Sheet pan Gnocchi & Veggies

I’m a fan of the sheet pan meal craze. It’s quick prep and easy cleanup while oven roasting gives ingredients enhanced flavor and texture.

Using ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge, I made a dish both colorful and satisfying. As I usually cook for one these days, I’m sharing ingredients, technique and cook time. Depending on how many you’re cooking for and if it’s a side or a meat free entree, fill up your sheet pan accordingly.

Sheet pan Gnocchi & Veggies

  • gnocchi
  • jalapeño – sliced into rings
  • cherry tomatoes
  • white onion – cut into large wedges
  • garlic cloves – smashed
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • coarse grind black pepper
  • toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the gnocchi, jalapeño, tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves. Drizzle olive oil over bowl ingredients, then salt and pepper. Toss together to coat thoroughly and pour onto sheet pan in a single layer. Place pan in oven for 18-20 minutes until it’s sizzling. Top with pine nuts and serve.

Warmer weather is a few weeks away so watch for more sheet pan recipes. My herb garden and farmer’s markets will be my inspiration and I can’t wait to share my creations.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

As mentioned in an earlier post, I deliberately make extra stuffing at Thanksgiving, follow this link for my recipe.

While at the market yesterday I saw this pretty little acorn squash and thought…”hmm, this would be delicious filled with my leftover, unbaked stuffing”. I was right – here’s how I did it:

Stuffed Acorn Squash  serves 2

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Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the squash in half and scoop out seeds.

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Brush the edges of the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper, place face down into a baking dish for  30 minutes.

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I used a bowl to tightly pack 1 1/2 cups unbaked stuffing per half squash. Remove the squash from the oven, flip it, scoop  packed stuffing into the cavity  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until squash is softened.

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Add a glass of red wine, enjoy every bite.

 

Stuffin’ Muffins – a kitchen hack

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.

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Prosciutto, Brie & Apricot Flatbread

My latest flatbread creation, using ingredients I had on hand. And it may be my new favorite dinner for one!

Prosciutto, Brie & Apricot Flatbread

  • 1 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!

 

 

Garlic Aioli

  • 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!

Caprese-Style Chicken Flatbread

Having just created a new twist on my flatbread-for-one recipes, I wanted to share it with my followers.

Caprese-Style Chicken Flatbread

  • 1 flatbread
  • 1/2 c chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 c spiced ricotta (see recipe below)
  • 1/2 c chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • fresh basil and parsley leaves – torn
  • 1/4 – 1/3 c shredded mozarella
  • aged balsamic vinegar – to drizzle

Heat oven to 400. I use 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. Place it into the skillet and bake for 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and spread the ricotta, followed by the chicken and tomatoes, basil, parsley and mozzarella.  Drizzle balsamic over the top and return to the oven for 5-6 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

*Flatbreads can be done on a grill pan – or right on the grill.

Spicy Ricotta – enough for 4 flatbreads

  • 1 c ricotta
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • red pepper flakes – to taste
  • 1/4 t Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Seasoning
  • 2 t olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together. Refrigerate for an hour….overnight (even better).

Barbecue Chicken Flatbread

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
  • 1 flatbread
  • 2-3 T herbed, garlic ricotta (see recipe below)
  • Grape tomatoes 6-8 sliced in half
  • 1/3 c Italian shredded cheese blend
  • Barbecue sauce
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • Italian parsley

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.

Shrimp and White Beans over Angel Hair Pasta

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 

serves 1

  • 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
  • Fresh basil
  • 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.

 

 

My Experience with HelloFresh

For those following this blog you know I love to cook. I have my Doctorate from the Food Network (okay I’m making that up), dozens of cookbooks, numerous Pinterest foodie boards and an overall obsession with great food. I was aware of these meal services – HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef – but felt they weren’t for me.

Until a week ago…..

Having passed the one year mark since losing Spence, I started looking at these meal services through a different lens. Cooking for one with a love of food but a small appetite, I’d been finding that food was going to waste – especially produce. Cooking for one, I rarely try new recipes and was in a bit of a rut. I checked out several sites and for me it came down to looking at the meal choices. HelloFresh had me at “Hello” (random Jerry McGuire reference).

The smallest commitment, two 2 serving meals per week (from a choice of ten) made sense for me. There’s no contract and you can skip a week(s) or quit anytime, flexible and hassle free.

Via text updates, I knew my shipment would arrive on Tuesday via UPS.  Everything was well-packaged and super fresh, a huge re-usable cold pack inside and the box was lined with a cooler-type insert.

 

My chosen meals were Lemony Cheese Tortelloni with Pancetta, Peas and Zucchini and Pan Seared Duck Breasts with Duck-Fried Potatoes, Asparagus and Grape Tomatoes.

I made the Tortelloni first, using half the ingredients which were more than ample for a single serving.

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Easy recipe with step by step instructions, including photos and even a suggested wine pairing

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Delicious!

I made the recipe exactly as written, making any notes on how I’d enhance the second portion later in the week. I’d add toasted pine nuts, a pinch of red pepper flakes and shave Parmigiano Reggiano over the top adding both texture and flavor.

I love duck and when I see it on a menu I order it – but I’ve never prepared it. HelloFresh gave me a fool-proof recipe and opportunity to try something I’d never done.  Count me in…

 

The Pan Seared Duck entrée was…..perfection!  I savored every bite and I can’t wait to make the second portion in the future. I don’t think I’d change anything!

There are lots of enticing first-time offers by these meal services that ultimately make your first order inexpensive and with no long-term committment what have you got to lose?

 

 

 

 

Fontina & Prosciutto Flatbread with Figs & Balsamic Reduction

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
  • olive oil
  • 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
  • chopped pistachios
  • fresh baby spinach
  • balsamic reduction

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! 

Super Easy Breakfast Soft Taco

 

Breakfast of Champions

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