Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

This recipe came from www.marthastewart.com

5 pounds fresh spinach, stems removed
1 cup unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 pound ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons course salt (we used half the salt and it still was too much, go light on it)
1 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds wild mushrooms (chanterelles, oyster and shiitake), trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup Madeira wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
1 one-pound package fresh spinach lasagna sheets

1. Wash spinach leaves well in three changes of cold water; shake dry. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large pan over medium heat. Add half the garlic; saute until light golden, about 2 minutes. Add half the spinach leaves, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. drain spinach in a colander. Repeat with another tablespoon butter and remaining garlic and spinach. When spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze to rid it of liquid. Roughly chop spinach; place in medium bowl. Add ricotta, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a third of the mushrooms; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute until mushrooms are softened and browned, about 10 minutes. De-glaze skillet by pouring 1/4 cup Madeira into hot skillet with mushrooms and using a wooden spoon to loosen bits cooked onto skillet. cook mushrooms until liquid has almost evaporated. Transfer cooked mushrooms to medium bowl. Repeat with another 2 tablespoons of butter, another third of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup Madeira. (Reserve the final third of mushrooms and Madeira for topping.) Add two-thirds of the chopped parsley to bowl with cooked mushrooms; stir.

3. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat 4 cups milk. Melt 8 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Slowly add warmed milk; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove pan from heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the nutmeg, and 1/2 cup grated cheese.

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside 1/2 cup sauce. Assemble lasagna: Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of 9x13" baking pan. Place layer of lasagna sheets in pan, trimming to fit; spread 1 cup spinach mixture, 1 cup mushroom mixture, and 1/2 cup sauce on top of lasagna sheets. Repeat layers several times. For last layer, place a layer of lasagna sheets on top; spread 1/2 cup sauce over lasagna sheets. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated cheese. Bake lasagna until top is golden brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

5. Just before serving, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add remaining third of the uncooked mushrooms; season with the remaining teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. De-glaze skillet, with mushrooms in it, with he remaining 1/4 cup Madeira. Stir in the remaining third of fresh parsley.

6. In a small saucepan, combine reserved 1/2 cup sauce with remaining 1/2 cup milk. over medium heat, which until warm and smooth. Spoon cooked mushrooms over each serving, or serve on the side. Serve lasagna with warmed sauce.

Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing

This recipe was found at www.foodnetwork.com
Recipe courtesy of EatingWell.com

2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 10 ounce package fresh spinach, torn, or 12 cups baby spinach
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch slices (we substituted with pear)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded smoked cheese, such as Gouda or Cheddar (we used Gouda)

Toast pecans in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

Toss spinach and cucumber (or pear) in a salad bowl.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add vinegar and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Immediately pour the dressing over the spinach and cucumber. Toss well and sprinkle with cheese and toasted pecans.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Warm Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Sauce

If you are spending Valentines Day alone like I did, there is no reason you can't eat cake!

This is one of my favorite cakes that I found in the Pillsbury Fast and Healthy Magazine back in 1997.

Not only is it low fat and delicious, but also super easy and quick to make.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla (I also add 1 teaspoon of almond flavoring)
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup skim milk

1 (10oz) pkg. frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed. (I use fresh to avoid the syrup)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350. Spray 8" round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In medium bowl, beat sugar and butter with electric mixer until well blended. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and egg; beat well.

3. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add flour and baking powder to butter mixture; mix at low speed until ingredients are combined. Blend in milk. Pour batter evenly into sprayed pan.

4. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

5. Meanwhile, place all sauce ingredients in blender container or food processor bowl with metal blade; blend until smooth. Strain to remove seeds.

6. So serve, cut warm cake into wedges; place on dessert plates and top each with sauce.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Split Pea Soup - Crock Pot Style

After weeks of endless travel and eating out at bad and good restaurants I craved, yearned and desperately needed a night at home with a good hearty meal that was easy to prepare.

Split Pea Soup

1 container of low sodium chicken broth
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 package of pre-cooked sausage, chopped
Fresh Thyme, remove from stalk
Fresh Rosemary, remove from stalk
Fresh ground sea salt, sprinkled
Cumin, sprinkled
1 package of split green peas, rinsed

Put all the above in a medium size crock pot on high for 3 hours, stir. Turn to low and cook an additional 3 hours, stir and let sit in the crock pot off for about 30 minutes. The consistency should be thick and should smell amazing.

Serve with red wine and a really hearty fresh 7 grain loaf of bread from a local bakery. Delicious and exactly what I needed on a cold wintry night.

My total meal was less than $20.00 including the wine. I love being home!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mushroom Risotto

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter
1 tbsp chopped onion
3/4 cup mix of sliced mushrooms (shitake, cremini, button, etc)
1/3 cup arborio rice
2 tbsp dry vermouth
1-2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

bring broth to boil in saucepan.
heat olive oil and 1 tsp of butter in sauce pan. saute onion until tender. add mushrooms and cook until softened.
add the remaining butter and stir in the rice. cook and stir for a minute or two. add the vermouth and when most of the liquid has evaporated, ladle in enough warm broth to barely cover the rice. adjust heat so that it simmers briskly. once that is absorbed, replenish with the same amount of broth. continue to stir often, adding broth as needed, until rice is cooked.
remove pan from heat and let rest for five minutes. sprinkle with cheese.
serves 2.

Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil
3 lbs chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp basil
1/2 sun dried tomatoes, cut into slivers

heat oil in skillet. brown chicken.
transfer to crock pot.
add garlic, wine, broth, and basil to skillet. bring to a boil. scrape up bits from bottom of pan.
pour over chicken. scatter tomatoes on top.
cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. serves 8.