Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pasta Night

Parmesan Pasta with Chicken and Rosemary--Adapted from Real Simple
12 ounces (3 cups) orecchiette pasta, I couldn't find orecchiette so i used large shells
3 1/2- to 4-pound rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
I added broccoli
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
I added garlic
Kosher salt and pepper
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Shred the chicken, using a fork or your fingers, while the pasta cooks. Discard the skin and bones. With about 2 minutes left throw your broccoli into the pasta water with the pasta. Drain the pasta and broccoli, reserving 1 1/4 cups of the water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the reserved pasta water, chicken, broccoli, rosemary, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pot. Stir over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Divide among individual bowls and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chili and Pesto

Three-Bean Chili with Spring Pesto -Adapted from Real Simple Magazine

-1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 small yellow onion, chopped
-2 carrots, diced
-1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, including liquid
-Kosher salt and pepper
-1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
-1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
-zest from 1/2 lemon
-red pepper flakes
-2 cups water or chix broth
-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or blended with food processor
-3 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped or blended with food processor
-1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped or blended with food processor

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and red pepper flakes and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, 2 cups water I used chicken broth, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas and beans and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes and then add lemon zest. Combine the garlic, pine nuts, parsley, the remaining olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl or combine all ingredients and process in a blender. Divide the chili among individual bowls and top with the pesto.
I served this with a side of cibatta slathered with the artichoke dip from our St. Patty's Day celebration and broiled with parmesan cheese on top.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patty's Day

York Peppermint Patty Brownies II

-3/4 c Hershey's cocoa
-1/2 ts baking soda
-2/3 c butter, melted and divided
-1/2 cup boiling water
-2 c sugar
-2 eggs
-1-1/3 c flour
-1 ts vanilla
-1/4 ts salt
-8 oz package York Mini Peppermint Patties
Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Stir together cocoa and baking soda in a large bowl; stir in 1/3 c melter butter. Add boiling water; stir until mixture thickens. Stir in sugar, eggs, and remaining 1/3 c of melted butter; stir until smooth. Add flour, vanilla and salt; blend completely, Stir in peppermint patties. Spread in prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan or wire rack.
Ham and Cheese Turnovers

-1-pound package refrigerated pizza dough, I couldn't find pizza dough so I used Pillsbury French Bread Dough, cut into 5 strips per package.

-8 ounces deli ham, thinly sliced

4 ounces Swiss cheese, thinly sliced

1/2 yellow onion, cut into thin rings, I cooked the onions down in olive oil and a little butter

whole-grain mustard

Heat oven to 400° F.Roll the pizza dough into a 14-inch circle and cut into 8 triangles.Stack a piece of the ham, cheese, and onion on the bottom of each triangle and roll the dough up around the filling. (Some of the filling will stick out the ends.)Transfer the rolls to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes.

Simple Salad

-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

-1/2 c red wine vinegar

-1-2 ts Dijon mustard

-1 clove garlic minced

-1 jar marinated artichoke hearts

-mixed greens

-handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

-a couple slices of red onion

Combine vinegar, mustard, garlic and artichokes and marinate in a bowl. Remove artichokes and add to mixed greens, tomatoes and red onion. Whisk olive oil into the red wine vinegar mixture. Serve salad with dressing on the side.

The Happy Group

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Something out of Nothing

I was a little hesitant about this recipe at first because it looked bland. I normally love the recipes that come off of the Real Simple website, but I felt a challenge with this on in particular. It wasn't the nuts in the pasta, or the simplicity of the sauce it was that besides the parsley and garlic there wasn't much flavor. So, I spiced it up a little with some breakfast pork sausage I had in the freezer and I was quite impressed.

Chickpea and Sausage Pasta

-olive oil
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 7 cups chix broth
-crushed red pepper flakes
-1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat)
-1 15.5oz can of chickpeas
-1 cup of flat leaf parsley
-1/4 cup of unsalted roasted almonds, chopped
-1/2 cup grated parm
-6 pork sausage links, cooked and chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, red pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until the broth is nearly absorbed and the pasta is al dente, about 6 minutes. In the meantime, cook pork sausage and chop. Stir in the chickpeas and parsley.Divide among individual bowls and top with the almonds, parmesan, and sausage. If you have any extra lemon juice on hand a splash of that brightened the dish.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cookie Bars

I made these Friday night for some friends who came over for dinner. Pretty basic an easy recipe with a play on cookies. For some reason my cookies never really turn out that great so it's nice to have a quick and easy alternative. I made the bars again last night for Tim's b-day only I substitute butterscotch chips for semi-sweet chocolate chips. Good change, but I think I'll stick with the chocolate.
Mom's Cookie Bars
-1 stick butter, softened
-1 1/2 c brown sugar
-1 c sugar
-2 eggs
-2-3 Tbl milk
-2 ts vanilla
-1/2 ts salt
-1 ts baking soda
-1 3/4 c flour
-2 1/2 c oats
-1 12oz bag of chip (chocolate or your choice)
Pre-heat oven to 350. Cream together first 6 ingredients. Add dry ingredients. Dough will be really tacky, but make sure it's not dry if so add a little more milk. Add chips. Press into rectangular baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cut squares when cool.

Ryan's Chicken

This weekend was a kinda a crapshoot except for the wonderful whole chicken recipe that our friend Ryan gave us. Amongst the Roter Rooter guys tracking mud through my house, Tim's 4 hour long stint in the basement with sewer water, and my fall down our back stairs I learned how to cook my first whole chicken. It was another one of those cooking hurdles (like bread making) that I had to go through with someone else to feel comfortable about. It was really pretty easy, but I was definitely glad to have Ryan's instructions as well as a little Guitar Hero to distract me while the pipes were clanging below. We were so tired at the end of the day that Ryan ended up serving us the dinner. What an amazing friend! Here's Ryan's simple recipe.
Ryan's Chicken
-One 4-5lb chicken
-2-3 celery stocks, roughly chopped
-2 onions, roughly chopped
-3-4 carrots, roughly chopped
-3-4 garlic cloves
-Olive oil
-Salt and Pepper
-Herbs: we had rosemary and thyme on hand.

Pre-heat oven to 250. Put a couple of swigs of oil in a dutch oven or some other bake able pot and turn heat to medium. Add garlic and sautee for about a minute. Add veggies and herbs and sautee for a minute. Add chicken breast side down and cook for 8 minutes. Flip chicken and cook for another 8 minutes. This will color the chicken. Place foil on top of the pot and cover with lid to make a tight seal. Cook at 250 for about 2 hours or until the chicken juices run clear. Pull chicken out of pot and let rest for about 10 minutes. Pour chicken juices (sans veggies) into a sauce pot, and boil. Add a roux or cornstarch and make gravy. Add a little chix stock if need to "beef up" the gravy volume. Serve the chicken with roasted garlic mashers and gravy all over everything. De-lish!

Kelly's Benefit


My friend Kelly Andrews is battling lung cancer and her friends have gotten together to coordinate a benefit at the Fineline. We need help from our community, friends and family to make this event a success.
Benefit for Kelly Andrews!
April 11th, 2008 8 PM
Fineline Music Cafe
What we really need right now are Silent Auction and Raffle items. If you know of anyone who would be willing to donate goods/services/gift certificates please send an email to I will be checking this email address daily and will coordinate the drop of of any donations. Please also feel free to pass along referrals for donations on which we will happily follow up. Please include the following information should you be able to donate:Your name/ business nameEmail addressCompany websiteMerchandise, Service, gift card, etc. that you would like to donate.Thanks!