Swiss Chard and Onion Tart

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This delicious and filling tart is inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s French Onion Tart. I’ve made her French Onion Tart plenty of times and always enjoy it. This week, I had a bunch of chard I needed to use up and and thought covering it with dough, cheese and onions sounded about perfect!

Unfortunately this isn’t the most photogenic of dishes, but believe me, it still tastes great! I’ll be bringing this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday party today and boy am I ready for the Fiesta this week!

Onion and Swiss Chard Tart Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s French Onion Tart

Dough:
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 stick cold butter, cubed
3 tablespoons water

Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 bunches swiss chard, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white wine (optional)
1 cup chicken stock (any kind of stock will work)
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and begin making your dough. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and thyme. Work the cubed butter into the mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter. Slowly add the water until you have a solid ball of dough.

2. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness and place it over a baking dish.

3. To make the filling and the olive oil and butter to a pan on medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and the swiss chard and continue cooking until the chard has wilted and the onions are translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and add the wine, if using.  Lower the heat and return the pan and add the stock.

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4. Allow the mixture to simmer until the stock as dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool a bit.

5. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the cheese, the egg and the heavy cream. When the onion and chard mixture has cooled add them on top of the dough and add the egg mixture on top. Fold over any dough that’s off the pan to cover the topping. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes until the dough begins to brown and the cheese is brown and bubbly! Enjoy!

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Butternut Squash, Kale and Apricot Salad

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It’s official, we’ve entered squash season! All kinds of squash are popping up in the grocery stores and my blog feed and Pinterest seems to be overflowing with squash recipes.

Personally, butternut is my favorite of the Fall squashes. I recently heard that it was given it’s name because of it’s buttery softness and taste, I’m not sure if this is true, but it certainly is fitting.

A simple vinaigrette is all this salad needs to top it. I made a quick mixture of olive oil, chili herb vinegar, honey and a tiny bit of chili powder to add just the tiniest kick to offset the sweetness of the squash and the apricots.

Butternut Squash, Kale and Apricot Salad
2 cups roasted butternut squash cubes (see below)
1 bunch baby kale
1 cup dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces goat cheese

To make the roasted butternut squash cubes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the squash, cut it in half lengthwise and chop into 1 inch cubes. Toss the cubes in a bowl with olive oil and whatever spices you prefer. I like to add salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon to mine but use whatever flavors you like best. Place the cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes until they’ve softened.

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To prepare the salad just wash and dry the kale, top it with the roasted squash, the apricots, red onion slices and crumble the goat cheese on top. Enjoy!

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Ricotta Gnocchi

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I’ve made my love of pasta, especially gnocchi, no secret to all of you.  I often crave the smooth pillowy heavenly bits, but the thought of peeling and boiling potatoes and making a dough just doesn’t seem appealing some days.

I had heard of using ricotta cheese to make gnocchi before, but for some reason I hadn’t given this option a try yet. Every time I heard someone mention making gnocchi with ricotta instead of potatoes they’d say “once you try them this way you’ll never go back” and I have to admit I think they may be right. First of all, it’s so much simpler, less time consuming and they’re super light and soft. I see many more gnocchi in my future now that I’ve discovered these.

I’ve taken such a break from blogging that I’m not even sure if Fiesta Fridays are still happening! I sure hope so because I’ll bring a big batch of these!  Whew, looks like the party is on today!

Ricotta Gnocchi
16 ounces of whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
1 large egg
pinch of salt
3/4 to 1 cup flour

1. Carefully drain any excess liquid from the ricotta. Add the ricotta, pecorino romano, egg and salt to a bowl and combine. Add 3/4 cup of flour and combine. The mix should have some form to it but still be sticky. If it is too sticky continue adding flour a little at a time until you can roll it into a sticky ball.

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2. On a lightly floured surface take a small amount of the mixture and roll it into a log about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the logs into about 1/2 inch long gnocchi.

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3. Add the gnocchi to a large bowl of boiling salted water. Allow them to cook about 3 minutes then carefully scoop them out. I find it’s best to cook them in 2-3 batches in order to get them all out in time without overcooking.

4. Add your gnocchi to your sauce, I had made a quick tomato cream sauce (recipe to come) but they go great with just about anything. Enjoy!

Pasta Puttanesca

photo(4)Here you go, another pasta recipe! I hope you’re not getting sick of these yet. Leave it to me to make be making all these pastas in the summer while everyone else is gearing up for warm weather and swim suit season. Oh well, that’s who I am.

This week I bring you pasta puttanesca, politely translated to the “working girl’s pasta.” Traditional puttanesca has capers and anchovies, but per usual I didn’t have all the right ingredients in my kitchen so I doubled up on the olives to make up for it. Since the olives are pretty salty I don’t add much salt to the sauce, but feel free to adjust that to your tastes.

Pasta Puttanesca

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, cut into thin slices
14 oz crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups pitted kalamata olives
3 cloves garlic
1 lb spaghetti or bucatini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 fresh basil leaves
grated cheese for topping

1. Place the olive oil and onions in a pan on low heat. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 7-8 minutes.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt to the pan with the onions and stir to combine. Continue cooking on low heat, stirring often until the sauce starts to bubble.

3. Combine the olives and garlic in a food processor and pulse for just a few seconds until they’re chopped but not too small. Add the olives and garlic to the sauce and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often.

4. While the sauce is cooking, cook and drain your pasta in a bowl of salted water.

5. Once the sauce is done, turn off the heat and add the cherry tomatoes. Then add the pasta and toss. Finish with chopped basil and cheese and enjoy!

 

Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese

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I know it’s not quite the season yet but I couldn’t pass up the zucchini and corn in the grocery store this week. Zucchini is probably my all time favorite vegetable, actually they might tie with tomatoes I’m not sure I can pick one over the other. Anyway, I had this idea of roasting all these vegetables together and adding them to a mac and cheese. You know me, I love a good mac and cheese so why not add some vegetables to it??

After roasting the vegetables they looked and smelled so good I was tempted to skip the rest and just eat them right out of the dish. I continued with the plan though and I’m glad I did. I debated over which cheese to use and ended up deciding on a cheddar and gruyere mix. The sweetness of the corn really makes this dish.  Now I have a feeling I’ll be making similar mac and cheese dishes for every season.

And of course I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday! I had a great time co-hosting last week’s Fiesta Friday with Angie, Jhuls and Selma. I can’t wait to see what everyone else brings today!

Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese
2 ears of corn
2 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 box medium shells pasta
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups of milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully cut the sides of the corn to remove the kernels and place them in a bowl. Cut the zucchini, pepper and onion into bite sized pieces and add them to the bowl with the corn. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, paprika and pepper. Pour the vegetable mixture into a large baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes until the vegetables have softened.

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2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta into a strainer.

3. Add the butter to the pot on low heat. Once the butter has melted add the flour and whisk until combined. Next add the milk. When the milk begins to warm up, turn up the heat slightly, to about medium. Then add the cheeses and stir constantly until the cheese melts and you have a thick sauce.

4. When the vegetables are done take them out and add the cooked pasta to baking dish. Then add the cheese sauce on top. Combine the sauce with the pasta and vegetables until everything is combined. Add the breadcrumbs on top.

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5. Turn the oven down to 350 and bake the mac n cheese for about 25 minutes, until the top has browned. Enjoy!

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Fiesta Friday #17 and Quinoa Burgers

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Happy Friday everyone! I’m super excited to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday today along with Selma and Jhuls and of course the lovely Angie! I hope many of you have a long weekend coming up and can kick it off with today’s Fiesta! For anyone who doesn’t know or who hasn’t joined yet Fiesta Friday is a weekly blog party. Please join us, it’s tons of fun to see what everyone is making and bringing to the party! You can check out all the details here. I hope you join us!

Today I’m bringing quinoa burgers to the party. Yes, I’ll be that person that’s bringing the healthy dish, but I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it! I really like these burgers because you can change them up however you like. Add different vegetables or spices to either use up what you have in the fridge or put your own spin on them!

You can of course eat these with a bun like a regular burger, but I prefer them with just lettuce, tomato and a little chipotle ketchup. Add a side of sweet potato fries and you’ll feel like you’re eating at your favorite burger joint!

Quinoa Burgers
Yield: 10 Burgers
3 cups water
1 1/2 quinoa
3 carrots
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350. Add the water and the quinoa to a pot and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil lower to a simmer and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the cooked quinoa to a bowl and let it cool off a bit.

2. Chop the carrots and parsley in a food process, or by hand if you don’t have one. Add the carrots, parsley and chopped green onions to the bowl with the quinoa.

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3. Add the eggs and spices to the bowl with the quinoa and combine them all together.

4. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the mixture into 10 good sized burgers and place them on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Enjoy!

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Kale and Pepper Quesadilla

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This quesadilla was the result of needing to use up everything in our fridge before heading out of town for a few days. I was rummaging through the fridge to determine what had to be eaten before we left. The discoveries were a half a block of cheese, half a bag of small sweet peppers, one bunch of kale and a few green onions. Once I realized there were a few whole wheat tortillas hidden in the back of the fridge, the idea came to life. I think quesadillas get a bad rap for being unhealthy food, but depending on the tortilla you use and what you put in them they don’t have to be so bad.

I’m bringing these quesadillas to Angie’s Fiesta Friday party today.  If you haven’t joined the party yet you totally should it’s a ton of fun and the other bloggers are so inspiring! 

Kale and Pepper Quesadillas

Serves 2
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 mini sweet peppers
1 bunch kale
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded or cubed
2 whole wheat tortillas
Salt
Pepper

1. Remove the tops and seeds of the peppers and cut them into thin strips. Add the pepper strips and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Sauté until the peppers soften, about 6-8 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the peppers to a bowl.

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2. Remove the kale leaves from the stems and chop into small pieces. Add the remaining olive oil and kale to the pan on low heat and sauté for about 4 minutes until the kale wilts. Add the kale to the bowl with the peppers.

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3. Add the green onions to the bowl with the other vegetables and stir to combine.

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4. Place a tortilla in the pan and return to low heat. Place 1/4 of the cheese on half of the tortilla, then half of the vegetable mixture then another 1/4 of the cheese. Fold the other half of the tortilla on top and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the tortilla and cook for another 2 minutes then remove it from the pan. Enjoy!
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Fettuccine Alfredo

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Alfredo is such a heart warming dish. It’s so simple to make, yet a bowl of cheesy warm alfredo seems so special. I remember my brother and I would always get really excited when my mom would announce we were having fettuccine alfredo for dinner.

I like to keep my family’s tradition of pasta on Sundays alive, but lately I’ve been running out of ideas and was tired of the typical tomato sauce. My mom suggested alfredo, and I thought it was a great idea. I unintentionally “lightened” this dish a bit by using 2% milk instead of whole milk since that’s all we had. I also added the last bit of a bottle of white wine we had in the fridge, but you can definitely leave that out or replace the wine with milk if you prefer.

Fettuccine Alfredo
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
salt
pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 pound dried fettuccine

1. Add the butter and garlic to saucepan on low heat. When the butter has melted add the milk and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the wine if you’re using it. Next add the cheese and continue to stir until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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2. Cook the fettuccine in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the pasta and then add it to the pan with the sauce.

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3. Mix the pasta with the sauce and top with parsley, basil and extra cheese. Enjoy!

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A blogoversary, pasta e fagioli and big thanks!

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I first started this blog. When I first started, I was fairly certain no one except my mom would actually read it. I was really shy to share it at first (and was mortified when some of my co-workers discovered it). I’m humbled and thrilled to see all of you reading, commenting and sharing! I want to send a HUGE thanks to all of you. It’s been such a pleasure learning new recipes and techniques and generally just having so many people to discuss food with!

I figured for my blogoversary (not sure if that’s a real word but I’m going with it) post I would re-do my very first post. I wanted to update it a little and add some better photos. I’m not sure if it’s just my lack of photography skills or if this is just generally not a photogenic dish, but unfortunately these pictures aren’t a whole lot better!

I also want to express my thanks to those of you who nominated me for blogger awards! I was shocked and thrilled with each one. I had every intention of completing the required steps to receive them and pass them along, but I always got stuck trying to come up with all the unique facts about myself for each one! So I want to thank all of you here for your acknowledgement! Thank you to Lori and Ngan for nominating me for the Liebster Award, Jillian for nominating me for the Sunshine Award and Nancyfor the Dragon Loyalty Award! If I missed anyone, please let me know!

And now on to the food!  I chose Pasta e Fagioli for my first post because it was the first dish I really learned to cook myself and it got me interested in learning more about cooking.  I’ve made some small changes since the first time I posted it and I think it’s just a little bit better now!

Pasta e Fagioli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashedphoto(88)
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
16oz crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
30oz (2 cans) cannellini beans, drained
32 oz chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 box ditalini pasta
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese for topping

1. Heat the olive in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the carrots. Let the carrots cook for about 5 minutes than add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the carrots soften and the onions are translucent.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan. Stir in the reaming spices. Let the sauce cook at a simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 30 minutes, add the beans.

3. Add the broth, turn the heat up and bring the liquid to a boil. When it’s boiling, add the pasta and cook to al dente, about ten minutes.

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Top with cheese (I like lots of cheese) and enjoy!

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Chicken Kabobs

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Can you believe it’s Friday already? I seriously can’t, this week flew by. I’m happy I’m now caught up and I didn’t miss Fiesta Friday ! I’m glad to see that many of my fellow bloggers have embraced the change in seasons and are already taking to their grills. Given that I live in a small apartment in the DC suburbs, I’m not allowed to have a “real” grill, but I’ve found my cast iron grill pan works almost just as well. You don’t get the exact same flavor, but definitely some great grill marks.

I’ve also noticed many people making kabobs which bring back memories of my visit to Turkey almost a year ago. While I’m sure nothing I’m grilling at home is going to taste as great as what I ate in Istanbul, I’m certainly willing to give it a try!

Chicken Kabobs
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove chopped garlic
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 red bell peppers
1 onion

1. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mint, oregano and garlic in a bowl. Add the chicken and let marinate for two hours.

2. Chop the peppers and onion into inch long pieces and add to the marinating chicken.

 

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3. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes.

4. Place the peppers, onions and chicken cubes on a skewer in alternating order. Place on a hot grill pan and cook for about 15-25 minutes (for some reason mine took a long time to cook), until the chicken is cooked through, enjoy!

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