All posts by Kate D

Spicy Chorizo Spaghetti

Spicy Chorizo Spaghetti

Who doesn’t love spaghetti night and a quick, easy – under 30 minutes – dinner? Spice up your next one with chorizo, fresh tomatoes, and basil.

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 oz. fresh basil
  • 8 oz. grape cherry, or baby Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb. chorizo
  • 8 – 12 oz. spaghetti depending on how much pasta you like
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. While the pasta is boiling, roughly chop the basil, including the stems, keeping leaves and stems separate.
  • In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the chorizo, garlic, and basil stems, breaking the chorizo up, until the meat is cooked through. This will take 5 or 6 minutes.
  • Measure out about 3/4 cup of water from the pasta to be used later, then drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Add the tomato halves to the chorizo mixture and cook until slightly softened – about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the drained spaghetti to the pan and few large splashes of the pasta water to loosen things up. Stir to combine and add additional pasta water if needed.
  • Remove the pan from heat, add in the chopped basil and Parmesan, stirring to combine. Allow to sit until the cheese has melted.

Notes

Serve with buttered, crusty bread and a salad for a complete, easy dinner. Leftovers make for a wonderful lunch.

Grilled Pizza

Grilled Pizza

Just because the temperature is rising doesn’t mean you have to forgo homemade pizza for carryout or delivery – let’s put that grill to work and make some awesome pizzas without heating the house. Have a few friends over, and make a creative (and delicious) night of it – you’ll be amazed at the possibilities you can come up with.

Ingredients

  • Pizza crust dough
  • Pizza sauce
  • Flavored olive oil
  • Fresh greens such as spinach arugula, or spring mix
  • Veggies such asparagus mushrooms,squash, or tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Precooked meats such as proscuitto pepperoni, bacon, sausage, ground beef, or chicken – anything you want!
  • Semolina flour or corn meal
  • AP flour
  • Grated or shredded cheese such as Parmesan Reggiano or melting Italian cheese – for something different give the Italian seasoned Gouda from Frisian Farms a try!
  • Suggested special equipment:
  • Pizza stone
  • Pizza peel

Instructions

  • Place pizza stone on the grill (gas or charcoal) and allow to preheat to the hottest setting possible, for at least 30 minutes, keeping the lid closed. Preheating the stone gives the crust that nice crunch on the outside, just like from your favorite pizzeria.
  • On a lightly flour dusted surface, roll out pizza crust for a thin crust pizza – I typically get 3 crusts about 12″ in diameter from one prepared pizza crust.
  • Sprinkle a pizza peel or large, unrimmed sheet pan with semolina flour or corn meal. Give it a little shake to make sure the crust can slide. If it doesn’t, gently lift it up and add more semolina or corn meal to the problem areas. This guarantees your crust will slide off the transport device and onto the pizza stone.
  • Thinly spread the crust with pizza sauce, olive oil, or your other favorite sauce. Top with your favorite toppings (pictured is one vegetarian pie with olive oil, shaved asparagus, oyster mushrooms, and grated Reggiano cheese; and a meat pie with prosciutto, tomato sauce, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella, then topped with handfuls of arugula after cooking). When grilling pizza, less is more on the toppings – if you overload the toppings, the bottom will burn before the toppings cook.
  • Transfer your pizza, to the pizza stone, close the lid, and allow to cook until the dough is cooked through and the cheese is melted – with a 600 degree grill, this typically takes about 6 or 7 minutes. Check on the pizza at about the 5 minute mark.
  • Remove from the grill, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, and enjoy!

Notes

Once you start grilling pizza at home, your possibilities of flavor options are virtually endless – the sky is the limit, so let your imagination run wild. You can even make dessert pizzas, breakfast pizzas, BBQ pizza is a great way to use up leftover pulled pork or chicken – nearly anything.

Antipasto Burgers

Antipasto Burgers

Sometimes you really just want a basic burger, other times you want to kick burger night into overdrive. This is one of those nights.

Ingredients

Burgers:

  • Ground beef
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Garlic powder
  • Cheese
  • Burger buns
  • 2 slices Genoa salami per burger
  • Roasted red pepper
  • Salad greens
  • Queen size green olives 1 or 2 per burger

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix aioli ingredients and set aside.
  • On a preheated grill, grill burgers to desired doneness.
  • When burgers are cooked, add cheese to each and allow to just begin to melt. Remove from heat.
  • Spread aioli on top half of bun, place 2 slices of Genoa on the bottom bun, top it’s roasted red pepper, burger, and salad greens. Top with top half of bun, and garnish with skewered olives.

Notes

A crisp salad with your favorite Italian dressing is a wonderful accompaniment to these burgers.

Chicken Milanese Salad

Chicken Milanese Salad

This is one of those quick and easy dinners that everyone loves to have on hand for a busy day, or anytime you want something on the lighter side, but still quite satisfying. With spring picking up pace, and summer activities right around the corner, why not treat yourself to an easy, but still relatively healthy dinner or lunch?

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken or capon breasts
  • 2 TB Ghee
  • 2 TB Olive Oil Pickle Creek Herbs Basil & Roma tomatoes infused or Oregano & Garlic add a little something extra
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Salad greens such as arugula spinach, or leaf lettuce mix
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Whisk the eggs and milk together in a flat, shallow bowl. Place the flour in a second shallow bowl, and the bread crumbs in a third.
  • Slice each poultry breast in half horizontally. If necessary, pound to between 1/4″ and 1/2″ thick. Season each piece with salt & pepper.
  • Dredge each breast first in the four, coating each side. Next, dip it in the egg mixture, then dredge it with bread crumbs. Each piece should be relatively heavy on the breading.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 TB of ghee & 1 TB of olive oil over medium-low heat. When the pan is hot enough to sizzle when you drop a sprinkle of flour in the oil, fry the first two pieces of meat until golden brown – about 3 minutes per side. Add the remaining ghee & olive oil and repeat with the remaining meat.
  • Divide the salad greens between plates. Top with the fried chicken breast. Squeeze lemon juice over each plate, and top with shaved cheese.

Quick Marinated Steak

Quick Marinated Steak

This is one of those back-pocket recipes that you pull out when you want something great, without a lot of dishes or fanfare – it’s a good, standby recipe for busy weeknights, Saturday afternoons, or really anytime you want an easy meal that tastes great. You can turn this into an entree with a side vegetables, or over pasta or salad greens; it’s also just as easily turned into sliced steak sandwiches – your possibilities are virtually endless!

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 lbs of steak such as skirt flank, NY strip, or top sirloin
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger or 1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Combine olive oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, black pepper, and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl.
  • Place steak in a ziplock bag, pour the marinade over it. Massage the marinade into the steak for about 5 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, or a grill to medium-high. Remove the steak from the marinade and sear for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until desired doneness.
  • Remove from heat and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. If using a larger cut to divide, slice across the grain to serve.

Notes

Pictured is a skirt steak served the with sides of vegetables for dinner one night, and a couple of days later I used the leftovers over salad greens for an entree salad.

Spinach & Bacon Dinner Salad

Spinach & Bacon Dinner Salad

This dinner salad is perfect for a night when you want something a bit lighter, are pressed for time or simply want to enjoy the simple beauty of local ingredients from our producers.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bacon cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 1/2 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TB honey
  • 1 tsp honey mustard or 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of your favorite spice blend – I highly recommend the Penzey’s Mural of Flavor or BRAISED Chaga-Thyme Superfood Seasoning
  • About 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 5 oz. sliced mushrooms – button baby bella, shiitake, or a blend
  • 2 hard or soft boiled eggs peeled and halved
  • Shaved Parmesan-Reggiano optional

Instructions

  • In a medium-size nonstick skillet, fry the bacon pieces until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, pepper, and spice blend. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Add the spinach and sliced mushrooms; gently toss to coat.
  • Divide the salad between two bowls, sprinkle in the bacon, and garnish with the eggs and Parmesan, if using.

Notes

Serve salads warm.

Thai Lettuce Cups with Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

Thai Lettuce Cups with Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

Winter is finally leaving! The transition from winter to spring always makes me happy, however this year, it’s making me downright ecstatic since it seemed as if it would never stop snowing or get warm. Join me in welcoming spring with these colorful, delicious, and easy to put together Thai Lettuce Cups. Pair these with pre-made dumplings for a complete dinner that’s on the table and ready to enjoy in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of butterhead lettuce
  • 1 1/2 TB canola oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 TB finely chopped or minced ginger
  • 2 small or 1 large clove of garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground beef ground capon, plain ground pork, or finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 TB soy sauce or tamari if gluten-free
  • 1 TB fish sauce or umami paste optional – if not using, add an additional 1/2 TB of soy sauce
  • 2 TB dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 1/2 TB fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 scallion white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TB chopped fresh mint
  • 2 TB chopped cashews

Optional for serving:

  • Sriracha
  • Matchstick cut carrots
  • Lime wedges
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Dumplings

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, cook 1 minute longer.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and add the ground meat or chopped mushrooms. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, breaking apart the meat as it cooks. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce (or umami paste), brown sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking until meat is cooked through, or an additional 4 minutes if using mushrooms.
  • Off the heat, stir in the scallion, cilantro, mint, and nuts. Spoon into lettuce cups and serve with garnishes and dumplings for an easy weeknight, or any night dinner or lunch.

Notes

Leftover filling can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to 3 months. Simply gently reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.

Old Fashioned Sorghum Caramels

Old Fashioned Sorghum Caramels

Preparation Time 15 min. Cook Time 25 min (or longer depending on your pot & the weather) Cooling: 3+ hours

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces 14 tablespoons unsalted WW Homestead butter (if you use a different butter, stick with something with a high butterfat & lower water content than commercial butter
  • 8 ounces 1 cup plus 2½ tablespoons, packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup Maasdam Mills sorghum syrup
  • 10 ounces 1¼ cups Hansen Dairy heavy cream
  • Special equipment: candy thermometer & heavy bottom pot preferably enamel on cast iron

Instructions

  • Line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper. Make sure the paper sticks out all around the edges. (This will help you lift the caramels out later.)
  • In a 5-quart heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  • Add the brown sugar, sorghum, and cream and stir together.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil cooking over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  • Continue stirring scraping the sides with a silicone spatula to prevent crystals forming on the sides of the pot. Do not rush.
  • Cook until the mixture reaches 248 degrees (hard ball stage). Cooking further could make the candy too hard.
  • Pour the caramel into the prepared pan, and allow to cool in an undisturbed area for about 3 hours.
  • Once set and cooled to room temperature, lift the caramels out of the pan by lifting up the parchment paper edges.
  • Flip the caramels over on to a clean cutting surface & peel off the parchment paper.
  • Use a buttered knife to cut into bite size pieces & either wrap in parchment paper or dip in melted chocolate then place in mini cupcake liners for packaging.

Notes

These should keep for several weeks in the refrigerator & months in the freezer.

3 Easy Take-Out Fake-Outs for Beef Stir-Fry, Chicken Fried Rice and Chicken Quesadillas

3 Easy Take-Out Fake-Outs for Beef Stir-Fry, Chicken Fried Rice and Chicken Quesadillas

Life gets, well, busy. It seems as if we’re often running from one thing to another – work, errands, events – and it takes a toll, usually on the amount of time we have left to cook. Hey, I get it, and so do all the drive-thru places, take-out restaurants, and meal kit delivery services. Sometimes we want something quick and easy. Well, here are 2 super easy meals and one snack (who am I kidding, I totally eat quesadillas for dinner on a regular basis) that you can have on the table in about the time it takes to get take-out and drive home. How? By cooking a chicken ahead of time (I frequently have cooked chicken in the fridge for quick dishes) and using some pre-made items from our wonderful producer, Des Fresh! Now who wants beef stir-fry with veggies, chicken fried rice, and chicken quesadillas? Yeah, me too! NOTE: for vegetarian dishes, you can absolutely substitute sliced mushrooms or tofu in place of the meat.

Ingredients

For the beef stir-fry:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs flat steak think flank, skirt, or iron
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy or tamari sauce note: tamari is gluten-free
  • 3 TB sherry
  • 2 TB light brown sugar
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • 1 TB minced fresh ginger
  • 3 – 4 cups chopped vegetables snow peas, carrots, celery, broccoli, mushrooms, onions – whatever you have on hand and like
  • 3 TB cooking oil
  • Precooked dumplings and fried rice use half for this and the other half for fried rice – yay, two meals! from Des Fresh

For the chicken fried rice:

  • 1/2 container of vegetable fried rice from Des Fresh
  • 1 cup of precooked chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 3 – 4 TB soy or tamari sauce

For the chicken quesadillas:

  • 3 TB cooking oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion – red or yellow
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 – 6 minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce use more or less dending on your spice preference
  • 4 ripe tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 3 scallions thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 TB honey
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken shredded or diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 6 or 7 8″ flour tortillas
  • 4 cups 2 8 oz. blocks shredded cheddar and/or jack cheese
  • sour cream & salsa for serving

Instructions

For the beef stir-fry:

  • In a medium bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Set aside half of the liquid, add the sliced beef to the bowl and toss to coat well.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables in batches – heavier, courser vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and celery should be added first, followed by mushrooms – broccoli and snow peas should be added last to prevent overcooking. Stir the vegetables frequently and cook until tender-crisp. Remove to a clean plate or bowl.
  • Allow the pan to get hot again, then add the beef in small batches, being careful to leave most of the marinade in the bowl. Allow the meat to cook for a minute or two before stirring. Turn or stir, to cook both sides – about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes total time. Remove to a separate bowl and repeat with remaing beef.
  • When the last batch of beef has been added to the skillet, return the cooked beef to the pan, followed by the vegetables. Pour the reserved marinade over everything and allow to cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds.
  • Serve immediately with fried rice and dumplings for a complete Asian-style dinner.

For the chicken fried rice:

  • In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray or misted with oil, scramble the egg over medium-low heat & then remove to small dish to be used later.
  • To the same skillet, add the precooked fried rice, chicken, and 2 TB soy sauce. Gently warm the rice, stirring frequently and adding additional soy sauce if needed. Once the rice and chicken are completely warmed, about 10 minutes, gently stir in the scrambled egg.
  • Serve with dumplings for a complete Chinese take-out style dinner.

For the chicken quesadillas:

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chipotles, adobo, and tomatoes. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated and the mixture has thickened – about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the honey, chicken, scallions (if using), salt, and cilantro. Keep warm while you prep to tortillas.
  • Heat a second skillet or griddle over medium heat, spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Lay a tortilla in the pan, and heat until hot to the touch, but not crisp. Flip the tortilla over, then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Once the cheese is mostly melted, spoon the chicken mixture on half of the tortilla and fold over. Continue cooking until the tortilla is crisp, and then flip over to crisp the other side. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 2 or 3 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Notes

Serve with sour cream and salsa

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage – ah, the quintessential Saint Patrick’s day fare! With this easy recipe, there’s no need to shy away from making this staple at home. The brine does all the heavy lifting, and since it can cure in as little as 2 days (though 4 is much better) it doesn’t require too much advanced planning. So pull up a stool, breakout the shamrock’s and enjoy this dish at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 flat cut beef brisket 2 – 5 lbs
  • 3/4 cup table kosher, or pickling salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pink curing salt #1
  • 6 peeled garlic cloves divided
  • 6 bay leaves divided
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 2 TB peppercorns divided
  • 1 TB coriander seeds
  • 1 12 oz bottle of stout beer
  • 6 carrots peeled, halved crosswise, thick ends halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes unpeeled
  • 1 head green cabbage uncored, cut into 8 wedges

Instructions

  • To cure the beef: Trim all but 1/8″ of fat from the outside of the brisket. Add 4 quarts of water to a large container (should be large enough to completely immerse the brisket). Add the curing salt, salt, and brown sugar – stir until everything is dissolved. Add 3 garlic cloves, 4 bay leaves, allspice berries, 1 TB of peppercorns, and coriander seeds to brine. Add the brisket and weigh it down with a heavy plate. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 6 days. The meat will turn gray on the outside, but will change to pink when it’s cooked.
  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Remove beef from the brine and rinse. Make a spice bundle by stacking 3 8″ squares of cheesecloth and placing 3 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, and 1 TB of peppercorns in the center. Tie the bundle securely with kitchen twine. Place the brisket, spice bundle, beer, and 1 1/2 cups of water in a heavy dutch oven. Over high heat, bring everything to a simmer; cover and transfer to the oven. Bake until a fork easily slides into the meat – about 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours.
  • Remove the brisket to heat safe, covered, baking dish, and add 1 cup of cooking liquid. Transfer to the oven to keep warm.
  • Add a steamer basket to the Dutch oven and place over high heat. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and add potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, covered. Add the carrots and cook, covered for another 5 minutes. Add the cabbage wedges and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until the cabbage is cooked through.
  • While the cabbage is cooking, slice the beef, across the grain in 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces. Transfer to a serving platter and slightly moisten with cooking liquid. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the platter; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Serve with mustard or Irish soda bread for an authentic Saint Patrick’s Day meal.