Porcini Linguine w/ Spicy Beef + Mushroom Ragu

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Porcini Pasta

So Fall is finally here guys! My absolute favorite time of the year – cooler temperatures, the leaves changing, sweaters, jeans and boots, leather jackets, crickets late in the day along with spectacular sunsets… and especially the FOOD!

Porcini Pasta


I had some gorgeous porcini linguine that I bought at the Rochester Downtown Farmer’s Market on hand, and thought a Spicy Beef and Mushroom Ragu sauce would be the perfect compliment for a savory tasty Fall pasta dish.

Porcini Pasta

I added some Crushed Hot Chili Pepper Spread  to the beef and mushroom mixture sautéed with shallots and garlic, which took the flavor and heat up just a notch…then added a little spicy marinara sauce, but not too much…

Porcini Pasta

After I cooked the pasta, I mixed the beef and mushroom ragu back into the pot, and tossed it all together with some of the reserved pasta water and  lots of parmesan cheese, just because.

Porcini Pasta

Of course I topped it all of with a generous sprinkle of fresh parsley and torn mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper… and it happily made my day.

Porcini Linguine w/ Zesty Beef + Mushroom Ragu

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4-6

This pasta dish has a savory umami flavor from the porcini mushroom linguine, along with a spicy beef and mushroom ragu zested up with some red chile pepper paste, shallots and garlic. Super healthy and delicious with some crusty Italian bread and olive oil and a glass of red wine.

Ingredients

  • * 1 pound porcini mushroom linguine
  • * 2 tbsp olive oil
  • * 3/4 pound ground beef
  • * 6-8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • * 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • * 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • * 2 tablespoons spicy hot chili pepper paste (Colavita)
  • * 3/4 cup marinara sauce
  • * 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • * Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • * 2-3 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces
  • * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water for about 9-10 minutes until al dente, drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, cook the ground beef, about 5-7 minutes, drain and set aside.
  3. Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and cook garlic, mushrooms and shallots for another 5 minutes or so until soft and cooked through. Mix into the cooked ground beef mixture and add spicy chili pepper paste and marinara sauce with some of the reserved pasta water until it's soft and mixes together into a sauce (but not overly saucy). Feel free to add more sauce and water to your liking for the desired consistency and thickness / thinness of the sauce.
  4. Toss the meat ragu in with the cooked pasta, add parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve pasta with fresh torn mozzarella and chopped fresh parsley.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/09/14/porcini-linguine-w-spicy-beef-mushroom-ragu/

Porcini Pasta

So easy and delicious with all the flavors of Fall. Enjoy!

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta w/ Fresh Ricotta

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Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

Summer is in full swing, and we all know what that means…TOMATO SEASON! I’m sure you all have a bountiful crop of tomatoes lying around from your garden..and if not, a plentiful supply of them from the farmers market or grocery store. So what better recipe to make with them than a gorgeous, easy Summer pasta dish?

Balsamic Tomato Pasta


Now I know this may sound weird, but I am not a fan of raw tomatoes. Never have, never will. Yeah, I am THAT person. But, when they’re cooked with a plethora of fresh ingredients to sweeten them up and break them down into a gorgeous sauce or salsa? I’m a huge tomato fan once they are transformed into some sweet and savory deliciousness…so here we go. Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta.

Balsamic Tomato Pasta

This is truly Summer in a Bowl, my friends. This pasta dish is so simple and fresh you’re gonna love it. I made a lovely chunky sauce with a batch of chopped fresh tomatoes, simmered in 7 Barrels Balsamic Vinegar and their Sweet Basil Olive Oil (omg #LOVE!), with sautéed sweet onions and garlic, red pepper flakes and chicken stock.  Then I tossed the pasta with a little bit of the pasta water, added the cooked balsamic tomato sauce, and topped it with fresh basil, some big dollops of fresh ricotta, and lots of Parmesan cheese. Juicy, sweet, tangy, savory perfection.

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta w/ Fresh Ricotta

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Serving Size: 1 cup

This is truly Summer in a Bowl, my friends. Made with fresh tomatoes simmered in 7 Barrels Balsamic Vinegar and Sweet Basil Olive oil, with sautéed sweet onions and garlic making a lovely chunky tomato sauce..topped with fresh basil and ricotta cheese and more Parmesan cheese! And it's so easy to make that you won't be slaving over the stove in this hot weather either. Juicy, sweet, tangy, savory perfection. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta, reserving some of the pasta cooking water
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Sweet Basil extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup Seven Barrels Traditional Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces, for garnish
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add tomatoes, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, until onions begin to get soft and lightly browned and tomatoes release some of their liquid.
  4. Place balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk well. Carefully add it to the skillet and continue to cook for a few minutes more until the sauce slightly thickens; remove from the heat.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the tomatoes, and toss together over low heat for an additional few minutes until the sauce coats the pasta. Add a small amount of the pasta cooking water if the mixture is too dry, to your desired sauce consistency.
  6. Place the pasta in large bowl and top with fresh grated Parmesan, ricotta cheese, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve hot, immediately with some crusty garlic bread.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/08/10/balsamic-tomato-basil-pasta-w-fresh-ricotta/

Balsamic Tomato Pasta

Yes please, I’ll take another bowl.

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

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Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Hey guys! So we are half way through the Summer already..can you believe it? I’ve been so busy working on client projects I haven’t had the time to post any new recipes lately so I wanted to share a super delicious one I created for a client that I know you’re gonna love!

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad


This recipe for Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad is absolutely delicious! I made a dressing with Seven Barrels Maple Balsamic vinegar and olive oil and tossed it with quinoa, chickpeas, dried tart cherries, arugula, celery, green onions and crunchy pecans.

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Not only is this super healthy and light but absolutely delicious! It has the perfect balance of tangy vinegar with a slight sweetness from the maple balsamic, agave and tart cherries, and a delightful crunch from the celery, chickpeas and green onions.

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

This is a perfect side dish to make ahead for a Summer picnic and it’s full of protein and veggies and fiber making it the perfect meal on it’s own.

You can also substitute dried cranberries for the tart cherries if you can’t find them, and use a variety of nuts like cashews, almonds, or walnuts instead of pecans. Throw in some edamame or black beans too if you want more protein. Or how about a little crispy bacon???? YUM.

Hope you’re enjoying your Summer – enjoy!

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Seven Barrels Maple balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup or honey
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Handful of baby arugula
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus additional to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Let cool completely.
  2. Toast the pecans for about 5 to 7 minutes over medium-low heat in a saute pan, let cool and chop coarsely.
  3. Make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, Maple Balsamic vinegar and agave syrup (or honey) in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Add 3/4 cup dressing to the cooked quinoa. Mix in the chopped toasted pecans, tart cherries, celery, scallions, and sea salt. Serve refrigerated or at room temperature; just before serving, stir in remaining 1/4 cup dressing, arugula and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Notes

You can also substitute dried cranberries for the tart cherries and use any type of nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds).

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/08/02/maple-balsamic-quinoa-salad/

Happy Memorial Day + Some Favorite Recipes

Happy Memorial Day
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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-

Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

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/

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/

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/

 

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.

Mini Vegan Chocolate Donuts w/ Salted Caramel Pumpkin Spice Glaze

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Mini Vegan Chocolate Donuts

Fall has arrived my friends, and we all know what that means. Pumpkin Spice. Everything. In the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to make some Mini Vegan Chocolate Doughnuts with Salted Caramel Spiced Pumpkin Glaze.

Vegan ingredients


They’re a perfect fall dessert, and healthy too! These doughnuts are made with all natural vegan ingredients – red kidney beans, unsweetened soy milk, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder – and you wouldn’t believe how good they taste.

KitchenAid Mini Donut Pan

They are so delicious (and cute!) and easy to make with the help of my KitchenAid® Diamond Blender and Mini Doughnut Pans – and they bake in only 10 minutes in my Convection Countertop Oven!

Glazed Mini Donuts

The glaze is super easy to make too – made in my KitchenAid Stainless Steel sauce pan with fresh pumpkin puree, coconut cream and coconut sugar and pumpkin pie spice all cooked into a gooey luscious caramel sauce then topped with flaky sea salt – it’s the most lovely combination of Fall flavors in one tiny bite!

mini vegan chocolate donuts

ooh…aren’t they lovely and delicious? Oh, and they’re vegan and gluten-free too! Isn’t that wonderful.

bet you can’t have just one bite! 

CLICK HERE TO SEE STEP-BY-STEP RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

Elderberry Lime Chicken & Veggie Kabobs + Heirloom Tomato, Peach & Mozzarella Salad

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Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

I love grilling in the Summertime – and there’s nothing easier, tastier and healthier than Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs!

Heirloom Tomato, Peach & Mozzarella Salad


I also love a delicious salad using the fruits and veggies of the season – try my Heirloom Tomato, Peach & Mozzarella Salad which is bursting with fresh flavors!

Grilled Chicken & Veggie Kabobs

I developed these recipes for my client Seven Barrels, who makes spectacular infused olive oils and vinegars. I wanted to create a refreshing recipe for their Summer promotion, so I created a marinade for the kabobs and a vinaigrette dressing for the salad using their Elderberry Balsamic Vinegar and Lime Olive Oil – a delicious combination!

Heirloom Tomato Peach Mozzarella Salad

Hope you’re enjoying your Summer and enjoy these recipes at your next cookout! 🙂

Check out Seven Barrels website for more product information

Grilled Chicken & Veggie Kabobs

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 to 6

Grilled chicken and summer veggie kabobs in an Elderberry Lime Marinade - perfect for Summer!

Ingredients

  • Grilled Chicken & Veggie Kabobs:
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs (skinless), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange or green), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 large red onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large yellow squash, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup Elderberry Lime Marinade (recipe follows)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Elderberry Lime Marinade:
  • ½ cup Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Seven Barrels Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup Seven Barrels Elderberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Grilled Chicken & Veggie Kabobs:
  2. Place chicken and vegetables in large plastic ziplock bags and pour 1/2 of the Elderberry Lime Marinade over each, letting marinade in the fridge for at least two hours up to eight hours.
  3. Pre-soak wooden skewers in water for at least 15-20 minutes, and preheat grill on medium-high heat.
  4. Thread the chicken and vegetables evenly spaced on separate skewers and discard the marinade except for a small amount to use while grilling.
  5. Lightly oil the grate and grill chicken skewers until opaque and juices run clear (about 12-15 minutes) and the vegetable skewers for about 8-12 minutes until soft and beginning to brown. Turn and brush with extra marinade frequently. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Transfer the skewers to a warm platter and serve immediately.
  7. Elderberry Lime Marinade:
  8. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, basil or parsley, garlic salt and black pepper. Cover and set aside until ready to marinade the chicken and vegetables.
  9. Makes 1 ¼ cups.
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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/08/03/elderberry-lime-chicken-veggie-kabobs-heirloom-tomato-peach-mozzarella-salad/

Heirloom Tomato, Peach & Mozzarella Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8

A gorgeous Summer salad made with heirloom tomatoes, fresh peaches, mozzarella, basil, arugula in an Elderberry Lime vinaigrette dressing topped with sunflower seeds.

Ingredients

  • Heirloom Tomato, Peach & Mozzarella Salad:
  • 2 large handfuls of baby arugula
  • 2 peaches, cut into wedges
  • 1 Heirloom tomato, cut into wedges
  • ½ cup cooked corn
  • ½ cup cucumber, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 ball of burrata or fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • Fresh basil
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Elderberry Lime Vinaigrette:
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Seven Barrels Elderberry balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Heirloom Tomato, Peach & Mozzarella Salad:
  2. On a large plate, arrange the arugula, peaches and heirloom tomato wedges. Sprinkle corn and cucumber over the salad.
  3. Carefully rip the ball of burrata or mozzarella into pieces and scatter on top of the salad along with the cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds, salt and pepper and a few basil leaves.
  4. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the Elderberry Lime vinaigrette and serve immediately. Serve with extra dressing and additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  5. Elderberry Lime Vinaigrette:
  6. Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a medium bowl and whisk together well. Once combined, stream in the olive oil and continue to whisk until the vinaigrette comes together. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Note: The dressing can be stored and refrigerated for 1 week.
  8. Makes approximately 3/4 cup.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/08/03/elderberry-lime-chicken-veggie-kabobs-heirloom-tomato-peach-mozzarella-salad/

 

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