Tag Archives: Fast

Summer Panzanella

Day 140: Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas for the Weeknight Table

May 20, 2011

Summer is here…..summer is here…..or so the calender tells me! I am choosing to believe that the sun is outside and it is shinning down on us and there is just a slight breeze. When summer is here I really do not like to heat up the oven for very long. Finding meals that can be made with barely turning on the oven is a way to keep the house cool. We look for those meals that don’t heat up the house during the summer.

Relying on fresh food is the premise of The Moosewood Restaurant. You will not find bottled sauces or mixes between the pages of this cookbook. Most of the recipes are fresh and fast and mostly vegetarian. If you are a vegan, there are recipes with eggs, cheese and fish, but for the vegetarian this will become a favorite cookbook.

The Ruling: We liked it….the youngest one ate the bread.  The middle one didn’t eat any of it….but the other 3 of us did like it. I can imagine making this in the prime of tomato season. I like to grow heirloom tomatoes that I find at my local greenhouse. I find such cool types of tomatoes to grow and I get excited dreaming of making this salad with those tomatoes. The recipe does not specify what kind of olives to use, I would use Greek olives the next time as we just used plain black olives.

Summer Panzanella, page 108

Ingredients:

  • ½ loaf of crusty French or Italian bread (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup pitted olives
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Versatile vinaigrette (page 222) (optional) (added below)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the bread in half lengthwise and place in the oven until crisp, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients and place them in a serving bowl.  Cut the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella into ½ inch cubes (about 4 cups of tomatoes and 1 cup of mozzarella), peel and thinly slice the red onion, cut the basil leaves into thin strips and chop the olives.  Add the vinegar and oil to the bowl and toss well.
  3. Cut the toasted bread into 1 inch cubes (7 to 8 cups).  Add the bread cubes to the bowl and toss well.  Let the salad sit for at least      0 minutes before serving, to allow the bread to soak up some of the juices.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pass vinaigrette at the table if you like.

Versatile Vinaigrette, page 108

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil (extra-virgin is nice)

 Directions:

  1. Either whisk together all of the ingredients or whirl them in a blender for a few seconds.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings! For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

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Filed under Fast Meals, Main Dishes

Fettuccine with a Delicate Tomato Sauce

Day 93: “On Top of Spaghetti

April 3, 2011

Pasta is one of those go to meals that everyone eats. I don’t know a single person who is not a fan of pasta. Yes, the low-carb craze just about did away with pasta all together but I think it is having a resurgence. Now in my store there is a half of an aisle dedicated to pasta. I think when I was a kids you could buy spaghetti and that pasta for frog eye salad and maybe lasagna noodles. Now I can buy 45 different shapes but not low carb, whole wheat, gluten-free and on and on. 

Cute title to a book, but it is serious in its dose of pasta. The authors are restaurant owners themselves in Rhode Island. Each recipe has a nice introduction that I don’t find in many cookbooks. When I looked through this cookbook for something to make, I was looking for something easy, and I found it. But if you are looking for more complex dishes like Bucatini with Five-Pepper Sauce or Pasta Hankies and Brasato al Barolo……ohhhh that one sounds like fun! This is a cookbook serious about its pasta!

The Ruling: My son and his girlfriend made this for themselves and they both liked it. It reminded them of my homemade macaroni and cheese. I wonder if it is because they both have a stick of butter in them. I like the name “Delicate”, just a hint of tomato sauce that you find in a can of tomato juice. Most of these items you should have in your pantry so it is a good go-to meal when you don’t know what else to make for dinner.

Fettuccine with a Delicate Tomato Sauce, page 71

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 pound dried fettuccine
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Combine the chicken stock, tomato juice, salt, and 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to moderate, and reduce by one-quarter.
  3. Generously salt the pasta water and drop in the fettuccine. Cook until al dente.
  4. Just before draining the pasta, add the remaining butter to the tomato mixture in the skillet. Swirl the butter in the pan until it is completely absorbed. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  5. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Toss over moderate heat until every strand is coated. Serve right away in heated bowls. Pass the cheese at the table if you like.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

1 Comment

Filed under Fast Meals, Main Dishes, Pasta

Chicken Tenders With Basil and Bacon

Day 92: “Indoor Grilling

April 2, 2011

Finally a cookbook that embraces the art of indoor grilling! Some of us in the upper midwest crave grilling all year-long but can’t go outside because of this thing called wind chill. My hubby and son took the grill out of storage last week, despite the cold and snow. I am so waiting for the day when all of our food can be cooked outside! 

The outdoor grilling guru of fire, Steven Raichlen took pity on us of the north and realized that we are a great group of people to market to. We have found ways around the outside grill and Raichlen so kindly helps us on the journey. Each recipe give you instructions if you have a contact grill, grill pan, built-in pan, freestanding grill or fireplace grill. There are over 250 recipes from the exotic Filipino-Style London Broil to the funky Lobster Reubens. Winter have you down? This cookbook will help you pass those gloomy cold days until we are all back outside enjoying the live fire grilling!

The Ruling: We opted to use proscuitto instead of bacon. I find it hard to wrap things in bacon and grill it. I talked with a chef friend last night about this as well. We both thought that you need to precook the bacon a bit before you grill it. I even thought maybe boil the bacon to get the fat off without having it cook too much. Some of the tenders were made with proscuitto and some without. Hands down the ones with the proscuitto were good. I think my hubby was excited to get out there and grill, because he opted to go outside in 40 degree weather instead of grilling on our George Foreman! You could easily add a dipping sauce to this or serve it as an appetizer….I hear summer grilling party in my future!

Chicken Tender with Basil and Bacon, 198

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, rinsed, shaken dry, and stemmed
  • 12 to 16 slices bacon
  • Wooden toothpicks or butchers string

Directions:

  1. Place 1 large or 2 small basil leaves on top of each chicken tender. Wrap each tender and basil in a slice of bacon, then secure the bacon with a toothpick or tie it in place with butcher’s string (if you are cooking on a contact grill, you won’t need to do this.)
  2. Cook the bacon-wrapped chicken tenders until done. Use the poke test to check for doneness; the chicken should feel firm when pressed. You may need to cook the chicken in more that one batch; cover the grilled tenders with aluminum foil to keep warm until ready to serve.
  3. Transfer the chicken tenders to a platter or plates and remove and discard the toothpicks or pieces of string, if using. Serve the chicken tenders at once.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

2 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Fast Meals, Grill, Main Dishes

Thai-Spiced Loin Chops

Day 74: “The Culinary Institute of America’s Gourmet Meals in Minutes

March 15, 2011

So continues my week of quick and fast meals.  Who wants to stand in a kitchen cooking in the evenings? Give me something that takes little prep time so that I can do more important things, like talk to my family.  The other option that I am thinking for are meals that can be quickly put together and get on the table quickly once everyone walks in the door at night.  My quest of those perfect combinations is never-ending once you put in the added level of difficulty of 2 fussy eaters.  But I am not daunted by this task and I continue!

I love cookbooks by the Culinary Institute of America!  I find them to be well photographed and full of information. Not just information about the recipe, but they try to teach you some great cooking skills as well. Like tips on quick cooking methods for meats. Or how about baking fish inside a parchment paper shaped as a heart called en papillote. I promise anyone could make this, but where to find the cleriac is the only thing that stumps me about that particular recipe.  You will not be disappointed in the wide array of selections and the lovely photos contained in this cookbook.

The Ruling: Everyone ate it!  Very few ingredients and we simply used our lovely George Foreman grill to give it a quick cooking.  I do like to use thin pork chops because the cooking time is shorter and I am always guaranteed a cooked pork chop. It took me a while to find the hot-sweet mustard in the grocery store….but it was right where it should be…with the mustards.  We even had the Thai red curry paste from a recipe that I prepared with noodles. So if you buy the Thai red curry paste, make both of these recipes to use up the bottle.

Thai-Spiced Loin Chops, page 161

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds boneless center-cut pork loin chops, 1/2 inch thick, trimmed of fat
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • Cilantro sprigs, as needed
  • 1/2 cup hot-sweet mustard, prepared

Directions:

  1. Lightly oil the grill and preheat to high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. SPread 1/4 teaspoon of the curry paste on each side of each chop.
  2. Place the pork chops on the hot grill. Cook, turning once, until pork is done, about 3-3 1/2 minutes per side.
  3. Garnish the pork chops with cilantro sprigs. Serve with the hot-sweet mustard.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

2 Comments

Filed under Fast Meals, Main Dishes

Throw a Panini Party

Day 66: “Rocco’s 5 Minute Flavor

March 7, 2011

Does the word panini give you the shakes?  Are you afraid you don’t have the skill to make such a fancy sandwich?  No fear because if you can make a grilled cheese sandwich you can make a panini.  Here is what my friend Wikipedia defines a panini as: 

“In Italy, a panino (Italian pronunciation: [paˈniːno]) is customarily made from a small roll or loaf of bread, typically a ciabatta or a rosetta. The loaf is cut horizontally and filled with salami, ham, cheese, mortadella or other food, and sometimes served hot after having been pressed in a grill. A toasted panino, colloquially called “toast” by Italians, is made out of two vertical slices of pane in cassetta almost invariably filled with prosciutto and a few slices of cheese, grilled in a sandwich press. In Central Italy, there is a popular version of panino which is filled with porchetta, i.e. slices of roasted pork. It is traditionally served without any kind of sauce or topping. Some maintain they are the same as ‘toasties’ but with a different shape.

In the USA and Canada, many often confuse the term “panini” as only referring to pressed sandwiches. This may be due to the widespread availability and use of sandwich presses, often known as or called a “Panini Press.” ”

I was first introduced to paninis when my husband and I were in college and traveled to Europe for a month and spent 2 weeks in Italy.  When we would ride the train people would come on and sell these sandwiches….more often than not they were old and stale and full of mold.  We called these “Moldy Paninis”, so clever aren’t we?  If you make these sandwiches at home, they wont be moldy and chances are they wont be stale.

When we made the paninis for supper the other night, we loaded all sorts of toppings on a platter so everyone could pick the ones that they want.  The picture above does not show all of the toppings as I put fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and prosciutto in mine.  We had a party of 5 with our paninis but I think you could easily have a group of friends over and everyone can make their own creation.  This makes the meat lovers and the vegetarians in your group all happy.  Plus it is fun to have your friends make something and they will be talking about their creations after they left the party

The cookbook that I got the main idea for the panini is “Rocco’s 5 Minute Flavor” as I continue my trend this week of fast family meals.  He has a whole section on different panini recipes to help get you inspired. For each of the meals he even gives an estimated price for each meal.  For example, for the panini the estimated cost is $14.50, not bad for a family of 4.

The Ruling:  Everyone loved their own panini.  I had the traditional one listed below as well as my oldest son. He sprinkled his with balsamic vinegar to give it a little extra kick at the end.  The middle child and youngest child had simple ham and cheese.  Tip, if you do not have a panini press (I have a George Foreman grill that I use) you can simply wrap a brick in tin foil and put it on top of your sandwich…..quick and cheap!  Try these with your family and better yet, call your friends and have a panini party!

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Tomato Panini, page 109

Ingredients:

  • 4 large slices Italian bread, split in half
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat a panini press. or heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat for several minutes
  2. Lay the bread on a work surface and layer the mozzarella, prosciutto, tomatoes, and basil on each slice. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Close the sandwiches
  3. Place the sandwiches in the panini press or frying pan. If using a frying pan, weight the sandwiches by placing a cake pan (smaller than the diameter of your frying pan) over them and placing a heavy can of similar weight in the cake pan; turn the sandwiches with a spatula midway through the cooking time, replacing the cake pan and weight. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes total. Cut in half and serve.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

3 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Fast Meals, Main Dishes, Vegetarian

Potato and Onion Flat bread

Day 62: “Real Simple Celebrations: Easy Entertaining For Every Occasion”

March 3, 2011

Sometimes taking the simplest ingredients can turn a few simple things into something magical.  To say that I loved the ease and taste of this flatbread recipe is an understatment.  Easy ingredients like refrigerated pizza dough and some sautéed onions and potatoes with a sprinkling of salt, so simple yet so tasty.  Since the low-carb revolution took over the United States many years ago, bread has been seen as a bad thing.  Baking of homemade bread has been making a comeback of sorts lately, however making bread from scratch takes time.  Opening a tube of dough and placing it on a pizza stone and layering on some ingredients could not be easier.  I love making bread. But I also love making something simple that my family will eat!

Throwing a party can be stressful for some (me, I thrive off of it!).  The editors of “Real Simple” magazine realize that their magazine is full of good tips for leading a more simple life.  Putting all those good tips into books of various themes only makes perfect sense.  So this cookbook entitled “Real Simple Celebrations: Easy Entertaining for Any Occasion” should come as no surprise.  Want to know how to decorate for a New Year’s Eve Potluck….they have this taken care of.  Want to know what food and drinks to serve at said party, they have it covered. Want to throw a baby shower….they have this taken care.  I love the tips that they give, such as have the guests write their addresses down on thank you note envelopes for any easy way for the mom-to-be to get the thank you notes written. How about all the guests bring a baby picture of themselves and they are displayed and the guests try to guess who is who?  Each chapter covers a different occasion with tips from A-Z and nothing is forgotten.  This is not only a cookbook but a go-to guide for throwing any type of party.

The Ruling: We all liked it, some more than others of course.  Youngest child wouldn’t have any pieces with onions on it.  I thought this was so easy to make.  I made it even easier than the instructions stated.  I skipped the cornmeal and forming it into a circle, and just put it on a baking stone.  I also sautéed the onions and then added the potatoes and sautéed them for a few minutes together.  I think this helped the potatoes take on more flavor.  I would defiantly make this again.  I think it would taste good with a base of pesto on it as well.  Flatbread is so versatile.  This can easily be served as a side dish for dinner, but it could also be used as an appetizer. Or even as a meal with a salad….yum!

Flatbread, page 56

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into circles
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal for the skillet
  • 1 package (about 1 pound) refrigerated pizza dough

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the potato, rosemary leaves, salt, and pepper and toss; set aside. Sprinkle a baking sheet with the cornmeal. Place the dough on a work surface, shape into a 12-inch round, and transfer to the prepared sheet. Spoon the potato mixture over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Slice into wedges. Serve warm or a room temperature.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

3 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Ham And Swiss Stromboli

Day 49: “Taste of Home Cookbook

February 18, 2011

Meals that require no cooking or much prep has got to be a busy parents gift.  Then to have the whole family eat it is simply a miracle in my family.  The Ham and Swiss Stromboli is one of those recipes.  I think if you have children 3 or older they could easily help with this meal.  It starts with a tube of refrigerated crusty French Bread….you know the kind that is with the refrigerated biscuits and crescent rolls.  The instructions require you to unroll the dough…..I didn’t know that this was possible, but it is.  From there you simply place the ham, bacon, cheese and some green onions.  Be creative and add what your family likes.  How about looking in the fridge for some leftovers?  Leftover chicken breasts and broccoli would taste great.  How about pizza toppings?  These are all ingredients that are easy to have on hand and can get a home cooked meal to the table within 45 minutes. Have fun with this one!

This cookbook is a compilation of “The Taste of Home” magazine.  This magazine is full of good home cooked and home tested recipes by real people for real people.  I use to receive the magazine.  It was a nightmare to search for recipes from magazine to magazine.  You either needed to tear them out or flag them somehow.  This cookbook puts that mess to an end and offers all the recipes organized with a great directory to make the searches now painless.

The Ruling:  Everyone ate it.  Even the fussy two did.  The youngest picked out the green onions, but I know if my husband had his way he would have made it without the green onions.  For a short cut I had the precooked bacon.  The kids did request a dip of some sort.  When did children think that to dunk ones food is a part of the meal experience?

Ham and Swiss Stromboli, page 95

Ingredients:

  • 1 tube (11 ounces) refrigerated crusty French loaf
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced deli ham
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

Directions:

  1. Unroll dough on a greased baking sheet.  Place ham over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges; sprinkle evenly with onions, bacon and cheese.
  2. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side.  Pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under.  Place seam side down on baking sheet.  With a sharp knife, cut several 1/4 inch deep slits on top of loaf.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 26-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool slightly before slicing.  Serve warm.

 

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

4 Comments

Filed under Fast Meals, Main Dishes