RSS

Category Archives: Cheese

It’s been a while… & Green Bean Salad

I was totally shocked when I realized that it has been 6 months since I have last posted anything on my blog¬†ūüė¶

I have been completely wrapped up in my crazy, busy life of raising four children (1 teen, 1 tween & 2 babies),¬†being¬†an efficient secretary to my¬†husband and his business ventures¬†and his¬†wife. Even though being busy should not be an excuse for making time to do what I love, which is cooking and blogging, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. I am currently attempting to make some minor adjustments in my life so that I can have a bit of me time, which is time I like to spend on here. This makes me smile!

Just to catch everyone up to speed

~ Bailey will be making some major adjustments this upcoming school year. She is moving from a private Christian school to a public school and entering into the IB program. I am praying that the culture shock isn’t too rough on her. Bailey has been working for her Aunt and Uncle at their business throughout¬†this summer, and is planning on staying there¬†through high school.¬†¬†She is active in¬†2 rodeo circuits¬†as well as the¬†NBHA, and¬†loves every minute of it. Bailey has been blessed with a horse who is as perfectly matched to her as she is to him. His name is Blaze.

~Emily will be homeschooled full-time this year. I am both excited and nervous about this. I know that everything happens for a reason and this is what we are supposed to be doing at this time. She is also active in 2 rodeo circuits and well as the NBHA (National Barrel Horse Assoc.) Emily is a cowgirl at heart and I just adore her spirit. She loves to work cattle and in her spare time she loves to design hair and nails.

~ Gracie will be three years old the end of this month. It is so hard to believe that three years have gone by so quickly. She has definitely made the transition from baby to toddler to little girl. She is most excited about her 3rd birthday party. For the past two months she has talked to me everyday about her, “Horse party, with purple balloons and cupcakes!” I hope we are able to live up to her dream party (pictures and details to come). We are hopeful that Gracie will ride in her first rodeo before the end of this year. I am anxious to let you know how that goes.

~ Richard a.k.a. Bubba is not only our baby but also our only boy. Therefore he is spoiled rotten, down to the core. He has each and every one of us wrapped around his little finger(s) like all of them. He will be turning two in November and I cannot fathom where the time has gone. It is like the days are long and the years are short. Any how he is healthy and happy and surrounded by girls…

So, now that we are all caught up on life I would like to share with you one of Bailey’s favorite salad’s. Let me know what you think about it, or what changes you make to it. I love hearing from you.

Rachel

Green Bean Salad

1 lb. fresh green beans (washed & trimmed)

1 small red onion slice thin

8 oz. cooked and crumbled bacon (or use bacon pieces already cooked)

8 oz. crumbled Feta Cheese

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2-3 Tablesoons white wine vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)

1 Tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried dill (optional, depending on taste)

1-2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Blanche green beans (place in pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, drain and transfer to a bowl of iced water) you want the beans to be crisp and keep their vibrant color.

Wisk together the oil, vinegar, herbs and seasonings

In a large bowl toss the beans, dressing, Feta, and bacon.

This salad is served as made or chilled.

 

Tags: ,

Chipotle Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich

I have a confession to make… I am a Pinterest addict! I¬†have never¬† found a website that I couldn’t easily¬†click away from, until now.¬†I am constantly¬†inspired by¬†many wonderful ideas¬†that I find on there. This sandwich is a product of my¬†Pinterest addiction. Within about an hour of pinning the “Spicy Hawaiian Burger” I had over 20 repins. So, I figured¬†should¬†get in the kitchen and make my version of¬†it. I¬†did alter the recipe somewhat, to¬†the ingredients¬†I had on hand, and it¬†turned out fabulous!¬†¬†Have a marvelous Monday my friends!

My quote for the day: “For every 60 seconds you spend angry,¬†results in¬†1 minute of happiness you will never get back” unknown

Ingredients:

    • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1/4 cup lower sodium soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon of Seasoned Salt (I used Tony Chachere’s)
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 clove of minced garlic
    • 3 scallions sliced (green and white parts)
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
    • 4 slices of pepper jack cheese
    • 8 pineapple slices
    • 1 whole Cuban loaf
    • Romaine lettuce for garnish
    • 1/4 cup olive oil mayo (optional)
Directions:
  • In a large zip-tip bag combine soy sauce and the following 8 ingredients, thru the¬†chipotle powder.
  • Place the chicken in between layers of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until about 1/2″ thickness.Add the chicken to the marinade and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.
  • Heat a skillet to medium-high heat, remove chicken from marinade and coat with non-stick spray. Cook for 4-6 minutes on each side (or until done) add a slice of cheese to each piece of chicken.
  • After removing the chicken from the pan add the pineapple and cook for about 3 minutes per side.
  • Slice bread in half, smear bottom of bread with mayo, add lettuce, chicken & cheese, pineapple slices.
  • Wha La!Sit back and enjoy this most delicious sandwich!

This recipe was adapted from Homemade by Holman

 

Tags: , , , ,

White Lasagna with Chicken & Spinach

Hello, hello! I am thrilled to be back on the blog-scene once again. It has been such a long time since I have had¬†a single¬†spare moment to devote to Rachel’s Vittles. Change is in the air (or kitchen) though. As difficult as it is for me, I will be delegating some of my responsibilities to others ūüôā so that I can spend a bit more time doing what I love, which is cooking and sharing¬†about it here.

I truly hope that each and every one of you had a remarkable and memorable Christmas and start to this New Year! I am very much looking forward to the many new adventures and memories 2012 will bring my way. I thought it might be fun to reflect back and share with you what has been going on in my crazy-busy life.

My youngest child and only son, Richard (aka Bubba) is quite the busy body these days. He has not only mastered walking, but running as well and is quickly moving on to climbing. His appetite is tremendous, I still haven’t figured out how the little guy eats so much but, I am fairly certain he has¬†inherited my love of food. He is the happiest little baby I know, and he seems to have his Daddy’s patience. The good Lord must have known he would need it in this home full of girls!

Gracie… where do I even begin. I have come to the conclusion that this little girl must be solar-powered. She doesn’t eat very much at all and sleep is something she rarely does for any decent amount of time. So, being that we live here in the Sunshine State she must run on the sun! lol.¬†Our little girl¬†has become¬†quite a character at the ripe young age of 2. She is loving,¬†hilarious, theatrical, silly, sarcastic, very¬†particular, determined¬†and so abundantly¬†full of energy. We never have a shortage of entertainment around here. She is so much fun to be around and brings a constant smile to my face. She loves, Loves, LOVES her brother & sisters, and during this past year she has added horses to the list of who she loves. It is amazing to me that my tiny 24 pound girl doesn’t hesitate for a second before climbing on the¬†back of a horse and riding off. In December she rode all by herself, not even with¬†a lead rope,¬†for the first time! She is the cutest little¬†cowgirl.

Emily is doing phenomenal in school this year. I am so impressed with her accomplishments during her sixth grade year. She is playing the violin, and doing an amazing job at it. I love to hear her play! I look forward to listening to her make music with those strings for many, many years to come! Her 4-H project this year is a hog, which she named Pigsie (like Pixie) and she also has two miniature goats. Emily has taken her love for horses to a new level this past year. She is now a member of the NBHA¬†(National¬†Barrel Horse Assoc.) and is¬†barrel racing every chance she gets. It is hard to believe that she will be 12 years old this month…time flies! I am so blessed to have her as a daughter!

Bailey, my oldest baby ūüôā will be 15 years old this upcoming Tuesday! I just cannot believe that so many years have passed since I became a Mommy for the first time! She has become a remarkable young lady who has so much going for her. She jumped on the 4-H wagon this year, and cannot wait to jump back off! Nepolian is the name of her swine, and fair time can’t get here quickly enough. Bailey is also a new member of the NBHA this year and is spending as much time on the horses as she can. She loves the horses and with her hardcore competitive spirit I know she will go far. New and exciting times are in store for her this year as she will be driving and getting her first job!

As you might can see my children keep me a bit busy, but I love every single moment of it and I wouldn’t change it for anything! I have days that I feel like I am going crazy (my husband thinks I am crazy), which I think is normal with two babies and two teenage girls!

Again, I am happy to be returning to my blog and I am looking forward to a year full of delicious vittles!

White Lasagna with Chicken & Spinach

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 – 14 oz. can baby artichokes hearts quartered drained
  • 1 – box frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained
  • 1 – box frozen chopped broccoli thawed and drained
  • 1 box of lasagna noodles, boiled¬†according to directions on box
  • 3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg well beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup parmesan or romano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1 teaspoon each¬†sea salt and black pepper (I usually add more, to tatse)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 to 3 cups of water
  • 3-4 medium-sized tomatoes chopped

Directions:

  • Beat egg well, add in¬†the ricotta¬†and parsley until combined and set aside
  • In a skillet over medium heat melt butter, whisk in the flour to make a roux, do not allow the butter to burn. Continue cooking and whisking about 2 minutes, add the water,¬†cream and milk, whisk until all of the flour/butter mixture has dissolved into the cream cook over low heat (don’t boil)¬†until it has thickened. ¬†Add the parmesan or romano cheese, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Place the artichokes,¬†broccoli and spinach in a bowl and toss to combine.
  • To begin building lasagna. Spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray. Start with a layer of noodles first, top with 1/3 of the cooked chicken, 1/3 of the vegetable mixture, 1/4 of the mozzarella, and then ladle on¬†1/4 of the sauce. Repeat this process two more times ending with noodles. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella. Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes or so.
  • Allow the lasagna to sit on the counter, uncovered for 5-10 minutes. This lets the dish set so that you can cut and serve it,¬†with minimal sliding ūüôā
  • Garnish with chopped tomatoes just before serving.
 

Zuppa Toscana

I have missed you all! I hope that your Thanksgiving Day was spectacular, filled with delicious food, cherished moments with loved ones and football of course!

Sadly, it seems like it has been a lifetime since I have posted anything. I truly enjoy this website, it means a lot to me.¬†However, this¬†past month has been incredibly busy for¬†several different reasons and despite my efforts to find the¬†time to blog, it hasn’t happened. I had so many wonderful recipes I was excited to share for Thanksgiving ūüė¶ which I will saved for next year…

Zuppa Toscana, is an Italian soup (which happens to be a favorite of my girls & myself) that is full of sausage, sweet onions, potatoes, and the star of the bowl, kale. This soup does have cream added to it, but it is not¬†a heavy soup, the base is made with chicken stock with a small amount of cream added at the end. I¬†usually would have used milk, as I¬†commonly¬†don’t keep heavy cream on hand, but I had some leftover from turkey day therefore I added on the richness and the calories!

I would also like to add that I have a long way to go with my photography skills, and I try my best, but I find it almost impossible to take a good (or even decent) picture of soup. Over the past six months I have probably snapped 200 shots of different soups, and not one has been even okay. But, I really wanted to jump back into my blog and this soup was what was on the menu. If any of you have any tricks or suggestions, I would love to hear it! Thanks.

Zuppa Toscana

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet Italian chicken sausage (hot sausage would be great as well)
  • 2 large Idaho potatoes
  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 12-16 ounces of chopped kale
  • 3 cans of all natural chicken broth 14.5 oz each
  • 1/2 pound bacon cook and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of heavy cream or milk
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions

  • Add vegetable oil to a hot Dutch oven or heavy pot (med-high heat)¬†brown and crumble¬†sausage¬† remove from pot
  • Dice onions and potatoes add to sausage drippings cook 10-12 minutes
  • Add garlic to potatoes and onions
  • Pour chicken stock and water¬†into pot bring to a boil and then reduce heat
  • Add salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, parsley, bacon & sausage
  • Check the¬†tenderness¬†of your potatoes,¬†when¬†tender add cream and kale cook until thoroughly¬†heated and slightly wilted
  • Once the cream is added do not boil, the cream will separate
  • Serve with parmesan cheese as a garnish
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Appetizers, Cheese, Chicken, Pork, Soups, Veggies

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tomato Cobbler

Tomato Cobbler

I cannot pinpoint the exact reason it took me so long to make this savory tomato¬†cobbler. Learn from my mistake, do not wait to make this. The biscuits are full of cheesy, hearty goodness with a crispy top and melt-in-your-mouth body. The Gruy√®re¬†is the perfect accompaniment¬†to the juicy little tomatoes (which are¬†oh so delicious!), the caramalized¬†onions, the garlic & rosemary all work in harmony.¬†* The only change I made to the recipe was¬†swapping the¬†rosemary for¬†thyme¬†and only because I didn’t have thyme, and you just can’t skip on the herbs.*¬†¬†I also want to¬†point out that it calls for 3 pounds of tomatoes, not 3 cups! I misread the ingredients the first go-round.¬†One pint of grape tomatoes weighs¬†10 ounces, so¬†you will need approximately 5 pints. I know it seems like a lot of tomatoes, but it makes a¬†massive amount of¬†delicious food.

I love tomatoes, they are a staple in our home. It’s safe to say we eat tomatoes everyday.¬†I cannot think of¬†a recipe, that has cooked tomatoes in it, that is better! This one takes the cake (or¬†should I say¬†cobbler), it is my new favorite side!¬†¬†I¬†am anxious to make this for our Thanksgiving¬†Day dinner. Actually,¬†I should probably make two¬†because I know most of us will be making a trip for seconds.¬†This savory¬†cobbler¬†will undoubtedly impress your family¬†or guests¬†at the dinner table. It is definitely worth the time¬†it takes to prepare it. I found that my cooking time was significantly less,¬†by about 25 minutes.¬†I would keep an eye on it after about the 40 minute mark. * Note to self, check the accuracy of¬†the temp in my oven* ¬†This¬†dish would also¬†be a hit¬†at¬†any office party or¬†your next¬†“bring a dish” gathering, as¬†it reheats well. Thanks to¬†Annie,¬†of Annie’s-Eats¬† who posted this scrumptious recipe last month! I would love to hear from you, let me know what you think!

tomaot cobbler

Ingredients
For the filling
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium yellow
onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
3 lbs. cherry or grape tomatoes
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
¬ľ tsp. red pepper flakes
1¬Ĺ tsp. coarse salt
Pinch of black pepper

For the biscuit topping
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
1¬Ĺ cups heavy cream

Directions
To prepare the filling, combine the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions
and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and caramelized, about 20-25
minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes
more.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 375ňö F.¬† In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, tomatoes, flour, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
To make the biscuit topping, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a
medium bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the
mixture is crumbly and small clumps form.¬†I used¬†my hands, since I don’t have a pastry blender and the knife trick doesn’t work for me.¬†Mix in the cheese.¬† Stir in the cream
with a fork until a sticky dough forms and the dry ingredients are
incorporated.

Transfer the tomato mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.¬† Using a large ice cream scoop or a ¬ľ-cup measure, drop clumps of the biscuit dough evenly over the tomato mixture.¬† Sprinkle the top with
additional grated cheese.  Bake until the tomatoes are bubbling and the biscuits
are golden, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats via Martha Stewart Living July 2011 via Pink Parsley Catering

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Homemade Fresh Ricotta Cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ricotta cheese is good. You can stuff pasta with it, bake a ricotta¬†pie, add it¬†to mashed potatoes, top your pizza, pair it with fresh fruit,¬†ricotta on top of¬†figs and drizzled it with honey is out-of-this-world, eat it right out of the container, canoli,¬†the list could go on and on… I have always liked ricotta cheese with its mild taste¬†and smooth texture make it easy to incorporate into many meals.

Prior to yesterday the thought of making cheese had not really crossed my mind. Cheese was one of the items you buy at the grocery store, not whip up in your kitchen. Let me tell you friends, I will never buy ricotta again! The difference in taste and texture of the homemade in comparison to store-bought is basically indescribable. The best way I can explain the difference would be like asking you if you would rather eat a hamburger steak or filet mignon! Really, it is that good. While the cheese was straining in a cheesecloth lined colander on the counter, I took a spoon and had a small sample. That was all it took, I knew I had found something good, a new favorite food (I have many favorites) I am hooked! Homemade ricotta cheese is fantastic!

One day, very¬†soon, I will attempt to make fresh mozzarella .¬†A while back I posted a recipe for Caprese, which is my first choice of appetizers, hands down. This was also the winning¬†entry for¬†September’s recipe¬†contest at¬† C & L Farms, located in Alva, FL.¬†I absolutely¬†love this salad as it is,¬†and I can only imagine how much better it would be with homemade cheese! I am so looking forward to this ūüôā I will definitely let you know how it turns out.

Back to the ricotta, as you will see below this recipe only calls for four (4) ingredients and it is super easy, you don’t even need a thermometer!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of whole milk
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 generous teaspoon of sea salt
  • 3 generous Tablespoons White Wine Vinager

 

Directions

  • Line a sieve or colander with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth. Put the colander over a large bowl.
  • Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium¬†heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until is curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and the milky parts (the whey).
  • Pour mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for about 25 minutes. The longer you allow the mixture to drain, the thicker the ricotta.
  • Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and the liquid in the large bowl.
  • Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The cheese will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

 

Do yourself a favor and make a batch of this deliciousness! I would love to hear what recipes you use that call for ricotta cheese.

The picture at the top and bottom of this page is:

1 baguette sliced and put under the broiler until crisped¬†on the top, rub with a clove¬†of mashed garlic (the garlic catches on the crispy bread) add a dollop of ricotta cheese, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt & cracked black¬†pepper to taste and garnish with fresh rosemary! Good Vittles friends ūüôā enjoy

This recipe has been adapted from Barefoot Contessa, 2010

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: