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Tag Archives: Cheese

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 🙂 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 🙂 enjoy

This recipe has been adapted from Barefoot Contessa, 2010

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Chicken & Broccoli Linguine

 

This is the perfect meal for those evenings when you are pressed
for time but still want to serve a healthy and tasty dinner.                                                                            This dish comes together quickly and easily, not to mention it makes a great next day, left-over lunch!

You could easily swap out the chicken for beef, pork, tofu or shrimp, or make a combination with
what is appeals to you. Snap peas, squash, zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms,
etc… could take place or add to the broccoli. You get the idea, make this dish
yours. You know what your family will eat.
This is also a great way to use up left over meats & vegetables from previous meals. I attempt to use up everything I buy. When I toss out food that should have been eaten I feel like I am throwing away money, which is never good.

This recipe makes an enormous amount of food. It would easily feed 6 adults. I am guessing that if you cut it in half you could serve 2 adults and 2 children. But, then you wouldn’t have enough for lunch the next day!

I would love to hear what you make of this easy dinner idea!
Leave it in the comments for this recipe so everyone can enjoy your creation 🙂

Chicken Broccoli Linguine

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. linguine (whole wheat is best) cooked according to directions
  • 3 to 4 cups of cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces (boneless & skinless)
  • 2) 12 oz. bags of frozen broccoli
  • ¾ cup diced sweet or yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2) 14.5 cans Italian style tomatoes (do not drain)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

Boil pasta.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over med high
heat, add butter, onions, and garlic sauté about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to
medium.

Add chicken, broccoli, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and red
pepper flakes. Cover and cook until the broccoli is heated through, stirring
often.  Add the milk and cheese, stir and
allow to just come to a boil. Remove from heat.

In a large serving bowl add the drained pasta, and then the
chicken and veggies. Toss so that everything is evenly combined.  Walla. Done!

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Chicken, Pasta, Veggies

 

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Butternut Squash & Bacon Pasta

I hear all this talk on the news about Fall, which I have yet to see a sign of it here is SW Florida! I have many friends from up North, who are bragging about the temperatures in their home towns on Facebook! The weather here in South Florida has remained in the mid to high 90’s, with the heat index much higher! I must admit I am somewhat jealous and more than ready to welcome the cooler temps! Even with the warm weather, chances are if you are out and about shopping you will see pumpkins, cornucopia’s, gourds, scarecrows & endless other signs of Autumn. So, I am jumping on the wagon, because I LOVE all of the flavours of Fall! Pumpkin and butternut squash are by far my two favorites, so expect to see many recipes that include these fabulous ingredients!

I put this dish together with what I had on hand. I was quite surprised with the outcome, to say the least! It was seriously delicious!!

Ingredients & Directions:

2 medium size butternut squash ( scoop out the seeds and stringy center,peel and dice into 1″ cubes)

1 sweet onion (diced)

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground sage

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Toss above ingredients and bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile boil 16 oz. bowtie (or pasta of your choice) & drain.

In a large bowl, mix pasta, squash mixture, 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/4 to 1/2 cup parmasean cheese, 1/2 cup bacon bits or pieces, 1 Tablespoon dried parsley, salt & pepper to taste.

That’s it! This dish goes together quickly and is great as a meal within itself! Enjoy.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Pasta, Salads, Veggies

 

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Chicken Parmesan

My lovely sister-in-law, Kelly, shared this recipe last week. As soon as I read the ingredients I knew it was a must cook! I have made ‘Chicken Parmesan’ many times. Not once, has it ever turned out as delicious as this recipe did. I think that the garden fresh tomatoes play a big role in the final product, however, I tried it tonight with the canned alternative and it was still fabulous! This dish has layers of flavors and textures. The pasta, al dente; chunky tomatoes and herbs create a sauce leaving nothing to be desired; crispy on the outside, juicy in the middle chicken breasts are the focal point of this dish, finish it off with melted mozzarella and parmesan! Whalla! You now have Chicken Parm Deliciousousness 🙂 Yes, that should be a Webster addition!

Thank you Kelly for sharing such a great dish!

This is the greatest
Chicken Parmesan ever!!

For the sauce:

7-8 garden tomatoes (if you don’t have garden tomatoes, I would suggest using 1
large can of crushed tomatoes and 1-2 cans of diced tomatoes)

1/2 tsp salt

dash pepper

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 yellow onion, diced

2 Tbsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes

1/2 tsp. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 small can tomato sauce

For the Chicken:

3 chicken breasts (pounded flat)

2 eggs, beaten

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 c. Panko bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. italian seasoning

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

6 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese

1 lb. spaghetti

If you are using fresh tomatoes, peel them and mash them with a potato masher
in a medium-sized bowl. Add salt and pepper, set aside. Heat a little vegetable
oil in a large skillet and saute onion and garlic. When onions are clear, add
the smashed tomatoes. Add basil, oregano, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper and
bring to a good rolling simmer. Add tomato sauce (to thicken it up a little
bit). It still may seem a little watery, but trust me, it thickens up quite a
bit after it simmers. Reduce heat a little and simmer uncovered for at least an
hour, stirring occasionally.

About 20 minutes prior to serving. Put chicken in a Ziploc bag and add beaten
egg and garlic. Smash all the air out of the bag, seal tightly, then work the
the chicken around a little bit so it is covered in egg. On a plate or pie pan,
combine bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Heat some oil
on medium heat in another large skillet. Remove chicken from egg mixture and
press into the bread crumbs. When covered in bread crumbs, add the chicken to
the oil brown on each side.

Place chicken on a greased cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375-degrees for
about 12 minutes or until no longer pink. In the meantime, cook spaghetti to al
dente. Remove chicken from oven, add 2 slices of cheese per chicken breast,
then return to the oven for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Layer on
individual plates: spaghetti, sauce, then chicken.

The homemade tomato sauce is the key with fresh
tomatoes!! Enjoy!!

For the sauce:

7-8 garden tomatoes (if you don’t have garden tomatoes, I would suggest using 1
large can of crushed tomatoes and 1-2 cans of diced tomatoes)

1/2 tsp salt

dash pepper

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 yellow onion, diced

2 Tbsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes

1/2 tsp. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 small can tomato sauce

For the Chicken:

3 chicken breasts (pounded flat)

2 eggs, beaten

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 c. Panko bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. italian seasoning

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

6 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese

1 lb. spaghetti

Garnish with fresh basil sliced basil

If you are using fresh tomatoes, peel them and mash them with a potato masher
in a medium-sized bowl. Add salt and pepper, set aside. Heat a little vegetable
oil in a large skillet and saute onion and garlic. When onions are clear, add
the smashed tomatoes. Add basil, oregano, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper and
bring to a good rolling simmer. Add tomato sauce (to thicken it up a little
bit). It still may seem a little watery, but trust me, it thickens up quite a
bit after it simmers. Reduce heat a little and simmer uncovered for at least an
hour, stirring occasionally.

About 20 minutes prior to serving. Put chicken in a Ziploc bag and add beaten
egg and garlic. Smash all the air out of the bag, seal tightly, then work the
the chicken around a little bit so it is covered in egg. On a plate or pie pan,
combine bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Heat some oil
on medium heat in another large skillet. Remove chicken from egg mixture and
press into the bread crumbs. When covered in bread crumbs, add the chicken to
the oil brown on each side.

Place chicken on a greased cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375-degrees for
about 12 minutes or until no longer pink. In the meantime, cook spaghetti to al
dente. Remove chicken from oven, add 2 slices of cheese per chicken breast,
then return to the oven for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Layer on
individual plates: spaghetti, sauce, then chicken. Garnish with fresh basil.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Chicken, Pasta

 

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Spinach, Artichoke & Bean Dip

Personally, I think it is almost impossible to pass on the spinach dip. Regardless if it is served hot or cold, with raw veggies or chips of some sort, I just can’t say no! My only issue with spinach dip it is commonly made with an abundant combination of cream, cheese, butter, sour cream, and more cheese. I am pretty sure the benefits of the spinach are zeroed out when you add in excessive amounts of the fatty creams & cheeses. This super simple recipe is loaded with calcium, folic acid, vitamin K, iron, vitamin C, fiber, and carotenoids, thanks to the spinach and artichokes. When you add in the protein, brought to this dish by the beans, you are left with a dip that is hard to resist and not feel guilty about over-indulging in, because it is packed full of goodness!

As promised, this the first of my Favorite Football Foods! I surely will enjoy this dish on many Sunday’s this Fall.

Spinach, Artichoke & Bean Dip

Ingredients

1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup canola mayonnaise

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon each sea salt & black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

2 garlic cloves minced

1 (15 oz.) can of white beans (I use cannolini), drained and rinsed

1 (14 oz.) can of marinated baby artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 (9 oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

1 medium sweet onion, diced

cooking spray

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

3-4 tomatoes diced or approx. 2 cups of fresh salsa

Directions

Preheat over to 350

Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions until they start to brown, about 8 minutes

Place first seven ingredients (thru the beans) into food processor or blender and process until smooth, transfer to a bowl.

Add spinach, artichokes and onion to bean mixture. Spread into a 1 quart baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Spread the shredded mozzarella on the top.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese begins to bubble and brown.

Serve warm, topped with tomatoes or salsa. Enjoy!

This recipe has been adapted from Cooking Light

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Appetizers, Beans, Veggies

 

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Granny Smith’s White Cheddar Chicken Burger

Happy Labor Day to all of you hard workers out there! I hope everyone is enjoying their day, eating some delicious food and staying safe! Remember to take a moment and show some gratitude to those in your life who work diligently, day in and day out.

This year instead of grilling the usual beef hamburgers, I decided to put a twist to my Labor Day menu. When you first look at the combination of ingredients you might wonder what I was thinking when I put this together. This is not your everyday burger, it is much better. This sandwich provides a healthy and fresh approach to an old classic. The meaty chicken burger is savory and sweet, with loads of flavor. When you add the tart and crisp apple, sweet raspberry sauce, sharp white cheddar cheese and the bite that the grainy-horseradish mustard brings to the sandwich, you have burger bliss!

For my fellow football lovers, this is a big week with the regular season starting Thursday!! I am working on some recipes that will be perfect for munching on while watching the games 🙂 What are your favorite foods to eat while watching your favorite sport?

Granny Smith’s White Cheddar Chicken Burger

Ingredients

2 lbs. ground chicken breasts

4 scallions finely chopped, white & green parts

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 tablespoon grill seasoning (I recommend Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning or McCormick Spicy Montreal Grill Mates)

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (McCormick Montreal Chicken)

1 tablespoon canola mayo (or whatever you use)

olive oil for drizzling pan or wiping grill

1 granny smith apple cut into 8 pieces

4 slices Vermont white cheddar

1/4 cup seedless red raspberry spreadable fruit

2-4 tablespoons deli-syle mustard with horseradish

4 onion kaiser rolls

4 romaine lettuce leaves

Directions

Combine the chicken, scallions, seasonings, and mayo. Form into four equal sized patties and put into the refrigerator until ready to cook.

Heat  a large skillet over medium high heat, when skillet is hot drizzle with olive oil and add the burgers and reduce heat to medium. Cook 6-8 minutes per side, only flipping once. Since this is chicken and not beef check the temperature to ensure doneness, the center of the patty should reach 165 F.

Top burgers with  2 apple slices and cheddar cheese and cover until the cheese is melted.

Spread mustard on buns, add lettuce and burgers, top with the raspberry sauce. Enjoy!

* If you prefer turkey instead of chicken you could swap out the meat and cranberry sauce for the raspberry 🙂

 

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