Kale and Meatball Soup

Kale and Meatballs Soup

Kale and Meatball Soup

I am at the end of my rope with my kale.  Matt keeps mentioning blanching, freezing, saving for the end of the world…. I have enough in my freezer at this point to last us until we have grand children…WHICH WON’T BE ANYTIME SOON!  So, what’s a resourceful girl like me to do?  Make soup.  In August.  This happens a lot at our house, seasons don’t dictate our menu.  Need and what I crave usually do.

About this soup.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Isn’t it interesting that I have to set the tone for a soup…in august…about kale!?  That being said feel free to substitute, switch, add to your liking or mood, freelance, go with the flow…. cool?  Great!  Knew I could count on you guys!

who says you can't eat soup this delicious in August?!!!

who says you can’t eat soup this delicious in August?!!!

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

1 lb ground beef (or chicken, turkey, pork or sausage)

1/3 cup Panko

1 egg

1 tablespoon each: fresh basil, thyme and parsley

salt and pepper

For the soup:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 cup diced carrots

1 15.5-ounce can great northern beans

8 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 lb)

8 cups vegetable broth (or chicken)

1 cup orzo (or any small pasta)

1 tablespoon each: fresh thyme, basil and parsley

Parmesan Cheese for serving

How to:

For the meatballs:

In a large bowl combine all your ingredients: ground meat, Panko, egg, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.  Combine well and form into small to medium size meatballs.  Set aside.

cute little meatballs!

cute little meatballs!

browning in all its glory!

browning in all its glory!

For the soup:

In a large dutch oven heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.  Working in batches brown your meatballs on all sides.  Set aside on a baking sheet.  (you do not have to cook your meatballs completely, they will finish cooking in your broth).

Do not clean your dutch oven from browning the meatballs (this is full of flavor!) add a bit of olive oil if needed or simply use what is left.  Sautee your onion and carrots until soft and fragrant, 4-5 minutes.  Add your beans and broth, bring to a boil.  Add your kale and orzo, cook for another 7-8 minutes until pasta is al dente.

that's a big pot of scrumptious soup!

that’s a big pot of scrumptious soup!

Ladle your soup into your serving bowl topped with some Parmesan cheese.

bright, healthy and superbly delicious!

bright, healthy and superbly delicious!

Printer Friendly: Kale and Meatball Soup

Note: this is somewhat similar to an Italian Wedding Soup, but out of respect for the “real” deal I don’t think mine is exactly that.  Which is why I call my soup: Kale and Meatballs Soup.

time to fill my belly!

time to fill my belly!

Peace and Dictate Your Menu,

Isabelle

Grilled Maque Choux and Shrimp

Grilled Maque Choux and Shrimp

Grilled Maque Choux and Shrimp

Maque choux /’ma:kju:/ is a traditional dish of southern Louisinana.  It is thought to be an amalgam of Acadian French (Cajun) and American Indian cultural influence, and the name is likely to derive from the French interpretation of the Native American name.

Thank you Wikipedia

This dish is often a side dish but I’ve had it as a main course and it was a perfectly satisfying dish!  It is not something that you see often here in Indiana…although with the abundance of corn surrounding us it should be part of everyone’s menu!  Got to use that corn in many ways otherwise the peeps might get bored!  😉

I decided to add some more flavors to my version by grilling the ingredients and adding some grilled shrimp to round up this mouth-watering dish!  It was spectacular!  I love this dish, to the moon and back!

this is simply ammmuuuuuuziiiiing!

this is simply ammmmaaaaaaziiiiing!

Ingredients:

5 ears corn

1 green bell pepper (I didn’t have a big bell pepper from my garden so I did one small and one poblano)

1 jalapeno (optional…but oh so delicious!)

2 cups cherry tomatoes (I had a variety of cherry tomatoes)

1 onion, cut into thick slices

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and cleaned

Zest and Juice 1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Grilled slices of Tuscan bread (for serving, optional)

How to:

First you must cook your corn: 10 minutes or so in boiling water.  Set aside while you get everything ready.

In a large bowl combine your shrimp, zest and juice of lemon, thyme and parsley, salt and pepper (approx. 1 teaspoon each).  Cover and put in your fridge until ready to use.

good little shrimp marinating....good job!

good little shrimp marinating….good job!

Skewer your cherry tomatoes onto metal or soaked wooden skewers.  Put on a large baking sheet.  Lay out your pepper, jalapeno, cooked corn, and sliced onion, drizzle everything with a little bit of olive oil, add a touch of salt and pepper.  Time to start the grill.  Once nice and hot add your vegetables and DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE.  Make sure everything gets beautiful grill marks.  Have a clean baking sheet ready and depending on time and heat, remove the vegetables once ready.  You need to pay attention because most likely the tomatoes will be ready first and start bursting.  Turn each veggie around so they get color all over.  When all done, set aside to cool for a few minutes (too hot to handle!).

grill shot...always a shot in the dark...hahaha I kill myself!  ;)

grill shot…always a shot in the dark…hahaha I kill myself! 😉

yum! yum! all grilled up!

yum! yum! all grilled up!

Meanwhile back at the shrimp!  Skewer your shrimp for the grill.  Set aside.

When your veggies are touch cooler, time to chop everything.  Chop your onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomatoes (KEEP ALL THE JUICES), cut corn off the cobs.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large pan.  Add all your vegetables (and juices) and toss everything together.  Let this cook on medium-low for about 10 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon butter.  Mix everything well and cook for another 5 minutes, on low.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

almost there....still missing the creaminess factor!

almost there….still missing the creaminess factor!

now...that's what I am talking about! YUMMO!

now…that’s what I am talking about! YUMMO!

Heat up your grill again.  Time to grill your shrimp.  Stay put…these should only take about 5 minutes.  Do not overcook your shrimp or you may as well eat rubber!  😉

shrimp shot!  ;)

shrimp shot!

Put your Maque Choux into your serving bowl, top with shrimp and a nice thick piece of grilled bread.  Dig in!

first bite...it's love...oh wait I forgot something!

first bite…it’s love…oh wait I forgot something!

now I am ready to dig in!

now I am ready to dig in!

Note: this serves 4 as a main course, or 6ish as a side dish or one hungry Isabelle…you pick!  So delicious, so fresh and so unexpected in the middle of summer, a welcome change to corn on the cob!

so simply pretty delicously good (I don't even make sense anymore!)

simply pretty delicously good (I don’t even make sense anymore!)

Printer Friendly: Grilled Maque Choux and Shrimp

Peace and I am never bored,

Isabelle

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Manchego Sauce

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Manchego Cheese Sauce

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Manchego Cheese Sauce

This year when we planned our pepper garden I had one goal in mind: poblano peppers to make this recipe with my own poblanos… I didn’t want to use store bought, I wanted the freshest most delicious peppers I could get.

I love this recipe.  In fact everyone at my house loves this recipe.  I found the original idea on one of  Rachael Ray‘s shows back in ’08.  The only reason I changed it up a little is because hers is somewhat time consuming and I wanted it to be a recipe I could throw together pretty quickly, especially on a week night (even in the summer our week nights seem to be super busy!)

Rachael Ray gives directions for a side of black beans with roasted garlic.  Honestly they are very good black beans but at the end of the day serve it with what ever beans, salad or even guacamole and chips your heart desires.  It’s that simple: pick a side!   The magic really is the amazing filling and the mind blowing manchego cheese sauce.

Note: the Poblano peppers are delicious in this recipe but don’t get stuck on them,  just change to any peppers you like.  Poblanos are slightly spicy so I always use a couple bell peppers for my kids or anyone who doesn’t like spicy food.  I also had to improvise since I didn’t have that many Poblanos ready when I could no longer wait and HAD to make this recipe.  😉

perfectly delicious!

perfectly delicious!

Ingredients:

8 large poblano peppers (you may need more depending on size or kind you select)
2 pounds ground beef (or chicken or pork)
1/2 cup cooked white rice
1 tablespoon cumin
1 can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes (15 ounces)
1 1/2 cup cilantro roughly chopped, plus more for serving
4-5 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (about 1 teaspoon each)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided (1/4 cup is for peppers)
1 3/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups grated manchego* cheese
Hot sauce, to taste

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.

To prepare the peppers for stuffing, lay them down on their sides (move them around to find the best way to lay them) and take a thin slice off one of the sides leaving both the stem end and the bottom of the pepper intact.  Finely chop up the removed slices and reserve in a large mixing bowl.  With a small spoon, scrape out and remove the seeds and guts from each pepper and discard.

peppers with their tops off....oh my! ;)

peppers with their tops off….oh my! 😉

To the bowl with the reserved chopped pieces of pepper, add your ground beef/meat, rice, cumin, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, lime juice, salt and pepper.  With your hands or a spoon, combine all the ingredients thoroughly.

Using a spoon or your hands, stuff each of your pepper boats with the meat mixture.  Once they’re filled, arrange the peppers in your prepared casserole dish, alternating stem end and bottom end so that they all fit snugly in the pan.  Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock to the pan and cover with tin foil.  Transfer the pan to the oven and bake 45-50 minutes.  Remove foil and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until nicely brown and cooked through.

Stuffed!

Stuffed!

Baked!

Baked!

About 10 or 15 minutes before the peppers come out of the oven, make your cheese sauce.  Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the flour and cook for one minute.  Whisk in 1 1/4 cup of chicken stock and the milk, and bring up to a bubble.  Cook until thickened.  Season with some salt and pepper, turn the heat down to low and stir in the cheese until melted.  Reserve until ready to serve.

the lovely cheese sauce....which may or may not be totally awesome with bread sticks....just sayin'

the lovely cheese sauce….which may or may not be totally awesome with bread sticks….just sayin’

Remove your peppers from the oven.  To serve, cover the bottom of four serving plates with a little of the cheese sauce, then place one or two of the roasted peppers in the middle of the plate.  Top with some more cheese sauce and cilantro.

I wish you could have been here with me to enjoy this awesome dish! YUMMY!

I wish you could have been here with me to enjoy this awesome dish! YUMMY!

*Note: Manchego cheese is quite expensive, you could substitute with extra sharp white cheddar or half cheddar/half manchego.

Printer Friendly: Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Manchego Cheese Sauce

Peace and Mind Blowing,

Isabelle

Summertime Salads

Here’s a little compilation of my favorite summertime salads.

I was talking to the lovely and gorgeous Beth the other day at my cousin McKenna’s open house (yay!  done with high school…on to more schooling!  HA!  Life…).  We talked about the “famous” Wild Rice Salad.  To which my friend Jenny (from Jenny’s Famous Chicken Salad ) said she was very much expecting me to show up with this particular salad for the open house…alas I made Laura’s Mac and Cheese .

Why?  Because I worked all day Thursday, spent Friday at BFF’s Aislinn’s yard sale without Aislinn (because her kids are jinxed and always end up at the emergency room on yard sale day…!) and finally at a Lacrosse Tournament on Saturday from 8am till 4pm for 4 games….so I made a quadruple batch of mac and cheese in 40 minutes (I am not kidding you!) so it could be ready for the open house at 6pm.

And this is why I didn’t show up with the perfectly lovely summer Wild Rice Salad.

And this is why I am sharing with you delicious wonderful ideas for your summertime feeding frenzy!  Also because Beth and Jenny told me to make this little compilation and I aim to please!

Wild Rice Salad

The "famous" Wild Rice Salad. Trust me once you make it you will fall in love!

The “famous” Wild Rice Salad. Trust me once you make and taste it you will fall in love!

Southwest Chicken Salad

Mr. Man's amazing chicken salad....love a man that can cook!

Mr. Man’s amazing chicken salad….love a man that can cook!

Grilled Potato Pesto Salad

a perfect change for the old mayo potato salad! Scrumptious!

a perfect change from the old mayo potato salad! Scrumptious!

Best Caesar Salad EVER!!!!!

I make this waaaaay too much but it is beyond incredible, it's more than perfect!  I think it's magical (yup! magical!)

I make this way too much but it is beyond incredible, it’s more than perfect! I think it’s magical (yup! magical!)

Kale Salad

I have to be honest...I have made this salad about 5 times so far this summer! I adore it!

I have to be honest…I have made this salad about 5 times so far this summer! I adore it!

Angie’s Summer Salad

Healthy, fresh, and so easy to make!

Healthy and Fresh, the addition of crisp apples is perfect!

Chicken Ramen Salad

the infamous potluck Ramen Salad! If it's good why change it, right?

The infamous potluck Ramen Salad! If it’s good why change it, right?

Asparagus and Parmesan Salad

this salad is my old stand-by salad...been making this since the girls were tiny babies!

this salad is my old stand-by salad…been making this since the girls were tiny babies!

Shaved Asparagus Salad

I know 2 asparagus salads...yes...they are equally amazing!  DELISH!

I know…2 asparagus salads…yes…they are equally amazing! DELISH!

Cauliflower Salad

I think the capes might be what makes this so wonderful

I think the capers might be what makes this so wonderful

Nicole’s Fresh Strawberry and Spinach Salad

so in love with this fresh colorful salad

So in love with this fresh colorful salad

Orzo Tuna Salad

Orzo Tuna Salad

Who wants a heavy tuna casserole when you can make this fresh and gorgeous salad! YUM!

Fruit Salad with Orange and Agave Sauce

 

Some days you need something a little fruity!

Some days you need something a little fruity!

Jenny’s Delicious Chicken Salad

I couldn't leave out this mind blowing mouth watering salad!

I couldn’t leave out this mind blowing mouth watering salad!

Hope this gives you a little taste of summer!  Let’s get cooking!

Oh and before I go….

Cheers to you Beth! I know it's one of your favorite!

Cheers to you Beth! I know it’s one of your favorites!

A Lemontini makes everyone happy!

Peace and Let’s Have a Salad,

Isabelle

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

It’s the same old story: PASTA.  I love pasta.  There is no other way to say it.  I think I have only heard maybe once or twice in my lifetime someone say they didn’t like pasta.  Honestly my first thought was: “we can’t be friends, who doesn’t like pasta?!!!”.  Sad but true….that’s me making friends through food since 1969!  :/

So here I am making more pasta and trying to incorporate what I love most: roasted vegetables.  It’s my easy out on weeknights when I am hurrying to make dinner: cut all the veggies, put them in a large bowl, drizzle olive oil, a few good grinds of fresh pepper and a generous amount of kosher salt.  In the oven it goes at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or until all my other dishes come together…if we are being honest here!)  It truly is a no-brainer.  My kids absolutely love roasted vegetables, really any will work or a combination of a few or many…. a great clean your fridge type of dish.

I am sure you could substitute the broccoli but I think the flavor and color just makes a gorgeous anytime dish.  The finishing touch with the toasted breadcrumbs is absolutely fantastic.  I guess you could use store-bought breadcrumbs but you would be cheating yourself….trust me…the extra little step is worth it!  AND you can do it ahead of time!  🙂

This totally rocked my pasta socks!

This totally rocked my pasta socks!

Ingredients:

3 broccoli heads (one package usually has 2-3)

1 onion minced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (or less if you don’t like spicy)

1 cup dry white wine (or chicken/vegetable broth if you prefer)

1/2 cup fresh basil roughly chopped

1 cup toasted fresh breadcrumbs (see below on how to)

1 lb pasta (I like rigatoni for this dish but I think any short “fat” noodles will work)

Parmesan Cheese for serving

How to:

For the toasted breadcrumbs:

In your food processor pulse 2-3 pieces of country bread to make about 1 cup (this is not an exact science but it’s just delicious madness).  In a medium size pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add your fresh breadcrumbs and gently toast while stirring…I suggest you keep an eye on them…they tend to burn rather quickly!  Add 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  When nicely toasted set them aside until ready to use.

fresh breadcrumbs

fresh breadcrumbs

toasted breadcrumbs...oh the logic!

toasted breadcrumbs…oh the logic!

For your roasted broccoli: 

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Set aside.

Cut your broccoli, including the stem (I cut about 1-2 inches off the bottom but I always use the stem).  It is DELICIOUS!  Taste the same as the florets and loaded with vitamins!  No waste!  Put in a large bowl, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper.  Toss everything well and put in your prepared baking sheet.  Put in your preheated oven for 15 minutes.  When done set aside until ready to use.

gorgeous broccoli!

gorgeous broccoli!

perfect!

perfect!

For the pasta and sauce:

Cook pasta according to package directions, but I would suggest you cook them very “al dente”.  They will continue to cook for a minute or so in the pan.  Keep 1 cup of your cooking water.

In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Add your pepper flake and gently heat while stirring (so nothing burns and gets bitter) for about 1-2 minutes.  Add your onions and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until soft and fragrant.  Add you garlic and cook for another minute or so.  Add your wine and gently simmer until reduced by about half.  Add your broccoli, chopped basil, cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of your pasta water.  Toss everything together well and let this cook for 1-2 minutes more.

this smells so amazing!!!!

this smells so amazing!!!!

now this is what pasta should always look like!

now this is what pasta should always look like!

Time to serve; put your pasta and broccoli in a serving plate (no really….) top with parmesan cheese and a big ol’ amount of toasted breadcrumbs.  Dive it!  So fabulous!  I could eat this everyday!

ready for action!

ready for action!

you know how I feel about the perfect first bite....magnificent!

you know how I feel about the perfect first bite….magnificent!

Printer Friendly: Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Peace and We Have To Be Friends,

Isabelle

 

Nicole’s Fresh Strawberry and Spinach Salad

Fresh Strawberry and Spinach Salad

Fresh Strawberry and Spinach Salad

Nicole is one of our Lacrosse parents.  We had a lovely end of the season Award “pitch-in” dinner.  Nicole showed up with this AMAZING salad.  So in good Isabelle fashion I asked for the recipe….not in a subtle quiet way but a direct reply to all email that I was looking for the recipe….unless it was top-secret (but we all know I wasn’t about to back down that quietly).

I got the recipe and her blessing to share it with you my wonderful amazing fantastic readers!  ❤

I am/was a soccer player, therefore Lacrosse is foreign territory to me.  I know NOTHING about Lacrosse.  Mind you, I was a soccer mom before I became a Lacrosse mom.  I may have overstepped my bound being a soccer mom so it’s best I stay a Lacrosse Mom.

Here’s why I need to be a Lacrosse Mom: when Sunshine was playing soccer, she would be the back up goalie.  Once while she was in the goal, I kept telling her (from the side line as a super shark soccer mom…not proud) to do this or do that…etc…she was paying NO attention to me.  NONE.  So finally I said: “Can’t you hear me?”  She screamed (and I mean screamed for everyone to hear): “Yeah MOM I can hear you!  The whole world can hear YOU”.  I kept my trap shut after that and even now at Lacrosse you will find me in the cheering section: “way to go girls!  Keep up the good work girls!  Awesome!  Great! Amazing!  I love this game!! ….”

I have no clue what I am doing!

all I can say it: YUM SO FRESH!

Awesome! Great! Amazing! I love this salad!

But I know a delicious salad when I eat one!  😉

Ingredients:

For the salad:

1 9-ounce bag Baby spinach leaves (about 6 cups)

1 lb. container strawberries, sliced

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1 cup chopped pecans

Dressing:

1/2 cup sugar (mine was shy of 1/2 cup…trying to lower our sugar intake!)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon each poppy seeds & sesame seeds
How to:
In a medium size mason jar, combine your sugar, oil, red wine vinegar, worcestershire  sauce, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.  Give this a shake like you mean it.  This can be prepared ahead of time, put in your fridge and shaken (like a dirty Martini….) when ready to use!
there is separation in the ranks!

there is separation in the ranks!

see what a little shaking can do!

Shaken….not stirred  😉

In a large serving bowl combine your spinach, strawberries, shredded mozzarella and chopped pecans.  Toss with dressing when ready to serve.
stunning colors!

stunning colors!

action shot....just 'cause I can!

action shot….just ’cause I can!

fresh, healthy, pretty, and flavor galor!

fresh, healthy, pretty, and flavor galore!

Note: add the dressing right before you serve, I don’t think this salad sits very well unattended…it tends to get temperamental and looks sad… 😉
one last look, it's worth it! <3

one last look, it’s worth it! ❤

Peace and Know your Sports,
Isabelle

Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce and Homemade Ricotta

Homemade Ricotta and Raw Tomato Sauce

Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce and Homemade Ricotta

When I started typing this I was actually sitting at school subbing on the very last day of school.  Some people might call me crazy but I am happy to be here.  While the kids finished up their finals and turned in every books that weight down their famous backpack, I was reading “Delancey” by Molly Wizenberg.  Molly also wrote: “A Homemade Life “.  Both books are absolutely fantastic.  I couldn’t do her justice if I tried to explain how wonderful a writer she is.  I re-read a Homemade Life often.  It just makes me happy.  I will probably do the same with Delancey.

Back to being at school….it’s interesting to me that even when I get home totally exhausted from a day with kids I can’t wait to go back for more.  It is the strangest feeling.  I feel grounded when I am here with them.  I feel at home, which is odd for me, being a homebody is one of my proudest self-descriptions.  But here in these walls (different walls for different schools!) I feel OK, I am not wanting to run screaming for “my” home!  I can dream of food I want to make, plans for our home I have, write my never-ending to-do list, and so on….it’s good place for me.

On that day, I had a vision of pasta, it is a reoccurring vision.  Molly talks about Homemade Ricotta in her book and although I have never made it, I decided I should.  Simple as that, I should try to make ricotta.  What could possibly be better than Raw Tomato Sauce with delicious pasta and soon to be homemade ricotta?  Nothing.  Simple as that.

doesn't that look so delicious?

doesn’t that look so delicious?

Let’s start with the ricotta.  I followed Molly’s recipe, she found it here: Look I made that

Homemade Ricotta:

Ingredients:

6 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups cultured buttermilk

1 tablespoon salt

How to:

Combine everything in a large pot and cook over medium heat. When the mixture forms curds and the whey separates and becomes clear, turn off heat. Let it for 30 minutes for the curds to strengthen.

the start....seems like nothing but...

the start….seems like nothing but…

magical things are happening

magical things are happening

Set a strainer over a container and line with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Pour ricotta onto cheesecloth and let strain until a desired consistency is reached.

very high tech set up here!

very high tech set up here!

and just like that....

and just like that….

you have ricotta!

you have ricotta!

Stir in salt.

Raw Tomato Sauce:

Ingredients:

2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, finely chopped (keep all the juices)

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (plus more for serving)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound spaghetti (I had whole grain pasta today)

Olive Oil, for serving

How to:

*Possibly the easiest sauce ever….

<3

In a large bowl combine your chopped tomatoes with the juices, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper (approx 1 teaspoon each).  Toss well, set aside.

my sauce: a no-brainer

my sauce: a no-brainer

Cook your pasta al dente, keeping 1/2 cup of cooking water.

Serving:  Toss your cooked hot pasta with your Raw Tomato Sauce, put into your serving platter and add dollops of your delicious ricotta, drizzle with olive oil, and more fresh basil.  I like to serve this with more ricotta in a side dish for the gluttons (like me…) who need to add ricotta to every single bite!

this pasta is ready to meet the ricotta (what?)

this pasta is ready to meet the ricotta (what?)

PERFECTION!

PERFECTION!

Note: if needed add a bit of your pasta cooking water when tossing pasta with the sauce.  It will give it a bit more body, if your tomatoes happened to not be very juicy.

Another Note: some people call raw tomato sauce: fresh tomato sauce, either way it’s the same thing.  Bottom line you are not using any heat and/or cooking this sauce.

it's all mine!

it’s all mine!

Printer Friendly Homemade Ricotta:  Homemade Ricotta

Printed Friendly Raw Tomato Sauce: Raw Tomato Sauce

Other delicious ricotta recipes:

Ricotta Chocolate Chips Ice Cream

Delicious Ice Cream

Delicious Ice Cream

Rolled Eggplant with Sausage and Mozzarella

 

I need to make this ASAP

I need to make this ASAP

Easy Cannoli

 

So Easy and So Yummy!

So Easy and So Yummy!

Peace and Simple,

Isabelle

 

Fresh Herbs and Brie Quiche

Fresh Herbs and Brie Quiche

Fresh Herbs and Brie Quiche

I don’t make quiche all that often.  Yup, it’s not because one is French that quiche is a daily or even weekly meal.  Also it might have a little something to do with the fact that Mr. Man is not a fan of quiche….so real men sometimes don’t eat quiche!   No worries he can pull off a wonderful pink or purple dress shirt when needed….that was probably TMI but you get the idea!

This quiche celebrates fresh herbs!  MY fresh herbs growing wonderfully in my now beautiful herb garden.  I am so happy to finally be able to walk out my patio door, scissors in hand and simply cut what I need.  I add fresh herbs to everything I can.  It makes a huge difference in every dish in my opinion.  Beautiful colorful fragrant organic pesticide-free fresh herbs….gardening is a blessing!

You can truly grow fresh herbs anywhere!  Even when I lived in Ottawa in a small condo I had fresh herbs all summer long.  So many ways: window boxes, small pots around a patio deck, community gardens, garden co-ops, borrowing a little corner of a friend’s yard in exchange for fresh herbs, etc….

This message was brought to you by your favorite fresh herb blogger  😉

ahhhh lunch!

ahhhh lunch!

Let’s get to this delicious quiche!

Ingredients:

1 store bought pie crust (or homemade…blah blah blah I can’t make pie crust)

6-ounces (weight) Brie, cut into small pieces (the colder the easier…also rind removal is optional, I like it so I kept it)

1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese

6 slices bacon (or pancetta or ham), cooked and crumbled (optional)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs: basil, chives, tarragon, oregano, thyme (that’s what I had)

5 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

How to:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Put your pie crust in your pan.  Sprinkle your brie evenly at the bottom of your pie crust.  Sprinkle your swiss over your brie.  Next sprinkle your cooked bacon on top of your cheeses.  Set aside.

boy oh boy do I LOVE cheese....all types....all forms...

boy oh boy do I LOVE cheese….all types….all forms…

bacon seem to make people happy!

bacon seem to make people happy!

In a large bowl combine your eggs with your milk, heavy cream, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of mixed fresh herbs.  Whisk everything until well combined.  Pour over your cheese and bacon mixture.   Sprinkle the remainder 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs over your egg mixture.  Put your pie pan/plate on a baking sheet and put in your preheated oven for 45-60 minutes (ovens are temperamental).

action shot!

action shot!

now THAT'S a lot of fresh herbs!

now THAT’S a lot of fresh herbs!

love the color of this quiche!

love the color of this quiche!

Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.  YUMMY!

the first bite always makes me the happiest...then the second...and on and on

the first bite always makes me the happiest…then the second…and on and on

Printer Friendly:  Fresh Herbs and Brie Quiche

quiche.... oui oui ;)

quiche…. oui oui 😉

Peace and Be Real,

Isabelle

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Mango Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Mango Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Mango Sauce

About three years ago during one of our visits with my folks in Canada they took us to a local Mexican Restaurant.  I can’t remember the name but I remember what I ate.  Typical.

I had a delicious chicken with a mango sauce dish….simply delicious.  I tried to duplicate it at home on several occasions.  Never quite what I remembered.

Then my lovely mother (who is cleaning out her house once more to downsize) brought me some old Bon Appetit magazines. …we are talking circa 1994.  Other than pleasing me, I seriously wonder why she hung on to these for so long….oh well….I’m glad she did because I found a recipe I could definitely work with for my mango sauce.

Note: I couldn’t find this recipe on the Bon Appetit Website , I think it is because it was a reader’s request from a restaurant.  I also have found that said restaurant (Cottonwood Cafe in Bethesda, Maryland) no longer exists!  Oh well…I did try!

Grilled Chicken says SUMMER IS HERE....and this sauce puts the mango on top!  ;)

Grilled Chicken says SUMMER IS HERE….and this sauce puts the mango on top! 😉

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (if needed cut breast in half, so they cook evenly)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh herbs (basil, oregano,chives, parsley, rosemary), roughly chopped

1/4 cup lime juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 mango, peeled, pitted and chopped

2 peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped

1/4 cup brown sugar (I used raw coconut sugar, see pic below)

2 cups sweet white wine (Riesling, Moscato…etc..)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 cup vegetable broth (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

How to:

For the chicken:

In a large ziplock bag combine your chicken with olive oil, herbs, lime juice and garlic.  “Massage” everything well.  Put in your fridge for 3-4 hours (or even overnight won’t hurt anything).  If you prefer to marinate your chicken in a large bowl, simply combine your olive oil, herbs, lime juice and garlic, mix well and add your chicken.  Make sure all pieces of chicken are well coated with the marinade.

wanted to show you...but honestly this pic makes me gringe...ooops

wanted to show you…but honestly this pic makes me cringe…ooops

For the sauce:

In a large saucepan, melt your butter with your olive oil.  Add your mango, peaches and sugar.  Cook stirring frequently for about 15 minutes until fruits are soft and sugar is completely melted.  Add your wine and cook until wine has reduced to a sauce consistency (about 20 minutes).  Add your cream and chilies.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Using an immersion blender or a blender puree your sauce.  Return to your pan (if you were using your blender) add your lime juice.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Keep warm until  chicken is ready.  If your sauce is too thick add your vegetable broth.  Stir well to combine.

look at the pretty colors!

look at the pretty colors!

reducing definitely makes flavors go from 0 to 100!  WOW!

reducing definitely makes flavors go from 0 to 100! WOW!

this is going to be amazing!  I can tell...I REALLY can tell!

this is going to be amazing! I can tell…I REALLY can tell!

For the chicken:

Preheat your grill.  Remove chicken from marinade.  Grill until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per sides.  Transfer chicken to serving plate (or platter if serving family style) spoon sauce over chicken!

I am so ready for this explosion of flavors!

I am so ready for this explosion of flavors!

DELICIOUS.  Slightly spicy but not overwhelming.   The color is so pretty with little flecks of red from the chipotle chilies.  I think this sauce would also be amazing on fish, grilled vegetables, burgers….oh the possibilities!

I can no longer wait...the first bite took me back to that delicious restaurant and the amazing meal I had with my folks <3

I can no longer wait…the first bite took me back to that delicious restaurant and the amazing meal I had with my folks ❤

Printer Friendly: Grilled Chicken with Spicy Mango Sauce

Peace and Hang On,

Isabelle

NOTE:  I know I have been somewhat absent.  I have so many delicious recipes I want to share with you guys.  I feel horrible….but life as you know it is not a rehearsed play…sometimes you just fly by the seat of your pants and hope for the best.  Stick with me, I promise to keep on going and keep on sharing!  🙂

 

 

Roasted Garlic Pomodoro Sauce

Roasted Garlic Pomodoro Sauce

Roasted Garlic Pomodoro Sauce

It’s always a good thing when I can say: “well, at least I learned something today and I can go to bed a little smarter”.  I guess in the grand scheme of life what I learned today won’t make or break me but I am glad I figured it out by myself.

Here’s the story….it’s not very riveting but it’s one I think you’ll appreciate.

I went to Aunt Joyce’s a few weeks back.  She was raving about this delicious sauce she gets at a local Italian restaurant: Pomodoro Sauce.  It can be used for dipping and of course to drown some serious pasta as well.  She told me I should find a recipe for it.  I started looking around.  I kept thinking: “it’s really just tomatoes….hmmmm….” then I stumbled upon a site that said: “pomodoro sauce simply means: tomato sauce”  AH!  Yep.  I had a AH! moment.  It makes sense.  Yet how you make your pomodoro sauce is important.  It’s all about the flavors, all about the tomatoes, and all about the consistency.

There you have it.

Tomato Sauce.

No need to reinvent the wheel…..well I did add the roasted garlic instead of just regular chopped garlic.  I find the roasted garlic adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the sauce.

my love of pasta and delicious sauce truly is infinite....amen!

my love of pasta and delicious sauce truly is infinite….amen!

Ingredients:

1 garlic head, top cut off (see pics below)

1 can 28-ounces crushed tomatoes: I went with the lovely and delicious Tuttorrosso by Red Gold (Indiana’s best!)

1 medium onion, minced

Olive oil

1/2 cup fresh basil (plus more for serving)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fresh parmesan cheese, for serving

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Put your garlic head in a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil.  Put in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

garlic, before

garlic, before

and after....fair warning your house will smell like love!  Garlic love that is ;)

and after….fair warning your house will smell like love! Garlic love that is 😉

In a large pan or dutch oven, heat your olive oil (about 1 tablespoon).  Add your onion and gently sautee for about 4-5 minutes.  Cut the tip of your garlic cloves and squeeze your roasted garlic in your onion mixture.  Gently stir and break up your garlic to blend with your onions.  Add your crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon each).  Bring to a simmer.  Roughly chop or tear your basil and add to your tomatoes.  Let this simmer for about 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  To serve top with fresh basil and a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese.

Perfect tomato sauce!  Simple perfect!

Perfect tomato sauce! Simple perfect!

I actually consider using this as my personal plate...

I actually considered using this as my personal plate…

this is the ticket to win a LOT of applause around your home!

this is the ticket to win a LOT of applause around your home!

Red Gold was so wonderful to send me some delicious Tuttorosso products.  Go check out their Facebook page: here

thank you Red Gold/Tuttorosso! I LOVE your products!

thank you Red Gold/Tuttorosso! I LOVE your products!

original

Enter to win some serious cool prizes!  It’s all about Traditions!  YUM!  I know one family tradition from my grandmother I will never forget is adding green olives to her spaghetti sauce.  OH MY GOODNESS….my absolute favorite…now if I could convince Mr. Man that olives are delicious!  😉

forget the olives for now...let's devour this madness!

forget the olives for now…let’s devour this madness!

Printer Friendly: Roasted Garlic Pomodoro Sauce

Note: if you do not like big pieces of garlic in your sauce you can squeeze it onto a cutting board and mince it prior to adding it to your tomatoes.

Peace and AH!

Isabelle