Zoodles with a spiral slicer

I finally purchased a Paderno spiralizer slicer and it has been a wonderful addition to my kitchen tool collection.  My three blade slicer is able to cut vegetables very quickly into angel hair noodles, shoestrings and even spiral cut strands.  My first attempt at using the tool was extremely successful, as I made zucchini noodles in place of pasta one evening for dinner.

I sautéed the zoodles with some sliced mushrooms, seasoned with black pepper and parsley flakes in one tablespoon olive oil. I cooked the zucchini noodles until soft and served with pasta sauce.  The noodles were extremely tasty, and confirm the recent enthusiasm from many chefs for using this spiral slicer.

I will be experimenting with apples, potatoes, carrots and cucumbers in the coming months. The slicer is an interesting way to prepare and cut these foods for appealing presentation and to increase food excitement.

For more information on this slicer, it can be purchased online at Williams Sonoma cookware.

Bacon, lettuce and tomato quesadilla

Here is a fun way to serve a classic sandwich with a new Tex-Mex twist.  I use sun-dried tomatoes, either quick microwave crispy bacon or traditional bacon, and shredded Fontina cheese.  I also like to use Romaine lettuce.

Gather the ingredients. Heat the tortilla shells in the oven for five minutes and then add the ingredients and return to the oven to bake on 350 degrees until the cheese is nicely melted.  That usually takes around 8 minutes.  Serve with sour cream and enjoy.

Spinach and Tomato Tortellini

After doing an Internet search, I was not able to find a recipe which comes close to how I have prepared this dish several times.  It is quite tasty and has gone through some variations in the past years. I have finally settled on this method which produces a very delicious quick and easy dinner.

I use microwave bacon to start, which immediately speeds up the cooking process. In a large 10 inch deep saucepan, I heat 5 strips of bacon with just a teaspoon of olive oil.  Remove the bacon and set aside to cut into pieces.  In the pan, brown one white chopped onion.

   

Next, add 1/2 of one frozen box of spinach, which has been thawed and drained.  And, also 1/2 bag of frozen tortellini, which have been thawed, but not yet cooked. Stir to combine and heat slightly.  Then add, one canned of drained diced tomatoes.

Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then add bacon pieces and cook and additional five minutes.

Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes. Serve and enjoy.

Chicken Cacciatore

Easy one pot meals or rustic stews are perfect for cold winter nights.  I look for hearty soup recipes and other meals with shrimp or chicken to help warm us in the early months of the year. This recipe comes from Martha Stewart and is another hit in our home.  Very easy to prepare and in under one hour, your family will enjoy a delicious and healthy dinner.

Here is how I prepared this meal.  First, gather these ingredients:  2 boneless chicken breasts, ground pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 large box white mushrooms, 1 can stewed tomatoes/14.5 ounces, dried oregano

Using the olive oil in my Staub pot, I heated it first and then added the two chicken breasts.  Season with pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes, turning over to brown both sides.  Remove from the pot and cook the mushrooms.  Cover during the cooking process, stirring half way after 3 minutes.  Cook until soft and moist.  Add tomatoes and season with oregano.  Reduce the heat and cook on medium until tomatoes are in small pieces, and flavors have blended.  I keep the cover on the pot for about 10 minutes during this phase of cooking.

Then, return the chicken to the pot and cook until the chicken is fully cooked and heated. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or other starch. Or, for a lower carbohydrate meal, omit the starches. This dish has great flavor and is very satisfying.

Tomato and Cheese Tart

Inspired by the Food Network magazine, September 2016 issue, I made this tart last week.  This is a great recipe, as the puff pastry works perfectly to create a tasty savory tart.  This could be a wonderful Super Bowl appetizer, or could be used alongside an arugula salad for a delicious lunch entrée.  This tart will provide four generous servings.

To make this appetizer tart, gather these ingredients.  One frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed less than 20 minutes–1 1/4 cups Fontina cheese, 5 slices of crumbled microwave bacon cooked, 3 medium Roma tomatoes sliced, dried thyme, Kosher salt, ground pepper, 2 Tablespoons Egg Beaters.

First, roll out the thawed puff pastry on a silpat mat or parchment lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with cheese, keeping a nice border edge for folding later.  Top with the bacon and tomato sliced in three rows, slightly overlapping.

Next, season with thyme, salt and pepper.  Fold in the long ends first and slice with a knife in one inch apart vents.  Then, fold in the smaller ends.  Brush with Egg Beaters.  Place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned and puffed. Slice and serve warm.  Easy and quite delicious.

  

Grape tomato frittata

I am still harvesting grape tomatoes from my two summer plants which cost $1.82 each at the VanOogethem farm and greenhouse last May.  I have been using them in so many great dishes this Fall and just love the fact that my little kitchen garden can produce this product so easily for us.

One of my favorite ways to use these little tomatoes has to be in vegetable frittatas.  I found another great recipe to share that was simply so tasty for any meal of the day.

It was adapted from Bobby Deen’s Everyday Eats cookbook.  Gather these ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 small thinly sliced white onion, 1 small sliced zucchini, 1 cup of grape tomatoes which have been sliced in half, fresh basil, salt and pepper to taste, 4 large eggs and 1 cup of egg beaters, Parmesan cheese.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat oil in a large 10 inch non-stick skillet, and saute the onion and zucchini about four minutes.  Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and continue to heat on the stove top.

Next, in a bowl, beat eggs, salt, pepper and a couple of tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Pour over the vegetables and cook until the eggs set for a couple of minutes.  I usually tilt the pan back and forth so that the eggs cook evenly.

Take the skillet off the stove top and bake in the oven about 13 minutes until brown.  Serve warm and enjoy! This is a perfect recipe to serve with a side salad, fresh fruit, a breakfast meat, or with a popover. This recipe will easily serve six people.

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cherry tomato tortellini soup

Homemade soup is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.  Soup is easy to make and can be easily frozen for other meals in the future.  I made this soup in early November when the colder weather was just beginning to come to Michigan.  Today, the snow is on the ground and it is so easy to be able to just bring out a meal from the freezer to warm up and enjoy by the fireplace.

Serve this soup with either a side salad or some crusty bread for a delicious meal.  Enjoy!

Gather and prepare these ingredients for assembling the soup:  2 tablespoons olive oil, one large container of cherry tomatoes, minced garlic to taste, salt and pepper to taste, 4-6 cups chicken stock, frozen cheese tortellini, dried basil and parsley, 3 green onions, shredded white cheese.

In a large deep pot, heat the olive oil and add the tomatoes.  Add the garlic and salt and pepper.  Cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and continue to cook to heat until it boils. Add the tortellini and cook to directions on the bag.  I did not use the whole bag, but adjusted to the amount of stock.

Serve in large cups or bowls, topped with shredded white cheese.  So tasty and delicious!