As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have had a lot of mishaps in the kitchen lately. I have been trying to stay on the positive side about it, but after so many failures, it is hard to think that you still have the swag required to make good things happen in the kitchen. However, when you finally get something right, I guess it is all worth it...right?
Among the 'not nearly cooked' banana bread, and the 'glue' potatoes, I actually decided to make this soup that I LOVE! The recipe is super easy (minus tons of chopping), and since I just had a root canal and can't eat too much solid food right now, I thought that soup would be a great thing to make.
This is another one of my crock pot recipes, which are great because you just throw everything in and then let it go until you get home from work. The soup that I chose to make was a vegetable minestrone...easy to eat, delicious, nutritious and hearty, what more could I want? Everything was definitely going according to plan, I had all of the ingredients on hand, the chopping of the veggies was taking my mind off of the pain that I was in, and I got everything into the crock pot and turned on with enough time for it to be ready for dinner! SCORE! The only catch is that 20 mins before the soup is ready, I need to add the 1.5 cups of pasta...because of course, what would a veggie minestrone be without pasta? I put the pasta in on time, and 20 mins later it looks amazing! But for some reason, I just wasn't hungry enough to eat, so I turned it off and came back to it about a half hour later. When I took the top off of the crock pot, I was horrified! The pasta had soaked up ALL of the broth...so no longer did I have soup, but a huge pot of pasta! I am still going to eat it of course, but I definitely learned my lesson; as much as it pains me to dirty more dishes, I need to cook the pasta separately and add it to my bowl right before I eat!
Ok, so for anyone who actually follows my blog, you have probably noticed that there has not been a weekend review in quite a while. I seem to have fallen into a little rut of only eating what is familiar and nothing new. However, recently I have found this new salad dressing that I have completely fallen in love with. Usually, I am a Ranch Dressing type of person, but I decided to step out of the box and buy something different for a dinner party that I was hosting.
I love hosting dinner get-togethers, but the one thing that always throws me off is what type of dressings to get. Everyone is so specific about what they like to top their salads with, so I bought this dressing made by Ken's. It was a balsamic (which seems like a safe dressing to me). This was not your ordinary balsamic...it is a creamy balsamic with honey and garlic...and I should probably mention that it is TO DIE FOR!
The flavor profile is amazing! It doesn't seem as harsh are balsamic dressings can sometimes be. It is just this creamy deliciousness over the top of your salad. You only need a little bit, and it is just the perfect balance between acidity, creamy and sweetness.
I have definitely been feeling a little off of my game lately. I have had some serious epic FAILS go on in the kitchen over the last couple of weeks. There have been mishaps from everything like mashed potatoes (which came out like glue), soup which wasn't soupy at all (damn noodles), and banana bread that tricked me into thinking it was cooked (but just when I turned my back, the gooey, uncooked middle ended up all over my counters and floor!) So after all of this mishaps I have been feeling a little down about actually cooking anything.
However, we all know how I am a sucker for anything my husband asks for. He and I saw this focaccia bread recipe that looked so delicious and easy, he actually asked me to try to make it...so of course, I had to give it a try!
I think we were both glad that I gave it a try, and hopefully my bad luck in the kitchen is all gone now. This bread was AMAZING!! It was super simple to make, and the end result was super tasty! All you need is some of your favorite veggies and cheese, some good olive oil, and some pre-made pizza dough, such as Pilsbury. I ended up using mozzarella, thinly sliced onions, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and sliced mushrooms.
What you want to do is unwrap the pizza dough and put it onto a baking sheet. Brush one half (not the long way) of the pizza dough with olive oil, then top with half of your toppings and cheese. Fold the non brushed side of the dough over, and make sure to crimp the edges together. Then, brush the top of the dough with a little more olive oil and top with remaining ingredients and cheese. I also added a little parsley, basil and garlic powder to the top of the bread. Then pop the bread into the oven at 400 for 15-20 mins.
Roasting is such an easy and delicious cooking method. Typically the winter months are better for this method because it helps heat up your home. There is nothing better than making a delicious meal that makes your home feel and smell homey. And for some reason when I think about red potatoes, I always think of parsley as a flavor pair. There is something about the richness of the potatoes along with the grass-y-ness of the parsley that goes so well to me.
In order to roast anything you must preheat your oven to a fairly high temp. In this case I was cooking Cod at the same time so I figured that they both could cook at about 425 degrees. I bought these cute little red potatoes, so I only had to cut them in half, if your potatoes are a little larger than quarter them. (of course this is after you have washed them) Place them on a sheet pan, and drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place them in the preheated oven and cook them for about 35-40 minutes, or until they are browned. Once you pull them out of the oven, sprinkle them with some parsley and a little more salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
I have a dirty secret to share...although I am very proud of my Italian Heritage, I am very intimidated by making my own ravioli. So, with that said....I have cheated! I have seen a lot of recipes using WonTon wrappers, and recently saw them at my local grocery store. I decided that this would be as good of a time as any to make ravioli using wonton wrappers. I will have to admit that I was a little nervous about cooking them, because it is very important to seal the edges so that they don't explode when you boil them, but I was also worried about what they would taste like.
Things started off a little rough, because I wanted to make a spinach and mushroom filling with Ricotta cheese, but found that my spinach and mushrooms had sadly gone bad before I could use them. This started a refrigerator binge, and I decided to clean out the whole thing. But in doing this, I found some squash and zucchini that needed to be used before it went bad, as well as a shallot. Woohoooo! So I peeled, and chopped the squash, zucchini and shallot, and then also minced 2 gloves of garlic just for good measure...you can't have ravioli without garlic, right? After chopping everything, I threw all of the veggies into a skillet with a little bit of Olive oil, salt and pepper, and then just let them get soft. While they were working in the pan I took out 2 bowls and 2 eggs. In one bowl I cracked the egg and beat it with about a teaspoon of water. This was going to be the egg wash that I would need to seal my ravioli together. I then cracked an egg into the other bowl and about a cup of ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, and then just stirred to combine everything together. After the veggies were beautifully cooked, I let them cool for a bit before adding them to my Ricotta mixture. Once they were combined into the cheese it was time to assemble the ravioli. I laid about 8 wonton wrappers out on a cutting board and by dipping my finger into the egg wash, I was then able to rub all around the outside of each of the wrappers. If you have a pastry brush, you could use that instead of your fingers, but my kitchen is pretty minimal with gadgets, so I just used what I had. :) The next step is to take about a teaspoon of your cheese and veggie mixture and place it in the center of the wrappers. This is where you can now decide what shape you would like your ravioli to be. I did some where I took another wonton wrapper (which had also been egg washed) and placed it on top of the filling, and I did some where I just folded the wrapper so that it made a triangle.
Once you have done enough ravioli's you can start to drop them into boiling salty water. You want to take a spoon a and stir the pot before you put the ravioli in so that you make a whirlpool, as you are stirring you can then drop in your ravioli. Whatever leftovers you may have can be placed on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment, and then covered in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator before they are cooked. Let the ravioli cook until it has floated up to the top of the pot (about 2-3 minutes) This can then be served with a brown butter sauce, vodka sauce, or any sauce that you may like.