Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

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Some of the best things in life are the simplest things. A simple gesture of love, a simple word of appreciation, a simple day off, a simple meal.

What is it that makes simple, special? The intent, or quality behind the simpleness. A simple gesture of love done with purity of heart, a simple word of appreciation that is genuine, a simple day off with no stress to go and be, a simple meal with quality ingredients.

It’s this last idea that I’m honing in on today. A meal so simple it almost seems boring. Until you eat it, and all you want for dinner is the same thing. And lunch again the next day. This happened to me this past week with a fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwich on focaccia.

You know when you’re so hungry and everything tastes extra amazing? Then it keeps coming to mind, even if it was a humble meal, until you eat it again? One time, I think it was last summer, I unexpectedly had to go into the city center and didn’t have time to eat lunch beforehand. I live about a half-hour bus ride outside of the center, then when you add in the time spent waiting for a bus, walking all around the center to accomplish errands, then waiting and getting a bus back home, simple 1 or 2 errand runs can easily end up being 3+ hour ventures. Having missed lunch and still needing to go to the other side of town, my husband and I decided to get a quick sandwich from a bar. This is a very common lunch, with all the bars (where you eat breakfast, lunch, get a coffee) replacing their morning pastries with fresh sandwiches starting around 10:30am. These are a hot option for Italians on lunch break or as a quick snack. There are usually two sizes, and they often have just 2-3 ingredients each. Probably a slice of meat and cheese, like mortadella (which is the cooked prosciutto/ham) and mozzarella, or tuna and boiled egg, prosciutto and cheese, etc. They’re simple, and maybe because I’m used to the super stuffed American sandwiches they seemed a bit measly to me. (But much more affordable and realistic for a lunch on the go, costing between 2.5-4euro usually, where an American sandwich would probably run you $6-10.) Until this particular day, and it suddenly became the best tasting sandwich ever. Fresh mozzarella and tomato with a bit of dried oregano sandwiched between two fluffy piece of salty, oily focaccia. I immediately wanted another. Alas we were already on the bus to the other side of town.

So the other day I was thinking, what’s for lunch? And this tomato and mozzarella sandwich kept haunting my thoughts. A run to the grocery store produced all the necessary missing ingredients, and within a matter of minutes I was devouring this dream of a sandwich. And it was so much better than I remembered. I had it again the next day for lunch. And maybe again tomorrow, using up the last of the cheese and tomatoes.

In fact, it’s very similar to caprese, it's simply in sandwich form without the fresh basil. To read up on using the best ingredients for caprese salad (that also apply to today’s sandwich), click here.

I feel weird calling this a recipe because it’s so simple, so I shall say, here is the recreation of the Italian bar Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich!! Quality of ingredients is of utmost importance. Quantity and exact measurements are not.

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Inspired by the Italian bar sandwiches


Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

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Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of focaccia

  • 1 large heirloom tomato

  • 200g fresh mozzarella

  • dried oregano

  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Slice each focaccia to make halves for a sandwich.

  2. Core tomato and slice. Slice the mozzarella.

  3. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on two of the focaccia halves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. Voila! Buon appetito.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • I used schiacciata the first time I made this (the Tuscan variant of focaccia, usually with a bit more oil that renders it crispier), but a slightly softer focaccia would be best for sandwiches, easier to slice and eat. Buy or make your own at home!

  • Other Italian bar sandwich ideas include: Prosciutto and asiago, mortadella and asiago, bresaola with arugula and gran padano, tuna with hard boiled eggs, mayo, and tomato, smoked salmon with arugula and mayo. Some of these ingredients might be harder to find outside of Italy, but if you live or visit here, these are great ideas for a quick lunch and readily found in grocery stores.

sandwich, panino, mozzarella fresca, pomodoro cuore di bue, Italian recipe, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, mozzarella di bufala
lunch, sandwich
Italian
Yield: 2
Author:

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

A sandwich inspired by the typical Italian bar: Thick slices of fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of oregano stuffed between two soft slices of focaccia.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: total time: 10 M

ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of focaccia
  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • 200g fresh mozzarella
  • dried oregano
  • extra virgin olive oil

instructions:

How to cook Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

  1. Slice each focaccia to make halves for a sandwich.
  2. Core tomato and slice. Slice the mozzarella.
  3. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on two of the focaccia halves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. Voila! Buon appetito.

NOTES:

I used schiacciata the first time I made this (the Tuscan variant of focaccia, usually with a bit more oil that renders it crispier), but a slightly softer focaccia would be best for sandwiches, easier to slice and eat. Buy or make your own at home! Other Italian bar sandwich ideas include: Prosciutto and asiago, mortadella and asiago, bresaola with arugula and gran padano, tuna with hard boiled eggs, mayo, and tomato, smoked salmon with arugula and mayo. Some of these ingredients might be harder to find outside of Italy, but if you live or visit here, these are great ideas for a quick lunch and readily found in grocery stores.

Calories

462.69

Fat (grams)

29.57

Sat. Fat (grams)

12.13

Carbs (grams)

26.07

Fiber (grams)

2.33

Net carbs

23.74

Sugar (grams)

4.25

Protein (grams)

23.83

Sodium (milligrams)

834.01

Cholesterol (grams)

64.09
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 2 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Caprese Risotto

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You know risotto, right? That creamy Italian rice dish, usually cooked with a splash of wine? And you also know Caprese salad, the traditional Italian salad consisting of just tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil? (I gave you a nice preface to today’s recipe by sharing the recipe for Insalata Caprese Tradizionale last month on the blog.) Do you know what happens when you combine these two ideas into one dish?

You get a delicious creamy, rice dish with flavors of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil! Risotto is usually a pretty hearty, comforting dish, better for cooler months, but this one has delicate summer flavors so you can have a risotto for every season. Because It’s mid September, my family back home in Michigan has been wearing jackets and pants for weeks, meanwhile it’s still in the mid 30’sC / 90’sF here in Florence. I’m dreaming of cooler weather, breaking out the sweaters and cozy socks, lighting candles, and making hearty chilis, soups, and everything pumpkin spice and nice. And risotto. So I compromise with a taste of summer, the remnants of summer Italian produce, and a comforting cooler month recipe.

This Caprese Risotto is a bit of a mix between Italian and American cuisines. It’s a risotto and involves all the ingredients from Caprese, but that doesn’t necessarily make it Italian. It’s one of those dishes stuck in the in between, and that’s ok. If it’s anything, it’s American. And I thought I should let you know that, so I don’t give you the false impression that I’m giving you some nonna’s recipe passed down for generations. Nope, this is me being American, taking one thing and combining it with another to create something that doesn’t fall into any category really. That’s one of my pet peeves actually, when I see recipes labeled Italian this or Tuscan that…just because something has oregano, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, or parmesan, does not make it Italian. Especially if it’s a meat, usually chicken is what I see, mixed with pasta. That’s a big no-no in Italy. Pasta is a primo piatto, or first course, and chicken and proteins are always a secondo piatto. You will also never find chicken on pizza. Or pineapple. This doesn’t mean to say you can’t do these things, of course you can, but just keep in mind that it is not Italian. After that, call it as you wish. Oh, and hand me a nice slice of pizza with pineapple, ya? Thanks.

Back to this summery risotto. When I first was making this I wanted to make sure the tomato flavor was closer to a fresh, sun-ripened tomato as it would be for Caprese, and not pungent and salty/sweet like we associate with a lot of canned tomato soups. I love tomato soup, just not the flavor that I was going for here. By using fresh tomatoes and getting saltiness from just the low-sodium broth, this turned out quite nicely. Add the creamy, pull-apart cheesiness from the mozzarella and the sweet, nutty basil, you’ve got a winner summer dinner! If you like, although not traditional to the Italian Caprese salad, add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end. This dish isn’t traditional, so I feel ok about adding it. ;)

Bonus, this dish is also effortlessly gluten-free.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!


Caprese Risotto

Serves 4-6

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups / 1,422g low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups / 278g arborio rice, uncooked

  • 1/2 cup / 119g white wine, optional

  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried

  • about 16 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

  • 1/2 cup / 50g grated parmigiano reggiano

  • 200g fresh mozzarella, sliced into chunks

  • extra virgin olive oil, more cherry tomatoes, basil leaves for garnishing, and balsamic vinegar if desired

Directions:

  1. Heat broth in a pan over low heat.

  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and simmer for a few minutes, until starting to turn translucent.

  3. Add garlic and rice, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted and just starting to turn translucent on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.

  4. Add the wine slowly, stirring all the while, until mostly absorbed by the rice.

  5. Add all of the tomatoes, stir until heated through.

  6. Begin adding heated broth to the rice mixture, 1/2 cup / 119g at a time, stirring and allowing broth to be mostly absorbed before adding the next bit. As you near the end of the broth, start checking the rice every minute or two. When it looks cooked and is al dente when tasted, remove from heat. You may not need all the broth, but make sure it’s not too dry or thick. You’ll want to pull it from the heat when it still looks a bit soupy, as it will continue to cook and absorb liquid. (Thick, moundable risotto is a technically overcooked risotto. It should lazily settle back into the plate if you try and mound it.)

  7. Add oregano, basil, parmigiano, and mozzarella. Stir until parmigiano is melted and mozzarella is stringy.

  8. Spoon risotto into plates, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic, if desired. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • In a pinch you can use a 14.5oz / 411g can of diced tomatoes instead of the 3 medium tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will always be better but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

  • If using wine, try using a dry white wine, nothing too aged or overpowering, as this is a risotto with more delicate, summery flavors. Think Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, a young Riesling, etc. Whichever wine you use in your cooking should ideally be served with the meal. Because of this, it is mistaken to use the “cheap” wines in cooking and then bring out the nice stuff for the meal. Remember, you’re cooking out (most of) the alcohol, not the flavor.

    In fact, because of the delicate flavors of this risotto I don’t add wine, but it’s up to you if you do! Wine is traditional in risotto so you may think me odd that I don’t add it. :)

  • If you have only bouillon cubes or normal-sodium broth on hand, you can substitute part water for the broth to keep the sodium levels down. I recommend using 4 cups / 948g worth of broth/bouillon broth and 2 cups / 474g water.

  • Using heated broth speeds up the cooking time so you’re not waiting for the broth to simmer and be absorbed between each addition. I have, however, made risotto many a time before I learned this trick, and although it takes a bit longer to cook when adding cold or room temp broth, it won’t in any way ruin your risotto.

  • Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese) is another ingredient typically used in risotto. It’s not used in caprese but it lends a cheesy hand to the mozzarella which is quite mild.

  • Another idea I’m drooling over right now, would be to add a nice portion of burrata on top of the plated risotto right before serving. Burrata is very similar to mozzarella, except it’s softer. It usually comes in round form, and the moment you cut into it the super soft, creamy center oozes out. Oh yes. Oh yes please.

    If you don’t live in Italy chances are burrata and even fresh mozzarella will cost you, so you may opt for one or the other in this recipe. If your budget allows, go for both!! Here in Italy fresh mozzarella can be found easily for 2-3euro a pound.

gluten-free caprese, risotto, rice, tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, parmesan cheese, parmigiano reggiano, burrata, Italian recipe, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine, which wine to use in risotto
dinner, vegetarian
Italian, American
Yield: 4-6 servings
Author:

Caprese Risotto

Creamy risotto playing off the classic Italian summer dish of caprese; tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, parmesan cheese and a hint of oregano.
prep time: 45 Mcook time: total time: 45 M

ingredients:

  • 6 cups / 1,422g low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups / 278g arborio rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup / 119g white wine, optional
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • about 16 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 cup / 50g grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 200g fresh mozzarella, sliced into chunks
  • extra virgin olive oil, more cherry tomatoes, basil leaves for garnishing, and balsamic vinegar if desired

instructions:

How to cook Caprese Risotto

  1. Heat broth in a pan over low heat.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and simmer for a few minutes, until starting to turn translucent.
  3. Add garlic and rice, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted and just starting to turn translucent on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the wine slowly, stirring all the while, until mostly absorbed by the rice.
  5. Add all of the tomatoes, stir until heated through.
  6. Begin adding heated broth to the rice mixture, 1/2 cup / 119g at a time, stirring and allowing the broth to be mostly absorbed before adding the next bit. Keep an eye on the rice; when it starts to look cooked and is al dente when tasted, remove from the heat. You may or may not need all the broth, but make sure it’s not too dry or thick. You’ll want to pull it from the heat when it still looks a bit soupy, as it will continue to cook and absorb liquid. (A thick, moundable risotto is a technically overcooked risotto. A correctly cooked risotto should lazily settle back into the plate if you try and mound it.)
  7. Add oregano, basil, parmigiano, and mozzarella. Stir until parmigiano is melted and mozzarella is stringy.
  8. Spoon risotto into plates, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic, if desired. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

In a pinch you can use a 14.5oz / 411g can of diced tomatoes instead of the 3 medium tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will always be better but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! If using wine, try using a light white wine, nothing too aged or overpowering, as this is a risotto with more delicate, summery flavors. Think Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, a young Riesling, etc. Whichever wine you use in your cooking should ideally be served with the meal. Because of this, it is mistaken to use the “cheap” wines in cooking and then bring out the nice stuff for the meal. Remember, you’re cooking out (most of) the alcohol, not the flavor. In fact, because of the delicate flavors of this risotto I don’t add wine, but it’s up to you if you do! Wine is traditional in risotto so you may think me odd that I don’t add it. :) If you have only bouillon cubes or normal-sodium broth on hand, you can substitute part water for the broth to keep the sodium levels down. I recommend using 4 cups / 948g worth of broth/bouillon broth and 2 cups / 474g water. Using heated broth speeds up the cooking time so you’re not waiting for the broth to simmer and be absorbed between each addition. I have, however, made risotto many a time before I learned this trick, and although it takes a bit longer to cook when adding cold or room temp broth, it won’t in any way ruin your risotto. Another idea would be to add a nice portion of burrata on top of the plated risotto right before serving. Burrata is very similar to mozzarella, except it’s softer. It usually comes in round form, and the moment you cut into it the super soft, creamy center oozes out.

Calories

423.93

Fat (grams)

21.69

Sat. Fat (grams)

8.54

Carbs (grams)

36.34

Fiber (grams)

2.31

Net carbs

34.03

Sugar (grams)

7.25

Protein (grams)

16.20

Sodium (milligrams)

714.71

Cholesterol (grams)

42.80
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 4 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Insalata Caprese Tradizionale - Traditional Caprese Salad

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Insalata Caprese, often just referred to as Caprese, is by now known the world over and has been adapted into many different dishes and styles. In today’s post we are going to cover the traditional Italian Insalata Caprese, unaltered and in its purest form. How the Italians make it. Leave aside the Caprese grilled cheeses and Caprese pasta for just one second.

Insalata Caprese (EEN-sah-lah-ta cuh-PRAY-zay), or Caprese Salad is an Italian dish consisting of merely 5 ingredients: fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of salt, maybe pepper. Oregano is also added sometimes. That’s it, simple and fresh.

Because there are so few ingredients, no cooking required, and little spice, the quality and freshness of the ingredients are of upmost importance. This is one of the golden rules of the Italian kitchen. In fact, I would say that any caprese salad you’ve eaten in the States is probably a far cry from the shining beacon that it is here in Italy. This is not through any fault of your own, but Italy has certain protected regions and methods for making foods, with rigorous control checks and rules, which holds the product to high standards.

You may be familiar with some of these rules, especially if you seen some Italian wine bottles. You might have noticed special seals that read DOC or DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata or Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita), which basically act as a quality seal. One such wine, considered one of the kings of Italian wine, Brunello di Montalcino, will always have the DOCG seal because it can only be grown in the Montalcino region near Siena which has ideal soil and climate for this particular wine. If it doesn’t have the seal, don’t buy it. Hazelnuts, mozzarella, how to make a Neopolitan pizza, and many other food items and processes, sometimes connected to a specific region, are protected by law in Italy.

I just mentioned mozzarella, so you may be understanding how I managed to go on that long spiel and still connect it today’s subject matter. :) Suffice to say, Italian mozzarella, the good stuff, is in a class of its own.

That’s the beauty of Italian summers, where lunches are made up of ripe tomatoes, a slab of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil. Maybe with a hunk of fresh, salty focaccia. Or maybe just prosciutto and melon.

But maybe you aren’t IN Italy, and you’re wondering how you can make the best Insalata Caprese possible? Let’s dissect the ingredients real quick before getting into the recipe.

Suggestions for selecting ingredients for the Insalata Caprese

  • Tomatoes. You want the freshest, tastiest tomatoes available. The most widely used in Italy would probably be the tomato variety “cuore di bue” or literally, “ox heart,” which originated in America. There are two prinicipal varieties of cuore di bue, Arawak and Albenga. These tomatoes are ideal for salads because they have a thin skin, great flavor, and very few seeds and water inside. They are not usually very round, but fall into the ugly tomato category with lots of ridges. As they say, the uglier the tomato, the more delicious it will be. If you can’t get your hands on a cuore di bue, use your favorite, fresh tomatoes.

  • Mozzarella. You’ll want the freshest mozzarella possible, which might not be that easy to find unless you know a cheese producer. Traditionally the mozzarella di fiordilatte is used (normal cow’s milk mozzarella), but if you want to up your game, go for the more expensive mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella) which can also be protected by one of the laws we were talking about earlier, this time the DOP.

  • Basil. Fresh basil, torn into pieces if desired and ideally added just before serving so it can’t even think about wilting.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I cannot stress enough to you the importance of having a good bottle of olive oil on hand. In Italy there are usually two kinds of olive oil, those used for cooking, and those use for drizzling just before serving. Select your oil carefully, paying attention to where it is produced, when, and when it expires. Olive oil generally has a best if used by date of two years from being bottled. So if you find a bottle that expires in a year or less, you know that bottle has already been sitting on the shelf for too long and is best used for cooking. Also pay attention to wording like “produced in” or “bottled in.” The latter may mean that olives were brought in from elsewhere and merely bottled in Italy so they could write that on the bottle. No really, there are so many shady practices when it comes to olive oil, it can be hard to decipher the great ones, especially when dealing with imported bottles. My mom used to order bottles straight from Italy to get some of the high quality stuff. Basically, you don’t want to pay less than $15 for a bottle in the States. Frantoio Franci and Laudemia are two very high quality brands. If you know your EVOO’s, select a light and fruity oil.

  • Salt and Pepper. Usually just the tomatoes are salted, and pepper is completely optional.

  • Oregano. Oregano is also optional, but a bit of fresh or dried is a nice touch!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!


Insalata Caprese

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • about 1/2lb / 200g fresh mozzarella

  • 2 medium tomatoes

  • a few fresh basil leaves, whole or torn into pieces

  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • fresh or dried oregano, optional

Directions:

  1. Slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes into equally sized slices and place on a plate.

  2. Drizzly lightly with olive oil and sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper, if desired.

  3. Garnish with basil leaves and oregano; serve.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • It may seem strange, but some recommend to serve the mozzarella at room temperature. If the mozzarella is cut while cold it may lose more water, interacting with and changing the flavor of the tomatoes. If the mozzarella is losing lots of liquid regardless, it may not be as fresh as desired.

  • You can use a paper towel on both the mozzarella and tomatoes to absorb any excess liquid, dabbing or letting them sit on the paper towel if they are very wet.

  • Contrary to American belief, Caprese Salad does not traditionally have balsamic vinegar. Nor mayonnaise, olives, eggs, or other non-Italian inventions.

Gluten-free, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, mozzarella di bufala, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fresh oregano, Italian recipe
Side, Lunch
Italian
Yield: 2
Author:

Traditional Caprese Salad

This classic Caprese Insalata is bursting with summer flavors. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil, just as the Italians would make it.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M

ingredients:

  • about 1/2lb / 200g fresh mozzarella
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • a few fresh basil leaves, whole or torn into pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh or dried oregano, optional

instructions:

How to cook Traditional Caprese Salad

  1. Slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes into equally sized slices and place on a plate.
  2. Drizzly lightly with olive oil and sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper, if desired.
  3. Garnish with basil leaves and oregano; serve.

NOTES:

It may seem strange, but some recommend to serve the mozzarella at room temperature. If the mozzarella is cut while cold it may lose more water, interacting with and changing the flavor of the tomatoes. If the mozzarella is losing lots of liquid regardless, it may not be as fresh as desired. You can use a paper towel on both the mozzarella and tomatoes to absorb any excess liquid, dabbing or letting them sit on the paper towel if they are very wet. Contrary to American belief, Caprese Salad does not traditionally have balsamic vinegar. Nor mayonnaise, olives, eggs, or other non-Italian inventions.

Calories

326.94

Fat (grams)

25.15

Sat. Fat (grams)

11.64

Carbs (grams)

7.00

Fiber (grams)

1.73

Net carbs

5.27

Sugar (grams)

4.09

Protein (grams)

19.14

Sodium (milligrams)

663.60

Cholesterol (grams)

64.09
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 2 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

IMG_0863.jpg

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Fresh, cool, crunchy, creamy, and delicious Tzatziki, which is basically a Greek cucumber salad made with thick, strained yogurt, and seasoned with dill and garlic. Uh, yum, right? If you’ve ever had tzatziki, you know what I’m talking about!

It’s funny because I’ve known about tzatziki for a long time, enjoying it at restaurants and such, that wonderful Greek yogurt sauce dip wonder. I’ve seen several cucumber salad recipes around this summer on some of my favorite recipe sites like foodgawker; German cucumber salads, normal cucumber salads, and others. It got me hungry, so I decided to make my own. And let me tell you, I got right on it because zero cooking or baking in a recipe is a wonderful thing when the summer here in Florence has been between 90-106°F / 32-41°C since June.

I noticed most of the recipes I came across used sour cream, but I used plain greek yogurt because it’s more nutritious. Once I found a nice balance between the flavors, I wrote down the recipe and decided to share it with you guys! Then I recalled that tzatziki has very similar flavors, and although I’ve never made it nor even looked up a recipe, my curiosity got the best of me to see just how similar they would be. What do you know, I basically made tzatziki and didn’t even know it! So much for making an original recipe, haha!

So what I’m sharing with you today is my accidental take on tzatziki, similarly enough to be called so, but not THE original. If you make the changes listed below, however, you can have yourself a delicious and authentic Greek tzatziki!

What are the differences from a traditional tzatziki and the one you see below?

  • The cucumber is usually grated and drained (either by squeezing or letting sit in cheese cloth over a bowl overnight) instead of sliced. I also use more cucumber to make a creamy salad rather than a dip that features cucumber. if you want to make real tzatziki, use a half of a large cucumber or a smallish one.

  • Traditional would have more yogurt so again, more of a sauce or dip rather than a salad. For real tzatziki, double the yogurt to 1 1/2 cups / 340g.

  • For the acidic element, I used lemon juice, but vinegar of some sort is usually called for. I’ve read in Greece they most often use red wine vinegar.

  • I added more fresh dill! Because I love dill. If you think about it, this is like a creamy dill pickle dip. It has the cucumbers, the garlic, the dill….no wonder I like it so well! For original tzatziki, use about 1 Tbsp chopped.

If you eliminate the cucumbers (or shred them like the traditional way), it makes an excellent and much healthier alternative to most veggie dips. I might even like it better than Ranch!


Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Serves about 2

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup / 170g plain greek yogurt or vegan yogurt

  • generous 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

  • 2 tsp / 10g lemon juice

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 large cucumber, chopped with skin/seeds removed as desired

  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

  2. If serving immediately, add cucumber and stir to coat; drizzle with olive oil. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve, adding cucumber and drizzling with oil at the last minute.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • For optimal creaminess, I would use full fat greek yogurt. If you are vegan or dairy-free, use a thick/Greek dairy-free yogurt alternative!

  • In an ideal world the dressing would be made a day ahead of time and the cucumber added just before serving. This helps the flavors meld together and cuts the sharpness of the garlic a bit, without the cucumber sitting in the dressing for a day and losing its liquid. However, this makes a great last minute dish and it tastes just fine if eaten right away!

vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, veggie dip, cucumber, garlic, fresh dill, Greek yogurt, Ranch substitute
Side dish, lunch, sauces and condiments
Greek
Yield: 2
Author:

Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Creamy salad form of the classic Tzatziki sauce: Cucumbers, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and fresh dill.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: total time: 10 M

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup / 170g plain greek yogurt or vegan yogurt
  • generous 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp / 10g lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped with skin/seeds removed as desired
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional

instructions:

How to cook Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

  1. In a medium bowl combine yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  2. If serving immediately, add cucumber and stir to coat; drizzle with olive oil. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve, adding cucumber and drizzling with oil at the last minute.

NOTES:

For optimal creaminess, I would use full fat greek yogurt. If you are vegan or dairy-free, use a thick/Greek dairy-free yogurt alternative! In an ideal world the dressing would be made a day ahead of time and the cucumber added just before serving. This helps the flavors meld together and cuts the sharpness of the garlic a bit, without the cucumber sitting in the dressing for a day and losing its liquid. However, this makes a great last minute dish and it tastes just fine if eaten right away!

Calories

123.72

Fat (grams)

7.21

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.05

Carbs (grams)

5.89

Fiber (grams)

0.61

Net carbs

5.28

Sugar (grams)

3.78

Protein (grams)

9.30

Sodium (milligrams)

181.86

Cholesterol (grams)

4.25
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0856.jpg

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

IMG_1023.jpg

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July pasta month is over and I find I still have pasta dishes I want to share with you! Like this Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta with toasted walnuts.

Several years ago I went through a phase where I wanted everything roasted red pepper. I’m not sure if that was an actual thing in the culinary world, or it just happened to be the first time that roasted red pepper really came to my attention, and thus started noticing and wanting all things roasted red pepper. Pastas and dips, sandwiches and wraps, and anything you could incorporate roasted red peppers into. That smoky, sweet flavor you get from grilling the red peppers was this elusive, elegant flavor profile because I didn’t know how it was made.

Then I found a recipe for roasted red pepper sauce, made it, and was floored by how NOT elusive it is. It’s so attainable. I even grilled my own peppers instead of going for the much easier option of buying a jar of roasted red peppers at the store. And you know what? Even grilling the peppers and peeling off the blackened skin wasn’t nearly as hard as I imagined it all to be. Sometimes those mountains we build in our heads are much more scalable than we make them out to be, even if that’s just learning how to make a dish you really like, as in this example, harhar. Or you come to realize it’s WAY more difficult than you ever imagined, and you were right to wait. Aha!

This was not meant to turn into a inspirational post, back to food.

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten roasted red pepper anything, definitely not much of a thing here in Italy. But I decided, while being inspired and eating so much pasta in the month of July, to make my own little twist of a roasted red pepper sauce. And it turned out really great! Amazing! Delizioso! As I stated above, however, it’s really not rocket science to make, so I should probably calm down. Adding goat cheese and toasted walnuts are no new pairing to goat cheese, but remain such a good combination. Never had nuts on your pasta? At least not that you’re aware of? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Unless you have a nut allergy, then please don’t. (You’ve probably eaten basil pesto on pasta, yes? Pesto is made from pine nuts traditionally, and often walnuts when pine nuts are not available or too expensive. See? You love nuts on pasta and didn’t even know!)

The great thing is, the roasted red pepper sauce actually makes enough for two meals, and freezes well. The next time you want roasted red pepper pasta, just thaw the sauce and boil the pasta. So easy peasy.

For extra easy-ness, you can buy a jar of roasted red peppers or grill them yourself, completely up to you.

Are you vegan or dairy-free? Simply omit the goat cheese or substitute a vegan-friendly cheese!


Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

IMG_1026.jpg

Serves about 6

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g spaghetti

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 16 oz / 454g jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme

  • 1/2 tsp / 1g chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp / 1g turmeric

  • 1 tsp / 5g balsamic vinegar

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 3 oz / 85g fresh goat cheese, cut into pieces, optional

  • 1/3 cup / 30g walnuts, chopped and toasted, optional

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, adding salt just before water boils. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Drain pasta and return to pan, reserving a generous 1 cup / 237g of pasta water.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

  3. Add sliced peppers, thyme, chili powder, turmeric, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are heated through.

  4. Transfer all of the pepper mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.

  5. Pour half of the roasted red pepper sauce over the pasta and add a bit of the pasta water. Add goat cheese and toss until pasta is well coated and cheese has melted, adding more pasta water to thin out sauce as desired.

  6. Plate pasta and top with toasted walnuts.

  7. Refrigerate remaining half of sauce for up to 2-3 days or freeze.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • To roast red peppers yourself, place whole on a heated grill or near an open flame, turning occasionally, until all sides are blistered and start to blacken. You can also roast them on a lined baking sheet in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or very carefully over a gas burner. Once done, place in covered pot, bowl, or re-sealable plastic, anything you can close, to let the peppers steam for about 20-30 minutes. This helps the skin to slip off easily. Then remove stems and seeds, and slice. Proceed as in recipe.

  • If you don’t have fresh thyme available, substitute about a scant teaspoon of dried.

  • Add more chili powder, cayenne, or hot spice of choice for a spicier kick!

  • If you’re in a pinch you don’t have to toast the walnuts, although you miss out on that tasty flavor that comes out of the nut only by toasting. But it will still be delicious!

  • Omit goat cheese or replace with suitable substitute to make vegan and dairy-free.

roasted red pepper, red pepper, thyme, turmeric, garlic, onion, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, pasta, recipe, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free
Yield: 6 servings
Author:

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

Pasta in a smoky, sweet, roasted red pepper sauce with goat cheese and toasted walnuts.
prep time: 30 Mcook time: total time: 30 M

ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz / 454g jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tsp / 1g chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp / 1g turmeric
  • 1 tsp / 5g balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 oz / 85g fresh goat cheese, cut into pieces, optional
  • 1/3 cup / 30g walnuts, chopped and toasted, optional

instructions:

How to cook Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, adding salt just before water boils. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Drain pasta and return to pan, reserving a generous 1 cup / 237g of pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add sliced peppers, thyme, chili powder, turmeric, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are heated through.
  4. Transfer all of the pepper mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
  5. Pour half of the roasted red pepper sauce over the pasta and add a bit of the pasta water. Add goat cheese and toss until pasta is well coated and cheese has melted, adding more pasta water to thin out sauce as desired.
  6. Plate pasta and top with toasted walnuts.
  7. Refrigerate remaining half of sauce for up to 2-3 days or freeze.

NOTES:

To roast red peppers yourself, place whole on a heated grill or near an open flame, turning occasionally, until all sides are blistered and start to blacken. You can also roast them on a lined baking sheet in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or very carefully over a gas burner. Once done, place in covered pot, bowl, or re-sealable plastic, anything you can close, to let the peppers steam for about 20-30 minutes. This helps the skin to slip off easily. Then remove stems and seeds, and slice. Proceed as in recipe. If you don’t have fresh thyme available, substitute about a scant teaspoon of dried. Add more chili powder, cayenne, or hot spice of choice for a spicier kick! If you’re in a pinch you don’t have to toast the walnuts, although you miss out on that tasty flavor that comes out of the nut only by toasting. But it will still be delicious! Omit goat cheese or replace with suitable substitute to make vegan and dairy-free.

Calories

240.54

Fat (grams)

10.29

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.79

Carbs (grams)

29.36

Fiber (grams)

2.01

Net carbs

27.40

Sugar (grams)

2.96

Protein (grams)

8.35

Sodium (milligrams)

121.89

Cholesterol (grams)

6.52
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 6 servings using half of the prepared sauce and includes goat cheese and walnuts.
Created using The Recipes Generator
Now we’re being more honest about a real portion size! :)

Now we’re being more honest about a real portion size! :)


Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

IMG_1090.jpg

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Aglio, olio, peperoncino is a pasta found often throughout Tuscany, and even more often on my table for lunch. It originally hails from Napoli but has become beloved throughout Italy.

It’s simple, so simple, with the classic version requiring just 4 ingredients: spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, and a hot pepper. It’s great to whip up in a pinch because it’s quick and the ingredients are those you probably have in your pantry. It can be on the table in about as long as it takes to boil and cook pasta, plus 2 minutes for mixing. Because of its simplicity, as many Italian dishes are, attention to the quality and freshness of your ingredients will really make this dish shine. (Especially with that olive oil, nice and shiny. :)

There are many slight variations, but they hardly vary more than an ingredient or two. Some use fresh hot peppers, some use chili flakes; some versions call for bread crumbs, others a bit of fresh parsley added at the end, some say to mince the garlic, others slice. Based on these variances, you can always decide to play a bit to find exactly how you like to eat your aglio, olio, e peperoncino pasta.

The version that follows I learned from my husband, the fresh pasta expert. We usually use fresh hot peppers, but will also use chili flakes if we don’t feel like running to the store. It’s pretty close to the classic recipe, with one exception. We add a bit of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and it catapults the pasta to the next level. OH YES, cheese!

A note about using fresh peppers: I’m not actually sure what kind of peppers I use here in Italy. At the supermarket there are usually bell peppers “peperoni” and hot peppers “peperoncini” with no indication what variety they might be. Bell peppers come in red and green, but not always at the same time, and the hot peppers are usually red OR green, depending on the season. I suppose they’re jalapeños or a similar variety because they’re spicy but not overly so. Apparently Italians are not pepper connoisseurs, you certainly won’t find jalapeño, habanero, serrano, and other pepper types readily available year round! If I were writing this recipe in Italian I would just put “peperoncino,” and everyone would know to get the only kind of peperoncino available from the store. In English recipes we are used to being told more specifics, and writing “1 hot pepper” would not be as helpful. So I wrote jalapeño on the recipe, but just be aware that you can play around with the kind you use if you want, especially if you try a jalapeño and decide you want spicier, like serrano!

Recipe from my husband


Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

Serves about 6

IMG_1093.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 500g / 16 oz spaghetti

  • 84g / 6 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 small red jalapeño pepper

  • generous 1/4 cup /30g grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Just before boiling, add some salt.

  2. While water is heating up, mince the garlic and dice the pepper. Add the oil, garlic, and pepper to a small pot or pan.

  3. When the water boils add spaghetti and cook according to instructions on package. Meanwhile, place the small pan of oil over low heat.

  4. Simmer oil for 5-8 minutes; remove from heat when garlic is fragrant and starts to appear to dry with barely golden edges.

  5. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup / 120g of pasta water.

  6. Return drained pasta to the pot and immediately add oil mixture, reserved pasta water, and cheese. Working quickly, use two forks to mix and toss spaghetti until oil, cheese, and water have coated the pasta in a light, creamy sauce. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • These measurements are approximate, we never measure when making this, but this is pretty close to our normal. So if you decide you want to use 5 cloves garlic and 2 jalapeños, that’s fine, too, because this is not an overly precise recipe!

  • For less heat, remove the seeds of the pepper before dicing. If using chili flakes, don’t simmer them in the oil but add to the pasta with the cheese at the end.

  • Look for parmigiano reggiano, which is the best. It can only be called so if it is made and aged in the designated area in Italy according to their regulations. Even if you are a world-class parmesan maker but make it in Wisconsin, it cannot legally be called parmigiano reggiano. This pasta is also delicious with other sharp, aged Italian cheeses. I like a mixture of aged pecorino and parmigiano.

  • Keep a close eye on the simmering oil, the garlic goes quickly from perfectly cooked (barely golden) to burnt (anything golden or beyond.) Even if you happen to burn your garlic, it only takes a few minutes to start the oil, garlic, and pepper over again and could still be ready before the pasta even finishes cooking.

  • One of the great things about making this is that even if you add too much pasta water, it will eventually evaporate out while mixing. One of the first times I ever made this solo, I added way too much and had a good inch or so sitting in the bottom of my pan. I had already added the oil and cheese and it was too late to dump the extra out. So I tossed and mixed for several minutes, and what do you know, the water eventually evaporated and mixed in, and I ended up with a wonderfully creamy and cheesy sauce.

aglio, olio, peperoncino, garlic, olive oil, hot pepper, spaghetti, Napoli, pasta, Italian pasta dish,
Italian
Yield: 6
Author:

Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

A simple and classic pasta dish served throughout Italy with plenty of garlic, olive oil, spicy pepper, and a bit of parmigiano reggiano.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: total time: 25 M

ingredients:

  • 500g / 16 oz spaghetti
  • 84g / 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red jalapeño pepper
  • generous 1/4 cup /30g grated parmesan cheese

instructions:

How to cook Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Just before boiling, add some salt.
  2. While water is heating up, mince the garlic and dice the pepper. Add the oil, garlic, and pepper to a small pot or pan.
  3. When the water boils add spaghetti and cook according to instructions on package. Meanwhile, place the small pan of oil over low heat.
  4. Simmer oil for 5-8 minutes; remove from heat when garlic is fragrant and starts to appear to dry with barely golden edges.
  5. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup / 120g of pasta water.
  6. Return drained pasta to the pot and immediately add oil mixture, reserved pasta water, and cheese. Working quickly, use two forks to mix and toss spaghetti until oil, cheese, and water have coated the pasta in a light, creamy sauce. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

These measurements are approximate, we never measure when making this, but this is pretty close to our normal. So if you decide you want to use 5 cloves garlic and 2 jalapeños, that’s fine, too, because this is not an overly precise recipe! For less heat, remove the seeds of the pepper before dicing. If using chili flakes, don’t simmer them in the oil but add to the pasta with the cheese at the end. Look for parmigiano reggiano, which is the best. It can only be called so if it is made and aged in the designated area in Italy according to their regulations. Even if you are a world-class parmesan maker but make it in Wisconsin, it cannot legally be called parmigiano reggiano. This pasta is also delicious with other sharp, aged Italian cheeses. I like a mixture of aged pecorino and parmigiano. Keep a close eye on the simmering oil, the garlic goes quickly from perfectly cooked (barely golden) to burnt (anything golden or beyond.) Even if you happen to burn your garlic, it only takes a few minutes to start the oil, garlic, and pepper over again and could still be ready before the pasta even finishes cooking.

Calories

257.59

Fat (grams)

15.37

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.72

Carbs (grams)

24.37

Fiber (grams)

1.09

Net carbs

23.28

Sugar (grams)

0.94

Protein (grams)

5.56

Sodium (milligrams)

94.52

Cholesterol (grams)

4.30
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_1100.jpg

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

IMG_0921.jpg

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Welcome back to pasta month on Jennyblogs!

So far we’ve seen a Thai-inspired pasta, an Italian pasta, and today an American pasta. One of the biggest differences between these cuisines is the amount of cheese used. We Americans really like our cheese! Italian cuisine uses quite a bit of cheese in certain dishes, but it’s usually a seasoned, more pungent cheese (hello, beautiful parmigiano!) used as a finishing touch. Aside from pizza, of course, but even then, their pizzas or not nearly as cheese-blanketed as an American pizza can be!

From that you’ve learned that today’s pasta is going to be cheesy…even if you’ve already learned that my posts are usually cheesy….

You’ve heard of spinach and artichoke dip? That rich, creamy, decadent dip usually found at parties served with little pieces of toast? That one you say you aren’t going to eat because it’s so high-fat, but you just can’t help yourself and end up splurging anyway? Today we’re going to make a Spinach and Artichoke PASTA. As much as I love spinach and artichoke dip, I think this pasta is even better. Plus, there is no sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese involved! It’s still cheesy of course, but you can largely control how much or how little cheese you add, and the same goes for the veggies, in particularly the spinach.

For as much as I love the precision and science behind baking, I’m really coming around to cooking and how versatile it can be!

I mentioned that this Spinach Artichoke Pasta is delicious, right? I made an 8x8in pan once for lunch and my husband and I ate the WHOLE THING in one sitting. I listed the servings as 3-4 for an 8x8in / 20x20cm pan, but don’t be surprised if it becomes only 2 servings! Especially if there are men or growing children involved. Or, just double the recipe and put it in a 9x13in / 23x33cm pan. Problem solved!

Short on time? You can make this ahead of time, store in the fridge, and broil the pasta about 10 minutes before serving, OR you can serve this straight out of the pan and skip the broiling. Sprinkle the cheese on top and voila, you just saved yourself a step.

Recipe adapted from Dam* Delicious (and yes, I just censored that.)


Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Serves 3-4

IMG_0913.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz / 250g (half package) penne or your choice of short pasta (my favorite are the shells for this!)

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 1/2 large onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 Tbsp / 15g all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup / 60g water, or chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 cup / 237g milk

  • about 5 oz / 150g fresh spinach, chopped

  • 7 oz / 200g frozen or canned cooked artichoke hearts, drained/thawed and chopped

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, or a few grates of fresh, if available

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • about 2 oz / 57g fontal or other semi-soft cheese, shredded

  • about 2 oz / 57g parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

Directions:

Ungreased 8x8in / 20x20cm pan, if you’re making this ahead of time (see step 8. and 9.)

IMG_0917.jpg
  1. Place a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook the pasta al dente according to directions on package; drain.

  2. While you’re boiling the water and cooking the pasta, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the onion is translucent and garlic fragrant.

  3. Add flour and stir, it will absorb all the liquid. Cook 1-2 minutes, until flour is toasted.

  4. Slowly add in the water, stirring constantly to make a thick paste (roux), then slowly stir in milk.

  5. Bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce; add spinach, artichokes, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until spinach has wilted and artichokes are heated through, about 2 minutes.

  6. Remove from heat and add a generous half of the fontal and generous half of the parmesan, stir until melted.

  7. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.

  8. If serving right away, spoon onto plates and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

  9. If serving later, transfer pasta to prepared baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and refrigerate. When ready to eat, place oven rack near top and broil pasta for a few minutes, or until cheese is melty and starts to turn golden.



Jenny’s Notes:

  • Instead of fresh spinach you can also use frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and chopped. Or you can use beet greens, arugula, or other cookable green of choice.

  • If you are watching your fat intake, feel free to reduce the cheese and use low-fat milk. On the other hand, if you love cheesy pasta and could care less about the fat, double the cheese!

  • Double this recipe and put in a 9x13in / 23x33cm pan!

  • If making ahead more than a few hours, I suggest boiling the pasta by 1-2 minutes less than indicated time, as it can become mushy sitting in the sauce. You may also need to add a bit more liquid (water, broth, or milk) to the sauce to compensate for the bit the pasta absorbs.

  • If you don’t know what to do with the other half can of artichokes, I suggest 1) making this dish twice within a few days, 2) doubling the recipe, or 3) using frozen artichokes or cooking them yourself so you don’t have to worry about the half can. I usually end up going for option 1, honestly, because making this once just isn’t enough.

American
Yield: 3-4 servings
Author:

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Pasta in a cheesy, creamy sauce with spinach and artichokes, playing off the flavors of the beloved spinach and artichoke dip.
prep time: 50 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 60 M

ingredients:

  • 4 oz / 250g (half package) penne or your choice of short pasta
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp / 15g all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup / 60g water, or chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup / 237g milk
  • about 5 oz / 150g fresh spinach, chopped
  • 7 oz / 200g frozen or canned cooked artichoke hearts, drained/thawed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, or a few grates of fresh, if available
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • about 2 oz / 57g fontal or other semi-soft cheese, shredded
  • about 2 oz / 57g parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

instructions:

How to cook Spinach Artichoke Pasta

  1. Ungreased 8x8in / 20x20cm pan, if you’re making this ahead of time (see steps 9. and 10.)
  2. Place a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook the pasta al dente according to directions on package; drain.
  3. While you’re boiling the water and cooking the pasta, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the onion is translucent and garlic fragrant.
  4. Add flour and stir, it will absorb all the liquid. Cook 1-2 minutes, until flour is toasted.
  5. Slowly add in the water, stirring constantly to make a thick paste (roux), then slowly stir in milk.
  6. Bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce; add spinach, artichokes, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until spinach has wilted and artichokes are heated through, about 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add a generous half of the fontal and generous half of the parmesan, stir until melted.
  8. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.
  9. If serving right away, spoon onto plates and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  10. If serving later, transfer pasta to prepared baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and refrigerate. When ready to eat, place oven rack near top and broil pasta for a few minutes, or until cheese is melty and starts to turn golden.

NOTES:

Instead of fresh spinach you can also use frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and chopped. Or you can use beet greens, arugula, or other cookable green of choice. If you are watching your fat intake, feel free to reduce the cheese and use low-fat milk. On the other hand, if you love cheesy pasta and could care less about the fat, double the cheese! Double this recipe and put in a 9x13in / 23x33cm pan! If making ahead more than a few hours, I suggest boiling the pasta by 1-2 minutes less than indicated time, as it can become mushy sitting in the sauce. You may also need to add a bit more liquid (water, broth, or milk) to the sauce to compensate for the bit the pasta absorbs. If you don’t know what to do with the other half can of artichokes, I suggest 1) making this dish twice within a few days, 2) doubling the recipe, or 3) using frozen artichokes or cooking them yourself so you don’t have to worry about the half can. I usually end up going for option 1, honestly, because making this once just isn’t enough.

Calories

488.68

Fat (grams)

23.74

Sat. Fat (grams)

8.73

Carbs (grams)

47.45

Fiber (grams)

6.94

Net carbs

40.51

Sugar (grams)

2.65

Protein (grams)

23.43

Sodium (milligrams)

668.13

Cholesterol (grams)

38.81
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 3 servings using water (not broth) and 2% milk.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0932.jpg

Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

IMG_0896.jpg

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Spaghetti with tuna; It’s like spaghetti, but instead of meatballs you add tuna to the tomato sauce!

Now, that might sound kinda weird at first to my American friends, just like Italians think we’re weird for putting meatballs on our spaghetti in the first place. But let me tell you. It’s really delicious and I find it strangely comforting. Italian comfort food.

If you haven’t noticed, July is pasta month here at Jennyblogs! What, you couldn’t tell from the 1 other pasta recipe I’ve posted so far this month that this whole month is going to be pasta? I’m so offended. (I’m just kidding you guyssss.) But now you know! So be sure to stay tuned (you can sign up for updates) for the rest of the month where I will share with you various recipes, some Italian, some American, and last week was Thai inspired! Everyone should have some quick and delicious pasta recipes in their repertoire that don’t need store-bought sauce! Homemade is always better, if you can manage it. That way you control exactly what goes into your and your loved ones bodies. No more excess sugar, preservatives, and high levels of salt and fat that can be hidden away in the store-bought jars of sauce.

Today, a recipe for Italian spaghetti al tonno, or spaghetti with tuna. Homemade sauce and all this can be on your table in less than 45 minutes!

Recipe by my husband, the pasta master


Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

Serves 6-8

IMG_0899.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. / 500g spaghetti

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 1/2 onion, chopped

  • 3 tomatoes, diced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp / 14g tomato paste

  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g ground turmeric

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 5 oz / 148g can of tuna, drained

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta al dente according to directions and drain.

  2. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until just fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are pretty well broken down. If the sauce becomes too thick or starts to stick, add a bit of water.

  4. Add the garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, salt and pepper, and a small chunk of tuna*; simmer for another few minutes.

  5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, toss and stir to coat pasta. At this point you can either add the rest of the tuna and stir, or plate the pasta and add the tuna on top.

  6. Serve and eat!


Jenny’s Notes:

  • As with any pasta recipe, you don’t have to use spaghetti or the type called for. Use your favorite kind or whatever you think would go best with the sauce you’re making.

  • If you prefer a stronger tuna taste, you can use the liquid from the tuna can instead of water to keep the sauce from getting too thick while simmering. It doesn’t matter if it is packed in water or oil.

  • Add just a bit of tuna to flavor the sauce instead of the whole can because it doesn’t need to be cooked. The rest will be added in at the end.

  • In a pinch you can use a 15oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.

Italian
Yield: 6-8 servings
Author:

Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

A classic Italian pasta dish with spaghetti, homemade tomato sauce, and tuna.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 40 M

ingredients:

  • 1 lb. / 500g spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp / 14g tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g ground turmeric
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz / 148g can of tuna, drained

instructions:

How to cook Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta al dente according to directions and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until just fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are pretty well broken down. If the sauce becomes too thick or starts to stick, add a bit of water.
  4. Add the garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, salt and pepper, and a small chunk of tuna*; simmer for another few minutes.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, toss and stir to coat pasta. At this point you can either add the rest of the tuna and stir, or plate the pasta and add the tuna on top.
  6. Serve and eat!

NOTES:

As with any pasta recipe, you don’t have to use spaghetti or the type called for. Use your favorite kind or whatever you think would go best with the sauce you’re making. If you prefer a stronger tuna taste, you can use the liquid from the tuna can instead of water to keep the sauce from getting too thick while simmering. It doesn’t matter if it is packed in water or oil. Add just a bit of tuna to flavor the sauce instead of the whole can because it doesn’t need to be cooked. The rest will be added in at the end. In a pinch you can use a 15oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.

Calories

216.63

Fat (grams)

6.08

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.62

Carbs (grams)

29.31

Fiber (grams)

2.14

Net carbs

27.17

Sugar (grams)

3.19

Protein (grams)

11.05

Sodium (milligrams)

151.14

Cholesterol (grams)

10.36
Nutritional Information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0897.jpg

Simple Thai Noodles

IMG_0875.jpg

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Some nights you get caught unprepared and need something quick to whip up for dinner. Or maybe that’s every night? I know Sunday food prepping is all the rage, and it’s a really great idea…if you’re only feeding yourself or a small family, and not taking into account the unexpected that happens. Even if you’re the most organized person cooking just for yourself, those nights are going to spring up on you when you want something quick and easy, delicious, and you have all the ingredients on hand. This recipe for Simple Thai Noodles falls in that category.

Sesame oil might not be in everyone’s pantry, but if you invest in a bottle, it can last you months, depending on how often you make Asian or other dishes that often call for sesame oil. It really is worth it, if you try and substitute another oil it won’t be the same. It lends such a nutty depth to dishes!

I actually have several versions of lo mein, Thai noodles, fried rice, etc. and even a couple more waiting to be tried that all have in common varying quantities and varieties of green onion, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, peanuts or peanut butter, and a sweet and a spicy element. Each with their merits, and the occasions for which I like to make them. If you can’t tell, I love Asian dishes, whether they’re authentic or simply inspired by Asian flavors.

This pasta is kept in my repertoire for its simplicity while still retaining all the delicious flavors, and now you can make it too, whether you’re in a pinch for a quick dinner, or not! No one said you have to make it only when in a pinch. :)

Recipe adapted from A Small Snippet


Simple Thai Noodles

Serves 6-8

IMG_0878.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g linguine or spaghetti

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil, or oil of choice

  • 1/4 cup / 54g sesame oil

  • about 1 Tbsp / 5g red pepper flakes

  • 3 Tbsp / 63g honey

  • 3 Tbsp / 45g soy sauce

  • cilantro, chopped peanuts, chopped green onions, julienned carrots, sesame seeds, or your choice of toppings

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta according to directions on box; drain, and return to pot.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the oils, red pepper flakes, honey, and soy sauce in a small bowl.

  3. When the pasta is done and drained, add the sauce to the noodles and toss to coat well.

  4. Serve immediately, adding toppings of choice.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • You can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your spicy preference. 1 Tbsp, as in the recipe, results in reasonably spicy, but not overwhelming. Also, you could use a spicy oil if you have some on hand instead of the red pepper flakes.

  • For a stronger sesame taste, use all sesame oil instead of olive oil. (6 Tbsp / 84g total of sesame oil.)

  • Feel free to add veggies or a protein, if you desire. For veggies, chop small and sauté in a pan with a bit of oil for a few minutes or until tender, toss in when you add the sauce. Cook your protein and slice as desired, add at the end on top of plates of pasta or mix in with sauce.

  • I’ll be honest with you, this usually serves 4, max…

Thai
Yield: 6-8 servings
Author:

Simple Thai Noodles

The simplest Thai noodles for a quick and easy dinner using ingredients already in your pantry.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 25 M

ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil, or oil of choice
  • 1/4 cup / 54g sesame oil
  • about 1 Tbsp / 5g red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp / 63g honey
  • 3 Tbsp / 45g soy sauce
  • cilantro, chopped peanuts, chopped green onions, julienned carrots, sesame seeds, or your choice of toppings

instructions:

How to cook Simple Thai Noodles

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta according to directions on box; drain, and return to pot.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the oils, red pepper flakes, honey, and soy sauce in a small bowl.
  3. When the pasta is done and drained, add the sauce to the noodles and toss to coat well.
  4. Serve immediately, adding toppings of choice.

NOTES:

You can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your spicy preference. 1 Tbsp, as in the recipe, results in reasonably spicy, but not overwhelming. Also, you could use a spicy oil if you have some on hand instead of the red pepper flakes. For a stronger sesame taste, use all sesame oil instead of olive oil. (6 Tbsp / 84g total of sesame oil.) Feel free to add veggies or a protein, if you desire. For veggies, chop small and sauté in a pan with a bit of oil for a few minutes or until tender, toss in when you add the sauce. Cook your protein and slice as desired, add at the end on top of plates of pasta or mix in with sauce. I’ll be honest with you, this usually serves 4, max…

Calories

294.66

Fat (grams)

14.65

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.10

Carbs (grams)

36.05

Fiber (grams)

2.12

Net carbs

33.93

Sugar (grams)

9.54

Protein (grams)

5.69

Sodium (milligrams)

418.72

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Calculated with green onion, carrots, and cilantro as toppings. Nutritional info is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0876.jpg

Butternut Squash Risotto

IMG_2738.JPG

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

I’m bacckkkkk! Did you forget I had a blog? I almost did, too. I didn’t mean to, but I took a three month hiatus from the blog. We’ll call it the extended Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s vacation. Happy all of those things, to you and yours.

So what year is it? Where are we? Ah yes, the brand new sparkling 2019. I think we all struggle this time of year with writing the old year for the first few weeks; “2018” instead of “2019,” but this time around I have been nailing the year and messing up the month. The other day I wrote November 2019. Nope. November was so two months ago. It’s January, Jenny. January.

You know what else comes around every January? Clean-eating resolutions, diets, and cleanses. While those are all fine and good, oh wait, cleanses are not. Why are they still around? Why are we still doing them? I mean, I’m not doing any cleanses, but I see enough people on social media doing them, touting them, and then encouraging their followers to do them, that it makes me worry. It’s not as much the actual cleanse itself that worries me, but the claims of what they can do. Body-reset, toxin flushing, hormone-balancing goodness. I know, people are gullible. I’m gullible. There is a reason the Bible calls us sheep. (It’s not a compliment, you should either be highly offended or humbled.) We go astray easily, following the crowd or “flock.” Even on silly things like cleanses. And you know what, on the surface they seem to work, which is why people probably want to try them. You feel better, you lose weight, and you think you’re doing great stuff for you bod, right? No. Wrong. Not factual.

Reasons Why a Cleanse is Not Necessary:

  1. Your body has a built in toxin flusher and cleanser. It’s called your liver. (Yay science!)

  2. Any weight you lose will probably be gained back once you start eating normally again. If you do a cleanse for more than a couple of days, especially strict ones like the “Master Cleanse,” your body is not going to be getting the calories and nutrients it needs and you will be losing fat, along with water, muscle and bone. Yum.

  3. There are a lot better ways out there to “feel good” about what you are doing for your body that are real, and not mostly just in your head or temporary. And well, a whole lot easier than starving yourself. Why don’t you try a new kind of exercise, drinking more water, eating more fruits and veggies, buying more organic, start budgeting, switching over to natural cleaning products, trying out essential oils, starting to take a prebiotic/probiotic, or a hot bath? Any of these things that maybe you could improve upon, would do you a lot more good in the long run.

Don’t take it from me, however, because I could be leading you astray just as much as the pro-cleanse people. Check out this article from Healthline.com, or this article from webmd, which is narrowing in specifically on the Master Cleanse diet. We all trust Webmd, right? Ah the site that tells us what may be wrong with us, along with 137 other ailments we didn’t know we might be suffering from. You can also just google “are cleanses safe,” and filter through the load of advice from medical websites and personal opinion yourself.

The bottom line is, I want you to be informed and use your critical thinking skills. Is a cleanse all they are hyped up to be? No, I think the real advice from doctors points in the opposite direction. But, even once you see a cleanse for what it is, and are still curious to try it, I think you should feel free to do that. Just be sure not to make a habit of it. ;) Then I hope you feel free to continue to feed your body the nutrition it needs, REAL food. Like this Butternut Squash Risotto recipe I’m about to show you. *Cue transition from Jenny’s soap box to recipe….*


Butternut Squash Risotto

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 10 oz / 300g butternut squash, seeded, peeled and chopped small (or you could just say half of a small squash)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 7 oz / 200g arborio rice

  • 1 pint / 500ml vegetable broth

  • about 3 oz / 100g spinach, chopped or whole

Directions:

IMG_2737.JPG
  1. In a large pan over medium-low heat, add the oil and garlic and simmer until fragrant, about a minute.

  2. Add the squash, onion, and bell pepper and cook until squash begins to soften.

  3. Add the rice and stir around to toast, about 1-2 minutes.

  4. Add stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. If the rice starts to cook dry, add more water or stock as needed.

  5. Once the rice is cooked, the squash is tender, and the liquid is mostly absorbed (but not all!), add the spinach and stir until wilted.

  6. Serve immediately.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • Risotto is a fairly quick, delicious, and versatile dish, great for colder months. Feel free to add or subtract vegetables to your liking. Any type of squash you like could be used, even pumpkin! (The fresh kind you have to peel and cube, not the puréed and canned kind, silly.)

  • If you like to ahem, cook with wine, and sometimes add it to your food even, feel free to add about 1/2 cup of red or white wine or dry white vermouth (or more or less depending on how winey you’re feeling.) Add it in between steps 3 and 4, after you’ve toasted the rice and before the stock. Allow the wine to evaporate and absorb into the rice before continuing with stock.

  • When you’re in a pinch and don’t have risotto or arborio rice, you really could use any kind. Just keep an eye on the cooking instructions for the kind of rice you are using so you will have an idea how long it will take.

  • If reheating leftovers, I would recommend adding in a touch more water or broth. The longer risotto sits the more liquid it will absorb, and may end up a bit dry.

Italian American
Yield: 2-4
Author:

Butternut Squash Risotto

Creamy delicious risotto featuring squash, bell peppers, and spinach, made with or without wine as you wish.
prep time: 50 Mcook time: total time: 50 M

ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 10 oz / 300g butternut squash, seeded, peeled and chopped small (or you could just say half of a small squash)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 7 oz / 200g arborio rice
  • 1 pint / 500ml vegetable broth
  • about 3 oz / 100g spinach, chopped or whole

instructions:

How to cook Butternut Squash Risotto

  1. In a large pan over medium-low heat, add the oil and garlic and simmer until fragrant, about a minute.
  2. Add the squash, onion, and bell pepper and cook until squash begins to soften.
  3. Add the rice and stir around to toast, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. If the rice starts to cook dry, add more water or stock as needed.
  5. Once the rice is cooked, the squash is tender, and the liquid is mostly absorbed (but not all!), add the spinach and stir until wilted.
  6. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

Risotto is a fairly quick, delicious, and versatile dish, great for colder months. Feel free to add or subtract vegetables to your liking. Any type of squash you like could be used, even pumpkin! (The fresh kind you have to peel and cube, not the puréed and canned kind, silly.) If you like to ahem, cook with wine, and sometimes add it to your food even, feel free to add about 1/2 cup of red or white wine or dry white vermouth (or more or less depending on how winey you’re feeling.) Add it in between steps 3 and 4, after you’ve toasted the rice and before the stock. Allow the wine to evaporate and absorb into the rice before continuing with stock. When you’re in a pinch and don’t have risotto or arborio rice, you really could use any kind. Just keep an eye on the cooking instructions for the kind of rice you are using so you will have an idea how long it will take. If reheating leftovers, I would recommend adding in a touch more water or broth. The longer risotto sits the more liquid it will absorb, and may end up a bit dry.

Calories

380.32

Fat (grams)

14.84

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.12

Carbs (grams)

58.29

Fiber (grams)

7.41

Net carbs

50.88

Sugar (grams)

9.25

Protein (grams)

7.08

Sodium (milligrams)

748.43

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 2 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Leek and Morel Mushroom Phyllo Pies

IMG_4874.JPG

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It's Maaayyyyyyy!  And you know what that means.  MOREL MUSHROOM HUNTING!  And eating.  Duh.  Can I confess something, though?  I know, I know, it's my family's favorite way to eat morels, but I have never much cared for them battered and pan fried.  I will hunt for hours in the woods for them just for the fun of it, but probably will pass if they're fried.  

I've hunted for morel mushrooms with my family for as long as I can remember, but apparently it's not as common outside of the mitten and non-Michiganders sometimes think we're crazy.  (Except for you, Madeline, you're in the morel club now!  And you know all our "secret" spots. Shh. don't tell.)  So in case you're wondering what it might look like to hunt morels, I've provided ample photos.  There are two main types, that I know of anyway, black and white.  The season for blacks is just before the white, usually end of April to mid May, and the whites start mid May to the end of May, depending on the weather.  After you pick the mushrooms it's best to soak them in salt water for a bit to clean them and evict any bugs.  After the soaking my mom would always throw out the water, ya know with all the mushroom spores in it, all over our woods in the hope that they would grow.  That never happened.  In a different area of the woods, however, my brother JohnPaul once discovered that there were some white morels growing!  Every year after that, we would stake out all the white morels in that area, putting marker sticks by them as we waited to see how big they would get, adding canned goods next to the 'shrooms at the end for size reference in photos.  Ok so we're a little weird.  

Last year I decided to take the 'shrooms into my own hands.  We found TONS in a place I won't tell you, so I had extras to experiment with.  And these phyllo pies, my friends, turned out to be an absolutely delightful way to eat morels.  This recipe is all about the filling, the delicious, flavorful, aromatic filling.  Phyllo plays an important part, of course, it is the vessel that transports all these lovely mushrooms, leeks, and cheese to your mouth, but I'm going to tell you to buy phyllo from the store.  I've never made phyllo and don't have plans to.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  I think it's pretty universally respected that, phyllo dough is something you buy.  To you die hards out there that make it at home, my hat is off to you.  In the meantime, I'm going to stroll over to my freezer and pull out some phyllo.  Whew, hard work.  

Recipe adapted from Drizzle and Dip


Leek and Morel Mushroom Phyllo Pies

IMG_4871.JPG

Makes about 12 pies

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3 medium store-bought or about 12 wild leeks (about 3 cups / 270g), finely chopped

  • 1 shallot or 1/2 small onion, diced

  • 4 Tbsp / 56g butter

  • about 5 cups / 375g chopped morel mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup / 60g milk

  • 1/2 cup / 65g grated parmesan cheese

  • phyllo pastry sheets, about 8, thawed

  • melted butter or olive oil for brushing phyllo dough

Directions:

Oven 350°F / 177°C.  Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.  

How to fold the phyllo pies

How to fold the phyllo pies

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil.

  2. Add garlic, leeks, and onion and sauté until tender onions are translucent and garlic fragrant.

  3. Add butter and mushrooms and cook until the liquid that is released from the mushrooms has mostly evaporated, then add milk and cook until the mixture is thick, just a few minutes. 

  4. Remove from the heat and add cheese, mixing just until melted.  Allow to cool slightly while you prepare the phyllo dough.

  5. Remove the phyllo pastry from the plastic, unroll, and set aside the first two sheets to work with; cover the remaining sheets with a slightly damp cloth to prevent them from drying out and becoming brittle.  

  6. Working quickly so the sheets don't dry out, brush the top side of one sheet with a bit of butter or oil and lay the second sheet on top.  Cut the layered sheets lengthwise in thirds, so you will know have 3 long strips. 

  7. Now for the fun "flipping" part.  See photo above for reference. Working with the first strip, spoon a small amount of the filling in the corner.  Take that corner and fold it down until the tip reaches the opposite side; the filling should now be covered.  Next flip it straight down, the top should be level again.  Fold again, taking the filled corner to the opposite side.  The dough should be kept taught through all this, but not so taught it rips.  Continue flipping/folding until the end of the strip.  Use a dab of butter or oil to stick the end of the strip to the pie.  Place on the pan, tucked side down, and repeat until all the filling or all the phyllo pastry has been used up.  Wrap any remaining phyllo tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until next use.

  8. Brush the tops of the pies with butter or oil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.       

Jenny's Notes:

  1. Don't have morels? Use any kind of mushroom you like! Likewise, you can also use any good melting cheese you prefer: gruyere, cheddar, asiago, raclette, etc. etc.

  2. If you prefer smaller pies, cut the phyllo dough into 4 strips lengthwise instead of 3.

Yield: 12 servings
Author:

Leek and Morel Mushroom Phyllo Pies

Flaky phyllo hand pies stuffed with a leek, morel mushroom, and cheese filling.
prep time: 1 H & 15 Mcook time: 25 Mtotal time: 1 H & 40 M

ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium store-bought or about 12 wild leeks (about 3 cups / 270g), finely chopped
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 4 Tbsp / 56g butter
  • about 5 cups / 375g chopped morel mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup / 60g milk
  • 1/2 cup / 65g grated parmesan cheese
  • phyllo pastry sheets, about 8, thawed
  • melted butter or olive oil for brushing phyllo dough

instructions:

How to cook Leek and Morel Mushroom Phyllo Pies

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil.
  2. Add garlic, leeks, and onion and sauté until tender onions are translucent and garlic fragrant.
  3. Add butter and mushrooms and cook until the liquid that is released from the mushrooms has mostly evaporated, then add milk and cook until the mixture is thick, just a few minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add cheese, mixing just until melted. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare the phyllo dough.
  5. Remove the phyllo pastry from the plastic, unroll, and set aside the first two sheets to work with; cover the remaining sheets with a slightly damp cloth to prevent them from drying out and becoming brittle.
  6. Working quickly so the sheets don't dry out, brush the top side of one sheet with a bit of butter or oil and lay the second sheet on top. Cut the layered sheets lengthwise in thirds, so you will know have 3 long strips.
  7. Now for the fun "flipping" part. See photo above for reference. Working with the first strip, spoon a small amount of the filling in the corner. Take that corner and fold it down until the tip reaches the opposite side; the filling should now be covered. Next flip it straight down, the top should be level again. Fold again, taking the filled corner to the opposite side. The dough should be kept taught through all this, but not so taught it rips. Continue flipping/folding until the end of the strip. Use a dab of butter or oil to stick the end of the strip to the pie. Place on the pan, tucked side down, and repeat until all the filling or all the phyllo pastry has been used up. Wrap any remaining phyllo tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until next use.
  8. Brush the tops of the pies with butter or oil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

NOTES:

Don't have morels? Use any kind of mushroom you like! Likewise, you can also use any good melting cheese you prefer: gruyere, cheddar, asiago, raclette, etc. etc. If you prefer smaller pies, cut the phyllo dough into 4 strips lengthwise instead of 3.

Calories

149.38

Fat (grams)

10.50

Sat. Fat (grams)

3.92

Carbs (grams)

9.61

Fiber (grams)

1.67

Net carbs

8.15

Sugar (grams)

0.86

Protein (grams)

3.75

Sodium (milligrams)

175.10

Cholesterol (grams)

15.09
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_4873.JPG

Have you ever gone morel mushroom hunting?  Tell me about your adventures in the comments below! :)

Pappa al Pomodoro

IMG_4924.jpg

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I remember clearly the first time I ate Pappa al Pomodoro.  It was DELICIOUS, and at the time I had absolutely no idea what it was.  I had recently arrived in Italy for the second time in my life, and my friends took me to a local pizzeria.  The owner, who knew my friends by sight, brought us each a little plate of this red...mush...with olive oil drizzled on top.  I took one bite, might have closed my eyes and had a Ratatouille moment, then wasted no time in devouring the rest. The flavors seemed such ordinary everyday ingredients, but each took their turn on the tongue, twirling and waltzing together in such harmony as to become a dish not quickly forgotten, and leaving the palate wanting more.  One of my friends can't have gluten, and asked if any of us wanted her mush.  "Really, there's gluten in this?  That stinks, I'm sorry you can't try it...I'll TAKE IT."  Actually, the rest of us probably split it, I don't really remember.  

After this first encounter, I needed to know what that magical substance was.  What is it called?  What are the ingredients? How do you make it?  I'll save you all my searching and wondering: Pappa al pomodoro has a base of bread, tomatoes, and broth, and where there are tomatoes there is usually basil, and round it out with some garlic and good extra virgin olive oil.  That's it!  And I bet, you probably have all or most of those ingredients on hand.  

Pappa al Pomodoro is a traditional Tuscan "poor" dish, and once I knew what it was, saw it everywhere on restaurant menus around Florence.  It's normally eaten as a primo piatto, or first course, but I like to make it the MAIN course.  At home, of course, away from the overly inquisitive eyes of the Italians.  The genius of it is, it uses stale bread, reducing food waste.  Hence it being a "poor" dish, in which the Tuscans back in the day found tasty ways to recycle every food bit. 

If you've been to Tuscany and tried Pappa al Pomodoro, hopefully this recipe will bring a bit of its exuberance back into your life.  If you've never tried it, give this recipe a go for a taste of Tuscany!  Because the ingredients are simple and each flavor really shines through, I recommend being a little extra picky on the quality and freshness of ingredients you use.  (But, I'll give you some cheats, see "Jenny's Notes" below.)

Pro tip:  As you're pronouncing "pappa" really lay on those p's.  If you say it too quickly, your Italian friends or Italian wanna-be friends might think you're talking about the Pope, whom they call "Papa."  And a tomato Pope, at that, because, ya know, pomodoro means "tomato."  :)

Recipe adapted from the cookbook "Toscana in Cucina The Flavours of Tuscany."  Click on the link to the right for more delicious Tuscan dishes, with recipes in both English and Italian!  


Pappa al Pomodoro

Serves about 4

Ingredients:

IMG_4931.jpg
  • 6 Tbsp / 84g olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

  • 1 lb. / 500g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 1 pint / 1 liter vegetable broth

  • 10 oz / 300g stale, crusted white bread, sliced thinly

  • several basil leaves, plus more for the garnish

  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Sauté the garlic and oil in a large pan over medium-low heat, until sizzling and fragrant, ensuring it doesn't burn.  Add a bit of crushed red pepper, then the tomatoes and basil.  

  2. Bring to a simmer; after a few minutes add the broth.  

  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the bread.  

  4. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

  5. Remove the pan from the heat and leave covered for about an hour.  

  6. When ready to serve, stir gently and drizzle with olive oil, dust with pepper, and top with a basil leaf or two.  

Buon appetito! 

*Wine Pairing from Toscana in Cucina: Muraccio - Parrina DOC Rosso - La Parrina, Albinia (Grosseto) 

Jenny's Notes:

  • I know the bread description is a little vague, but you probably won't find the 1 kg hunk of unsalted Tuscan bread in your local grocery store in the States. You want a bread with a nice crust, if possible. You could look for a good ciabatta, or, that bread labeled "Italian" at the grocery store could always make do.

  • You could also use chicken or beef broth, but vegetable seems to be most commonly called for in the Italian recipes I've seen.

  • This freezes well for quick meals, simply bring to room temperature and heat before serving!

  • I do confess I've made this once very much modifying the freshness rule, and to my surprise it didn't turn out half shabby. Just promise me one thing. Make this the real way before going for the modified version. What follows is for emergency situations only. ;)

  1. 1/2 tsp garlic powder instead of garlic cloves

2. 16 oz jar tomato sauce instead of 1 lb. tomatoes (I've used sauces with grilled eggplant and even olives added to them for a satisfying twist.)

3. Plain ol' water instead of broth. You'll probably need to add extra salt and pepper, though.

Italian
Yield: 4-6 servings
Author:

Pappa al Pomodoro

A classic Tuscan "poor man's" dish that utilizes stale bread, tomatoes, basil, and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve as a main dish or side.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 40 M

ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp / 84g olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 lb. / 500g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pint / 1 liter vegetable broth
  • 10 oz / 300g stale, crusted white bread, sliced thinly
  • several basil leaves, plus more for the garnish
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt and pepper, to taste

instructions:

How to cook Pappa al Pomodoro

  1. Sauté the garlic and oil in a large pan over medium-low heat, until sizzling and fragrant, ensuring it doesn't burn. Add a bit of crushed red pepper, then the tomatoes and basil.
  2. Bring to a simmer; after a few minutes add the broth.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the bread.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and leave covered for about an hour.
  6. When ready to serve, stir gently and drizzle with olive oil, dust with pepper, and top with a basil leaf or two.

NOTES:

I know the bread description is a little vague, but you probably won't find the 1 kg hunk of unsalted Tuscan bread in your local grocery store in the States. You want a bread with a nice crust, if possible. You could look for a good ciabatta, or, that bread labeled "Italian" at the grocery store could always make do. You could also use chicken or beef broth, but vegetable seems to be most commonly called for in the Italian recipes I've seen. This freezes well for quick meals, simply bring to room temperature and heat before serving!

Calories

456.41

Fat (grams)

27.38

Sat. Fat (grams)

4.01

Carbs (grams)

45.34

Fiber (grams)

3.71

Net carbs

41.63

Sugar (grams)

8.94

Protein (grams)

8.48

Sodium (milligrams)

1153.02

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Nutritional information is approximate; based on 4 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Pinwheels 3 Ways: Avocado Veggie, Buffalo Chicken, and Thanksgiving

From top to bottom: Thanksgiving, Veggie, Buffalo Chicken

From top to bottom: Thanksgiving, Veggie, Buffalo Chicken

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Or veggie rolls, veggie wraps, or veggie roll-ups, (but that just makes me think of fruit roll-ups, blech! No offense to my fruit roll-up loving friends.  Actually, every once in a blue moon I see a fruit roll up and think, hey, that sounds good right about now.  Then I walk on.  That's the end of the story.)  Or you could just call these tortilla/veggie/cream cheese concoctions for what they are; delicious.  That would be fine.  And the truth.  

They make for a great snack or appetizer, or lunch even if you forgot just how many pinwheels you popped in your mouth.  They're also very portable, quick, and simple to make, which make them ideal for parties, potlucks, lunch at the office, you name it.  

The formula is very easy to get the hang of, think tortillas, cream cheese, and condiments/spices!  The tortilla is your playground and the cream cheese is your best friend, so get creative!  Put all those flavor combinations you dreamt up while watching Food Network, The Great British Bake-Off, and Chef's Table to work in these tortillas.  Might be more manageable than that fried parmesan cheese bowl filled with pickled cabbage, grilled chicken, diced red peppers, fresh cilantro, lemon garlic aioli swiped across the plate and turmeric sprinkled over top.  But, hey, you could totally manage to put all that in a tortilla.  You might be on to something.  

To get you started, I give you three recipes: Fresh Veggie, Buffalo Chicken, and Turkey Cranberry a.k.a. Thanksgiving.  


Avocado Veggie Pinwheels

Makes about 18 pinwheels

Ingredients: 

Hmm, these photos could use improving upon…

Hmm, these photos could use improving upon…

  • 4 8-inch or 6 6-inch flour tortillas

  • 8 oz / 225g cream cheese, softened

  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots, or about 1-2 small carrots

  • 1/3 chopped spinach or broccoli

  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp dill weed

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup guacamole

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, carrots, spinach, green onions, garlic powder, dill weed, and salt and pepper.  

  2. Distribute evenly over tortillas, spreading almost to the edges.  Spread a thick layer of guacamole over cream cheese mixture.  Roll up tightly.  

  3. Slice into approximately 1 inch slices.  Serve or chill until it's part-tay time.  

pinwheels, roll ups, veggie rolls, veggie wraps, avocado, buffalo chicken pinwheels, Thanksgiving pinwheels, vegetable wraps, cranberry sauce, appetizer, finger food, snack
American
Yield: 32
Author:

Avocado Veggie Pinwheels

Tortillas slathered with seasoned cream cheese, avocado, and veggies, rolled up and sliced.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: total time: 25 M

ingredients:

  • 4 8-inch or 6 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 8 oz / 225g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots, or about 1-2 small carrots
  • 1/3 chopped spinach or broccoli
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dill weed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup guacamole

instructions:

How to cook Avocado Veggie Pinwheels

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, carrots, spinach, green onions, garlic powder, dill weed, and salt and pepper.
  2. Distribute evenly over tortillas, spreading almost to the edges. Spread a thick layer of guacamole over cream cheese mixture. Roll up tightly.
  3. Slice into approximately 1 inch slices. Serve or chill until it's part-tay time.

NOTES:

All quantities are very approximate. You could double basically any ingredient you want to have more filling, less filling, more flavor, less flavor. The tortilla is your playground.

Calories

54.07

Fat (grams)

3.37

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.62

Carbs (grams)

4.58

Fiber (grams)

0.50

Net carbs

4.17

Sugar (grams)

0.42

Protein (grams)

1.15

Sodium (milligrams)

79.99

Cholesterol (grams)

7.10
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels

Makes about 18 pinwheels

Ingredients:

  • 4 8-inch or 6 6-inch flour tortillas

  • 8 oz / 225g cream cheese, softened

  • 1/3 cup / 80g Frank's hot sauce

  • 1/2 cup cooked chopped or shredded chicken

  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped

  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled, optional

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, hot sauce, chicken, green onion, and blue cheese.

  2. Distribute evenly over tortillas, spreading almost to the edges.  Roll up tightly.  

  3. Slice into approximately 1 inch slices.  Serve or chill until it's part-tay time.   

pinwheel, veggie roll up, veggie wrap, buffalo chicken, blue cheese, buffalo chicken wrap, buffalo chicken pinwheel, canned chicken
American
Yield: 32
Author:

Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels

Tortillas slathered in Frank's hot sauce and cream cheese with chicken, rolled, and sliced for bite size hot wing pinwheels.
prep time: 15 Mcook time: total time: 15 M

ingredients:

  • 4 8-inch or 6 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 8 oz / 225g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup / 80g Frank's hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked chopped or shredded chicken
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled, optional

instructions:

How to cook Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, hot sauce, chicken, green onion, and blue cheese.
  2. Distribute evenly over tortillas, spreading almost to the edges. Roll up tightly.
  3. Slice into approximately 1 inch slices. Serve or chill until it's part-tay time.

NOTES:

All quantities are very approximate. You could double basically any ingredient you want to have more filling, less filling, more flavor, less flavor. I often use canned chicken for the buffalo chicken. Pinwheels aren't exactly a showcase of your cooking/baking skills, anyway, so I like to keep things chop, chop. (Literally) Don't have Frank's hot sauce? Go get some. You will thank me as your life is changed forever.

Calories

57.68

Fat (grams)

3.45

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.82

Carbs (grams)

3.93

Fiber (grams)

0.21

Net carbs

3.91

Sugar (grams)

0.31

Protein (grams)

2.23

Sodium (milligrams)

133.17

Cholesterol (grams)

11.06
Nutritional information is approximate. Includes the blue cheese.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Thanksgiving Pinwheels

Makes about 18 Pinwheels

Ingredients:

  • 4 8-inch or 6 6-inch flour tortillas

  • 8 oz / 225g cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce

  • 8 oz sliced deli turkey (or leftover Turkey, hey!)

  • 1/3 cup chopped spinach, optional

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl mix together cream cheese, cranberry sauce, and spinach.  Distribute evenly over tortillas, spreading almost to the edges.  

  2. Layer turkey slices over cream cheese mixture.  Roll up tightly.  

  3. Slice into approximately 1 inch slices.  Serve or chill until it's part-tay time.  

pinwheels, veggie roll ups, Thanksgiving, cream cheese, Thanksgiving pinwheel, Thanksgiving wrap, turkey, cranberry sauce, spinach
American
Yield: 32
Author:

Thanksgiving Pinwheels

Tortilla spread with cream cheese, cranberry sauce, and turkey, rolled and sliced for a nostalgic bite-sized taste of Thanksgiving.
prep time: 15 Mcook time: total time: 15 M

ingredients:

  • 4 8-inch or 6 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 8 oz / 225g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
  • 8 oz sliced deli turkey (or leftover Turkey, hey!)
  • 1/3 cup chopped spinach, optional

instructions:

How to cook Thanksgiving Pinwheels

  1. In a medium bowl mix together cream cheese, cranberry sauce, and spinach. Distribute evenly over tortillas, spreading almost to the edges.
  2. Layer turkey slices over cream cheese mixture. Roll up tightly.
  3. Slice into approximately 1 inch slices. Serve or chill until it's part-tay time.

NOTES:

All quantities are very approximate. You could double basically any ingredient you want to have more filling, less filling, more flavor, less flavor. Like I said, the tortilla is your playground. I like the spinach, it gives it a nice punch of color. It also makes the roll versatile for Christmas, beautiful red and green!

Calories

61.73

Fat (grams)

3.08

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.56

Carbs (grams)

6.19

Fiber (grams)

0.31

Net carbs

6.07

Sugar (grams)

1.93

Protein (grams)

1.98

Sodium (milligrams)

138.33

Cholesterol (grams)

11.00
Nutritional information is approximate. Includes spinach.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Jenny's Notes:

  • All quantities are very approximate.  You could double basically any ingredient you want to have more filling, less filling, more flavor, less flavor.  Like I said, the tortilla is your playground.  

  • I like the spinach in the Thanksgiving roll, it gives it a nice punch of color.  It also makes the roll versatile for Christmas, beautiful red and green! 

  • Speaking of the Thanksgiving roll, you could probably make a much more legitimate roll by using all Thanksgiving leftovers in a roll...gravy instead of cream cheese...nah that'd be gross.  

  • I usually use canned chicken for the buffalo chicken.  Pinwheels aren't exactly a showcase of your cooking/baking skills, anyway, so I like to keep things chop, chop.  (Literally) 

  • Don't have Frank's hot sauce?  Go get some.  You will thank me as your life is changed forever.  


Refrigerator Dill Pickles

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Summertime calls for watermelon, lemonade, ice cream, swimming, and cook outs.  And every quintessential cookout will have something to cook outside, usually meat and vegetables in some form.  (I know we're all thinking hamburgers, bratwursts, and hotdogs, but hey, there are some other weird traditions out there, too.)  And if you're cooking out, you're going to need buns and condiments.  And the best condiment award goes to....pickles!!

Not only does it have the best taste (opinion), but it stands alone.  As in, if you eat a pickle, no one will think twice.  But if we see you munching on a romaine lettuce leaf or slurping on a spoonful of ketchup, well, you might get some stares.  Of course, this is coming from someone who doesn't like hamburgers and once ate a romaine sandwich.  As in, onion, ketchup, mustard, and pickles sandwiched between to Romaine lettuce leaves.  Mmmmm.  Yeah, it was weird.  But I was so hungry, and hamburgers were the only option, I rather enjoyed it.  That's now on the worldwide webs.  Maybe I should change my heading to be: "Jenny, the girl who eats condiments like a main dish." Don't worry I won't, only you, my seven followers, are now privy to this information.  Haha.  

Back to pickles.  Now that we have remembered how great pickles are, did you know they are super easy to make at home?  Yes they are, and now you know that too.  Boil some water, throw some ingredients in a jar, chop up some cucumbers, stick them in the fridge, and voila!  Pickles.  

Recipe adapted from my mama


Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Makes about 24 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups / 830g water

  • 1 1/4 cups / 296g white vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp / 12g sugar

  • 1 Tbsp / 17g salt

  • 1 tsp / 2g turmeric, optional

  • 4 cups or about 2-3 large cucumbers, cut into slices, spears, or shape of choice

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 heads fresh dill

  • 1 tsp red chili flakes, mustard seeds, or celery seeds, optional

Directions:

  1. Stir together water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. 

  2. In a large glass jar or container, 4-quart or larger, arrange garlic, dill, cucumbers, and any spices you choose to use.  Pour the cooled liquid over the cucumbers, discarding or saving any leftover for another use.  Top with lid, sealing well, and refrigerate.  

  3. They will start to taste pickley the next day, but for optimum flavor refrigerate at least 3 days before consuming.  

Jenny's Notes:

  • I recommend making this recipe once as is to get an idea of the flavor profile, then play around to make it your own!

    1) If you like more bread & butter or sweet style pickles, up the sugar

    2) If you love dill, use more dill

    3) Add sliced onions or bell peppers

    4) Add more red pepper flakes or other hot pepper for more spice

    5) Really, add whatever suits your fancy. The garden is your playground.

  • The turmeric is for color, not so much flavor, to get that idyllic yellow pickle.  However, if you could care less about having a yellow pickle or don’t enjoy turmeric, leave it out!  I for one don't think the turmeric is very obvious in this recipe, but it's detectable if you really think about it.  

dill pickles, refrigerator pickles
American
Yield: 24
Author:

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Classic dill pickles made in your refrigerator in just 3 days.
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 25 M

ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups / 830g water
  • 1 1/4 cups / 296g white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp / 12g sugar
  • 1 Tbsp / 17g salt
  • 1 tsp / 2g turmeric, optional
  • 4 cups or about 2-3 large cucumbers, cut into slices, spears, or shape of choice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 heads fresh dill

instructions:

How to cook Refrigerator Dill Pickles

  1. Stir together water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  2. In a large glass jar or container, 4-quart or larger, arrange garlic, dill, cucumbers, and any spices you choose to use. Pour the cooled liquid over the cucumbers, discarding or saving any leftover for another use. Top with lid, sealing well, and refrigerate.
  3. They will star