Posts Tagged ‘sage’
With my dissertation behind me and only 21 days until I graduate and get hooded for my Ph.D. you’d think I would be care-free and excited. Not so much, more like the same old stress and anxious. I am still working on a couple last experiments per reviewers comments on my paper, job hunting, and worrying about what I am going to do if I don’t have a job lined up by the end of January when my lease runs out. With any luck that last item won’t become a reality, but in the meantime it’s a good time for some comfort food.
Stuffed shells are great comfort food. Those big shells hug in their cheesy goodness of a filling while being wrapped up in a warm blanket of sauce. Sounds like the life, doesn’t it? This sauce happens to be extra special because it is a pumpkin alfredo sauce with sage. Now wait, don’t get discouraged thinking you have to make your own alfredo sauce (but you can if you want). This recipe uses a premade jar of alfredo mixed up with pumpkin puree and a couple other flavor additions to create a great fall pasta dish.
One year ago: Individual Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
Two years ago: Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup
I am currently battling some sort of cold. I call in sick to work but yesterday was one of those days. I’ve slept over 12 hours the past two days and I’m still not feeling any better today. However, being sick is kind of boring, especially without the internet, so I actually did run into work quick to get some things to work on at home (and to post this).
Sometimes I don’t read ingredient lists properly. I either screw up writing down the correct amount needed or the ingredient itself. Take this recipe for example: I bought orzo instead of arborio rice. So viola I made orzo intead of risotto, and it still tasted great. The fried sage and balsamic drizzle are must haves for this dish. Never thought that fried sage would be so wonderful. They turn into crispy little flavor wonders.
Before I begin, let me preface today’s post by saying I 100% support the motivation of those people who have newly joined a gym and are actually using it and attending group fitness classes. I will always cheer on any person who makes a commitment to their health and well being. That being said…
At the beginning of each new year there is a large influx of new members to gyms everywhere, and the one at which I am a member is no exception. Parking spots have become a little harder to find, but who cares if I have to park further because I’m there to work out, what’s a few extra steps? Upon entering the gym, the cardio and weight lifting areas also have more people utilizing the space, but I purposely joined this gigantic Mecca because even with the influx there are still open machines here and there most of the time. If not there is a short wait.
However, I start to get annoyed when I have to show up at least 30 minutes early to the group fitness classes in order to get in. Thankfully (being a graduate student working in a lab), my schedule is flexible to an extent which allows me to leave a little earlier in order to stake a claim on a bike/mat/etc. But sometimes even getting there 30 minutes ahead of time isn’t enough and that’s when I get really annoyed. When that happens I try to make the best of it and use one of the ellipticals that may be open on the cardio floor instead. But it’s just not the same when no one is in front of you saying “FASTER”, “MORE RESISTANCE”, etc.
Anyway like I said in the beginning, I could never be mad at anyone who is trying to do the same thing as me. So hop on that spin bike and afterwards, make these awesome stuffed shells for dinner! Cause that’s what I would do . Serves with roasted brussels sprouts.
One year ago: Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Bricks
Other than pumpkin, I think butternut squash may be my favorite type of squash. But for some reason I only think to cook with it during the winter and the same with pumpkin during the fall. To solve this problem, I decided to buy more butternut squash than I needed for this recipe, and saved the remaining peeled and cubed pieces in my freezer. Muwahaha! Now to just remember it is there to use later. That may be the bigger problem because if you saw how stuffed my freezer was year-round, you’d understand. “How long has that homemade ice cream been in here?? And what flavor is it? ::sniff::” Seriously happened. Also discovered frozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies the other day. How do you forget about those? Oh yea, they were blocked by the 10 packages of butter I stocked up on when it went on sale. Serious food blogger problems in my fridge.
But I digress, let’s focus on unfrozen food such as this pasta. The butternut squash is pureed to function as the sauce itself, and what a fantastic idea! It’s complimented very nicely with the spicy sausage and the winter-ific sage. And don’t forget the spinach to finish off this healthy meal. But I decided to curb that a little by serving it with pull apart garlic bread. Mmm garlicky carbs.
And a Happy Birthday shout-out to my big brother!! Happy 33rd!
One year ago: Blizzard Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
Homemade breakfast sausage is not something that normally crosses my mind to make, but with the availability various ground meats provided at the grocery store it’s pretty easy. Using ground turkey, these made a healthier breakfast sausage option. They are prepared similar to burger patties, just a little smaller and then pan fried. You can even save some in the freezer for later. But I decided to take it a step further and assemble them into sandwiches using buttermilk biscuits, eggs, and cheddar cheese, and then frozen for later.
Who wants to go to Greece!? Cause I sure do. When I heard that FAGE Total Authenic Greek Yogurt was giving away an 8 day trip to Greece to a FoodBuzz Featured Publisher, I knew I had to get in on it. (Not a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher but want a chance to win for yourself? Enter here.)
Greek cuisine and FAGE Total represent the Greek tradition of “good living”, combining good food and fine taste for a positive, healthy life. And together, Foodbuzz and FAGE Total asked bloggers to create up to three posts illustrating this concept and how it applies to their lives. Three posts means more chances to win, so guess what I plan on doing? Yup, three posts – each discussing ways I strive for “good living”.
Although it was not required to use any FAGE products, I chose to because Greek yogurt is one way in which I bring “good living” into my life. Greek yogurt helps me find ways to make delicious meals healthier without ever noticing. I most commonly have used it to replace butter in cookies. It can also be used as a great substitute for sour cream, mayo, cream, or even ricotta cheese seen in the recipe I am sharing today!
But before we dive into that, I wanted to also share that even though most of the time I strive to make meals healthier (by using low fat options, whole wheat, etc.), part of what I consider a healthy lifestyle is not denying myself some gluttony every now and then. It should be pretty obvious that food is a huge part of my life, which means I would never last a day on this earth without ever eating anything greasy, or every dessert a la mode. Without them, I think I would fall into a deep depression. However, I also make sure that I participate in a diverse range of workout routines six days a week – balancing out the times when I cannot help but eat half of a large supreme pizza. It’s all about a balanced lifestyle, right? At least that’s what works for me in the search for “good living”.
So back to this lasagna I have for you today. Not only is half the ricotta substituted by FAGE Greek yogurt, but it’s full of other wonderful things, namely butternut squash and spinach (I wish I could’ve found whole-wheat no-boil lasagna sheets too but no such luck). It’s a wonderful fall lasagna that is rich with flavor and definitely fills you up! It also turned out to be a fairly easy weeknight meal to put together, and I ended up doing a Yoga DVD in my living room while it cooked!
One year ago: Broccoli Cheddar Soup
BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNA
1-1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (I used frozen)
1 Tbsp water
6 no-boil lasagna sheets
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 large fresh sage leaves
Non-stick cooking spray
1-1/2 cups onion, minced
Up to 1/4 cup water
5 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese (1.5 ounces)
4 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
MARINARA SAUCE (makes 3 cups total)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
1-14.5oz can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1-14.5oz can crushed tomatoes
- For the butternut squash: Place butternut squash* in a microwave-safe bowl, add 1 Tablespoon water and microwave for 5-7 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
- For the spinach filling: Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and sauté onions until tender. If onions start to burn, add in water 1 Tablespoon at a time. Add spinach to the onions and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Turn off heat and set aside.
- For the cheese filling: Combine mozzarella, parsley, nutmeg, salt, pepper, egg, ricotta cheese and yogurt in a bowl. Set aside.
- For the marinara sauce: Heat extra virgin olive oil in a medium-size pot over medium heat. Add garlic, basil, parsley and oregano. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, then add in remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8×8 casserole with non-stick spray, then spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom. Add 2 lasagna sheets, then spread 1 cup cheese filling over the noodles.
- Arrange squash over the cheese, then spread 3/4 cup sauce on top. Place sage leaves over the sauce.
- Add 2 lasagna sheets, then spread 1 cup cheese filling over the noodles.
- Drain any excess moisture from the spinach filling, arrange over the cheese, then spread 3/4 cup sauce on top.
- Add 2 lasagna sheets, then spread the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cover with foil.
- Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 30 more minutes. Allow lasagna to cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
*If using frozen butternut squash, thaw first and check tenderness because you may not need to microwave it (I didn’t).
Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here: http://www.fageusa.com/
Most of my favorite desserts involve peanut butter, just like most of my favorite entrees involve cheese. If you have read the title, then you already know that this dish must be good. And it was a perfect dish to make with family at my brother and sister-in-law’s new home in Boston after the blizzard.
Fontina is a cow’s milk Italian cheese that tends to be very rich and creamy, with a nutty flavor which gets stronger with aging. The cheese also melts very well, and it is sometimes included in fondue and sandwiches (WiseGeek.com). Unfortunately I was unable to locate the Italian version, and had to use the Danish form which has a milder flavor due to shorter aging. But it still turned out wonderful! (Also, I used twice as much sage from the original recipe.)
6 chicken cutlets, pounded thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 sage leaves
3 oz grated fontina cheese, plus more for garnishing
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, halved
1/2 cup white wine
1-28 oz can whole tomatoes
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Place the chicken cutlets on a clean work surface, narrow end facing you. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place two sage leaves crosswise on each of the pieces of chicken. Sprinkle each of the pieces of chicken with 1/2 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) of fontina cheese. Roll up the chicken and seal with one or two toothpicks.
- Warm the olive oil and halved garlic clove in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and remove and discard the garlic. Add the wine and simmer for 2 minutes while scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes and red pepper flakes in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the tomato mixture to the reduced wine in the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors marry.
- Return the chicken to the pan. Simmer the chicken in the tomato sauce for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and simmer until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pan. Season the tomato sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato sauce onto serving plates or a serving platter. Slice the chicken into 1-inch rounds. Remove the toothpicks. Place the chicken over the sauce and serve immediately.
Served with broiled broccoli and spaghetti.
Source: Giada De Laurentiis