mom’s stromboli

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Everyone has that one dish that takes them back home. No matter where they may be at the time, one bite of this dish will immediately transport them back to a moment long gone. One bite, and they are back in the kitchen with grandma or sitting at the table with family. For me, this dish has always been my mom’s stromboli.   Continue reading

stuffed peppers

stuffed-pepper-wee-eats.com_

I DID IT! I SURVIVED THE WHOLE 30!

And to celebrate, I saved the best (recipe) for last. This recipe was by far the FH’s favorite Whole30 recipe. In fact, I just made a huge batch of the filling so that we could enjoy these stuffed peppers later this week, even though we aren’t even on the diet anymore!

To make this “W-30 compliant”, I used cauliflower “rice” instead of real rice. These are super delicious as-is, but if you feel like that’s not something you’re into, feel free to replace the cauliflower with cooked rice or quinoa (or orzo, any grain of your choice).  I also recommend topping these with cheese, which I may very well do later this week now that I’m allowed to have cheese again. (Hi, cheese!)

As another bonus, this recipe makes a ton of filling. A ton.

So, if you don’t feel like eating 6 stuffed peppers today, you can make a couple peppers tonight and freeze the rest of the filling for your future self. You know that one, the one who comes home late and has no time to make dinner… yeah, that one!  Or you can make the whole recipe and eat them throughout the week – the leftovers reheat great in the microwave. Just pop them in the microwaved (covered, of course, otherwise you may anger your household microwave-cleaner) for about 2 minutes and Voila – just as good as new!

stuffed peppers

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1 stuffed pepper half

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 pound (1 medium head) cauliflower, riced
  • 4 large bell peppers, halved with seeds and stems removed
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (I really liked this one )
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

    For the peppers:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Place two halves of a pepper, cut side up, onto a microwave-safe plate and cover with wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes until just starting to soften. Repeat with remaining halves of peppers; set aside until ready to fill.
  3. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan by spreading a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  4. For the filling:
  5. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef or turkey with a generous pinch of salt until well-browned.
  6. Meanwhile, finely chop one of the bell peppers. Add onions and chopped bell pepper to ground meat and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and stir to prevent burning. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
  7. Add half to 3/4 of the cauliflower "rice" (it should make up about half of your total mixture) and another pinch of salt. Add chicken broth and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Reduce heat to medium and cover loosely with foil to allow cauliflower to steam. Cook about five minutes then stir again. Continue to cook another 5 minutes uncovered, allowing any remaining liquid to cook off, stirring occasionally.
  9. Reduce heat to low and add about a half jar of tomato sauce (just enough to moisten the mixture) along with the parsley, basil, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and let simmer about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  10. Assembling the peppers
  11. Place peppers cut-side-up into baking dish. Fill with meat and cauliflower mixture. Top with more tomato sauce and cheese, if desired.
  12. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes* until peppers are tender.
  13. * If baking from chilled, bake covered for 30 minutes then uncovered for the last 10 minutes.

Notes

Feel free to use cooked rice, quinoa, orzo (or any grain you like!) in place of the cauilflower - I made this for the Whole 30 where grains were outlawed so I wasn't allowed to.

Also outlawed on the Whole 30 was cheese, but these would be even better with a bit of mozzarella, fontina, or provolone mixed in (and on top).

http://wee-eats.com/2014/07/01/whole-30-grain-free-stuffed-peppers/

lasagna grilled cheese

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I know what you are probably thinking as you read this…

“Really, Natalie? Lasagna inside of a grilled cheese? Is that really necessary?”

No, of course not.

But the best things never really are, are they?

This idea came to me one day at lunch. I had brought some leftover lasagna and garlic bread to work, being the frugal girl that I am, and upon eating them realized that if I put my lasagna on top of my garlic bread I could consume twice the food in half the time!

It turns out that together they are a force to be reckoned with. Better than either two could ever dream of being on their own.

Then, lightbulb.

I immediately texted Future Husband to let him know of my genius plans.

“LASAGNA GRILLED CHEESE WITH GARLIC BREAD CRUST! PREPARE YOUR ARTERIES!”

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It’s a simple equation, really. Lasagna = Good. Grilled cheese = Good. Lasagna + Grilled Cheese = Double Good!

Am I right?  I mean, I’m pretty sure the logic there is flawless…

FH, though initially confused by the idea, accepted its genius at his first bite. In fact, he loved it so much that he told me I should do a a whole post just about the bread, because the bread alone was THAT GOOD.

I won’t do that to you though, I’ve already drawn this out enough by first sharing the lasagna recipe with you separately, of course you can use whatever lasagna recipe you like.

So here you are… Lasagna grilled cheese… In all of its glory.

Delicious homey comfort food for those of us who don’t plan on donning bikinis anytime soon.

lasagna grilled cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Ingredients

    For the sandwich
  • 4 slices sturdy bread
  • 2 slices leftover lasagna
  • 2 slices mozzarella
  • 2 slices provolone
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Garlic butter
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped or smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

    Make the garlic butter
  1. Melt butter over medium-low heat in a small pan. Add garlic and salt; continue cooking over low/medium-low until very fragrant and cloves are lightly-browned and the salt has dissolved. Keep an eye on the butter making sure not to burn either the butter or the garlic.
  2. Remove from heat and pour into heat-proof container, straining out the garlic cloves. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Make the grilled cheese
  4. Gently re-heat the lasagna in the microwave. It doesn't need to get super hot but you will definitely want to take the chill off.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot. Arrange your mise en place so you can work quickly.
  6. Brush the outsides of your bread slices with garlic butter and gently press into the parmesan cheese. You can butter the insides if you want to, I mean at this point our arteries won't really notice the difference.
  7. Place two pieces of bread with the insides-down (buttered-sides up) on the skillet to toast.
  8. Once toasted flip the bread and top 1 slice of each sandwich with mozzarella and lasagna then with provolone. Top with other slice of bread (buttered side still up) and tent with foil (or a lid) until cheese just begins to melt, being careful not to burn the bottom bread.
  9. Carefully flip the sandwiches to toast the second side and tent again with foil if the cheese still needs help melting. Continue cooking until the bottom is completely toasted.
  10. Remove from heat and cool slightly before serving.

Notes

* This would also be great as an open-faced sandwich. Just place the cheese and lasagna on one piece of the bread and tent to melt the cheese. Enjoy with a fork and knife.

* I used skillet lasagna for this grilled cheese but I suspect regular lasagna would work just fine (and be a bit less messy).

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/28/lasagna-grilled-cheese/

lasagna grilled cheese - wee-eats.com

skillet lasagna

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It’s been in the upper 90s around these parts lately, but this weekend is supposed to be cold and rainy (read: 70s with a 40% chance of rain) so I’ve got comfort food on the mind.  Even though I’ve already got a recipe for lasagna, this one is a bit… different.

It will not consume your afternoon to create.  It will not take hours of sauce-making and simmering, nor meticulous layering of ingredients. This, my friends, is a stove-top lasagna. As in, a lasagna that you make on the stove.

As in a 30(ish)-minute feast.

As in all of those spectacular lasagna flavors and ingredients without having to layer a single thing.

This skillet lasagna involves making your own sauce on the stove-top, stuffing a few lasagna noodles into it, adorning it with dollops of creamy ricotta cheese, and broiling some nice melty cheese on top.

If you’re into that whole broiled-cheese thing (I definitely am).

I just make my “usual” quick meat sauce, you can use your own favorite sauce recipe if you like. If that’s not easy enough, you can even cheat and make it with store-bought pasta sauce (I won’t tell).

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skillet lasagna

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 11-inch skillet (6 to 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef* (vegetarian option below)
  • 1/2 pound Italian sweet sausage, casings removed (about 2 or 3 links)
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 4 to 5 no-boil lasagna noodles, uncooked, broken into pieces
  • Ricotta mixture (below)
  • Parsley and/or basil, minced, to sprinkle on top
  • For ricotta mixture
  • 1/2 cup ricotta (whole-milk is best for this)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons parmesan, finely grated

Instructions

  1. Mix ricotta with remaining ingredients for the ricotta mixture, set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the ground beef and sausage together until well-browned, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add onion and continue cooking until softened, about 5 minutes more. If you have formed a crust on the bottom of your pan, deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of water, stock, or wine.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes and red pepper and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and stir again.
  6. Tuck broken noodle pieces into the sauce and drop dollops of ricotta mixture on top. Simmer uncovered about 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over the top of the lasagna and preheat your broiler on high for about 5 minutes.
  8. Carefully place your pan in the under the broiler for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. VERY CAREFULLY remove pan from oven and sprinkle with parsley and/or basil if desired. Allow to cool slightly (about 5 to 10 minutes) before serving.

Notes

* You can use all beef or all sausage if you like, or even leave out the meat and add more veggies (mushrooms or lentils) to make it vegetarian. * Be sure to use an oven-safe skillet when making this and be very careful when moving the hot pan to and from the oven.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/25/skillet-lasagna/

easy skillet lasagna | wee-eats.com

a toast by any other name

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Apparently the next logical obsession, after strawberries, is bruschetta.  Or “crostini” depending on your preference.  It appears, according to Wikipedia, that the difference is that the former is rubbed with garlic, possibly?  So I guess technically these would be crostini?

Whatever, any way you slice it (bread pun!), it’s toasted bread topped with stuff.

Let’s just agree that we can call it any of the above, as a piece of toast by any other name is still equally as delicious.

So far we’ve had toast topped with strawberries and with prosciutto and fig, and now I bring you toast topped with red peppers.

Roasted red peppers.  And feta.

Because they were made for each other.  True story.

But then there was this

pepper jelly

It’s so good I was spreading it on crackers, bread, and would be lying if I said that I didn’t think about trying it with a PB&J…

Hey, I said THINKING.  Don’t judge.  Then I thought about the fig jam and mascarpone… and how well goat cheese and red peppers get along…

And then my brain made me do this…

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A crostini smeared with goat cheese and topped with red pepper jelly.  Simple, sweet, tangy.

If you’re not a fan of tangy goat cheese, red pepper jelly also gets along great with mascarpone or cream cheese… Then again, what doesn’t?

 

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

  • 1 french baguette
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

1.  Slice the baguette on the bias into ¼-inch slices.  Drizzle or brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Toast on both under the broiler until just golden, flip and toast other side.  Once toasted, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2.  Chop red peppers and set aside.  In the jar of a food processor, process the feta, cream cheese, and red pepper flakes until smooth.  Stream in olive oil until the feta reaches desired consistency, it should be light and fluffy, but not runny.  Taste and add salt as needed.

3.  Spread whipped feta on the baguette, top with chopped red peppers, eat.

* Soft goat cheese would also be delicious with the chopped, roasted red peppers as a topping

Pepper Jelly and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

  • 1 french baguette
  • 1 jar red pepper jelly
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, room temperature

1.  Slice the baguette on the bias into ¼-inch slices.  Drizzle or brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Toast on both under the broiler until just golden, flip and toast other side.  Once toasted, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2.  Spread baguette with goat cheese, then top with red pepper jelly.  Eat and enjoy!

* If you don’t like the tang of goat cheese, try cream cheese or mascarpone instead