Lemon Parmesan Tortellini

One of the first cooking blogs that I ever started reading was Stephanie Cooks. ¬†Stephanie’s tastes are very similar to my own and I really like her down-to-earth, simple writing style. Her recipes are easy to follow and really user-friendly, too. And, I can’t help but love that she’s also a teacher! ūüôā

I too am not the biggest fan of cream sauces, – I feel that they can become extremely ‘heavy’ and almost a little to decadent. The opposite goes for my husband – he loves them and will be the first to admit that I do not cook with them enough! I decided to trust Stephanie’s judgement on the consistency and flavor of this sauce; since I love lemon 24/7, I figured this would be a good compromise for dinner.

Lemon Parmesan Tortellini

adapted from Stephanie Cooks

 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound tortellini
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  1. Heat up a pot of hot water to boil.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, heat up the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth and turn up the heat to high. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cream, lemon juice and zest, and Italian seasoning. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Once you’ve got your sauce going and the water is boiling, cook the tortellini (according to the package directions).
  5. After about 10 minutes, add the parmesan cheese to the sauce and stir to combine, allowing the cheese to melt. Add the peas, stirring constantly so that they begin to thaw. Add the tortellini to the sauce as they finish cooking. Toss and serve.

 

IMG_2181.JPG

As you can see, I added peas to the original recipe to get a vegetable into the main dish. You can definitely leave these out if you wish! This dish was filling and decadent, without being too heavy, as some cream sauces tend to do. The lemon in the cream sauce takes it to the next level and makes this meal really shine on a cold winter’s night. It also came together fairly quickly, which you know I never complain about ūüôā

If you’ve been an avid fan of my cooking, I definitely recommend you head on over to Stephanie Cooks! You won’t be disappointed.

Mediterranean Chicken with Roasted Garlic Orzo

Hey look – I’m posting a recipe! Imagine that ūüôā

I hope you all are doing well. Sorry it’s been so long! I’m finally getting back into the swing of things. For real this time, I swear!

Chicken, pan-roasted with herbs, is a perfect compliment to garlicky pasta and vegetables. You can’t really ever go wrong with a combination like that. It’s great comfort food for when the weather is starting to change and you want something to savor after a long day. This dish has a great amount of flavor to it and really isn’t too complicated to make – it just uses a few pots and pans. However –¬†please make sure that you read through the entire recipe first, so that everything is timed relatively well and that you have all the ingredients you need!


 

IMG_2145

Mediterranean Chicken with Roasted Garlic Orzo

adapted from For the Love of Cooking and Epicurious

For the chicken:

  • Zest and juice from 1 large lemon (about 2 tbsp juice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1¬†tsp fresh minced¬†parsley (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, fat removed
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts (if desired)
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese (if desired)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (if desired)
  • Lemon wedges (if desired)

For the orzo:

  • 5¬†large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • 1¬†cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  1. In a large Ziploc bag or glass dish (with lid), combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, and herbs. Add the chicken breasts, then seal/cover and let marinate for at least 30-1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 450*. Tightly wrap the unpeeled garlic cloves in foil so that it makes a little pouch. Place in middle of oven and roast for about 25 minutes. Carefully unwrap garlic and let cool slightly. Remove skin from cloves and mash into a paste. Transfer garlic paste to a bowl and stir in butter and parsley.
  3. Reduce¬†the oven to 375*. Coat¬†an OVEN-PROOF saute pan¬†with cooking spray and heat over med-high heat.¬†Add the chicken breasts to the HOT pan and cook until brown, about 2-3 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Flip the chicken over and place the saute pan into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Keep the marinade, as you’ll need it for later.
  4. As the chicken bakes, begin your vegetables.¬†Caramelize the diced onion by heating a saut√© pan over med-low heat with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. (Note –¬†If the pan and/or onion start to get a little dry,¬†add a little bit of water¬†and toss to coat). Continue cooking until the onions are nice and caramelized. Once the onions are just about ready, get water boiling¬†for your orzo.
  5. To your onions, add the grape tomatoes and cook until they’re¬†about to burst (about 5 minutes). Add the baby spinach then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Check on your chicken in the oven;¬†pour the remaining marinade into the pan, and place back into the oven. Continue baking for 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly.
  6. The water should be boiling now; cook the orzo until tender and reserve about 1/4 cup cooking water. Drain orzo well and add to garlic mixture with enough reserved cooking water to melt butter and prevent orzo from sticking together. Season orzo with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve by placing a big scoop of orzo into a bowl. Add the vegetables, followed by the chicken. If desired, top with some toasted pine nuts, feta cheese, and fresh parsley. Use some lemon wedges to add a even more lemon flavored, if you wish.

 


 

I feel that this dish was ‘timed right’. Everything seemed to be done at once, and it was a dish were if I needed to walk away and put the wash into the dryer (or some other quick chore), I could do so without anything burning. It was very low maintenance, which was perfect for a Monday evening meal.

It¬†tasted so¬†good that I even hid the leftovers in the back of the fridge, so that I could take them for lunch the next day (my husband takes the majority of our leftovers – I’m not much of a fan of them, but when they’re good, they’re¬†oh-so-good and I have to fight for ’em).

 

CSA ‘ 14: Weeks 16-17

Alright, alright.

I KNOW! I’m a slacker.

But at least I’m starting to be creative in the kitchen again – give me some credit here! And marching season is officially over so I’m a little less occupied with writing drill, football games, and such. ANYWAY…we’re in the tail end of CSA season and have one more box to go after this post!

Week 16

IMG_2076

  • cauliflower
  • Swiss chard
  • Brussel sprouts –¬†roasted with olive oil and topped with salt, pepper & balsamic vinegar
  • cayenne peppers
  • tomatoes
  • Fresno peppers
  • shallots
  • potatoes –¬†Perfect for beef stew
  • onions
  • ARTICHOKES – how cool is that?!
  • pie pumpkin

Week 17

IMG_2086

Not sure how a filter got put on this one…I think it was late at night?

  • zucchini and squash
  • red sweet peppers –¬†Perfect for sausage and peppers on a Sunday afternoon
  • potatoes
  • kale – I used this in a recipe for risotto instead of baby spinach
  • cauliflower
  • green and purples peppers (and a poblano, too)
  • Brussel sprouts – roasted with olive oil and topped with salt, pepper & balsamic vinegar
  • celery
  • onions – French onion soup, anyone?
  • tomato

One more week to go before it’s back to purchasing our weekly fruits and veggies. It’s hard to believe…and with the summer that we had I’m still thankful for the variety that we were able to receive from the farm.

Anything fun in your CSA this week?

 

 

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

This post is excruciatingly belated – partly because I’m behind in blogging, and partly because I wanted to wait until the weather started to turn to post this recipe. Thanks to my husband, I’ve grown to really love and appreciate having soup for dinner. It makes great leftovers and is a satisfying meal; with my culinary ADD, the more veggies and herbs, the better! ūüôā Thus it’s now fall and I’m *finally* ready for soups and stews.

I came across this recipe back in August, when my CSA was chock-full of tomatoes and eggplant. Especially eggplant. I had a Sunday afternoon to play around in my kitchen, and I decided to make this soup ahead of time to freeze for cooler weather. I’m thankful that I did – this soup really hit the spot during our first chilly week up here!

 

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 3 pounds roma tomatoes,cored and cut in half
  • 1/2 lb¬†carrots, sliced¬†into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 10¬†cloves garlic (cut it back a bit if you like)
  • 4 tbsp
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 15-oz can¬†chickpeas,¬†rinsed & drained
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • cilantro –¬†for serving
  • rustic bread –¬†for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees . Make sure that you have two racks in your oven, towards the middle.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss together the tomatoes carrots, garlic, and half of the oil. Spread into a single layer and arrange the tomatoes with cut sides down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. On another baking sheet, toss together the eggplant, chickpeas, curry powder, and the rest of the oil. Spread in a single layer.
  4. Place both sheets in oven, putting the tomato mixture on the higher rack. Roast until the veggies are tender for 45-50 minutes, tossing each mixture halfway through.
  5. Remove baking sheets from oven. Using tongs, peel¬†off the skins from the tomatoes & discard¬†the skins. Transfer the tomato mixture into a large pot and¬†puree with an immersion blender (if you don’t have one, use a food processor or blender).¬†Thin with 2-3 cups of water; add eggplant mixture and continue to blend. Add an additional cup of water if desired.
  6. Turn on heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with cilantro and with a side of crusty bread.
Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Because of the chickpeas, this soup is ridiculously filling Рthus a little goes a long way! Since I had made it ahead of time and froze it, the soup was a snap to defrost and eat on a chilly Monday. The cilantro adds a nice touch to it, and of course we ate it with some fresh bread!

While the ingredients may be a little out of ordinary, they are all things that can be found in your local grocery store (or CSA). You could even save yourself the step of peeling tomatoes by using canned tomatoes; just roast the garlic with the chickpeas.

Oh yeah – I realized after the fact that this soup is also vegan! ūüôā So, hooray for a satisfying soup that is filling, nutritious, and contains no animal products whatsoever (even though we all know that I am borderline¬†meatatarian). Try this – you won’t be disappointed!

 

CSA ’14, Weeks 14-15

Today you get a two-for-one post, because I seriously am¬†that behind up here on The Spicy Simmer. Don’t get me wrong – I love to blog! – but life has gotten in the way lately and by the time I get some free time to blog, I end up horizontal on the couch falling asleep watching The Tonight Show on Hulu. So, that’s where I’ve been…sorry!!

Week 14 seemed a little bit smaller than what we’re used to, but I’m not complaining one bit. With my schedule as crazy as it’s been, there has been a lot more preserving and a lot less creativity. Oh well – it is what it is!

Week 14

Week 14

We ended up getting a watermelon – imagine that! We also had the first squash of the fall season (I’m so glad those keep!) and tomatoes are still making an appearance. I was especially thankful for the garlic; I just can’t seem to get enough!

Week 15

Week 15

I feel as though Week 15 made up for whatever Week 14 may have been lacking. Look at the difference in the amount of produce! Lettuce, onions, garlic, parsley, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, a celery & celery root, and zucchini. The celery root & celery immediately went into the freezer for use in winter soups. I’ve blanched the peppers and put the parsley into a glass of water in the refrigerator.

While this post may be a bit lacking, rest assured that I do have some recipes on the way to share with you! Hopefully by the end of this week I’ll get them finally up and running. Thanks for sticking by me thus far – I know there are some of you out there who are faithful readers and haven’t given up on me yet, so¬†thanks for sticking by me during this dry spell of sorts ūüôā

CSA’14: Week 13

Where is September going? The first day of fall is tomorrow…it was chilly this week…part of me is ready for fall and the other is trying to desperately cling to flip-flops and sundresses.

At least I can wear my Birkenstocks with socks if need be, right? ūüėČ

IMG_1982.JPG

‚ÄĘ carrots
‚ÄĘ red butter lettuce
‚ÄĘ cucumbers
‚ÄĘ jalape√Īo peppers
‚ÄĘ onions
‚ÄĘ lots of tomatoes – made into salsa later that evening
‚ÄĘ green bell peppers
‚ÄĘ kohlrabi
‚ÄĘ lacinato kale – washed and frozen for soup this winter

Any fun goodies in your boxes this week?

CSA ’14: Week 12

This past week was so, so hectic! Between both school, the bakery, and meetings, I didn’t really have a lot of time to play. Thankfully, the coming week has me a little less frantic, so there’s more time to really create some fun things in our kitchen and actually cook for a change – as opposed to either Hubs making dinner or us getting take out. Don’t get me wrong, though – my husband has been a huge help and so patient as I get used to the new routine!

This past week , we had our usual favorites to enjoy!

photo

  • romaine lettuce –¬†Salads for lunches
  • onions
  • garlic –¬†Used in a soup recipe…coming soon!
  • celery & celery root?! ¬†–¬†My husband had asked the farm helpers what to do with this, and they said that it was really great for stock. Thus this was cut and put right into the freezer.
  • grape tomatoes –¬†Roasted and ready for anything!
  • potatoes – These will be served with flank steak. Yum!
  • green and purple peppers –¬†Used in chicken fajitas.
  • zucchini & squash –¬†Most likely, this will go along with the flank steak and potatoes.
  • slicing tomatoes –¬†Now I finally have enough for a batch of salsa

The weather is starting to really feel like fall, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. We barely had a summer! Even worse, our house got so cold Friday night that we had to *gulp* turn on the heat Saturday morning to get the chill out. Let’s just hope that the fall weather stays for a while, or the warmer summer air returns. Heaven knows we’re not ready for white stuff yet…

CSA ’14: Week 11

School has started and we are back into the swing of things. So much so, that I’ve been a little behind on almost every single to-do list. I’ll get there (I hope).

This past week we at least remembered to pick up our CSA on time!

IMG_1927.JPG

In this past week’s box…
‚ÄĘ melon!
‚ÄĘ tomatillos! I made a great salsa last year and I’ll (finally) be making it next week
‚ÄĘ jalape√Īo and Fresno peppers
‚ÄĘ green peppers
‚ÄĘ pickling cukes
‚ÄĘ eggplant
‚ÄĘ lettuce
‚ÄĘ slicing tomatoes
‚ÄĘ cherry tomatoes
‚ÄĘ onions
‚ÄĘ basil

Any fun things in your CSA this week?

Jalape√Īo Coleslaw

Summer is all about cookouts, and with it being late summer, these gatherings are still in full force. I’m not complaining one bit – the next few weekends for us are filled with plenty of get-togethers with friends and family. Obviously, it’s good to have several ‘entertaining’ dishes up your sleeve for these occasions.

My husband is a big fan of coleslaw. With me, I could take it or leave it – at least, the stuff that you see pre-made at the deli and/or sold in bulk. I had never tried my hand at homemade coleslaw up until a week or two ago. Now that I have, it might be¬†safe to say that I’ve turned a corner of sorts.

Don’t let the name fool you – this coleslaw does have a jalapeno pepper in it, but it isn’t overpowering at all. It gives¬†just a bit of a bite.

Jalape√Īo Coleslaw

adapted from Serious Eats

For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped –¬†I used the stuff that they sell in the tube. Love it.
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

For the Slaw:

  • 1 large head of green cabbage
  • 1-2 carrots; peeled and grated
  • 1 large jalapeno –¬†stemmed, seeded and diced¬†(unless you want it super hot)
  1. Make the dressing: whisk together all dressing ingredients. Set aside (or in the refrigerator).
  2. Make the slaw: Using a mandolin, shred the cabbage; if you don’t have one, then finely chop it by hand.
  3. Combine the cabbage, carrot and jalapeno in a large bowl.¬†If serving right away, pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat. Add salt, pepper and/or sugar and season to taste.¬†If serving later, refrigerate the slaw until ready to serve (or transport in a cooler). Mix everything together when it’s time to eat.
IMG_1911

I know, I know. Functionality over plating…

 

I really enjoyed this dish. We brought it over to a friend’s house for a cookout where they were serving pulled pork sandwiches. It paired really well together. The cumin, lime juice and pepper give this coleslaw a Southwestern flair to it; you could easily serve this with chicken or with fish tacos, too. It tastes wonderfully fresh and beats the store-bought slaw, hands down. Then again, homemade dishes beat store-bought ones anyways, right?

They say Labor Day is the end of summer, but don’t let it – keep on enjoying this great weather!

CSA ’14: Week 10

This past week, we were so busy that we even forgot to pick up our CSA on Tuesday; we ended up getting it a day late. Thank goodness for patient farmers ūüôā I’ve been doing what I can to process as I go, but I also put in a lot of hours at the bakery so I still have quite a bit to do tonight before¬†school¬†tomorrow.

I think I’m ready for it. It will be nice to get back into a routine of sorts!

  • IMG_1912cherry tomatoes
  • I think zebra tomatoes?
  • two heads of lettuce – Salads for lunch – no matter what!
  • onions
  • jalapeno peppers –¬†I think a can of pickled jalapenos is finally in order!
  • green peppers
  • larger tomatoes –¬†I finally¬†had enough to make a batch of salsa
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers – made into pickles
  • potatoes –¬†Just the right amount for potato salad on Labor Day!
  • kale
  • eggplant –¬†I have some Indian and Moroccan meal-makers in my pantry…this may be a great *quick* dish for yoga night.
  • parsley –¬†I’ll be making chimichurri to freeze.

My husband asked me the other day why we haven’t had so many tomatoes to process this year – I blame the wacky Michigan weather! However with this warmer spell in the coming week, maybe we’ll get a few more! ::fingers crossed::