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Saturday 04, 2023

Best Ever Pizza Bagels

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 c.  finely chopped artichoke hearts

    finely chopped artichoke hearts

    1/2 c.  finely chopped spinach

  • 1 c.  shredded mozzarella, divided

  • 1/2 c.  freshly grated Parmesan

  • 1  garlic clove, minced

  • 1 tbsp.  chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

  • 1/2 tsp.  crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish

    crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2  bagels, halved

    Directions

    1. Step 1Preheat oven to 350° and line a medium cooking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, 2/3 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

    2. Step 2Place bagels cut side up on baking sheet and spread each with spinach-and-artichoke mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella. Bake until bagels are warmed through and cheese is melty, 10 to 12 minutes. Broil if desired.

    3. Step 3Garnish with more parsley and red pepper flakes, and serve.

     

    CHILI CON QUESO

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil

    • ½ pound ground beef extra lean

    • 1 teaspoon chili powder

    • 1 small red onion diced

    • 1 clove garlic minced

    • 4 ounce green chiles (1 can)

    • 1 jalapeno fresh, seeded and chopped

    • 14 ounce fire roasted tomatoes (1 can)

    • 1 cup evaporated milk

    • 1 cup velveeta cubed

    • 2½ cups monterery jack cheese shredded

    • 1 tablespoon cilantro fresh, chopped

    Instructions

    • Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet, or oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef to the skillet, season it with the chili powder, and cook for about 5 minutes until no longer pink, breaking it up as you go along.

    • Stir in the red onion and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes or until the onion softens and becomes translucent.

    • Add the green chiles, jalapeno, fire roasted tomatoes and stir. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to medium low. Add the evaporated milk and velveeta and cook for 2 more minutes or until the velveeta melts. Stir in 2 cups of the jack cheese and cook for another minute until it melts.

    • Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the remaining jack cheese over the top of the dip and place the skillet over the broiler for about 5 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Watch it so it doesn't burn.

    • Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

    Notes

    1. Meatless option: Skip the beef, just saute the onion, garlic in the olive oil and then continue with the rest of the steps.

    2. What is evaporated milk: Evaporated milk, also known as unsweetened condensed milk in some countries, is a canned milk product with about 60% of the water removed from fresh milk. It's a dense, creamy, and ultra-concentrated milk. You can usually find it in the baking aisle at your local grocery store.

    3. Why use evaporated milk: It's used in this dip to provide extra creaminess or body without the fat of real cream.

    4. Why velveeta: I used velveeta because if you truly want a silky queso, velveeta is the way to go, however feel free to use any shredded cheese you prefer such as Monterey Jack, Cheddar, etc, anything that is a great melting cheese.

    5. I don't have fire roasted tomatoes, can I use something else: Yes, of course. You can use regular canned diced tomatoes or just fresh tomatoes and chop them up yourself. I like the smoky flavor from the fire roasted tomatoes, which is why I chose it for this recipe.

    6. I don't have a cast iron skillet, can I use something else: Yes! Feel free to use any skillet that is oven safe. If you don't have an oven safe skillet, transfer the chile con queso to a 9x13 baking dish or a 9 inch round baking dish.

    7. I can't find canned green chiles, what else can I use: Keep in mind that canned green chiles are not really spicy at all, so one substitute could be roasted bell peppers. 

    8. Is this dip spicy: Yes, it is. It's spicy because I use a whole jalapeno pepper, and my jalapeno was quite big, so feel free to omit it or use as much or as little as you like. 

    9. What can I serve this dip with: I love to serve this with tortilla chips, carrots and celery sticks. However, any crispy crackers would also work.

 

January 28, 2023

Beets And Goat Cheese Pasta

Ingredients

  • 3 medium red beets peeled and cut into small 1-inch pieces

  • 1 medium onion peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 head garlic

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 ounces goat cheese crumbled

  • ¼ cup vegetable broth heated

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 8 ounces pasta such as penne, uncooked

  • ¼ cup pistachios crushed

  • 3 fresh basil leaves sliced

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Place the red beets and onion on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well. 

  • Slice about 1/2" off the top of the head of garlic; enough to expose each clove. Place the head on a sheet of foil. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the head of garlic, then sprinkle the salt over top. Wrap the foil to cover the head of garlic completely. Place on the baking sheet.

  • Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes.

  • In the meantime, cook the pasta according to package instructions to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. 

  • Once the veggies are roasted, place the roasted beets and onion in a food processor. Squeeze the garlic cloves from the head into the food processor. 

  • Add 2 ounces of the goat cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, hot vegetable broth and honey to the pasta and process until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. If the sauce is too thick add some of the reserved pasta water. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.

  • Combine the cooked pasta with the prepared sauce in a bowl and toss well to combine. Garnish with remaining goat cheese, crushed pistachios and fresh basil. Serve immediately.

 

Moussaka

Ingredients

Potato Layer

  • 4 medium potatoes peeled, sliced into ¼ inch slices

  • 1 medium red onion sliced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste

  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Eggplant Layer

  • 1 large eggplant cut into ¼ inch slices

  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste

  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper or to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Zucchini Layer

  • 1 large zucchini sliced into ¼ inch slices

  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste

  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper or to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Meat Layer

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium red onion chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic minced

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste

  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon allspice

  • ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning

  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes 1 can

Bechamel Layer

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 stick

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups milk

  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

  • 3 egg yolks

  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.

  • Start by tossing the sliced potatoes and red onion with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano in a medium size bowl.

  • Spread them in a single layer on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes until they begin to soften and turn golden.

  • While the potatoes are baking, sweat the eggplant slices by placing on paper towels then sprinkling some salt over each slice. Let them sit like that for about 10 minutes then flip them over and sprinkle with additional salt. After 10 minutes you can soak up any water you may see over the eggplant with paper towels.

  • Spread the eggplant slices over the potatoes in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt, pepper, then sprinkle with the thyme and oregano. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.

  • Once again spread the zucchini slices over the eggplant layer in a single layer, then repeat by drizzling olive oil, seasoning with salt, pepper and sprinkle with the thyme and oregano. Bake for another 20 minutes.

  • In the meantime, prepare the meat. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until it softens, for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, just until the garlic becomes aromatic.

  • Add the ground meat and using a wooden spoon break it up into small pieces. Cook until it's no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the allspice, Italian seasoning, tomato paste and stir well. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates. Set aside.

  • To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the butter has melted whisk in the flour until it gets fully incorporated into the butter. Start to add the milk slowly. I usually add it in about 4 batches, so add 1/4 of the milk at a time, whisk until all the liquid is absorbed by the flour and repeat until you have whisked in all the milk.

  • When the sauce start to bubble, it will be ready to whisk in the pepper and nutmeg. Add the egg yolks to the sauce and whisk them in well. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, bring the sauce to a boil again and remove from heat.

  • Add about ¼ of this sauce to the meat mixture and stir.

  • Spread the meat filling over the vegetable layers, then pour the bechamel sauce over the meat and smooth it out with a spatula or spoon.

  • Bake for another 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

  • Remove from the oven and allow it to cool at least 1 hour before cutting it into pieces.

  • Garnish with parsley if preferred before serving.

 

Saturday January 21, 2023

Spanakopita


(It's easier than you think)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 onion chopped

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ cup green onion chopped

  • 10 ounce spinach frozen

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1½ cups feta cheese crumbled

  • 2 eggs beaten

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg ground

  • 8 tablespoons butter unsalted, melted (1 stick)

  • 14 sheets phyllo

  • 2 tablespoons oregano dried

  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated, optional

Instructions

  • Take the phyllo dough out of the freezer to allow it time to defrost. Using a clean kitchen towel, squeeze all excess moisture out of spinach. In a large skillet heat the olive oil on medium heat. 

  • In a large skillet heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and green onion and sauté until soft. Add the spinach and  and sauté until the spinach is limp. Stir in the lemon juice, and remove off the heat. Let cool. If there is excess liquid, place the mixture in a colander and squeeze out the excess liquid.

  • Cool the spinach mixture completely. Beat the eggs with the feta and nutmeg in a medium size bowl. Add the cheese mixture to the spinach mixture and mix until it’s all incorporated well together.

  • To 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

  • Unroll the phyllo dough and lay one sheet flat on your work surface. For the remaining phyllo dough, cover it with a damp towel, so it won’t dry out. Brush the sheet with melted butter, then sprinkle with a bit of oregano. Add one more sheet and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with oregano.

  • Using a pizza cutter, cut the sheets lengthwise into 4 long pieces, about 2 inch strips. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling near 1 corner of the phyllo strip. Fold the end at an angle over the filling to form a triangle. Continue to fold the triangle along the strip until you reach the end, like folding a flag. Repeat this with the remaining phyllo and filling.

  • Place your spanakopita triangles on your baking sheets and brush with butter, then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over them if you wish. Bake them for 30 minutes until the triangles are golden brown and crisp. Let cool slightly before serving.

 

Zucchini Slice

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped

  • 300g/10.6ozs bacon, rind removed, finely chopped (you can sub bacon with feta if you want to make it vegetarian)

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

  • 500g/1.1lb zucchini, grated and spread out on paper towels

  • 2/3 cup corn kernels

  • 1 cup self raising flour

  • 1 cup grated cheese

  • 4 eggs

  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped

  • 2-3 red chillies, chopped (optional)

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Pinch of sugar

Directions

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a 20x30cms rectangular tin on the base and sides with parchment. Heat a frying pan on medium high heat and saute bacon and onion until cooked through and liquid evaporates. If you are making this vegetarian just cook the onions and crumble in the feta with the zucchini.

Step 2 - Place the garlic, zucchini, corn, flour, cheese, parsley, chillies in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk together and add this to the bowl along with the cooked bacon and onion, salt, pepper and sugar. Mix until combined and then spread out into the prepared tin. Bake for 40 minutes.

 

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