April 17, 2016

creamy bacon spinach ravioli

Oh my word. This pasta ranks in the top 5 things that I make in my kitchen. Without question! It's easy, creamy, smokey, rich, and AMAZING! And it's a cinch to make! Top this pasta with a pretty variety of heirloom tomatoes and you've got yourself a show stopper, y'all! Click HERE to watch the online episode loaded with tips and techniques!  

CREAMY BACON SPINACH RAVIOLI
1 package fresh cheese-filled ravioli (or filling of your choice)
6 strips of bacon, cut into pieces and sauteed until crisp (fat reserved)
2 shallots, sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
4 Tbls unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup chicken stock
¾-1 cup grated parmesan
1 package fresh spinach, not frozen - approximately 4 cups
Fresh grape tomatoes, halved or small heirloom tomatoes, cubed
Salt & Pepper
Extra parmesan to grate over the pasta at the end!

 Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot and have it ready to go when it’s time to boil the ravioli (which boils very quickly.) So be ready! Saute bacon in a deep saute pan or braiser, remove to a paper towel-lined tray to drain, reserve fat. Saute sliced shallots in reserved fat until tender. Stir in garlic and saute until fragrant. Add butter and stir until melted. Str in heavy cream and the chicken stock that have been warming on the stove. Whisk so the liquids are combined. Bring to a low simmer, stir in the parmesan until melted. Taste for seasoning. Salt and pepper as needed. Add ravioli to boiling water and cook according to package instructions - do not overcook or the filling will seep out! In the few minutes that the pasta is cooking, stir in fresh spinach to the cream sauce, cover with a lid, allowing to wilt; stir into the cream sauce. Using a slotted spoon or pasta strainer, carefully transfer the cooked ravioli into the cream mixture. Stir carefully into the sauce. Spoon into warmed shallow dishes and top with crumbled bacon, sliced tomatoes, and additional parmesan cheese.

April 13, 2016

bananas foster crepes

You know those nights when you want a little something light and a little something rich and a little something luscious and a little something warm but a little something cold. THIS IS IT! Bananas foster crepes hit the spot all the way around. The crepe batter is simple and can be made ahead. You can use a real honest-to-goodness crepe pan (from Euna Mae's of course!) OR you can use your best nonstick skillet to make these beautiful little crepes. Then whisk and warm the most mouthwatering sauce of butter, brown sugar, lemon, cinnamon, pecans and bananas AND OH MY! The prettiest and most fabulous dessert ever! Use this crepe recipe for all kinds of other toppings and fillings! Nutella and strawberries! Mint chocolate chip ice cream and hot fudge! You name it. Yum any way you look at it! Watch the episode HERE full of tips and techniques on making crepes!

 BANANAS FOSTER CREPES
{for the crepes}
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk
½ cup water
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp melted butter, cooled
1 tsp vanilla
3 heaping Tbsp powdered sugar

In a blender, combine all ingredients. Pulse about 10-15 times until mixed. Refrigerate for an hour or up to 2 days.

When time to prepare, heat a crepe pan or a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. With pan lifted off of the heat, ladle batter in pan, swirling quickly to cover the bottom of the pan. Set pan down on heat, and cook until the edges of the crepe start to barely brown and turn paper, just starting to lift away from the pan. Gently run a utensil around the edge of the crepe, loosening it from the pan. Fold in half, then half again. Slide off onto parchment sheets, silicone mat, or dessert plate. Repeat with all batter until you have approximately 8 crepes.

{for the bananas foster}
¼ cup unsalted butter
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp of rum extract
2 Tbsp water
1-2 tsp vanilla
Splash of heavy cream
4 bananas, cut in half and then lengthwise
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Chopped pecans

Work quickly; have everything prepped and ready to go!
In a large skillet or pan with high sides, melt butter and stir in dark brown sugar over medium low heat. Quickly stir in lemon juice, rum extract, water, vanilla; and stir well to combine, making sure brown sugar is dissolved. Splash in cream and stir. Mixture should be smooth and barely simmering. Lay banana quarters in slowly simmering sauce and spoon warm sauce over bananas, just heating them through. Don’t cook too long or the bananas will get mushy! Just before serving, sprinkle with cinnamon and stir in chopped pecans.

Spoon warm bananas and sauce over crepes and top with vanilla bean ice cream. 

April 12, 2016

shepherd's pie with puff pastry

Well, it doesn't get any more comforting than Shepherd's Pie does it? A warm baked casserole loaded with tender beef, vegetables, and cream sauce. THEN slathered in a layer of mashed potatoes. THEN I go and slap a puff pastry on top to push it right.over.the.edge. #sorrynotsorry It's hearty and satisfying. This dish is one the every single person in my house goes back for to get seconds. (And if you've got children, you know what a BIG THANG it is when there's a meal that pleases every mouth in the house!) This dish requires little skill but big appetites! Click HERE to watch the online episode filled with step-by-step instructions on making this beautiful, soul-satisfying meal!

SHEPHERD’S PIE WITH PUFF PASTRY
Makes one 9x13 casserole

1 lb ground lamb + ½ lb ground beef/turkey
*Or use 1 1/2 lbs ground beef 80/20
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped/cubed carrots
1 cup frozen peas
¼ cup flour
4 cups beef stock
2Tbl tomato paste
Fresh/chopped or dried rosemary
salt/pepper
5-6 cups of your favorite mashed potatoes (real or instant)
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

In a large skillet, brown ground meat with onion. Spoon out a little of the fat. Stir in garlic and carrots; stir until fragrant and becoming tender. Stir in frozen peas. Shake flour over mixture; and stir well. Stir in about 2 cups of beef stock or enough to just cover the mixture. Stir in tomato paste. Salt/pepper like crazy and stir well, allowing to simmer and thicken just a little. Stir in rosemary. Taste for seasoning.

Spoon into an oven-safe dish. Top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with shredded white cheddar. Cover with sheet of thawed puff pastry. Cut slits for pastry to vent steam. Brush with egg wash or cream. Salt and pepper the top of the pastry. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Then increase temperature to 400 and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.


April 11, 2016

easy grilled flatbread pizzas three ways

Can I get an amen for any recipe that starts with a can of refrigerated dough?! This recipe does! Can you believe it?! Something this pretty is so easy?! Well, these grilled flatbread pizzas are a piece of cake to make on a busy weeknight. Or have a build-your-own-pizza dinner party with friends! Load up your pizzas with whatever toppings you like! But these three are delicious! Classic pepperoni & basil, pesto & mozzarella, and prosciutto, caramelized shallots & arugula! Fresh mozzarella is the key. You can find it in your fancy cheese section at the grocery. But y'all, it's worth it! Click HERE to watch the Cooking Today episode featuring these easy grilled flatbread pizzas! 

GRILLED FLATBREAD PIZZA THREE WAYS

1 can of thin crust refrigerated pizza dough
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Cornmeal for work area

{classic pepperoni pizza}
Jarred marinara sauce
Pepperoni
Sliced mozzarella
Basil, leaves rolled and cut in chiffonade*

{easy pesto pizza}
Jarred pesto (or fresh if you’re feeling ambitious)
Fresh sliced mozzarella

{caramelized scallions and prosciutto pizza}
Olive oil
Crumbled goat cheese
3-4 shallots, thinly sliced and caramelized
Baby arugula*
Prosciutto*

Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat.
Roll out refrigerated pizza dough on an area sprinkled with cornmeal, cut into four squares.
Brush the tops with olive oil then salt and pepper.
Place one square on grill pan and grill until the underneath side has dark grill marks and easily releases from the pan. Flip over and grill on the other side. Remove crust, set aside, and repeat with other pieces of dough.

Preheat oven to 450.

Layer grilled crusts in order of ingredients shown. Ingredients marked with an asterisk* should be added after the pizzas come out of the oven. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 7-10 minutes or until cheeses are melted and crusts look golden and yummy! Remove from oven and add cold toppings marked above.

April 08, 2016

best-ever chicken pot pie

I know a lot of people title their recipes with "best-ever" so that you'll be tricked into trying the recipe. But I don't use the term "best-ever" lightly. I mean business with this chicken pot pie, y'all. Business.  

Chicken pot pie is my go-to care meal. It's what I make and send for folks when they have a baby, have a surgery, need a little lovin', or whenever else they have a need to be fed. This dish is C-O-M-F-O-R-T. It's creamy, hearty, and loaded with good stuff. And crust on top of anything naturally is something I love. A little surprise of parmesan cheese in the cream sauce plus a savory, salty crust make this pie a family favorite! Click HERE to watch the Cooking Today episode with step-by-step instructions on making this dish!

Chicken Pot Pie
{serves 6-8 people, depending on your people}
 
2 large breasts, boiled/torn
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups frozen green beans
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup flour
14.5 oz. can new potatoes, cubed
1 teaspoon thyme, optional
heavy salt and pepper
1 box refrigerated pie crust
grated Parmesan {optional}
pats of butter
whipping cream or egg wash
 
Boil chicken breasts in well salted water. Combine chicken stock and cream in a small sauce pan with a tablespoon or two of butter. Saute carrots and onions together in olive oil and a little butter til tender. Add chopped garlic, and saute until garlic is fragrant. Stir in green beans and peas; stir vegetables together. Then, shake about a ½ cup of flour over all the vegetables and stir to coat. Slowly stir in the chicken stock/cream mixture; on low heat allow the mixture to simmer a little. Stir in new potatoes, thyme leaves, and shredded chicken. Salt and pepper heavily—taste for seasoning. The cream sauce should taste well salted.
 
Anchor Spoon into oven safe bowls or dishes. Grate fresh parmesan around the top, and add a pat of butter on top before placing your crust on top. Top with frozen biscuits, refrigerated pie crust, or homemade pie crust, with just a brush of whipping cream so it will bake golden brown. Add salt and pepper over the top of the crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes til the crust of your choice is golden brown and the mixture is thick and bubbling.