Creamy Cauliflower Risotto with Shrimp

Creamy Cauliflower Risotto with Shrimp.

On Easter Sunday, we enjoyed an absolutely amazing buffet brunch at a local restaurant in Mars called Breakneck Tavern where they served a positively divine shrimp risotto (among a kagillion other amazing treats).  I only had about a tablespoon of it on Easter, because I wanted to try so many of the other wonderful things they had available (way more than I could sample at one sitting!), but I could not get that shrimp risotto out of my mind.  It was sooooooo good!

Well – I have also  been hearing great things about “ricing” cauliflower and have been anxious to try.

Since I had a beautiful fresh head of cauliflower in the fridge, as well as a bag of shrimp in the freezer, I decided to try a healthier version of shrimp risotto for dinner last night.

O. M. G!  This turned out almost more heavenly than the original one I had a tiny taste of on Easter.  More heavenly because it is so much healthier, but also so delish!!!

My recipe is adapted from one I found at Cafe Delites.  This recipe is a low-carbohydrate, high protein, fiber-rich, calorie-friendly plate of deliciousness!  I hope you will give it a try.

P.S.  If I was making this only for me, I would totally add fresh green peas.  What do you think?  Hubby absolutely detests peas, so I sacrificed for him, but oooohhh –  can you imagine??!!  Pea lovers out there??

Here is how I made it.

Creamy Cauliflower Risotto with Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 12-14 oz shrimp, peeled and tails removed
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1  cup Half and Half (or cream or milk)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (or dry white wine)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper (optional)

Directions:

Remove core from cauliflower and break into florets.  Working in batches of approximately 1 cup at a time, pulse cauliflower in food processor until it is the consistency of rice.  Place all in large bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp and sear them while stirring until they start to lose their color.  Add garlic and juice of half of the lemon.  Fry for an additional minute.  Add cauliflower, red pepper (if adding) and olive oil.  Fry and stir for 3-4 minutes until fully combined and coated.  Stir in the half and half (or cream or milk) and chicken broth (or white wine).  Grate Parmesan cheese over all and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Combine.  Cover and reduce heat to low to simmer 6-8 minutes until creamy.

When ready to serve, sprinkle with fresh parsley and wedges of lemon from remaining half.  Top with additional Parmesan if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Classic Italian Lasagna

Classic Italian Lasagna.

I’ve shared before, and I’ll declare again… although I don’t have a drop of Italian heritage (that I know of) in me, I am an Italian “wannabe.”

I love cooking and eating Italian food.

Years ago – even before I was married – I worked with a young Italian woman who generously shared her Mom’s classic Italian lasagna recipe with me.

I have never made it any other way.  It is simple and classic and DELICIOUS!

I’ve adapted it to a smaller portion than the recipe originally shared with me since these days this size will last Hubby and I plenty long enough to almost grow tired of eating it for so many days in a row…. ALMOST!

When you are craving classic Italian lasagna, I hope you will give this recipe a try.  Here is how I make it.

Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart marinara tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. ground beef, pork, turkey (or combination)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 box Barilla Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
  • 2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil or 1/4 cup freshly minced basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parley
  • 1 lb. fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz.  Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, freshly grated

Directions:

Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Add chopped onions and minced garlic, and saute until soft.  Add ground meat, and cook until browned.  Add marinara tomato sauce and simmer.

In medium bowl, mix Ricotta cheese, egg, salt, basil, and parsley.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In 8 or 9 inch square baking dish, spread 1/2 cup prepared meat sauce on bottom.  Layer with lasagna noodles – overlapping to cover.  Layer with half of Ricotta cheese mixture.  Top with sliced Mozzarella cheese.  Spoon more sauce over cheese to cover.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.   Repeat layering.  End with sauce topped with remaining Mozzarella and sprinkled with Parmesan.

Cover with foil.  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove foil.  Bake 20 minutes longer or until browned and bubbly.  Cool 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Mangia tutti!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Apple Cider Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash

Apple Cider Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash.

The calendar says it’s Spring in our little corner of the world, but Mother Nature insists it’s Winter.  I guess since our Winter this year was often more like Spring, we have to deal with a bit of Winter in Spring.

The day I made this recipe last week (the second official day of Spring), we had more snow fall in one day than we have had in one day in the past eight years (approximately 8 inches).

So this super easy, healthy, delicious one pan oven-roasted meal I found at TheLemonBowl.com and tweaked slightly was a welcomed delight.

Using cinnamon as a spice for a savory meal is a surprising delight!   Don’t be afraid to use it liberally.  When combined with salt and coarse black pepper and lots of garlic, it just sings with flavor.

The original recipe called for apple cider, which I did not have, so I found a lonely bottle of Angry Orchard Hard Cider in the back of the fridge that kicked butt in this recipe!  I’m sure you could also substitute apple juice.

I was really tempted to throw in a handful of cashews or pecans (and might next time).  What do you think?

I served this with a simple salad of fresh greens, and  here is how I made it.  Hope you will give it a try.

Apple Cider Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (approx 4 cups
  • 1 large bulb garlic (approx. 12 cloves), peeled
  • 2/3 cup apple cider (I used Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider!)
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place butternut squash cubes and whole peeled garlic cloves on bottom of large cast iron skillet or roasting pan.  Pour cider over all.

Place chicken breasts on top.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Season all with cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is done and butternut squash is soft.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Quick and Easy Steak Fajita Flatbread

Quick and Easy Steak Fajita Flatbread.

We all have those days….

Those days when we want something delicious, but don’t feel like fussing…

Well… what a great discovery I made a few days ago when I decided to throw some fajita toppings on a piece of Naan flatbread.

Well – maybe Hubby thought of this first…. but I gave it a name – so let’s call it a collaboration.

The plan was to have steak salads, but when Hubby discovered the Naan, well…..  the plan changed.

And oh YAY!

This Steak Fajita Flatbread creation is like a sandwich/pizza/wrap/salad all in one!

It’s a great, quick and easy, delicious meal that would be great with chicken too.

Here is how we made it.

Quick and Easy Steak Fajita Flatbread

Ingredients:

1 Naan Flatbread (I found these at Aldi’s)
1 thin Sirloin steak, sliced into strips
1/4 sweet onion, sliced
1/4 sweet red pepper, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Lettuce (I used butter lettuce)
Italian or Balsamic Dressing
1/4 cup Shredded Cheddar, Mozzarella, or Monterrey Jack cheese

Directions:

Sprinkle all but 1 Tbsp shredded cheese on Naan Flatbread and place in toaster oven or oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and flatbread is warm.

Meanwhile, saute onions and peppers in a hot skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil until wilted and browned.  Salt and pepper to your liking.  Remove from skillet.  Add sirloin beef strips seasoned with salt and pepper, and saute until doneness you desire.

Place onions and beef on top of toasted flatbread. Top with lettuce.  Drizzle with dressing.  Top with remaining shredded cheese.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza.

We went out to dinner with friends a few weeks ago to an amazing local Italian restaurant  near us (Della Terra) that served a too-die-for 5-course dinner with wine pairings that included appetizers, salad, pizza, pasta, and dessert.

One of the things we all went nuts over was a pizza that had apples, prosciutto and  Gorgonzola cheese.

Well – who am I kidding?!  We loved EVERY single course we had, but this pizza was something I thought I might be able to recreate at home.

And O. M. G!!  This turned out so delicious!

It really went together pretty quickly and easily, and it so satisfied my pizza craving!

We often order in pizza on Friday nights at our house.  Just one of our routine guilty pleasures.

But this pizza is worth going to the trouble of making.

Be flexible with it, and make it with ingredients you love.  Add some spinach.  Switch out the apples for pears.  Throw on a few roasted pine nuts.  Add some rosemary and garlic to the pizza dough.

Have fun and be creative!

Here is the recipe for how I made it.  Hope you’ll give it a try.

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza

  • Servings: 1 large pizza
  • Print

Ingredients:

Pizza Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Pizza Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 8 oz ball fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 large apple, thinly sliced (I used Gala)
  • 1 large sweet onion, caramelized with 2 Tbsp butter
  • 6 oz. Prosciutto, thinly sliced and fried
  • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Other:

  • 1-2 Tbsp corn meal

Directions:

Prepare crust by mixing 1 cup flour with yeast, salt, sugar, and water.  Gradually add 2nd cup of flour until a ball is formed.  Knead dough for 2 minutes.  Let rest 10-15 minutes in a bowl covered with dish towel.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, and prepare toppings while dough is resting.

Whisk mustard and honey to form sauce, slice Mozzarella and apple, caramelize onions, fry prosciutto, and crumble Gorgonzola.

Sprinkle corn meal on a large round baking stone, press dough on top until thin, using fingers and/or rolling pin.

Spread mustard/honey sauce on dough.  Top with Mozzarella, apple, caramelized onions, prosciutto, and Gorgonzola cheese.

Bake approximately 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly and brown.

Remove from oven, and let rest 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles (Cookie Balls)

Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles  (or Cookie Balls if we’re being less “fancy!”).

If you are looking for a simple, sweet, but festive little treat to share with friends or neighbors or with those you love, these little Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles might be just the ticket.

They are so simple to make, but turn out so elegant and delish!

You simply crush red velvet (or your favorite flavor) Oreo cookies in the food processor, mix with a block of cream cheese, and make into balls that you dip into chocolate.

Easy Peasy!

Sprinkles make them even more fun! (always!)

I gave little bags to neighbors with silly notes like “You are a SWEET neighbor” and “We LOVE having you for our neighbors.”  I shared others with friends and family.  They were a big hit!

Here is the recipe:

Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles (Cookie Balls)

Ingredients:

Directions:

Crush oreo cookies in food processor to fine crumbs.  Add softened cream cheese and combine until “dough” forms.

Roll dough mixture into approximately 30 one-inch balls.  Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate.  I put mine in a tall, microwave-safe cup for one minute, stir, and then microwave for 30 more seconds.

Dip balls into melted chocolate with a fork, allowing excess to drip.  Place on parchment paper.  Decorate with sprinkles if desired.  Allow to set approximately 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Finger-Lickin’ Baby Back Ribs

Finger-Lickin’ Baby Back Ribs.

Any rib lovers out there?

We decided on ribs for our Super Bowl Sunday meal this past Sunday.  They are great football feasting food!

Hubby learned a great way to make them.

The secret to making them tender and fall-off-the-bone wonderful is in boiling them first in Coca-Cola.

After boiling them for a couple hours, you drain them, put them in a container, drench with your favorite barbecue sauce, cover tightly, and marinade overnight.

When you are ready to eat them, you simply throw them on the grill, or in our case, Hubby likes to throw them in our Pit Barrel Cooker and smoke them a bit.  In a half hour, you have the most amazing tender, fall-off-the bone, juicy pork ribs you’ve ever eaten.

I like to add a little more sauce on when I eat mine.  (I’m a little saucier than Hubby!)

I know many folks have their own way of making ribs with varying techniques – dry rubs, wet sauces, marinades, etc., but I have not found a way I like better than this simple full-proof recipe.

Hope you’ll give it a try and let me know.

Finger-Lickin' Baby Back Ribs

Ingredients:

Directions:

Cut ribs into 4 pieces.  Put in large pot.  Pour Coca-Cola over ribs until they are completely covered.  Put lid on pot, and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer about an hour or so until they are fully cooked.

Remove ribs from pot, and discard Coca-Cola.  Place ribs in airtight container.  Cover with barbecue sauce and lid.  Marinade overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.

A half hour before ready to serve, place on grill or in Pit Barrel Cooker and grill/heat through.

Serve with additional barbecue sauce if desired. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy Sausage & Vegetable Quiche

 

Easy Sausage and Vegetable Quiche.

For those days when you want a hearty, substantial supper, but don’t feel like putting a lot of time and effort into it, this simple recipe is just the ticket.

It’s full of protein and veggies and could really be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

The secret to it being easy is in the fact that you don’t have to prepare a crust.  You simply use a little bit of baking mix (like Biquick) to create an almost crust-like texture.

And the options are limitless for what you can put in for your protein and veggies.  Exchange the sausage for bacon or chicken or turkey or ground beef.   You could even leave the meat out and just add more veggies.  Throw in any favorite vegetables you have in your fridge – mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, kale, tomatoes…..  And use any kind of cheese you love.  Exchange the cheddar for Swiss or muenster or provolone or mozzarella or even blue cheese or feta.

You get the idea…  right?  Toss in whatever you like, and you can have a wide variety of quick and easy meals.

I was recently reminded of this recipe when I came across a version of it at The Speckled Pumpkin.  It reminded me of years ago making all of those “impossible” pies….  Impossible Cheeseburger Pie, Impossible Taco Pie, Impossible Lasagna Pie, Impossible Tuna Pie….  Anybody else remember the Impossible Pie craze?  I may be back in the mood for these!

Serve it with a salad or side of roasted potatoes or even some chunky applesauce.

Here is how I made mine for our Sunday Supper last night.

Easy Sausage and Vegetable Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pork sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup Bisquick baking mix (or your favorite)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Put sausage in bottom of stoneware deep dish baker or your favorite 2-quart round casserole dish or deep dish pie pan.  Top with chopped onions, pepper, broccoli, and cheese.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk and baking mix with a wire whisk until well blended.  Pour over sausage, veggies and cheese.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Quick & Easy Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps

Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps.

I am so excited to share this recipe!

A friend on Facebook recently shared a recipe for a Sausage Egg Roll Bowl that had me so intrigued…

and so hungry….

that i couldn’t wait to try.

All the yummy ingredients of an egg roll without the deep fried wrapper in a bowl sounded divine!

But then I thought……  how about wrapping it in crisp Romaine lettuce leaves and making it into yummy, healthy, quick, and easy Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps?!

What I loved, and I think you will too, is how FAST and EASY this recipe is – especially for how DELICIOUS it is!

This is definitely a 20-minute meal from start to finish.  Who isn’t looking for one of these a few times a week?!

And there are so many possibilities for changing it up…  switch out chicken or turkey sausage for the pork sausage…  add raisins or craisins….  add walnuts or slivered almonds…  add chopped sweet red peppers or crisp celery or mushrooms…

I think the key ingredients to this recipe are the soy sauce (low-sodium!) and the sesame oil (I used Trader Joe’s Toasted Sesame Oil).

I am a salt LOVER, but I only buy low-sodium soy sauce (believe it or not).  If you want the full flavor of soy sauce without all the sodium, you will love low-sodium soy sauce.  In fact – you can add more flavor!  You can always add a dash of salt later if you really think it needs, but you can never take away too much of a salty flavor.

Here is the recipe as I slightly tweaked and made into a wrap!

I hope you will try, and I hope you love as much as I did!

Quick & Easy Egg Roll Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients1 lb bulk sausage (pork, chicken, turkey)

  • 1 14-oz bag Fresh Express Cole Slaw Shredded Cabbage & Carrots Mix
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1-2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 bunch fresh Romaine Lettuce

Directions

Cook sausage in a large stir-fry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often to crumble, until fully cooked.

Add cabbage mix, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until cabbage has softened a bit.

Remove from heat and top with green onions and drizzle with sesame oil.  Stir to combine.

Serve over a bed of fresh romaine leaves or scoop into leaves to serve.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, & Feta Cheese Pizza

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Feta Cheese Pizza.

I am always looking for new ways to enjoy butternut squash, so I did a quick search and found a variety of pizzas using butternut squash.  Yum!

The one I found that had the flavors I love (and ingredients I had on hand), called for mashing the butternut squash as the “sauce” on the pizza, but I prefer the taste of cubed and roasted butternut squash, so I changed it up.

Each roasted chunk gets a bit browned and even a bit crispy on the outside corners, but is soft and sweet and tender on the inside.   I prefer that texture to mashed.

And I might just possibly eat anything with caramelized onions on top.  Just saying…

Add feta cheese – and SCORE!

We had this for dinner with a tossed green salad.

If you are looking for a new twist on pizza or a meatless meal, this may just be the ticket!

Here is how I made it.  Hope you will give it a try.

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Feta Cheese Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp brown sugar, divided
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Pizza dough or Pillsbury crescent roll tube

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place cubed butternut squash on stoneware baking pan or baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Roast approximately 20 minutes, turning once midway through roasting, until slightly browned and tender.

While squash is roasting, saute onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp. butter, salt and pepper over medium heat until onions begin to caramelize, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Bake pizza crust five minutes short of done on a round baking stone.  Remove from oven, and layer butternut squash cubes, caramelized onions, and feta cheese on crust.  Return to oven for 5-10 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi