Pappardelle with Baby Spinach, Herbs, and Ricotta


This sounds like the perfect Meatless Monday Dinner. I am serving this with some salad greens tossed with my canned beets, walnuts, fresh herbs and a light balsamic dressing and some thick Italian bread!

Hope you enjoy and Happy cooking,                                                                                                    

 Ingredients

8  ounces  uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta)

1  tablespoon salt

1/3  cup  whole-milk ricotta cheese

3  cups  baby spinach leaves 

1/4  cup  chopped fresh chives

1/4  cup  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4  cup  chopped fresh dill

3  tablespoons  grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese

2  tablespoons  olive oil

1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

1/4  teaspoon salt

Preparation

 Cook pasta with 1 tablespoon salt according to package directions, omitting additional fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.

 Combine 1/2 cup reserved hot cooking liquid and ricotta cheese in a food processor or blender, and process until well blended.

 Combine hot pasta, cheese mixture, spinach, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Add additional cooking liquid to moisten, if needed.

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Baked Eggplant


Baked Eggplant was one of my favorite dishes my Grandma Taylor used to make. Her recipe was Norma Antenuccis, a Warren, Ohio celebrity. In the 1950’s, she had a segment on the local tv station and then went on to publish a cookbook. My grandma and Mrs. Antenucci were friends. I love the old time cookbooks that share their family stories and great recipes and this is one of the best. This recipe is my childhood. It’s one of the things I think of when I remember my Grandma Taylor cooking in her kitchen.
Today I dedicate this Meatless Monday to my Grandma Taylor and my dear friend Josette Busuttil who asked for the recipe and is always supporting Challengeu2cook.
I hope you enjoy and Happy cooking.                                                 
 
 

Baked Eggplant
This is from page 49 of Norma presents….a Collection of her favorite recipes.

“Another one of my mother’s specialties. You just haven’t tasted anything until you’ve tried this”.

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant or 2 small ones
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
water
1 can tomato paste plus 2 cans water
1 tsp. basil leaves
Shredded mozzarella,  or a combination of mozzarella and  parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Peel eggplant and slice in 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle with salt.
2. Beat eggs, add salt and flour. This makes a thick batter. Thin down with about 1/3 cup of water to the consistency of pancake batter.
3. Dip slices of eggplant in batter and fry until brown on both sides. in hot shortening.
4. Heat tomato paste that has been diluted with water in a sauce pan. Add salt and pepper and 1 tsp. basil leaves. Heat ti boiling.
5. Place slices of fried eggplant in a casserole dish, pour some of the tomato sauce over them, sprinkle with cheese. Repeat layers until all eggplant is used. Be sure to end up with sauce and cheese on top.
6. Bake uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

You may find it necessary to make more batter for the eggplant. This varies depending upon the size of the eggplant and amount that is absorbed by slices.

Leftover spaghetti sauce can be substituted for the tomato paste. This naturally imparts a great deal of flavor to the dish. You can also substitute whole tomatoes for the paste.

To complete this meal, you can serve with a side of spaghetti and some grilled Italian sausage and a simple salad.

*For a variation, add thin slices of fresh Mozzarella cheese between layers.

*For another variation place cooked broccoli between layers.

Classic Swiss Fondue


This is a great Meatless Monday meal that will leave you satisfied. Don’t limit yourself to the listed dippers. Be adventuresome!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                                                                                                                                             

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 1/4 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

8 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)

8 ounces Swiss Cheese shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup Kirsch (cherry brandy)

A few gratings of fresh nutmeg

Black  ground pepper, to taste

Directions

What to dip: crusty mixed grain bread, French, Italian or Rye bread, cut into bite-sized cubes, new potatoes, boiled, asparagus spears, broccoli florets or cauliflower florets, blanched and prepared for dipping. Mushrooms, fresh or sautéed. Whole radishes, trimmed. Small dill pickles.

Rub the inside of a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan with the garlic; discard the garlic. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a bare simmer over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, toss the Gruyère and Swiss cheeses with the cornstarch. A handful at a time, stir the cheese mixture into the wine, stirring the first batch until it is almost completely melted before adding another. The fondue can bubble gently, but do not boil. Stir in the Kirsch and season with the nutmeg and pepper.

Transfer to a cheese fondue pot and keep warm over a fondue burner. Serve immediately with selected dippers.

Tomatoes


As spring kicks into full gear we can now enjoy so many more fresh fruits and vegetables.  April was recognized as National Florida Tomato Month as it’s the state that grows the most fresh tomatoes for consuming, while California grows the most tomatoes for processing. 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Dale from Lincoln Park, Michigan who is Michigan Heirloom Tomatoes. He shared his wealth of knowledge and helped me pick out 5 varieties of heirloom tomatoes for my garden. He gave me a lot of suggestions on planting too. Thanks Dale! I can’t wait to get my garden in the ground in the next couple of weeks. You can find Dale on Facebook:  Michigan Heirloom Tomatoes (Michigan Tomatoes)
With this in mind I decided to post one of my new favorite recipes using tomatoes.
Chicken with Prosciutto, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes.
Hope you enjoy. Let me hear from you.                                                                    
Happy cooking,


 

Serves:6

6 boneless chicken breasts
flour
3 TBSP. olive oil
1 TBSP. butter
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 pound prosciutto, cut into slivers * can use a mild flavored ham
1 TBSP. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
4 TBSP. tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup water
2-3  ripe tomatoes, diced

Dust chicken with flour. Heat oil and butter over medium heat in large oven proof skillet. Add chicken and brown thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Add prosciutto, garlic, rosemary, and bay leaf. Stir and add mushrooms. Saute for 3-5 minutes. Add wine, simmer gently for 3 minutes. Add tomato paste that has been mixed with water. Stir well. Transfer to 350 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes. Baste chicken so that it is well glazed and add diced tomatoes. Continue cooking for 10- 15 minutes.
Serve with lightly buttered pasta and a green salad.

Apple Gorganzola Salad with Red Wine Vinegarette


This salad is so good and so easy to put together. I love to make this when I am short on time.   Add some grilled chicken and serve with homemade rolls and honey butter for a full dinner.    

Hope you enjoy and Happy cooking,

Vonnie

INGREDIENTS:

Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Salad

1 bag (10 oz) mixed baby greens or Italian-blend salad greens

1 medium red or green apple, chopped (1 cup)

1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese (2 oz)

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

 

 DIRECTIONS:

In small bowl, beat vinaigrette ingredients with wire whisk until smooth.

In large bowl,  toss salad ingredients with vinaigrette just before serving.

To toast nuts, heat oven to 350°F. Spread nuts in ungreased shallow pan. Bake uncovered 6 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown.

The vinaigrette can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Cover tightly and refrigerate until serving time. This salad is so good.  Add some grilled chicken if desired.

Macaroni and Cheese


This is a recipe I have been making for years. My family LOVES homemade macaroni and cheese. I usually serve this with some steamed broccoli and homemade applesauce.                                            

Hope you enjoy and Happy cooking!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked elbow or small shell macaroni, drained
  • 3 cups grated Cheddar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Once you have the macaroni cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and while still hot and add 2 cups of the  cheddar cheese. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, 4 TBS. butter, salt and milk.  Add to the macaroni mixture. Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. In a small skillet melt butter and add fresh breadcrumbs. Stir constantly until crumbs are golden brown and fragrant.  Add additional cheese and top with breadcrumbs and  return to oven for 10 minutes.

Mother’s Day Strawberry Upside Down Cake


This cake is the perfect way to show your mother how much you love her. It will be the highlight of her Mother’s Day!
Enjoy and Happy cooking.                                                                                                   

Ingredients: 
2 cups fresh strawberries, crushed
1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 (18 ounce) package yellow cake mix, batter prepared as directed on package
Fresh whipped topping, optional
Vanilla ice cream, optional

Directions :
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread crushed strawberries on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Evenly sprinkle strawberries with the dry gelatin powder, and top with mini marshmallows.
Prepare the cake mix as directed on the package, and pour on top of the marshmallows. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen the sides, and turn the cake out onto a serving tray. Store cake in the refrigerator. Serve with some fresh whipped topping or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Italian Vegetable Pie for Meatless Monday


This week I chose a  meatless dinner which I love to make. This is a go-to recipe that comes out perfect and satisfying every time. I also love how versatile it is. You can substitute the vegetables to whatever your liking.   If you want, you can substitute ground beef, ground Italian sausage ,or a combo of the two for the tofu.  Also,seasoned ground turkey works nicely. When I make it with meat, I use 1 pound ground beef and hot Italian sausage. Brown and drain before adding to the vegetables.  I also like to add  a couple of handfuls of washed and chopped fresh spinach.  Stir in after simmering and before assembling. Round out your dinner with a nice tossed salad and fresh bread.
Hope you enjoy.  Let me know your dinner stories. I love hearing them all.
As always….Happy Cooking,                                                                                          

                                                                                          

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 (12.3-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and crumbled
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (25.5-ounce) jar fat-free marinara sauce
6 cooked lasagna noodles, cut in half crosswise
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded  mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preparation
Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, chopped onion, mushrooms, tofu, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, and marinara sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes.

Arrange the noodles spoke like in the bottom of an 8-inch round baking dish or 9 inch deep dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Spread 3 cups tomato mixture over noodles. Fold ends of noodles over tomato mixture, and top with the remaining tomato mixture and cheeses. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.