Category Archives: Entrees

Happy Memorial Day + Some Favorite Recipes

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Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! A time to reflect all of those brave soldiers and military servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives and families for the safety of ours.  Big applause and respect goes out to them and grateful we have a safe and secure country to live in because of them.

Memorial Day Cake

In honor of the holiday, I rounded up a few of my favorite recipes to celebrate. Wishing you all a lovely holiday, hopefully filled with family and friends, food and drink and grateful hearts to our heroes.

Dr Pepper Ribs

Spicy Dr. Pepper Ribs

Beach BBQ Burger

Beach BBQ Burgers

Thai BBQ Shrimp

Thai BBQ Shrimp

Sambal Chicken Skewers

Grilled Sambal Chicken Skewers

Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls

Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls

Coffee Marinated Steak

Coffee Marinated Steak 

Grilled Corn and Poblano Salad

Grilled Corn and Poblano Chile Salad

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad

Roasted Garlic Potato Salad

Roasted Garlic Potato Salad

Summer Berry Shortcake

Summer Berry Shortcake

Happy Memorial Day

Hope you enjoy the weekend and here’s a few more links to Memorial Day recipes and menu ideas!

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/05/26/memorial-day-recipe-guide/

http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/05/29/memorial-day-weekend-barbecue-recipes-best-dishes-for-summer-cookout.html

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/holiday—celebration-recipes/memorial-day-recipes

http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/memorial-day/memorial-day-picnic-

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Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

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Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

On gray rainy days in New York (esp. at the beginning of so-called
“Summer”), there’s nothing better than staying home and cooking up a big pot of comfort food. It seems to make the rain almost pleasant to listen to and watch, knowing that you’re tucked up indoors away from the rest of the world, cooking something cozy and delicious.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

One of my favorite things to make is spicy Cajun and Creole food (New Orleans is one of my fav cities ever..the #FOOD though!) and I had grand visions of creating a kickass recipe this week for my blog. And considering it’s going to be a rainy Memorial Day weekend, why not make a big pot of something wonderful to stay indoors and savor while I’m at it?

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

I had some Aidell’s Andouille Sausage on hand and tons of bell peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes in the pantry so I decided to make a big pot of Jambalaya for my afternoon project. I also had some Flour City Pasta ‘Bon Vivant Orzo’ I’ve been dying to try, so I decided to whip up a twist on ordinary Jambalaya using that instead of rice. The orzo is multi-colored small pasta that looks like rice, with wild mushroom, saffron, spinach and cayenne – and I thought it would add some more layers of flavor to the dish.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

First I cooked the sausage until lightly browned in a big Dutch oven with a little olive oil. Then I added the vegetables and sautéed everything together with some spicy Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s is the bomb!). I also threw in some Kroger brand Zesty Seasoning Blend which is a savory blend of herbs and spices like onion, black pepper, chili pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, savory, marjoram, bay, thyme, rosemary, garlic and cumin and added a dash of hot paprika for an extra kick of spiciness and flavor. You can also substitute some dried thyme and oregano or whatever dried herbs you like instead if you can’t find something similar.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

Then I added the broth and tomatoes and orzo and brought everything to a boil, and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes or so until the orzo was cooked through. The pasta will soak up the liquids and get thicker the longer it sits, so be careful not to overcook it or it will get mushy. If you’re using rice instead, let the ingredients simmer for longer, about 20 minutes.

Once it all comes together with a consistency you like, serve it with some chopped green onions and fresh parsley with a dash of hot sauce (traditional Frank’s RedHot or Crystal are my favs) and freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

All I know is I have a long holiday weekend to savor my delicious Jambalaya, along with lots of naps and Netflix.

Let it rain. J

Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 cup

This Sausage Orzo Jambalaya is a twist on traditional Creole Jambalaya using multi-colored orzo instead of rice, with the addition of some corn. It has a medium-spice heat to it with lots of veggies including red, yellow, orange and green peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes - a savory, heartwarming dish for any occasion.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds Andouille sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups bell peppers, chopped (red, yellow, orange, green)
  • 1 cup yellow corn kernels
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s)
  • 2 teaspoons Zesty Seasoning Blend (Kroger)- optional
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups orzo
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium-high in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add the sausage and cook for about 8 minutes until browned on all sides about 8 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, peppers, corn, garlic and bay leaves along with the herbs and spices and saute over medium-high for a few minutes. Add the broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the orzo and reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes until the orzo is cooked through and soft.
  4. Garnish with sliced scallions and chopped fresh parsley and a dash of hot sauce and freshly ground black pepper, to taste for an extra kick.

Notes

Note: you can also substitute traditional white rice for the orzo, just cook it in the pot longer, about 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

You can also add chicken or shrimp to the recipe, swapping out 1 pound for the andouille sausage.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/05/26/sausage-orzo-jambalaya/

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Coffee Marinated Steak

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Now that Summer is rapidly approaching, I am so excited about getting outdoors to enjoy the warm weather and especially cooking outdoors with friends and family. Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook in warm weather months, simply because it’s so easy and a healthy way to cook, and it usually takes place with a group of friends outside making fun memories and laughter to go with it.

I recently went down to Atlanta where I used to live to visit some old friends and we had a blast grilling outside on my friend’s outdoor BBQ grill in her backyard. We sat around the grill and made grilled sliders, shrimp, jalapeno poppers, and wings (with lots of snacks and drinks to go with of course!) It reminded me of the good old days when I used to live there… living and working in NYC we don’t get the opportunity to grill much anymore and it’s a precious occasion when I go to visit my friends and family who live in greener pastures.

One of my favorite things to make is a big juicy grilled steak..it’s always a tasty treat, easy to prepare and everyone loves it…especially with some grilled vegetables, salad, potatoes and a glass of wine or beer while sitting out on the patio dining al fresco watching the sunset.

My go-to Summer recipe is Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you’re gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, an espresso alternative to Nepresso capsules,  with a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale’s seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic. You simply mix all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, then marinade the steaks for an hour or up to overnight for some really delicious flavor.

Then simply pop them on the grill for about 8-10 minutes and you have the most juicy, flavorful and delicious steaks you’ve ever tasted in your life. Not to mention, a great idea for Father’s Day to spoil Dad! Click here to see more of my grilling ideas and recipes for Father’s Day.

Ah, Summertime and the livin’s easy…Enjoy J

Coffee Marinated Steak

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 1 (12-14 ounce) Strip Steak

My go-to Summer recipe is Gourmesso Coffee Marinated Steaks, which I know you’re gonna love. The marinade has a light smoky essence from the coffee (I use Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, which is an espresso (alternative to Nepresso capsules) that has a beautiful dark and rich flavor; some spicy heat from the red chilies and black peppercorns; a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar; and is balanced out with a slight tanginess from the balsamic vinegar, Dale’s seasoning/soy, mustard, shallots and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Gourmesso House Blend Lungo Dark coffee, room temp
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup low-sodium Dale’s seasoning (or dark soy sauce)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red paprika
  • 3 small red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse Kosher salt
  • 4 (12-14 ounce) boneless Strip steaks

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, add the shallots, garlic, Gourmesso coffee, balsamic vinegar, Dale’s sauce/soy sauce, brown sugar, paprika, chilies, peppercorns, and olive oil and kosher salt and blend together well. Pour half the marinade in a glass dish or large plastic ziptop bag, add the steaks and toss to coat with the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Cover the remaining marinade and set aside in the fridge until ready to grill.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high and lightly oil the grill rack. Remove steak from marinade and discard the remaining marinade. Bring steaks to room temperature before grilling.
  3. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and place on grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare (less or more according to desired doneness), basting occasionally with remaining marinade.
  4. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest tented in foil for 5 minutes. Serve with grilled vegetables or a simple green salad dressed with vinaigrette and a glass of wine. Enjoy!

Notes

You can make the marinade up to a day ahead of time and store in the fridge with the steaks in a plastic bag or covered dish.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/05/23/gourmesso-coffee-marinated-steak/

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Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

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Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash

So we are well into the New Year, and it’s definitely time to up my game and start smashing my fitness and healthy cooking and eating goals for this year.

I’ve joined a new gym, hired a Personal Trainer and committing to doing Yoga, Pilates, Barre and weight training plus lots of walking at least 4 times a week from now on. I’m also focusing on lower carb eating for a while – cutting out sugar, processed foods, carb loaded foods. And drinking more water, getting more rest and taking my vitamins. The list goes on! Gosh, getting healthy and in shape is not easy.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

I decided to make a lighter version of Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti that’s normally loaded. I swapped out healthy spaghetti squash roasted with olive oil, sea salt and pepper instead of pasta to lighten up the carbs and calories.

Spaghetti Squash

Then I simply shredded it into spaghetti strands with a fork…

Sautéed Lemon Garlic Shrimp

and sautéed some sliced fresh garlic and shrimp in olive oil, butter, red chile pepper,  fresh parsley and a big splash of fresh lemon juice. YUM!

Lemon Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

It’s so light and delicious i don’t even miss the pasta or bread (truly!) This lovely dish is also low in calories and high in protein – two staples to losing weight. Not to mention staying full and energized without the sugar highs and lows from eating all those heavy carbs.

You can also add more veggies to the dish if you like..try sautéing some mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes or bell peppers and adding them to the mix. I absolutely love the possibilities of this dish! Who needs pasta when you have delicious buttery strands of squash instead? Please add your comments below on how you would make or alter the dish – creativity is good!

Hope you enjoy the recipe and here’s to happy and healthy New Year to all of you. xx

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes 4-5 cups Spaghetti Squash and approximately 3 cups of Lemon Garlic Shrimp, serving 2.

This light and healthy dish is made with roasted spaghetti squash topped with sautéed shrimp, garlic, olive oil, chile flakes, lemon and parsley. Super easy and tasty and low on the carbs!

Ingredients

  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  • 1 (3-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-20 ct)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds and inner membranes. Drizzle and rub squash with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the halves, cut side down, in a large baking dish and roast squash for 35-45 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove squash from oven and turn side up, letting it cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to make spaghetti strands and serve with the Lemon Garlic Shrimp.
  7. Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  8. Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a skillet until shimmering, then add the sliced garlic and cook while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  9. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are slightly cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parsley; toss to combine.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately over roasted spaghetti squash.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/01/31/lemon-garlic-shrimp-w-spaghetti-squash/

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Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

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Short Ribs

There’s nothing more comforting and heartwarming on a crazy cold day than braised short ribs with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes. Can we say heaven in a bowl?

These short ribs take a while to make but they’re worth the wait (I promise!) – I made them a little bit spicy with dried chile peppers, garlic and onions, fresh rosemary and thyme, and a chipotle infused olive oil (I love 7 Barrels brand!) along with a dash of cocoa powder (the super intense Dutch red kind made by Guittard is my fav). They’re braised in broth, a full bottle of red wine (you’re welcome), and topped with fresh parsley.

Once they’re done cooking they will be falling off the bone – then I made a reduced sauce with a knob of butter at the end to make it super silky and delicious. I served these with roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower (simply roast them in olive oil and sea salt on 375 for about 45 minutes, tossing them every 15 minutes until crispy and delicious), but I recommend serving them with some creamy mashed potatoes or egg noodles as well (or even some crusty French bread) to mop up that delicious spicy-savory-chocolate-chile-wine sauce. OMG.

Go ahead, indulge. You can always work it off tomorrow. Besides, a big bowl of comfort food and Netflix is more fun anyways 🙂

Chile Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6-8

A classic Winter comfort food dish, these delicious braised short ribs are made with chile peppers, chocolate, red wine and lots of fresh garlic, onions and herbs. Super savory and tasty, served with roasted veggies, and either mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

Ingredients

  • 2 large dried chile peppers, stemmed and deseeded
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 5 1/2 pounds center cut short ribs, on the bone
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chipotle olive oil (or regular EVOO if you prefer less spicy)
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Dutch red cocoa powder (Guittard)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • One bottle red wine (Pinot Noir or Merlot or Cab Sauv)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • A few sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme)
  • Knob of unsalted butter (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts, for serving
  • Mashed potatoes or egg noodles, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust rack to lower third.
  2. Cover chopped chile peppers with boiling water and let sit, covered for about 20 minutes until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle short ribs on both sides generously with kosher salt and pepper and let rest to room temperature about 15 minutes while peppers are soaking.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook short ribs in batches, searing evenly on both sides until golden brown crust forms (about 7 minutes per side/15 minutes per batch).
  5. Once all short ribs are seared, place on a platter tented with foil and set aside.
  6. In a blender or food processor, add the chiles, water, stock, tomato paste, cocoa, garlic, onions, and a little dash of salt and mix thoroughly together until smooth.
  7. Pour the red wine in the Dutch oven and scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan (deglazing the pan) and turn heat up to high bringing to a boil for 2-3 minutes, then reducing heat to a simmer, letting wine reduce by half (about 20 minutes).
  8. Add the pureed chile-onion mixture, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs to the pot and boil together for a few minutes. Return the short ribs to the pot, cover tightly with a lid and braise in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours until meat is tender and falls off the bone.
  9. Place the ribs back on to a large platter and tent with foil to keep warm while making the sauce.
  10. Put the Dutch oven on the stove and heat over medium-high for another 10 minutes or so until sauce thickens and reduces. Remove from heat and add a knob of butter into the sauce to make it extra silky and smooth.
  11. Add the ribs back into the sauce and coat thoroughly. Serve on plates with sauce on top along side roasted veggies and mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Garnish with fresh parsley and additional salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

You can also substitute hard cider or a dark lager beer for the red wine.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/01/24/chile-chocolate-braised-short-ribs/

 

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3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

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3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s the holidays and we all know what that means..time to cook and bake, and eat all the delicious treats of the season..like this savory
3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon. Can we say yay?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s so easy to make with some store-bought puff pastry because who has time to make their own with so many goodies to make and presents to wrap? And delicious holiday food to eat?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s got a gorgeous crispy, buttery crust topped with ricotta and Parmesan and Gruyere cheese, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup and of course, bacon. Then it’s topped with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and some fresh thyme along with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sounds pretty perfect to me. 

Roll Dough

First, defrost and roll out your dough. Cut 1/2 inch strips around the edges to double up to make a pastry border and brush it with egg wash. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

RoastSquash

Next, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper, and some garlic powder over the butternut squash, then drizzle it with some maple syrup and roast it for about 15 minutes.

Bacon

Cook that delicious bacon, drain and set aside to crumble on the tart later.

Ricotta

Whip up your ricotta with an egg, salt and pepper and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Add Ricotta

Spread it on top of the tart pastry evenly. (Repeat all steps with the second pastry throughout.)

Add Cheese

Top it with some of that luscious grated Gruyere cheese.

Top w/ Squash

Place the roasted squash on top along with the bacon. Sprinkle some fresh thyme on top.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Then simply bake it for 30 minutes on 375 F, then drizzle it with some balsamic glaze, cut into squares and devour!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash & Bacon Tart

Yield: Makes 2 tarts, serves 12.

Serving Size: 1 tart square (6 per tart)

This delicious savory tart features three luscious cheeses (ricotta, gruyere and parmesan) along with crispy bacon and roasted butternut squash and thyme. It makes a great appetizer for the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 14 ounces frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 packages butternut squash, precut into 1-2" cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • Balsamic glaze, for garnish
  • fresh thyme, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Roll out 1 piece of puff pastry into a large rectangle. Cut a 1/2 inch border around the edges and place the strips on the edges of the pastry sheet to create a border crust. Prick holes around the pastry to avoid puffing.
  2. Beat 1 egg and brush the pastry edges and repeat same procedure with second pastry sheet; chilling both for 1/2 an hour in the fridge.
  3. While pastry is chilling, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Cut the butternut squash into small chunks and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and set aside.
  6. Cook bacon according to package directions and drain on paper towels. Crumble once cooled and set aside.
  7. Reduce heat in oven to 375.
  8. Mix the ricotta cheese with one beaten egg, parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper.
  9. Remove pastry from the fridge and spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the tops of both.
  10. Sprinkle with shredded gruyere cheese and crumbled bacon.
  11. Top both pastries with the butternut squash and sprinkle with some fresh thyme.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed around the edges.
  13. Cut into squares after cooling on a rack and serve warm.
  14. Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze on top and additional fresh thyme if desired.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/12/14/3-cheese-butternut-squash-tart-w-bacon/

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Gosh I love the holidays.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Wishing you a great one!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Now back to that tart I just made… 😉

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Olive Garden unveils new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean” menu

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Olive Garden Tastes of the Mediterranean Menu

I had the opportunity to attend a special preview tasting of Olive Garden‘s new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu this week at a lovely event held at Haven’s Kitchen in NYC with a group of other food bloggers, writers and journalists.

Media Preview Haven's Kitchen

Olive Garden Team

We sampled a (generous!) variety of delicious food and wine, and learned more about the new menu ideas and inspiration from the Olive Garden team and Executive Chef, Jim Nuetzi

Olive Garden Tasting Event

Inspired by the flavors of Italy’s Mediterranean Coast, Olive Garden is evolving its popular Lighter Italian Fare menu to the new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu, which celebrates the flavors and cooking styles from the popular Mediterranean region of Italy with all entrees under 600 calories.

Chicken Margherita

Beginning Jan. 2, two new entrees – Chicken Margherita and

Linguine Di Mare

Linguine di Mare – will be available in restaurants. Following, the fully evolved ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ rebranded menu section, which includes guest favorites as well as the new entrees, will be introduced on Jan. 23.

Executive Chef Jim

“Healthier dishes at restaurants can often be perceived as boring or unsatisfying. However, our Mediterranean-inspired Shrimp Scampi with its flavorful ingredients was our second most popular entrée on the entire menu last summer,” said Jim Nuetzi, Executive Chef for Olive Garden. “The positive reaction from our guests further showed that we could create indulgent and craveable entrees that just happen to have the added benefit of lower calorie counts.”

Shrimp Scampi

The guest-favorite Shrimp Scampi, which was introduced to the Olive Garden menu last year, has exceeded any other Olive Garden lighter fare entrée in popularity. Many guests were surprised that the flavorful and satisfying dish was only 500 calories.

Grilled Chicken Parmigiana

The guest reaction to the Shrimp Scampi inspired chefs to explore additional ingredients that would excite guests in the same way, leading them to the cuisine of Italy’s Mediterranean coast. The region is long known for healthier lifestyles and cooking with light, flavorful ingredients such as seafood, olive oil, fresh vegetables, whole grains and Italian spices.

Chicken Margherita & Zucchini

Chicken Piccata

Herb Grilled Salmon

The ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu features:

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Margherita

  • NEW! Chicken Margherita: Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive-Garden-Shrimp-Scampi

  • Shrimp Scampi: Shrimp sautéed in a garlic sauce, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes and angel hair pasta.

Olive-Garden-Linguini-di-Mare

  • NEW! Linguine di Mare: Shrimp and mussels sautéed with homemade pomodoro sauce and whole grain linguine.

Olive-Garden-Herb-Grilled-Salmon

  • Herb-Grilled Salmon: Filet grilled to perfection and topped with garlic-herb butter. Served with parmesan-garlic broccoli.

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Piccata-Dinner

  • Chicken Piccata: Grilled chicken topped with a lemon garlic butter sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive Garden Tilapia Piccata

  • Tilapia Piccata: Delicate white fish baked in a lemon garlic butter sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Entrees on the rebranded menu start at $14.29.

Warm Chocolate Baci Cake

And last but not least, we enjoyed a gorgeous dessert, Warm Chocolate Baci Cake with coffee..simply divine. 

Olive Garden

..and got some take home goodie bags with a bottle of wine and some wine glasses!

 ———–

ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 35 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country.

Guests can join the conversation and connect with Olive Garden at Facebook.com/OliveGarden, Twitter.com/OliveGarden and Instagram.com/OliveGarden. For more information and to find your nearest Olive Garden restaurant, visit OliveGarden.com.

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Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage & Summer Veggies

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Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Ah, it’s almost the end of Summer and I keep thinking, where has it gone? Along with Summer comes lots of fresh veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and yellow squash that I just can’t get enough of!

Colavita

I recently received a lovely care package from my client Colavita, who sent me some delicious pasta, sauces, olive oils and vinegars to sample, which inspired me to make this Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies. 

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Fusilli pasta with sweet Italian sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and garlic. I sautéed everything in Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil with a splash of Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar for some extra sweet and tangy flavor.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

I used their Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed in to the pasta and veggies along with fresh oregano and basil. AND it has three (3!!) cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy – all baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Look. At. This. Cheesy Baked Pasta Goodness. YUM.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s the perfect dish for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner – and is great served with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread (dipped in Colavita olive oil and vinegar of course!) Enjoy!

Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage and Summer Veggies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8

This is a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Rotini pasta with Italian Sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions and garlic! It also features Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed with three cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner served with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Colavita Fusilli pasta, uncooked
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, ground
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-16 ounce jar Colavita Tomato Basil sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan/Asiago cheese, grated
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (about 9 minutes for al dente), drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook sausage until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside.
  4. Add additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add squash, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Add the cooked sausage back into the pan.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan/Asiago cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  6. Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese to a mixing bowl and stir in beaten egg, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  7. Place the cooked pasta in a large pot and add the sausage-veggie-tomato sauce mixture, stirring well. Fold in the ricotta-egg-herbs mixture until thoroughly combined.
  8. Spoon the pasta mixture into an 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan/Asiago cheese evenly over the top.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned.
  10. Let cool for a few minutes, serve hot with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Notes

You can also substitute Colavita penne, shells, farfalle or ziti for the fusilli pasta.

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Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Colavita has a great line of Italian gourmet food, olive oils, vinegars, pastas,  condiments and other specialty foods, which makes them one of my favorite brands for quality Italian cooking.

Check out their Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest and Instagram pages for more great recipes and cooking ideas!

Note: I received complimentary products from Colavita but was not compensated for this post. All photos, copy, recipes and opinions are my own. Please do not share, distribute or use any content without my permission.

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Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

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Chicken Spinach Mushroom Fettuccine

I made myself a pledge to focus on being healthier and happier since the New Year has started… getting more sleep, balancing work and life better, focusing on my business and my brand with a revived passion, reaching out to friends and family more often, traveling more, eating healthier and getting more walking around the city in, and just choosing to be happy every day, no matter what. NO EXCUSES.

Chicken Spinach Mushroom Fettuccine

BUT, see the thing is…I hate diets. They never work and I slowly grow tired of counting calories and feeling deprived and end up eating like a maniac and ruining all the good i just did by torturing myself on the diet in the first place. So I’ve decided to go in a different direction by simply cutting sugar out of my diet, eating more healthy lean proteins and fresh veggies and cutting DOWN on carbs, not fully out. It seems to lessen the pain of a diet and I truly feel better and am more conscious of what I eat by tracking the amount of carbs I’m taking in.  So far, so good. 

Chicken Spinach Mushroom Fettuccine

So I decided I wouldn’t fully deprive myself of the carb-laden pasta dishes I crave in the Winter and that I’ve been missing out on, and made a Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom & Bacon Fettuccine Alfredo that’s absolutely to die for. I used some lower-carb fettuccine pasta (Carba-Nada, which I got on Amazon for $10 and it only has 17 grams of carbs in 1.5 cups of pasta...LOVE IT). I sautéed some chicken breasts, shallots, garlic, bacon and added some spinach and mushrooms to make the base for the pasta. Then I made a delicious Alfredo sauce with half and half, unsalted butter, whipped cream cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese, thinned down with some water to make a semi-healthier version of this luscious, velvety (and usually super rich and fattening) pasta sauce.

I hope you’re getting through the Winter OK yourselves, and if not, whip up a batch of this deliciousness. Guilt-Free. You’ll be just fine, I promise. 😉

Chicken Mushroom Spinach Fettuccine

Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom Alfredo Fettucine

Ingredients

  • CHICKEN, SPINACH & MUSHROOM PASTA
  • 1 package fresh or dried fettuccine pasta
  • 4 slices center cut bacon
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (3-4 pieces)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package frozen spinach (or a few handfuls fresh baby spinach)
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (baby bella, porcini, chanterelle)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • ALFREDO SAUCE
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 5 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup water, as needed for desired sauce consistency

Instructions

  1. CHICKEN, SPINACH & MUSHROOM PASTA
  2. Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions, drain and set aside. Reserve some of the pasta water to add back in to the pasta sauce later on, for consistency.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and cooked through. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
  4. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, brush olive oil on and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drain bacon grease from saute pan and raise heat to medium high. Saute chicken breasts, about 6 minutes per side, until a nice browning occurs and chicken is cooked through. Set aside, and keep warm with tented foil. (NOTE: You may also grill the chicken if desired at the same cooking time).
  6. In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter and saute shallots for a few minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add sliced mushrooms and saute for another few minutes until they are soft.
  7. Defrost frozen spinach in microwave for 5 minutes, drain and then add spinach (you can also add fresh spinach now) to the pan with the shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until all cooked through, add crumbled bacon and season with freshly ground black pepper. Turn heat to low and keep warm while making the Alfredo sauce.
  8. ALFREDO SAUCE
  9. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, cream and whipped cream cheese over medium-low heat.
  10. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper. If sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to the sauce to thin it down to desired consistency.
  11. Pour the Alfredo sauce into the pan with the spinach and mushroom mixture, slice the chicken into slices or chunks and add to the sauce and stir together well.
  12. Serve hot over the pasta (or you can mix the pasta into the sauce ahead of serving, whatever you prefer).
  13. Serves 4-6.
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The Most Popular Posts of 2015 :: Happy New Year 2016!

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2015 Happy New Year

So here it is, the last day of the year 2015..oh how time flies, and so much has happened! I’m so thankful for all the wonderful opportunities that have come into my life and the lessons learned along the way.  Here are some of my Top / Most Popular posts from The Artful Gourmet blog this year — and wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year 2016!

Neapolitan Pizza

The Secrets to Making Neapolitan Pizza like a Master Pizzaiolo –http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/08/11/neapolitan-pizza-making-with-the-pros/

Crab Salad

Refreshingly Light Get in My Bikini Salad – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/21/refreshingly-light-get-in-my-bikini-crab-salad/

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/11/02/classic-comfort-food-beef-stroganoff/

Homemade Rustic Pizzas

Homemade Rustic Pizzas: Chicken, Spinach, Garlic & Sundried Tomato Pizza & Pepperoni, Ham & Sautéed Veggies Pizza – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/10/02/homemade-rustic-pizzas-chicken-spinach-garlic-sundried-tomato-pizza-pepperoni-ham-sauteed-veggie-pizza/

holiday dinner menu

An Intimate Gathering Holiday Dinner Party Menu: http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2010/11/28/an-intimate-gathering-holiday-dinner-party-menu/

Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/03/17/rochester-style-chicken-french-lemon-broccolini/

Mario Lopez & Avocados from Mexico

Food Styling for Mario Lopez and Avocados from Mexico – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/12/17/food-styling-mario-lopez-avocados-mexico-nbc-live-bethenny-shows/

pasta fagioli soup

Big Pot O’Goodness: Pasta Fagioli – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/12/11/big-pot-o-goodness-pasta-fagioli/

Truffle-Pancetta-3Cheese-Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/10/25/crazy-good-truffle-oil-pancetta-three-cheese-pasta/

BDTChowder

Black Dog Tavern’s Quahog Chowderhttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/09/24/a-taste-of-marthas-vineyard-the-black-dog-taverns-quahog-chowder/

Asparagus-Garlic-3-Cheese Tart

Baby Asparagus, Garlic & Three Cheese Tart – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/24/asparagus-three-cheese-tart/

Spicy Cajun Chili
Spicy Cajun Chilihttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/09/spicy-cajun-chili/

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/13/shrimp-scampi-pasta/

Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Cauliflower Crusthttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

Recipes Worth Sharing Cookbook

Recipes Worth Sharing: A Collection of Favorite Regional Recipes – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/03/21/recipes-worth-sharing-a-collection-of-favorite-regional-recipes/

Sun Noodle Ramen Lab

Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Spring 2013 – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/04/07/top-ten-things-i-love-spring-2013/

Southern Feast

A Dose of Southern Comfort & Down-Home Recipes – Part 1 – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/08/a-dose-of-southern-comfort-down-home-recipes-part-1/

spicy fish tacos and wine

Cool off with some Spicy Fish Tacos & Summer Wine Pairings – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/06/01/cool-off-with-some-spicy-fish-tacos-summer-wine-pairings/

Hope you enjoyed these posts and looking forward to sharing more fun stories with you in the New Year!

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