29 May 2012

Orzo + Turkey Stuffed Peppers

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for healthy recipes that are easy to throw together on a weeknight.  If you are the same way, this recipe is for you.  Do not be intimidated by the long list of ingredients... I'm guessing that you have most of them in your refrigerator right now anyway!  It is easy to make this vegetarian-friendly too.  We really enjoyed these stuffed peppers and thought they were a nice change from the norm!

Orzo + Turkey Stuffed Peppers
(Adapted from Maria and Josh)
Yield: 6 Servings

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 lb. Ground Lean Turkey
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 C. Fresh Spinach Leaves, loosely packed
1 (28 oz) Can Diced Tomatoes
4 C. Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1 1/2 C. Orzo, uncooked
1/2 C. Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (reserve some for topping)
1/3 C. Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated (reserve some for topping)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/4 C. Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade (optional)
6 Sweet Bell Peppers (a mix of whatever colors you want)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.  In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and ground turkey; cook until onions are tender and meat is just browned (about 6 minutes).  Add the garlic and cook for two more minutes. Stir in the fresh spinach and sauté until it is wilted.  Remove from heat and add diced tomatoes to this mixture.

Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the orzo and cook for five minutes; strain, reserving broth.  Stir the orzo into the tomato/spinach/turkey mixture.  Stir in the cheeses, reserving some for the topping.  Season with salt and pepper.  At this point, you will also want to stir in the fresh basil chiffonade.

In a 3-quart baking dish, add the vegetable broth.  Slice the tops off the peppers, carefully removing the ribs and seeds.  If needed, cut a very thin slide from the base of the peppers so that they will stand up in the baking dish.  Place the peppers in the baking dish and spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers.  Cover the dish with foil and bake at 400F degrees for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, sprinkle with reserved cheese and continue to bake uncovered for 15 more minutes.  Remove from oven and serve warm.

21 May 2012

Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower is the most underrated vegetable in our kitchen!  I forgot how much I missed cauliflower.  Growing up, my mom would steam it and melt American cheese over the top - that's how I remember it!! This is a more grown up version, I guess... Roasted and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan.  The next time you are looking for an easy side dish, think of roasting some cauliflower.  I'm sure you'll love it! 

Roasted Cauliflower
Yield: 6 Servings

1 Large Cauliflower Head, cut into 1.5-inch florets
1/4 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, minced
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 500F degrees.  Place the florets in a large sauté pan or a roasting pan.  Drizzle the olive oil over the florets; season with garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Place the pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Watch carefully to make sure it doesn't burn.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the freshly grated Parmesan.  Serve warm.

08 May 2012

Pesto Pasta Salad

My parents, sister and brother-in-law visited us in Chicago a few weekends ago.  It was the first time that they were all here at the same time.  Not to mention, we had a BLAST!  Before Doug and I showed them around our city, we all gathered at our place for a quick bite to eat.  I had everything prepped and ready to go, so it seriously took no time at all to throw this lunch together. In addition to this pasta salad, we had Cranberry, Pecan and Rosemary Chicken Salad in pitas and a few Chicago-brewed 312 beers!

Pesto Pasta Salad
Yield: 8 Side Servings

10 oz. Creste di Gallo Pasta (or pasta of your choice)
1/2 C. Pesto, homemade or store-bought 
1/2 C. Fat Free Plain Yogurt
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2 C. Arugula, loosely packed
3/4 C. Frozen Peas, thawed
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions, until one minute less than al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. In a large bowl, combine the pesto and yogurt until well mixed.  Add the cooked pasta; stir to combine.  Then add the tomatoes, arugula and peas; stir gently.  Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

03 May 2012

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

May?  Already?  I love May because that means the outdoor farmer's markets begin!  I plan on hitting up the Green City Market this weekend, weather-permitting of course!  Lately, we've had crazy weather here in Chicago... 82 degrees, yet stormy.  How does that happen?  If it storms, I can at least spend another afternoon making this delicious rosemary olive oil bread.  My favorite part?  The rosemary aroma that instantly infused our place! 

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
(From A Hint of Honey via All Recipes)
Yield: 1 loaf

1 C. Warm Water (100-110F) - Very Important!
1 Tbsp. Organic Cane Sugar
2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1/4 tsp. Italian Seasoning (or a pinch of each ground garlic, dried oregano and dried basil)
1/4 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 C. Bread Flour + extra for kneading
1 Egg, whisked + 1 Tbsp. Water for egg wash
Dried Rosemary, for sprinkling

In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar and yeast. Let that sit for 10 minutes to proof. Next, stir in the salt, rosemary, seasoning, olive oil and whole wheat flour. Add the bread flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes (I literally set a timer because this was my first time making bread like this), adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Knead until smooth.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it with a tea towel. Let it rise until it doubles in size (mine took about 1 hour). After it has doubled in size, punch down the dough and form it into a round loaf. Place it on cornmeal dusted parchment paper; cover it again with the tea towel and let it rise until doubled in size (this took an additional 45 minutes or so).

Meanwhile, you will want to preheat the oven (along with your pizza stone) to 400F degrees. Once the dough has risen, GENTLY brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with dried rosemary. Carefully transfer the loaf on the parchment paper from your counter to your preheated pizza stone. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped.