Thanksgiving is hands-down my most anticipated meal of the year. My Roasted Chesnut Apple & Sausage Stuffing is hands down, my favorite part of the meal and I purposely make more than I’ll need. It freezes beautifully and this year I remembered a kitchen hack from Rachael Ray from early in her 30 Minute Meals days – Stuffin Muffins.
Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, pack the cups with unbaked stuffing and freeze for three hours. Take them out of the muffin tin and place in a single layer into a large freezer Ziploc bag. When you need a single-serving and savory side dish with chicken, turkey or pork simply pop out one or more and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes until they’re crunchy on top.
My latest flatbread creation, using ingredients I had on hand. And it may be my new favorite dinner for one!
Prosciutto, Brie & Apricot Flatbread
2 oz cubed Brie
1-2 t fresh thyme
2 slices prosciutto, rolled and sliced into ribbons
6-8 chopped dried apricots, cut into 3-4 pieces
Garlic Aioli (see below)
Crunchy onions, crumbled
Fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush flatbread on both sides with olive oil and place into a skillet then into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and top with a light spread of the garlic aioli, followed by the apricots, brie, thyme and prosciutto. Return to the oven for 6-8 minutes. Remove and add the crunchy onions and parsley. Serve and enjoy!
1 garlic clove
3 T mayonnaise
1/4 t lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Using a micro plane, grate the garlic clove over the mayonnaise, stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper. This is delicious on any number of sandwiches and burgers as well as a base for the flatbread recipe above and is even better made a day or two ahead!
Lately I’m a bit obsessed with flatbreads. Often its a challenge – what to make for a delicious dinner….for one person. Enter flatbreads, something I frequently order off appetizer menus and my recent love-fest with HelloFresh has only intensified my obsession and imagination.
Today I raided the fridge for ingredients. I’d had company for several days during which I cooked great meals that left me with some amazing leftovers….this is what I created.
Barbecue Chicken Flatbread
1/2-3/4 c chopped rotisserie chicken
2-3 T herbed, garlic ricotta (see recipe below)
Grape tomatoes 6-8 sliced in half
1/3 c Italian shredded cheese blend
red pepper flakes
Heat oven to 400. I used my cast iron skillet and like to preheat it for 5 minutes while prepping the flatbread and toppings. Brush the bottom of the flatbread with a little olive oil. Spread the ricotta, followed by the chicken and tomatoes. Drizzle barbecue sauce over the top, add red pepper flakes and cheese. Place into hot skillet and bake 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and top with Italian parsley. After 5 minutes, cut into wedges and serve.
Herbed garlic ricotta (enough for several flatbreads)
1 c ricotta
1-2 t garlic powder
fresh herbs – I used chopped chives and thyme
1-2 t olive oil
Mix ingredients together and refrigerate. I like to make this at least a few hours or the night before I use it.
Tonight I turned to my fridge, freezer, pantry and herb garden for inspiration and made this delicious meal for one. It was so tasty I wanted to share it here.
Shrimp and White Beans over Angel Hair Pasta
15-20 cooked shrimp
8 oz white beans
8 oz heirloom grape & cherry tomatoes – halved
4 oz angel hair pasta
1/2 c toasted panko bread crumbs
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves – minced
1 T chopped shallot
1 T olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T dry white wine
2 T butter
1 t oregano
1 T toasted pine nuts
red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
Mix toasted panko bread crumbs with oregano.Chiffonade fresh basil. Cook angel hair pasta as directed on packaging. In a large skillet add olive oil, garlic and shallots and saute for 3-4 minutes at a medium heat, Add red pepper flakes, shrimp and white beans.. After 2-3 minutes, add tomatoes, lemon juice and wine, lower heat and allow to simmer for 3 minutes, add butter, salt and pepper to taste.
In a bowl, layer pasta then add shrimp and bean mixture. Top with pine nuts, panko and basil and serve immediately.
When I received my box on Tuesday this week I was disappointed to see that the two entrees I received were not the ones I selected. The good news was two-fold 1) the ones they sent were meals that looked delicious and 2) when I called, they immediately applied a credit to my next order. I offered to send photos and it was not necessary. An email arrived within minutes apologizing and documenting their resolution. I couldn’t ask for more.
Especially now that I’ve had both meals – absolutely loved them.
The first one I fixed the day I got the box. Although I’ve enjoyed some pretty spectacular burgers in my lifetime, it would be easy to say this might have been the best one ever.
The Melty Monterey Jack Burger with Red Onion Jam and Breaded Zucchini. Seriously. This burger rocked my world.
Tonight I fixed the Sweet as Honey Chicken with Green Beans and Jasmine Rice. And again, I had a meal that was delicious and flavorful but also it was one of two 540 calorie meals that were offered for this week which was a nice benefit (others being higher in calories but still balanced and healthy). If I’d had this in a restaurant I would have sent my regards to the chef. As it was, I patted myself on the back.
So far, I’m a fan of HelloFresh and with each new box, I feel certain that my positive experiences will continue.
This blog represents my opinions and enthusiasm but no compensation from HelloFresh. From inception I didn’t want to have advertisements on my blog, (no judgements) simply my preference.
Some nights I imagine I’m on Chopped (perhaps my favorite of all shows on The Food Network) and decide to challenge myself based on featuring four random ingredients and transforming them into something that would delight the Chopped judges – or in this case me. Okay guys, work with me here……
In my Chopped fantasy, Ted Allen asks me to open the basket and announces my four mystery ingredients:
Dried Black Mission Figs
If you regularly watch Chopped, you’re likely thinking I got lucky – no gummy worms, eel or headcheese in my basket. Keep in mind, if I were on Chopped (seriously on my bucket list) it would be a home-chef episode. For those shows they typically don’t give the contestants something that would send them running from the studio in tears.
Here’s what I decided to make with my basket ingredients:
Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees, place your baking stone in the oven. Mix together a pizza crust mix (add water, olive oil, knead, cover rest for 10 minutes) Place dried figs into boiling water to hydrate – set aside. Prepare the toppings – prosciutto, chopped shallots, spinach, slice the figs in half. Using a cutting board with a dusting of corn meal and garlic powder, manipulate the pizza dough into the desired shape and thickness. Place the prosciutto, spinach, shallots, figs onto the unbaked crust, add red pepper flakes and top with shredded mozzarella and a drizzle of good olive oil. Pull the heated baking stone from the oven and slide the pizza onto the stone. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. Remove from oven, top with chopped hazelnuts and cool for five minutes. Slice and enjoy.
And yes, in my Chopped fantasy – the judges not only rave about my culinary skills but I’m offered my own show on The Food Network on the spot. Of course, I humbly accept their accolades and realize I’m going to have to come out of retirement to do my show but this is a tradeoff I must make to follow my passion….
This is the second post in my new series, Cooking for One. Since losing Spence almost three months ago, it’s taken time to regain my appetite and rediscover my passion for cooking. Thankfully the desire to create and savor delicious meals has slowly returned. In sharing these ideas, I hope that even when it’s just you, you’ll feel inspired to make something special – you’re worth it!
Fontina & Prosciutto Flatbread with Figs & Balsamic Reduction
1 piece of Naan
fresh cracked black pepper
red pepper flakes
sliced Fontina cheese
thin sliced prosciutto, torn into smaller pieces
chopped or sliced figs
thin sliced red onion
fresh baby spinach
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a cast iron skillet (or baking stone) with olive oil and place into the oven for five minutes. While the skillet heats, brush the top of the Naan with olive oil, add cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes, then add slices of fontina covering the top. Next add the proscuitto, figs, red onion and chopped pistachios. Place the flatbread into the skillet and return to the oven for ten minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and immediately top with a handful of spinach then a good drizzle of balsamic reduction. I enjoyed this with a lovely glass of Prosecco.
Note: Naan is such a quick and delicious product to use for a quick flatbread or pizza – try any combination of fun toppings – there’s simply no limit!
This took all of 5 minutes to make and less than a minute to eat.
Warm a flour tortilla – I put it right on the burner, flipping it one time. Top with shredded cheese, lower the heat. Prepare one soft scrambled egg – add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. While it finishes, slice 1/2 avocado, placing it onto the cheese. Add the egg and a splash of hot sauce (I used Slap ya Mama). Fold over soft taco style and enjoy.
This is the first post in my new series, Cooking for One.
Thought I’d get that out of the way. Though I prepare salmon in various ways there are two recipes that are my “go-to” favorites, whether for company or just for me. I can’t take credit for coming up with this recipe – it is from Giada De Laurentiis, is super easy and absolutely delicious. I assemble mine a bit differently than she does and I’m showing the recipe for one serving.
Salmon with Puff Pastry & Pesto 1 serving
puff pastry – cut just large than the piece of salmon
4-6 oz piece of salmon
1 T sliced almonds – toasted
2 T pesto
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the puff pastry on one side, the salmon on the other (not touching). Bake for 10 minutes.
To serve, place the puff pastry on the plate, top with the pesto – as shown below:
Now add the tomato slice(s), followed by the salmon and top with the almonds.
Is there anything much better than fresh tomatoes from your garden or the Farmer’s Market? This summer I’ve been getting the most delicious tomatoes and am constantly building my meals around ways to incorporate them. Here’s my easy Caprese Salad – I’m giving you the ingredients and a photo, just build the amount that you want for this evening’s meal and enjoy!
fresh, sliced tomatoes
fresh mozzarella, sliced
fresh basil – either tear or chiffonade the leaves
good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
sea salt (or other finishing salt)
Assemble the tomatoes, then mozzarella and repeat. Sprinkle the basil over the top, drizzle olive oil over the platter, drizzle pesto and then finish with a bit of salt to taste. It’s just that easy and such a refreshing side salad or meat-less entree.