home my sweet little niece tomorrow. Something with sugar, spice, and everything nice! I chose a recipe from Penzey's (I love Penzey's and am fortunate to have a store close to me) that I thought would be perfect: "Perfect Peach Cake."

Don't let the peach element fool you at all into thinking this is a summery cake! This is definitely a recipe for cold winter months since ingredients include brown sugar, cinnamon, and buttermilk. It was easy to make - I was able to find fresh peaches that were nice and ripe, imported from Chile. A bit pricey, but absolutely worth it. The smell in my apartment as the cake baked was decadent!

I have many Penzey's spices, including the cinnamon used in this recipe. If you have never checked out Penzey's, please click on this link and enjoy:
If you love making chili, than I suggest you order the Chili 9000 immediately for the rest of the winter! I purchased it this past fall and it is the best Chili powder ever!

The cake came out perfectly, as the name says. The burst of peach amid the dark brown sugar was delicious, and the topping made it a nice hard sugar coating to add a wonderful texture above the moist cake.

Wishing everyone a sweet day!

Perfect Peach Cake (courtesy of Penzey's Spices)

  • 2/3 Cup butter or margarine, softened (I used unsalted butter)
  • 11/2 Cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 Cup buttermilk (I used lowfat)
  • 4 medium peaches, peeled and chopped, or 3 Cups frozen unsweetened peach slices, thawed and chopped (I used fresh peaches)
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9X13 pan and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and pure vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture alternating with the buttermilk, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in the peaches by hand. Pour the batter into the pan. In a small bowl combine the sugar and CINNAMON. Sprinkle over the batter. Bake at 350° for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dinner Impossible

The Scenario: My dear niece, Emily, was born on Friday to my older sister and her husband. She is their second - my nephew, Jack is four years old. I was alone in their kitchen as my sweet little Jack's eyes were drooping as he watched Scooby-Doo on the couch before naptime. Other family members would not be here until the evening. It was just around three in the afternoon.

The Challenge: Make dinner for Jack and my parents with ingredients from the pantry and fridge all while keeping up Jack's expectation for me to nap on the floor in a sleeping bag and especially expect me to be there when he woke up. I opened up the pantry and knew I could make a baked ziti, though I really needed sauce simmer time.

The Outcome: I did it! I waited until Jack was asleep and tip-toed out of the room and ran downstairs to simmer sauce. I knew I had about an hour before he potentially woke up. I just finished a good 20 minute simmer after I made the sauce, ran upstairs, snuck back into the sleeping bag, and voila! Within ten minutes he woke up, leaned over the bed and said "MAIMY!" I pretended to wake up, smiled wide, and smelled the sweet smell of success! We came downstairs afterwards, and he helped me here and there making a tray of baked ziti...of which he ate two bowlfuls. (note: for all you mom's out there making fast meals: my upmost admiration to you for even getting dinner on the table!)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
freshly ground pepper and Kosher salt to taste

Directions: Heat oil in a large pot at medium heat and add garlic. Sweat garlic for 3 minutes and add onions. Cook for another 5 minutes, until onions are tender. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with lid slightly ajar and let simmer for 20 minutes. Yields about 3 cups - use for lasagna, baked ziti, or a quick tomato sauce for spaghetti and meatballs.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Cheese to my Macaroni

I think one of my favorite restaurant items is the spinach and artichoke dip at Houston's, served hot and oozing with cheese as you dip a hot chip into the middle of the souffle cup its in. What is even better is it makes a hot mess of your napkin as you wipe your mouth each time you take a bite into its creamy goodness.

Another one of my favorite restaurant items is the macaroni and cheese at Artisinal. It is creamy and rich with stinky cheeses laced with ham bits as its served in a silver platter right out of the oven. I could like that platter clean if it were not for the very stuffy French staff that accompanies the macaroni and cheese (zut alors!) whose eyes gaze down on those lowly Americans devouring their precious cheeses.

What I am not in favor of anymore is any kind of weight gain. So, I found a recipe that combined two favorite foods - spinach dip and mac and cheese - that was actually healthy. Yep, you better believe it! There was no lack of flavor here, but lack of fat and calories that could make your hips a real hot mess!

Creamy Baked Spinach Macaroni and Cheese (courtesy of Dreamfields Pasta back of box)
Makes 8 1-cup Servings

8 ounces (2 cups) Dreamfields pasta, uncooked
2 Cups of 1% Milk
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt to taste
8 ounces of lowfat swiss cheese, shredded (I used 6 ounces, it was more than enough)
10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x11 inch casserole dish

1) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta two minutes less than time indicated in directions. Combine pasta with spinach and set aside.
2) In a saucepan, heat milk over medium heat and simmer (do not boil)
3) Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until bubbly (do not let the roux burn). Slowly whisk in the hot milk and whisk continuously until the mixture is bubbly and thick, about 5 minutes (do not boil).
4) Remove from heat and add pepper, salt, nutmeg, and cheese. Stir until cheese is completely melted and smooth. (Note: I made this a day ahead and it was thick, so I added some more milk to make sure it would not become to thick when I placed it in the oven - eyeball it)
5) Pour pasta and spinach into the pot and mix well.
6) Pour mixture into the casserole dish and top with the grated Romano cheese.
7) Bake for 35 minutes and serve immediately. I served it with a white wine from Sicily called Grecianico Sicilia.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Institute of Culinary Education

The day's events at I.C.E.
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza with Pepperoni and Sausage
Beer Poached Bratwurst and German Potato Salad
Cincinnati Chili Five Ways, Beer and Cheddar Soup, Wisconsin Fish Fry with Cole Slaw and homemade tartar sauce, Miller High Life Beer

Last week it seemed that all of the United States had snow in the forecast! The Institute of Culinary Education (I.C.E.) here in New York City had the right idea when they decided to create a series called "American Comfort Foods" for their winter semester in the recreational class division.

Yesterday evening a friend and I had the pleasure of taking "Comfort Food from the Heartland" with Chef Daniel Stone, who grew up in the Midwest and is an expert on the cuisine. He talked a great deal about the culinary history of the region, and it was inspiring enough for me to want to visit all the cities he spoke of one day and eat my way through them.

The dishes we made yesterday were amazing and not at all difficult to make even on a cold winter weeknight. Here is the menu of all the delectable foods we made: Cheddar Cheese Beer Soup, Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, Cincinnati Chili Five Ways, Friday Night Beer-Batter Fish Fry, Tartar Sauce, Harry's Mom's Cole Slaw, Wisconsin Beer-Poached Grilled Bratwurst, Brat Mustard, German Potato Salad, Michigan Tart Cherry Pie, Ohio Buckeyes, and a Brandy Old Fashioned Cocktail.

In good conscience I cannot reprint the buckeyes recipe. They are basically the chocolate and peanut butter version of crack if chocolate and peanut butter were crack. I am, however, reprinting the soup recipe! It was not all that heavy and would be a meal on its own with some crusty bread and a salad on the side.

Cheddar Cheese Beer Soup (courtesy of Chef Daniel Stone)
Serves 6

2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 (12 ounce) bottle of ale, such as Bass
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound extra sharp cheddar, preferably English, rind removed
4 slices bacon, roasted in the oven and crumbled

1. Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leeks and spin dry in salad spinner.
2. Cook leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add milk, broth, and beer in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper. Adjust season to taste.
3. Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly. Cook until cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes. *do not boil* Discard bay leaf
4. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish each serving with crumbled bacon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

With Thanks to my Refrigerator...

There is nothing better than sitting in a French bistro, ordering quiche, and sipping some wine. After a long day on a trading floor, I decided to create a bistro night here at home with ingredients I had from previous dishes this week. Alton Brown, whom I adore, would call this dish "Refrigerator Pie." I say to that: zut alors! Quiche sounds much more sophisticated! Though I admit, this really is a refrigerator pie. Extra pie crust from Thanksgiving in the freezer, leftover mushrooms from spaghetti pie, sour cream from Christmas day corn pudding. This quiche has quite the representation!

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quiche
1 frozen pie crust, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup diced baby portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup diced ham
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup of asiago cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon parsley flakes

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter over medium heat and add onion. Saute for 20 minutes until a light golden brown. Add diced mushrooms and saute for another 10 minutes until the water from the mushrooms has evaporated and onions have reached a caramel color. Whisk eggs, sour cream, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Pour mushroom and onion mixture into the pie crust, sprinkle ham on top. Pour egg batter over the mixture and the ham. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Cook for 30-35 minutes or until center is set. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a side salad and a nice glass of red wine.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Elvis has left the Oven

Monday Night Banana Bake a La Elvis

1 Really Hectic Day at Work after a Vacation
1 Lingering Cold
1 Overripe Banana
2 Tablespoons of organic crunchy peanut butter
1 Handful of semisweet chocolate chips
A dollop of Fluffernutter (optional)

Directions: Invoke your inner Elvis, stuff that banana with goodness, wrap in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Then, stuff yourself with goodness and smile knowing that Monday is over.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Amy & Julia? Now That's More Like It!

There will be no end in sight for the arctic temperatures enveloping the Northeast! Here in New York, it is painful to even step outside. Having a big pot of soup (today it is split pea) on the stove to help get the chill out of your bones is a must!

Speaking of bones, I absolutely love that Julie Child calls for making a nice ham broth first with the ham bones that has to simmer for four hours with vegetables and an herb bouquet that includes whole cloves. The aroma in my kitchen was like no other from any broth I have made. My best friend is stopping by today for afternoon tea and muffins, as well as quarts of soup to take home since her kitchen is in the process of being redone! I have amazing foodie moments with my best friend, and one of them was seeing Julia Child's kitchen at The Smithsonian. (Click and enjoy going through many of her cooking tools - her "spoonery" jar is one of my favorites!)

What kinds of soups are you making to keep you warm this January?

Julia Child's Split Pea Soup (Courtesy of Julia Child from her book "The Way to Cook")

Part I: Ingredients for the Ham Stock:
2 well-washed and scrubbed split ham-hocks (I had my own leftover from a huge Christmas ham)
3 quarts of water
1 cup of coarsely chopped carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
5 whole cloves or allspice berries

Directions: Place the ham hocks in a soup pot with the water, making sure the bones are covered by two inches of water. Taking cheesecloth, make an herb bouquet of the bay leaves, cloves, and thyme. Add bouquet to the pot with the vegetables and let simmer with the pot slightly covered for 3-4 hours. (Note: I suggest you do not skim as it simmers, but rather make this the day before the soup and skim it when you take it out of the refrigerator - much easier!)

Part II: Ingredients for the Soup:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts of ham stock, heated
1 1/2 cups split green or split yellow peas (you may use a half cup more if you like it really thick since this recipe is on the thinner side)

Directions: Set a large saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the vegetables, cooking for 5 minutes. Add the flour, cooking for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool briefly. Blend in the ham stock and the split peas. Cover and simmer for an hour until peas are tender. Salt and pepper to taste a half hour into the cooking process. When cooked, you may mash or blend the soup depending on what consistency you prefer (I blended it). Serve with sauteed ham bits as garnish (I like mine really crispy) and keep a nice loaf of crusty bread next to your plate.

Note:I doubled the recipe you see below, which would normally serve six.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Spaghetti Pie

It is fitting that the first recipe on this blog (and new year) has to involve spaghetti, but the challenge was making it somewhat healthy for the new year since most of us, myself included, are done with the overindulging of the holiday season! I perused many recipes for spaghetti pie and found one on Cooking Light. I tweaked it a great deal and made it my own, since the midwestern twist of cheddar cheese and base of sour cream was not all that appealing to me for this particular dish of Italian origins (though is divine when it comes to Cincinnati chili - mmm).

Its cold here in New York, and I have a slight cold. I have been in my pajamas all day cooking ham broth for tomorrow's split pea soup recipe and making this pie for dinner. I am proud to admit to my fan base that I read the book Julie and Julia, but not proud to say that I have yet to see the movie!

Before the chiding starts, note it is in my dvd player right now and I will commence watching it after eating spaghetti pie! I had this pie with a 2008 Crow Canyon Vineyard Chardonnay to compliment the chicken in the dish.

Spaghetti Pie (adapted from Cooking Light)
1 pound of ground chicken
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup diced baby portobello mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
2 cans (8oz) of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups reduced fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup green onion
4 cups (8 oz) hot cooked spaghetti
1 1/3 cups reduced fat Italian cheese blend of smoked provolone, romano, asiago, and mozzarella (Sargento makes a good blend)


Preheat oven to 350°.

-Cook meat in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned, adding Italian seasoning, stirring to crumble. Drain well.

- Add a splash of olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and mushrooms for 3-5 minutes. Return meat to pan and stir in salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

-Combine the ricotta cheese, green onions, and cream cheese in a small bowl, and add cooked spaghetti, blending well until cheese melts. Place the spaghetti noodle mixture in a 2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray.

- Add one layer of blended cheeses.

- Top with meat mixture. Sprinkle with more of the cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. (I put the broiler on for two minutes so the cheese would be a nice caramel color and a tad crispy)